This article deals with the phonology and phonetics of Standard Modern Greek. For phonological characteristics of other varieties, see varieties of Modern Greek, and for Cypriot, specifically, see Cypriot Greek § Phonology.
Greek linguists do not agree on which consonants to count as phonemes in their own right, and which to count as conditional allophones. The table below is adapted from Arvaniti (2007, p. 7), who does away with the entire palatal series, and both affricates [t͡s] and [d͡z].
|Nasal||/m/ μ||/n/ ν|
|Plosive||voiceless||/p/ π||/t/ τ||/k/ κ|
|voiced||/b/ μπ||/d/ ντ||/ɡ/ γκ|
|Fricative||voiceless||/f/ φ||/θ/ θ||/s/ σ||/x/ χ|
|voiced||/v/ β||/ð/ δ||/z/ ζ||/ɣ/ γ|
The alveolar nasal /n/ is assimilated to following obstruents; it can be labiodental (e.g. αμφιβολία [aɱfivoˈlia] 'doubt'), dental (e.g. άνθος [ˈan̪θos] 'flower'), retracted alveolar (e.g. πένσα [ˈpen̠sa] "pliers"), alveolo-palatal (e.g. συγχύζω [siɲˈçizo] 'to annoy'), or velar (e.g. άγχος [ˈaŋхos] 'stress').
Voiceless stops are unaspirated and with a very short voice onset time. They may be lightly voiced in rapid speech, especially when intervocalic. /t/'s exact place of articulation ranges from alveolar to denti-alveolar, to dental. It may be fricated [θ̠ ~ θ] in rapid speech, and very rarely, in function words, it is deleted. /p/ and /k/ are reduced to lesser degrees in rapid speech.
Voiced stops are prenasalised as reflected in the orthography to varying extents, or not at all. The nasal component—when present—does not increase the duration of the stop's closure; as such, prenasalised voiced stops would be most accurately transcribed [ᵐb ⁿd ᵑɡ] or [m͡b, n͡d, ŋ͡ɡ], depending on the length of the nasal component. Word-initially and after /r/ or /l/, they are very rarely, if ever, prenasalised. In rapid and casual speech, prenasalisation is generally rarer, and voiced stops may be lenited to fricatives. This also accounts for Greeks having trouble disambiguating voiced stops, nasalised voiced stops, and nasalised voiceless stops in borrowings and names from foreign languages; for example, d, nd, and nt, which are all written ντ in Greek.
/s/ and /z/ are somewhat retracted ([s̠, z̠]); they are produced in between English alveolars /s, z/ and postalveolars /ʃ, ʒ/. /s/ is variably fronted or further retracted depending on environment, and, in some cases, it may be better described as an advanced postalveolar ([ʃ˖]).
The only Greek rhotic /r/ is prototypically an alveolar tap [ɾ], often retracted ([ɾ̠]). It may be an alveolar approximant [ɹ] intervocalically, and is usually a trill [r] in clusters, with two or three short cycles.
Greek has palatals [c, ɟ, ç, ʝ] that contrast with velars [k, ɡ, x, ɣ] before /a, o, u/, but in complementary distribution with velars before front vowels /e, i/. [ʎ] and [ɲ] occur as allophones of /l/ and /n/, respectively, in CJV (consonant–glide–vowel) clusters, in analyses that posit an archiphoneme-like glide /J/ that contrasts with the vowel /i/. All palatals may be analysed in the same way. The palatal stops and fricatives are somewhat retracted, and [ʎ] and [ɲ] are somewhat fronted. [ʎ] is best described as a postalveolar, and [ɲ] as alveolo-palatal.
Finally, Greek has two phonetically affricate clusters, [t͡s] and [d͡z]. Arvaniti (2007) is reluctant to treat these as phonemes on the grounds of inconclusive research into their phonological behaviour.
The table below, adapted from Arvaniti (2007, p. 25), displays a near-full array of consonant phones in Standard Modern Greek.
|Bilabial||Labio-dental||Dental||Alveolar||Retracted alveolar||Post-alveolar||Alveolo-palatal||Retracted palatal||Velar|
|Flap or tap||ɾ̠|
Some assimilatory processes mentioned above also occur across word boundaries. In particular, this goes for a number of grammatical words ending in /n/, most notably the negation particles δεν and μην and the accusative forms of the personal pronoun and definite article τον and την. If these words are followed by a voiceless stop, /n/ either assimilates for place of articulation to the stop, or is altogether deleted, and the stop becomes voiced. This results in pronunciations such as τον πατέρα [to(m)baˈtera] ('the father' ACC) or δεν πειράζει [ðe(m)biˈrazi] ('it doesn't matter'), instead of *[ton paˈtera] and *[ðen piˈrazi]. The precise extent of assimilation may vary according to dialect, speed and formality of speech. This may be compared with pervasive sandhi phenomena in Celtic languages, particularly nasalisation in Irish and in certain dialects of Scottish Gaelic.
