Olympic ceremony question-Greek

I’m half watching the Olympic opening ceremony, and was trying to figure out the order. Is it in alphabetical order of the countries names in Greek? or what is the order.

Alphabetical by Greek alphabet…

It’s alphabetical by the Greek alphabet, with the exception of Greece which as the host country entered last. Traditionally Greece enters first. The solution was to have the Greek flag-bearer enter first and the rest of the delegation enter last.

It will be interesting to see how this is done in Beijing.

Chinese characters are ordered by the number of strokes, and the type of strokes. However, they also widely use the Roman alphabet for spelling out the Chinese pronunciation, a system called pinyin. For instance, England in pinyin is Yingguo.

Of course, there’ll be no need for that, as England is not a competing nation.

But what about France? It entered right before Germany in what seemed to be the gammas. What is France called in Greek?

Here is a link to an Adobe Acrobat list of the countries’s names in Greek, French and English.

France in Greek is ???, which based on my near-complete inability to read Greek I believe is “Gallia.”

Ah. Apparently the board can’t handle the Greek alphabet.


Otto, you need to use Lucida Sans Unicode as your font for Greek to show up.

France is ΓΑΓΓΙΑ = “GALLIA”.

I found it interesting that several of the “B” countries began with “ΜΠ”, such as Bangladesh (ΜΠΑΓΚΛΑΝΤΕΣ), while others like Belgium (ΒΕΛΓΙΟ) began with “Β”. The “V” countries like Vietnam (ΒΙΕΤΝΑΜ) also began with “Β”.

Surely you mean ΓΑΛΛΙΑ

I wondered about that myself. Doesn’t make any sense at all. Except for the V’s being under the betas – the Greek alphabet has no equivalent to the V.

:smack: Γ, Λ , it’s all Greek to me!

How do you do that? I just get little boxes with omegas in your posts.

You also need to have the font installed on your system for it to work. Don’t particularly know where you can get it.

OK, I think I see a pattern here… All those countries where Greek transcribes a plosive-B as “mu-pi”, are countries that either became independent (Benin, Burkina Fasso), or would have become “known” to the Greek public (due to their exoticism, e.g. Bhutan), only in the past century.

Unlike a place like Brazil or Bolivia who have been around and in the news since the 19th Century.

So I postulate a hypothesis, pulled out of thin air and to be refuted by anyone who actually knows, that originally both “V” and “B” were transcribed as beta, but at some point in relatively recent history, the stylebook changed to a transcription of plosive-B as “mu-pi”, with everyone coming before getting grandfathered.

Which creates for me a question… can someone look up the tapes and tell me if they actually sounded like “Mpenin” or “Mprunai” when they were announced?

Just noticed another similar thing with medial letters:

Aruba (split off from the Neth. Ant. in the 80s) gets transcribed with “mu-pi”, but Cuba (in the news since pre-1898) gets transcribed with “beta”.

There is no ‘mp’ sound in Greek (eg. as in the English word ‘imp’). The diphthong ΜΠ always makes a ‘b’ sound. It is impossible to make a word sound like ‘mpenin’ in greek. It can only come out as ‘benin’. The same applies to the diphthong ΝΤ which always makes a ‘d’ sound. Never ‘nt’.

Its like the ‘th’ sound (as in ‘Smith’) in German. It doesn’t exist!

BTW, I realized that there’s no ‘mp’ or ‘nt’ sound in Greek only after I started learning English. :slight_smile:

Another oddity: I noticed on the pommelhorse that it had

“Athens 2004”

on the side. The Greeks are using the Latin alphabet in the Olympics?

One that startled me was that Ecuador wasn’t transliterated, but translated (“Isémerinos”.)