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Old Stuff[edit]

Rare greek letters test sheet

Normal: "Ϝ ϝ" Digamma -- Ϙ ϙ Qoppa -- Ϡ ϡ Sampi -- "Ϻ ϻ" San
Bold: "Ϝ ϝ" Digamma -- Ϙ ϙ Qoppa -- Ϡ ϡ Sampi -- "Ϻ ϻ" San
Cursive: "Ϝ ϝ" Digamma -- Ϙ ϙ Qoppa -- Ϡ ϡ Sampi -- "Ϻ ϻ" San
Typewriter: "Ϝ ϝ" Digamma -- Ϙ ϙ Qoppa -- Ϡ ϡ Sampi -- "Ϻ ϻ" San

Pjacobi 09:01, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

On my computer system, I can't see the Digamma character. Possibly, that's because I don't have a Greek font that includes digamma. The same applies to San, Oopa and Sampi. What can I do to remedy this?

Cosmo 09:32, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

P.S. I'm new to Wikipedia, and I am not too savvy about fonts, except the fonts that came with the MS WORD. Although I can read modern Greek text such as news and advertising (up to a point), I've never come across Digamma, San, Oopa or Sampi.

There is next to no modern use (or even classical use, for most) of these letters, apart from some use as Greek numbers (see de:Griechische Zahlen, no article yet here).

I've installed tons of fonts for test purposed but I still can't get the San and the glyph for the large Sampi is only OK in typewriter font.

A good starting point to find a missing font is and if you decide to spend $5 for James Kass' Code 2000 you have a reasonable starting point for a wide range of scripts (free alternatives are listed at Alan's site).

This still leaves the issue whether your browser will select the right font and how and if you must make specific settings. In my experience the Gecko browsers (Netscape 7, Mozilla, Firefox) are more helpful by switching automatically to another font if a glyph is missing in the selected font.

Pjacobi 09:01, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There is a mathematical function called the "digamma function" but I don't know what the appropriate symbol for it is. It certainly doesn't look like a sigma-tau or an F or anything. 01:11, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Linear B[edit]

User: added the following to the article, with the edit comment "I think Linear B material is now justified and acceptable. Perhaps the point of dispute, "derived", shouldn't be used anywhere.)".

Digamma has the same position in the alphabet, with the Phoenician letter Waw (letter), which also has the numerical value 6. In addition they have the same phonetic value.
There is no serious scholarly dispute about the origin of the letter digamma. The very fact that it is in the same position as the Phoenician Alphabet's Waw, with the same phonetic value, and a very similar shape, is certainly part of the argument. I see no reason to deny its Phoenician origin in the article.
The sound w of Digamma was present in Linear B, the early script that used to represent the Greek language. The syllabograms wa we wi wo, of Linear B are phonetically equivalent to syllables starting with Digamma. For example the Ancient Greek word for king, that had been inscribed in Linear B by three syllabic signs pronounced wa-na-ka, was turned into the alphabet word Wanaks, that starts with Digamma.
I am not sure what the point of this section is. After all, the sound /d/ of Delta was also present in Linear B. Perhaps it is to demonstrate that the /w/ sound is attested both in Linear B and in early Greek alphabets (though of course in the case of Linear B it is reconstructed), and therefore in early forms of Greek? In that case, perhaps it belongs in the History of Greek article? I have tried to rephrase the material to be relevant to Digamma -- see what you think.