There is no phonemic length distinction, but vowels in stressed syllables are pronounced somewhat longer [iˑ, uˑ, eˑ, oˑ, aˑ] than in unstressed syllables. Furthermore, vowels in stressed syllables are more peripheral, but the difference is not large. In casual speech, unstressed /i/ and /u/ in the vicinity of voiceless consonants may become devoiced or even elided.
|πας||/pas/||'you go' subj.|
|πεις||/pis/||'you say' subj.|
Unlike Ancient Greek, which had a pitch accent system, Modern Greek has variable (phonologically unpredictable) stress. Every multisyllabic word carries stress on one of its three final syllables. Enclitics form a single phonological word together with the host word to which they attach, and count towards the three-syllable rule too. In these cases, primary stress shifts to the second-to-last syllable (e.g. αυτοκίνητό μου [aftoˌciniˈto mu] 'my car'). Phonetically, stressed syllables are longer and/or carry higher amplitude.
The position of the stress can vary between different inflectional forms of the same word within its inflectional paradigm. In some paradigms, the stress is always on the third last syllable, shifting its position in those forms that have longer affixes (e.g. κάλεσα 'I called' vs. καλέσαμε 'we called'; πρόβλημα 'problem' vs. προβλήματα 'problems'). In some word classes, stress position also preserves an older pattern inherited from Ancient Greek, according to which a word could not be accented on the third-from-last syllable if the last syllable was long, e.g. άνθρωπος ('man', nom. sg., last syllable short), but ανθρώπων ('of men', gen. pl., last syllable long). However, in Modern Greek this rule is no longer automatic and does not apply to all words (e.g. καλόγερος 'monk', καλόγερων 'of monks'), as the phonological length distinction itself no longer exists.
Ο βοριάς κι ο ήλιος μάλωναν για το ποιος απ’ τους δυο είναι ο δυνατότερος, όταν έτυχε να περάσει από μπροστά τους ένας ταξιδιώτης που φορούσε κάπα.
[o voˈɾʝas ˈco̯iʎoz ˈmalonan | ʝa to ˈpços aptuz ˈðʝo ˈineo̯ ðinaˈtoteɾos | ˈota ˈnetiçe napeˈɾasi apo broˈstatus | ˈenas taksiˈðʝotis pu̥ foˈɾuse ˈkapa]
The alveolar approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents the alveolar and postalveolar approximants is ⟨ɹ⟩, a lowercase letter r rotated 180 degrees. The equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\.
There is no separate symbol for the dental approximant (as in Spanish nada) in the International Phonetic Alphabet, which most scholars transcribe with the symbol for a voiced dental fricative, ⟨ð⟩.
The most common sound represented by the letter r in English is the postalveolar approximant, pronounced a little more back and transcribed more precisely in IPA as ⟨ɹ̠⟩, but ⟨ɹ⟩ is often used for convenience in its place. For further ease of typesetting, English phonemic transcriptions might use the symbol ⟨r⟩ even though this symbol represents the alveolar trill in phonetic transcription.Bilabial nasal
The bilabial nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in almost all spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨m⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is m. The bilabial nasal occurs in English, and it is the sound represented by "m" in map and rum.
It occurs nearly universally, and few languages (e.g. Mohawk) are known to lack this sound.Dental, alveolar and postalveolar lateral approximants
The alveolar lateral approximant is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar lateral approximants is ⟨l⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is l.
As a sonorant, lateral approximants are nearly always voiced. Voiceless lateral approximants, /l̥/ are common in Sino-Tibetan languages, but uncommon elsewhere. In such cases, voicing typically starts about halfway through the hold of the consonant. No language is known to contrast such a sound with a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ].
In a number of languages, including most varieties of English, the phoneme /l/ becomes velarized ("dark l") in certain contexts. By contrast, the non-velarized form is the "clear l" (also known as: "light l"), which occurs before and between vowels in certain English standards. Some languages have only clear l. Others may not have a clear l at all, or only before front vowels (especially [i]).Dental, alveolar and postalveolar nasals
The alveolar nasal is a type of consonantal sound used in numerous spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar nasals is ⟨n⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is n.
The vast majority of languages have either an alveolar or dental nasal. There are a few languages that lack either sound but have [m] (e.g. colloquial Samoan). There are some languages (e.g. Rotokas) that lack both [m] and [n].
