Trivium Pursuit

Comparison of Greek Pronunciation Systems

Post may contain affiliate links to materials I recommend. Read my full disclosure statement.

Greek Pronunciation Systems

Over the years, several persons have written to us regarding how the many different systems of pronunciation which can be found in various Greek grammars may or may not differ from the pronunciation system used in our A Greek Alphabetarion: A Primer for Teaching How to Read, Write & Pronounce Ancient & Biblical Greek and A Greek Hupogrammon: A Beginner's Copybook for the Greek Alphabet with Pronunciations. The following article is designed to answer any question which someone may have -- and probably a few questions which no one would have.

I originally learned Greek from J. Gresham Machen’s New Testament Greek for Beginners. Since 1973, I have gone through well over a hundred Greek grammars, and about the only thing I found consistent about their pronunciation systems is that there is little consistency about their pronunciation systems.

One might say that when the Greek alphabet was formed, it was the original phonetic alphabet. Of course, that would be an exaggeration. We cannot talk to the inventors and revisers of the Greek alphabet to know for sure, but their original purpose appears to have been to represent the sounds of their speech in the form of written characters. A Greek Alphabetarion uses a self-consistent phonetic system which is built around the historical reconstruction of the phonetic values of the Greek letters as they were originally pronounced in Ancient Greek. If you desire to know more about ancient Greek pronunciation, here are a few resources:

A brief summary may be found in

and this is identical to what is found in

The few special accommodations which I have made for English ears are the same accommodations which are commonly made in all Greek grammars. For example, one of the more popular textbook-format grammars is William D. Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, which was published after we originally published A Greek Alphabetarion: A Primer for Teaching How to Read, Write & Pronounce Ancient & Biblical Greek, and the only substantive differences which I find between his system of pronunciation and mine are:

  1. Though Mounce pronounces Alpha as in father, the same as Alphabetarion, he does not differentiate long Alpha from short Alpha in his primary alphabet chart. (He does differentiate long from short in a footnote.)
  2. Mounce pronounces Zeta as in daze, whereas Alphabetarion calls it Dzeta and pronounce it as in a dze.
  3. Mounce pronounces Omicron as in not, whereas Alphabetarion pronounces it as in note. (He acknowledges that variation in a footnote.)
  4. Mounce pronounces Upsilon as in German u umlaut, whereas Alphabetarion varies slightly, suggesting vacuum, while noting that the umlaut pronunciation is more accurate. However, Mounce does not differentiate a long Upsilon from a short Upsilon.

The difference between the short and the long of the vowels is properly one of length, not of articulation – the way we form the vowel in our mouths. The vowel sound is drawn out a little longer in the long vowel. Yacht has a shorter vowel sound than yawn, but fat has a different vowel articulation than yacht or yawn. Put has a shorter vowel sound than vacuum, but putt has a different vowel articulation than put or vacuum.

English is pronounced differently today than it is pronounced in the past, and English is pronounced differently here where I live than it is pronounced in other places all over the world. Persons from different cultures do not pronounce English quite the same as native English speakers. We no longer pronounce English like Bede, or Chaucer, or even Shakespeare. I am a Midwestern American, and I don’t pronounce words quite the same as the Brits, or the Irish, or the Scots, or the Aussies, or the Kiwis (New Zealanders), or the South Africans, or those who speak English in India – or even the Bostonians, or the Bronx New Yorkers, or the Texans, or the foreign immigrants who speak English as a later acquired language. And that’s just the way it was with Greek in ancient times – pronunciation differed according to date, location, and circumstance.

Some think that Koine (New Testament) Greek was spoken more like how Greek is pronounced in modern times. Perhaps in some places and circumstances it was. But Greek was a literary language and the spelling of Greek in ancient times was less subject to change than in other languages because there existed a literary subculture which perpetuated the more ancient vocabulary and grammar of the language regardless of the popular pronunciation. The modern pronunciation has drifted even further away from the more self-consistent system of the ancients, as has the modern spelling and the grammar.

