ancient greek alphabet by Backintohell

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The Alphabet

  Greek      Letter     Roman      Sample                       Rules of Orthography
 Character   Name      Character   Word                          and Pronunciation

  ?—^        alpha        A        ^kvosmlt
                                                The Greek alphabet consists of 24 characters — 17
   @—_       beta         B        _^o_^olt     consonants and 7 vowels. You will recognize many
                                                of these letters, as the Roman alphabet that English
   E—d       gamma        G        do^ce        uses is a “descendant” of its Greek predecessor.
                                                Other characters will seem quite strange. Most of
                                                the lowercase characters resemble their uppercase
   B—a       delta        D        aejlt
                                                counterparts (e.g., I h), but some require a little
                                                more imagination (e.g., E d). To complicate matters,
   C—b       epsilon      E        bvklt        ancient manuscripts and archaeological inscriptions
                                                reveal some variations. There are 2 versions, for
   X—w       zeta         Z        wslk         example, of the uppercase xi, sigma, and omega,
                                                though the first form in each pair is most common:
   F—e       eta          É        eus
                                                      Xi             Ξ   H
   W—v       theta        TH       vb^qolk            Sigma          Q   %
                                                      Omega          Ω   T
   G—f       iota          I       fuvrt
                                                You will also notice that there are 2 lowercase forms
   I—h       kappa                              of sigma. Both appear in great abundance and
                          K        horpq^iilt
                                                must be learned together. The first form (p) is used
                                                at the beginning and in the middle of words; the
   J—i       lambda        L       i^_rofkvlt   second form (t) is used at the end of words.

  K—j        mu           M        jlrpfhe            pbfpjlt       seismos      “earthquake”

   L—k       nu           N        krjce        The gamma (E d) — when followed by another
                                                gamma, kappa, xi, or chi — should be written “n.”
  Ξ.H — g    xi           X        gbklt
                                                      ^ddbilt       angelos      “messenger”
  M—l        omicron      O        lcv^ijlt           ^k^dhe        ananke       “necessity”
                                                      profdg        syrinx       “shepherd’s pipe”
                                                      prdurpft      synchysis    “overthrow”
  N—m        pi           P        mro
                                                Ancient Greek employed an accent system based on
   P—o       rho         R(H)      <eqso        pitch: acute (á), grave (à), and circumflex (â). A
                                                proper study of ancient Greek requires a careful
 Q.% — p.t   sigma         S       plcf^        understanding of these accents, but for our
                                                purposes, these marks have been omitted. The only
   R—q       tau          T        qbuke        other symbol we need to observe is the breathing
                                                mark — a symbol that appears over a vowel (or “r”)
   S—r       upsilon     U/Y       Âaso         at the beginning of a word: either soft/smooth (¨) or
                                                hard/rough (≠). The soft breathing mark can be
                                                ignored, but the rough breathing mark signifies an
  D—c        phi           F       cske
                                                “h” sound.
   V—u       chi          CH       uolklt             √`            [ops]        “eye”
                                                      ƒo^           [hora]       “hour”
  A—`        psi          PS       `rue
                                                This introduction will omit soft breathing marks.
 Ω .T — s    omega        Ó        shb^klt

Alphabetic History

                    Middle Eastern Pictographs

    Egyptian Hieroglyphics             Mesopotamian Cuneiform

                                                 Phoenician “Alphabet”

                                    Hebrew Alphabet              Greek Alphabet

                                                                         Etruscan Alphabet

                                                                                   Roman Alphabet
The Ancient Greek Alphabet • Practice
A. Decipher the following Greek words and names.

 BASICS                GODS                   MYTHS         AUTHORS                PLACES              NUMBERS
 uosj^                 ‘Fo^                   Ibo_bolt      ?oufjbaet              Qm^oq^              °k (jlklt)
 cske                  ?colafqe               B^fa^ilt      ?ofpqlqbiet            @^_risk             arl
 jlrpfhe               Bflkrplt               V^osk         ‘Mjeolt                Crosme              qobft , qof^
 <eqso                 ?⁄aet                  Noljevbrt     Nrv^dlo^t              ?pf^                qbpp^obt
 hsjøaf^               ‘Cojet                 Marppbrt      Q^mcs                  Ilofkvlt            mbkqb
 aejlho^qf^            ‘Fc^fpqlt              Mfafmlrt      Ni^qsk                 Rolf^               °g
 qo^døaf^              ?mliisk                Nekbilme      Kbk^kaolt              We_^f               °mq^
 vb^qolk               Nlpbfask               ?ufiibrt      ?ofpqlc^ket            ‘Psje               lhqs
 _^o_^olt              ?veke                  ‘Fo^hiet      Qlclhiet               Gq^if^              bkkb^
 u^pj^                 Xbrt                   ?kqfdlke      Crofmfaet              ?vek^f              abh^
 shb^klt               ?oet                   ?fkbf^t       Qsho^qet               ]‘Cii^t             °h^qlk
 ao^hsk                Bejeqeo                Nbopbrt       Cmfhlrolt              Lb^mlift            ufiflf
 i^_rofkvlt            ?oqbjft                Qcfdg         ‘Gmmlho^qet            ‘?kseo              jroflf

B. Match these Greek words in meaning with their Latin counterparts (below). Hint: use your knowledge of
English derivatives from these Greek words to bridge the “culture gap.”


  1. ........ kfh^bf              10. ........ cfilt         19. ........ drk^fhbt            28. ........ m^qeo
  2. ........ ^kvosmlt            11. ........ eus           20. ........ do^cbf              29. ........ cske
  3. ........ ^oue                12. ........ dbosk         21. ........ ^hlrbf              30. ........ m^t (m^k)
  4. ........ m^fabt              13. ........ mlift         22. ........ cl_bf               31. ........ jbd^t
  5. ........ ^ddbilt             14. ........ hofqet        23. ........ ^ofpqlt             32. ........ j^holt
  6. ........ hibmqet             15. ........ ^dlo^         24. ........ brt                 33. ........ jfholt
  7. ........ k^rqet              16. ........ k^rt          25. ........ jbplt               34. ........ aejlt
  8. ........ mlifqet             17. ........ ‘^fj^         26. ........ h^ilt               35. ........ cri^hbt
  9. ........ ibsk                18. ........ mlfeqet       27. ........ jeqeo               36. ........ vb^bf


  a.   all,
 every                  j.   fears                 s.   man,
human                ab.   sailor
  b.   beautiful                   k.    friend                t.   marketplace               ac.   ship
  c.   best                         l.   good,
 well          u.    messenger                 ad.   short
  d.   blood                       m.    great,
 large        v.    middle                    ae.   sound,
  e.   children                    n.    guards,
sentries     w.    mother                    af.   thief
  f.   citizen                     o.    hears,
listens       x.    old
man                   ag.   watches,
  g.   city                        p.    judge                y.    people                    ah.   wins,
  h.   echo                        q.    lion                 z.    poet                      ai.   women
  i.   father                      r.    long                aa.    rule,
empire              aj.   writes

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