1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Greek
  4. >



Before you do anything else you should bookmark this and refer to it often.

Welcome to Duolingo!

Hints on how to learn the Modern Greek Alphabet & how to find the letters on your keyboard.



Use this to see the layout of the Modern Greek keyboard:



PART 1 The Greek alphabet can seem daunting at first but there are ways to make it easier. Remember you don't have to do it all at once. So, let's get started:

Note that each letter also has a name. That makes it easier to talk about so when we talk about Α we say alpha or Κ kappa etc.

There are 24 letters (and a few little extras to learn but just a few).

Thirteen of the letters will look familiar to you. (they may not always be pronounced the same as the English)

Here they are A, B, E, H, I, K, M, N, O, T, X, Y, Z AND They are typed on the same key on the qwerty keyboard.

Let's see the pronunciation: A ΑΛΦΑ Alpha as in father, alphabet ...and it never changes. (Unlike Eng. where we have "father" or "apple" the sound of the vowels in Greek do not vary).

B ΒΗΤΑ Veeta This is really strange because it is VEETA ...V just as in vase. vegetable, very...

E ΕΨΙΛΟΝ Epsilon "eh" just like "pet, yet", ... and it never changes.

H HTA Eeta "ee" just like in "see, me, knee*... and it never changes

I ΙΩΤΑ IOTA "ee" just like in "see, me, knee"... and it never changes. Yes, the same as H** but wait there are more.

K ΚΑΠΠΑ Kappa/Kapa "k" as in cow, corn, camera...

M ΜΥ Mee as in mother, milk, ...

Ν ΝΥ Nee as in North, November...

O ΟΜΙΚΡΟΝ Omicron as in Organ, oatmeal.... and it never changes

T ΤΑΥ Taf as in Table, travel.....

X XEI This is a strange one. It sounds like h in have, hamburger, how.... not like the English letter it resembles.

Y ΥΨΙΛΟΝ Ypsilon "ee" just like in "see, me, knee**... and it never changes Yes, just like H,Ι, and wait there are more.

Ζ ΖΗΤΑ Zeeta and it sounds like zoo, zipper....

Ok, there are thirteen (13) letters to get you started. More than half the Alphabet.

Remember * Η-η, Ι-ι and Υ-υ have the same pronunciation (''ee'')

A, K, M, N, O, T, and Z are exactly like the English.

Ok, B is really odd, so is X. :-(

PART 2 Now that we have seen more than half the Greek alphabet let's go on.

Here are 8 strange looking ones...BUT they sound just like some English ones.

Θ ΘΗΤΑ THEETA sounds likε TH in the...found on U

Φ ΦΕ/ FEE This is just F as in friend, find, forever... found on F

Λ ΛΑΜΔΑ LAMBDA L/ as in lemon, level, language... found on L

Π ΠΕΙ PEE as in Pp popular, people, pencil... found on F**

Ρ ΡΩ Rr Sorry about this one it looks like another English letter but it really is the Rr sound as in row, remember, rhapsody, really.... found on R

Ξ ΞΙ sounds just like English x as in FAX found on J

These two are a little difficult to pronounce:

Γ γ ΓΑΜΜΑ / "g" as in "game" or "y" as in "yes" Found on G

Δ δ ΔΕΛΤΑ / th as in "then" Found on D

So, now the 3 really odd letters:

Ξ ΞΕΙ KSEE /X as in extra, fox, xylophone... Found on J

Ψ ΨΕΙ PSEE as in liPStick, hiPSter, Found on C

Ω ΟΜΕΓΑ Omega which is just another o sound like the O OMIKRON we had above. Same sound: orange, oval.... ****Found on V

Those are the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet.

Here are the extras:

Sigma has two different types in the lower case.

When it is at the beginning of or inside the word it is written σ but

when it is at the end of a word it is written as ς this can be found on W**

Diphthongs Two vowels with one sound:

ΑΙ αι = sounds like E-ε as pet

ΕΙ ει = sounds like Η-η, Ι-ι, Υ-υ, Οι, Υι as sEE

ΟΙ οι = sounds just like Η-η, Ι-ι, Υ-υ sEE

ΥΙ υι = sounds just like Η-η, Ι-ι, Υ-υ or like sEE

ΑΥ αυ= sounds like “av” or “af”

ΕΥ ευ= sounds like “ev” or “ef”

ΟΥ ου = sounds like "ou" as in "soup".

Double consonants two consonants with one sound

ΜΠ μπ = sounds like b

ΝΤ ντ = sounds like d (or nt more on that later)

ΓΚ γκ = sounds like g

ΓΓ γγ = sound like ng

ΤΣ τσ = sounds like ts

ΤΖ τζ = sounds like tz


How to add the accent.

On the Greek keyboard first type the key on the right of the Λ (L) (the semicolon :/;) you will not see anything, then type the letter you want the accent on. On a mobile just hold the letter for an extra second or two and there will appear a variety of that letter with accents. Slide up to the one you want.

Modern Greek has only ONE accent, that is placed above the accented vowels, and it looks like this: ά,έ, ή, ί, ό, ύ, ώ. The accent goes on one of the three last syllables. Accents help you stress the right syllable. E.g. “βιβλίο” (veevLEEo), ''μιλώ'' (meeLO) etc.

