Posted by: tabliope | November 27, 2009

As easy as ABC

Or perhaps not.

At some point in your life you may have found yourself saying Alpha, Beta, Gamma and then if you’re anything like me you tum-te-tum up to the Omega bit and then pat yourself on the back for knowing the Greek alphabet.  Well forget it all.  It’s not Beta – it’s Vita or not quite Vita – more a sound of thvbita but run the thvb part into one so that it’s actually one character.  Now  I know that the Greeks are going to say that it’s perfectly possible to do this because they have a character that says it is.  The trouble is that that character is B so as far as I’m concerned it’s Beta and you need to be born within spitting distance of the Peloponnese to have an accurate stab at saying it without sounding like a B.

But all this pales into insignificance when you get to Gamma – Γ – for one thing how can you trust  a consonant that looks like a vowel in disguise?  When I invited the Greek lady who lives a few streets away from me to teach me the Greek alphabet and a few handy phrases to get me through a supermarket sweep, I had no idea that after five hours we’d still be facing each other with me trying to say Gamma.   Imagine a hoarse Jack Russell terrier trying to defend its patch from the neighbourhood cat – ggghhrr but sneak a hint of an l and a y into the mix – ggglhhrllaama – and you’re just about there.  It almost makes Swiss German sound easy and already I’m feeling a fondness for the umlaut that I would never have believed possible when I first started learning German.

And here I am, D-Day minus  8 – that’s okto or οκτο – and I’ve probably got better things to be doing than talking about my umlauts.





  1. Thats the reason why i am astonishef that you are so quiet and calm. Maybe you find some greek shopowner, who has worked in ingoldstadt or Wolfsburg, then you can beholdf the now Loved Umlaut or you learn to Bark? Or take à Jack Russel As translater? Or an iPhone with à Language App?

  2. Timmi – I’m holding out for the iPhone with a language app!

  3. I’m glad to have made it into your hallowed 1356 list. I will leave the country eventually, then you’ll have to move me down a category.

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