Just a query about the pronunciation of kappa. I've read that Cypriots tend to pronounce it as more of a 'ch' rather than a 'k'. Is this also the case for some mainland Greeks?
I ask because I use Forvo quite extensively to grab audio to use in a Memrise course I've created for myself. Every so often I'll come across pronunciations like this:
Which although they're from a guy in Katerini, very much use the 'ch' sound.
This contrasts with the more usual 'k' sound that I'm used to in words like this:
I guess what I'm really asking is whether the guy responsible for the two 'ch' pronunciations above is speaking with something of a regional accent, or whether there's some rule or subtlety to the pronunciation of kappa that I'm not quite getting?
As always, thanks in advance for any help! Sean
In Standard Modern Greek, κ can have two sounds. The normal k one (like in "cut") or a palatalized k (as in key) when κ is followed by ε,αι or any ι sound (οι,ει,η,υ,υι). In some southeastern islands, Crete and cyprus(?), that palatalized κ sounds like that 'ch' that you hear in the above forvo files. So, in these places, when κ is followed by an ε sound or an ι sound, it is pronounced as a 'ch' (a strong ch, where the tongue hits the palate, not the teeth)
I've personally heard κ being pronounced as τσ by Cretans. This is a pretty basic feature of the Cretan dialect. I don't think I've heard it anywhere else, but then again, that's just me. Maybe it's pronounced like that in other areas and I'm not aware of it (I have never been to Katerini either). xP
This is a phenomenon that cannot be met in Northern Greece. It is called in Greek τσιτακισμός. The most famous is the Cretan accent, but in Cyprus too. The Cretan and Cypriot κ are almost similar, but not the same, I think. The Cypriots use the tongue on the palate more than the Cretans. So it is "ch" for sure, but the Cypriot one is heavier. It is not so easy for a Greek living in Athens to imitate this sound. The most similar with the Cypriot pronunciation and accent I met is in Rhodes for instance. The Cretan one is easier. About the Cypriot dialect and pronunciation there are many information in wikipedia: https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%9A%CF%85%CF%80%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%AE_%CE%94%CE%B9%CE%AC%CE%BB%CE%B5%CE%BA%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%82_%CF%84%CE%B7%CF%82_%CE%95%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%B7%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AE%CF%82_%CE%93%CE%BB%CF%8E%CF%83%CF%83%CE%B1%CF%82
Personally, I don't think it's quite as hard as the 'th' in 'then' or 'than' - or certainly how I pronounce my THs in English anyway. I had a mixed upbringing - England, Ireland and Australia - so my natural accent and pronunciation is a bit all over the place. And unfortunately I think my En 'th' isn't quite an El δ ;-)
I would have never guessed the first guy was NOT from Crete! (Although, having been born in Katerini does not mean he hasn't acquired the cretan accent since ;) Although I can't claim to be able to recognise every regional Greek accent, or even most...) This accent is definitely distinct from the standard 'non-accent', if you will.
Compare with this from your second user's examples: κυστικός, where κ is followed by an 'ee' sound again. In this example the κ is still strong, despite the χ sound. This user's pronunciation is the one I (an Athenian) would recognise as standard.
The Katerini bloke sounds like a hairy Cretan dressed in all black walking down a country lane. It makes you think it's a prank. And the "Athenian from the Netherlands" has bonged it all up with his heavy NORTHERN Greek «λ» in εικονοκλαστικός (which was overpronounced and almost killed me). At least he's honest enough to admit his phonetic "peculiarities" when you take a look at his sophisticated profile.