Ancient and Biblical Greek
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Why Learn Greek?

Many people learn Greek so that they can read the New Testament in its original language, without having to rely on other people's translations.  But why should even beginning students learn at least the Greek alphabet?  Even if you don't plan to become a biblical scholar, knowing the Greek alphabet is very helpful for basic biblical research: 

The Greek Alphabet:

Letter Name Lower Case Upper Case Transliteration Pronunciation and Notes
alpha α Α a long open sound as in "father" (not "hay")
beta β Β b  
gamma γ Γ g γγ (double gamma) is pronounced "ng" as in "angle"
delta δ Δ d  
epsilon ε Ε e short sound as in "bet" or "end"
zta ζ Ζ z  
ta η Η or ē long open sound as in "hey" (not "feed")
written with a bar over the letter in transliteration
thta θ Θ th throat-less sound as in "thin" (not "this")
iota ι Ι i short sound as in "sit" (not "white")
written without a dot over the Greek iota
kappa κ Κ k  
lambda λ Λ l  
mu μ Μ m  
nu ν Ν n  
xi ξ Ξ ks combined "k" and "s" sounds, as in "fox"
omicron ο Ο o short sound as in "box" or "off"
pi π Π p  
rho ρ Ρ r don't confuse this with the "pi"
sigma σ, ς Σ s regular σ at the start or middle of words;
terminal ς is used at the end of words
tau τ Τ t  
upsilon υ Υ u
(sometimes v or y)
short sound halfway between "put" and "pit"
[more like French "tu" or German "
phi φ Φ ph like the regular "f" sound in "photo"
chi χ Χ ch breathy sound as in "Bach" or "chasm" (not "church")
psi ψ Ψ ps combined "p" and "s" sounds
omega ω Ω or ō long sound as in "go"
written with a bar over the letter in transliteration

Notes:

Other Websites for Learning NT Greek:


Electronic New Testament Educational Resources

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This page was last updated on
April 2, 2016
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