pronunciation for mythical greek loan-word "Gigas?"

It’s used a lot in videogames, manga, and anime, dating back to Final Fantasy I using it for a kind of giant. The word originally comes from Greek mythology as another term for the gigantes.

When I was in grade school, me and my friends would often discuss Secret of Mana (originally titled Seiken Densetsu 2 in it’s Japanese release), another Square game like Final Fantasy. In it there are three boss-characters, elemental giants known as the Fire Gigas (actually the friendly earth-elemental Gnome in a corrupted form), Frost Gigas (Santa Claus in a corrupted form, and no I am not joking), and Thunder Gigas (not anyone’s corrupted form, IIRC).
I and most of my friends always assumed it was pronounced “gee-gess,” while a few pronounced it “JEE-gess.” I’m using g for a hard g, and j for the sound in “george.” Also capitalizing to show emphasis, where there’s any.

But I got to wondering, how would the Greeks have pronounced it? And what would people today consider correct?

The “g” would certainly be pronounced hard, as in “gram”. Or, for that matter, as in “gamma”, that being the Greek letter corresponding to our “g”.

For the vowels, I’m not as certain, but I’m pretty sure that “i” would be pronounced like our long “e”, like in “meet”. The “a” would be more or less how you would expect.

And “giga” might or might not be the full word: It might just be a root, with the grammatical suffix removed. In any event, the plural would not be formed just by adding an “s”, but by some other change of the ending.

Ah, thanks.

I’ve only seen gigas used as the singular form (one gigas, two ?). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pluralized form come up (which may be because, as stated before, most of my experience with the word comes from Japanese products, where it should be noted that Japanese doesn’t have plural forms, IIRC). On wikipedia’s article about the word’s greek origin, gigas seems to be the singular form, gigantes the plural.

But yeah, “giga” + s is a good way of describing how I always thought of pronouncing it. Wish I had thought of that in the OP, instead of my poor-man’s phonetics.

OK, that sounds reasonable. It’s Greek to me (the closest I know is Latin), but that looks like the sort of suffix transformation one would expect for a Greek singular and plural.

And if the sources you see this in are predominantly Japanese in origin, then in those contexts, it would probably be “one gigas, two gigas”. From what I understand, Japanese doesn’t have the singular-plural distinction.

Of course, too, there are no absolute rules where loanwords are concerned. It’s quite possible for a word to take its spelling from one language, but for its pronounciation to shift in its new language, or vice-versa. So the proper pronounciation in Japanese or English might be “Gijas”, for all I can say, Greek gamma notwithstanding.

For what it’s worth, the original Japanese pronunciation is the same as the giga in gigabyte.

Don’t forget this gigas.

I’m confused: is there a Japanese word with the same meaning as the Greek origin? In that case, holy convergent linguistic evolution, Batman!
Or is that just the natural pronunciation of the word in Japanese? In which case, why would English-speakers base their pronunciation on a Japanese mispronunciation?

>same as the giga in gigabyte

Which pronunciation of gigabyte? The soft g (like gigantic) that I learned studying physics? Or the hard g I learned from young clerks in electronics stores when computer hard drives started exceeding 1000 megabytes? There’s been at least one thread here about that debate.

Well, hard g, for two reasons:

1.) from a logical standpoint, if your using it as an example for pronunciation, hard g gigabyte is how the layman knows it.

2.) both giga (the measurement prefix) and gigas (the word for giant) come from a greek origin, incidentally greeks pronounced it hard g, as in gamma (as Chronos stated in the post you got that quote from).

PS. Seriously? The only time in my life that I’ve heard someone pronounce the giga prefix “jiga” was when I watch the Back to the Future movies with Doc Brown’s “1.21 Gigawatts!” Every physics and computer sciences teacher I’ve had said it with a hard g, every other person I’ve heard say it IRL says it hard g.

PPS. Incidentally, I live in the suburban sprawl outside Philly, PA that’s known as the Main Line, if that has any meaning. Most people round here have that generic “non-accent” American-English dialect many tv and radio personalities have.

Wouldn’t “g” in front of the vowel “i” (eta) be pronounced as “y”? So in Modern Greek, you’d get something like “YEE-guhss”?


<nitpick> The vowel “i” is iota, not eta. Eta (H,η) is pronounced “ay” </np>

Not in Modern Greek. Wasn’t sure if the OP was focused on Classical Greek or not.

ETA: Diomedes, I get you now. Iota is the first vowel in words like gigantes, correct?

Right on both counts, sorry for being both a little confused and confusing there.