Why Is There A B In Lambda?

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Bert45 | 18:30 Mon 12th Apr 2021 | Arts & Literature
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The greek equivalent of the letter L is called 'lambda'. But why is there a silent 'b' in it? I assume that a Greek person reciting the alphabet would say 'lam-da' just as we say 'double -yoo' for 'w'. Perhaps they pronounce the 'b'. Does anyone know? I would not have thought that the ancient Greeks would have thought it necessary to write down how they pronounced their letters.


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I think they might have said L (ell).

In Modern Greek the name of the letter, Λάμδα, is pronounced [ˈlam.ða].
The Greeks now prefer LAMDA without the B in unicode according to Wikipedia but there was an old Greek pronunciation LABDA
You might as well ask why 'lamb' has a silent 'b' in it. The answer to that is possibly because it's a contraction of the Old English 'lambor'. That spelling may have thence found its way into the way that 'lambda' is written.

From the OED:
It's all covered in the documentary The Silence Of The Lambdas
There is no letter B nor letter D in modern Greek.
The d sound is constructed from nt (ντ)
The b sound is constructed from mp (μπ)
So, for example, the word video is spelled βίντεο, and the word bowl is spelled μπολ.

The second letter of the alphabet, β, is pronounced veeta, and the fourth, δ, is pronounced thelta like the th in the.
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So is the spelling "lambda" our (English) construction? The silent b is our fault? I often wonder why the names of cities in countries that do not use our alphabet get transliterated in illogical (or should I say not the obvious) way. Take Phnom Penh, for example. Why not Fnom Pen? Or Qatar - why not Katar?
A lot of silent letters were originally pronounced. Over time they have lost their pronunciation but remain part of the spelling. For example, the silent g in front of words like gnaw and gnome were always pronounced as g-naw, g-nome.
>>> Take Phnom Penh, for example. Why not Fnom Pen?

Surely you could say that about any 'ph' spelling though?

After all, why is my name spelt 'Christopher' instead of 'Christofer'? Indeed, why is the first 'h' there either? Shouldn't it just be 'Cristofer' (or 'Kristofer', as it is in Scandinavia)?
Ch derives from the Greek chi, pronounced as the ch in loch. Ph derives from the Greek phi, which sounds as f.
because there was one
lamda is smooooth
and lambda has a hitch in it ( glottal stop den) at least it did when old Dixie was teaching me at all hallows

ph - we say /f/ but there is some evidence they did aspirate a p.
along with thetter. so a verb such as destroy ( diaphtheirw) was dia-p-h-t-h-eraw
we all said diarf- thyro

quite a mouthful for eleven year olds- righto! - 9.00 greek master ( dixie that is!) starts daipheirw - - - and by the end of the lesson gets to the end of the word. no greek learnt. oimoi

and I register shock, SHOCK! eek ! that Chris Bueno - my fave who knows everything (*) didnt know that Phnom - is puh huh - aspirated P
and penh - is conventional for peng

Ming 明- bright in mandarin, is spelt minh in Viet and er Thai and the other one 明

still shocked I am

(*) - yeah I am aware - "knows everything" abuts a 'doesnt know' but hey this is AB so I am amazed anything makes sense

spelling reform in athens 300 BC they chucked out the digamma F and another and rewrote everything.

modern greek
does anyone speak it?

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