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Standardized formal transcription systems have been defined by the International Organization for Standardization (as ISO 843), During the Mycenaean period, from around the 16th century to the 12th century BC, Linear B was used to write the earliest attested form of the Greek language, known as Mycenaean Greek.This writing system, unrelated to the Greek alphabet, last appeared in the 13th century BC.The polytonic system is still conventionally used for writing Ancient Greek, while in some book printing and generally in the usage of conservative writers it can still also be found in use for Modern Greek.Although it is not a diacritic, the comma has a similar function as a silent letter in a handful of Greek words, principally distinguishing There are many different methods of rendering Greek text or Greek names in the Latin script.When it was adopted for writing Greek, certain consonants were adapted to express vowels.The use of both vowels and consonants makes Greek the first alphabet in the narrow sense, Three of the original Phoenician letters dropped out of use before the alphabet took its classical shape: the letter Ϻ (san), which had been in competition with Σ (sigma) denoting the same phoneme /s/; the letter Ϙ (qoppa), which was redundant with Κ (kappa) for /k/, and Ϝ (digamma), whose sound value /w/ dropped out of the spoken language before or during the classical period.Individual letter shapes were mirrored depending on the writing direction of the current line.

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Sound values and conventional transcriptions for some of the letters differ between Ancient Greek and Modern Greek usage, because the pronunciation of Greek has changed significantly between the 5th century BC and today. The traditional orthography, which is used for Ancient Greek and sometimes for Modern Greek, has many diacritics, such as accent marks for pitch accent ("polytonic"), the breathing marks for the presence and absence of the initial In both Ancient and Modern Greek, the letters of the Greek alphabet have fairly stable and consistent symbol-to-sound mappings, making pronunciation of words largely predictable.In Phoenician, each letter name was a word that began with the sound represented by that letter; thus ʾaleph, the word for "ox", was used as the name for the glottal stop sound, and so on.When the letters were adopted by the Greeks, most of the Phoenician names were maintained or modified slightly to fit Greek phonology; thus, ʾaleph, bet, gimel became alpha, beta, gamma.As a consequence, the spellings of words in Modern Greek are often not predictable from the pronunciation alone, while the reverse mapping, from spelling to pronunciation, is usually regular and predictable.The following vowel letters and digraphs are involved in the mergers: Modern Greek speakers typically use the same, modern symbol–sound mappings in reading Greek of all historical stages.The Greeks adopted the alphabet from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, one of the closely related scripts used for the West Semitic languages.

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