Journal de bord

mardi 5 février 2013

Prononciation du grec ancien

[…] Below is a description of how these sounds correspond to the graphemes used today to represent ancient Greek, along with example words and a recording thereof. The examples are taken from Athenian and Hellenistic comedy, classical epigrams, ancient graffiti and the writings of a few bloviating moralizers. To show a different side of Ancient Greek, I have taken care to include lexical items and semantic ranges which the beginning or intermediate student is unlikely to learn from a Classics teacher.


- /a:/ as in στυγάνωρ /stygáːnoːr/ “man-hater, Amazon, disobedient wife”
- /a:/ as in ᾅδης /hâːdeːs/ “hell”
- /a/ as in τέτᾰνος /tétanos/ “tension, hard-on”
αι - /ai/ as in ἡταιρηκώς /heːtaireːkóːs/ “gay prostitute, rent-boy”
αυ - /aw/ as in προσαυλῶ /prosawlôː/ “to give a blowjob, to fellate”

β - /b/ as in κασαλβάς /kasalbás/ “hooker,”

γ - /g/ as in ἀγροῖκος /agrø̂ːkos/ “slut, easy lay”
γμ - /ŋm/ as in πρᾶγμα /prâːŋma/ “act, deed, thingy, dick”
γγ - /ŋg/ as in συγγίγνομαι /syŋgígnomai/ “to have sex”

δ - /d/ as in δέφω /dépʰoː/ “to jerk off”

ε - /e/ as in πέος /péos/ “cock, schlong”
ευ - /ew/, /ewː/ before a vowel as in ἐκμοχλεύω /ekmokʰléwːoː/ “to fuck the shit out of” (literally “to wedge open with a lever”)
ει - /eː ~ eːj/ before a vowel as in κιναιδεία /kinaidéːa/ “lust for young boys”; /i:/ in all other environments as in λείχοντες /líːkʰontes/ “men who eat pussy, muff-munchers”

ζ - /z/ at the beginning of a word; doubled as /zː/ in the middle of a word as in κασαλβάζω /kasalbázːoː/ “to whore out”

η - /eː/ as in σποδησιλαύρα /spodeːsiláwra/ “street-walker”
- /iː/as in χαμαιτύπῃ /kʰampaitýpiː/ “unto a whore”
ηυ - /iw/ as in ηὐρέθην /iwrétʰeːn/, and as /iwː/ before a vowel

θ - /tʰ/ as in ἄρθρα [ártʰr̊a] “joints, private parts”

- /iː/ as in φοινῑκίζω /pʰøːniːkízːoː/ “to eat pussy, to go down on”
- /i/ as in ἐγκολπίζω /eŋkolpízːoː/ “to take into one’s bosom”, “to insert into one’s vagina, to fuck oneself with” (with female subject), “to take it up the ass” (with male subject)
ι - /j/ in borrowings as in Ἰανουάριος /jaːnuáːrios/ “January” from lat. iānuārius

κ - /k/as in πορνοβοσκέω /pornoboskéoː/ “to waste money on hookers”

λ - /l/ as in κόλπος /kólpos/ “lap, gulf, crotch”

μ - /m/ as in μείγνυμι /míːgnymi/ “to mingle, to get laid”

ν - /n/ as in νεῦρον /nêwron/ “tendon, penis”.

ξ - /ks/ as in ξύλον /ksýlon/ “wood” (in both the literal and figurative sense)

ο - /o/ as in σκατός /skatós/ “shit”
ου -/uː/ normally as in ἀναισχυντογράφος /anaiskʰyntográpʰos/ “one who writes obscene words”; also /w/ in foreign borrowings as in οὐαλεριος /walérios/ from lat. “Valerius”
οι - /øː ~ øɥ/ as in ὀιφῶ /øːpʰôː/ “to fuck” ; /yi/ in borrowings when used to render the Latin “qui-“ as in κοίντος /kyíntos/ “Quintus.”

π - /p/ as in κατάπυγον /katápyːgon/ “the middle finger” (used as an obscene gesture. Related to καταπύγων /katapýːgoːn/ “buttboy”)

ρ - /r/ as in κασωρίς /kasoːrís/ “call-girl”; pronounced as a voiceless [r̊] at the beginnings of words ῥ as the second element of a doubled -ρρ- [rr̊], and when preceded by θ, χ or φ as in ἀφροδισιάζω /apʰr̊odiːsiázːoː/ “to have sex with”

σ - /s/ normally as in σαύρα /sáwra/ “lizard, a long penis”; voiced [z] before μ, ν, β and δ as in the etymologically ironic λεσβιάζω /lezbiázːoː/ “to suck dick.”

τ - /t/ as in τρυπάω /tryːpáo:/ (also τρυπῶ) “to bore, to pierce, to fuck”

- /y:/ as in πῡγίζω /pyːgízːoː/ “to sodomize”
- /y/ as in κύσθος /kýstʰos/ “cunt”
υι - /yi/ as in ἄγυιος /áːgyios/ “weak-limbed, unable to get it up”

φ - /pʰ/ normally as in φλέβιππος [pʰlébippos] “horse-hung”; used to represent the fricative [f] in borrowings as in φοσσᾶτον /fosːâːton/ “ditch, trench, twat” from lat. fossātum

χ - /kʰ/ as in αἰσχρουργέω [aiskʰr̊uːrgéoː] “to masturbate.”

ψ - /ps/ as in ψωλοκοπῶ /psoːlokopôː/ with male object, “to turn someone turn on, to give someone a hardon.” note also the middle voice, ψωλοκοποῦμαι /psoːlokopûːmai/ “to get a boner.” (This verb is often found in brothel graffiti. I cannot possibly imagine why.)

ω - /oː/ as in λεωφόρος /leoːpʰóros/ “a woman who enjoys sex” (cause it was weird for women to like it too much)
- /oi/ as in ζῳον /zôion/ “animal, creature, penis” […]

The bLogicarian: “Pronouncing Ancient Greek: Food for Classics Students’ Thought.”

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