Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
Previous Section

Next Section

-- 7 --

Part I: Letters, Sounds, Syllables, Accent The Alphabet 1

The Greek alphabet has twenty-four letters.

as in
Ααἄλφαalphaaă: aha; ā: father
Εεεἶ, ἔ (ἒ ψι_λόν) ĕpsīlonĕmet
ΗηἦταētaēFr. fête
Θθ, υθῆταthētaththin
Ιιἰῶταiōtaiĕ: meteor; ī: police
Κκκάππαkappac, kkin
Ξξξεῖ (ξῖ) xixlax
Οοοὖ, ὄ (ὂ μι_κρόν) ŏmīcronŏobey
Πππεῖ (πῖ) pippet
Σς, ςσίγμαsigmassuch
Υυ (ὖ ψι_λόν) üpsīlon (u) yŭ: Fr. tu; ū: Fr. sûr
Φφφεῖ (φῖ) phiphgraphic
Χχχεῖ (χῖ) chichGerm. machen
Ψψψεῖ (ψῖ) psipsgypsum
Ωω (ὦ μέγα) ōmĕgaōnote

a. Sigma (not capital) at the end of a word is written ς, elsewhere ς. Thus, σεισμός earthquake.

b. The names in parentheses, from which are derived those in current use, were given at a late period, some as late as the Middle Ages. Thus, epsilon means ‘simple e,’ upsilonsimple u,’ to distinguish these letters from αι, οι, which were sounded like ε and υ.

-- 8 --

c. Labda is a better attested ancient name than lambda.


The Greek alphabet as given above originated in Ionia, and was adopted at Athens in 403 B.C. The letters from A to T are derived from Phoenician and have Semitic names. The signs Υ to Ω were invented by the Greeks. From the Greek alphabet are derived the alphabets of most European countries. The ancients used only the large letters, called majuscules (capitals as Ε, uncials as [Eunc ]); the small letters (minuscules), which were used as a literary hand in the ninth century, are cursive forms of the uncials.

a. Before 403 B.C. in the official Attic alphabet E stood for ε, η, spurious ει (6), O for ο, ω, spurious ου (6), H for the rough breathing, ΧΣ for Ξ, ΦΣ for Ψ. Λ was written for γ, and [lins ] for λ. Thus:

ΕΔΟΧΣΕΝΤΕΙΒΟ[lins ]ΕΙΚΑΙΤΟΙΔΕΜΟΙἔδοξεν τῇ βουλῇ καὶ τῷ δήμῳ.
ΕΓΙΤΕΔΕΙΟΝΕΝΑΙΑΓΟΤΟΑΡΛΥΡΙΟἐπιτήδειον εἶναι ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀργυρίου.


In the older period there were two other letters: (1) Ϝ: ϝαῦ, uau, called digamma (i.e. double-gamma) from its shape. It stood after ε and was pronounced like ω. ϝ was written in Boeotian as late as 200 B.C. (2) ϟ: κόππα, koppa, which stood after π. Another ς, called san, is found in the sign [sampi ], called sampi, i.e. san + pi. On these signs as numerals, see cross348.


Vau was in use as a genuine sound at the time the Homeric poems were composed, though it is found in no Mss. of Homer. Many apparent irregularities of epic verse (such as hiatus, 47 D.) can be explained only by supposing that ϝ was actually sounded. Examples of words containing ϝ are: ἄστυ town, ἄναξ lord, ἁνδάνω please, εἴκω give way (cp. weak), εἴκοσι twenty (cp. viginti), ἕκαστος each, ἑκών willing, ἔλπομαι hope (cp. voluptas), ἔοικα am like, ἕο, οἷ, ἕ him, ἕξ six, ἔπος word, εἶπον said, ἔργον, ἔρδω work, ἕννυ_μι clothe, fr. ϝες-νυ_μι (cp. vestis), ἐρέω will say (cp. verbum), ἕσπερος evening (cp. vesper), ἴον violet (cp. viola), ἔτος year (cp. vetus), ἡδύς sweet (cp. suavis), ἰδεῖν (οἶδα) know (cp. videre, wit), ἴ_ς strength (cp. vis), ἰ_τέα willow (cp. vitis, withy), οἶκος house (cp. vicus), οἶνος wine (cp. vinum), ὅς his ( cross123), ὄχος carriage (cp. veho, wain). Vau was lost first before ο-sounds (ὁράω see, cp. be-ware). ϝ occurred also in the middle of words: κλέϝος glory, αἰϝεί always, ὄϝις sheep (cp. ovis), κληϝίς key (Dor. κλα_ΐς, cp. clavis), ξένϝος stranger, Διϝί to Zeus, καλϝός beautiful. Cp. cross20, cross31, 37 D., 122, 123.

Vowels and Diphthongs 4

There are seven vowels: α, ε, η, ι, ο, υ, ω. Of these ε and ο are always short, and take about half the time to pronounce as η and ω, which are always long; α, ι, υ are short in some syllables, long in others. In this Grammar, when α, ι, υ are not marked as long (α_, ι_, υ_) they are understood to be short. All vowels with the circumflex ( cross149) are long. On length by position, see cross144.

a. Vowels are said to be open or close according as the mouth is more open

-- 9 --

or less open in pronouncing them, the tongue and lips assuming different positions in the case of each.


