Where Some Ideas Are Stranger Than Others...
Originally this key consisted of thirty to sixty pages of names with an attempted phonetic spelling given for each one. However, this has been abandoned for two reasons. One, the listing was almost completely impossible to manage. Two, unless every reader was a linguist and agreed on a specific phonetic alphabet, the phonetic spellings simply wouldn't say the same thing to everyone. So instead, a series of letter and sound equivalencies are given below. The main things to remember are that 'a' is never a diphthong, such as the vowel sounds of 'said' or 'may,' instead it is close to the first vowel sound in 'father' in most English dialects.
For the most part all consonants act in the same way as in most English dialects when they are not silent. The main exceptions encountered here are:
kh/ch - aspirated ch, as in Bach
z - dz sound in ancient Greek
rh, th - aspirated sounds, h sound made audible after initial letter; if a word starts with 'rh' the h is sounded before the r
g - always hard
y - after b, f, g, or v indicates the same sound as initial y in yes
The vowels can be especially vexatious, because English orthography does not match up with English pronunciation (admittedly this is probably for the best). For those keeping track, as a rule Greek names are given in the Doric dialect, which tends to use more a's than e's, mainly to avoid the fact that Greek uses two different letters to represent e sounds, but English only one. Any two vowel combination not listed here should be pronounced as single vowels, one per syllable.
a - always the initial vowel sound in 'always' or 'father'
e - when sandwiched between consonants, the vowel sound in 'bed'; at the end of names the vowel sound in 'may,' but with a shorter duration (i.e. one second instead of three – seriously, try it)
i - the vowel sound in 'meet'
o - always short, as in 'pot'
u - the sort of 'u' sound heard in French tu
ae - like the vowel sound in 'vine'
ai - also like the vowel sound in 'vine' the rare times it occurs
au - the vowel sound in 'out'
ei - the vowel sound in 'may' with the usual length
eu - pronounced roughly like the word 'you' but again with a shorter duration than the word
ou - the vowel sound in 'shoot'
oi - the vowel sound in 'voice'