MATH & Greek Alphabet

by Olesya Ilinskaya, Moscow, Russian Federation

EERco Volunteer, MACs AUTUMN Pr., EVS e+ | Alexandreia, GR

As a mathematician I use a lot of Greek letters: in statistics, econometrics, in school geometry also. Even when the physics starts in school we begin to use these letters for designation of different physical parameters. That is maybe because Greek was used widely for publishing scientific discoveries during the European Renaissance (15th century).

When I came to Greece I noticed that a pronunciation of these letters is different! In these article I would like to show you examples of these difference. The second letter in a Greek alphabet (as well as the second part of the word <<alphabet>>) β is pronounced like <<veeta>>, but for an angle measure, for instance, we say <<beta>>.

When I firstly came across this pronunciation I was really surprised, but in a while I remembered that even in Russian we pronounce <<alfaveet>>. In mathematical analysis we use Δ for designation of increment and we pronounce this <<delta>> while in a Greek alphabet is <<thelta>>.

First yeah physics starts in schools students are introduced to a coefficient of efficiency which is indicated by the letter η. Physics say <<eta>>, but it is <<eeta>> in Greek. The same with θ which is <<theta>> in trigonometry or statistics and <<theeta>> here.

Letters μ (<<mee>>) and ν (<<nee>>) are transformed into <<mu>> and <<nu>> respectively. The last one I wanted to notice concerns the letter that mathematics use to denote time: τ, <<taf>> in Greek, but <<tau>> in a science.

We have also different ways of putting stress in the letter ω. Whether it is <<Omega>> or <<omEga>> depends on a person speaking. But it is not so entertaining, the ways of emphasize surnames are also varying.

So, that is all I wanted to say here, hope you liked it!


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