Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

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Getting started on ancient Greek

1 The sounds of Greek

As a living language, Greek would have varied in pronunciation across different locations and time periods, and, no doubt, within the same city. For the purposes of study, the key point is to be pragmatic, and to focus on speaking clearly and with confidence.

If you know how to speak Greek already, you are welcome to continue with your current pronunciation. It would still be important, however, for you to understand the pronunciation outlined here, as it is a reasonable reconstruction of how Greek was spoken in Classical Athens, i.e. during the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, based on the best available evidence.

Activity 1 Speaking aloud (1) – historical figures

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Try to say the names of these historical figures. Then listen to the audio, and repeat the word out loud.

Αλεξανδρος

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio1_1.mp3
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Θεμιστοκλης

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio1_2.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Ξερξης

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio1_3.mp3
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Κλεοπατρα

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio1_4.mp3
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Περικλης

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio1_5.mp3
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Σωκρατης

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio1_6.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

The names are:

  • Αλεξανδρος, Alexandros = Alexander
  • Θεμιστοκλης, Themistoclēs = Themistocles
  • Ξερξης, Xerxēs = Xerxes
  • Κλεοπατρα, Kleopatra = Cleopatra
  • Περικλης, Periclēs = Pericles
  • Σωκρατης, Sо̄cratēs = Socrates
GCG_1

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