In Modern Greek, many of the distinctions in spelling are no longer distinctions in phonetic value – particularly with vowels and diphthongs – which, for the learner, adds unnecessary elements of confusion between his auditory learning and his literary learning. For example, in Modern Greek five vowels [ η , ῐ , ῑ , ῠ , ῡ ] and four diphthongs [ ει , οι , ῃ , υι] all represent the sound of ee in see, whereas in Ancient Greek each represented a distinct sound, making nine distinct sounds altogether.

For a living language, where the learner is confronted daily with affirmation and correction, it is is not so difficult to overcome the spelling difficulties created by several written characters representing only one sound. But for learning a dead language, the learner can take advantage of the careful phonetic distinctions and balances which are reflected in the literary forms of the ancients. Because English is a living language, we can handle the inconsistencies between our spelling and our pronunciation, but with a dead language such as ancient Greek, restoring the phonetic inconsistencies – say, of the Hellenistic period – becomes an unnecessary confusion and burden. One sound, one symbol works better, especially with a highly inflected language where spelling is critical to the grammar.

Learning all of the differences in ancient pronunciation may prove useful in the scholarly pursuit of the reasons why various ancient Greek manuscripts have certain variations in spelling. But these occasional differences in spelling matter very little when studying the content of literary texts.

The pronunciations which are used in the Alphabetarion will be useful for Greek studies from any ancient period. When I constructed the pronunciation system for the Alphabetarion, I simply compiled a consensus of restored classical pronunciations from the standard works, then adapted them for English ears. I made sure the system reflected actual historical pronunciations, was consistent within itself, and gave a distinct sound for each distinct spelling. I wanted an unconfused, usable, learnable system based upon phonetic principles. Where the pronunciation in the Alphabetarion is not strictly classical, I note the more original sound somewhere in the text.

A Brief Historical Summary of Greek Dialects

[This is not a doctoral dissertation. If you find some glaring misrepresentation here – not some trifling and highly debatable detail – then please inform us, and we’ll be eager to make appropriate corrections.]

1. Classical (a.k.a. Ancient) – used by writers from the 900 BC through 330 BC. The primary dialects of classical Greek existing side by side are:

  • a. Doric – used by Pinder and Theocritus
  • b. Aeolic – used by Alcaeus and Sappho
  • c. Ionic
    1. Old Ionic (a.k.a. Epic or Homeric) – used by Homer and Hesiod
    2. New Ionic – used by Herodotus and Hippocrates
  • d. Attic (many would call Attic an offshoot of Ionic – some will confuse the term Attic with Classical) – became the chief dialect of Greece and the language used by Thucydides, Plato, Demosthenes, Sophocles, and most of the other writers of Greece.

2. Koiné (includes Hellenistic, Biblical, and New Testament Greek) – ( ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος = “the common dialect”) – Greek which developed from Attic; the language which prevailed in the world from about 330 BC to AD 330 (some extend to c. AD 550).

"…In the Koiné period there was a wide gap between the language of literature and the language of every day. The literary men of the period [such as Plutarch] imitated the great Attic models with more or less exactitude; they maintained an artificial literary tradition. The obscure writers of the non-literary papyri, on the other hand, imitated nothing, but simply expressed themselves, without affectation, in the language of the street.” — J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1923, page 5.

“In the Koinè are composed the writings of the historians Polybius …, Diodorus …, Plutarch …, Arrian …, Cassius Dio …, the rhetoricians Dionysius of Halicarnassus …, Lucian …, and the geographer Strabo. Josephus, the Jewish historian …, also used the Koinè. … The name Atticist is given to those reactionary writers in the Koinè dialect (e.g. Lucian) who aimed at reproducing the purity of the earlier Attic. The Atticists flourished chiefly in the second century A.D. … Some writers distinguish, as a form of the Koinè, the Hellenistic, a name restricted by them to the language of the New Testament and of the Septuagint… The word Hellenistic is derived from Ἑλληνιστής …, a term applied to persons not of Greek birth (especially Jews), who had learned Greek. The New Testament is composed in the popular language of the time, which in that work is more or less influenced by classical models. No accurate distinction can be drawn between the Koinè and Hellenistic.” — Herbert Weir Smyth. Greek Grammar. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1956, page 4A.

