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Lesson Transcript

Maria: Welcome back to GreekPod101.com.
Iro: "Geia sas."
Maria: And welcome to this episode of "All About Greece." Today, we're going to share our take on Greek pronunciation with you.
Iro: Greek, of course, is a tonal language, and today we'll help you get a good foundation that will set you on the right track.
Maria: From experience, one of the best ways to get Greek pronunciation down is to listen and repeat, and listen and repeat.
Iro: Yes, just copy the sounds a native speaker makes, like me!
Maria: And yes, just like that annoying song you can't get out of your head, one day Greek will get stuck in your head, and you'll be set for life.
Iro: So make sure you repeat all the sounds I make today. That will get you on the road to speaking Greek.
Maria: Yep! So first, learning about the Greek alphabet is going to help make things clearer.
Iro: Yes, let's briefly repeat the characteristics of the Greek alphabet.
Maria: So there are twenty-four letters in total in the Greek alphabet.
Iro: Seven vowels and seventeen consonants.
Maria: These letters are all pronounced differently when they stand alone, compared to when they are in words.
Iro: Yes. Take the vowels, for example. They are "Álfa" ("α"), "Épsilon" ("ε"), "Ítta" ("η"), "Gióta" ("ι"), "Ómikron" ("o"), "Ýpsilon" ("υ"), and "Oméga" ("ω").
Maria: It's important to know this reading of the alphabet as many letters are read the same when in words.
Iro: Yes, and when read in words, they are read as the following…"α" sounds like "a" as in "a" or "an," "ε" sounds like "e" in "electricity," "η" sounds like "i" in "information," "ι" sounds like "i" in "information," "o" sounds like "o" in "organ," "υ" sounds like "i" in "information," and "ω" sounds like "o" in "organ."
Maria: Cool! We won't go through the whole alphabet in this chapter. But if you really want to sink your teeth in the right Greek pronunciation, you can listen to our pronunciation series online.
Iro: Just go to www.GreekPod101.com to download them.
Maria: Right. So there are a few important points about Greek pronunciation we need to tell our listeners.
Iro: Yes. The first things we need to mention are Greek accents.
Maria: Yes. I'm sure you're all wondering what that little line above some Greek letters actually does!
Iro: Well, as in many other languages, it indicates which syllable is stressed in a word.
Maria: Yes, I learned this by reading along with a native speaker.
Iro: And be careful, depending on where the accent is, the meaning can change too!
Maria: I know that even if the word is spelled the same, if the accent is placed over a different vowel, the meaning can change completely.
Iro: Moving on to the second point, the consonants.
Maria: Yes. There are so many different sounds in the Greek language, and the consonants make a great contribution to that.
Iro: There are five types of consonant sounds in Greek.
Maria: Yes! Now let's hear them!
Iro: Okay! So we have…
1. Labial consonants, "-p" ("π"), "-v" ("β"), and "-f" ("φ"), are those consonants articulated with both lips or biting down on the lower lip.
2. Dental consonants, "-t" ("τ"), "d" ("δ"), and "-th" ("θ"), are the consonants articulated by pressing the tongue against the upper teeth.
3. Palatal consonants, "-k" ("κ"), "-g" ("γ"), and "-ch" ("χ"), are made with the body of the tongue raised against the palate.
4. Nasal consonants, "-n" ("ν") and "-m" ("μ"), are produced by softly pressing the tongue against the palate and allowing air to flow through the nose.
5. Liquid consonants, "-l" ("λ") and "-r" ("ρ"), are trills, taps, or approximate consonants that are not classified as semivowels because they do not correspond phonetically to specific vowels (in English, "yes" corresponds to [i]).
Maria: Wow! That doesn't sound too difficult! Many of these sounds are used in English as well. And there are only five, right!
Iro: Exactly.
Maria: But we shouldn't advertise falsely, Iro. On top of those five, well, there are a few sounds that don't exist in Greek.
Iro: Yes, such as [sh] as in "shop," [Z] as in "pleasure," [ch] as in "church," and [dZ] as in "job."
Maria: So what do Greeks do when they want to pronounce foreign words with these sounds?
Iro: Well, this is where the Greeks get really creative! If they are not trained to pronounce these sounds correctly, they simply transform these sounds to their corresponding ones. So, for example: [sh][s], [Z][z], [ch][ts], and [dZ][dz].
Maria: Haha, those crazy Greeks!
Iro: Indeed! But wait! There is more!
Maria: More!? Oh spare my brain, please!
Iro: Not yet, Maria. Greek sounds are mainly formed by combining a vowel and a consonant. However, as we have mentioned earlier, there are sounds that are not allocated a letter in the alphabet but have an individual sound. These are called two-letter consonants.
Maria: As you might have guessed, they are made of two consonants…
Iro: Yep! [b] is written as "mi" + "pi" ("μπ"), [d] as "ni" + "taf" ("ντ"), and [g] as "gámma" + "káppa" ("γκ") or as double "gámma" ("γγ").
Maria: Impressive!
Iro: Did you know that the [b], [d], and [g] sounds were likely to have existed in classical Greek, but were adapted to common Greek after the New Testament?
Maria: No, I didn't!
Iro: You'd be surprised how much Greek has changed from classical times! But I think it must be easier to learn modern Greek.
Maria: Yes, and if I can learn, you can learn!!! One day, if you just keep on practicing, it will all click. We promise.
Iro: You can trust us.
Maria: Great! Now we're all biting our tongues here; don't forget to listen and repeat what Iro says to help your brain really get wrapped around the sounds.
Iro: Yep, that's what will do it.
Maria: Okay, phew! Done! that, but So we know that wasn't that fun, but it was necessary.
Iro: It surely was!
Iro: It surely was!
Maria: Now remember, one of the best ways to get Greek pronunciation down is to listen and repeat, and listen and repeat, which is something you can do at GreekPod101.com. We have audio files of native speakers and even a voice recorder for you to see how you sound in comparison.
Iro: So we'll see you at the website!
Maria: Bye!
Iro: Geia sas!


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 03:27 PM
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Hi Matthew,

I hope you had a nice time! Three weeks is a good amount of time to see many things.


Team GreekPod101.com

Matthew dull
Saturday at 09:19 AM
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i was in Greece for three weeks for the history writing

GreekPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 03:30 PM
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Hi Carole Valleskey,

Thank you for your message.

I see that you are in the section "Throwback Thursday". The lessons included in this section are a mixture of lessons from both audio and video series of GreekPod101.com. That's why some lessons have a video and some don't.

If you wish to view video-only lessons, you can do that by simply going to the menu bar on the top, choosing "Browse Lessons" and then "Video Lessons".

Please don't hesitate to ask us any questions if there is something you don't understand concerning our website or its content. We are here for you.

Kind regards,


Team GreekPod101.com

Carole Valleskey
Thursday at 11:54 PM
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Is there video with this? The first lesson I got did.