COVID-19 has been a lesson in Greek letters, one variant at a time

Codi Saxon

VANCOUVER – The Greek alphabet arrived on the international stage and into everyday lexicon driving on waves of the novel coronavirus as the Globe Wellness Group began naming variants in the Glagolitic script. As the variants mutated, from Alpha to Delta and then Omicron, people commenced having observe of the […]

VANCOUVER – The Greek alphabet arrived on the international stage and into everyday lexicon driving on waves of the novel coronavirus as the Globe Wellness Group began naming variants in the Glagolitic script.

As the variants mutated, from Alpha to Delta and then Omicron, people commenced having observe of the 24 Greek letters. Omicron is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the final.

In June, an professional committee led by a operating group of the Environment Health and fitness Organization declared they would be applying the Greek alphabet to identify the variants.

“These will be much easier to recall and extra functional to use than alphanumerical designations,” reported the paper about naming the variants.

“The Greek alphabet is perfectly established as currently being generic, as the names of its person letters have currently been used for a multitude of purposes.”

Mark Pallen, a single of the authors of the paper, explained the scientific method of using letters and figures was cumbersome and confusing. Most persons resorted to applying the name of the put the place the variant was to start with discovered, building a stigma for that country, he pointed out.

“And so, there was a recognition that something easier and snappy was wanted.”

Soon immediately after, the Entire world Health Business determined to use Greek letters.

It was a “bit of an oversight,” he reported in an interview, that nobody requested authorization from the Greeks.

“And we fell into the oversight, which is rather a typical error,” reported Pallen, a professor of microbial genomics at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. “When people converse about the Greeks, they often necessarily mean the historical Greeks, and they forget about that the Greeks continue to exist as a nation.”

But it appears to be the Greeks shrugged off the affiliation of their language to the variants with vintage stoicism.

Panayiotis Pappas, chair of linguistics at Simon Fraser College who works by using nonbinary pronouns, reported the “truth is that it can be unremarkable” to any Greek that the letters are made use of to name fatal variants.

And it truly is not just the letters, as “so many” Greek words are employed in science, Pappas said in an interview.

The linguistics professor reads Greek newspapers and scoured them for reaction to the letters getting utilised to name the variants.

“There are heaps of other deadly health conditions that have Greek names, and we don’t complain about that.”

Pappas grew up in northern Greece on a tiny island termed Thasos just before relocating to the United States for their schooling and then using a task at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.

“Greeks really don’t even treatment if the phrases get mispronounced or anything like that,” Pappas claimed.

“They’ve normally regarded it as a mark of delight that, you know, we have a civilization that is about 3,000 decades aged and that we’re capable to lead to Western science.”

Tom Archibald, a mathematics professor at Simon Fraser College, researched Greek in superior university in Ontario for three yrs. His information of modern day Greek is “pretty bad”, he explained, but he can read through it with the support of a dictionary.

“I necessarily mean, every single performing mathematician essentially is familiar with the Greek alphabet, even if they won’t be able to say it in purchase.”

Pappas mentioned the use of the Greek alphabet to name variants has led to extra curiosity in linguistic classes.

“The one particular issue that we have noticed a bit of an raise in linguistics in our classes, which describe language origins and word origins, what we get in touch with the science of etymology, as more students are intrigued in the wellness sciences fields, wherever a large amount of the background of the English phrase is possibly Greek or Latin,” the professor claimed.

“We offer programs that go via all those explanations, and those people have seen fairly a little bit of a increase in popularity. Men and women really don’t want to master the language, per se, but they do want to realize where by these phrases occur from.”

This report by The Canadian Press was 1st revealed Dec. 24, 2021.

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