A diphthong (δίφθογγος having two sounds) combines two vowels in one syllable. The second vowel is ι or υ. The diphthongs are: αι, ει, οι, α_, ῃ, ῳ; αυ, ευ, ου, ηυ, and υι. The ι of the so-called improper diphthongs, α_, ῃ, ῳ, is written below the line and is called iota subscript. But with capital letters, ι is written on the line (adscript), as ΤΗΙ ΩΙΔΗΙ τῇ ᾠδῇ or Ὠιδῇ to the song. All diphthongs are long.

a. In ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ the ι ceased to be written about 100 B.C. The custom of writing ι under the line is as late as about the eleventh century.


A diphthong ωυ occurs in New Ionic (ὡυτός the same from ὁ αὐτός 68 D., ἐμωυτοῦ of myself = ἐμαυτοῦ 329 D., θωῦμα θαῦμα wonder). Ionic has ηυ for Attic αυ in some words (Hom. νηῦς ship).


ει, ου are either genuine or spurious (apparent) diphthongs ( cross25). Genuine ει, ου are a combination of ε ι, ο υ, as in λείπω I leave (cp. λέλοιπα I have left, 35 a), γένει to a race ( cross49), ἀκόλουθος follower (cp. κέλευθος way). Spurious ει, ου arise from contraction ( cross50) or compensatory lengthening ( cross37). Thus, ἐφίλει he loved, from ἐφίλεε, θείς placing from θεντ-ς; ἐφίλουν they loved from ἐφίλεον, πλοῦς voyage from πλόος, δούς giving from δοντ-ς.


The figure of a triangle represents the relations of the vowels and spurious diphthongs to one another.

[unresolved image link]

From α_ to ι and from α to ου the elevation of the tongue gradually increases. ω, ο, ου, υ are accompanied by rounding of the lips.


Diaeresis.—A double dot, the mark of diaeresis (διαίρεσις separation), may be written over ι or υ when these do not form a diphthong with the preceding vowel: προΐστημι I set before, νηΐ to a ship.


In poetry and in certain dialects vowels are often written apart which later formed diphthongs: πάις (or πάϊς) boy or girl, Πηλεΐδης son of Peleus, ἐύ (or ἐΰ) well, Ἀίδης (or Ἀΐδης) Hades, γένεϊ to a race.

Breathings 9

Every initial vowel or diphthong has either the rough (‘) or the smooth (’) breathing. The rough breathing (spiritus asper) is pronounced as h, which is sounded before the vowel; the smooth

-- 10 --

breathing (spiritus lenis) is not sounded. Thus, ὅρος hóros boundary, ὄρος óros mountain.


The Ionic of Asia Minor lost the rough breathing at an early date. So also before ρ ( cross13). Its occurrence in compounds ( cross124 D.) is a relic of the period when it was still sounded in the simple word. Hom. sometimes has the smooth where Attic has the rough breathing in forms that are not Attic: Ἀΐδης (Ἅ_ιδης), the god Hades, ἆλτο sprang (ἅλλομαι), ἄμυδις together (cp. ἅμα), ἠέλιος sun (ἥλιος), ἠώς dawn (ἕως), ἴ_ρηξ hawk (ἱέρα_ξ), οὖρος boundary (ὅρος). But also in ἄμαξα wagon (Attic ἅμαξα). In Laconian medial ς became ( (h): ἐνί_κα_ἑ ἐνί_κησε he conquered.


Initial υ (υ and υ_) always has the rough breathing.


In Aeolic, υ, like all the other vowels (and the diphthongs), always has the smooth breathing. The epic forms ὔμμες you, ὔμμι, ὔμμε ( cross325 D.) are Aeolic.


Diphthongs take the breathing, as the accent ( cross152), over the second vowel: αἱρέω hairéo I seize, αἴρω aíro I lift. But ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ take both the breathing and the accent on the first vowel, even when ι is written in the line (5): ᾄδω Ἄιδω I sing, ᾅδης Ἅ_ιδης Hades, but Αἰνεία_ς Aeneas. The writing ἀίδηλος (Ἀίδηλος) destroying shows that αι does not here form a diphthong; and hence is sometimes written αϊ (8).


In compound words (as in προορᾶν to foresee, from πρό ὁρᾶν) the rough breathing is not written, though it must often have been pronounced: cp. ἐξέδρα_ a hall with seats, Lat. exhedra, exedra, πολυίστωρ very learned, Lat. polyhistor. On Attic inscriptions in the old alphabet (2 a) we find ΕΥΗΟΡΚΟΝ εὐὅρκον faithful to one's oath.


Every initial ρ has the rough breathing: ῥήτωρ orator (Lat. rhetor). Medial ρρ is written ῤῥ in some texts: Πύῤῥος Pyrrhus.


The sign for the rough breathing is derived from H, which in the Old Attic alphabet (2 a) was used to denote h. Thus, HO the. After H was used to denote η, one half ([rough ]) was used for h (about 300 B.C.), and, later, the other half ([smooth]) for the smooth breathing. From [rough ] and [smooth] come the forms ‘and’.


The seventeen consonants are divided into stops (or mutes), spirants, liquids, nasals, and double consonants. They may be arranged according to the degree of tension or slackness of the vocal chords in sounding them, as follows:

a. Voiced (sonant, i.e. sounding) consonants are produced when the vocal chords vibrate. The sounds are represented by the letters β, δ, γ (stops), λ, ρ (liquids), μ, ν, γ-nasal ( cross19 a) (nasals), and ζ. (All the vowels are voiced.) ρ with the rough breathing is voiceless.

b. Voiceless (surd, i.e. hushed) consonants require no exertion of the vocal chords. These are π, τ, κ, φ, θ, χ (stops), ς (spirant or sibilant), and ψ and ξ.

c. Arranged according to the increasing degree of noise, nearest to the vowels are the nasals, in sounding which the air escapes without friction through the nose; next come the semivowels w and y ( cross20 a), the liquids, and the spirant ς, in

-- 11 --

sounding which the air escapes with friction through the cavity of the mouth; next come the stops, which are produced by a removal of an obstruction; and finally the double consonants.


