the Greek letter combinations

Welcome to Act II of tonight's greek tragedy,

🏺 An ArisTOTLE MESS 🏛️

(okay learning how to read and write greek isn't really that dramatic, I just couldn't come up with better wordplay so this is what we're stuck with) 

Act I introduced us to the 24 main characters, which, engaging as they are, they're still to deliver some mischief and drama to the plot.

~ This is where Combinations come in. ~


What are the Combinations and why are they in this story?
Some combinations exist to create sounds that don't originally come up in the alphabet, like -d- in duck, or -g- in goose.
For the other, more qUirKy ones, I simply cannot answer.

They are divided in Vowel and Consonant Combinations.
The Vowel ones make the least sense (mainly philosophically, if you ask me), let’s have a look at them first.

this

& this

look
like this

sound
like this

like in

α

ι

αι

eh

egg

ε

ι

ει

ee

eel

υ

ι

υι

ee

eel

ο

ι

οι

ee

eel

this

& this

look
like this

sound
like this

like in

α

υ

αυ

av

lava

ε

υ

ευ

ev

devil

η

υ

ηυ

eev

weave

ο

υ

ου

oo

moose


As you can see, Vowel Combinations come in two flavours:
The +ι, and the +υ.

What I mean when I say that some combinations don't make sense philosophically is that some of them seem redundant or flat out strange:
- αι sounds like eh (egg) but the alphabet already has the letter ε
- ει, οι, υι sound exactly like η, ι and υ
- υ originally sounds like 'ee' but in a combination it mostly becomes a v (vote, van)


''I should've picked up Spanish instead''


Here are the Consonant Combos.

this

& this

look
like this

sound
like this

like in

μ

π

μπ

b

beluga

ν

τ

ντ

d

dad

γ

κ

γκ

g

gig

γ

γ

γγ

g

gig

τ

σ

τσ

ts*

pots

τ

ζ

τζ

tz*

waltz


* Greek doesn’t have the sounds -ch- (church), -j- (jam),
as well as -sh- (shisha).
Our closest equivalents are τσ, τζ, and σ respectively.

So, we have:
Chernobyl - Τσερνόμπιλ
Churchill - Τσώρτσιλ

Jamaica - Τζαμάικα
John - Τζόν

Sh
anghai - Σαγκάη
Sasha - Σάσα


When using combinations, there are some rules to keep in mind:

Combinations apply *only* the way you see them on the tables above.
αι, ει, ου are combinations,
ια, ιε, υο are not.

The accent always goes on the *second* letter.

παίζω, καλεί, αλλού, etc

Combinations break up and the letters are read individually when:
◦ the accent’s on the *first* letter

Μάιος, κορόιδο, κέικ (click for pronunciation)

◦ you see an 'umlaut' on the second letter

let’s just say that you can eat παϊδάκια but you can't eat παιδάκια.


At a first glance, combinations might seem overwhelming, but they appear everywhere, constantly, all the time. You see them so often that eventually, you don’t even think about them.
The very first verb you will need, the verb to be already has two combinations in it: είμαι

Act II has come to an end, and with it, all you need to know in order to read and write all the greek you'll ever come across.
Congratulations, happy greeking!

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