Alphabet Chart

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ALPHABET CHART


Another way of recognizing the problems in translation from one language to another is to study the alphabet chart which includes the Hebrew and Greek with English equivalents. All three start with "a" and "b."Â Â Greek points out more graphically where the term "alphabet" (alpha beta) originated. From that point on, no two alphabets agree completely, either in number of letters or in the sounds produced. A simple study reveals the difficulty in transliterating any name from one language to another.

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To illustrate, in recent years the thrilling story of Masada, beside the Dead Sea, has been reported in archaeological journals, has been novelized, and produced for television. Present-day Israelis mention Masada in a slogan concerning national pride. The "s" in the Hebrew word Masada has no direct equivalent in English. A better transliteration of the name to English would be Metzada or Metsada. Since there were no written vowels in Hebrew until the Massoretes added them in the ninth century a.d., vowel sounds affecting pronunciation changed through the centuries, becoming yet another problem. This fact is graphically demonstrated in the origin of the word Palestine being a corruption of Philistine. Harden the "P" by removing the "h," change the vowels, and "Palestine" appears almost magically. (See the note at the bottom of the alphabet chart. Simply by removing the dot from the Hebrew letter "p," the soft sound results). Concerning Masada, the middle consonant of the triconsonantal root is a tsade, that, when anglicized, appears as a simple "s" (muh SAHD uh). In Hazor the tsade appears as a "z" (HAY zawr).

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Comparison of English, Hebrew, and Greek Alphabets

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COMPARISON OF ENGLISH, HEBREW, AND GREEK ALPHABETS

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ENGLISH HEBREW GREEK
(Equivalent) Character Name Pronunciation Character Name Pronunciation
a (') ×? aleph AH leff
(glottal stop)
α alpha AL fuh
b ב* beth BAYTH β beta BAY tuh
g ג* gimel GHEE mehl γ gamma GAM muh
d ד* daleth DAH lehth δ delta DEHL tuh
e    ε epsilon EP sih lahn
h ×” he HAY Â Â Â
v ו waw WAW   Â
z ז zayin ZA yihn ζ zeta ZAY tuh
h ח heth HAYTH η eta AY tuh
t ט teth TAYTH θ theta THAY tuh
y י yodh YOHD ι iota ih OH tuh
k ך,*כ kaf KAFF κ kappa KAP puh
l ל lamedh LAH medth λ lambda LAMB duh
m ×?,מ mem MAYM μ mu MEW
n ן,× nun NOON ν nu NEW
s ס samekh SAH mek   Â
    ξ xi ZEE
 ע ayin
(rough breath)
A (a) yihn   Â
o    ο omicron AH mih krahn
p ף,*פ pe PAY π pi PIGH
 ץ,צ tsade SAH deh   Â
 ק qof QOHF   Â
r ר resh RAYSH Ï? rho ROH
s, sh ש×?,שׂ sin, shin SEEN, SHEEN σ,Ï‚ sigma SIHG muh
t ת* taw TAW τ tau TAW
u    υ upsilon OOP sih lahn
    φ phi FIGH
    χ chi KIGH
    ψ psi puh SIGH
    ω omega oh MAY guh
26 letters 22 letters   24 letters  Â