Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody, this is Stefania! Welcome to GreekPod101.com’s Alfaveeto made easy. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn the Greek alphabet: the alfaveeto!
This is our last lesson and I can’t stress enough how proud I am for you! Just 14 lessons ago you may have never seen Greek writing in your life, but now you know almost all there is about one of the oldest languages in the world.
This lesson is a little bit different than the previous ones: there will be no new characters or sounds -- we’re done with all that. Instead will be looking into another very important part of writing: punctuation. Yes, most people don’t think of punctuation as writing, but sure enough, if you don’t know at least the basic punctuation marks of a language, you can’t write it properly.
So let’s start by talking about the accent marks in the Greek language; there used to be many different kinds, but in the early 1980s there was a big overhaul and only one accent survived. Up until now, we’ve written all the sample words without accent marks so you could focus more on the actual characters but I think that now is a good time to review some of the words we have learned already and see them with their correct accent.
Do these words look familiar? You have seen them before, but without the accent. I hope you don’t get intimidated by this new mark because it’s really quite simple. Here’s the only thing you have to remember: you put it above the letter that you want to stress and that is it! Easy, huh? It’s actually not something new to remember, but a way to help you correctly pronounce the word. Listen to all of these words and pay attention to intonation.
Μαμά
Μάτι
Κομμάτι
Κάτι
Ποτό
Μπαμπάς
Γη
Ελλάδα
There are just two simple rules: first, only vowels get accent marks. And second, monosyllabic words (like “Γη”) don’t get accented most of the time. As for the accent’s shape, it’s *supposed* to be a diagonal line from the upper right to the top of the letter but many people just use a vertical line or a dot; practically it doesn’t really matter as long as it is the right syllable that gets accented.
What happens with two-letter vowel combinations, you might ask. Well, there are a few rules to remember in order to read them and write them properly. First I should mention that the double vowel combinations are not always pronounced as we learned. Sometimes we need to pronounce them separately, with each letter’s original sound. In this case we use a special mark, called “dialytika” ( ¨ ). It roughly translates as “separators”. In English it is called “diaeresis”.
When we need to use this mark, we will always place it over the second letter and it can also be used in combination with the normal accent mark if the second letter of the combination is also accented.
Let me show you some examples of all possibilities you can have with double vowels to make things clearer!
If a two-vowel combination must be pronounced as a set that is not accented, then no mark should be placed on any of the letters.
For example:
πρέπει
meaning “must”, as in “it must”
-If a two-vowel combination must be pronounced as a set that is accented, then the accent mark will always go to the second letter. For example:
είσοδος
-If the letters of a two-vowel combination must be pronounced separately but none of them gets the accent, then we need to use the special mark I mentioned before.
For example:
χαϊδεύω
meaning “to caress”
Remember, that mark will always go on top of the second letter of the double vowel combination.
-If the letters of a two-vowel combination must be pronounced separately and the accent goes at the first letter, then simply an accent mark is placed on that letter. For example:
άυπνος
meaning sleepless.
-If the letters of a two-vowel combination must be pronounced separately but the accent goes at the second letter, then we need to use dialytika and the normal accent together!.
For example:
Ροΐδης
a famous Greek writer.
What about other kinds of punctuation? Well, if you know how to use commas and periods in English, you know how to use them in Greek. Here’s a sample sentence.
Αυτή η τσάντα είναι ακριβή, αλλά είναι καλή.
“This bag is expensive, but it is good”.
Period goes at the end. Commas work the same way as English. So nothing new to learn, right? Well... almost.
One thing that puzzles many English speakers in Greek punctuation is the question mark. We don’t use it! Here’s a question in Greek.
Θα πας στο σχολείο αύριο;
“Are you going to school tomorrow?”
That’s right, a question mark, or “eroteemateekoh”, is just a semicolon!
So what about semicolons in Greek? Well, the Greek version of a semicolon is the “anoh teleia” or “upper dot”, that is a dot that you write higher than the line, over mid-letter height. The usage is the same as an English semicolon:
Σήμερα δεν πήγα στο σχολείο· άργησα να ξυπνήσω.
“Today I didn’t go to school; I woke up late”.
The last difference to talk about are Greek quotation marks. We don’t use these guys, our quotation marks look like thois.
Eίπε «Καληνύχτα» και έφυγε.
“He said ‘goodnight’ and he left.”
I guess this is where I’ll have to leave you. But I have one more Stefania’s Insight for you. It’s truly not enough to just watch these videos if you want to get good at Greek writing. Please remember that only with practice will you be able to keep the knowledge in your head –and this is true for Greek learners as well as for Greeks! Even in this age of keyboards, writing something by hand can be a wonderful thing. So try to put in at least ten minutes of writing practice per day. Even better, try to get a Greek text from a magazine, newspaper or website and copy it; that way you will improve both your reading and writing skills.
Thank you very much for watching this series, and great job! But your Greek journey has just begun! You’re now ready to focus on Greek grammar and vocabulary, and to start building up your language ability. I hope I’ll see you again in one of the other great Greek learning series of GreekPod101.com!
Ya hara!