“The name Hellenistic is given to that form of the Common Dialect which was used by the Jews of Alexandria who made the Septuagint version of the Old Testament … and by the writers of the New Testament, all of whom were Hellenists ( i.e. foreigners who spoke Greek).” — William W. Goodwin. Greek Grammar. New York: Macmillan and Company Limited, 1965 [1894], page 5.

3. Medieval (a.k.a. Byzantine) – spoken, then literary Greek from about AD 330 (some begin c. AD 550) to the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in AD 1453.

4. Modern (a.k.a. Demotic) – colloquial Greek from as early as the eleventh century AD into modern times.

“Modern Greek is a term applied loosely to a form of the language used as early as the eleventh century, when the literary tongue, which was still used by scholars and churchmen, was no longer in colloquial use by the common people. A contrast between learned and colloquial speech developed early. On the one hand, the eleventh to fourteenth centuries witnessed a strict revival of classical forms; on the other hand, the spoken idiom tended to diverge more and more.” — Smyth, pages 4A-4B.

A Brief and Selected History
of the Reconstruction of
Ancient Greek Pronunciation Systems

[Again, this is not a doctoral dissertation. If you find some glaring misrepresentation here – not some trifling and highly debatable detail – then please inform us, and we’ll be eager to make appropriate corrections.]

“In 1267, Roger Bacon … observed that there were not five men in Latin Christendom acquainted with Greek grammar. … Petrarch could count only eight or nine Italians who knew Greek a hundred years later. … [There was an] influx of Byzantine scholars after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453. Naturally enough, these scholars pronounced ancient Greek like their native tongue of modern Greek. Thus, in addition to the other distortions they inevitably inflicted upon the pronunciation of ancient Greek, they gave respectability to the considerable reduction of the rich variety of vowel sounds available to the classical language. ι, η, υ, ει, οι and υι were all pronounced as ‘i’ …. Roger Ascham, … expressed: ‘all sounds in Greek are now exactly the same, reduced, that is to say, to a like thin and slender character, and subjected to the authority of a single letter, the iota….’ ” — James Morwood, Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek. Oxford University Press, 2001, page 7.

“But soon the observation forced itself on western students that the Byzantine pronunciation was at a wide distance from the written tradition of the language, and did not correspond to the sounds which people were accustomed to give to Greek words in their Latin form, such as ecclesia or alphabetum. And when it was found out that many passages in ancient authors pointed to another pronunciation, there arose strong doubts as to the authority of Byzantine tradition.” — Karl Geyerabend, Handy Dictionary Of The Greek And English Languages. New York: Davied McKay Company, Inc., 1918, page vi.

“A Spanish humanist, Antonio of Lebrixa, led the way in 1486. In a further treatise of 1503, he argued, among other things, that η is a long vowel corresponding to ε as ω does to ο, and that ζ is pronounced σδ. Further progress was made [in 1512] by the great Venetian printer Aldus Manutius, who was the first to cite the correct bleating pronunciation of βῆ βῆ, rejecting the current ‘vee vee’. Then in 1528 [Disiderius] Erasmus’ dialogue … ‘Concerning the correct pronunciation of Latin and Greek’ was published in Basle.” — Morwood, page 7.

“Though in his own practice he still adhered to the traditional method, yet his … Dialogue … furnished for the first time scientific arguments for the fact that the phonetic system of the period of Plato must have been widely different from that of the Byzantines.” — Geyerabend, page vi.

“The credit for practical application of the reformed pronunciation must go to two Cambridge scholars, John Cheke and Thomas Smith ….” — Morwood, pages 7-8.

“Sir J. Cheke, professor of Greek at Cambridge and one of the tutors of the prince, afterwards Edward VI, is chiefly distinguished for his exertions in introducing the study of Greek language and literature into his country. But having dictated to his pupils a certain mode of pronouncing, he was violently assailed on that account by Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, then Chancellor of the University … [who strictly forbid] the distinction between αι and ε; ει, οι and ι in pronouncing under penalty of expulsion from the University (1542).” — Geyerabend, pages vi-vii.

