How to pronounce γ?

I see that it's apparently pronounced like a w but It sounds more like χ (ç) to me. Can someone explain how to make this sound?

September 2, 2016


Γ-γ (gamma) is normally pronounced as a soft G, sort of like 'Gh'. Try to start the sounding of a normal American English 'G' but don't quite close your throat/palate with the back of your tongue. However, I've been taught that before both long and short 'E' sounds, it changes to a 'Y' sound from English. So, γυναίκα (woman) is phonetically this (using English sounds): yee-NECK-uh. That is because the υ is pronounced as our English long-E sound (mEEt). So anything that would be our long-E or short-E after a gamma makes it an English 'Y' sound (as in Yellow).

So γ followed by η, υ, οι, αι, ε, ι, ει (and maybe more) is a 'Y' sound, as described above. For all the rest, it's a 'soft gh' sound, formed as described above.

September 2, 2016

Nice work with this description. :)

September 2, 2016


September 3, 2016

This is a really good explanation. Here, take a lingot.

September 2, 2016


September 3, 2016

Isn't the gamma produced with a ch-sound, like in the Scottish 'loch', but harder and with a slightly more 'gliding' tone? As a Dutch speaker, for me it's no problem pronunciating it, but I could imagine it is a bit harder for people that don't have that sound in their native language.

September 2, 2016

According to every source I can find, it is supposed to be /ɣ/, which is the voiced version of /χ/, or /ʝ/ before front vowels. Either there is a secret conspiracy of Greeks using /w/ when no linguists are listening, or whoever wrote the tips page that says 'ɣ like Woman' must have a very strange way of pronouncing the word 'woman'.

September 2, 2016

Haha to secret conspiracy. It is definitely NOT pronounced like woman - I suspect this may be an error in the tips because of the equivalent word in Greek "γυναίκα". I will request that this be changed. Either way, the audio is good / accurate in my opinion so possibly repeating that would be helpful.

September 2, 2016

I think it's due to the Greeks pronouncing "woman" as γούμαν (and "Washington" as Γουάσιγκτον and son on).

So they're projecting their non-native pronunciation of English /w/ onto their native gamma :)

September 4, 2016

Nowadays, "γ" is pronounced like a long version of the English "G," but without the tongue pressing on the palate.

September 2, 2016

Like Russian /x/ but voiced.

September 5, 2016

Have you ever heard of Manu Chao's song 'Me gustas tú'? This is exactly how gamma sounds before /u/, /a/, and /o/ sounds: like the /g/ in 'gustas' as pronounced by Manu!

At the same time, before /i/ sounds, it sounds like /yi/ (e.g. 'yin'), and before /e/ sounds, like /ye/ (e.g. 'yellow').

I hope this is helpful!

October 25, 2016

Γ, γ is pronounced like Y in YES before a Greek ε-sound: ε, αι OR before a Greek ι-sound: ι, η, υ, ει, οι

otherwise like the French R

listen to Γ in εγώ

and the French R in erreur

Finally the pronounciation of Γ has very little to do with the English W. Greeks explain how w is pronounced transcribing W as "ΓΟΥ" (Γουντ/ Wood)

January 4, 2017

"Γ" is pronounced like "w" in "window".

However, it is pronounced as "y" in "yard" when it stands before "ε", "η", "ι" and "υ".

Note that "γκ" and "γγ" are pronounced like "g" in "garden".

I hope that this helps. :-)

September 2, 2016

Is that a Northern Greek thing, pronouncing 'Γ' as 'w'? I've never actually been to Northern Greece, and I generally pronounce Γ like the Dutch g, like in 'αυγά'. That's sort of strange to hear.

September 2, 2016

I usually pronounce "g" in Dutch like the Greek "χ" (or a very soft German "ch").

I haven't been many times to southern Greece, but in Thessaloniki (where I live), we always pronounce it as "w" in "woman". :-)

September 2, 2016

That's really weird. Awori, auwo.

September 2, 2016

No, it's not pronounced /awori/! I think that we Greeks tend to forget that the /w/ sound contains a slight /u/ in it, as in the word 'window'. The gamma, however, does not.

October 25, 2016

I'm going to disagree with you here. I wouldn't describe it as a 'w' at all, but like AminataV, I've never been to northern Greece, so it might be different up there. The English equivalent is more a soft 'g' or a 'y'. Although, I can't remember noticing that anyone from the north pronounces it like a 'w' either.

September 2, 2016

My mother tongue is German. For me the Greek Γ is maybe the most difficult letter to pronounce. Not the "γ" in words like γιαγιά, but the "γ" for example in γάλα. It's a phone we don't have in German. A bit like our "g", but much softer.

February 22, 2017

In cases like "γάλα", it's more or less pronounced like the German "r" the way it is pronounced in Northern Germany -- think of the word "raten", or "retten" (or think of the French "r" in words like "rapport" and "regarder").

February 23, 2017

[deactivated user]

    It's a voiced version of the gh in "ugh".

    It's my favorite phone <3

    April 14, 2017

    i actually did it thanks so mch bro!:)

    June 23, 2017
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