Pronunciation of γ before ι

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by panettonea, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. panettonea Senior Member

    I was under the impression that γ is always pronounced like an English y before ι. For instance, in the pronunciations below of γιος and γίνομαι, γ is indeed pronounced that way. However, for ημερολόγιο, the pronunciation of the γ sounds somewhat guttural to me. Is that typical, or just a quirk of the particular speaker?
  2. panettonea Senior Member

    Here are a couple other interesting pronunciations of γ at the same site, for Τσιριγότο and γωνία:

    In each case, it sounds as though γ is being pronounced like an English w--at least to me. I'd just like to know how common such pronunciations are.
  3. Timothy1987 Junior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    English - Australia

    After listening to all the provided links, I have a few comments to make. For the pronunciation of ημερολόγιο, the man is pronouncing it as it should be. I can hear a slight 'something' which could be mistaken as the guttural, but I'm going to chalk it up to just how his voice and his accent usually are.

    With the second post, I am not sure how you are hearing the English 'w' sound. Both words are spoken with the Greek 'γ' sound, as they should be. Just have another listen, I think.
  4. panettonea Senior Member


    Thanks, Timothy. My point is that the γ here does not sound at all like the γ in the examples for γιος and γίνομαι. To me, it sounds more like the γ in γάτα.

    I did, and the γ's still sound like w's to me. :) Contrast those with:εγώ/#el

    The pronunciation of γ in the example above for εγώ sounds totally different--a guttural γ. In the previous examples, the words basically sound like γουωνία and Τσιριγουότο. However, the pronunciation of εγώ here is definitely not εγουώ.

    I can't be the only person who hears these words this way. And the sounds don't change with repeated listens either. ;) Incidentally, I have an older Greek book that says that the sound of γ can be approximated with the English letters "g," "y," or "w," depending on the word. However, newer Greek books seem to say only "g" or "y," for whatever reason. Anyway, the γ's in that guy's pronunciations of γωνία and Τσιριγότο sound much more like w's than either g's or y's to me.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013
  5. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    I think you are right, I too can hear a -γουo- sound in Τσιριγότο that's not standard pronunciation though, it's definitely dialectal (northern in particular, Macedonian/Thracian)
  6. panettonea Senior Member

    Thanks, apmoy70. Oh, so it's dialectal? That makes sense. It seems to me that it's easier to "leave out" the guttural part of γ--sort of a "lazy" way of pronouncing it, I guess. For example, I think it's much easier to say εγουώ than εγώ. Similarly, in the U.S., the Southern drawl is considered a "lazy" way of pronouncing words. Anyway, it's good to know that I'm not crazy for hearing these things. ;)

    Also, maybe the "w" sound was more common many years ago. For instance, my mother, who was born in the U.S. but learned "peasant" Greek from her parents, always pronounces γ like a "w" before an ο/ω sound. Incidentally, I noticed that in some words on Forvo, one native speaker was even pronouncing γ like zh in Gigi! I believe one example was the word Παναγία.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  7. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    That's clearly southern pronunciation. Whenever you hear palatalized affricates e.g. [tɕe], [tʃ], [ɕ], that means the speaker is definitely Cretan/Cypriot/Rhodian/islander Greek.
    A Cypriot (or a Rhodian) for instance, will pronounce Παναγία as [pana'ʒia] while a Cretan as [pana'ʑia].
    A Pontic Greek on the other hand, will pronounce it [pana'ia] (will omit the palatalized consonant)
  8. panettonea Senior Member

    Are those IPA symbols? I'm just wondering where to look to figure out exactly how those sound.

    Leaves out the γ altogether, huh? Τhat's interesting. BTW, what is a Pontic Greek?

    I guess there are lots of interesting pronunciations floating around out there. As long as people can understand you, perhaps that's all that matters. ;)
  9. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    I usually pick the symbols from here, or here.
    For their meaning and pronunciation, check wiki:
    Pontic Greeks
  10. panettonea Senior Member

  11. Andrious Senior Member

    panettonea, there´s always Youtube for a little bit more familiarity with local pronunciations.

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