# Alpha

# Alpha

**Alpha** (uppercase **Î‘**, lowercase **Î±**; Ancient Greek : Î¬Î»Ï†Î±, *Ã¡lpha*, modern pronunciation *Ã¡lfa*) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 1.

It was derived from the Phoenician and Hebrew letter aleph - an ox or leader. ^{[undefined]}

Letters that arose from alpha include the Latin A and the Cyrillic letter Ğ�.

In English, the noun "alpha" is used as a synonym for "beginning", or "first" (in a series), reflecting its Greek roots.

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Uses

Greek

In Ancient Greek, alpha was pronounced [ a ] and could be either phonemically long ([a:]) or short ([a]). Where there is ambiguity, long and short alpha are sometimes written with a macron and breve today: á¾¹á¾±, á¾¸á¾°.

á½¥Ï�Î± = á½¥Ï�á¾±

*hÅ�rÄ�*[hÉ”Ì�Ë�raË�] "a time"Î³Î»á¿¶ÏƒÏƒÎ± = Î³Î»á¿¶ÏƒÏƒá¾°

*glÃ´ssa*[É¡lÉ”Ì‚Ë�ssa] "tongue"

In Modern Greek, vowel length has been lost, and all instances of alpha simply represent [a].

In the polytonic orthography of Greek, alpha, like other vowel letters, can occur with several diacritic marks: any of three accent symbols ( Î¬, á½°, á¾¶ ), and either of two breathing marks ( á¼�, á¼€ ), as well as combinations of these. It can also combine with the iota subscript ( á¾³ ).

Greek grammar

In the Attic-Ionic dialect of Ancient Greek, long alpha [aË�] fronted to [ É›Ë� ] (eta). In Ionic, the shift took place in all positions. In Attic, the shift did not take place after epsilon, iota, and rho (Îµ, Î¹, Ï�; *e*, *i*, *r*). In Doric and Aeolic, long alpha is preserved in all positions. ^{[undefined]}

Doric, Aeolic, Attic Ï‡Ï�Ï�á¾±

*chÅ�Ì�rÄ�*â€” Ionic Ï‡Ï�Ï�Î·*chÅ�Ì�rÄ“, "country"*Doric, Aeolic Ï†á¾±Ì�Î¼á¾±

*phÄ�Ì�mÄ�*â€” Attic, Ionic Ï†Î®Î¼Î·*phÄ“Ì�mÄ“, "report"*

Privative a is the Ancient Greek prefix á¼€- or á¼€Î½-*a-*, *an-*, added to words to negate them. It originates from the Proto-Indo-European ** nÌ¥-* (syllabic nasal) and is cognate with English *un-*.

Copulative a is the Greek prefix á¼�- or á¼€-*ha-*, *a-*. It comes from Proto-Indo-European ** smÌ¥*.

Math and science

The letter alpha represents various concepts in physics and chemistry, including alpha radiation, angular acceleration, alpha particles, alpha carbon and strength of electromagnetic interaction (as Fine-structure constant). Alpha also stands for thermal expansion coefficient of a compound in physical chemistry. It is also commonly used in mathematics in algebraic solutions representing quantities such as angles. Furthermore, in mathematics, the letter alpha is used to denote the area underneath a normal curve in statistics to denote significance level ^{[undefined]} when proving null and alternative hypotheses. In zoology, it is used to name the dominant individual in a wolf or dog pack.

The proportionality operator "âˆ�" (in Unicode : U+221D) is sometimes mistaken for alpha.

The uppercase letter alpha is not generally used as a symbol because it tends to be rendered identically to the uppercase Latin A.

International Phonetic Alphabet

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the letter É‘, which looks similar to the lower-case alpha, represents the open back unrounded vowel.

History and symbolism

Etymology

Alpha was derived from aleph , which in Phoenician means "ox". ^{[undefined]}

Plutarch

Plutarch, in Moralia , ^{[undefined]} presents a discussion on why the letter alpha stands first in the alphabet. Ammonius asks Plutarch what he, being a Boeotian, has to say for Cadmus, the Phoenician who reputedly settled in Thebes and introduced the alphabet to Greece, placing *alpha* first because it is the Phoenician name for ox â€”which, unlike Hesiod, ^{[undefined]} the Phoenicians considered not the second or third, but the first of all necessities. "Nothing at all," Plutarch replied. He then added that he would rather be assisted by Lamprias, his own grandfather, than by Dionysus' grandfather, i.e. Cadmus. For Lamprias had said that the first articulate sound made is "alpha", because it is very plain and simpleâ€”the air coming off the mouth does not require any motion of the tongueâ€”and therefore this is the first sound that children make.

According to Plutarch's natural order of attribution of the vowels to the planets, alpha was connected with the Moon.

Alpha and Omega

Alpha, both as a symbol and term, is used to refer to or describe a variety of things, including the first or most significant occurrence of something.

The New Testament has God declaring himself to be the "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Revelation 22:13, KJV, and see also 1:8).

Language

The term "alpha" has been used to denote position in social hierarchy, examples being "alpha males" or pack leaders.

