THE MODERN GREEK ALPHABET and HOW TO GET THE GREEK KEYBOARD
Before you do anything else you should bookmark this and refer to it often.
Welcome to Duolingo!
Hints on how to learn the Modern Greek Alphabet & how to find the letters on your keyboard.
First, let's see HOW TO GET THE GREEK KEYBOARD
Use this to see the layout of the Modern Greek keyboard:
THE GREEK ALPHABET
PART 1 The Greek alphabet can seem daunting at first but there are ways to make it easier. Remember you don't have to do it all at once. So, let's get started:
Note that each letter also has a name. That makes it easier to talk about so when we talk about Α we say alpha or Κ kappa etc.
There are 24 letters (and a few little extras to learn but just a few).
Thirteen of the letters will look familiar to you. (they may not always be pronounced the same as the English)
Here they are A, B, E, H, I, K, M, N, O, T, X, Y, Z AND They are typed on the same key on the qwerty keyboard.
Let's see the pronunciation: A ΑΛΦΑ Alpha as in father, alphabet ...and it never changes. (Unlike Eng. where we have "father" or "apple" the sound of the vowels in Greek do not vary).
B ΒΗΤΑ Veeta This is really strange because it is VEETA ...V just as in vase. vegetable, very...
E ΕΨΙΛΟΝ Epsilon "eh" just like "pet, yet", ... and it never changes.
H HTA Eeta "ee" just like in "see, me, knee*... and it never changes
I ΙΩΤΑ IOTA "ee" just like in "see, me, knee"... and it never changes. Yes, the same as H** but wait there are more.
K ΚΑΠΠΑ Kappa/Kapa "k" as in cow, corn, camera...
M ΜΥ Mee as in mother, milk, ...
Ν ΝΥ Nee as in North, November...
O ΟΜΙΚΡΟΝ Omicron as in Organ, oatmeal.... and it never changes
T ΤΑΥ Taf as in Table, travel.....
X XEI This is a strange one. It sounds like h in have, hamburger, how.... not like the English letter it resembles.
Y ΥΨΙΛΟΝ Ypsilon "ee" just like in "see, me, knee**... and it never changes Yes, just like H,Ι, and wait there are more.
Ζ ΖΗΤΑ Zeeta and it sounds like zoo, zipper....
Ok, there are thirteen (13) letters to get you started. More than half the Alphabet.
Remember * Η-η, Ι-ι and Υ-υ have the same pronunciation (''ee'')
A, K, M, N, O, T, and Z are exactly like the English.
Ok, B is really odd, so is X. :-(
PART 2 Now that we have seen more than half the Greek alphabet let's go on.
Here are 8 strange looking ones...BUT they sound just like some English ones.
Θ ΘΗΤΑ THEETA sounds likε TH in the...found on U
Φ ΦΕ/ FEE This is just F as in friend, find, forever... found on F
Λ ΛΑΜΔΑ LAMBDA L/ as in lemon, level, language... found on L
Π ΠΕΙ PEE as in Pp popular, people, pencil... found on F**
Ρ ΡΩ Rr Sorry about this one it looks like another English letter but it really is the Rr sound as in row, remember, rhapsody, really.... found on R
Ξ ΞΙ sounds just like English x as in FAX found on J
These two are a little difficult to pronounce:
Γ γ ΓΑΜΜΑ / "g" as in "game" or "y" as in "yes" Found on G
Δ δ ΔΕΛΤΑ / th as in "then" Found on D
So, now the 3 really odd letters:
Ξ ΞΕΙ KSEE /X as in extra, fox, xylophone... Found on J
Ψ ΨΕΙ PSEE as in liPStick, hiPSter, Found on C
Ω ΟΜΕΓΑ Omega which is just another o sound like the O OMIKRON we had above. Same sound: orange, oval.... ****Found on V
Those are the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet.
Here are the extras:
Sigma has two different types in the lower case.
When it is at the beginning of or inside the word it is written σ but
when it is at the end of a word it is written as ς this can be found on W**
Diphthongs Two vowels with one sound:
ΑΙ αι = sounds like E-ε as pet
ΕΙ ει = sounds like Η-η, Ι-ι, Υ-υ, Οι, Υι as sEE
ΟΙ οι = sounds just like Η-η, Ι-ι, Υ-υ sEE
ΥΙ υι = sounds just like Η-η, Ι-ι, Υ-υ or like sEE
ΑΥ αυ= sounds like “av” or “af”
ΕΥ ευ= sounds like “ev” or “ef”
ΟΥ ου = sounds like "ou" as in "soup".
Double consonants two consonants with one sound
ΜΠ μπ = sounds like b
ΝΤ ντ = sounds like d (or nt more on that later)
ΓΚ γκ = sounds like g
ΓΓ γγ = sound like ng
ΤΣ τσ = sounds like ts
ΤΖ τζ = sounds like tz
Before we go on to accents and other interesting stuff remember:
Αll these are pronounced the same...EE as in SEE, BEE
Η-η, Ι-ι and Υ-υ as well as Οι, Ει, and Υι
How to add the accent.
