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The Greek Pronunciation System

Mr. Bluedorn,

What pronunciation style do you follow in your materials? I’ve decided to add Greek to my children’s home schooling curriculum, but would like to use materials which follow the same pronunciation style as other materials my wife and I use (one being Essentials of New Testament Greek by Summers). I’m not sure what to call the exact pronunciation style I’m use to, but all of my materials pronounce the letter pi as pea instead of pie, and have the letter omicron pronounced as the o in omelet rather than the o in obey.

Thanks. Derek Greer

The Greek language was pronounced in different ways at different places and different times. From among all historical pronunciations, I have constructed a consistent system which is thoroughly phonetical.

I have examined well over a hundred Greek grammars, and the only thing I found consistent about their pronunciation systems is that there is no consistency in their pronunciation systems. I do not know if new editions of Summers has revised their pronunciation system, but my system would disagree with the original Summers on the pronunciation of short alpha (long alpha as in father, short alpha as in yacht), omicron (as in oh, omega as in owe), short upsilon (long upsilon as in unity, short upsilon as in put — Summers doesn’t phonetically acknowledge short upsilon), and chi (as in loch).

Pi is pronounced as pea.

The difference between the short and the long of the vowels is properly one of length, not of articulation. The omega (owe, own, groan) should be double the length of omicron (oh, oat, goat). In later Greek, the vowel began to move — the o in omelet is the same as the sound of short alpha in yacht, which is confusing.


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