Stops (or mutes). Stopped consonants are so called because in sounding them the breath passage is for a moment completely closed. The stops are divided into three classes (according to the part of the mouth chiefly active in sounding them) and into three orders (according to the degree of force in the expiratory effort).

Labial (lip sounds)πβφ
Dental (teeth sounds)τδθ
Palatal (palate sounds)κγχ

a. The dentals are sometimes called linguals. The rough stops are also called aspirates (lit. breathed sounds) because they were sounded with a strong emission of breath ( cross26). The smooth stops are thus distinguished from the rough stops by the absence of breathing. ( (h) is also an aspirate. The middle stops owe their name to their position in the above grouping, which is that of the Greek grammarians.


Spirants.—There is one spirant: ς (also called a sibilant).

a. A spirant is heard when the breath passage of the oral cavity is so narrowed that a rubbing noise is produced by an expiration.


Liquids.—There are two liquids: λ and ρ. Initial ρ always has the rough breathing ( cross13).


Nasals.—There are three nasals: μ (labial), ν (dental), and γ-nasal (palatal).

a. Gamma before κ, γ, χ, ξ is called γ-nasal. It had the sound of n in think, and was represented by n in Latin. Thus, ἄγκυ_ρα (Lat. ancora) anchor, ἄγγελος (Lat. angelus) messenger, σφίγξ sphinx.

b. The name liquids is often used to include both liquids and nasals.


Semivowels.—ι, υ, the liquids, nasals, and the spirant ς are often called semivowels. (y becoming ζ, and ϝ are also called spirants.)

a. When ι and υ correspond to y and w (cp. minion, persuade) they are said to be unsyllabic; and, with a following vowel, make one syllable out of two. Semivocalic ι and υ are written y and υglide. Initial y passed into ( (h), as in ἧπαρ liver, Lat. jecur; and into ζ in ζυγόν yoke, Lat. jugum (here it is often called the spirant yod). Initial υglide was written ϝ (3). Medial y, υglide before vowels were often lost, as in τι_μά- (y) ω I honour, βο (υglide) -ός, gen. of βοῦ-ς ox, cow ( cross43).

b. The form of many words is due to the fact that the liquids, nasals, and ς may fulfil the office of a vowel to form syllables (cp. bridle, even, pst). This is expressed by λο, μο, νο, ρο, ςο, to be read ‘syllabic λ,’ etc., or ‘sonant λ’ (see cross35 b, c).


Double Consonants.—These are ζ, ξ, and ψ. ζ is a combination of σδ (or δς) or δι ( cross26). ξ is written for κς, γτ, χτ; ψ for πς, βς, φς.

-- 12 --


DIVISIONSPhysiological DifferencesLabialDentalPalatal
NasalsVoicedμνγ-nasal ( cross19 a)
SemivowelsVoicedυglide (ϝ) y (y)
LiquidsVoicedλ ρ [1]
Spirants (Voicedς [2] cross
(Voicelessς, ς
(Voicedβ (middle)δ (middle)γ (middle)
Stops (Voicelessπ (smooth)τ (smooth)κ (smooth)
(Voiceless Aspirateφ (rough)θ (rough)χ (rough)
Double (Voicedζ
consonants (Voicelessψξ


The pronunciation of Ancient Greek varied much according to time and place, and differed in many important respects from that of the modern language. While in general Greek of the classical period was a phonetic language, i.e. its letters represented the sounds, and no heard sound was unexpressed in writing (but see cross108), in course of time many words were retained in their old form though their pronunciation had changed. The tendency of the language was thus to become more and more unphonetic. Our current pronunciation of Ancient Greek is only in part even approximately correct for the period from the death of Pericles ( cross429 B.C.) to that of Demosthenes ( cross322); and in the case of several sounds, e.g. ζ, φ, χ, θ, it is certainly erroneous for that period. But ignorance of the exact pronunciation, as well as long-established usage, must render any reform pedantical, if not impossible. In addition to, and in further qualification of, the list of sound equivalents in 1 we may note the following:


Vowels.—Short α, ι, υ differed in sound from the corresponding long voweis only in being less prolonged; ε and ο probably differed from η and ω also in being less open, a difference that is impossible to parallel in English as our short vowels are more open than the long vowels. α: as a in Germ. hat. There is no true ă in accented syllables in English; the a of idea, aha is a neutral vowel. ε: as é in bonté; somewhat similar is a in bakery. η: as ê in fête, or

-- 13 --

nearly as e in where. ι: nearly as the first e in meteor, eternal. ο: as o in Fr. mot, somewhat like unaccented ŏ in obey or phonetic (as often sounded). ω: as o in Fr. encore. Eng. ō is prevailingly diphthongal (o^{u}). υ was originally sounded as u in prune, but by the fifth century had become like that of Fr. tu, Germ. thür. It never had in Attic the sound of u in mute. After υ had become like Germ. ü, the only means to represent the sound of the old υ (oo in moon) was ου ( cross25). Observe, however, that, in diphthongs, final υ retained the old υ sound.


In Lesbos, Boeotia, Laconia, possibly in Ionia, and in some other places, υ was still sounded οο after it became like Germ. ü in Attic.


