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The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the 8th century BC.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} It was derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet,<ref>The Development of the Greek Alphabet within the Chronology of the ANE (2009), Quote: "Naveh gives four major reasons why it is universally agreed that the Greek alphabet was developed from an early Phoenician alphabet.
1 According to Herodutous “the Phoenicians who came with Cadmus... brought into Hellas the alphabet, which had hitherto been unknown, as I think, to the Greeks.”
2 The Greek Letters, alpha, beta, gimmel have no meaning in Greek but the meaning of most of their Semitic equivalents is known. For example, ‘aleph’ means ‘ox’, ‘bet’ means ‘house’ and ‘gimmel’ means ‘throw stick’.
3 Early Greek letters are very similar and sometimes identical to the West Semitic letters.
4 The letter sequence between the Semitic and Greek alphabets is identical. (Naveh 1982)"</ref> and was the first alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants. It is the ancestor of the Latin and Cyrillic scripts.{{#invoke:Footnotes|sfn}} Apart from its use in writing the Greek language, in both its ancient and its modern forms, the Greek alphabet today also serves as a source of technical symbols and labels in many domains of mathematics, science and other fields.

In its classical and modern forms, the alphabet has 24 letters, ordered from alpha to omega. Like Latin and Cyrillic, Greek originally had only a single form of each letter; it developed the letter case distinction between upper-case and lower-case forms in parallel with Latin during the modern era.

Sound values and conventional transcriptions for some of the letters differ between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek usage, because the pronunciation of Greek has changed significantly between the 5th century BC and today. Modern and Ancient Greek use different diacritics. Polytonic orthography, which is used for Ancient Greek and sometimes for Modern Greek, has many diacritics, such as accent marks for pitch accent, the breathing marks for the presence and absence of the /h/ sound, and the iota subscript for the historical /i/ sound. In standard Modern Greek spelling, orthography has been simplified to the monotonic system, which uses only two diacritics: the acute accent and diaeresis.


Greek alphabet sections
Intro   Letters    History    Derived alphabets    Other uses    Glyph variants    Computer encodings    See also    References    Bibliography    External links   

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