Lesson 1: Basics of Greek

Aims:

  • Installing fonts for Greek
  • Learn the alphabet and its pronunciation
  • Learn the numbers
  • Learn some basic everyday phrases/ greetings

First, let’s start by installing Greek fonts so you can read and write them.

I will post a link to a Greek site explaining how to do that on many operating systems

Go here -> http://www.hri.org/fonts/

Done? Great! We’re ready to start.

 

For the first lesson we will start by introducing the Greek alphabet five letters at a time, followed by some numbers!

The trick to learn Greek is to acknowledge that it is a hard and unique language to get used to so try to stay motivated and practice, practice, practice.

Let’s go then:

Letter Letter Name Pronunciation
Α α álfa gum
Β β víta vase
Γ γ yáma yacht
Δ δ δ-élta that
Ε ε épsilon egg

 

Pronunciation and Transcription Key:

  • We will use the transcription y to render the sound of Γ γ. Pronounce it a bit more strongly.
  • We will use the transcription δ to render the sound of Δ δ.
Letter Letter Name Pronunciation
Ζ ζ zíta zombie
Η η íta tip
Θ θ θ-íτα theatre
Ι ι yióta tip
Κ κ kápa kite

Pronunciation and Transcription Key:

  • We will use the transcription θ to render the sound of Γ γ.
  • Note that H η and Ι ι are pronounced the same. Greek language, actually, has dropped prosody and it has no longer short, long or heavy vowels and accents.

 

Letter Letter Name Pronunciation
Λ λ lám-δ-a lot
Μ μ aim
Ν ν noun
Ξ ξ ksì box
Ο ο ómikron toll

 

Letter Letter Name Pronunciation
Π π paper
Ρ ρ ro raw
Σ σ ς sí-γ-ma ace
Τ τ taf attic
Υ υ ípsilon tip

Pronunciation and Transcription Key:

  • Υ υ is pronounced the same as H η and I ι (see table and note above)
  • The letter Σ σ ς has 3 types. The last one (ς) is the final -s, used only at the end of a word. Thus, we have αστείο.
Letter Letter Name Pronunciation
Φ φ fun
Χ χ horse
Ψ ψ psì upset
Ω ω omé-γ-α toll

It sounds complicated but it will be much simpler when you actually hear it spoken.

Stressing: Wherever you see the sign (΄), you know where to stress. Nothing complicated about this one.

 

For the next part we’ll be focusing on numbers

1 – Ένα éna One
2 – Δύο dío Two
3 – Τρία tría Three
4 – Τέσσερα téssera Four
5 – Πέντε pénde Five
6 – Έξι éxi
Six
7 – Εφτά (επτά) eftà (eptà) Seven
8 – Οκτώ oktò Eight
9 – Εννέα enéa Nine
10 – Δέκα δ-éka Ten

 

Let’s move on to your first simple phrases!

– Good morning !

– Καλημέρα (kaliméra)

Now let’s introduce ourselves.

– My name is Michael.

– Με λένε Μιχάλη. (Me léne Miháli.)

There is a difference however because it is not a direct translation. In Greek the actual meaning is “They call me Michael / I am called Michael”. This is normal however since in Greek we express ourselves differently than in English. This also has to do with tradition and culture and not only grammar & syntax.

 

So in this lesson you learned the alphabet, the first 10 numbers and two typical phrases we use when we first meet and greet someone.

I will start a bit slowly since Greek may be a bit too much to understand especially for beginners but with enough practice & dedication we’ll be moving in leaps than just small steps!

My recommendation is to study the Greek letters & their sounds and try to recognize them in the sample sentences and practice as much as you can because it will be difficult for you to progress if you cannot recognize the letters. It’s the big first hurdle when you are speaking, writing and reading a language based on the Latin characters like English!

So see you next week for our next lesson!

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One Response to Lesson 1: Basics of Greek

  1. danford says:

    Thank you for the info. I am a Bible scholar who lacks reading and writing skills of the original languages in which scripture was written. This course will greatly assist me to interpret the Bible correctly.

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