On the Greek keyboard first type the key on the right of the Λ (L) (the semicolon :/;) you will not see anything, then type the letter you want the accent on. On a mobile just hold the letter for an extra second or two and there will appear a variety of that letter with accents. Slide up to the one you want.
Modern Greek has only ONE accent, that is placed above the accented vowels, and it looks like this: ά,έ, ή, ί, ό, ύ, ώ. The accent goes on one of the three last syllables. Accents help you stress the right syllable. E.g. “βιβλίο” (veevLEEo), ''μιλώ'' (meeLO) etc.
On a diphthong, the accent goes on the second vowel. E.g. δουλεύω
If the whole word is in capitals then only the first letter can have an accent. E.g ΌΧΙ but it can also be used with no accent-- ΟΧΙ (Ohee), but ΕΣΥ (eSEE).
Right Alt + tonos (simultaneously) + υ/ι.
Punctuation Marks The Period, or full stop, the comma, and the exclamation mark are the same as English. --- .,!
The Greek QUESTION MARK looks just like the English semicolon; and can be found on the Q when you are on the Greek keyboard.
The diaeresis -> διαλυτικά (which look like an "umlaut" but serve another purpose) this looks like two dots on a vowel...and it tells us that that vowel is pronounced individually and not with the other vowel next to it which might make it a diphthong. For example: "Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης."
Only Greek Ιι and Υυ γιώτα και το ύψιλον take a diaresis/διαλυτικά
HOW TO TYPE THE DIAERSIS->ΔΙΑΛΥΤΙΚΆ type and hold "SHIFT" + "; /SEMICOLON" then type the letter you want.....
HOW TO PRONOUNCE THE ALPHABET AND MORE
The format of the course is determined by the Duolingo Administration for each course. Greek and some other courses requires you to access your Greek keyboard on your device...and that's pretty easy.
But also there is no reason to memorize the new keyboard just use the info on this site to find the letter you want. You will note that over half the letters are the same as English.
Sooo... people that only have a public library computer to learn on, and thus don't have the admin permissions needed to install a keyboard, are just plain out of luck then? I know courses like Russian and Ukrainian were ordered by Duolingo themselves to add latin-alphabet answers specifically because of this accessibility requirement that courses must be completable with nothing but a standard US-Eng keyboard... I'm not sure how Greek was allowed to remove the existing "Greeklish" answers without at least adding an on-screen keyboard (which I just checked, and Ukrainian also seems to lack one
Eυχαριστώ. This is very helpful to noobs like me. I will try to learn the Greek language on the Duolingo, because I learn a lot with the lessons and the forums. Having the knowledge of the Greek language gives me the advantage when thinking of words in the English language, because I notice a lot of the language influence. Thank you for the information on the diphthongs and pronunciation because the Greek language has many interesting vowels and sounds. I learn a lot today on the Greek language. By the way... how do you say, "I ate a burrito on the toilet and it was dripping with sauces into the bowl?" I'm not sure if the Duolingo analysts have that here.
Accents: It must be irritating when everyone asks the same questions - and here I go. Once I learn how I will make sure the info sticks! I have managed to install and on screen keyboard for Windows 10 desktop and managed to have the Greek keyboard on screen. Great and it 'works'. And I read here about how to get accents: "On the Greek keyboard first type the key on the right of the Λ (L) (the semicolon :/;) you will not see anything, then type the letter you want the accent on." That works if I use my physical keyboard - but then I have to work out which letters correspond to which Greek characters. If I use the onscreen keyboard and press the semi colon I get .... a semi colon and I have tried combinations of Cntr, Alt, Shift etc with no luck. Is ther a way to access the accents on the on-screen keyboard, or should I give up and stick to my phone or accept I will keep being told to pay attention to the accents!
The Greek used in the Bible is the Koine Greek it is not the same as Ancient Greek and much closer to Modern Greek which we teach here. There are some differences in pronunciation otherwise the Koine and Modern Greek alphabets are the same.
We have had many people take the Duolingo Modern Greek course to help them with Koine Greek. Also, you will find many resources on the internet (including some good youtube videos) for Koine Greek.
Many letters in the Greek alphabet are similar to those in the Latin alphabet, particularly the upper case letters. Each letter here has a pronunciation guide.
If however, you are referring to the accents used to show which syllable in a word is stressed as here =>"μαμά" then you will find it in this link.
Please let us know if that's helpful.
Let me say that I would strongly recommend you not skimp on alphabet learning. When I started learning Hebrew three years ago, I spent the first two weeks just on the alphabet, so I could go into the actual language already being able to read many things. It's a skill you will use over and over again in your language study, so get it right the first time around!
Don't get mad at me; I'm just making a suggestion.
Maybe the fact that there are so many, repetitive comments about not knowing how to type Greek letters might cause Duo's developers to make improvements to the first introduction to Greek.
Instead of having to constantly post here and refer people to the articles, nip it in the bud and fix it at the source.
Just a thought.
As with English and many other languages, spelling is learned word by word. Just as you know that "you eat meat" but "you meet a friend". Or "You buy bread" but "You are by your friend." etc.
