x

Culture

Our Everyday Greek: Survival Guide for Greece Travelers: Reading the Signs Review

October 2, 2018
Dimitra Pontoporou

Though you may travel through Greece using your GPS, it is always useful to be able to read the road signs and say them in Greek, when you may need some information from the locals. Herewith we provide a pronunciation guide for reading Greek.

VOWELS
Letters Pronunciation
Α,α a like in the word -a-lphabet
Ο,ο o like in the word c-o-re
Ω,ω o like in the word c-o-re
Ι,ι i l like in the word -i-diom
Η,η i l like in the word -i-diom
Υ,υ i l like in the word -i-diom
Ε,ε e like in the word -e-nergy

Diphthongs Pronunciation
ΕΙ,ει i like in the word -i-idiom
ΟΙ,οι i like in the word -i-idiom
ΥΙ,υι i like in the word -i-idiom
ΟΥ,ου oo like in the word b-oo-t
ΑΙ,αι e like in the word -e-nergy
ΑΥ αυ af like in the word -af-ter
ΑΥ,αυ av like in the word c-ov-er
ΕΥ,ευ like in the word -eph-emeroptera
ΕΥ,ευ like in the word -Ev-angelists

Each vowel of the Greek alphabet possesses only one sound, but different vowels may have the same sound.
The vowels O,o and Ω,ω are pronounced the same: like the o in the word organism.
Greek alphabet has three different letters, Ιι, Ηη, Υυ, as well as the three diphthongs (=pair of vowels), ΟΙ,οι, ΕΙ,ει, ΥΙ, υιwhich are all pronounced the same: like the i in the word idiom: Η Μυτιλήνη (EE mitiLEEni), οι Δελφοί (EE deLFEE).
The letter Ε, ε and the diphthong ΑΙ,αι are both pronounced as the letter ε = e (-e-nergy):Η αρχαία Σπάρτη (EE arHEaSPArti) (= ancient Sparta).
ΟΥ,ου is pronounced like oo (b-oo-t):ΗΝάουσα (EE Naoosa).
In some cases, the diphthong (=pair of vowels) ΑΥ,αυ is pronounced as af (-af-ter) and in other like av (c-ov-er):Το Ναύπλιον (ΤO NAfplion), but η Επίδαυρος (EE ePEEdavros).
The same goes for the diphthong ΕΥ,ευ. Sometimes it is pronounced as eph (-eph-emeral) and sometimes as ev (-Ev-elyn). Ο Ευρώτας (O EVROtas).

CONSONANTS
Letter Letter name Pronunciation
Β,β vita -v-iolet
Γ,γ gamma -y-es
Δ,δ delta -th-at
Ζ,ζ zeta -z-one
Θ,θ theta -th-eory
Κ,κ kappa -k-ilometer
Λ,λ lambda -l-ogic
Μ,μ mi -m-icrophone
Ν,ν ni -n-ike
Ξ,ξ xi -x-enophobia
Π,π pi -p-anorama
Ρ,ρ rho -rh-ythm
Σ,σ* sigma -s-ymbol
Τ,τ taf -t-echnology
Φ,φ fi -f-antasy
Χ,χ chi te-ch-nology
Ψ,ψ psi -ps-eudonym

Unlike the English B,b, the Greek Β,β, is pronounced like the English V, v (in the word verb). Η Μονεμβασιά (EE monemvasiA), o Βόλος (O VOlos).
Δ,δ is pronounced like the th in the word that, while Θ,θ is pronounced like the th in the word theory. Below are some examples of the pronunciation as th in the word theory. Η Αθήνα (EE aTHEEna), η Θεσσαλονίκη (EE thesaloNEEki), Here are some examples with the pronunciation of Θ,θ as th in the word that. Η Ρόδος (EE Rodos), η Επίδαυρος (EE ePEEdavros), ο ΆγιοςΔημήτριος (O AyiosdiMEEtrios).
English speaking people may confuse the Greek letter Χ,χ, which is pronounced like a heavy chi (similar to the ch in the word te-ch-nology), with the English X,x. The sound of the English X,x comes in Greek from the letter Ξ,ξ. Η Χίος (EE HEEos), but η Νάξος (EE NAxos).
Due to its resemblance to the English P,p the Greek letter Ρ,ρ, which in Greek is pronounced like the English r, may mistakenly be pronounced as P. The sound pf the English P,p comes in Greek from the letter Π,π. Η Ρόδος (EE ROdos), but η Πάτρα (EE PAtra).
Two consonants of the same kind are always pronounced as one: Ιωάννινα (ioAnina), Θεσσαλονίκη (thesaloNEEki).

PRONUNCIATION KEY
i (ill), ee (beer), e (ever), o (organ), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.

RELATED

VENICE – The Greek Orthodox Community of Venice, the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies, and the Metropolis of Italy, in collaboration and with the help of the Embassy of Greece in Rome, are organizing a concert with the performer Kleoniki Demiri on Sunday, June 16, 8 PM.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

NEW YORK – The New York Times has reported that “an aide to Mayor Eric Adams who served as his longtime liaison to the Turkish community has turned against him and is cooperating with the corruption investigation into Mr.

BOSTON – Crowds flocked to the Greek Festival of the St.

The news about air travel lately hasn't been pleasant.

Beyond the issues in Crete and our own in America, as we wrote in our ‘Analysis’ in last week’s edition, Patriarch Bartholomew has unfortunately ensnared himself in problems with the majority of local Orthodox Churches worldwide, with few exceptions such as those of Greece, Alexandria, and Cyprus, due to the granting of Autocephaly to Ukraine, which has proven to be ill-timed and ill-suited.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.