Greek alphabet

The greek alphabet - Greek symbols, English alphabet equivalents and Greek pronunciation.

Greek alphabet

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Greek Alphabet [edit]

The Greek alphabet - Greek letters, symbols, English alphabet equivalents and Greek pronunciation

Ancient Greek culture, science and philosophy have all influenced the modern world. So has the Greek language. The Greek alphabet is thousands of years old. Letters and symbols from the Greek alphabet are all around us. The word 'alphabet' derives from the first two letters, alpha and beta. Some of the Greek letters you'll know as other word meanings or brand names. Many are not generally known to have Greek origin. There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. Some of the Greek letter names and symbols have become different icons like the pi sign (for the mathematical value 3.142) and mu the micro symbol (µ). Other Greek letters and symbols will be less familiar. There are three 'i' letter - eta, iota and upsilon - each with the similar 'ee' sound, from classical Greek origins now redundant. For the same reason, there are two identical sounding 'o' (as in box) letters - omicron and omega.


The Greek alphabet

Greek name of letterSymbolEnglish equivalentPronounciation
alphaΑaa as in smart
betaΒbv as in very
gammaΓgbetween y as in yes and g as in go, but with no hard 'g' sound - more of a soft 'h' followed by the 'y' sound in yes
deltaΔdth as in the 
epsilonΕee as in very
zetaΖzz as in zoo
etaΗeee as in bee
thetaΘthth as in think
iotaΙiee as in bee or i as in bitter or sit
kappaΚkk as in look
lamdaΛll as in log
muΜmm as in man
nuΝnn as in not
xiΞxx as in box
omicronΟoo as in box
piΠpp as in top, but softer and close to 'b'
rhoΡr, rha rolled r
sigmaΣss as in sap with a hint of sh as in sugar
tauΤtt as in lot, but softer and close to 'd'
upsilonΥusame as eta - ee as in bee
phiΦphph as in photo
chiΧkhch as in the scottish 'loch' but softer - not a hard sound
psiΨpsps as in upside
omegaΩMlike omicron - o as in box - or longer 'o' sound like the vowel sound in oar

Thanks for symbols Simon, and for pronunciation suggestions Pan. Thanks also R Keys for other coding suggestions.

Please note that as with most languages pronunciation varies according to regional dialect. Similarly, as with other languages, many of these Greek sounds can only be reliably produced by natural and fluent Greek-speaking people. Also, there will be some variation between the ancient Greek pronunciation and modern Greek language. The above is just a guide to pronunciation. The main purpose of this page is to identify and describe the many Greek letters that have entered the English language.

See also