Grammar

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65 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 09:42 PM
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Hi Gabor,


Thank YOU for your message!


Modern readers read any Greek text modern or ancient using today's pronunciation. That is a standard even in schools.


It is a mystery to us Greek why outside of Greece, for example in foreign universities, foreigners insist to learn to read ancient Greek texts differently! I think they are based on the Erasmian pronunciation which is not used in the Greek educational system. If you read with Erasmian pronunciation to a Greek, they won't understand a thing😅! I have trouble finding foreign videos of Greek reading where they use the proper pronunciation of today. Even the alphabet letter names are mispronounced sometimes.


I recommend you to watch the following series to learn proper modern Greek pronunciation which, as I said, applies also to ancient texts. Please note we don't add aspiration either when we read ancient texts:


https://www.greekpod101.com/lesson-library/ultimate-greek-pronunciation-guide/


All the best,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Gabor
Wednesday at 07:16 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi,

thank you for these lessons! Some years ago I have learnt ancient greek. These lessons help me to learn and practice differencies between ancient and modern greek.

I have one question: How does a modern reader pronaunce ancient text, for example the New testament?


Thank you for this great job!

Gabor (Γκαμπορ)

GreekPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 12:08 AM
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Γεια σου Sue,


Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which lesson you are referring to. However, you can access our Greek blog at https://www.greekpod101.com/blog/ and our Lesson Library which contains all our Greek lessons on our site at https://www.greekpod101.com/lesson-library/.


Kind regards,

Levente

Team GreekPod101.com

Sue
Sunday at 02:40 AM
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Hi,

I'm really enjoyed the writing lessons. Thank you! In one of the lessons it was suggested to look at an advanced blog transcript (I think that was it) to practice picking out the letters. Also to listen and practice listening to the sounds even though I wouldn't understand a lot right now. I'm really excited to try this, but I can't find them to check it out. How do I find them on the site? I did look at the FAQs but I'm not finding what I need.


Thank you!

GreekPod101.com Verified
Monday at 08:01 AM
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Hi Barbara,


I think it's important to always define the original language when you ask about how to romanize a Latin letter because in English "qu" sounds different than the French "qu", for example (ex. "quand" = "when"). The question I got from :) didn't define the language, so my answer was as generic as possible focusing on the actual consonant sound of Q (κ) rather than a combination (qu).


I would romanize the following English words like so:


queen: κουίν

quiet: κουάιετ

quilt: κουίλτ


I hope this helps!


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Barbara
Thursday at 01:46 PM
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Hi, Stefania,


I was thinking about :)'s question about writing out the "qu" sound. I have a Greek mother-in-law and sometimes my husband writes out an English word using Greek letters so that she can better grasp how to say it... in her own Greek-accented way.


If I were trying to help Vasilia to say a word like "queen" I think I'd go with "κουείν". "Quiet" would be "κουάετ". "Quilt" would be "κουίλτ". And so forth.


I think "κου" would be the closest to the "kw" sound that "qu" makes in English. When put together with whatever sounds come next the mouth is pretty much forced to make a "w" sound.


What do you think?

GreekPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:03 AM
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Hi :),


For sounds that don't exist in Greek, we simply use the closest equivalent, so for a "ch" sound (as in "chowder") we use 'ts'. As for 'qu', I'm not sure what sound you mean exactly because it depends on the language (probably 'k' though). For the 'ee' sound we simply use 'i'.


I hope this helps!


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

:)
Tuesday at 05:22 AM
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Hello^^


I just have a question that if you want to romanize (not translate) a text is another language, what do you do with sounds like ‘chee’ and ‘qu’ that are not in the Greek language? Also, would there be any specific case for what letter to use for the ‘ee’ sound?


Thank you for reading even if you don’t know, :)

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 01:44 PM
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Hi Jason!


That is so nice to know! I'm glad you feel that the Greek alphabet is not as intimidating after watching this series.

I hope learning Greek will seem like fun to you :)


All the best,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Jason Bouzouki
Thursday at 04:28 AM
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Hi! I really enjoyed these videos and all of Stefania's insights! The Greek alfaveeto is way less intimidating all of a sudden (...speaking and listening is still a big, big mystery 😄). I can't wait to learn more! Ευχαριστώ!