Gamma When Combined with Palatals

So, the english word angel comes from the greek word ἄγγελος. I don’t see the letter nu, so where’d that “n” sound come from? Well, that’s what this post is about!

When γ is placed before a palatal (κ, γ, χ or ξ), it undergoes some sound modification. The intial γ takes on a nasal tone. This produces the following results:

Greek English Sound
γκ honk
γγ anger
γχ ng in angst + χ
γξ kinks

I guess that doesn’t explain why angel has a “j” sound rather than a hard “g”. Certainly, we don’t pronounce it the way the Greeks did!


About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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