Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

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Getting started on ancient Greek

2.2 Sounds

The sounds of Greek were covered in Session 2, which presented a reconstruction of fifth-century BCE pronunciation, but also emphasised the need to be pragmatic, and the importance of speaking clearly and with confidence.

Hints and tips

Areas that might need further practice once you have grasped the basics of pronunciation include:

  1. breathings, in particular spotting the rough breathing (Section 2 of Session 2)
  2. diphthongs (Section 6 of Session 2)
  3. gamma in combination with gamma, kappa, xi or chi (Section 6 of Session 2)

Activity 5 Test your listening

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Can you hear the difference between these?

τὸ ὄρος   the mountain

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio22_1.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

ὁ ὅρος   the boundary stone

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio22_2.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Can you pronounce diphthongs, as in these words?

Ἀθηναῖος   Athenian

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio23_1.mp3
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δεῖπνον   meal

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio23_2.mp3
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πλοῖον   vessel

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio23_3.mp3
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Can you pronounce the gamma correctly in these words?

ἐγγύς   near

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio24_1.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

ὄγκος   burden

Download this audio clip.Audio player: gcg_1_audio24_2.mp3
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

The main advice for readers of Greek is to spend a little time reading aloud, familiarising yourself with the sound and rhythms of the language. That is especially important with poetry, including Greek drama, but Greek prose has rhythmic patterns of its own and was also intended to be heard as much as read.

GCG_1

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