Historical Greek Sounds

Letters, Column        


Bringing to the earnest learner of Greek, whether at the beginning, advanced, or professional level, the authentic sounds of Greek.

The purpose of this site is to share works that:

  1. Describe the historical Greek sounds from Classical Attic to the present (Vol. I);
  2. Compare the sounds of “Koine” Greek and Modern Greek (Vol. I);
  3. Create an awareness of the ramifications of the Erasmian, “restored,” and other such artificial pronunciations of Greek (Vol. I); and
  4. Provide learning tools for reading, pronouncing, and comprehending Greek (Vol. II & Vol. III).


Are you interested in a cutting-edge online program in Biblical Greek? If you wish to study Greek for self-enrichment and college/seminary degree pathway options, click HERE. It would be an honor to serve as your BibleMesh instructor. Please visit  https://institute.biblemesh.com/philemon-zachariou  or contact  NTGreek@att.net

How relevant is Modern Greek to New Testament Greek? To see an example,

Click Here


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Here are THREE BOOKS ( Vol. I, Vol. II, Vol. III ) and SIX VIDEOS (see list below) designed for the learner of Greek and the professional who wishes to explore the HISTORICAL GREEK PRONUNCIATION (HGP)

3 Books



Book Description (from back cover)


This book invites you to see not only how Koine ought to be pronounced but also why. Rigorously investigating the history of Greek orthography and sounds from classical times to the present, the author places linguistic findings on one side of the scale and related historical events on the other. The result is a balance between the evidence of the historical Greek sounds in the Koine and pre-Koine times, and the political events that derailed those sounds as they were being transported through Europe’s Renaissance academia and replaced them with Erasmian. The book argues for a return to the historical Greek sounds now preserved in Neohellenic (Modern Greek) as a step toward mending the Erasmian dichotomy that rendered post-Koine Greek irrelevant to New Testament Greek studies. The goal is a holistic and diachronic application of the Hellenic language and literature to illume exegetically  the Greek text, as the New Testament contains numerous features that have close affinity with Neohellenic and should not be left unexplored. Concise, clear, and revealing, this book was written for the student and the scholar.

GREAT NEWS! Vol. I is being published!

BOOK COVERVol. I (above) is no longer available. The good news is that this book is now being published by Wipf & Stock Publishers under the title, Reading and Pronouncing Biblical Greek: Historical Pronunciation versus Erasmian. If you wish to be notified as soon as this book is in print, please contact me at NTGreek@att.net. Thank you! —Philemon Zachariou

“I am glad that you have written this book and I congratulate you. I am sure it is needed in America. I think, therefore, that your book ought to find a market and quite a few readers should profit from its fine presentation with excellent examples illustrating the discussion. This should prove an indispensable textbook for seminaries and colleges teaching NT Greek.” —Dr. Chrys C. Caragounis, professor of New Testament exegesis at Lund University, Sweden (author of The Development of Greek and the New Testament: Morphology, Syntax, Phonology, and Textual Transmission).


Vol. IIThis Workbook serves as a reading, writing, listening, and pronouncing guide to Biblical Greek as well as Neohellenic (Modern Greek). It may be used as supplementary material in a college course, homeschool setting, or self-directed study. It includes written exercises, tests, answer keys, and audiovisual drills and reading passages that are also on the CD. The exercises and sound files will prove helpful to those accustomed to other (non-Greek) methods of pronouncing Greek. VIDEO 2 is based on Vol. II.

To order Vol. II through AMAZON click HERE 

To order Vol. II through PAYPAL, forward $24 to NTGreek@att.net. FREE SHIPMENT within the continental US.

Outside of USA buyers, please add $15 (per book) for partial cost of shipment.  8.5” x 11” spiral-bound, 7 chapters, 79 pages. CD 16 files, 1.10 hrs.

“Dr. Zachariou’s … acoustically pleasing audio files make this book a valuable learning aid both to the beginning Greek student and to the established scholar who would like to switch from Erasmian pronunciation to an accurate Historical Greek Pronunciation.” —Dr. George Gunn, Shasta Bible College and Graduate School, Redding, California

“Your book is helpful and has good exercises. I am very impressed with your very clear and crisp recordings. I really appreciate them.” —Dr. Taylor Williams, San Antonio, Texas


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Grammar Essentials will benefit the mid-beginning and intermediate student of Greek as well as the advanced seminarian and can be used as a resource by the professional. An all-in-one grammar book, pronunciation guide, and workbook featuring transliterated exercises, verbal aspect, exegetical tips, and translational insights, Grammar Essentials is a select collection of lessons I have shared with learners of Greek over many years. A companion CD goes with select reading exercises.

To order Vol. III through AMAZON click HERE

To order Vol. III through PAYPALforward $29 to NTGreek@att.netFREE SHIPMENT within the continental US.

Outside of USA buyers, please add $18.00 (per book) for partial cost of shipment. 8.5″ x 11” spiral-bound, 15 chapters, 250 pages. CD 16 files, 28 minutes.

“I have learned a lot from Grammar Essentials, Vol III. I found the chapter material and charts organized in a way that can be easily memorized, and the patterns of word endings visually clear. I also enjoyed the fact that the pronunciation is consistent throughout the book. Of great value is the fact that New Testament Greek is not treated as a dead language or one that survives only in the New Testament and the classical writings but as a living language, with most New Testament words being used or understood in Modern Greek today. I also found it helpful to know that New Testament and Modern Greek share many similarities not only in terms of pronunciation alone, but also in terms of vocabulary, syntax, morphology, and general grammar.” —Jordan Rabideau, Canada

Special Article


This link takes you to the historical, linguistic, and scriptural evidence that addresses the question:

If Jesus used only Aramaic, why bother placing so much emphasis on the way Greek ought to be pronounced in the first place? If, on the other hand, we had evidence that Jesus himself spoke and taught in Greek, wouldn’t every Bible student wish to learn to utter Greek words the way Jesus would have uttered them?