--Macrakis 22:50, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

The point of dispute is the Phoenecian origin of the Greek Alphabet. I believe, like many others, in a theory that says that Phoenecian Alphabet was derived from some early Greek Alphabet and not the other way around. Possibly the Phoenecians used the Ancient Cretan Alphabet. Phoenecians could have been Proto-Hellenic in origin, possibly colonists from the lost Aegean civilization. Of couse all of these are just theories at the moment, so why should someone embrace the Phoenecian origin theory as true?
Greek language has been written in Linear B, centuries before the first inscribed Phoenecian alphabet. So there is a question here: When the Greeks decided to use letters instead of syllabograms, and since they were more advanced in literature at that time, why to use an alphabet of another civilization (if they were indeed) and don't construct their own? What is you opinion?
Pantelis, from Thessaloniki, Greece.
Despite the fact that it may be interesting to discuss these theories, the main policy of encyclopedic work is no original research, so, our own takes on the issue should not be reflected in the article, and we cannot decide by a discussion here, what the origin of the greek script is. Instead, from the many others you should select some, who published their theories, so that this can eventually cited in the article. --Pjacobi 13:45, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
No serious scholar believes the Greek alphabet to be derived from anything but Phoenician. It is not just that the Greek letters look like the Phoenician ones: they are in the same alphabetic order, and have very close phonetic values -- except of course for the vowels, which were the crucial Greek innovation. The ancients also believed that their letters came from Phoenician. As User:Chronographos says in Talk:Pelasgians:
Plato, Kritias, B.29 : "Φοίνικες δ' ηύρον γράμματα αλεξίλογα" (=the Phoenicians invented letters, the speechsavers", what an amazing word!). There are also numerous archaic inscriptions referring to the office of the scribe called "ποινικαστάς" in Doric (Attic would be φοινικαστής), from times when the Phoenician alphabet was a relative novelty and a professional scribe was needed to write stuff down in it. Chronographos 09:18, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
I don't even know what it means to say that the Phoenicians have been "Proto-Hellenic". Surely their language is not related to Greek, though Greek does have borrowings from it. Did the populations mix? No doubt, but I don't see what that has to do with anything. And I don't know what you mean by the "lost Aegean civilization".
As for why the Greeks didn't start with Linear B rather than Phoenician, there is a long period in the archaeological record with no writing at all, so apparently they returned to illiteracy. And anyway, Linear B was itself borrowed from a non-Greek writing system, Linear A, which is undeciphered, but appears to be neither Indo-European nor Semitic.
It appears there is a movement in Greece, centered around publications like Davlos and, which is propagating preposterous nationalistic stuff -- see my comments in Talk:Greek alphabet under '"Alternative theory" of history'. Sigh. I suppose everyone has to have the moral equivalent of creationists. --Macrakis 16:46, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Well if you acuse me of belonging to "propagating preposterous nationalistic" "movement in Greece", I'll return it to you asking: what movement do you represent? You seem like a respectable person and therefore you shouldn't put tags over theories or opinions like "nationalistic", as I should not question your motives. For your information I haven't even read Davlos, or similar magazines, and many of my beliefs are based on personal logical assumptions. Also there isn't any widespread nationalistics or anti-semitic movements in Greece, cause parties that represent those get around 0.01% in the elections.
Please justify opinions like "a non-Greek writing system, Linear A". Linear A is still undeciphered, like you stated, so how do you know it's not Greek? As for the lost Aegean civilization, I'm talking about people that lived on the Aegean land, before the erruption of the Thera volcano, that caused the submerging of it. I would like to discuss my opinions, if they aren't treated in the same manner, Darvin's opinions were treated at the 19th century.
Finally, I am glad for not beeing a "serious scholar" of our times, but just an "ερασιτέχνης" of history. (herasitechnis =lover of art)
Just to mention that you dont have to decipher a language (ie. the meanings of words) in order to understand its structure and maybe conclude if it belongs to one language family or not(based on similarities and statistics - research basically). Syntax (which defines structure) is different from Grammar (which defines words).-- 13:46, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Ukrainian Difamma[edit]

The Name Digamma has also fifth letter of the Ukrainian alphabet - Ґ. The letter had the phonetic value ɡ, unlike letter Г (sound ɦ)--Yakudza 19:19, 11 December 2005 (UTC)


I've set the font as Arial Unicode MS in my /monobook.css so I can view (most) uncommon letters, but the polytonic template remakes the letters to spaces for me. – SmiddleTC@ 16:09, 18 February 2007 (UTC)


I'm a relative innocent when it comes to Greek; reasonably well-read on the subject of languages in general, familiar with the sound of Greek and able to puzzle out written Greek personal names and some words, but not a Grecophone by any stretch. However, I expect I'd have seen it somewhere if Modern Greek had descended from the Alexandrian dialect. Surely that should say Attic? TCC (talk) (contribs) 01:57, 21 April 2007 (UTC)


On the middle horizontal line of this letter, the semi-serif is kind of annoying. Georgia guy (talk) 19:39, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

The Palatino Linotype glyph also has this. I would have assumed that was how it was written... Although the Greek article shows two different versions: one with the 'semi-serif' (embedded in {{Table_Greekletters|letter=digamma}}), and one with a full serif. —DIV ( (talk) 10:27, 20 June 2008 (UTC))

metric change[edit]

"because its omission left the meter defective. An example is the word ἄναξ (king) found in the Iliad, which would originally have been ϝάναξ [wanaks]" Could someone please explain how the meter could become defective by removing the digamma? The removal doesn't change the number of syllables, so the meter should still be the same as with the digamma. Or is the present example just poorly chosen? - (talk) 19:07, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

