Koine Greek: IPA for Erasmian Pronunciation

posted in: Koine Greek | 2

Koine Greek: IPA for Erasmian Pronunciation

Erasmian Pronunciation for Koine Greek, with IPA.

Most resources for Koine Greek gave the pronunciation with something equivalent in English. This wasn’t enough for me, and I couldn’t find a resource online that gives it in IPA, so I created my own to help with pronunciation.

I compiled the original list last year when I had more time and was still studying Koine Greek.

Letter Pronunciation IPA  
Α, α a as in father [a] Open front unrounded vowel
Β, β b as in book [b] Voiced bilabial stop
Γ, γ g as in got (unless…) [g] Voiced velar stop
Δ, δ d as in desk [d] Voiced alveolar stop
Ε, ε e as in pet [ε] Open-mid front unrounded vowel
Ζ, ζ dz as in blades [dz] Voiced alveolar affricate
Η, η a as in date [eɪ]  
Θ, θ th as in think [θ] Voiceless dental fricative
Ι, ι i as in bit (short); ski (long) [ɪ] (short); [i] (long) Near-close near-front unrounded vowel; Close front unrounded vowel
Κ, κ k as in kite [k] Voiceless velar stop
Λ, λ l as in lake [l] Alveolar lateral approximant
Μ, μ m as in moon [m] Bilabial nasal
Ν, ν n as in name [n] Alveolar nasal
Ξ, ξ x as in axe [ks]  
Ο, ο o as in hot [ɑ] Open back unrounded vowel
Π, π p as in pot [p] Voiceless bilabial stop
Ρ, ρ r as in run [ɹ] Alveolar approximant
Σ, σ/ς s as in set [s] Voiceless alveolar sibilant
Τ, τ t as in tan [t] Voiceless alveolar stop
Υ, υ French u / German ü [y] Close front rounded vowel
u as in produce [u] Close back rounded vowel
Φ, φ ph as in phase [f] Voiceless labiodental fricative
Χ, χ ch as in chaos / German “ich” [ç] / [k] Voiceless palatal fricative; Voiceless velar stop
Ψ, ψ ps as in slips [ps]  
Ω, ω o as in vote [oʊ]  
αι as in Thailand [aɪ̯]  
ει as in weight [eɪ]  
οι as in boil [ɔɪ]  
υι as in quit or queen [wɪ]; [wiːn]  
αυ as in sauerkraut [aʊ]  
ου as in coupe [uː]  
ευ, ηυ as in Eugene [juː]  



IPA taken from Wiktionary / WordReference.

2 Responses


    Hello, I am trying to find out if Erasmus would have pronounced an aspiration at the start of the Greek for ‘Hoi Polloi’? thanks.

  2. Link

    I am trying to learn Greek now. My book, which I presume is Erasmian, offers some different pronunciations from what you have here.

    The first thing I noticed is η is supposed to be a long vowel, not a dipthong, but [eɪ] is a dipthong of two sounds [e] and [ɪ]. I had a friend who went to Bible college who didn’t get it when I told him he was saying a dipthong. It sounds a bit different from a pure long vowel. English speakers have dipthongs that end with ‘y’ or ‘i’ sounds, not long vowels. ‘They’ has a dipthong, not a long vowel.

    The other thing I learned in the book was that theta is supposed to be an aspirated ‘t’, but you have θ as [θ]. But that is not an aspirated [t] sound. The same with phi and xhi. Those are supposed to be aspirated p and chi sounds according to my book. Supposedly, based on early Latin transliterations, that was the early stage of the language.

    So do you have a source for Erasmus pronouncing θ as /θ/ instead of as an aspirated t, or other sounds like that? I have also heard /θ/ in what claims to be Erasmian pronunciation on YouTube, but I think the person was a Greek throwing in a bit of her own accent.

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