Greek Alphabet: Lesson 3

We have the μπ to m(d) and ντ to (n)d combinations and the letters. We need to continue learning new letters and new words. Here’s the Greek word for here:

ΕΔΩ

There are two new letters for you here. The first one is the historical letter delta which got into Greek from Egyptian via the Phoenician alphabet. It also gives name to the Nile delta with the Mediterranean sea because it looked just like the Greek letter Δ to Greeks.

The thing is, this letter has changed over time and now it has the English TH sound and thus Δ is usually described as th and pronounced as thelta. The IPA of this is ð and you also have this thelta sound in the word this or then (for non-native English speakers: you make this sound by putting your tongue in-between your teeth, try pronouncing a mix of the sounds d and v).

Then the letter Ω is called omega as it is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. It is pronounced o just like the other Greek o letter. Greek has two letters for o because it is used pretty often and it helps distinguishing words from another words in writing even though they sound the same in speech.

That’s why the word for here ΕΔΩ is pronounced ethó. Have a look at how it would look lowercase:

εδώ

Practice the Greek letter Δ (or rather its lowercase equivalent δ). Start with writing the Greek word for right which is thexiá:

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Try writing the word for 10 which is théka:

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You have this word in the English word decade this is a period of ten years. Talking about omega, it’s used in the Greek words like up and down which are consequently páno or káto (up is the panorama and down is the cat... although the origins of the word panorama are actually pan+horama or view of everything instead of pano+horama which would be an up-view). What would those be:

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Right. Now, you know how there are two letters with the o sound: Οο and Ωω. As I have already explained, you need two because you need the writing to distinguish between different words where you don’t distinguish in speech. You also know the letter Ιι which is iota and it represents the sound i in bin.

Well, the thing is, this sound is pretty popular in Greek because there are at least two more letters that represent the sound i. Here’s the first one of them, called eta:

Ηη

Here’s the word for spot which uses the letter eta, the word is pronounced kilítha:

κηλίδα

This word uses both i and there is no effective way to transcribe those very well by using the Latin alphabet. Try a couple of words with this letter eta. For example, the word for funeral is kitheía (the second i being the usual iota ι while the first one is our eta η):

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The Greek word for a run or a scamper or something similar is pilála (with an eta):

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The Greek word for Electra (the Goddess) is Iléktra (with another eta). Write this:

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That’s how we have one iota Ιι and eta Ηη for the i sound. Meet another one of those letters for the i, the upsilon y:

Υυ

The capital upsilon Υ looks exactly like the English Υ but on the other hand the lowercase upsilon υ looks like an u or a v which might look a bit misleading to some people at first.

The Greek word for two which is thio uses the upsilon Y. Take a look at it upper and then lowercase:

ΔΥΟ δυο

Try writing the Greek word for below which is ipó with a the upsilon :

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The fact that the upsilon υ looks like a v sometimes helps us in pronouncing it because:

The upsilon υ is indeed pronounced like a v when it is in the combination αυ (which is then pronounced av or sometimes af) or ευ (which is pronounced ev or sometimes ef).

Try this with the word for tomorrow which is pronounced avrio and written aírio in Greek (with the first upsilon υ and the second a normal iota ι):

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Try the word for tidiness which is written eitaxía (with the first upsilon υ and the second a normal iota ι) and pronounced evtaxía:

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With this, we already have the new letters Δδ (thelta), Ηη (eta), Υυ (upsilon), Ωω (omega) or simply put δ, η, υ, ω which adds up to make α, δ, ε, η, ι, κ, λ, μ, ν, ξ, ο, π, ρ, τ, υ, ω. We also know the αυ and ευ as the av and ev combinations which makes it even more interesting. With these letters alone, we have at least 16 letters of the Greek alphabet and that is 2/3 of the whole alphabet.

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