Q: Re: Pronunciation of the Greek diphthong "ei" and (vs.) the Greek letter "eta"

Robert E. Wermuth robertewermuth at worldnet.att.net
Thu Jan 9 11:34:44 EST 2003

For the higher scholars on the list-- I've always wondered (but never had
the opportunity to ask all at once so many qualified academicians) why
most of the Greek professors I've ever been acquainted with (and even most
grammars)seem to teach the pronunciation of the Greek diphthong "ei" as
carrying the same sound as found in the English word "freight" (i.e., a
longer "a" sound), and thereby giving it an identical sound as the Greek
letter "eta". In my teaching, I always thought this set up an immediate
mental confusion for the beginning Greek student, since both the Greek
"ei" dipthong and the Greek "eta" occur in verbal endings (particularly),
and since avoidance of the potential confusion (when memorizing endings)
is easily avoided by teaching the "ei" diphthong as being sounded out as
in the English word "height" (a long "i") sound rather than the long "a"
sound of "freight."

Any reason for NOT teaching the pronunciation of the Greek diphthong "ei"
as sounded in the English "height?"

Thank you for your response(s),
Robert Wermuth
robertewermuth at worldnet.att.net

More information about the B-Greek mailing list