See syllable weight. In quantitative verse, a syllable fits the metrical scheme by being "long" or "short" (some prefer the terms "heavy" and "light"). A syllable with a short vowel is generally short if the vowel is followed only by a single consonant, but long if the vowel is followed by two (or more) consonants. The poet of the Iliad did not pronounce digamma. But he used traditional poetic phrasing inherited from poets who did. Thus the knowledge that a digamma has disappeared can often explain why a syllable gets to fill a "long" spot in the metrical scheme despite there being only one consonant after its short vowel, or why hiatus is allowed where not ordinarily tolerated. You were right to complain about the text, though: the sentence beginning "An example is..." did not by itself give an example of the phenomenon stated in the previous sentence! I tried to apply first aid to fix this (diff). Wareh (talk) 00:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Curved form of digamma[edit]

Can anyone here do what Guocozuoduo may not intend to do, and offer an explanation of the significance of the curved form of digamma? Since digamma is only a letter in Ancient Greek as far as I know, and modern texts do not use this form, I am left guessing. My best guess would be that it could be based on the kind of Medieval cursive that led to the replacement of digamma as a numeral by stigma, but I am loath to assign any speculative legitimacy to an edit that remains utterly unexplained. A modern-font version of something not printed in books, used to illustrate this article, would seem like OR to me. Wareh (talk) 16:35, 3 February 2009 (UTC)


The google knol link I removed fails twice over,

  • it conflates digamma (the Greek phoneme deriving from PIE *w) with the PIE voiced labiovelar *gw
  • it assmes the /gu/ sound in Germanic loanwords in Romance (guard/ward, guerre/war, see Old Frankish) has something to do with *gw

most googe knol pages I have seen are worse than worthless, and this is a good illustration of what happens when you invite anyone to "contribute their knowledge" without any sort of review system. I say this because Wikipedia's less than perfect system of peer review positively shines by comparison. --dab (𒁳) 11:13, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Modern usage[edit]

The article contains the paragraph

The digamma survives even today as /v/ in the Modern Greek Tsakonian dialect, the only dialect not descended from ancient Koine Greek, the famous, and only, example being βάννε /'vannε/ ("lamb" for standard Greek αρνί) (cf. Cretan ϝαρήν).

I'm guessing that βάννε should read ϝάννε, otherwise the sentence doesn't appear to make sense...? — OwenBlacker (Talk) 13:23, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

The paragraph needs to be rewritten. The intent is presumably that the ancient sound /w/ survives as Tsakonian /v/. But it is not written with a digamma. --Macrakis (talk) 15:29, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Heading levels[edit]

Just a small thing about structure: Erutuon just reintroduced the extra first-level heading, "Greek" [1]. I don't really see the sense in that: the whole page is exclusively about Greek. That heading appears to be quite redundant with the next, "Greek w". Fut.Perf. 07:13, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

The current structure, in which Greek w and Numeral are separate, is good. I changed the structure only because Numeral was placed as a subsection under Greek w. — Eru·tuon 22:55, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Digamma and Latin[edit]

moved here from above. Fut.Perf. 11:09, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

IT seems extremely important to understand that evidence for existence of digamma comes with the Latin where it is preserved. Charles S. Halsey in AN ETYMOLOGY OF LATIN AND GREEK 1882. One of the more obvious places where digamma shows up is Latin video which is a reflection of the Greek ε F ιδον. L. R. Palmer in THE INTERPRETATION OF MYCENAEN GREEK TEXTS, page 44, explains the role of the digamma in the Mycenaean language. And Homer's rhythm came to life with realization of that lost digamma. Smyth's GRAMMAR sec 146d " initial digamma was probably doubled in pronunciation when it followed a short syllable carrying the rhythmic accent." The digamma was very much a part of living Greek or it would not have been preserved in the Latin.StevenTorrey (talk) 22:59, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

It's commonly accepted the digamma sound (/w/) was "part of living Greek", up to a certain time; that hardly needs further emphasis. But your reasoning about Latin is slightly beside the point: you are talking here about the sound /w/, not about the letter F, and unlike the letter, the sound was not borrowed from Greek into Latin, but inherited by both in parallel from proto-Indo-European; therefore, the fact that it exists in Latin tells us little or nothing about how long it was preserved in Greek. Fut.Perf. 11:09, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Unprovable Comments on Digamma[edit]

