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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi, everybody! Stefania here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Greek questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is “How do you correctly pronounce αυ, ευ, and ηυ?”
Explanation
These double-vowel combinations are pronounced differently depending on a few things.
• First, on their accentuation.
• Second, on the letter that follows.
• And third, on their position within a word.
Let's go into more detail. As far as accentuation goes.
• Firstly, if the accent mark is on the first letter of the double-vowel combination, then we pronounce each letter of the combination separately. For example, άυ (ái).
Here is a sample sentence.
Είναι άυπνος εδώ και 26 ώρες. (Íne áipnos edó ke íkosi éxi óres.)
"He has been sleepless for 26 hours."
We also pronounce the double-vowel combination separately when there is a diaeresis mark over the second letter, either there is or not an accent mark over it. For example, αϋ (ai) and αΰ (aí).
Here is a sample sentence.
Υποφέρω από αϋπνίες. (Ipoféro apó aipníes.)
"I suffer from insomnia."
• Secondly, if the last letter of the double-vowel combination is accented or even when none of the two letters are accented, then we treat each combination as a group and we pronounce αυ as either /av/ or /af/, ευ as /ev/ or /ef/, and ηυ as /iv/ or /if/.
I'm sure you are wondering now if it's possible to know when each variation applies in this case.
Well, it's always possible to know if you take a look at two things.
• First, the letter that follows.
• And second, the combination's position within a word.
The variations /av/, /ev/, and /iv/ are used when the double-vowel combinations come before a vowel sound or a voiced consonant sound.
A voiced consonant sound makes the vocal cords vibrate. You can feel the vibration if you touch your throat while pronouncing them. In Greek, those are β, γ, δ, ζ, λ, μ, ν, ρ, τζ, μπ, ντ, γγ, and γκ.
Some examples are...
• αυγή (avyí, "dawn"), Παύλος (Pávlos, "Paul"), παύω (pávo, "to cease, to pause, to hush")
• ευαίσθητος (evésthitos, "sensitive"), Εύα (Éva, "Eve"), ζευγάρι (zevgári, "couple")
• εφηύρα (efívra, "I invented"), απηύδησα (apívdisa, "I got fed up")
Here are some sample sentences.
Ψάχνω για ένα ευάερο και ευήλιο διαμέρισμα. (Psáhno ya éna eváero ke evílio diamérizma.)
"I'm looking for an airy and sunny apartment."
Τα παιδιά παίζουν στην αυλή. (Ta pediá pézun stin avlí.)
"The children are playing in the yard."
The variations /af/, /ef/, and /if/ are used when the double-vowel combinations come before the consonants ξ (x), ψ (ps), an unvoiced consonant sound or when the combinations are at the end of a word.
An unvoiced consonant sound doesn't produce any vibration in the vocal cords when pronounced. In Greek, those are κ, π, τ, χ, φ, θ, σ, and τσ.
Some examples are...
• αύξηση (áfxisi, "raise"), εαυτός (eaftós, "self"), ταυ (táf, the name of the letter "t")
• ευχαριστώ (efharistó, "to thank/thank you"), ανεύθυνος (anéfthinos, "irresponsible"), the scholarly άνευ (ánef, "without")
• απηύθυνα (apífthina, "I addressed")
Ευ (ef) on its own is an archaic adverb meaning "well." It is used in standard archaic expressions such as ευ ζην (ef zin, "to live well"), and ευ αγωνίζεσθαι (ef agonízesthe, "fair play")
Here are some sample sentences.
Είναι πολύ ευτυχισμένη στον γάμο της. (Íne polí eftihizméni ston gámo tis.)
"She is very happy in her marriage."
Το τεστ ευφυΐας έδειξε ότι είναι ιδιοφυΐα. (To test efiías édixe óti íne idiofiía.)
"The intelligence test showed that he is a genius."
One last thing to know is that in words such as Εύβοια (Évia) or "Euboea" in English, or ευφυής (efiís, "intelligent") where the /ev/ sound comes before another /v/ sound and the /ef/ sound comes before another /f/ sound, then we don't pronounce the /v/ or /f/ sound twice or longer. We pronounce it once, as if the υ of the double-vowel combination wasn't there. Listen again - Εύβοια (Évia), ευφυής (efiís).

Outro

How was the lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
Γεια χαρά! (Ya hará!)

7 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

GreekPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
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What Greek learning question do you have?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Friday at 04:59 PM
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Hi William,


Thank you for your comment!


All the best,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

William H Park
Thursday at 09:50 PM
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Quick but very informative, thanks.

GreekPod101.com Verified
Friday at 03:44 AM
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Γεια σου Πάολο,


Χαίρομαι που σου φάνηκε χρήσιμο το μάθημα αυτό! Είμαι σίγουρη ότι τώρα δεν θα έχεις κανένα πρόβλημα με αυτά τα γράμματα😉


Γεια χαρά,


Στεφανία

Team GreekPod101.com

Paolo
Thursday at 03:35 AM
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Γεια σoυ Στεφανία!

Αυτό το μάθημα ήταν πολύ χρήσιμο.

Ευχαριστώ πάρα πολύ!

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 08:12 AM
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Hi Edwin,


Thank you for contacting us.


I'm afraid I'm not experiencing the issue. Perhaps it is something technical on your end? It could be your internet connection, for example.


I wish I could be of more help!


Kind regards,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Edwin Grabau
Tuesday at 05:20 AM
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The sound cuts off anywhere, starts again at the cutoff point, why?