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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!
In the last three lessons, we covered six letters: “Alpha”, “Mee”, “Taf”, “Yota”, “Kappa” and “Omikron” which I’m sure you remember very well since they are almost identical to the English “a”, “m”, “t”, “i”, “k” and “o”. So this time I thought we could try something a little more challenging! How about two letters unique to Greek in appearance? It might sound difficult but I think you can manage!
Our first letter is the consonant, “Pee”. It sounds exactly the same as the English “p” but it’s written in a different way. Let’s have a look at it.
Here is what the uppercase “Pee” looks like.
It is handwritten like this: Π
And this is how the lowercase “Pee” looks like. It’s almost the same as the uppercase “Pee” but you notice that the horizontal line is a little longer.
It is handwritten like this: π
Let’s do it again- Here’s the uppercase form: Π
And here’s the lowercase form: π
For anyone who has done math, the lowercase “Pee” will seem immediately familiar since it’s the famous, impossibly long number starting with “3,14”! Most English speakers call it “pie” but now you know its real name is “Pee”. It comes from the first letter of the Greek word “peh-ree-feh-ree-a” meaning the circumference of a circle.
But enough with math! You are here to learn how to write Greek, right? So let’s move to our second letter for today.
It’s another consonant but very important to the writing of the Greek language. In English, it’s often called Sigma, but in Greek it’s “Seegma” and makes an “s” sound. Interestingly enough, this letter has three forms, one in uppercase and two in lowercase –it’s the only letter with this peculiarity and this happens because it is often used as a final letter in Greek, which is when you use the third shape.
This is what the uppercase Seegma looks like:
It is handwritten like this:
And here’s the lowercase Seegma; it’s like an Omikron but with a small line protruding to the right.
It is handwritten like this:
And this is what the ending Seegma looks like. It is similar to the English “s”, isn’t it?
Let’s do it again- Here’s the uppercase form:
Here’s the lowercase form:
And here’s the ending Seegma:
Now let’s see what we can do with the letters we have learned so far!
In our first lesson we used “Mee” and “Alpha” to write “mama” or “mom”, right? So how about we write the Greek word for “dad”? With the letters from this lesson we have everything we need. The word is “μπαμπάς” (“babas”).
Let’s write it!
Μπαμπάς
If you noticed that “Mee” and “Pee” together actually sound like “B”, you were right. In Greek we don’t have a separate letter for the sound “B” so we form it using “Mee” and “Pee” –this is a little bit complicated, but we’ll go over it in detail in the last lesson of this series which is all about double consonants (don’t worry, if you learn the single letters, the double ones won’t be a problem, I promise!)
Is there something more simple we can write with these letters? Well there is –actually something very useful! How about the word “ποτό” meaning “drink” as in “πάμε για ένα ποτό” or “let’s go for a drink”. Here it is: ποτό.
And it’s handwritten like this: ποτό
Okay! You’ve made it through four lessons! Let’s have a look at all the letters we have learned: “Alpha”, “Mee”, “Taf”, “Yota”, “Kappa”, “Omikron”, “Pee” and “Sigma”. Not bad, huh?
Now it's time for Stefania’s insights.
An alphabet has many letters but not all letters are created equal! The letters you’ve learned so far are the most commonly used in Greek. So even though you only know a third of the letters, you’ll be able to read a lot more than a third of Greek texts! The ending Seegma in particular pops up a lot. Try this: Print some text from a Greek web site and mark all the ending Seegmas red. How many did you count in one page?
Up until now, we’ve seen familiar letters -are you ready for an exotic looking one? There is a letter resembling the symbol of the legendary Greek god of the sea, Poseidon -care to see how it looks? Check out our next Alfaveeto made easy lesson!
Ya hara!

26 Comments

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GreekPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 10:00 AM
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Γεια σου john mbadu,


Thank you so much for your positive message! 😇❤️️

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

We wish you good luck with your language studies.


Γεια χαρά,

Λέβεντε (Levente)

Team GreekPod101.com

john mbadu
Sunday at 02:46 AM
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hi there,i have enjoy the first free 4 lessons ,just to reach 15 lesson then will decide which premium to choose




john

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 05:31 PM
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Hi Frank!


I really like your enthusiasm for the Greek language!


Keep it up!


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Frank
Thursday at 08:34 AM
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GREEK IS GREAT!

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 09:09 AM
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Hi Emma,


Thank you for contacting us.