Computer encodings

Greek alpha / Coptic alfa

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Character | Î‘ | Î± | â²€ | â²� | ||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Unicode name | GREEK CAPITAL LETTER ALPHA | GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA | COPTIC CAPITAL LETTER ALFA | COPTIC SMALL LETTER ALFA | ||||

Encodings | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex |

Unicode | 913 | U+0391 | 945 | U+03B1 | 11392 | U+2C80 | 11393 | U+2C81 |

UTF-8 | 206 145 | CE 91 | 206 177 | CE B1 | 226 178Â 128 | E2 B2Â 80 | 226 178Â 129 | E2 B2Â 81 |

Numeric character reference | Α | Α | α | α | Ⲁ | Ⲁ | ⲁ | ⲁ |

Named character reference | Α | α | ||||||

CP 437 | 224 | E0 | ||||||

DOS Greek | 128 | 80 | 152 | 98 | ||||

DOS Greek-2 | 164 | A4 | 214 | D6 | ||||

Windows 1253 | 193 | C1 | 225 | E1 | ||||

TeX | alpha |

For accented Greek characters, see Greek diacritics: Computer encoding.

Latin / IPA alpha

Character | É‘ | É’ | á¶� | áµ… | á¶› | |||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Unicode name | LATIN SMALL LETTER ALPHA | LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED ALPHA | LATIN SMALL LETTER ALPHA WITH RETROFLEX HOOK | MODIFIER LETTER SMALL ALPHA | MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TURNED ALPHA | |||||

Encodings | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex |

Unicode | 593 | U+0251 | 594 | U+0252 | 7568 | U+1D90 | 7493 | U+1D45 | 7579 | U+1D9B |

UTF-8 | 201 145 | C9 91 | 201 146 | C9 92 | 225 182Â 144 | E1 B6Â 90 | 225 181Â 133 | E1 B5Â 85 | 225 182Â 155 | E1 B6Â 9B |

Numeric character reference | ɑ | ɑ | ɒ | ɒ | ᶐ | ᶐ | ᵅ | ᵅ | ᶛ | ᶛ |

Mathematical / Technical alpha

Character | â�º | â�¶ | ğ�š¨ | ğ�›‚ | ğ�›¢ | ğ�›¼ | ||||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Unicode name | APL FUNCTIONAL SYMBOL ALPHA | APL FUNCTIONAL SYMBOL ALPHA UNDERBAR | MATHEMATICAL BOLD CAPITAL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL BOLD SMALL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL ITALIC CAPITAL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL ITALIC SMALL ALPHA | ||||||

Encodings | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex |

Unicode | 9082 | U+237A | 9078 | U+2376 | 120488 | U+1D6A8 | 120514 | U+1D6C2 | 120546 | U+1D6E2 | 120572 | U+1D6FC |

UTF-8 | 226 141Â 186 | E2 8DÂ BA | 226 141Â 182 | E2 8DÂ B6 | 240Â 157 154Â 168 | F0Â 9D 9AÂ A8 | 240Â 157 155Â 130 | F0Â 9D 9BÂ 82 | 240Â 157 155Â 162 | F0Â 9D 9BÂ A2 | 240Â 157 155Â 188 | F0Â 9D 9BÂ BC |

UTF-16 | 9082 | 237A | 9078 | 2376 | 55349 57000 | D835 DEA8 | 55349 57026 | D835 DEC2 | 55349 57058 | D835 DEE2 | 55349 57084 | D835 DEFC |

Numeric character reference | ⍺ | ⍺ | ⍶ | ⍶ | 효 | 효 | 훂 | 훂 | 훢 | 훢 | 훼 | 훼 |

Character | ğ�œœ | ğ�œ¶ | ğ��– | ğ��° | ğ��� | ğ��ª | ||||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Unicode name | MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC CAPITAL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL BOLD ITALIC SMALL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD CAPITAL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD SMALL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD ITALIC CAPITAL ALPHA | MATHEMATICAL SANS-SERIF BOLD ITALIC SMALL ALPHA | ||||||

Encodings | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex | decimal | hex |

Unicode | 120604 | U+1D71C | 120630 | U+1D736 | 120662 | U+1D756 | 120688 | U+1D770 | 120720 | U+1D790 | 120746 | U+1D7AA |

UTF-8 | 240Â 157 156Â 156 | F0Â 9D 9CÂ 9C | 240Â 157 156Â 182 | F0Â 9D 9CÂ B6 | 240Â 157 157Â 150 | F0Â 9D 9DÂ 96 | 240Â 157 157Â 176 | F0Â 9D 9DÂ B0 | 240Â 157 158Â 144 | F0Â 9D 9EÂ 90 | 240Â 157 158Â 170 | F0Â 9D 9EÂ AA |

UTF-16 | 55349 57116 | D835 DF1C | 55349 57142 | D835 DF36 | 55349 57174 | D835 DF56 | 55349 57200 | D835 DF70 | 55349 57232 | D835 DF90 | 55349 57258 | D835 DFAA |

Numeric character reference | 휜 | 휜 | 휶 | 휶 | 흖 | 흖 | 흰 | 흰 | 힐 | 힐 | | |