Modern Greek/Lesson 3x

This is the third lesson teaching you how to read, write and pronounce Greek. Already you know 10 of the 24 Greek letters. By the end of this lesson, you will know more than half of the alphabet.

The next letter you should learn is Pi:

Π π

Both the capital and the small letter look different from the Latin alphabet, but they should be familiar to anybody with a high school education in maths. Pi is pronounced as a regular P (IPA [p]). Here are some sample words that you should be able to read now:

Πεκίνο (old European name for Beijing)
Πιέρ (French name)
ρεπόρτερ
πακέτο
Πάολο
Νεπάλ


Now you're probably wondering how to write B. The answer is not Beta, because Beta is pronounced in Modern Greek as an English V. In order to represent the sound of a regular B, Greeks need two letters: Mu and Pi (μπ). Sometimes at the middle of a word μπ may sound like [mb], but this detail is not very strict for the pronunciation. Here are some examples:

μπαρ
μπικίνι
μπετόν
μπανάνα
Καμπέρα
Μπενίν


Now you're going to learn an extremely important letter, which is very common in Greek: Sigma.

Σ σ ς

Sigma has three forms, rather than just two like the other letters. There's one capital sigma (Σ), which is also used in science, e.g. as the mathematical symbol for sums, and there are two versions of small sigma. The first one (σ), which looks like a circle with an added line is used at the start or the middle of a word. The second small sigma (ς), looking similar to an ill-proportioned small S is only used at the end of a word. Sigma is pronounced as an English S (IPA [s]). Knowing this letter (and the ones taught before), you can read lots of new words:

παπάς (not "dad" but the Greek word for "priest")
μπαμπάς (this is the correct word for "dad")
Πέτρος (common Greek name)
Ισπανία (important country in Europe)
Κόστα Ρίκα
Πακιστάν
Σρι Λάνκα
Λάος
Παρίσι (capital of France)
Όσλο
Σαν ... (common start for city names)
Μπρισμπέιν (city in Australia)
Καράκας
Σάο Πάολο
Ελσίνκι
ιστορία


Now it's time for another letter combination, similar to μπ. When they mean the sound of D, Greeks don't write Delta but Nu and Tau combined: ντ. Sometimes at the middle of a word ντ may sound like [nd], but this is not very strict for right pronunciation. Generally, it's used to mean [d] especially in foreign words. Example words:

Σαντάμ
Μόντρεαλ
Τορόντο
Ντολόρες
Αντόνιο
Μαντόννα
ντισκοτέκ


Delta, the letter you might expect to sound like D, actually sounds like th in "this" (IPA: [ð]). The capital form closely resembles the Cyrillic letter Д. Here's the letter, the last one for this lesson:

Δ δ

Delta appears in lots of words, so take this opportunity for a major revision:

Ιρλανδία
Καναδάς
Ολλανδία
Ανδόρρα
Δανία (country north of Germany)
Ινδία
Ιορδανία
Ισλανδία
διαμάντι
διάλεκτος
Ανδρέας
δισκέτα
Λονδίνο (capital of the UK)
Τολέδο
Ρόδος


That's it for this lesson! If you didn't have trouble reading the example words, you're ready to continue with lesson 4!

Solutions

Π π
Greek Transliteration English
Πεκίνο Pekíno Beijing
Πιέρ Piér Pierre
ρεπόρτερ repórter reporter
πακέτο pakéto packet
Πάολο Páolo Paolo
Νεπάλ Nepál Nepal
Μπ μπ
Greek Transliteration English
μπαρ mpar bar
μπικίνι mpikíni bikini
μπετόν mpetón beton
μπανάνα mpanána banana
Καμπέρα Kampéra Canberra
Μπενίν Mpenín Benin
Σ σ/ς
Greek Transliteration English
παπάς papás priest
μπαμπάς mpampás papa, dad
Πέτρος Pétros Peter
Ισπανία Ispanía Spain
Κόστα Ρίκα Kósta Ríka Costa Rica
Πακιστάν Pakistán Pakistan
Σρι Λάνκα Sri Lánka Sri Lanka
Λάος Láos Laos
Παρίσι Parísi Paris
Όσλο Óslo Oslo
Σαν San San
Μπρισμπέιν Mprismpéin Brisbane
Καράκας Karákas Caracas
Σάο Πάολο Sáo Páolo Sao Paolo
Ελσίνκι Elsínki Helsinki
ιστορία istoría history
Ντ ντ
Greek Transliteration English
Σαντάμ Santám Saddam
Μόντρεαλ Móntreal Montreal
Τορόντο Torónto Toronto
Ντολόρες Ntolóres Dolóres
Αντόνιο António Antonio
Μαντόννα Mantónna Madonna
ντισκοτέκ ntiskoték discotheque
στούντιο stoúntio studio
Δ δ
Greek Transliteration English
Ιρλανδία Irlandía Ireland
Καναδάς Kanadás Canada
Ολλανδία Ollandía Holland
Ανδόρρα Andórra Andorra
Δανία Danía Denmark
Ινδία Indía India
Ιορδανία Iordanía Jordan
Ισλανδία Islandía Iceland
διαμάντι diamánti diamond
διάλεκτος diálektos dialect
Ανδρέας Andréas Andreas
δισκέτα diskéta diskette
Λονδίνο Londíno London
Τολέδο Tolédo Toledo
Ρόδος Ródos Rhodes

Contents
Lesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5Lesson 6Lesson 7Lesson 8Lesson 9Lesson 10.1Lesson 10.2Lesson 11Lesson 12Lesson 13Lesson 14Lesson 15Lesson 16AlphabetCredits

Last modified on 26 August 2013, at 18:14