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Linguaholic

It's all Greek to me... No, it isn't. Learn how to pronounce words!


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A really popular phrase which summarizes the difficulty of Greek language...

But is Greek language that difficult indeed?

Let's have a look at the pronunciation of vowels, consonants and diphthongs which tend to be somehow tricky for the learner:

The accent, if written, is placed on the single vowel or the second vowel of the diphthong. If the diaeresis (two dots on top ΪΫϊϋ) is placed on the second, or the accent is on the first, it is not a diphthong. For example, ρολοϊ (clock, from ωρολογιον, whence French horloge) is pronounced roh-LOH-ee.

VOWELS

Α αλφα

as in father πατηρ

Ε εψιλον

as in hecto- εκατον

Η ητα

as in spleen σπλην

Ι ιωτα

same as η, sometimes shorter

Ο ομικρον

as in Portuguese dose δοσις

Υ υψιλον

same as ι

Ω ωμεγα

as in somatic σωματικος

CONSONANTS

Β βητα

as in very

Γ γαμμα

voiced version of χ. Before ε or ι, as in yet. Before γ, κ, or χ, as in sink

Δ δελτα

as in those

Ζ ζητα

as in zone ζωνη

Θ θητα

as in thesis θεσις

Κ καππα

as in kinetic κινητικος

Λ λαμβδα

as in linen λινον

Μ μυ

as in mixture μιγμα

Ν νυ

as in new νεος

Ξ ξι

as in ax αξινη

Π πι

as in plasma πλασμα

Ρ ρω

as in Spanish reloj ρολοϊ

Σ σιγμα ς

as in sack σακκος

Τ ταυ

as in type τυπος

Φ φι

as in phone φωνη

Χ χι

halfway between keel and heel

Ψ ψι

as in sepsis σηψις

DIPHTHONGS

αι

like ε, but longer

αυ

ahv, as in sovereign, except before a voiceless consonant, in which case ahf

ει

as in Keith, same as η

ευ

as in several, left

οι

same as η

ου

as in food

υι

same as η

γγ

as in anger

γκ

as in anger, sink, or go

γχ

as in ankh

μπ

as in bumble

ντ

as in dander

Hope all these help you out. Enjoy!

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  • 11 months later...
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  • 10 months later...

You seem to be a good teacher. I loved the way you explained it all. I have studied Greek for 2 years at the university and it is a pity I have not used it since 2008, so I forgot almost all of it. What is left is my ability to read, and ask a few questions. Even writing is something I have not stuck to so far. I would love to brush up on my Greek.

Pose lene? :)

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