How hard is it to learn the Greek alphabet? I shot this short, fun video introducing all twenty-four letters at the Polyglot Conference in Thessaloniki.
The truth is, you should never let a strange writing system put you off!
It’s true that completely different systems such as the Chinese present a challenge. It’s a challenge many have overcome with persistence and practice.
No such challenge faces you with Greek, though.
That’s because the Greek alphabet is just that: an alphabet.
Each letter represents a basic sound, just like our own, Latin alphabet. You just need to learn the sounds that go with each symbol and you’re away!
More than that, our Latin alphabet developed from an early form of the Greek alphabet.
As a result, some Greek letters are the same as ours (though there are one or two false friends as well).
The same is true of the Cyrillic alphabet, forms of which are used to write Russian, Serbian and Bulgarian, among other languages.
Greek has other letters, such as pi (π) or sigma (Σ) that you’ll probably already know from mathematics.
You’ll need to practise, especially to get used to those letters that have quite different lower and upper case symbols. We focus on upper case in the video, but here’s the full run in both:
Upper Case: Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω
Lower Case: α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω
You can learn this beautiful, evocative alphabet in an afternoon.
You should do so right at the beginning of your Greek language journey.
Check out the vid! Listen to the names of the letters and then, if you’re on for Greek, arm yourself with a good phrase book or intro textbook and get stuck in…. Once you’ve “liked” and subscribed to the Howtogetfluent YouTube channel, that is 🙂 !