Hallo, bonjour, hola, olá, ciao, 你好, こんにちは, 여보세요, привет, γεια σου, etc.
I want to have a more streamlined method of doing my "yesterday's statistics" section during the MoS, so from now on I'm just going to start off every post with an appropriate variation of the following (after the oppening hello line, and changed to whatever the actual stats are, of course; this is just for today, if I haven't made that excedingly clear already. I should just stop talking now):
And onto today's topic!
The True Greek Alphabet
I want to try and dispell some myths among English speakers about how the letters of the Greek alphabet (το ελληνικό αλφάβητο -- don't quote me on that; I asked Google Translate) are actually pronounced. I know I can't make everyone say them this way, but I can at least try to do something.
The reason English speakers butcher the names is twofold: a) the pronunciations are derrived from Ancient Greek, not Modern Greek, and b) the English language hates respecting other languages. I'm actually going to start with b).
First off, I'm totally on board with languages borrowing words from other languages and changing them to fit their own phonemics and phonotactics; it's a natural part of linguistic evolution. However, we don't just take the names of the letters; I would be perfectly fine with the pronunciations if we always wrote things like pi, tau, mu, and beta. However, when actually dealing with the letters in math and science, we tend to use the actual Greek letters themselves: π, τ, μ, and β. Do you see what I'm saying?
Now, onto a).
(This section is going to use the International Phonetic Alphabet, so you might want to either partially learn it or stop reading, since I'll use it in the future of this post as well. Also, I am likely getting some things wrong about the pronunciation of Ancient Greek, so if you know it, please do correct me.)
In Ancient Greek (AG), the names of the letters were pronounced somewhat more similarly to how we say them in English (EN). For example: AG μ μυ /my/ became EN μ mu /mju/; AG τ ταυ /taw/ became EN τ tau /tʰaw/; AG β βητα /beta/ became EN β beta /beɾə/; AG θ θητα /tʰeta/ became EN θ theta /θeɾə/; and AG υ υψιλον /ypsilon/ became EN υ upsilon
/ʌpsɪɫɑn/ or /jupsɪɫɑn/ or /upsɪɫɑn/ or /ʊpsɪɫɑn/.
However, the sounds did not just change in their transition from AG to EN; they also changed a lot in the transition from AG to Modern Greek (MG). In MG: μ μυ is /mi/; τ ταυ is /taf/; β βητα is /vita/; θ θητα is /θita/; and υ υψιλον is /ipsilon/.
I'd think the best source for how to actually pronounce Modern Greek letters would be a modern Greek person themself, no? So here's a video from one, a Greek alphabet song with correct pronunciation!
Sorry for the rant, but I suppose that's what I do.
I'll see you tomorrow! Thank you so much for reading (and hopefully watching that guy's video)!