Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

4 ‘False friends’

A few Greek letters resembling English ones can be misleading at first. The letter ‘rho’ (ρ, Ρ), for instance, looks like an English ‘p’, whereas the ‘p’ sound in Greek is represented by the letter ‘pi’ (π, Π).

Activity 5 False friends

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Look at the Greek letters and note any which might be mistaken for English ones. Consider both lower case and capitals.


Your list might differ from the one presented here, but it probably includes some of the following letters:

  • γ (gamma)
  • ν (nu)
  • ρ (rho)
  • σ (sigma), but sigma at the end of a word (ς) looks more familiar
  • χ (chi)
  • ω (omega)

Perhaps you also identified these capitals:

  • Η (eta)
  • Ρ (rho, again)
  • Υ (upsilon)
  • X (chi, again)

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371