Pay Attention to Accents When Learning Greek

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It’s true that memorizing words and learning grammatical concepts is an important part of learning a language. However, if you want to be good at speaking, it’s about so much more than that. You need to work on your pronunciation skills, as well. Anyone can become decent at learning how to pronounce the words, but if you want to sound as close to a native Greek speaker as possible, it might take some extra effort to learn the pronunciation.

The number one thing you need to pay attention to is how the words are accented. If you do nothing else to study Greek pronunciation, this should be your priority. Here’s more information:

Understand How the Words Are Accented

While learning Greek vocabulary words, you may notice that there is usually an accent mark over one of the syllables. One mistake people make when they are initially learning the Greek language is that they may not pay a lot of attention to this accent symbol. Usually, he “Greeklish” version won’t usually have the accented syllable obvious. Just take a glance at the Greek so you can see which syllable is accented.

In the “Greeklish” version of the word, I will write in all capital letters the syllable that needs to have the accent mark so that you can get a feel for it. While learning the words, make sure you also memorize how the word is accented. Here are some examples of common Greek words.

  • ο πατέρας – o patERas – the father
  • η μητέρα – i miTERa  – the mother
  • θέλω – THElo- I want
  • έχω – Eho – I have
  • ο καφές – o kaFES – the coffee
  • κόκκινος – KOkinos – red
  • το κρασί – to kraSI – wine

Not properly accenting the syllables will definitely tell others that you aren’t a native Greek speaker. It will also make people believe that you aren’t as good at the language as you could be. Learning how to speak with the accents in the right spot is important to help you gain a better understanding for how the language actually sounds.

In order to best learn this concept, you don’t really need to do anything more other than pay attention to the accent mark while learning vocabulary words. When you practice pronouncing the words, just pronounce them with the correctly accented syllables and this will easily become second-nature.


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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