Nobody knows what digamma was ORIGINALLY called. You would need a time machine and a tape recorder to go back thousands of years. Whatever the connection between digamma and stigma is, a statement about this requires documentation; not just saying something. (EnochBethany (talk) 16:19, 8 August 2012 (UTC))

The original name "waw" (or "wau" etc.) is easily sourced to Woodard, Roger D. (2010). "Phoinikeia grammata: an alphabet for the Greek language". In Bakker, Egbert J., A companion to the ancient Greek language Oxford: Blackwell, p.30f.; also Jeffery, Lilian H. (1961). The local scripts of archaic Greece. Oxford: Clarendon, p.24, and no doubt innumerable other works. The reason we know that it must have been called like that is that (a) it was called like that in Phoenician; (b) it is called that by Latin authors; (c) it re-appears in the form βαῦ or οὐαῦ in later Greek authors. Please read the literature. As for the connection between digamma and stigma, that too is easily sourceable, e.g. Gardthausen, Griechische Paleographie, p.238; Thompson, Handbook of Greek and Latin Palaeography, p.104. Fut.Perf. 16:32, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Actually you have no idea what it was ORIGINALLY called. You don't have a time machine. And who is this "we" that knows? Nobody to whom you refer has a time machine. How could you know the vowel in waw? Or that it wasn't pronounced vav? If you go back to an ancient language that originally had no vowels, how could you prove what vowel was used? How could you possibly know how the Phoenicians pronounced the name of that letter or even what it's first name was? Perhaps you could restate it more scientifically: "It appears that the earliest know name for the letter was waw or vav; though the vowel on its name is impossible to prove. You have now reverted twice my edit, which includes a citation, though the original paragraph has no citations whatsoever. Will you revert a 3rd time? (EnochBethany (talk) 19:39, 8 August 2012 (UTC))
Wikipedia doesn't care whether you believe the original name can be known. The reliable academic literature says it was "waw"/"wau". There is nothing doubtful about that. It doesn't matter whether you personally can be bothered to learn and understand why scholarship is unanimously of this opinion; we follow what the literature says. Fut.Perf. 20:43, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Number 6[edit]

The letter F also has the sixth position in the English alphabet. GreekAlphabeta (talk) 22:47, 21 November 2013 (UTC)GreekAlphabeta

Digamma represents the Greek number 6 and literally means two (di) + wed (gamos), consistent with the prefix for the number 6 in Latin: "sex-." GreekAlphabeta (talk) 23:05, 21 November 2013 (UTC)GreekAlphabeta

Oh for chrissake, will you finally stop spamming this nonsense all over the place? I've explained to you more than once why comments like this are against the policies of this place and are quite unwelcome here. This is your final warning. If you continue filling the place with this type of baseless and brainless speculation, I will start simply removing all your postings on sight, or ask for you to be blocked again. Fut.Perf. 08:03, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

DI‑GAMMA / VAU : Smooth‑breathing & SIGMA / SAN : Rough‑breathing[edit]

Hello, from the Ancient‑Greek studies at dis‑tance, that I have per‑formed in Belgium in 2012, the "Smooth‑breathing" and "Rough‑breathing" serves to in‑dicate & marking the ab‑olition of the archaic letter Di‑gamma Ϝ [v] (Smooth) or Sigma/San Σ/Ϻ [ʃ/s] (Rough) in the word, the Ϝ or Σ/Ϻ can be at beginning or middle, it de‑pend of the position of the breathing.

{Di‑gamma Ϝ {also called ϜΑΥ : vau/vaw} is V be‑cause W was Υ/ΟΥ [u/w] from Phoenician 𐤅 [u], Ϝ don't share shape and sound with Υ / 𐤅, after some‑time Υ be‑came later [y] and [i] in Modern‑Greek ; Pamphylian Digamma/Wau/Waw Ͷ is [w], also Ϝ [v] be‑came Latin F [f], V & F are labio‑dental sound and can be con‑fused, when W & F have nothing in com‑mon, so Latin letter F sound [f] come from Ancient‑Greek letter Ϝ sound [v]...}.

