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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.


Nice work with this description. :)




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'.


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.


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 :)


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!


Like Russian /x/ but voiced.


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 https://el.forvo.com/search/%ce%b5%ce%b3%cf%8e/

and the French R in erreur https://el.forvo.com/search/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)


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

[deactivated user]

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

    It's my favorite phone <3


    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.


    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").


    i actually did it thanks so mch bro!:)


    I know this is old but if anyone still needs it, γ kinda sounds like when people can't pronounce r, like the french r. If you still can't figure it out, think about yogurt. When you say "yo" the sounds you make are three; the first weird one, one that sounds like an i or e and the sound of o. The sound you want to achieve is the first one. Try saying that and then after repeating for a bit, drop your chin slightly and move your tongue to the back, just like when you say "woman". Now you should be able to replicate the sound of γ both in words like γιαγιά, γείτονας, γεύμα etc and words like γονείς, εγώ, γάντι etc.

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