True dental consonants are relatively uncommon. In the Romance, Dravidian, and Australian languages, n is often called "dental" in the literature. However, the rearmost contact (which is what gives a consonant its distinctive sound) is actually alveolar or denti-alveolar. The difference between the Romance languages and English is not so much where the tongue contacts the roof of the mouth, as which part of the tongue makes the contact. In English it is the tip of the tongue (such sounds are termed apical), whereas in the Romance languages it is the flat of the tongue just above the tip (such sounds are called laminal).
However, there are languages with true apical (or less commonly laminal) dental n. It is found in the Mapuche language of South America, where it is actually interdental. A true dental generally occurs allophonically before /θ/ in languages which have it, as in English tenth. Similarly, a denti-alveolar allophone will occur in languages which have denti-alveolar stops, as in Spanish cinta.
Some languages contrast laminal denti-alveolar and apical alveolar nasals. For example, in the Malayalam pronunciation of Nārāyanan, the first n is dental, the second is retroflex, and the third alveolar.
A postalveolar nasal occurs in a number of Australian Aboriginal languages, including Djeebbana and Jingulu.Greek diacritics
Greek orthography has used a variety of diacritics starting in the Hellenistic period. The more complex polytonic orthography (Greek: πολυτονικό σύστημα γραφής, romanized: polytonikó sýstima grafís) notates Ancient Greek phonology. The simpler monotonic orthography (μονοτονικό σύστημα γραφής, monotonikó sýstima grafís), introduced in 1982, corresponds to Modern Greek phonology, and requires only two diacritics.
Polytonic orthography (from polys (πολύς) "much, many" and tonos (τόνος) "accent") is the standard system for Ancient Greek and Medieval Greek. The acute accent (´), the circumflex (ˆ), and the grave accent (`) indicate different kinds of pitch accent. The rough breathing (῾) indicates the presence of the /h/ sound before a letter, while the smooth breathing (᾿) indicates the absence of /h/.
Since in Modern Greek the pitch accent has been replaced by a dynamic accent (stress), and /h/ was lost, most polytonic diacritics have no phonetic significance, and merely reveal the underlying Ancient Greek etymology.
Monotonic orthography (from monos (μόνος) "single" and tonos (τόνος) "accent") is the standard system for Modern Greek. It retains two diacritics: a single accent or tonos (΄) that indicates stress, and the diaeresis (¨), which usually indicates a hiatus but occasionally indicates a diphthong: compare modern Greek παϊδάκια (/pajˈðaca/, "lamb chops"), with a diphthong, and παιδάκια (/peˈðaca/, "little children") with a simple vowel. A tonos and a diaeresis can be combined on a single vowel to indicate a stressed vowel after a hiatus, as in the verb ταΐζω (/taˈizo/, "to feed").
Although it is not a diacritic, the hypodiastole (comma) has in a similar way the function of a sound-changing diacritic in a handful of Greek words, principally distinguishing ό,τι (ó,ti, "whatever") from ότι (óti, "that").Greek phonology
Greek phonology may refer to:
Ancient Greek phonology, discussing the classical language
Koine Greek phonology, discussing the developments between Classical and Modern Greek
Modern Greek phonology, discussing the modern languageGreek pronunciation
Greek pronunciation may refer to:
Ancient Greek phonology
Koine Greek phonology
Modern Greek phonologyIotacism
Iotacism (Greek: ιωτακισμός, iotakismos) is the process by which a number of vowels and diphthongs in Ancient Greek converged in pronunciation so they all now sound like iota ([i]) in Modern Greek.
In the case of the letter eta specifically, the process is known as itacism (from the resulting pronunciation of the letter's name as [ˈita]).Labiodental nasal
The labiodental nasal is a type of consonantal sound. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɱ⟩. The IPA symbol is a lowercase letter m with a leftward hook protruding from the lower right of the letter. Occasionally it is instead transcribed as an em with a dental diacritic: ⟨m̪⟩.
It is pronounced very similarly to the bilabial nasal [m], except instead of the lips touching each other, the lower lip touches the upper teeth. The position of the lips and teeth is generally the same as for the production of the other labiodental consonants, like [f] and [v], though closure is incomplete for the fricatives.
Although commonly appearing in languages, it is overwhelmingly present non-phonemically, largely restricted to appear before labiodental consonants like [f] and [v]. A phonemic /ɱ/ has been reported for the Kukuya language, which contrasts it with /m, mpf, mbv/ and is "accompanied by strong protrusion of both lips". It is [ɱʷ] before /a/ and [ɱ] before /i/ and /e/, perhaps because labialization is constrained by the spread front vowels; it does not occur before back (rounded) vowels.It is doubted by some scholars that a true stop can be made by this gesture because of gaps between the incisors, which for many speakers would allow air to flow during the occlusion; this is particularly pertinent considering that one of the words with this consonant, /ɱáá/, means a 'gap between filed incisors,' a practice of the local people. The /ɱ/ might be better characterized as a labiodental nasal approximant than as a nasal occlusive.