Diphthongs.—The diphthongs were sounded nearly as follows:

αι as in Cairoαυ as ou in outηυ as ēh’-oo
ει as in veinευ as e (met) + oo (moon)ωυ as ōh’-oo
οι as in soilου as in ourangυι as in Fr. huit

In , , the long open vowels had completely overpowered the ι by 100 B.C., so that ι ceased to be written (5 a). The ι is now generally neglected in pronunciation though it may have still been sounded to some extent in the fourth century B.C.—The genuine diphthongs ει and ου (6) were originally distinct double sounds (ĕh’-i, ŏh’-oo), and as such were written ΕΙ, ΟΥ in the Old Attic alphabet (2 a): ΕΓΕΙΔΕ ἐπειδή, ΤΟΥΤΟΝ τούτων. The spurious diphthongs ει and ου (6) are digraphs representing the long sounds of simple ε (French é) and original υ. By 400 B.C. genuine ει and ου had become simple single sounds pronounced as ei in vein and ou in ourang; and spurious ει and ου, which had been written E and O (2 a), were now often written ΕΙ and ΟΥ. After 300 B.C. ει gradually acquired the sound of ei in seize. ευ was sounded like eh’-oo, ηυ and ωυ like ēh’-oo, ōh’-oo, pronounced rapidly but smoothly. υι is now commonly sounded as ui in quit. It occurred only before vowels, and the loss of the ι in ὑός son ( cross43) shows that the diphthongal sound was disliked.


Consonants.—Most of the consonants were sounded as in English (1). Before ι, κ, γ, τ, ς never had a sh (or zh) sound heard in Lycia (Λυκία_), Asia (Ἀσία_). ς was usually like our sharp s; but before voiced consonants ( cross15 a) it probably was soft, like z; thus we find both κόζμος and κόσμος on inscriptions. —ζ was probably = zd, whether it arose from an original σδ (as in Ἀθήναζε, from Ἀθηνα (ν) ς-δε Athens-wards), or from dz, developed from dy (as in ζυγόν, from (d) yυγόν, cp. jugum). The z in zd gradually extinguished the d, until in the Hellenistic period (p. 4) ζ sank to z (as in zeal), which is the sound in Modern Greek.—The aspirates φ, θ, χ were voiceless stops ( cross15 b, cross16 a) followed by a strong expiration: π^{h}, τ^{h}, κ^{h} as in upheaval, hothouse, backhand (though here h is in a different syllable from the stop). Thus, φεύγω was πεύγω, θέλω was τέλω, ἔχω was ἔ-κω. Cp. ἐφ' ᾧ for ἐπ () , etc. Probably only one h was heard when two aspirates came together, as in ἐχθρός (ἐκτρός). After 300 A.D. (probably) φ, θ, and χ became spirants, φ being sounded as f (as in Φίλιππος Philip), θ as th in theatre, χ as ch in German ich or loch. The stage between aspirates and spirants is sometimes represented by the writing πφ (= pf), τθ, κχ,

-- 14 --

which are affricata.—The neglect of the h in Latin representations of φ, θ, χ possibly shows that these sounds consisted of a stop + h. Thus, Pilipus = Φίλιππος, tus = θύος, Aciles = Ἀχιλλεύς. Modern Greek has the spirantic sounds, and these, though at variance with classical pronunciation, are now usually adopted. See also cross108.


Aeolic has σδ for ζ in ὔσδος (ὄζος branch). In late Laconian θ passed into ς (σηρίον θηρίον wild beast). In Laconian and some other dialects β became a spirant and was written for ϝ. δ became a spirant in Attic after Christ.


Quantitative Vowel Gradation.—In the formation and inflection of words a short vowel often interchanges with its corresponding long vowel. Thus

LONG η (α_ after ε, ι, ρ, cross31) ηι_ωυ_
I honourI permitI loveI comeI shownature


Difference in quantity between Attic and Epic words is due chiefly either to (1) metrical lengthening, or to (2) different phonetic treatment, as καλϝός, τινϝω become Epic κα_λός fair, τί_νω I pay ( cross37 D. 1), Attic καλός, τινω.


Metrical lengthening.—Many words, which would otherwise not fit into the verse, show in the Epic ει for ε, ου (rarely οι) for ο, and α_, ι_, υ_ for α, ι, υ. Thus, εἰνάλιος in the sea for ἐνάλιος, εἰαρινός vernal for ἐαρινός, ὑπείροχος eminent for ὑπέροχος, εἰλήλουθα have come for ἐλήλουθα, οὐλόμενος destructive, accursed for ὀλόμενος, οὔρεα mountains from ὄρος, Οὐλύμποιο of Olympus from Ὄλυμπος. ο before a vowel appears as οι in πνοιή breath. Similarly, ἠγάθεος very holy for ἀγάθεος; but ἠνεμόεις windy (from ἄνεμος) has the η of ὑπήνεμος under the wind ( cross29), and τιθήμενος placing (for τιθέμενος) borrows η from τίθημι.

A short syllable under the rhythmic accent (‘ictus’) is lengthened metrically: (1) in words having three or more short syllables: the first of three shorts (οὐλόμενος), the second of four shorts (ὑπείροχος), the third of five shorts (ἀπερείσια boundless); (2) in words in which the short ictus syllable is followed by two longs and a short (Οὐλύμποιο). A short syllable not under the rhythmic accent is lengthened when it is preceded and followed by a long; thus, any vowel preceded by ϝ (πνείω breathe = πνεϝω), ι or υ before a vowel (προθυ_μί_ῃσι zeal).