6 Videos

VIDEO 1 (Original) Development of the historical Greek sounds (28:36 min.)

mqdefault-1-300x168This video has the best explanation of spurious diphthongs and why we don’t pronounce iota subscript that I have ever seen. It also does a great job with the historical pronunciation of the rough breather. Then there is the helpful connection between similar types of vowels. … I think this video is very helpful.” —Dr. John Schwandt, Director, Institute of Biblical Greek

“Immense gratitude to you … for the marvelously comprehensive and engaging presentation on  Greek pronunciation, enhanced by the valuable historic introduction. And excellent photography, typography, technology! I learned SO much from it and shall pass it on to our students.” —Dr. Edith Pennoyer Livermore, Loyola University, Chicago

VIDEO 1 (Abridged) Development of the historical Greek sounds (20:46 min.)

GREEK PRONUNCIATION (Historical Development - Revised) This video is an abridged version of the one above:

VIDEO 2  Alphabet, Sounds, Listening, Reading, Pronunciation (24:05 min.)

mqdefault-300x168“You have produced a very useful tool for introductory students. It is very clear, detailed, but not too long. Thanks.” —Dr. Bradley McLean, University of Toronto, Canada

“[T]his is a very useful video – indeed this is one I can pass on to students. I particularly liked the fact that you read out a passage at the end. All in all, a very useful resource.” —Dr. Chris Tilling, St. Mellitus College, England

“I watched [this video] several times to make sure I had it down.  I did not like the textbook way of pronouncing, so this was a blessing! I feel like I can read Greek quickly and naturally!” —Alexander Strickland

VIDEO 3  1 John — A Reading and Pronunciation Exercise using the entire First Epistle of John (35:04 min.)

The reading in this video is intentionally slow in the beginning, then progressively approximates conversational speed, all along allowing the reader to practice repeating the parts being read.

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What viewers of this video say:    “Finally, finally a real Greek speaks his tongue slowly and distinctly so students can learn. May God bless you for this gift, Sir!” … “Thank you so much for doing this!  I’ve learned a lot from this clip.” … “Wonderful reading of the text in a clear and precise voice!”

VIDEO 4  Reading and Pronunciation Tips (1.46 min.).

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A very short video with tips for reading Greek.



VIDEO 5   The Epistle to the Ephesians (40.30 min.)

EphesiansThis video, like Video 3, read at a slow-to-moderate speed, enables you to practice reading, listening, and pronouncing Greek using the Neohellenic (Modern Greek) pronunciation. Neohellenic preserves the historical sounds of Greek, so its pronunciation comes very close to the pronunciation of the Κοινή “koine” of the New Testament. The evidence of the historical Greek sounds, collectively referred to as the Historical Greek Pronunciation (HGP), is discussed in Vol. I (above).

VIDEO 6  The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed

A Greek pronunciation exercise using the statement of faith adhered to by Christians of all denominations. The Nicene Creed, ΤΟ ΠΙΣΤΕΥΩ “The I Believe,” was originally written in Nicaea in AD 325.


Other Books (English / Greek) —

A Captivating Biography


An eBook by the same author

The PROSELYTIZER (2011) — From Asia Minor to Crete, Greece. This book is the record of a man’s deeds, thoughts, and motives as he captured them with his pen first, as a refugee teenager, then as a worldly young man, later as a growing Christian, and finally as a minister of the gospel. This gripping account portrays an energetic young man in quest for meaning in life but who, in utter despair, turns suicidal. Miraculously spared from the “claws of Death,” he seeks God and becomes inwardly transformed. Eager to reach his fellow citizens with the message of Christ, he learns unconditional obedience to God as he witnesses divine intervention during business failures, poverty, war, captivity in a German concentration camp, mass execution, hardship, persecution by religious leaders and the authorities, false accusations of proselytizing with gifts and money, and repeated imprisonment for sharing the gospel. A legacy of faithful Christian service, this true story will touch you, encourage you, and uplift you. Foreword by Everett Stenhouse and Glen D. Cole.

Buyer’s review: “…This story begins with tragedy and yet is incredibly inspirational from start to finish. I will treasure this book … as one of the best books I have ever read. This book clearly shows the Holy Spirit’s powerful work in an ordinary man’s life by making his life extraordinary.” —Michael Isham

iPad, iPod touch, iPhone – iTunes click HERE.  Kindle, Mac, PC, etc.AMAZON click HERE.

For a hard copy through PAYPAL, please forward $10 to NTGreek@att.net  (FREE SHIPMENT within the continental US.) 20 chapters, 290 pages.

Book excerpts:


Contact the author at: NTGreek@att.net



Read the book shown above (The PROSELYTIZER) in Greek with the title Το ΑΠΑΓΟΡΕΥΜΕΝΟ ΒΙΒΛΙΟ: Η Ζωή μου Πριν και Μετά The FORBIDDEN BOOK: My Life Before and After

For a paperback copy, send a note to NTGreek@att.net.

Perfect binding, 5.5″ x 8.5″, 356 pages. (Published in 2018)

About the authorPZ1: Philemon “Phil” Zachariou graduated from high school in Greece and from a Bible school in England, and holds a B.A. and M.A. in applied linguistics and a Ph.D. in religious education. Retired, he writes and teaches Greek and English. During most of his career as an educator and public school administrator he taught, among other college subjects, Greek at California State University, the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Adult Education, and Capital Bible College. He currently teaches English at Northwest University, and New Testament Greek for BibleMesh Institute.