“[U]ndergraduates, he claimed, were becoming insolent in making use of an exotic pronunciation and relishing the fact that their elders could not understand it. However, his edict was repealed in 1558. As W.S. Allen remarks, ‘with all their imperfections, the 16th-century reforms resulted in something like an approximation to what we now believe to have been the classical Attic values …’.” — Morwood, page 8.

“In all the schools and universities of [continental] Europe the so-called Erasmian pronunciation is in use, only modified by the peculiar phonetic systems of the different languages ….” — Geyerabend, page vii.

“In the sixteenth century, the Middle English vowel system shifted to that of modern English (the so-called Great English Vowel Shift). This altered the nature of the English long vowels to which sixteenth-century scholars had, with remarkable accuracy, tied the Greek vowel sounds. The most notorious examples of what happened are the pronunciation of η as in meat, αι as in pay, ει as in kaleidoscope, and ου as in gown. And so by the end of the nineteenth century, a new set of reforms had to be instituted. … First there was The Restored Pronunciation of Greek and Latin by E.V. Arnold and R.S. Conway (1895, 4th revised edition 1908). Then there was The Teaching of Classics (1954). Finally there has been the influential work of W. Sidney Allen (Vox Graeca, 1968). — Morwood, page 8.

The Modern Greek pronunciation system does not make the fine phonetic distinctions which make learning correct spelling easier. The Restored Classical pronunciation (for which Erasmus is honored as the founder) assigns different spoken phonemes to each of the written consonants, vowels, and vowel combinations. Today, almost all Greek grammars use some adaptation of the Restored Classical pronunciation system.

Quotes Concerning
Ancient Greek Pronunciation Systems

“There is no clear evidence about the way in which Greek was pronounced in ancient times. Modern Greek, in which a number of the vowels and diphthongs are given the long e sound, is no guide. In England several different systems of pronouncing the vowels and diphthongs are in use.” — Eric G. Jay. New Testament Greek: An Introductory Grammar. London: S.P.C.K., 1958, page 4.

“There is some disagreement as to the correct pronunciation of a few of the letters …. We have chosen the standard pronunciations that will help you learn the language the easiest.” — William D. Mounce. Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003, pages 7-8.

“[The Modern Greek] pronunciation has a distinct disadvantage: there has been so much phonetic change over the centuries that many letters have come to represent the same sound, so that there may be many ways of spelling a given sound (as in English). This makes learning to read and write the language much more difficult …. In the pronunciation of the vowels, be careful to distinguish ε [epsilon] from η [eta] and ο [omicron] from ω [omega]. In classical Greek, these vowels were distinguished by quantity (metrical length) as well as quality (point of articulation), ε [epsilon] and ο [omicron] being short, η [eta] and ω [omega] being long. Quantitative distinction was lost in Greek before the time of Christ, and is not maintained in the standard academic pronunciation. But it will help when you learn the Greek accents to recall the classical distinction between long and short.” — Francis T. Gignac. An Introductory New Testament Greek Course. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1973, pages 6, 8.

“The value assigned … to each letter does not always reflect what is known of the ancient pronunciation, which in any case developed over time and varied from one locality to another. …[T]he need for absolute accuracy in pronunciation does not arise. … The pronunciation given … is convenient for us today, even though it is not historical. The New Testament was written in a conventional spelling which reflected the pronounciation [sic] of Greek several centuries earlier and not that current at the time of its authors.” — Gavin Betts. Complete New Testament Greek: Learn to read, write and understand New Testament Greek. Chicago: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2004, pages 1, 3.

“… we do not need to be as careful about its [Greek’s] pronunciation as we would be with a modern language.” — Gavin Betts and Alan Henry. Teach Yourself Ancient Greek Complete Course. Chicago: NTC Publishing Group, 1993, page 1.