The initial short vowel of a word forming the second part of a compound is often lengthened: στρατηγός general (στρατός army + ἄγειν to lead 887 d).


Attic η, α_.—Attic has η for original α_ of the earlier period, as φήμη report (Lat. fāma). Ionic also has η for original α_. Doric and Aeolic retain original α_ (φά_μα_).

-- 15 --

a. This is true also of the α_ which is the result of early compensative lengthening, by which -ανς-, -ασλ-, -ασμ-, and -ασν- changed to -α_ς-, -α_λ-, -α_μ-, and -α_ν-. (See cross37 b.) But in a few cases like τά_ς for τάνς, and in πᾶσα for πάνσα ( cross113) where the combination ανς arose at a later period, α_ was not changed to η. ὑφᾶναι for ὑφῆναι to weave follows τετρᾶναι to pierce.

b. Original α_ became η after υ, as φυή growth. In some words, however, we find α_.


Doric and Aeolic retain original α_, as in μᾶλον apple (cp. Lat. mālum, Att. μῆλον), κᾶρυξ herald (Att. κῆρυξ). But Doric and Aeolic have original η when η interchanges with ε, as in τίθημι I place, τίθεμεν we place, μά_τηρ μα_τέρα mother, ποιμήν ποιμένι shepherd.

2. Ionic has η after ε, ι, and ρ. Thus, γενεή, σκιή, ἡμέρη.


In Attic alone this η was changed back to α_:

1. When preceded by a ρ; as ἡμέρα_ day, χώρα_ country. This appears to have taken place even though an ο intervened: as ἀκρόα_μα a musical piece, ἀθρόα_ collected.

EXCEPTIONS: (a) But ρϝη was changed to ρη: as κόρη for κορϝη maiden. (b) Likewise ρη, when the result of contraction of ρεα, remained: as ὄρη from ὄρεα mountains. (c) And ρση was changed to ρρη: as κόρρη for κόρση ( cross79) one of the temples.

2. When preceded by ε or ι: as γενεά_ generation, σκιά_ shadow.

This change takes place even when the η is the result of the contraction of εα: as ὑγιᾶ healthy, ἐνδεᾶ lacking, for ὑγιῆ from ὑγιε (ς) α, ἐνδεῆ from ἐνδεε (ς) α; also, if originally a ϝ intervened, as νέα_ for νεϝα_ young (Lat. nova).

EXCEPTIONS: Some exceptions are due to analogy: ὑγιῆ healthy, εὐφυῆ shapely ( cross292 d) follow σαφῆ clear.


In the choruses of tragedy Doric α_ is often used for η. Thus, μά_τηρ mother, ψυ_χά_ soul, γᾶ earth, δύστα_νος wretched, ἔβα_ν went.


The dialects frequently show vowel sounds that do not occur in the corresponding Attic words.


α for ε: ἱαρός sacred, Ἄρταμις (for Ἄρτεμις), τράπω turn Dor.; ε for α: θέρσος courage Aeol., ἔρσην male, ὁρέω see, τέσσερες four ( = τέτταρες) Ion.; α for ο: δια_κατίοι (for δια_κόσιοι) 200 Dor., ὐπά under Aeol.; ο for α: στρότος (στρατός) army, ὄν (ἀνά) up Aeol., τέτορες (τέτταρες) four Dor.; ε for η: ἕσσων inferior (ἥττων) Ion.; ε for ο: Ἀπέλλων Dor. (also Ἀπόλλων); ε for ει: μέζων greater Ion.; ε for ι: κέρνα_ν mix ( = κιρνάναι for κεραννύναι) Aeol.; ι for ε: ἱστίη hearth Ion., ἱστία_ Dor. (for ἑστία_), χρύ_σιος (χρύ_σεος) golden Aeol., θιός god Boeot., κοσμίω arrange Dor.; υ for α: πίσυρες four (τέτταρες) Hom.; υ for ο: ὄνυμα name Dor., Aeol., ἀπύ from Aeol.; ω for ου: ὦν accordingly Ion., Dor.


Transfer of Quantity.—ηο, ηα often exchange quantities, be coming εω, εα_. Thus, ληός (Epic λα_ός folk) becomes λεώς, as πόληος becomes πόλεως of a city; τεθνηότος τεθνεῶτος dead; βασιλῆα βασιλέα_ king.


Often in Ionic: Ἀτρεΐδεω from earlier Ἀτρεΐδα_ο son of Atreus, ἱκέτεω from ἱκέτα_ο suppliant. This εω generally makes a single syllable in poetry ( cross60). The ηο intermediate between α_ο and εω is rarely found.

-- 16 --


Qualitative Vowel Gradation.—In the same root or suffix we find an interchange among different vowels (and diphthongs) similar to the interchange in sing, sang, sung.

a. This variation appears in strong grades and in a weak grade (including actual expulsion of a vowel—in diphthongs, of the first vowel). Thus, φέρ-ω I carry, φόρ-ο-ς tribute, φώρ thief, φαρ-έ-τρα_ quiver, δί-φ ρ-ο-ς chariot (twocarrier), λείπ-ω I leave, λέ-λοιπ-α I have left, λιπ-εῖν to leave. The interchange is quantitative in φόρ-ο-ς φώρ (cp. cross27).

b. When, by the expulsion of a vowel in the weak grade, an unpronounceable combination of consonants resulted, a vowel sound was developed to render pronunciation possible. Thus, ρα or αρ was developed from ρ between consonants, as in πα-τρά-σι from ατρ-σι ( cross262); and α from ν, as in αὐτό-μα-το-ν for αὐτο-μ-τον automaton (acting of its own will), cp. μέν-ο-ς rage, μέ-μον-α I yearn. So in ὀνομαίνω name for ὀνομ-yω; cp. ὄνομα.

c. A vowel may also take the place of an original liquid or nasal after a consonant; as ἔλυ_σα for ἐλυ_ς. This ρ, λ, μ, ν in b and c is called sonant liquid or sonant nasal.


