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The Greek Alphabet
Greek Letter Αα Ββ Γγ Δδ Εε Ζζ Ηη Θθ Ιι Κκ Λλ Μμ
Ancient Sound a b g d e z e th i k l m
Modern Sound (a) (v) (γ) (δ) (e) (z) (i) (Θ) (ι) (κ) (l) (m)
Greek Letter Nν Ξξ Οο Ππ Ρρ Σσς Ττ Υυ Φφ Χχ Ψψ Ωω
Ancient Sound n ks, x o p r, rh s t u, y ph kh, ch ps o
Modern Sound (n) (ks) (o) (p) (r) (s, z) (t) (i) (f) (x) (ps) (o)
You will need to know the alphabet well before you look at the Greek films.
Sounds you should know: μπ sounds like "B"
β sounds like "B"
ντ sounds like "D"
γγ sounds like "NG"
Handwriting varies from one person to another.; Greek handwriting is no exception. The chart below shows standard schoolbook handwriting. The handwriting of your relatives or of 19th-century officials will vary somewhat.
Greek Alphabet Conversion Applications
There are several Greek typing applications that will allow you to type a word in English as it converts your text to the Greek alphabet. An example of one is Type Greek Letters. It shows the keyboard in Greek, so you can compare it to your keyboard as you type. As you type the text will appear in Greek letters. In this illustration, the name Ioannis Georgios Kallikakis now appears in Greek, and we can look for his name in Greek records more easily.
Transliterating Greek Text
There are also Greek transliterating applications that allow you to type or paste text written in Greek letters and convert it to Latin letters. Here I have pasted a term I found in a file description in the Greek National Archives. After I paste it, clicking the Latin button (the letters we normally use are the Latin alphabet), will transliterate the text (change the letters without translating the word into English):
Greek Genealogical Word Lists
Most materials used in Greek research are written in Greek. However, you do not need to speak or read Greek to research Greek records. You will need to know the Greek alphabet and some 'key words and phrases to understand the records.
- This simple word list features the a short list of key terms. You should learn to recognize these.
- Other words will be used on a "look it up when you come to it" basis. For this, more thorough word lists can be found at :
Many of the records of the Catholic church are also in Latin and Italian, and some military records during the period of King Otto are in German. Use the following to help with reading these records:
When possible, use Google Chrome as your browser. When you right click, the pop-up menu offers a "Translate to English" option. A small pop-up box in the top right corner will offer the same option.
Finally, I can paste my new Greek-turned-into-Latin text into Google Translate.