Use the Drop Down Hints as often as you need to learn to write each word. There are many repetitions so soon you'll be used to the spelling.
The program that grades the exercise only recognizes the Modern Greek (monotonic) keyboard. Any other form is either rejected or marked as a typo. And while the Unicode characters have the same appearance and meaning the program rejects them.
So, to avoid the typo message...but also having some words that are used both with and without an accent...(with, of course, a change of meaning)...rejected you'll need to use the keyboard.
You could report it:
I guess I didn't explain myself clearly. Monotonic and polytonic Greek (as well as many other languages which use diacritics) can be written with precomposed or decomposed characters, regardless of the method used to input them, for instance ά can be a single (precomposed) character or two characters, α + ́. Visually the result is the same, precomposed or decomposed ά, ᾶ, ᾷ, ῗ look the same. And an Unicode compliant application is supposed to consider both kinds of characters as equivalent.
But as you suggest, the best is to report the issue to people who are in charge of technical problems.
Thanks for your quick reply.
Hi Mujilen, Did you get a reply from the Tech Team on that? I have the same phenomenon (I hesitate to call it a problem) ; with my customised keyboard layout I can do precomposed accented vowels just fine, but so often it's only just after I've hit the letter key for a vowel that I remember I should have put the tonos on it, so it's handy to have an 'afterthought' accent key too, which produces a decomposed accented vowel (crudely put, it 'goes back' and adds the tonos on top of the letter to the left). This, after all, is exactly what we do when we write by hand, so it's quite intuitive.
I've found that coming back to these guides from time to time is great for learning. There are a number of words that are used for examples in this early guides that we just learn later in the course. Finding these words (as δουλεύω) as basic examples make it all progressively clearer and clearer :D
One suggestion I would like to make for this particular guide, is to use as well the lower case letters to stimulate the connection between the lower and the upper case. Since the exercises in the course do not have full caps-upper case words, it still is challenging for me to read the full words in upper case ¡I really like that tho! but maaaybe the very beginners when just starting could feel it a bit too-hard?
¿Is there a particular reason why Ξ - ξ is mentioned twice? I mean, from reading the whole guide it seemed to me as you were trying to refer to each letter once, except for that one.
Thank you for your careful and detailed comment.
I've found that coming back to these guides from time to time is great for learning
I'm glad to hear that, we knew there was an overload of information in this link and hoped it would be used as a reference.
to use as well the lower case letters to stimulate the connection between the lower and the upper case
We had considered doing that but thought it might add to the confusion, but have since come to agree with you. Or we could have made a further list including the lower case letters. So, a deep and sincere thanks for your suggestions. We are now, as you may have noted, preparing a new tree and will definitely include the lower case letters.
Is there a particular reason why Ξ - ξ is mentioned twice No, and I'm ashamed to say we didn't even notice it until you mentioned it.
Many thanks again, I can't tell you how helpful this, and all your comments have been. Now, I'm going to have a look at the New Tree to be sure we got it right. Looking forward to hearing from you again.
i use english keyboard just i added greek as a language and when i need to write in greek i just turn it to greek from the corner. when you study on a blank word document for a while you just memorise the places of greek latters as also most of them are the same like m r e s a k l... there are only few letters to memorise the places...
From the Tips at https://www.duolingo.com/skill/el/Warm-Up/tips-and-notes: "To use the accent mark : press the semicolon key and then the vowel."
This info about the diphthongs and double consonants must be on the tips and notes page coz this section is not in front view. I had to search duckduckgo about the combination bec I wanted to know the rules of ng and nk etc. The very first tips and notes should show everything about the basic diphths and combinations, they are necessary. I got the info about keyboard on when I came to basic 1 level, when I was already writing in greek.
A tips from me as a beginner as well. Duolingo is a great resource learning Greek. The moderators, our teachers are very helpfull and competent. But it is always good to use some more resources. One of them is "Learn Greek with Zoi" on you tube. She explains this very clearly
I had an idea to puts us together in one chat room in order to speed up our learning of Greek on the internet, it will help us to practice our greek knowledge with each other Join me on Paltalk. Hey! Come chat with me on Paltalk! It's totally free video chat. My username is FranciscoS38 https://invite.paltalk.net/Ndu8tkrKdhb
The correct pronunciation is as shown here. You can check other sources and listen to native speakers at:
If you scroll down this page you will see many resources.
Btw what is the name of your book? I'm curious since I've never seen a suggestion to pronunciation.."τζ" a suggestion as "dz".
Thank you . I haven't seen the book but have asked the team for feedback. I know it will seem odd but the Pocket Oxford Greek Dictionary has let us down many times.
for a list of references... most are online so no expense involved.
Be sure to check out the audio site with native Greek speakers. forvo.com
As O.Zoe has pointed out the IPA gives the symbol dz for τζ butwe should not be mislead into thinking that the sound is "dz".
As Foundalis points out it's like chips. Some English words use τζ to create τζάζ = jazz, Τζαμάικα. = Jamaica I think these real life examples are more informative than theory. Τζέντλεμαν=gentleman,. Τζένιφερ= Jennifer .
I hope they are helpful.