Greek Language Blog

Greek diphthongs: pronunciation Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Pronunciation, Vocabulary

Some learners find it difficult to pronounce the Greek diphthongs. In this post, there are examples on the pronunciation of the diphthongs ει, οι and αι. They are pronounced as one sound unless the first letter is stressed or if there are two dots or one stress and two dots over the second vowel.

ει (pronounced as ea in mean)

ειρήνη: peace

είδηση: news

είπα: I said

ξενοδοχείο: hotel

βιβλιοπωλείο: bookshop

ανθοπωλείο: flower shop

ζαχαροπλαστείο: pastry shop

νοσοκομείο: hospital

οι (pronounced as ea in mean)

οικονομία: economy

οικολόγος: ecologist

οικογένεια: family

κάτοικος: resident

φοιτητής: student

υπόλοιπο: rest

λοιπόν: so / well

μοίρα: destiny

Note the pronunciation of the diphthongs when they follow the consonants γ, κ and χ.


υπόγειος: underground

Μεσόγειος: Mediterranean

γείτονας: neighbor


κυνηγοί: hunters

πάγοι: ice (plural)

λόγοι: reasons


εκεί: there

κείμενο: text

φαρμακείο: pharmacy


κάτοικοι: residents

κοινωνία: society

κοιλάδα: valley


χείλος: lip / edge

χειρότερος: worse

χειμώνας: winter


στόχοι: goals

χοιρινό: pork

χοιρομέρι: ham

αι (e in elf)

παιδί: child

παίζω: to play

παιχνίδι: toy, game

αίμα: blood

ελαιώνας: olive grove

Αίγινα: Aegina

αίθουσα: hall


Αιγαίο: Aegean

πηγαίνω: to go

βγαίνω: to go out


και: and

καλοκαίρι: summer

καινούργιος: new


αρχαίος: ancient

χαιρετώ: to greet

τυχαίος: random

Note the pronunciation of the following words:

ρέικι: reiki

Μάιος: May

μαϊντανός: parsley

καΐκι: fishing boat

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.


  1. Charles Weager:

    Kalimera sas, ti kanete,
    Your blog is a very useful and important tool to someone like me where I don’t have classes that I can attend.
    However I was unable to get sound for the second part of your blog where yo are explaining the different sounds created by different combinations of dipthong. This starts at “oi (pronounced as ea in mean)”.
    I automatically assume tha I am doing something wrong can you help.
    i apologise that I haven’t set up a greek keyboard yet!

    • Ourania:

      @Charles Weager Καλημέρα Charles,
      Thank you for your comment. I am glad you find the blog useful!
      I don’t know what the problem is but I have contacted our team and hopefully they will find a solution to the problem.

    • Transparent Language:

      @Charles Weager Hey Charles! Sorry for the audio errors. We’ve uploaded them again and though the play button looks different now, you should be able to play them all just fine. Let us know if you run into any other trouble. Happy learning! 🙂