7

How is the γ in verbs like γιγνώσκω and γίνομαι pronounced in ancient Greek? Is it pronounced like g in get or like g in gem?

  • 1
    The softening of g, c, etc. before e and i is not universal. Pronounce the γ hard as in get. – C. M. Weimer Jun 10 '17 at 15:57
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    Depends if you are asking about modern or classical Greek. – Der Übermensch Jun 11 '17 at 0:07
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    @SimpliciterChristianus Modern Greek is off-topic, so I took the liberty to restrict the question to older Greek. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 13 '17 at 18:09
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The letter gamma was pronounced like the g in get in Ancient Greek, a voiced velar stop. But before another gamma, before kappa, chi, or xi, the gamma was pronounced like ng, as in boring. It's also pronounced like ng before at least some cases of nu or mu (possibly all).

More information, including the pronunciation in New Greek, can be found on Wikipaedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma

  • Gamma is thought to have been nasal (ng) also before nu and mu, either always or at least in some words. – TKR Jun 10 '17 at 19:05
  • @TKR: Added! <filler tex> – Cerberus Jun 10 '17 at 21:41
  • I like how "stop" ends with a stop consonant, and "voiced" ends with a voiced consonant. If only "velar" ended with a velar. – ktm5124 Jun 16 '17 at 8:17
  • @ktm5124: That would be quite the coincidence! – Cerberus Jun 17 '17 at 14:55
2

In modern Greek it is pronounced exactly like y in yet.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site! Can you be a little more specific? Most importantly, I would like to know what kind of Greek this answer applies to (modern?) and what it is based on (personal experience?). – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 10 '17 at 19:26
  • I don't think anyone can know how the ancients pronounced it...But when a greek today pronounces these words (in modern or ancient greek) they pronounce "γ" as "y" in "year" and not any "g" – J42161217 Jun 10 '17 at 20:02
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    I edited your answer to give the context. Feel free to re-edit. // In fact, we do have knowledge of how things were pronounced two millennia ago. In fact, "How can we know how ancient Greek was pronounced?" would make a nice question if we don't have it already. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 10 '17 at 20:10
  • we only have assumptions... this applies to ancient greek music to.If you don't hear a song (since they were not written down) or hear a person speak, you can't know – J42161217 Jun 10 '17 at 20:16
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    This is true before front vowels only. Modern Greek γ followed by back vowels is IPA [γ], a voiced guttural fricative. – fdb Jun 10 '17 at 22:28

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