Perhaps you watched the whole series during the initial 7-day trial period and then decided to keep your free account as it is without upgrading it. To continue having full access to all the content you will need to purchase a subscription. Here's some information I hope you'll find helpful:

https://www.greekpod101.com/helpcenter/billingsubscription/subscription

https://www.greekpod101.com/helpcenter/billingsubscription/pricing


Right now we are having really great holiday deals, so if you are considering of upgrading your free account to a paid membership, I suggest you take advantage of our holiday deals which will be over very soon:

https://www.greekpod101.com/holiday/?src=newsbox


If there's anything else I can help you with, please don't hesitate to contact me again.


Kind regards,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

GreekPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 08:53 AM
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Hello George,


I'm glad you found my answer helpful and that you are happy with the lessons :)

I wish you the best on your Greek studies!


Should you ever wish to contact me again, just leave a comment.


Kind regards,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

Emma
Thursday at 08:49 AM
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I watched this series and I loved it. Unfortunately, I lost all of my Greek notes and just recently decided to relearn the alphabet. I watched three videos and it’s blocking me from watching any more, what can I do?

George W
Wednesday at 03:26 PM
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A wonderful answer to my question and predicament! Exactly what I have been hearing and thinking myself and you further clarified it all!!! Thanks, And---you are absolutely right. I was thinking after I wrote my comment that I should have told you I did not understand a word--at least at first! But the amazing and pleasing thing is that I could read so many words. Just like you said, "Read the Greek texts even though you may not understand it." Probably with Latin the closest we can come is in the Catholic Mass. I studied Latin in H.S and even there the argument was "which Latin?" My teacher taught Wini, Widi, Wici--not vini vidi vici or something like that. Lol, it was many years ago.


I am extremely pleased with the lessons and my progress. May thanks to you and the entire crew!!

George

GreekPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:49 AM
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Hi George,


Thank you for contacting me about this. I'll be glad to shed some more light into this and help answer your questions.


First and foremost, I think it's important to make a distinction between 1) reading/pronouncing words in Koine Greek, and 2) fully understanding Koine Greek. The same applies for Ancient Greek.


To be honest, no one really knows 100% how Ancient and Koine Greek was pronounced and how it exactly sounded. Specially since there were so many ancient dialects (Attic, Dorian, Ionic, Aeolian). Linguists and historians are only assuming from written records. That's why in Greek schools today, we don't focus on the old pronunciation at all as it's pointless and not important either. I've seen a few videos on YouTube of people reading ancient Greek in reconstructed pronunciation and I must say I don't understand ANYTHING they say! In today's Greek schools, we only focus on grammar, reading comprehension, and interpretation, especially that of the deeper meanings of philosophical texts since this is the real reason we study ancient Greek. To learn the ancient values and wisdom. So when we read ancient and Byzantine Greek texts, we just read them out loud using the pronunciation of modern Greek. That's the pronunciation reference as it's the only real thing we do know rather than trying to make sounds we are not even sure of. We don't use aspiration when we are reading a polytonic text nor specific tones. So that teacher that told you to learn modern Greek was right. Because that's how you would learn how to read out loud any ancient text just like the Greeks do, not like linguist professors do. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Italians today who study Latin in Italian schools have also the same approach. They don't try to reconstruct the ancient pronunciation.


However, simply reading a verse from the Bible is a different thing from actually understanding it. My comment below was referring to understanding ancient Greek. If you want to study the Bible in Greek in order to understand it and interpret it, then I suggest you focus on learning Ancient Greek grammar and not modern Greek. If you only care to read the Bible, like to other people for example, then like you said, no one will know the difference unless you are reading to a native Greek.


In any case though, since the alphabet has remained pretty much the same, then this series is going to be helpful nonetheless!


I hope I've answered all your questions. If you still have some, let me know!


Kind regards,


Stefania

Team GreekPod101.com

George W
Tuesday at 09:02 AM
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Hi Stephania, Reading your answer concerning koine below bring up some questions. When I first looked into koine years ago as a pastor I became convinced no one knew how to pronounce it anyway--then a teacher said learn to read and speak modern Greek because you will be able to read most of the koine text and there are only a few hundred words different and you will have the added advantage of speaking Greek that can be understood. I don't know but it made sense.

I fully agree with what you wrote--just wondering if I am on the wrong track? BTW, I have only been studying with you a couple weeks and I can read the 1st few verses of Matthew in the Byzantine text! As I see it, if I pronounce a koine word in the modern way---who knows the diff?


Great lessons and I will continue studying for sure. I am retired and don't plan on much teaching anymore anyway :)