Modern Greek/Lesson 01.6

This is the last actual lesson teaching you how to read, write and pronounce Greek. After this lesson you will know all Greek letters and the only thing you'll still have to learn are a few letter combinations, which will be treated in the "Wrapping up" lesson.

The next letter you should learn is Theta:

Θ θ

Both the upper and lowercase letters look different from the Latin alphabet. This letter is pronounced as the th in thumb and coincidentally the IPA symbol for this sound is a lowercase Theta: [θ]. Here are some sample words that you should be able to read now:

  • μαθηματικά
  • κιθάρα (a musical instrument)
  • Θεσσαλονίκη
  • θεραπεία
  • απαθής
  • αθλητής
  • αμφιθέατρο
  • ανθολoγία
  • ανθρωπολογία
  • αντιπαθητικός

Now for a letter that looks somewhat familiar again:

Χ χ

This is the letter Chi. The uppercase letter looks exactly like an X and the lowercase letter is slimmer and drops below the baseline like an English y. The pronunciation is not like X though. It's either of two sounds: when Chi is followed by a 'light' vowel sound such as e or i, it sounds like the h in English huge, (IPA [ç]) (which is equivalent to the ch in German Ich). When it is followed by any other vowel sound or by a consonant, it is pronounced like the ch in the Scottish word loch or the German word Bach (IPA [x]).

Some words for practise:

  • τεχνολογία
  • Χιλή
  • συγχρονίζω
  • Χουάν (Spanish name)
  • Χοσέ (another Spanish name)
  • Κοπεγχάγη
  • Ζυρίχη
  • Νέο Δελχί
  • Στοκχόλμη
  • αραχνοφοβία

Now you're probably wondering how to write the x (ks) sound that is rather common in Greek. The answer is the letter Xi:

Ξ ξ

This letter looks unfamiliar, but it sounds exactly like the English x as in axe (IPA [ks]). Here are some examples:

  • ξενοφοβία
  • Μεξικό
  • Βρυξέλλες
  • εξάγωνο
  • Λουξεμβούργο
  • Αλέξανδρος
  • ορθόδοξος
  • λεξικό
  • οξυγόνο

The very last Greek letter to learn is Psi.

Ψ ψ

Psi is pronounced like ps as in apse (IPA [ps]). There are not that many English words with this letter combination, but in Greek it is more common. Practise reading:

  • ψυχολογία
  • ψυχίατρος
  • αποκάλυψη
  • αυτοψία


Θ θ
Greek Transliteration English
μαθηματικά mathīmatiká mathematics
κιθάρα kithára guitar
Θεσσαλονίκη Thessaloníkī Thessaloniki
θεραπεία therapeía therapy
απαθής apathī́s apathetic
αθλητής athlītī́s athlete
αμφιθέατρο amfithéatro amphitheatre
ανθολoγία anthología anthology
ανθρωπολογία anthrōpología anthropology
αντιπαθητικός antipathītikós antipathetic
Χ χ
τεχνολογία technología technology
Χιλή Chilī́ Chile
συγχρονίζω sygchronízo synchronize
Χουάν Chouán Juan
Χοσέ Chosé José
Κοπεγχάγη Kopegchágī Copenhagen
Ζυρίχη Zyríchī Zurich
Νέο Δελχί Néo Delchí New Delhi
Στοκχόλμη Stokchólmī Stockholm
αραχνοφοβία arachnofovía arachnophobia
Ξ ξ
ξενοφοβία xenofovía xenophobia
Μεξικό Mexikó Mexico
Βρυξέλλες Bryxélles Brussels
εξάγωνο exágōno hexagon
Λουξεμβούργο Louxemvoúrgo Luxembourg
Αλέξανδρος Aléxandros Alexander
ορθόδοξος orthódoxos orthodox
λεξικό lexikó lexicon
οξυγόνο oxygóno oxygen
Ψ ψ
Greek Transliteration English
ψυχολογία psychología psychology
ψυχίατρος psychíatros psychiatrist
αποκάλυψη apokálypsī apocalypse
αυτοψία autopsía autopsy

That's all the letters done, there is a summary page following here.