HOME
        TheInfoList






Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B (/b/) was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V (/v/) instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in modern Greek has become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would be for ancient Greek. The word Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.[1]

Traditional English renderings of Greek names originated from Roman systems established in antiquity. The Roman alphabet itself was a form of the Cumaean alphabet derived from the Euboean script that valued Χ as /ks/ and Η as /h/ and used variant forms of Λ and Σ that became L and S.[2] When this script was used to write the classical Greek alphabet, ⟨κ⟩ was replaced with ⟨c⟩, ⟨αι⟩ and ⟨οι⟩ became ⟨æ⟩ and ⟨œ⟩, and ⟨ει⟩ and ⟨ου⟩ were simplified to ⟨i⟩ (more rarely—corresponding to an earlier pronunciation—⟨e⟩) and ⟨u⟩. Aspirated consonants like ⟨θ⟩, ⟨φ⟩, initial-⟨ρ⟩, and ⟨χ⟩ simply wrote out the sound: ⟨th⟩, ⟨ph⟩, ⟨rh⟩, and ⟨ch⟩. Because English orthography has changed so much from the original Greek, modern scholarly transliteration now usually renders ⟨κ⟩ as ⟨k⟩ and the diphthongs ⟨αι, οι, ει, ου⟩ as ⟨ai, oi, ei, ou⟩.[3] Modern scholars also increasingly render ⟨χ⟩ as ⟨kh⟩.[citation needed]

The sounds of Modern Greek have diverged from both those of Ancient Greek and their descendant letters in English and other languages. This led to a variety of romanizations for names and placenames in the 19th and 20th century. The Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT) issued its system in cooperation with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1983. This system was adopted (with minor modifications) by the United Nations' Fifth Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names at Montreal in 1987,[4][5] by the United Kingdom's Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use (PCGN) and by the United States' Board on Geographic Names (BGN) in 1996,[6] and by the ISO itself in 1997.[5][7] Romanization of names for official purposes (as with passports and identity cards) were required to use the ELOT system within Greece until 2011, when a legal decision permitted Greeks to use irregular forms[8] (such as "Demetrios" for Δημήτριος) provided that official identification and documents also list the standard forms (as, for example, "Demetrios OR Dimitrios").[9] Other romanization systems still encountered are the BGN/PCGN's earlier 1962 system[5][10] and the system employed by the American Library Association and the United States' Library of Congress.[3]

"Greeklish" has also spread within Greece itself, owing to the rapid spread of digital telephony from cultures using the Latin alphabet. Since Greek typefaces and fonts are not always supported or robust, Greek email and chatting has adopted a variety of formats for rendering Greek and Greek shorthand using Latin letters. Examples include "8elo" and "thelw" for θέλω, "3ava" for ξανά, and "yuxi" for ψυχή.

There are many archaic forms and local variants of the Greek alphabet. Beta, for example, might appear as round Β or pointed Greek Beta 16.svg throughout Greece but is also found in the forms Greek Beta 12.svg (at Gortyn), Greek Beta 01.svg and Greek Beta 10.svg (Thera), Greek Beta 03.svg (Argos), Greek Beta 05.svg (Melos), Greek Beta Corinth 1.svg (Corinth), Greek Beta Byzantium 1.svg (Megara and Byzantium), and even Greek Gamma C-shaped.svgThere are many archaic forms and local variants of the Greek alphabet. Beta, for example, might appear as round Β or pointed Greek Beta 16.svg throughout Greece but is also found in the forms Greek Beta 12.svg (at Gortyn), Greek Beta 01.svg and Greek Beta 10.svg (Thera), Greek Beta 03.svg (Argos), Greek Beta 05.svg (Melos), Greek Beta Corinth 1.svg (Corinth), Greek Beta Byzantium 1.svg (Megara and Byzantium), and even Greek Gamma C-shaped.svg (Cyclades).[16] Well into the modern period, classical and medieval Greek was also set using a wide array of ligatures, symbols combining or abbreviating various sets of letters, such as those included in Claude Garamond's 16th-century grecs du roi. For the most part, such variants—as ϖ and Greek Pi archaic.svg for π, ϛ for στ, and ϗ for και—are just silently emended to their standard forms and transliterated accordingly. Letters with no equivalent in the classical Greek alphabet such as heta (Ͱ & ͱ), meanwhile, usually take their nearest English equivalent (in this case, h) but are too uncommon to be listed in formal transliteration schemes.

Uncommon Greek letters which have been given formal romanizations include:

Uncommon letters
Greek ISOUncommon Greek letters which have been given formal romanizations include:

Normal Exit PeriodicService.php