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Mar 3, 2008

How to Remember Greek Letters

Mkat mentioned getting a Roman numerals cheat sheet on last Saturday's comments. That reminded me of my trouble with Greek letters. I can never seem to remember them in proper order. They are not as long and troublesome as the Greek God/Goddess names, but still are nuisances to me.

I stumbled upon this this article yesterday, and I found it very useful. Just want to share with you. Below is part of the article. I made a few small changes to fit it in my blog format. If you have your own home-made tricks, please let me know.

"The Greek alphabet starts with alpha, beta, gamma, delta.

A good way to memorize this part is that the letters are similar to the English alphabet. The first two letters you get from the word "alphabet" - "alpha" and "bet-a" To memorize the word "gamma" if you have ever taken a physics or chemistry course you can think of alpha, beta, and gamma rays being grouped together. Delta is also a physics term and like the English alphabet is the fourth letter and starts with a D.

The next set of letters is: epsilon, zeta, eta, theta.

Epsilon can be remembered because it is the fifth letter and starts with an "E" just like it is after the letter "D." The next words: zeta, eta, theta are easy to remember because they all rhyme.

The next set of words is: iota, kappa, lambda, Mu, Nu.

These letters also are similar to the English alphabet in that their first letters all come after each other like I, K, L, M, N. Besides the missing "J" letter all these letter follow the English alphabet. Mu and Nu also rhyme together.

The next set of letters is: Xi, Omicron, Pi, Rho, Sigma, Tau, Upsilon

This is fairly similar to the last grouping in that the first letters are in order without a "Q" letter. The Xi can be hard to remember and there isn't any clue that can help you. Some people have trouble remembering "Pi" and "Rho." I learned these two words from the word "pi-romaniac" This means a person who uses fire but it also has the letters "pi" and Rho in it so it is easy to remember the order and the name of the letter.

The final set of letters is: phi, chi, psi, omega.

The pronunciation is difficult and phonetically is sounds like this: ( fi ), ( ki ), ( si ) and omega.
The trick here is that phi, chi ,and si all rhyme together and omega is the last word of the alphabet."

3 comments:

ewjcted said...

The writer of this helpful posting might want to go back and refresh the posting with the correct spellings for gamma, kappa and lambda!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Ewjcted,
Thank you so much for pointing out the mistakes.

Mikey said...

Another way to remember the Greek alphabet is to have gone through almost any college fraternity "Hell Week" prior to 1970 or so. We had to be able to recite it both forward and backward, and were rewarded extra points (AKA less pain and embarrassment) for speed and diction.