Lambda (λάμδα) might not be the most difficult Greek letter to pronounce, however, you may have noticed that native speakers often pronounce Lambda similarly to the Slavic digraph “LJ”. This usually occurs when Lambda is followed by the vowel Yota (Ιι) or the digraph Epsilon Yota (ΕΙ, ει) plus another vowel (e.g. λιώνω, τελειώνω). However, when Yota or Epsilon Yota have the accent mark on them, this pronunciation rule does not apply! (e.g. ηλίαση).
It is important to clarify that pronouncing Lambda and Yota in a clear way when followed by two vowels is not a mistake. But it distinguishes native from non-native speakers. Keep in mind that pronunciation varies depending on which part of the Greek speaking world you visit. For example, in northern Greece, Lambda is more pronounced and “heavy” than in southern Greece.
The best way to pronounce the Greek letter Lambda like a native speaker is by listening to modern Greek dialogues. In this video, you will hear sentences in which Lambda is sometimes pronounced similarly to the Slavic digraph “LJ”. Feel free to repeat these sentences after me.
Greek Lambda Pronunciation Examples
«Ο Ηλίας λιάζεται στο λιοπύρι. Ο ήλιος προκάλεσε ηλιακά εγκαύματα στον Ηλία.»
“Helias sunbathes in the blazing sun. The sun caused sun burns to Helias.”
«Η Λιάνα τέλειωσε με την δουλειά της και φεύγει σε λίγο. Εσύ πότε τελειώνεις;»
“Liana finished with work, and she is soon leaving. When are you leaving?”
«Στο λέω λιανά. Εσύ λιώνεις για μένα, όμως η σχέση μας τελείωσε.»
“I am telling you clearly. You melt for me (to melt for smb in Greek: to desire), but our relationship has ended.”
Notice how the pronunciation changes when Yota has the accent mark?
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In today’s Greek-English vlog, you are going to learn a number of Greek phrases and idioms that make no sense when translated into other languages. For example, can you guess what “you ate my ears” means in Greek?
Today’s Greek listening comprehension exercise (number 11) will be mentioning some confusing Greek verbs and phrasal verbs. An example the use of the Greek verb “to do” (κάνω) along with nouns such as “bike” (κάνω ποδήλατο).
Listening comprehension exercises are essential for improving your listening and speaking skills in a foreign language. They help you immerse yourself in the language, understand how native speakers converse in a natural way, and memorize helpful words and phrases that you can later use when speaking Greek or any other language you currently learn. Helinika created a new video series on YouTube called “Greek Listening Comprehension” that does exactly that.
What Are Helinika’s Listening Comprehension Videos?
Helinika’s instructor talks about a topic in Greek, providing you with Greek and English subtitles. Depending on your level, you either listen to the audio without paying attention to the subtitles, read only the Greek subtitles, or only the English subtitles. Since some of the words might be challenging even for proficient Greek speakers, the video script for each video will be uploaded here, on Helinika’s website.
Immersion is a language learning method, in which the student is exposed to the target language with little to no instructions in their mother tongue. The students learn the language like native speakers. Audiovisual elements and repetitions are used to help the students understand the context. In this video, the students are not given a list of colors and their translation. They listen and read phrases along with videos and images that can help them easily memorize the colors and other words that are used in the sentences. A big focus is given on the structure of the sentences.
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