Greek Alphabet

Trying to come up with a picture for every letter of the greek alphabet, any ideas? Thanks

Check out: Mnemonic Image System for Letters and Sounds.

I’m Greek (born/raised).

In first grade we used to learn about symmetries of letters (there were also some mirror images of the letter that could be flipped and pasted into the correct ones,as a game) Also, the greek alphabet has only 24 letters, instead of 26 in the English alphabet. Our alphabet is highly symmetrical and easy to visualise. Thus, if you want an easier mnemonic, I recommend learning about symmetries like I was taught at age 6:

These 16 letters are symmetrical (left-right side,are the same in regard to y-axis):
Α, Δ, Η, Θ, Ι, Λ,
Μ, Ξ, Ο, Π, Τ, Υ,
Φ, Χ, Ψ, Ω

Also, these 11 letters are symmetrical (up-down, in regard to x-axis)
Β, Ε, Η, Θ, Ι, Κ, Ξ, Ο, Σ, Φ, Χ,

and these are mirror images, if both axis are inverted :
Ζ, Ν

The only 2 letters that have no axial symmetry is
Γ (γάμμα/Gamma) and
Ρ (ρο/Rho)

Τhese 7 letters are super-symmetric
Η, Θ, Ι, Ξ, Ο, Φ, Χ,
they can be inverted in either of any axis (x,y), and still remain the same.

As you notice, the English alphabet has only 4 supersymmetric letters
(Η, Ι, Ο, Χ ), which are already part of the Greek alphabet.

What is missing from the English alphabet is Θ, (θήτα/theta), Ξ (ξι/ks) and Φ (φι/phi)
So to make up for this, the diphthongs ‘th’, ‘ks’, ‘ph’ have to be used in
English words. (or ‘ch for χ)’

E.g 1. Well, ‘diphthong’, what a word… it contains both the φ/ph and θ/th sounds… In greek it’s much simpler : δίφθογγο. If the English had simple φ/ph and θ/th letters it would be much simpler: “diφθong”. The letter ‘h’ is superfluous, many times.
E.g.2: For the most commonly used English word: “The’ (3 letters),
in Greek this only requires 2 letters to make the exact same sound: ‘δε or ΔΕ’(in capitals):” (btw Δ/δέλτα does not sound like ‘delta’, but like ‘the-lta’ (as it sounds in the article ‘the’.) But if you want make the ‘delta’ sound the letters should read ‘ντέλτα’, not ‘δέλτα’. The ‘δ/Δ’, is different, it sounds like the sound in the article ‘the’ . But the greek diphthong ‘ντ=ν+τ, sounds exactly like the english letter ‘d/ D’. E.g. my name sounds like exactly like ‘Nodas’ (that’s why I transliterated that way), but in Greek it’s written ‘Νώντας’ in order to have the same sound. (it’s a shortcut from Ἐπαμεινώνδας/Epaminondas, an ancient Greek general who beat the Spartans).
Why ‘ω’ and not just ‘o’? Well, the ω/ο dichotomy is a different story. Greek has 2 different letters for the sound ‘O’. (ω/Ω and o/O). Funny enough, even with 2 letters only, you can even form a legit ancient greek word: ‘Ωό’, / ‘ωό’ , which means egg. (a round shape…easy to memorise)
Generally, Ω/ωμέγα/omega is the big ‘o’ (o-mega) and the Ο/όμικρον/ is the ‘small’/0-micron’. (you may remember those mega+micro words from SI measurements. )


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Old English used to have these letters:

θ = Þ
Δ = Ð

I think the language should have kept them. :slight_smile:

Example from about 1,000 years ago:

Ne wæs þæt forma sið, þæt he Hroþgares ham gesohte; næfre he on aldordagum ær ne siþðan heardran hæle, healðegnas fand!

“þæt” is the word “that”, spelled phonetically back then without needing the “th”.

I don’t know why φ gets transliterated into “ph” rather than “f”.

Edit: this forum post has a possible answer.

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