This article is from the Greece FAQ, by Nikolaos (Nick) C. Fotis, firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
[ This question spawned a HUGE thread!! I'm quoting from the various
correspodents who participated in this thread . Basically, there are
two subtopics here:
a. How does one express pronounciation of Greek text in English-like
b. How did ancient Greeks pronounce their written works?
There's no end to this debate. I'm just quoting the various opinions
and (mis)information ;-) presented in USENET -- nfotis . I hope no one
asks again about that subject :-/ ]
From: email@example.com (Andrew Gollan)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Daniel R. Guilderson) writes:
|I have an English translation of Homer's Odyssey. There is a
|pronunciation key in an appendix but the author states that ALL 'c's
|are pronounced as 'k' and all 'ch's as 'kh'. Well I know that modern
|Greeks pronounce Chios as hee'os. So how would you pronounce Circe^
|(circumflex over the e) and Cynthera? I can't imagine pronouncing
|Circe^ as kir'kee, although anything is possible I suppose.
|Maybe someone from s.c.g can comment on some of the differences
|between Ancient Greek pronunciations and modern Greek pronunciations?
You are pushing shit uphill trying to reconstruct the Classical Greek
pronunciation from the "English" equivalents. All but a very few English
works adopt the Latinized spellings of the Greek names, which were themselves
at best an approximation. We then apply modern English pronunciation to
the Latin spellings resulting in completely warped pronunciation.
Latinized Greek letter Sound --------- ------------ ----- a (short) alpha u as in 'cup' a (long) alpha a as in 'father' b beta b as in 'bed' c kappa as french hard c: 'comment' d delta d as in 'dog' e (short) epsilon e as in 'pet' e (long) eta as all of 'air' f - - g gamma g as in 'god' h (initial) rough breathing h as in 'hot' i iota i as in 'pit' j - - k kappa as french hard c: 'comment' l la(m)bda l as in 'lid' m mu m as in 'mud' n nu n as in 'net' o (short) omicron o as in 'pot' o (long) omega aw as in 'awful' p pi as french p: 'Paris' q - - r rho rolled r as in french: 'rue' s sigma s as in 'sad' (mostly) t tau as french t: 'tu' u omicron+upsilon oo as in 'tool' v - - w - - x xi x as in 'fax' (even first in a word) y (short) upsilon as french u: 'tu' y (long) upsilon as french u: 'sur' z zeta zd ch khi c as in 'cot' (emphatically) ph phi p as in 'pot' (emphatically) th theta t as in 'top' (emphatically) ae alpha+iota as all of 'eye' au alpha+upsilon as ow in 'cow' ei epsilon+iota a as in 'take' eu epsilon+upsilon as all of 'yew' (sort of) oi omicron+iota oy as in 'boy'