Strong GradesWeak Grade
1. 2.
a. ε: ο—or α
b. ει: οιι
c. ευ: ουυ
1. 2.
d. α_: ωα
e. η: ωε or α
f. ωο

a. ( ἐ-γεν-ό-μην I became: γέ-γον-α I am bornγί-γ ν-ο-μαι I become
( τρέπω I turn: τροπ-ή routἐ-τράπ-ην I was put to flight
b. πείθ-ω I persuade: πέ-ποιθ-α I trust ( cross568) πιθ-ανός persuasive
c. ἐλεύ (θ) ς-ο-μαι I shall go: ἐλ-ήλουθ-α I have goneἤλυθ-ο-ν I went (Epic)
d. φα_-μί (Dor., cross30) I say: φω-νή speechφα-μέν we speak
e. ( τί-θη-μι I place: θω-μό-ς heapθε-τό-ς placed, adopted
( ῥήγ-νυ_-μι I break: ἔ-ρρωγ-α I have brokenἐ-ρράγ-η it was broken
f.δί-δω-μι I giveδί-δο-μεν we give

N. 1.—Relatively few words show examples of all the above series of grades. Some have five grades, as πα-τήρ, πα-τέρ-α, εὐ-πά-τωρ, εὐ-πά-τορ-α, πα-τ ρ-ός.

N. 2.—ε and ι vary in πετάννυ_μι πίτνημι spread out.


Compensatory lengthening is the lengthening of a short vowel to make up for the omission of a consonant.

-- 17 --

The short vowelsαειου
are lengthened toα_ειι_ουυ_
Thus the formsτάν-ςἐ-μεν-σαἐκλιν-σατόνςδεικνυντ-ς
theI remainedI leanedtheshowing

a. Thus are formed κτείνω I kill for κτεν-yω, φθείρω I destroy for φθερ-yω, δότειρα giver for δοτερ-yα, κλί_νω I lean for κλιν-yω, ὀλοφύ_ρω I lament for ὀλοφυρ-yω.

b. α becomes η in the ς-aorist of verbs whose stems end in λ, ρ, or ν, when not preceded by ι or ρ. Thus, ἐφαν-σα becomes ἔ-φηνα I showed, but ἐπεραν-σα becomes ἐπέρα_να I finished. So σελήνη moon for σελας-νη (σέλας gleam).

c. The diphthongs ει and ου due to this lengthening are spurious (6).


1. Ionic agrees with Attic except where the omitted consonant was ϝ, which in Attic disappeared after a consonant without causing lengthening. Thus, ξεῖνος for ξένος stranger, εἵνεκα on account of (also in Dem.) for ἕνεκα, οὖρος boundary for ὅρος, κοῦρος boy for κόρος, μοῦνος alone for μόνος. These forms are also used generally in poetry.

2. Doric generally lengthens ε and ο to η and ω: ξῆνος, ὧρος, κῶρος, μῶνος. So μῶσα muse from μονσα for μοντyα, τώς for τόνς the, ἠμί am for ἐσμι, χηλίοι 1000 for χεσλιοι, Ionic χείλιοι. (In some Doric dialects ϝ drops as in Attic (ξένος, ὅρος); and ανς, ονς may become ας, ος: δεσπότας lords, τός the.)

3. Aeolic has αις, εις (a genuine diphth.), οις from ανς, ενς, ονς. Thus, παῖσα all (Cretan πάνσα, Att. πᾶσα), λύ_οισι they loose from λύ_οντι. Elsewhere Aeol. prefers assimilated forms (ἔμεννα, ἔκλιννα, ξέννος, ἔννεκα, ὄρρος, ἔμμι, χέλλιοι). But single ν, ρ are also found, as in κόρα_, μόνος. Aeolic has φθέρρω, κλίννω, ὀλοφύρρω; cp. cross37 a.


α_ arises from αι upon the loss of its ι ( cross43) in ἀ_εί always (from αἰεί), ἀ_ετός eagle (αἰετός), κλά_ει weeps (κλαίει), ἐλά_α_ olive-tree (ἐλαία_, cp. Lat. oliva).

a. This change took place only when αι was followed by ϝ (αἰϝεί, αἰϝετός from ἀϝιετος, κλαιϝει from κλαϝιει, 111, cross128) or ι (Θηβα_ίς the Thebaïd from Θηβαιίς); and only when ϝ or ι was not followed by ο.


Shortening.—A long vowel may be shortened before another long vowel: βασιλέων from βασιλήων of kings, νεῶν from νηῶν of ships, τεθνεώς from τεθνηώς dead.


In the Ionic genitive of  stems ( cross214 D. 8) -εων is from -ηων out of -α_ων. So in Ionic βασιλέα from βασιλῆα king. So even before a short vowel in Hom. ἥρωος, ἥρωι hero (cp. cross148 D. 3).


A long vowel before ι, υ, a nasal, or a liquid + a following consonant was regularly shortened: ναῦς from original να_υς ship, ἐμίγεν from ἐ-μιγη-ντ were mixed. The long vowel was often introduced again, as Ion. νηῦς ship.


