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Posted: 3/15/16
Dr. Schwandt is currently on a sabbatical from offering Greek courses and reading groups. We are currently working on a way to offer the educational materials without the live component.

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Biblical and Modern Pronunciation

Until recently the only efforts toward reconstructing the historic pronunciation of Greek focused only on high Attic Greek (e.g., Allen, Daitz). With more recent historic and linguistic developments scholars (e.g., Horrocks, Dr. Randall Buth) have been able to deduce more accurately the sound of Greek in every period including Biblical times. This page sets the historic Biblical sounds next to the Modern convention. It should be apparent that they are only differ in a few places. Of course, the historic Biblical pronunciation has been somewhat generalized since the language was at different stages of change in different locations, times, and social circles in the ancient world.

1. Examples of Historic Biblical Greek Pronunciation

2. General Phonetic Sites

3. Biblical and Modern Pronunciation Comparative Chart



1. Examples of Historic Biblical Greek Pronunciation

All of these links have free Greek fonts which include accented characters for ancient or biblical Greek. Please contact the site manager if any links are broken or the font is no longer offered. They are listed in order of aesthetics and universality.

Biblical Greek Reconstructed - Dr. Randall Buth has gone to great lengths to reconstruct the historic and authentic pronunciation of Biblical Greek at the time of Christ. You can listen to him read I John with this link.

Traditional Greek Hymns - This site has a number of samples of hymns with both male and female voices.

Audio of Chrysostom's Liturgy - You can listen to an hour liturgy online. The choir parts are very nice.

Greek-Language.com Alphabet - Micheal Palmer has a great site. This page compares the sounds of Modern Greek and reconstructed Biblical Greek.

GreekLatinAudio.com - This site has a number of the books of the New Testament avaiable for listening in MP3 format. The pronunciation is nice and fast but a little low in tone. The pronunciation of gamma is a little too hard, especially when preceding ee sounds -- a good resource nonetheless.

2. General Phonetic Sites

International Phonetic Association - This site has great charts which map how sounds are produced.

Free Phonetic Tutorial - This site will let you listen to sounds by selecting phonetic symbols

IPA Tutorial - This site has the International Phonetic Alphabet and has the sound spoken by both a male and female voice.

UCL Department of Phonetics & Linguistics - This site has very good web tutorials.

3. Biblical and Modern Pronunciation Comparative Chart

The chart below is based on information provided in Geofrey Horrocks' book, Greek: A History of the Language and Its Speakers.

Greek Letters Transliteration Historic Biblical Pronunciation
Modern Pronunciation
a a as in father
b v but only using the lips
v
g y as in year or g in a gurgle sound
d th as in this
e e as in get
z dz
é i as in ski
th th as in moth
i i as in ski
k k as in kite
l l
m m
n n
x ks
o o in or
p p as in sip
r French or German r
s s
t t
y French u
i as in ski
ph ph as in phone
ch h before e & i
otherwise German ch
ps ps
o o in or
Diphthongs
ai e as in pet or ai as in air
ei ei as in receive
oi i as in ski
au av as in Ave Maria2
or off
eu ev as in ever3
or ef as in effort4
eu eve
ou ou as in soup



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