Nov 3, 2012

On the Pronunciation of the Name of Greek Letters

There are, generally speaking, two main uses of Greek letters in English, the name of honor societies and academia. As a graduate student, I interact with both people from academia and collage students. I found there are roughly three ways for English speakers to pronounce the name of Greek letters
1. as the Greek pronunciation, very common in academia, though most people may not follow it exactly; 2. as the English name, very common in English speakers; 3. as the name of the corresponding English letter, common for collage students who is not STEM majors.

Either way is perfectly okay. But sometimes, confusion arises when one mix these three ways. The most notorious example is the letter xi and psi. Some people call both /sai/. Moreover, fancy fonts of English letters may be confused with Greek letters.