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It's all Greek to me!

When most of us consider the Greek alphabet it takes us back to schooldays where strange symbols used to crop up in Mathematics and Science lessons! Personally, I can remember coming face to face with 'Pi' on more than one occasion. Here we will take a look at the Greek alphabet, the sounds of the letters and then move on to reading and understanding a typical taverna menu. Hopefully, after this brief introduction you will be able to read, write and speak your first few words of the Greek language.

The Alphabet:

The alphabet consists of twenty-four characters that have been around since  the 8th century BC. The Greek alphabet has also evolved into many other alphabets used in Europe and the Middle East, including the Latin alphabet. In addition to being used for writing Modern Greek, its letters are also used as names of stars and many other purposes.

Let's take a look at the modern alphabet and discuss each character in turn:

Αα Alpha Sounds as an 'a' in cat
Ββ Beta Hard 'b' consonant as in bat
Γγ Gamma Hard 'g' consonant as in grape
Δδ Delta Hard 'd' consonant is in dog
Εε Epsilon Short 'e' vowel as in egg
Ζζ Zeta Hard 'z' consonant as in zulu
Ηη Eta Long 'a' sound as in say
Θθ Theta Double 'th' consonant as in theme
Ιι Iota Can be a long or short vowel as in 'police' or hit
Κκ Kappa Hard 'k' consonant as in kick
Λλ Lambda Consonant 'l' as in lamb
Μμ Mu Consonant 'm' as in man
Νν Nu Consonant 'n' as in new
Ξξ Xi Hard 'x' consonant as in fax
Οο Omicron Short 'o' vowel as in box
ωπ Pi Hard 'p' consonant as in pea
Ρρ Rho Consanant 'r' as in river
Σσ Sigma Consonant 's' as in stream
Ττ Tau Hard consonant 't' as in tap
Υυ Upsilon Long vowel 'u' as in ruler
Φφ Phi Double consonant 'ph' as in phone
Χχ Chi Hard double consonant 'ch' as in chrome
Ψψ Psi Double consonant 'ps' as in psychic
Ωω Omega Long vowel 'o' as in over






























Once you have grasped the basics of the alphabet please try and read the following menu outside a Greek Islands Taverna:







ΣΤΙΦΑΔΟ = Stifado (Traditional Greek Stew - View Recipe)
ΓΙΟΥΒΕΤΣΙ = Giouvetsi (Lamb and Pasta casserole)
ΚΛΕΦΤΙΚΟ = Kleftiko (Slow braised Lamb)
ΧΟΙΡΙΝΗ = Hoirinh (Pork Chop)
ΨΑΡΟΝΕΦΡΙ = Psaronefri (Pork Fillet)
ΣΟΥΒΛΑΚΙ = Souvlaki (Grilled Pork on skewers)
ΠΑΙΔΑΚΙΑ = Paidakia (Grilled Lamb Chops)
ΓΥΡΟΣ = Gyros (Greek kebab in Pita bread)