Addition.—α, ε, ο are sometimes prefixed before λ, μ, ρ, ϝ (prothetic vowels). Thus, ἀ-λείφω anoint with oil, λίπος fat; ἐ-ρυθρός red (cp. Lat. ruber), ἐ-είκοσι from ἐ- (ϝ) είκοσι; ὀ-μόργνυ_μι wipe; ἐ-χθές and χθές yesterday, ἴ-κτις weasel (κτιδέη weasel-skin helmet) are doubtful cases.


Development.—A medial vowel is sometimes developed from λ or ν between two consonants; thus αλ, λα; αρ, ρα; αν ( cross35 b). Also (rarely) in forms like Ion. βάραγχος = Att. βράγχος hoarseness.

-- 18 --


Disappearance.—The ι and υ of diphthongs often disappear before a following vowel. Thus, ὑός from υἱός son, βο-ός genitive of βοῦ-ς ox, cow. ι and υ here became semivowels (y, w), which are not written. Cp. cross148 D. 3.


So in Hdt. κέεται for κείεται lies, βαθέα for βαθεῖα deep.


a. The disappearance of ε before a vowel is often called hyphaeresis (ὑφαίρεσις omission). Thus Ionic νοσσός chick for νεοσσός, ὁρτή for ἑορτή festival; ἀδεῶς fearlessly for ἀδεέως. Here ε was sounded nearly like y and was not written.


Cp. Hom. θεοί A 18 (one syllable). ι becomes y in Hom. πόλιος (two syllables) Φ 567. ι rarely disappears: δῆμον for δήμιον belonging to the people M 213.

b. The disappearance of a short vowel between consonants is called syncope (συγκοπή cutting up). Thus πί_πτω fall for πι-πετ-ω, πατρός father for πατέρος. Syncopated forms show the weak grade of vowel gradation ( cross35, cross36).


Assimilation.—A vowel may be assimilated to the vowel standing in the following syllable: βιβλίον book from βυβλίον (βύβλος papyrus).

a. On assimilation in distracted verbs (ὁρόω see, etc.), see cross643 ff., 652.


Attic more than any other dialect disliked the immediate succession of two vowel sounds in adjoining syllables. To avoid such succession, which often arose in the formation and inflection of words, various means were employed: contraction ( cross48 ff.), when the vowels collided in the middle of a word; or, when the succession occurred between two words (hiatus), by crasis ( cross62 ff.), elision ( cross70 ff.), aphaeresis ( cross76), or by affixing a movable consonant at the end of the former word ( cross134).


Hiatus is usually avoided in prose writers by elision ( cross70 ff.); but in cases where elision is not possible, hiatus is allowed to remain by different writers in different degrees, commonly after short words, such as ὦ, εἰ, ἤ, καί, μή, and the forms of the article.


Hiatus is allowed in certain cases.

1. In epic poetry: a. After ι and υ: ἄξονι ἀμφίς, σύ ἐσσι.

b. After a long final syllable having the rhythmic accent: μοι ἐθέλουσα ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]˘).

c. When a long final syllable is shortened before an initial vowel (weak , or improper, hiatus): ἀκτῇ ἐφ' ὑψηλῇ ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]¯[macrdot]).

d. When the concurrent vowels are separated by the caesura; often after the fourth foot: ἀλλ' ἄγ' ἐμῶν ὀχέων ἐπιβήσεο, ὄφρα ἴδηαι; very often between the short syllables of the third foot (the feminine caesura): as, ἀλλ' ἀκέουσα κάθησο, ἐμῷ δ' ἐπιπείθεο μύ_θῳ; rarely after the first foot: αὐτὰρ ὁ ἔγνω A 333.

e. Where ϝ has been lost.

2. In Attic poetry hiatus is allowable, as in 1 c, and after τί what? εὖ well, interjections, περί concerning, and in οὐδὲ (μηδὲ) εἷς (for οὐδείς, μηδείς no one).

-- 19 --


Contraction unites in a single long vowel or diphthong two vowels or a vowel and a diphthong standing next each other in successive syllables in the same word.

a. Occasion for contraction is made especially by the concurrence of vowel sounds which were once separated by ς, w (ϝ), and y ( cross17, cross20 a).

The following are the chief rules governing contraction:


(I) Two vowels which can form a diphthong (5) unite to form that diphthong: γένεϊ γένει, αἰδόϊ αἰδοῖ, κλήϊθρον κλῇθρον.


(II) Like Vowels.—Like vowels, whether short or long, unite in the common long; εε, οο become ει, ου (6): γέραα γέρα_, φιλέητε φιλῆτε; ἐφίλεε ἐφίλει, δηλόομεν δηλοῦμεν.

a. ι is rarely contracted with ι (ὀφι ιδιον ὀφί_διον small snake) or υ with υ (ὕ_ς son in inscriptions, from (ι) ύς υἱός, cross43).


ι ι ι_ occurs chiefly in the Ionic, Doric, and Aeolic dative singular of nouns in -ις ( cross268 D.), as in πόλιι πόλι_; also in the optative, as in φθι-ι_-το φθῖτο.


(III) Unlike Vowels.—Unlike vowels are assimilated, either the second to the first (progressive assimilation) or the first to the second (regressive assimilation).

a. An o sound always prevails over an a or e sound: ο or ω before or after α, and before η, forms ω. οε and εο form ου (a spurious diphthong, 6). Thus, τι_μάομεν τι_μῶμεν, αἰδόα αἰδῶ, ἥρωα ἥρω, τι_μάω τι_μῶ, δηλόητε δηλῶτε; but φιλέομεν φιλοῦμεν, δηλόετον δηλοῦτον.

b. When α and ε or η come together the vowel sound that precedes prevails, and we have α_ or η: ὅραε ὅρα_, τι_μάητε τί_μᾶτε, ὄρεα ὄρη.

c. υ rarely contracts: υ ι υ_ in ἰχθύ_διον from ἰχθυίδιον small fish; υ ε strictly never becomes υ_ ( cross273).