“Whatever the pronunciation of the Greek language in classical times may have been, there can be little doubt that so far as the “Koine” of the Alexandrine period is concerned the Erasmian [i.e. Restored Classical] pronunciation presents serious flaws. The papyri which in large numbers have been unearthed in Egypt since the 1870’s, consisting of private letters, business correspondence, etc., and written in the “Koine” Greek, bear witness to the fact that most, if not all, vowels and diphthongs had during that period not the phonetic value which the Erasmian pronunciation ascribes to them but the one which they have in spoken modern Greek. One should beware of being too dogmatic with regard to this matter, but at the present time it is quite safe to assert that the Modern Greek pronunciation is in many respects much closer to that of the “Koine” period than the Erasmian one.” — George Aristotle Hadjiantoniou. A Basic Grammar of New Testament Greek. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1985, page 12.

“If any (non-Greek) scholar attempts to pronounce classic texts in the reconstructed pronunciation, that, to Greeks is tantamount to sacrilege. As a contemporary Greek myself, I can give you my personal feeling for how the reconstructed pronunciation sounds: it is as if a barbarian is trying to speak Greek.” — Harry Foundalis <http://www.cogsci.indiana.edu/farg/harry/lan/grkphon.htm>

To Nathaniel F. Moore
Monticello, September 22, 1819
I thank you, Sir for the remarks on the pronunciation of the Greek language which you have been so kind as to send me. have read them with pleasure, as I had the pamphlet of Mr. Pickering on the same subject. This question has occupied long and learned inquiry, and cannot, as I apprehend, be ever positively decided. Very early in my classical days, I took up the idea that the ancient Greek language having been changed by degrees into the modern, and the present race of that people having received it by tradition, they had of course better pretensions to the ancient pronunciation also, than any foreign nation could have. When at Paris, I became acquainted with some learned Greeks, from whom I took pains to learn the modern pronunciation. But I could not receive it as genuine in toto. I could not believe that the ancient Greeks had provided six different notations for the simple sound of {i}, iota, and left the five other sounds which we give to n, v, {i-i}, {oi}, {yi}, without any characters of notation at all. I could not acknowledge the {y}, upsillon, as an equivalent to our {n}, as in {Achilleys}, which they pronounce Achillevs, nor the {g}, gamma, to our y, as in {alge}, which they pronounce alye. concluded, therefore, that as experience proves to us that the pronunciation of all languages changes, in their descent through time, that of the Greek must have done so also in some degree; and the more probably, as the body of the words themselves had substantially changed, and I presumed that the instances above mentioned might be classed with the degeneracies of time; a presumption strengthened by their remarkable cacophony. As to all the other letters, I have supposed we might yield to their traditionary claim of a more orthodox pronunciation. Indeed, they sound most of them as we do, and, where they differ, as in the {e, d, ch,} their sounds do not revolt us, nor impair the beauty of the language.

If we adhere to the Erasmian pronunciation, we must go to Italy for it, as we must do for the most probably correct pronunciation of the language of the Romans, because rejecting the modern, we must argue that the ancient pronunciation was probably brought from Greece, with the language itself; and, as Italy was the country to which it was brought, and from which it emanated to other nations, we must presume it better preserved there than with the nations copying from them, who would be apt to affect its pronunciation with some of their own national peculiarities. And in fact, we find that no two nations pronounce it alike, although all pretend to the Erasmian pronunciation. But the whole subject is conjectural, and allows therefore full and lawful scope to the vagaries of the human mind. I am glad, however, to see the question stirred here; because it may excite among our young countrymen a spirit of inquiry and criticism, and lead them to more attention to this most beautiful of all languages. And wishing that the salutary example you have set may have this good effect, I salute you with great respect and consideration. — Thomas Jefferson. “Greek Pronunciation.” The Letters of Thomas Jefferson.

