Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by sarina. sarina Wonders, “Who created the alphabet?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, sarina!

A, B, C, D, E, F, G…OK, so you know how the song goes, right? But what if you lived in Greece? How would the song go then? Want to find out? Let's learn about the Greek alphabet!

The Greek alphabet is over 2,500 years old and it still works today! Even though it's quite old, the Greeks weren't the first to invent an alphabet. That honor goes to an ancient culture known as the Phoenicians.

The Greeks borrowed the idea of a written language from the Phoenicians and then improved upon it by adding vowels to their alphabet. Once they had a written language, the ancient Greeks began to write down all their myths and legends. It's from these old written stories that we know so much about ancient Greek culture.

Like the Greek alphabet, the English alphabet also has vowels. You probably remember the vowels as a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y. In fact, our word “alphabet" comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta!

While the English alphabet has 26 letters, the Greek alphabet has 24 letters. Here they are…in alphabetical order, of course!

  • alpha
  • beta
  • gamma
  • delta
  • epsilon
  • zeta
  • eta
  • theta
  • iota
  • kappa
  • lambda
  • mu
  • nu
  • xi
  • omicron
  • pi
  • rho
  • sigma
  • tau
  • upsilon
  • phi
  • chi
  • psi
  • omega

So, if you want to say the Greek alphabet from A to Z, you'll actually need to say it from alpha to omega!

In looking at the letters of the Greek alphabet, a few of them probably already look familiar. For example, the letter pi is used as the name and symbol for a mathematical constant. You may have also seen “alpha" used in various places. As the first letter of the Greek alphabet, “alpha" is sometimes used to refer to something as first or primary, such as in the phrase “alpha dog."

If you've ever been on a college campus, you may have also seen Greek letters on the houses of secret societies called fraternities and sororities. These groups form what is known as the Greek system at colleges and universities and form their names from combinations of Greek letters.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10

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