## Thursday, August 30, 2012

### Dear Spammers

Hi.  I know you tend to breeze through without reading the post, possibly because you're a machine, but regardless of your disinterest and potential lack of sentience I'd like you to stop and read for a moment because I have something I'd like to say to help you out.

Yes, dear spammers, it's time for me to help you for a change.

I have, of late, noticed that there is an error some of you have been making that is of critical international importance, so let me take this moment to set you straight.

This is a lowercase W (pronounced "double-you", the 23 letter of the modern English alphabet):

This is a lowercase Ω (pronounced Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet):

These two things are not interchangeable.  One makes a sound reminiscent of a diagamma, the other makes a sound like an omicron but longer.

"Few" is an English word.  "Feω" is not.  You have been acting as if the two are identical and interchangeable, they are not.

w =/= ω

That is all.

1. Even for us non-spammers, that was quite educational! Thanks :)

2. Ι αϺ ηοτ α ςραϺϺΣρ; Ι'Ϻ jμςτ ΒμτςΗΣριηg GρΣΣκ αΣ α jοκΣ!
(But thanks for the post anyway! Am I misinterpreting Wikipedia's article on omicron, or does omega really sound like a long "O"?)

1. The pronunciation of the letters had changed radically over the past few thousand years so that's one thing. Another is that I don't necessarily know the correct pronunciation so much as the one people long after the fact thought was the right one in one of the countries where people studied the subject.

Modern Greek is something I know nothing about.

Plus, been a long while since I actually studied the pronunciation of any form of Greek.

2. None of which answers your question. Yes, in the forms of Greek I am qualified to discuss, Omega definitely sounds like a long O.

In fact, that's where the name comes from:

omicron = o-micron = little o.
omega = o-mega = big o.

Alpha, iota, and upsilon can be long or short, but epsilon and omicron are always short with the long versions being eta and omega respectively. At least that's how I was taught it.

3. I like the way you've mixed up Greek letters used as they actually sound, and Greek letters used to indicate similarly-shaped letters in the Latin alphabet. You're using ρ to mean r, and Σ as both s and e, and ς as s and c. Of course, α falls into both categories.

The only thing I know about modern Greek is that β is pronounced v (and v is pronounced b in modern Italian). To get the b sound in modern Greek, one writes μβ. I don't know as much as I should about the vowels of modern Greek. (My granddad was a Greek Cypriot, and I should know more of the language than I do.)

Sigma is weird. It's the only letter in Greek to have a different final form: ς. But what if you're writing in block caps? I think the standard rule is to leave Σ unchanged if it occurs at the end of a word, but in Cyprus it is common to write it using a Latin S. I have seen a guidebook to Cyprus which spelled it thus: ΚΥΠΡΟS. On some older block-caps signs you may see sigma (all sigmas, not just final sigma, in the signs I saw, but I don't know) written more like a C, probably related to the Cyrillic alphabet С. (Or, rather, Cyrillic's C is probably descended from this form of the Greek sigma. Indeed, Wikipedia backs up that guess.)

TRiG.