GreekChat.com Forums

GreekChat.com Forums (http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/index.php)
-   Greek Life (http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/forumdisplay.php?f=24)
-   -   Why those letters? (public/private) (http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/showthread.php?t=105456)

naraht 05-19-2009 11:03 AM

Why those letters? (public/private)
 
After talking for a while on the Philippines GLO bulletin boards, I've come to realize that somewhere near half of those groups have *obvious* places that their choice of letters come from. For example. A group called Triskelion Grand Fraternity is Tau Gamma Phi (and their Sorority is Tau Gamma Sigma) and the "Medical School Fraternity" at one school is Mu Sigma Phi. (yes, you can cry now)

OTOH, in the United States, *most* Greek Letter Organizations (used in the widest sense) have the reason for choosing those particular letters (and for most, that particular order) private to the members of the group.

The only exceptions that I'm pretty sure of are
Phi Beta Kappa (Honor)
Delta Upsilon (NIC) (I know that Dikaia Upotheke (Justice Our Foundation) was adopted 24 years after the founding, but since the fraternity is public, I presume that information is public as well)
Omega Psi Phi (NPHC)
Gamma Sigma Sigma (Service)
I've also seen some Honor Societies where the letters were chosen from those of groups that merged to make the new honor society.

Are there any other where that information is public? I'm *not* looking for secrets here, I'm looking for groups that the reason for choosing those letters could be included in a description of the group in the Fraternity/Sorority page run by the Dean of Greek Affairs at the school.
(For example for Omega Psi Phi http://students.georgiasouthern.edu/...laimer_opp.htm)

MysticCat 05-19-2009 11:19 AM

From Alpha Chi Omega's website:
Alpha Chi Omega's Founders chose "Alpha," the first letter of the Greek alphabet, because they were forming the first fraternity in the school of music. Since they thought they might also be founding the last such fraternity, "Omega" seemed appropriate. "Kai," meaning "and," was added to form the beginning and the end. "Kai" was soon changed to "Chi," a letter of the Greek alphabet.
Also, you give Phi Beta Kappa as an example, but the meaning of those letters was secret at first.

Of course, many groups have an open (public) meaning and a closed (secret) meaning for their letters.

I do know of one GLO that used to state publically what the meaning of its name/letters was -- it could be found in some of their publications and even in at least one edition of Baird's. But for quite a long time now, that group has not published that information anywhere -- it seems to now be considered secret. So I ain't telling which group it is. ;)

LatinaAlumna 05-19-2009 11:21 AM

There are several NALFO organizations that have "public" phrases that correspond with their letters:

Lambda Upsilon Lambda = La Unidad Latina
Chi Upsilon Sigma = Corazones Unidos Siempre
Lambda Upsilon Alpha = Latino America Unida
Lambda Sigma Upsilon = Latinos Siempre Unidos
Lambda Pi Upsilon = Latinas Poderosas Unidas
Lambda Pi Chi = Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad
Sigma Lambda Upsilon = Senoritas Latinas Unidas
Alpha Pi Sigma = Amigas Para Siempre

Now, whether the letters have meaning beyond the public phrase would only be known to members...

naraht 05-19-2009 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MysticCat (Post 1810312)
From Alpha Chi Omega's website [...]

Also, you give Phi Beta Kappa as an example, but the meaning of those letters was secret at first.

Thank you for the Alpha Chi Omega information. Also, I'd forgotten that Phi Beta Kappa's was originally private. To be clear I'm talking about today, but the information that it used to be private is good to have as well.

naraht 05-19-2009 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MysticCat (Post 1810312)
So I ain't telling which group it is. ;)

Yeah, wierd what you can find in old copies of Baird's ;)

DreamfulSpirit 05-19-2009 12:25 PM

Omega Phi Alpha's letters were chosen because of our National History being started by the Zeta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega at Bowling Green State University. The Zeta Kappa chapter of APO was looking to create another organization to help them with service projects, and a lot of women were interested in being apart of it. So they created a service sorority and chose a similar name: Omega Phi Alpha.

You can read it as a part of our National History here on OPA's national website:
http://omegaphialpha.org/visitors/ab...tional-history

LucyKKG 05-20-2009 09:07 PM

Theta Chi's name isn't secret. It means "helping hand." I can't spell it right, but it's something like Thereposa Cheir in Greek.

violetpretty 05-21-2009 12:26 AM

Sigma Kappa's is secret. Sorry guys.

jennyj87 05-21-2009 08:21 AM

Okay we have a couple meanings for them, and some are shared at initiation, but some are shared during the new member classes....
hmmmmm.......

MysticCat 05-21-2009 08:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LucyKKG (Post 1810872)
Theta Chi's name isn't secret. It means "helping hand." I can't spell it right, but it's something like Thereposa Cheir in Greek.

I believe that's their motto (technically, I think that they translate Qhroposa Ceir as "An Assisting Hand"), which may or may not be the same as their name. As I said earlier, I don't think it's uncommon for groups to have both a public meaning and a private meaning for their letters. ;)

naraht 05-21-2009 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LucyKKG (Post 1810872)
Theta Chi's name isn't secret. It means "helping hand." I can't spell it right, but it's something like Thereposa Cheir in Greek.

Well the motto according to the Wikipedia page is Θηρόποσα Χείρ , but I've seen at least three ways to transliterate it, and at least two ways to translate it (The Wikipedia page apparently gets people changing it back and forth between "An Assisting Hand" and "A Helping Hand") The motto is apparently the greek, not any specific english translation.

However, I haven't found anything on the National Fraternity site or on an official school greek site that says that's where the name comes from. I agree that it is *highly* likely though...

(I was composing this before MysticCat responded)

naraht 05-21-2009 08:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jennyj87 (Post 1810971)
Okay we have a couple meanings for them, and some are shared at initiation, but some are shared during the new member classes....
hmmmmm.......

However which of the meanings was actually the *reason* that the letters were chosen could be either, and a Delta Delta Delta sister especially a historian would know much better than I...

MysticCat 05-21-2009 09:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by naraht (Post 1810974)
However, I haven't found anything on the National Fraternity site or on an official school greek site that says that's where the name comes from. I agree that it is *highly* likely though...

This raises an interesting point. Theta Chi's public name, of course, is Theta Chi. I don't think it's any secret that for some GLOs, the Greek letters that form their public name stand for a motto (much as FBK, which originally was not the name of the organization, stood for "Philosophy, the Helmsman of Life") or for certain ideals, while in other organizations the Greek letters stand for the "real" name of the organization.

I'm not saying that Theta Chi falls in that latter category -- I have no idea one way or the other. It's just worth remembering that there's not a single way of doing things, even for something as basic as naming a Greek Letter Organization.

LucyKKG 05-21-2009 07:34 PM

Good point about Theta Chi's name vs. motto. I just assumed it was also their name since it starts with the same letters. I supposed there are multiple Greek words that start with Theta and Chi, though. Hehe

Thetagirl218 05-21-2009 09:28 PM

I would think that most of the NPC sororities have private meanings to their letters (Other than the already stated Alpha Chi Omega).

Kappa Alpha Theta's is secret.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:31 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.