Why Do We Call Our Letters the “Alphabet"?

According to lexicographical estimates, more than 150,000 English words are derived from the Greek language. This includes a great deal of international scientific vocabulary. In fact, a decades-long Greek study found that one out of every four English words is of Greek origin. Furthermore, the Ancient Greeks are credited with developing the first true alphabet -- a word formed by its first two letters, "alpha" and "beta."

It's all Greek to me:

  • Words that start with '”ph” are usually of Greek origin. For example: philosophy, physical, photography, phrase, and philanthropy.
  • Greek is one of the oldest Indo-European languages, and is usually divided into Ancient Greek (often considered a dead language) and Modern Greek.
  • Modern Greek is derived from Koine, a common dialect spoken in Ancient Greece. In the 19th century, Modern Greek became the official language of the Kingdom of Greece.
More Info: British Council

Discussion Comments


Truly, the Hebrew "Aleph Bet" may have been older than the Greek "Alpha Bet", but do we have any proof that the Greeks borrowed it from the Hebrews? Besides, whether they borrowed it or not, the Greeks gave it to the world.


This is built upon the Hebrew letters which start with Alef and then Bais.


Perhaps one might study the "Aleph Bet" (beth) which is Hebrew and a bit more ancient than Greek.

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