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’.
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’:
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:
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’.
Activity 3 Speaking aloud (3) – mythological figures
Say the names of these figures from Greek mythology, listen to the pronunciation, and repeat.