IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME
The Greek alphabet is widely used in science to represent variables in equations. The alphabet was developed by scholars around 900 BC. Computer programming languages  don't accept Greek symbols, so this Handbook does not use them either. Computers can, of course,  accept Greek letters from Greek configured keyboards, using Unicode 4.1, and print Greek text, but I am not aware of a computer program language that can accept Greek letters in equations or remarks.

Morse Code Alphabet    

The tables below shows the capital and small letters for several common alphabets that may be found in oil field documents, reports, and well logs, along with their English language names, Roman alphabet equivalent, and the numeric value assigned to each letter for counting purposes (from Wikipedia).

MODERN  GREEK
Α α Alpha 1
Β β Beta 2
Γ γ Gamma 3
Δ δ Delta 4
Ε ε Epsilon 5
Ζ ζ Zeta 7
Η η Eta 8
Θ θ Theta 9
Ι ι Iota 10
Κ κ Kappa 20
Λ λ Lambda 30
Μ μ Mu 40
Ν ν Nu 50
Ξ ξ Xi 60
Ο ο Omicron 70
Π π Pi 80
Ρ ρ Rho 100
Σ σ ς Sigma 200
Τ τ Tau 300
Υ υ Upsilon 400
Φ φ Phi 500
Χ χ Chi 600
Ψ ψ Psi 700
Ω ω Omega 800

MODERN  RUSSIAN

A awning

R r-r-rolled
B bit S see
 V vine T tip
 G go OO boot
 D do F face
 YE yet, YO yolk CH chi
ZH  jeux TS sits
 Z zoo CH chip
I in SH shoe
 Y yes SH she
 K kit J edge
 L lamp I sill
 M map J just
 N not E met
 O ore U use
 P pet YA yard

MODERN  ARABIC

Isolated

End

Middle

Beginning

ا

ـﺎ

ـﺎ

ا

 

alif

' , ā

ـب

ـبـ

بـ

b

ـت

ـتـ

تـ

t

ـث

ـثـ

ثـ

tha

f

ـج

ـجـ

جـ

gīm

 j, g

ـح

ـحـ

حـ

hā

h

ـخ

ـخـ

خـ

hā

h, kh, x

ـد

ـد

د

dāl

d

ـذ

ـذ

ذ

dāl

d, dh

ـر

ـر

ر

r

ـز

ـز

ز

zāy

z

ـس

ـسـ

سـ

sīn

s

ـش

ـشـ

شـ

hīn

, sh

ـص

ـصـ

صـ

sād

s

ـض

ـضـ

ضـ

dād

d

ـط

ـطـ

طـ

rā

r

ـظ

ـظـ

ظـ

zā

z

ـع

ـعـ

عـ

ayn

'

ـغ

ـغـ

غـ

ġayn

ġ/ gh)

ف

ـف

ـفـ

فـ

f

ـق

ـقـ

قـ

qāf

q

ـك

ـكـ

كـ

kāf

k

ـل

ـلـ

لـ

lām

l

ـم

ـمـ

مـ

mīm

m

ن

ـن

ـنـ

نـ

nūn

n

ـه

ـهـ

هـ

h

ـو

ـو

و

wāw

w, ū, aw

ـي

ـيـ

يـ

y, ī, ay

MODERN  HEBREW
א alef '
אּ
ב vet v
בּ bet b
ג gimel g
גּ
ג׳ jimel j
גּ׳
ד dalet d
ה hei h
הּ
הּ
ו vav v
וּ
ז zayin z
זּ
ז׳(4) zhayin zh
זּ׳
ח ħet ħ
חּ
ח׳
חּ׳
ט tet t
טּ
ט׳ dhet/ẓet dh
טּ׳
י yud y, i
יּ
ך כ khaf kh
ךּ כּ kaf k
ם מ mem m
םּ מּ
ן נ nun n
ןּ נּ
ס samekh s
סּ
ע ayin '
עּ
ע׳ rayin r
ף פ fei f
ףּֿ פּֿ
ףּ פּ pei p
ץ׳ צ׳ chadi ch
ץּ׳ צּ׳
ץ׳ צ׳ dadi d
ץּ׳ צּ׳
ק kuf k
קּ
ר reish r
רּ
שׁ shin sh
שׂ sin s
שּׂ
ת tav t
תּ
טְ shva naħ  
shva na e
חֱ ħataf segol e
חֲ ħataf pataħ a
חֳ ħataf kamatz o
טִ ħirik i
טֵ tzeire e
טֶ segol
טַ pataħ a
טָ kamatz gadol
kamatz katan o
טֹ ħolam o
טֻ kubutz u
 

NUMERICAL SYSTEMS
We use the Western Arabic number system with our Roman alphabet for writing in English, French, Spanish, and many other languages, including Albanian, Hungarian, and other non-Roman languages. Western Arabic numerals can be used in various counting systems including binary, decimal, duodecimal, and hexadecimal (base 2, 10, 12, 16 respectively). They obey both additive and positional rules. The Arabic numerals are very familiar to Western society, but are written differently in other cultures. Below are a few of them:

The ancient Greeks used alphabetic characters  to represent numerals. Each unit (1, 2, , 9) was assigned a separate letter, each tens (10, 20, , 90) a separate letter, and each hundreds (100, 200, , 900) a separate letter. This requires 27 letters, so the 24-letter Greek alphabet was extended by using three obsolete letters:  stigma for 6, qoppa for 90, and sampi for 900. To distinguish numerals from letters they are followed by the "keraia", a symbol similar to an acute accent sign. This alphabetic representation of numbers is additive and positional, similar to our use of Western Arabic numerals. For example, 241 is represented as σμα' (200 + 40 + 1).

To represent numbers from 1,000 to 999,999 the same letters are reused to serve as thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands. A "left keraia"  is put in front of thousands to distinguish them from the standard use. For example, 2008 is represented as ,βη' (2000 + 8).

In contrast, the Roman Numeral system is neither strictly additive nor positional. Leading characters can be subtractive if they have a lower numerical value than the following character. There is no character for "zero". The Roman alphabetic characters used are I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, M = 1000. A  bar over the symbol indicates multiplication by 1000. The number 9 is represented by IX (10 minus 1), illustrating the subtractive method. The year 2012 is MMXII, representing the additive case. The year 1944 is MCMXLIV, illustrating both additive and subtractive rules. Arithmetic with these symbols is exceedingly difficult.

It is commaon in oil field usage to use M or m to mean 1000 and MM or mm to mean 1,000,000, although MM really means 2000 as a Roman Numeral. In some industries, M is used to mean 1,000,000, as in $6.3 M (6,300,000 dollars). Newspapers and popular magazines get it wrong all the time.


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