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/
toccer-new2?id=JefLett.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/
texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=256&division=div1

A Comparison of
Ancient Greek Pronunciation Systems
From Various Grammars

The following tables compare the pronunciation system found in A Greek Alphabetarion with pronunciation systems found in nineteen different Greek grammars. The Alphabetarion guide words for the pronunciation of each Greek letter appears in the left hand column next to the name of each letter. If a box in any of the columns for the other Greek grammars has an equal sign (=), then that letter has the same sound as in the Alphabetarion. For example, the corresponding boxes for Lambda, Mu, Nu, and Xi all have an equal sign, which means that all twenty systems we refer to in this study assign the same sound to each of these four letters. Wherever the pronunciation is different, the table lists the actual pronunciation guide word used by the grammar.

= means the pronunciation is the same as in the Alphabetarion, though it may use a different pronunciation guide word.

≈ means the pronunciation is close to the same as in the Alphabetarion, but there is some slight variation.

(/=) means the grammar also lists an alternate pronunciation which is the same as in the Alphabetarion.

(omitted) means the grammar apparently does not address this issue.

Not every detail is mentioned in this summary chart. We also may easily have overlooked mention of alternate pronunciations hidden somewhere in the explanatory text.

Greek Grammars Compared

(Please note that some of these grammars were written by persons who speak British-English. This will have some effect on exactly how their respective guideword is pronounced.)

  • Balme, Maurice and Gilbert Lawall. Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. (Attic Greek Grammar)
  • Betts, Gavin. Complete New Testament Greek: Learn to read, write and understand New Testament Greek. Chicago: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2004. (Koine Greek Grammar)
  • Betts, Gavin and Alan Henry. Teach Yourself Ancient Greek: A Complete Course. Chicago: NTC Publishing Group, 1993. (Attic Greek Grammar)
  • Black, David Alan. Learn to Read New Testament Greek. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1993. (Koine Greek Grammar)
  • Bluedorn, Harvey. A Greek Alphabetarion: A Primer for Teaching How to Read, Write & Pronounce Ancient & Biblical Greek. (Ancient through Koine Greek Alphabet Manual)
  • Hadley, James and Frederic D. Allen. A Greek Grammar for Schools and Colleges. New York: American Book Company, 1884. (Classical Greek Grammar)
  • Hansen, Hardy and Gerald M. Quinn. Greek: An Intensive Course. New York: Fordham University Press, 1987. (Attic Greek Grammar)
  • Hadjiantoniou, George Aristotle. A Basic Grammar of New Testament Greek. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1985. (Koine Greek Grammar, but uses Modern Pronunciation)
  • Hewett, James Allen. New Testament Greek: A Beginning and Intermediate Grammar. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1986. (Koine Greek Grammar)
  • Jay, Eric G. New Testament Greek: An Introductory Grammar. London: S.P.C.K., 1958. (Koine Greek Grammar)
  • Kaegi, Adolf and James A. Kleist. Kaegi's Greek Grammar With Tables for Repetition. Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 2002 [1926]. (Classical Greek Grammar)
  • Luschnig, C.A.E. An Introduction to Ancient Greek: A Literary Approach. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974. (Classical Greek Grammar)
  • Machen, J. Gresham. New Testament Greek for Beginners. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1923. (Koine Greek Grammar)
  • Morwood, James. The Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. (Attic Greek Grammar)
  • Mounce, William D. Basics of Biblical Greek, Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003. (Koine Greek Grammar)
  • Pappageotes, George C. and Philip D. Emmanuel. Institute for Language Study: Modern Greek in a Nutshell. Montclair, NJ: Institute for Language Study, 1961. (Modern Greek Grammar)
  • Schoder, Raymond V. and Vincent C. Horrigan. Reading Course in Homeric Greek. Chicago: Loyola University Press: 1985. (Homeric/Old Ionic Greek Grammar)
  • Smyth, Herbert Weir. Greek Grammar. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1956. (Classical Greek Grammar)
  • Summers, Ray. Essentials of New Testament Greek. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1950. (Koine Greek Grammar)
  • Wenham, J.W. The Elements of New Testament Greek. Cambridge University Press, 1965. (Koine Greek Grammar)

