While learning Greek, you might face one problem - a shortage of resources and materials. There is a particular shortage of accessible materials on phonetics. At Skype-Language.com lessons our tutor of Greekis going to spend a substantial amount of time on your Greek pronunciation. But how can you achieve the result on your own, without your teacher’s monitoring?
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOUNDS
First of all, it is necessary to hear the difference between the sounds given by the letters and groups of letters.
(δ – ντ), (θ – τ, φ), (β – δ), (β – μπ), (β – φ), (γ – γκ), (ζ – σ), (ε – η), (ο – ου).
Let us take the pair (δ – ντ): “δ” gives the dental sound [D] that does not exist in Russian, “ντ” gives the hard sound [d]. In the beginning it will be difficult for a learner of Greek to hear and pronounce [D]. It might be replaced by the more familiar [d].
Some Greek and Russian textbooks, for example, «Ελληνικά Α’», offer a series of exercises for identifying sounds. The learners need to complete words with letters after listening to an audio file recorded by a native speaker. Such exercises are specifically designed for the learner to hear and remember the difference between the unfamiliar (that do not exist in his or her mother tongue) and familiar sounds.
You can make such exercises yourself. All you need is use a Greek dictionary and select words with the sounds that are difficult to hear. You are recommended to work in pairs as you can read and guess the sounds in turns. Pairwork also allows you to test your own pronunciation – if your partner has some difficulty in identifying a sound, you need to work on your pronunciation harder.
If you cannot find a partner, record your voice. We are not aware of many pronunciation defects until we analyze our own speech more objectively.
The practice of Greek pronunciation is closely connected with language immersion. It is necessary to listen to Greek speech as often as possible. If you have a certain level of Greek, you can watch + listen to Greek television:
Or you can simply stream short videos on YouTube.
THE USE OF GREEK SONGS
At the beginning stage of learning Greek the best option is songs. It is quite convenient to listen to the Greek radio online via RadioSure which can record the singles. You simply enter ‘Greece’ in the programme, and it will offer you various Greek radio stations.
Anyway, if you rely only on listening, there is a possibility of misinterpreting the sounds you hear or memorizing them incorrectly. Therefore, it is better to use both an audio and a text.
Here is the site where you can find the lyrics of almost any song - http://www.stixoi.info/, sometimes translations into Russian are available.
We also recommend a good website to download Greek music - http://www.ellinadiko.com/ (you have to sign in).
You could try to copy your favourite Greek singers. If you want to succeed, you should not be shy.
But if you are convinced that you do not have any talent for singing, you can practise your pronunciation with the help of dialogues. For instance, here is a good textbook based on dialogues “Conversational Greek in Dialogues” by A. B. Borisova. The approach to working with these dialogues could be as follows: listening without the text, then listening with the text and reading to yourself, and the most important stage – acting out loudly.
Good luck with your Greek pronunciation!
The online teachers of Greek are also happy to help!