Greek Consonants – Classification

Most greek consonants can be divided into three classes, labial, dental and palatal. Each of these classes has plain, voiced, aspirated or fricative and a double consonant (doubled with σ) sounds. The following chart should illustrate the relationships between consonants:

Plain Voiced Aspirated Doubled with σ
Labial π β φ ψ
Dental τ δ θ ζ
Palatal κ γ χ ξ

For each row, any plain, voiced or aspirated sound combined with σ yields the doubled consonant. Originally, the aspirated consonants represented the plain sound plus a puff of air. Because of this relationship, when a plain sound is followed immediately by a rough breathing, it is written and pronounced aspirated. (i.e. -π’ + ἁ- yields -φ’ ἁ-)

This leaves the consonants ρ, λ, μ, ν and σ (and the rough breathing “h-“) which do not fall into the labial/dental/palatal classification system.


About George

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