Ancient Greek Pronunciation Systems
from Various Grammars

Dialect of Grammar Ancient through Koine Homeric Attic Attic Attic
Authors of Grammar Alphabetarion Schoder & Horrigan Balme & Lawall (British) Hansen & Quinn Morwood (British)
Alpha S: yacht
L: yawn
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
Beta bob = = = =
Gamma gag
sinking (before γ,κ,χ,ξ)
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
Delta dad = = = ≈ Fr. d (tongue on teeth, not gums)
Epsilon whet = = = =
Dzeta adze (/sd) = wisdom = wisdom
Eta whey = ≈ hair (Br.) = air (Br.)
Theta thin (/hothead) = (t-h) top (aspirated, emphatic) = top (emphatic) (/=)
Iota S: chin
L: machine
G: savior
=
= (omitted)
S: peep (Br.)
=
(omitted)
=
= (omitted)
=
=
(omitted)
Kappa kicker (/kicker) = = = =
Lambda lull = = = =
Mu mom = = = =
Nu noon = = = =
Xi axe = = = =
Omicron oh osteopath but (Br.) thought ≈pot (Br.)
Gott (Grm.)
Pi popper (/popper) = = = =
Rho rhetoric (/rolled) = = = =
Sigma hiss
his (before β,γ,δ,λ,μ,ν,ρ)
= (omitted) =
≈ (before β,γ,δ,μ)
=
=
=
(omitted)
Tau totter (/totter) = = = ≈stop (tongue on teeth, not gums)
Upsilon S:put
L:vacuum (/ü umlaut)
G: suave
S: up
L: rule

(omitted)
≈S: Fr. tu
≈L: Fr. pur
(omitted)
=
≈L: boot
(omitted)
≈S: Fr. lune
≈L: Fr. ruse
(omitted)
Phi phosphor (/tophat) = (p-h) pot (aspirated, emphatic) = pot (emphatic) (/=)
Khi loch (/kicker) chaos (k-h) kit (aspirated, emphatic) backhand (/=) kill (emphatic) (/=)
Psi lips = = = =
Omega owe = paw (Br.) ≈ total saw (Br.)

 

Dialect of Grammar Attic Classical Classical Classical Classical
Authors of Grammar Betts & Henry (British) Hadley & Allen Kaegi Luschnig Smyth
Alpha awake
but (Br.)
=
=
=
=
S: cup
=
=
=
Beta = = = = =
Gamma =
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
Delta = = = = =
Epsilon = = = = =
Dzeta wisdom = = wisdom (/=) daze
Eta ≈ fairy ( Br.) = = Fr. tête ≈ Fr. fête
Theta = hothouse (/=) (t’h) hothouse = =
Iota =
=
(omitted)
=
=
(omitted)
=
=
(omitted)
=
=
(omitted)
S: meteor
=
(omitted)
Kappa = = = = =
Lambda = = = = =
Mu = = = = =
Nu = = = = =
Xi = = = = =
Omicron ≈ lot ( Br.) = hot pot (or Grm. Gott) =
Pi = = = = =
Rho = = = = =
Sigma =
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
=
=
=
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
Tau = = = = =
Upsilon ≈S. Fr. tu
≈L. Fr. sûr (omitted)
≈S. pull (/=)
≈L. prune (/=) (omitted)
≈ S. & L.: Fr. dune
(omitted)
≈S. Fr. u
≈L. Grm. ü (omitted)
≈S: Fr. tu
≈L: Fr. sûr (omitted)
Phi = uphill (/=) (p’h) uphold = =
Khi = blockhead (/=) (k’h) inkhorn = =
Psi = = = = =
Omega broad (Br.) = ≈ long o ≈ go (or saw) ≈ note

 

