Koine Greek: Alphabet - WikiChristian

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Koine Greek: Alphabet

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Greek Alphabet
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The Koine Greek alphabet consists of 24 letters. All Greek was originally written in upper case, without spaces between words, and without added punctuation. Today, however, most texts are written in lower case, with punctuation and spaces between words.

Alphabet

Below is a table showing the letters.

Letter name Lower Case Upper Case Transliteration Pronunciation
alpha α Α a father
beta β Β b beta, spanish b/v
gamma γ Γ g gamma, =gh
delta δ Δ d delta, =dh
epsilon ε Ε e epsilon
zêta ζ Ζ z zêta
êta η Η ê or ē obey
thêta θ Θ th thêta
iota ι Ι i
kappa κ Κ k kappa
lambda λ Λ l or L lambda
mu μ Μ m mu
nu ν Ν n nu
xi ξ Ξ ks axiom
omicron ο Ο o omicron
pi π Π p pi
rho ρ Ρ r rho
sigma σ / ς Σ s sigma
tau τ Τ t tau
upsilon υ Υ u sometimes y French u
phi φ Φ ph father
chi χ Χ ch
psi ψ Ψ ps
omega ω Ω ô or ō obey

Diphthongs

Diphthong Pronunciation
ΑΙ 'ai' as in aisle
ΕΙ 'ei' as in freight (identical to 'Η')
ΟΙ 'oi' as in oil
ΑΥ 'ow' as in sow
ΟΥ 'oo' as in fool
ΥΙ 'ooe' as in gooey
ΕΥ *


* 'ευ' is both difficult and controversial. Some evidence suggests that is was pronounced 'ew' (as in "Ew, that's gross!") or simply 'yu'. What has been taught for ages, however, is 'eh-oo', a sound not present in English.

There are also versions of several vowels with a small iota underneath (or beside in the case of capitols): ᾼ ᾳ, ῌ ῃ, ῼ ῳ. It is believed that these represent ancient diphthongs, but the pronunciation is not altered in the time of any Greek writing we can know.

We have chosen not to include ι-subscripts on WikiChristian, partly because most browsers display them incorrectly.

Accents

Three possible accents can be put on Greek vowels: the acute ´, the grave (pronounces 'grahv') ` and the circumflex. The circumflex should appear as an upside crescent over the vowel, but some fonts use the caron (^) or even the tilde (~). It is thought the these different symbols represented rising and falling pitch, like modern Chinese, but by the time of our literature, they only indicate accent or stress.

  • ἀρχῇ - ar
  • λόγος - logos

Over the initial syllable of a word that begins with a vowel, there will always be either a rough () or a smooth () breathing sign. Rough means a 'h' sound and smooth means the lack of extra sound. A 'Ρ' (Rho) in the initial position also takes a breathing sign, typically the rough. How precisely this altered pronunciation is not known.

We also do not include accents here on WikiChristian, since it would make searches extremely difficult, and also, because most browsers don't render them correctly.

Punctuation

This article is a stub. You can help WikiChristian by expanding it. For help please read the WikiChristian Tutorial and our writing guide.

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