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Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

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3 Unfamiliar letters

The Greek alphabet contains a few letters with no opposite number in English. An example would be the letter ‘psi’ (ψ, Ψ) which in English has to be represented by a combination of two letters, ‘p’ and ‘s’.

Activity 4 Letters with no English equivalent

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Using the table of letters seen earlier (here's the link to the downloadable version again: Alphabet Guide [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ), identify any Greek letters with no English equivalent.


Your list should include at least the consonants:

  • θ, Θ (theta)
  • φ, Φ (phi)
  • χ, Χ (chi)
  • ψ, Ψ (psi)

There are also two versions of ‘e’ and ‘o’, a short and a long:

  • ε, Ε (epsilon) and η, Η (eta)
  • ο, Ο (omicron) and ω, Ω (omega)

Omicron just means ‘little o’ (μικρος, mikros = small), while omega is ‘big o’ (μεγας, megas = large).

You might need to give these letters extra attention in the initial stages of learning the alphabet.