Dialect of Grammar Koine Koine Koine Koine Koine
Authors of Grammar Betts (British) Black Hewett Jay (British) Machen
Alpha ≈S. & L.: father S: bat
=
≈S. & L.: father S: cat ( Br.)
L: pass ( Br.)
≈S. & L.: father
Beta = = = = =
Gamma =
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
=
Delta = = = = =
Epsilon = = = peg ( Br.) =
Dzeta squeeze = zero (/=) z (/=) =
Eta ≈ fête or fairy = = deep =
Theta = = = = =
Iota ≈S. & L.: chin (omitted) =
=
(omitted)
=
=
=
=
L: pile (omitted)
=
=
(omitted)
Kappa = = = = =
Lambda = = = = =
Mu = = = = =
Nu = = = = =
Xi = = = = =
Omicron not ( Br.) omelet omelet not =
Pi = = = = =
Rho = = = = =
Sigma =
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
Tau = = = = =
Upsilon ≈S. & L.: u

(omitted)
=
≈L.: lute (omitted)
≈S. & L.: Fr. u, Grm. ü (omitted) =
=
(omitted)
≈S. & L.: Fr. u, Grm. ü (omitted)
Phi = = = = =
Khi = chemist = chasm =
Psi = = = = =
Omega Broad (Br.) = ≈ wrote = ≈ note

 

Dialect of Grammar Koine Koine Koine Koine Modern
Authors of Grammar Mounce Summers Wenham (British) Hadjiantoniou (Native Greek) Pappageotes and Emmanuel
Alpha ≈S. (/=) & L.: father S: bat
=
≈S. & L.: Fr. à la ≈S. & L.: car ≈S. & L.: father
Beta = = = van van
Gamma =
=
=
=
=
=
yet (used before eh or ee sounds)
go (gh much deeper from the throat, used before all others)
γγ, γκ: anger γχ: manhood
yes (used before eh or ee sounds of ε, ι, η, υ, )
brag (gh, voiced sound of χ, used before ah, oh, or oo sounds of α, ᾳ, ο, ω, ῳ, ου)
γκ: go at the beginning of a word, finger elsewhere
Delta = = = that that
Epsilon = = = = =
Dzeta Daze (/=) = = zero zest
Eta = = ≈ fête see see
Theta = = = = =
Iota =
=
(omitted)
=
=
(omitted)
≈S. & L.: chin
=
S. & L.: see

(omitted)
S. & L.: see

=
Kappa = = = keep (before eh or ee sounds, cup before all others) =
Lambda = = = = =
Mu = = = = = (μπ: bet at the beginning of a word, timber elsewhere)
Nu = = = = = (ντ: door at the beginning of a word, tender elsewhere)
Xi = = = = =
Omicron not (/=) omelet not ≈ corn port
Pi = = = = =
Rho = = = = =
Sigma =
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
=
(omitted)
=
= (no z sound between two vowels)
=
=
Tau = = = = = (τζ: redzone)
Upsilon ≈S. & L.: Grm. ü or (/=) or book (omitted) ≈S. & L.: unity


(omitted)
≈S. & L.: book


(omitted)
S. & L.: see



(omitted)
S. & L.: see



(omitted)
Phi = = = = =
Khi = chemical = = (softer when followed by eh or ee sounds; harder, deeper sound before all others) =
Psi = = = = =
Omega = = = ≈ corn port

A Brief Comparison of Diphthong Pronunciations

 

Alphabetarion Morwood (British) Mounce Modern
αι aisle high aisle met
ει eight fiancée eight see
οι oil boy oil see
αυ sauerkraut how sauerkraut [soft] (before voiceless consonants)
[suave] (before voiced consonants and vowels)
ευ feud (more like a toddler who can’t pronounce L sound, fell = fe’w) (Cockney) belt feud chef (before voiceless consonants)
eleven (before voiced consonants and vowels)
ου group pool soup book
saw / saw+(w)it As long alpha (more correctly with iota sounded at the end) As alpha father
say / say+(y)it As eta (more correctly with iota sounded at the end) As eta see
sow / sow+(w)it As omega (more correctly with iota sounded at the end) As omega port
ᾱυ saw+you (omitted) (omitted) (omitted)
ηυ say+you As ευ but with the first part longer feud (/hey+you) [beef] (before voiceless consonants)
[eve] (before voiced consonants and vowels)
ωυ sow+you (omitted) (omitted) (omitted)
υι suite Close to Fr. huit suite see