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Learning Greek Alphabets Made Easy

Updated on April 18, 2014

The Greek script did go through evolution. The vowels were added by modifying unimportant letters. In the primitive stage Greek script was written right to left. Later it changed to Boustrophedon. The interesting fact about Boustrophedon Greek script is the direction which changes in every line. With the change of direction the shape of alphabets is also horizontally flipped also called “laterally inverted” or “mirror image”. Eventually left to right writing became de-facto method. These alphabets are almost 2500 years old but they are still used in Greece or Greek communities around the world. Learning Greek Alphabets never goes in vain because they are used in mathematics, astronomy, science and engineering and many travelling books also use Greek alphabets.

Alpha beta Gamma Delta Epsilon Zeta

Learning Greek Alphabets is interesting most of the alphabets are already being used in technical terms or day to day speech. There are 24 Greek Alphabets. Fun fact is the word “Alphabet” is combination of first two Greek letters Alpha and Beta. Similar to English alphabets ABCDE Greek alphabets are called ABGDE Alpha Beta Gamma Delta and Epsilon. The sixth letter is a surprise as it starts with Z the last alphabet of English “Zeta.” Because of its sixth position in Greek alphabets Zeta is also used in astronomy. It represents sixth biggest star in a constellation Taurus and star is named Zeta Tauri after the sixth Greek alphabet. Congratulations you have already learned the first six Greek Alphabets.

Eta Theta Iota:

The next three rhymes Eta, Theta and Iota. There are only 4 alphabets which end on “ta” including zeta and they are all come together which makes it easier to learn. People familiar with physics may also have used Theta. Iota also reminds of the phrase “not one iota” which means not even a little bit.

Kappa Lambda Mu and Nu

The next Kappa represented by a K is a famous one it is used in chemistry to show compressibility of a compound. It is used in biology to represent a sub type of antibody and it is employed in statistic for calculation of inter-rater reliability. Then comes Lambda some might recognize it from the science fictional world of Star wars where Lambda-class shuttle was a transport vehicle others might have heard it being used in gay right organizations like Lambda Legal and Lambda literary award. The symbol is widely used in photography, physics and math etc. Moving forward we have mu and nu which are easier because they are brief they rhyme and they are similar to M and N of English.

Now those who have been reading carefully must have learned more than half of the alphabets. It is time to get more involved in learning because some difficult alphabets are coming.

The stylish Greek Symbols are used in Mathematics, chemistry, physics and other. Some like wearing them as a charm in lockets and bracelets. In your opinion which is most fancy symbol?

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Xi and Omicron

The next one is called Xi but it is not like Ze of Zeta instead it is like ks of Box. Fifteenth letter Omicron is easy to pronounce and it is already being used as micro meaning small. The relationship of micro meaning small and mega meaning big is common, this relationship can be seen in Greek alphabets where O-micron comes much before O-mega. Another way of remembering Omicron is its use in astronomy where it is used for 15th star in any constellation group for example Omicron Ceti, Omicron Andromedae and Omicron Persie.

Time for Pi:

The symbol and name of pi in mathematics is well known to everyone who stayed awake in math class. The symbol is like a pillared gateway. Its value in is 3.14. The recent Oscar winning movie life of Pi has made this 16th letter hard to forget. Pi was also the secret code of Pharaoh’s gold tablet in movie Night at Museum.

Rho Sigma Tau and Upsilon:

Just like English alphabets R S T and U in Greek alphabets are also in a row. The next one is called rho but written as P. So in Greek letters P is R. It is a fact English speakers must deal with. Sigma is a familiar name and an even familiar symbol for MS Office Excel users where capital sigma “Σ” is a toolbar icon representing sum. For those who have confusion in letter and its pronunciation can use a trick say that I see E but I say ESS. Tau or Taf is simply represented by T. The symbol of Upsilon in big caps is Y which makes it confusing but in lower case it is much similar to u which brings us back on track. The name was originally U but to make it more clear “Psilon” was added which means simple. That makes meaning of Upsilon “Simple U.”

Phinally Phi chi psi:

The symbol is like an I inserting an O “Φ”. Interestingly it makes the same sound like a ball being punctured by a stick. Chi is represented by X and is easier to remember with its rhyming neighbors. Psi with a unique trident shape is tricky in pronunciation because p is not silent rather it is said in a subtle tone like Tips.

Omega

A famous phrase “from Alpha to Omega” is a fancy manner of saying “from beginning to end”. This phrase has its meaning in the fact that Alpha and Omega are first and last letters of Greek Alphabets.

Which of these commonly used phrases helped you learn Greek Alphabets?

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