In the French pre‑cise book of Ancient‑Greek "Le Grand Bailly" or "Abrégé Bailly" breathing (spirit in French) are re‑pre‑sented in the words and in the de‑finition, in [RAC : racine/root] Section is ad‑ded the original word with Di‑gamma Ϝ or Sigma/San Σ/Ϻ. In older editions of "Le Grand Bailly" or "Abrégé Bailly", the "Table of roots" (which is no longer pre‑sent in the new editions) speci‑fies the list of roots using Di‑gamma Ϝ [v] & Sigma/San Σ/Ϻ [ʃ/s], yet in Wikipedia English or French, no one mention that the "Smooth breathing" and "Rough breathing" was used for Di‑gamma Ϝ & Sigma/San Σ/Ϻ removing, why ??? They talk only about a‑spired H (no one can make a‑spired H be‑fore a RHO, it's im‑possible), so it's wrong... Also In Wiktionary page for Ancient‑Greek words using breathing, the W/V or S/SH is never mentioned in "Archaic pro‑nunciation", like for ex‑ample :

  • ὙΠΕΡ / HYPER that was originally writed ΣΥΠΕΡ / SHYPER [ʃuper] (Latin : SVPERIOR), or
  • ἙΞ / HEX → ΣΕΞ / SHEX [ʃeks] (Latin : Six) or
  • ἘΞ / EX → ϜΕΞ / VEX [veks] (Latin : Ex‑) or
  • ἘΡΓΟΝ → ϜΕΡΓΟΝ [verg‧on] (English : Work, Dutch : Werk) or
  • ἩΛΙΟΣ / HELIOS → ΣΗΛΙΟΣ / SHELIOS [ʃɛli‧os] {Attic} (Latin : Sol, Solis, English : Sun) or
  • ἉΛΙΟΣ/ ALIOS → ΣΑΛΙΟΣ / SHALIOS [ʃali‧os] {Dorian} (Latin : Sol, Solis, English : Sun) or
  • ΟἸΝΟΣ → ϜΟΙΝΟΣ [vojn‧os] (Latin : VINVM, English : Wine, French : Vin) or
  • ἈΡΗΣ / ARES → ͶΑΡΗΣ / WARES [warɛs] (God of War, War God, war it‑self personi‑fied) or
  • ῬΕΩ → ΣΡΕΩ [ʃre‧ɔ] (flow) & ῬΕΩ/ἘΡΩ → ϜΡΕΩ/ϜΕΡΩ [vre‧ɔ/ver‧ɔ] (Speak/Verity/Love) or
  • ἈΝΑ → ϜΑΝΑ or ΑϜΝΑ [vana / avna].

{I don't use ac‑cent acute / grave in Ancient‑Greek words be‑cause at that time they didn't ex‑ist, also writing Ancient‑Greek word in minuscule is an error, be‑cause at that epoch only capital script with‑out ac‑cent ex‑isted, minuscule should be used only for Modern‑Greek in your Wiktionary or Wikipedia...}. Gmazdên (talk) 12:09, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about. You are mixing together too many topics, and you seem to have misunderstood a great number of things. If you wish to make a proposal for this article, please raise one issue at a time and express yourself more clearly about what it is you actually want. Also, please refrain from copying the same posting across so many different talkpages, where most of its contents are completely off-topic. Fut.Perf. 06:37, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Obsolete, or not?[edit]

This article is a little confusing. The section on Greek suggests that the letter was obsolete by classical times, surviving longer in the Aeolian dialect (but the article doesn't say how long. Could somebody add a date, or at least a century, when this dialect lost the letter)?

The lede says "In modern print, a distinction is made between the letter in its original alphabetic role as a consonant sign... and the numeric symbol." Why does modern print typeset a letter which has not been used in over 2000 years? The section on glyph development mentions the development in the "ninth and tenth century", and the "glyph confusion" section talks about medieval use-- huh? The section on "early handwriting" could also use some dates (does "early" mean 500 BC or 500 AD?), and a mention of whether it's the letter or the numeral that's being discussed. Geoffrey.landis (talk) 15:13, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

I'll just try to answer some of your questions here before looking into what, if anything, should be clarified in the article: About alphabetic digamma in modern print, it is used in philological discussions and editions of archaic texts that used it, e.g. when quoting text from ancient dialectal inscriptions on local monuments. It is also used by linguists and grammarians when discussing reconstructed pre-literal forms of Greek words. About the medieval glyph development: the passages you mention are referring not to the use as a regulal alphabetic letter, but to the use as a numeric symbol, which persisted throughout that period. As for "early handwriting", that's basically "handwriting as far back as we have archaeological records" – which basically means anything after the expansion under Alexander the Great. (Only the desert conditions of places like Egypt created the chance of writing on soft materials like vellum or papyrus to get preserved; whatever was written on such perishable materials in the original Greek world of the classical era got lost.) Fut.Perf. 22:18, 1 April 2016 (UTC)