Nonetheless, it is common phonetically, as it is a typical allophone of /m/ and /n/ before the labiodental fricatives [f] and [v], as in English comfort, circumvent, infinitive, or invent. In Angami, it occurs as an allophone of /m/ before /ə/. For Drubea, [ɱ] is reported as an allophone of /v/ before nasal vowels.A proposal to retire the letter ⟨ɱ⟩ was made at the Kiel Convention, at the same time the extensions to the IPA were presented, with the labiodental nasal to be transcribed solely by ⟨m̪⟩, but the proposal was defeated in committee.Near-open front unrounded vowel
The near-open front unrounded vowel, or near-low front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. Acoustically it is simply an open or low front unrounded vowel. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨æ⟩, a lowercase of the ⟨Æ⟩ ligature. Both the symbol and the sound are commonly referred to as "ash".
The rounded counterpart of [æ], the near-open front rounded vowel (for which the IPA provides no separate symbol) has been reported to occur allophonically in Danish; see open front rounded vowel for more information.
In practice, ⟨æ⟩ is sometimes used to represent the open front unrounded vowel; see the introduction to that page for more information.Northern Greece
Northern Greece (Greek: Βόρεια Ελλάδα, Voreia Ellada) is used to refer to the northern parts of Greece, and can have various definitions.Retroflex approximant
The retroflex approximant is a type of consonant used in some languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨ɻ⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is r\`. The IPA symbol is a turned lowercase letter r with a rightward hook protruding from the lower right of the letter.Rough breathing
In the polytonic orthography of Ancient Greek, the rough breathing (Ancient Greek: δασὺ πνεῦμα, romanized: dasỳ pneûma or δασεῖα daseîa; Greek: δασεία dasía; Latin spīritus asper), is a diacritical mark used to indicate the presence of an /h/ sound before a vowel, diphthong, or after rho. It remained in the polytonic orthography even after the Hellenistic period, when the sound disappeared from the Greek language. In the monotonic orthography of Modern Greek phonology, in use since 1982, it is not used at all.
The absence of an /h/ sound is marked by the smooth breathing.Voiced alveolar fricative
The voiced alveolar fricatives are consonantal sounds. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents these sounds depends on whether a sibilant or non-sibilant fricative is being described.
The symbol the alveolar sibilant is ⟨z⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is z. The IPA letter ⟨z⟩ is not normally used for dental or postalveolar sibilants in narrow transcription unless modified by a diacritic (⟨z̪⟩ and ⟨z̠⟩ respectively).
The IPA symbol for the alveolar non-sibilant fricative is derived by means of diacritics; it can be ⟨ð̠⟩ or ⟨ɹ̝⟩.Voiced bilabial stop
The voiced bilabial stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨b⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is b. The voiced bilabial stop occurs in English, and it is the sound denoted by the letter ⟨b⟩ in obey.Voiced dental and alveolar stops
The voiced alveolar stop is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents voiced dental, alveolar, and postalveolar stops is ⟨d⟩ (although the symbol ⟨d̪⟩ can be used to distinguish the dental stop, and ⟨d̠⟩ the postalveolar), and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is d.Voiceless bilabial stop
The voiceless bilabial stop is a type of consonantal sound used in most spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ⟨p⟩, and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is p.Voiceless labiodental stop
The voiceless labiodental stop is a consonant sound produced like a [p], but with the lower lip contacting the upper teeth, as in [f]. This can be represented in the IPA as ⟨p̪⟩. A separate symbol not recognized by the IPA that is often seen, especially in Bantu linguistics, is the qp ligature ⟨ȹ⟩.
The voiceless labiodental stop is possibly not phonemic in any language, though see the entry on Shubi. However, it does occur allophonically. The XiNkuna dialect of Tsonga has affricates, [p̪͡f] and [b̪͡v] (that is, [ȹ͡f] and [ȸ͡v]), which unlike the bilabial-labiodental affricate [p͡f] of German, are purely labiodental.Voies
Voies (Greek: Βοιές) is a former municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Monemvasia, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 215.527 km2. It is on the southern tip of Cape Malea. It is a predominantly agricultural region with a few minor villages and one dominant town. Vatika is the common term for the area, but Voies is used in a more official context, particularly for postal situations. Voion, the genitive plural of Voies, is used for description: for example, to differentiate the village of Agios Nikolaos in Voies from other villages and towns of the same name, one would use Agios Nikolaos Voion. Neapoli is the administrative capital of the municipality, and is also the urban center to the numerous villages that surround the hinterland. In Voies you will find Kastania Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Europe, with high color and shape density.
|Origin and genealogy|
|Promotion and study|