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I am reading a passage about a woman being telephoned by a man who has kidnapped her daughter. The man is demanding a ransom. What puzzles me is this. The man and woman have never spoken before this conversation.

They are complete strangers so you would expect the man to use the plural, formal form. However, he says this:

"Ακου προσεκτικά αυτό που έχω να σου πω."

"Ακου" is the singular informal form of the continuous imperative. It's like saying "be listening to what I have to say to you" but in a familiar manner.  Surely the man ought to say ακούτε instead? And if he's going to use the familiar form wouldn't άκουσε be a more natural way to speak?

In his next two sentences the kidnapper reverts to the plural..."'Εχουμε την κόρη σας. Αν θέλετε να την ξαναδείτε, πρέπει να μας δώσετε δέκα εκατομμύρια ευρώ."

So my question is this..is there a mistake or is something more subtle going on? If a Greek person wants to be rude to a stranger or to show power over them might they use the familiar form instead of the expected formal form? Is that is what is happening here? Or did the writer make a mistake? Or (even worse) am I making a mistake?
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>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If a Greek person wants to be rude to a stranger or to show power over them might they use the familiar form instead of the expected formal form?

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Yes, this is exactly what happened in the first sentence.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"'Εχουμε την κόρη σας.   Αν θέλετε να την ξαναδείτε, πρέπει να μας δώσετε δέκα εκατομμύρια ευρώ."

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

With the phrases "Εχουμε..." and "...να μας..."  he implies that the kidnappers are more than one, nothing strange here.

With the phrases "την κόρη σας", "να την ξαναδείτε" and "να μας δώσετε" he shifts from singular to plural when addressing her.  However in the very first case "Ακου προσεκτικά αυτό που έχω να σου πω" he is addressing exclusively to her, since it is implied that she is the only person listening to his voice, over the phone.  When he shifts to plural, it is very unlikely he does this from politeness or from mistake.  He implies that the entire family will suffer the loss and they have to pay the kidnapers.

I hope this is clear.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vasiliki Baskou, Instructor/Director, https://learn-greek-online.com.

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