This article is from the Greece FAQ, by Nikolaos (Nick) C. Fotis, email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org ("Christina C. Christara")
It seems correct that the c's are pronounced as k's.
In ancient Greek,
an i is pronounced as i in kit (i.e. short ee)
An eta is pronounces as ee (i.e. long)
An y is also pronounced same as i (but thinner).
Therefore Circe^ should be Kirkee
and Cynthera Kintheera.
Here the `th' combination is pronounced as the first 2 letters in `think'.
In modern Greek, i, eta, and y are all pronounced almost the same.
There is no short, long, thin e.
As for the 'ch's I don't think that there is a respective sound
in English. The closest is a strong 'h'. 'kh' is not that far either.
Also, as far as I know, ancient Greeks pronounced the first sound
of some words deeper than modern Greeks.
These words, when they lost the deep sound in the beginning
(this could have happened at the end of the Hellenistic period),
were written with a so-called `spirit' (daseia in Greek)
to remind the deep sound. Such words are found in English
starting with `h'. Examples `hyper' (yper), hippopotamus
(ippopotamos), hero (eros, pronounced eeros, this does not mean love)
horizon (orizwn, the w is omega), rhetor (retwr) etc.
Another difference between ancient and modern Greek pronounciation
is the diphthong case. Modern Greeks pronounce `ai' as `e' (epsilon),
`ou' as `u' (as in put), `ei' as `ee', `eu' as `ef' or `ev',
`au' as `af' or `av', while ancient Greeks pronounced the two
sounds with their original sound, i.e. each phthong separetely,
without creating new phtongs.
From: email@example.com (Kostis Dryllerakis)
There is a wide debate about the pronunciation of ancient greek.
It is obvious that we have no sound record of the era and we can only
reconstruct sounds from their evolution to modern greek (actually there
are studies about the "special" words that imitate sounds like pain,
and animal sounds but I haven't heard of definite conclusions).
The controvercy on the pronunciation of ancient greek started when
European classic scholars requested a code to be adopted as the
"standard one" among them. Erasmus is principally responsible for the
pronunciation given to ancient greek from scholars even now. His
proposal was based to the closeness of the ancient greek to the latin-based
languages and was many times arbitrary. Later in his life he is said to
have renounced his own pronunciation scheme.
So the controversy will remain live. For us greeks, we would like
to believe that our language is not only close to ancient greek to its
symbols but also to its sounds. I beleive that I speak for all of the fellow
scientists when I say that we are at least amused by the pronunciation of the
greek alphabet as used in mathematics related sciences.
Take care when you refer to "correct pronunciation" to mention a particular
era in history since you do not expect people at Homer's time to have
pronounced things the same way as in classical or Hellenistic times. In case
you believe this is possible it might be wise to also check the modern greek