And kanji with manga
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Greek Letters - アルファ・ベータ・ガンマ

The "Greek letters," Girishia-moji ギリシア文字—like alpha, beta, gamma—have a bunch of international uses, some of which are loaned into Japan. For reference, here's how the Greek alphabet is commonly katakanized in Japanese:

List

romaji
Japanese name
English name, Greek name.
Upper-case, lower-case.

arufa
アルファ
Alpha, άλφα.
Α, α.

beeta
ベータ
Beta, βήτα.
Β, β.

ganma
ガンマ
Gamma, γάμμα.
Γ, γ.

deruta
デルタ
Delta, δέλτα.
Δ, δ.

epushiron, or ipushiron
エプシロン, or イプシロン
Epsilon, έψιλον.
Ε, ε.

zeeta
ゼータ
Zeta, ζήτα.
Ζ, ζ.

eeta
エータ
Eta, ήτα.
Η, η.

teeta, shiita, or seeta
テータ, シータ, セータ
Tetha, θήτα.
Θ, θ.

iota
イオタ
Iota, ιώτα.
Ι, ι.

kappa
カッパ
Kappa, κάππα.
Κ, κ.

ramuda
ラムダ
Lambda, λάβδα.
Λ, λ.

myuu
ミュー
Mu, μυ.
Μ, μ.

nyuu
ニュー
Nu, νυ.
Ν, ν.

kushii, kusai, or guzai
クシー, クサイ, グザイ
Xi, ξι.
Ξ, ξ.

omikuron
オミクロン
Omicron, όμικρον.
Ο, ο.

pai
パイ
Pi, πι.
Π, π.

roo
ロー
Rho, ρώ.
Ρ, ρ.

shiguma
シグマ
Sigma, σίγμα.
Σ, σ.

tau
タウ
Tau, ταυ.
Τ, τ.

yupushiron, or upushiron
ユプシロン, or ウプシロン
Upsilon, ύψιλον.
Υ, υ.

fai
ファイ
Phi, φι.
Φ, φ.

kii
キー
Chi, χι.
Χ, χ.

pushii, or pusai
プシー, or プサイ
Psi, ψι.
Ψ, ψ.

omega
オメガ
Omega, ωμέγα.
Ω, ω.

Usage

Homonyms

In Japanese, the word kappa カッパ normally refers to a folklore creature that lives in rivers, the kappa 河童, and not to the homonymous katakanization of the Greek letter.

The beeta ベータ with a long vowel is the Greek letter, the beta ベタ with a short vowel is a completely different word that means things like "cliché" and "completely."

Software Versions

In software, the word han 版 means "version." It becomes ban ばん in suffixes due to rendaku 連濁.
  • arufa-ban
    アルファ版
    Alpha version.
  • beeta-ban
    ベータ版
    Beta version.
    • beeta baajon
      ベータバージョン
      Beta version.

Omegaverse

In English, beta, as in beta male, is a derogatory slang used toward men who aren't assertive, who are effeminate. The opposite being an alpha male. These terms come from ethology, the study of animal behavior, but in the science they're used toward animals like wolves, not humans.

In Japanese, this slang doesn't translate at all. The closest things are soushokukei 草食系, "herbivore," and nikushokukei 肉食系, "carnivore," but these are used as personality types, not as pejoratives.

There is, however, one context in which "beta" can refer to a man in Japanese: in an oddly specific kind of fanfiction.
  • omegabaasu
    オメガバース
    Omegaverse.
    • Originating in gay fanfiction in the Supernatural fandom, refers to a concept where men are divided into three hierarchical tiers: alphas, who can turn into werewolves or have some other *cough* canine features *cough;* betas, who are normal; and omegas, who can become pregnant. Or some variation of this.[Alpha/Beta/Omega - fanlore.org, accessed 2020-04-02]

Word Play

Ψ難

The series Saiki Kusuo no Sainan 斉木楠雄のΨ難, "The [Misfortunes] of Saiki Kusuo," writes the word sainan 災難, "disaster," "calamity" that befalls someone, using the Greek letter psi (Ψ). The titles of the chapters and episodes also use Ψ instead of characters that are read as sai さい.

π/

The pi character, π, read as pai パイ in Japanese, sometimes abbreviates oppai おっぱい, "boobs," in slangs.
  • π/
  • pai surasshu
    パイスラッシュ
    Pi slash.
  • paisura
    パイスラ
    When the strap of a backpack or something similar crosses a girls' top diagonally across her breasts.

References

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

Comments containing spam, links to illegal websites, or deemed inappropriate will be removed.