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Asked • 05/24/19

Ghamma before epsilon-like sounds: exceptions?

One real steadfast rule all new learners to Modern Greek are given is, γ before an ε-like sound (ε, αι, οι, υ, κτλ) takes on a y-like sound, like the word yes. Are there any common exceptions to that rule? I've been listening to some sound files of educational language learning for immigrants to Greece, Greek language learning materials for non-Greek speakers for use in Greece. Some speakers seem to make γ sound like a mix of y and gh in almost all environments, whatever the following vowel. Others seem to make certain exceptions, such as pronouncing Γερμανία with a hard gh sound rather than a soft y sound. The texts don't seem to point out any exceptions, but listening very carefully to the sounds, it just seems that the speakers do say some words contrary to the rule. These are materials produced in Athens, seemingly by Athenians, their printed biographies don't say, and I'd have no way to knowing. Apart from the usual rule, are there dialectical difference Greek speakers have with the standard γ rule? Is this just something to be learned on a case by case basis?

1 Expert Answer


Niovi D. answered • 03/17/20

5 (2)

Native Greek Speaker who grew up bilingual, lived 10+ years in Greece

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