Here is some introductory information that you might find useful before you start the Beginner’s Greek course this September! It is also interesting to know even if you are not intending to take Greek officially, but just want to find out a bit more.
g, as in gon, as in ink/lynx after κ, χ, ξ, γ
as in wisdom
long e, as in air
hard c, as in skill
The pronunciation is only a rough guide as you will find different people do use different pronunciations.
s, as in sing, lesson
t, as in stop
f, as in foot
k, as in kill/loch
as in lapse
long o, as in saw
You’ll notice there’s no h in the alphabet
Words that start with a vowel in Greek all have breathings on the first letter, or the second if they start with a dipthong (a dipthong are two vowels together)
A smooth breathing: ἀ, denotes the absence of an ‘h’ sound
A rough breathing: ἁ, denotes the presence of an ‘h’ sound
All words beginning with ρ and υ take a rough breathing
as long a
as in high
as in how
as in fiancee
as in cockney belt
as in η
as in boy, coin
as in pool
close to French huit
Once again pronunciations are only a rough guide.
A verb in Greek has a tense, a person, a voice, and a mood
Tense = time
Person = I, you, he/she/it, etc.
Voice = the relationship between verb and subject
Mood = expresses speaker’s attitude toward what they are saying (I know its confusing, once you’ve met it it will make more sense)
Present Active Indicative Verb Conjugation
stem + ending = conjugated verb
παυω I stop, stem παυ-
1st Person Singular
1st Person Plural
you (pl.) stop
*movable nu- added when the next word begins with a vowel
Nouns decline and change their endings depending on what job they perform within a sentence
They fall into specific patterns called declensions (a group of nouns that all follow the same pattern of endings)
Nouns have a gender, number and case
“The boy greets the girl”
Subject “the boy”
The subject is the noun that is doing the verb in the sentence. The subject is represented by word order in English; in Greek (as in Latin) it is show by putting the noun into the Nominative case.
The verb is the action in the sentence
Object “the girl”
The object is the noun that is having the action done to them. The object is show by putting the noun into the Accusative case.
1st Declension Feminine Nouns (Singular)
The first declension is usually feminine
There are three possible patterns of endings for feminine 1st declension nouns
stem + ending = declined noun
1st declension feminine nouns that end in -η in the nom. sg. go like τιμη, 1st declension feminine nouns that end in –α after ε, ι or ρ go like χωρα, 1st declension feminine nouns that end in –α after any other letter go like θαλλασσα
2nd Declension Masculine (Singular)
2nd Declension Neuter (Singular)
The definitive article = ‘the’ vs indefinite article = ‘a’
Greek nouns are almost always accompanied by a definite article when you are referring to a specific object (so its used almost all the time).
They are also used with names.
You leave them out when you are referring to an indefinite object.
They decline just like a noun and follow a similar pattern to τιμη, δωρον and λογος.
Reading a Greek Sentence
ὁ ἀγγελος την βοην ἀκουει.
1. First find your verb •ἀκουει
identify the person and tense of the verb
3rd person singular present
2. Find your nominative/subject by looking for nominative endings
3. Find your object/accusative by looking for accusative endings