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The Greek alphabet

(updated august 4, 2007)

For many years it was assumed that the oldest existing writing would be in Greek. It exists from around 800 years after the beginning of our era. The Greek alphabet originates from the same period. What stand out in this alphabet are the strange characters that are in it. It has 24 characters that people with a technical background will recognize as the characters are widely used, especially in physics.

Below are the characters of the Greek depicted together with their names and you can read about the pronunciation of the particular character.

àlfa a
vita / wita v
ghàmma Between 'g' and 'j'. When the character comes before something that's pronounced like a 'o', 'oe' or 'a' it sounds like a 'g' or a 'h'. It sounds like a 'j' if it comes before a 'i' or 'e'.
dhèlta dh (soft), like in 'This', 'There' en 'That'.
èpsilon 'e', a short 'e'.
zita z
íta ie, als in 'niet'
thíta th (sharp), like the English 'Thick'.
iòta ie, als 'íta'.
kàppa k. When before a 'i' or 'e' it sounds like 'kj'.
làmdha l
mi m
ni n
xi x
òmikron o, like in 'kop'.
pi p
ro r, a rolling 'r'.
sigma s
taf t
ípsilon ie, like 'íta' en 'iòta'.
fi f
chi soft g, like in the German 'Ich'.
psi ps
omèga o, like 'òmikron'