Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

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Getting started on ancient Greek

3 Refinements

Four sounds can prove troublesome for English speakers:

1. theta (θ / Θ) in classical Greek was probably sounded like the ‘t’ in ‘top’ as opposed to the ‘t’ in ‘stop’. But this is a subtle distinction for native English speakers, and you will often hear it pronounced as ‘th’, as in ‘theatre’.

θεος (god)

strict:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio7_1.mp3
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simplified:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio7_2.mp3
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2. phi (φ / Φ) was probably similar to the ‘p’ in ‘pot’ as opposed to the ‘p’ in ‘spot’. You will commonly hear it pronounced in a simplified form, like an English ‘f’:

φιλοσοφια (philosophy)

strict:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio8_1.mp3
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simplified:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio8_2.mp3
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In fact θ and φ were pronounced like English ‘th’ and ‘f’ at some point after the fifth century BCE – as they are in modern Greek – although when this change occurred is debated.

3. chi (χ / Χ) was pronounced as ‘k’ followed by ‘h’. If possible, you should pronounce this like ‘ch’ in loch, to distinguish it from a kappa, but you will hear it as a ‘k’ sound as well:

χρονοϛ (time)

strict:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio9_1.mp3
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simplified:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio9_2.mp3
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4. zeta (ζ / Ζ) is properly pronounced like the ‘s’ + ‘d’ sounds in the phrase ‘it is done’. However, many English speakers simply pronounce it like the ‘z’ in ‘zoo’.

Ζευς (Zeus)

strict:

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio10_1.mp3
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simplified:

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Activity 3 Speaking aloud (3) – mythological figures

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Say the names of these figures from Greek mythology, listen to the pronunciation, and repeat.

Ἀθηνη

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio11_1.mp3
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Ἀνδρομαχη

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Ἀφροδιτη

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio11_3.mp3
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Ζευς

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio11_4.mp3
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Θυεστης

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio11_5.mp3
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Χαος

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio11_6.mp3
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GCG_1

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