On a diphthong, the accent goes on the second vowel. E.g. δουλεύω

If the whole word is in capitals then only the first letter can have an accent. E.g ΌΧΙ but it can also be used with no accent-- ΟΧΙ (Ohee), but ΕΣΥ (eSEE).

Right Alt + tonos (simultaneously) + υ/ι.

Punctuation Marks The Period, or full stop, the comma, and the exclamation mark are the same as English. --- .,!

The Greek QUESTION MARK looks just like the English semicolon ; and can be found on the Q when you are on the Greek keyboard.

The diaeresis -> διαλυτικά (aka in Eng. "umlautt") this looks like two dots on a vowel...and it tells us that that vowel is pronounced individually and not with the other vowel next to it whihc might make it a diphthong. For example: "Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης."

Only Greek Ιι and Υυ γιώτα και το ύψιλον take a diaresis/διαλυτικά

HOW TO TYPE THE DIAERSIS->ΔΙΑΛΥΤΙΛΆ type and hold "SHIFT" + "; /SEMICOLON" then type the letter you want.....

July 8, 2017



Thanks so much for this guide. Gonna be a massive help.


Does ancient Greek use the same letters? I signed up for Greek recently just to know the letters since I sometimes look at the Greek New Testament words in Strong's dictionary.

  • 224

The Greek used in the Bible is the Koine Greek it is not the same as Ancient Greek and much closer to Modern Greek which we teach here. There are some differences in pronunciation otherwise the Koine and Modern Greek alphabets are the same.

We have had many people take the Duolingo Modern Greek course to help them with Koine Greek. Also, you will find many resources on the internet (including some good youtube videos) for Koine Greek.


The letters look similar. How about pronunciation marks?

  • 224

Many letters in the Greek alphabet are similar to those in the Latin alphabet, particularly the upper case letters. Each letter here has a pronunciation guide.

If however, you are referring to the accents used to show which syllable in a word is stressed as here =>"μαμά" then you will find it in this link.


Please let us know if that's helpful.


I need a tip because I am pretty sure I learned the Ancient Greek pronunciations of the letters, and i'm having trouble recognizing the different letters because of how they sound. Also will people in Greece understand me? Example of difference: instead of mee I would say muu. The letters are the same, though.

  • 224

While the Ancient and Modern Greek alphabets are basically the same there are some differences in pronunciation. Most notably in the Ββ which in Modern Greek is pronounced like Vv as in vase. There are also some diphthongs, and double consonants now used to represent sounds not used in Ancient Greek.

Just use the links given to you and do the exercises and you'll learn the Modern pronunciation.


Let me say that I would strongly recommend you not skimp on alphabet learning. When I started learning Hebrew three years ago, I spent the first two weeks just on the alphabet, so I could go into the actual language already being able to read many things. It's a skill you will use over and over again in your language study, so get it right the first time around!


Is it possible to have the alphabet placed below the text area, like the special characters in Swedish, French, German, and Spanish? This way, we won't have to memorise alternative keyboards but rather focus on language learning.

  • 224

The format of the course is determined by the Duolingo Administration for each course. Greek and some other courses requires you to access your Greek keyboard on your device...and that's pretty easy.

But also there is no reason to memorize the new keyboard just use the info on this site to find the letter you want. You will note that over half the letters are the same as English.


Looking at this site while looking at Duolingo feels a bit slow... sorry... :/


If you use a computer or a laptop, get a second keyboard and use parallel. Just shift on the language bar and have both keyboards plugged in... Good luck Lasse


Why are some of the pronunciations different for the letter "h"? Example on some sites I have encountered the pronunciation for h..."e" as in "obey" or "e" as in "hey"

  • 224

The pronunciation of the Greek letters are very fixed and rarely change. If you are referring to the the Greek letter Ηη it is always pronounced as... "ee" as in "see".


Thanks for this, it's helpful. However, I'm still not sure which to use when writing for ι, η and υ when writing and also when to use omega or omicron. Sorry it doesn't explain this. I find this difficult to understand.

  • 224

As with English and many other languages, spelling is learned word by word. Just as you know that "you eat meat" but "you meet a friend". Or "You buy bread" but "You are by your friend." etc.

Use the Drop Down Hints as often as you need to learn to write each word. There are many repetitions so soon you'll be used to the spelling.


Hi Jay & team! Thanks for your efforts.

I have an accent problem which I can't find addressed elsewhere. I used a Chromebook (Pixel Slate) for the lessons. I use it in tablet mode with the standard Google touchscreen keyboards for UK English and Greek. I can enter an accent by typing ́ after the letter to be accented, e.g. δουλεύω. This looks good but always gives me the You have a Typo message. I'm guessing it looks right but is not sending the correct encoding.

Can you help me resolve this?

  • 224

Yes, your accent on "δουλεύω" looks fine but the program that grades the sentences is pretty sharp. Let me ask you. Are you sure you have the Modern Greek keyboard?

Assuming you do, I'm going to ask our teammates if they know more about the Chromebook etc. and get back to you.


There appears to be only the one Greek keyboard on offer. As its the same one used to convert the whole thing to a Greek UI, and it appears to offer only the one accent, I'm guessing it must be modern Greek!


Hi Jay, have you heard anything on the Chromebook issue I raised?

  • 224

So, sorry, I didn't remember to do that. I'm doing that before I finish this comment. I have posted it on our message board for all the team to weigh in.


thanks so Much. amazing


Helpful! I'll need this

Learn Greek in just 5 minutes a day. For free.