The Greek letter sampi is not used in modern times, but I saw a sentence saying that it is still used in modern times to represent law numbers or book chapters. When I look up the pronunciation, all I can find is what it might have been like in ancient times. How do modern Greeks pronounce letters like these, which are no longer used and are only occasionally used in numbers?

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    I’m voting to close this question because this question is really about modern Greek, which is out of scope for this site
    – cnread
    Commented May 24 at 15:43
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    @cnread Agreed. A quick Google search (including the modern Greek wiki article) reveals that the letter is archaic and was only used to denote a numeral in post-classical Greek.
    – brianpck
    Commented May 24 at 16:17
  • @brianpck Weren't the archaic letters also used for numbers in Classical Greek though? Certainly most Koine speakers had no need for qoph or digamma.
    – Draconis
    Commented May 24 at 16:20
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    Presumably when reading out a book chapter or the like a modern Greek will say the name of the letter, σαμπί. The original sound of the letter isn't really relevant.
    – TKR
    Commented May 24 at 16:23
  • @Draconis I phrased that badly: it was (only used for numbers) in post-classical Greek, not used for numbers (only in post-classical Greek). I guess that implies that it was used for a sound in classical (and not just archaic Greek), but I was paraphrasing what I read in the linked wiki: "παρέμεινε σε χρήση αργότερα στην μετακλασσική Ελληνική μόνο σαν αριθμητικό σύμβολο για τον αριθμό 900"
    – brianpck
    Commented May 24 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


Greek numerals are pronounced the same way as Roman numerals—that is, you say the names of the numbers if you're using them, or the names of the letters if you're talking about them.

It's like how an English-speaker won't look at a clock (or a Latin-speaker won't look at a sundial) and say "oh, it's half past X-I-I", they'll say "it's half past twelve". But if they're talking about Roman numerals, they might say "twelve in Roman numerals is X-I-I".

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