(IV) Vowels and Diphthongs.—A vowel disappears before a diphthong beginning with the same sound: μνάαι μναῖ, φιλέει φιλεῖ, δηλόοι δηλοῖ.


A vowel before a diphthong not beginning with the same sound generally contracts with the first vowel of the diphthong; the last vowel, if ι, is subscript (5): τι_μάει τι_μᾷ, τι_μάοιμεν τι_μῷμεν, λείπεαι λείπῃ, μεμνηοίμην μεμνῴμην.

a. But ε οι becomes οι: φιλέοι φιλοῖ; ο ει, ο become οι: δηλόει δηλοῖ, δηλόῃ δηλοῖ.


Spurious ει and ου are treated like ε and ο: τι_μάειν τι_μᾶν, δηλόειν δηλοῦν, τι_μάουσι τι_μῶσι (but τι_μάει τι_μᾷ and δηλόει δηλοι_, since ει is here genuine; 6).

-- 20 --


(V) Three Vowels.—When three vowels come together, the last two unite first, and the resulting diphthong may be contracted with the first vowel: thus, τι_μᾷ is from τι_μα-ῃ out of τι_μα-ε (ς) αι; but Περικλέους from Περικλέεος.


In Hom. δεῖος of fear from δέε (ς) -ος the first two vowels unite.


Irregularities.—A short vowel preceding α or any long vowel or diphthong, in contracts of the first and second declensions, is apparently absorbed ( cross235, cross290): χρύ_σεα χρυ_σᾶ (not χρυ_σῆ), ἁπλόα ἁπλᾶ (not ἁπλῶ), by analogy to the α which marks the neuter plural, χρυ_σέαις χρυ_σαῖς. (So ἡμέας ἡμᾶς to show the -ας of the accus. pl.) Only in the singular of the first declension does εα_ become η (or α_ after a vowel or ρ): χρυ_σέα_ς χρυ_σῆς, ἀργυρέᾳ ἀργυρᾷ. In the third declension εεα becomes εα_ ( cross265); ιεα or υεα becomes ια_ (υα_) or ιη (υη). See cross292 d.

Various special cases will be considered under their appropriate sections.


The contraction of a long vowel with a short vowel sometimes does not occur by reason of analogy. Thus, νηΐ (two syllables) follows νηός, the older form of νεώς ( cross275). Sometimes the long vowel was shortened ( cross39) or transfer of quantity took place ( cross34).


Vowels that were once separated by ς or y ( cross20) are often not contracted in dissyllabic forms, but contracted in polysyllabic forms. Thus, θε (ς) ός god, but Θουκυ_δίδης Thucydides (θεός κῦδος glory).


[After ει or ου, gen. means genuine, sp. means spurious.]

-- 21 --

α α= α_γέραα= γέρα_
α_ α= α_λᾶας= λᾶς
α α_= α_βεβάα_σι= βεβᾶσι
α αι= αιμνάαι= μναῖ
α ᾳ= α_μνάᾳ= μνᾷ
α ε= α_τι_μάετε= τιμᾶτε
α ει (gen.)= α_τι_μάει= τι_μᾷ
α ει (sp.)= α_τι_μάειν= τι_μᾶν
α η= α_τι_μάητε= τι_μᾶτε
α ῃ= α_τι_μάῃ= τι_μᾷ
α ι= αικέραϊ= κέραι
α_ ι= α_ῥα_ί_τερος= ῥᾴτερος
α ο= ωτι_μάομεν= τι_μῶμεν
α οι= τι_μάοιμι= τιμῷμι
α ου (sp.)= ωἐτι_μάε (ς) ο ( cross55)
= ἐτι_μῶ
α ω= ωτι_μάω= τι_μῶ
ε α= ητείχεα= τείχη
= α_ὀστέα= ὀστᾶ ( cross56)
ε α_= ηἁπλέα_= ἁπλῆ
ε αι= λύ_εαι= λύ_ῃ
whence λύ_ει
= αιχρυ_σέαις= χρυ_σαῖς
( cross56)
ε ε= ει (sp.)φιλέετε= φιλεῖτε
ε ει (gen.)= ει (gen.)φιλέει= φιλεῖ
ε ει (sp.)= ει (sp.)φιλέειν= φιλεῖν
ε η= ηφιλέητε= φιλῆτε
ε ῃ= φιλέῃ= φιλῇ
ε ι= ει (gen.)γένεϊ= γένει
ε ο= ου (sp.)φιλέομεν= φιλοῦμεν
ε οι= οιφιλέοιτε= φιλοῖτε
ε ου (sp.)= ουφιλέουσι= φιλοῦσι
ε υ= ευἐΰ= εὖ
ε ω= ωφιλέω= φιλῶ
ε ῳ= χρυ_σέῳ= χρυ_σῷ
η αι= λύ_η (ς) αι= λύῃ
η ε= ητι_μήεντος= τι_μῆντος
η ει (gen.)= ζήει= ζῇ
η ει (sp.)= ητι_μήεις= τι_μῆς
η η= ηφανήητε= φανῆτε
η ῃ= ζήῃ= ζῇ
η οι= μεμνηοίμην=
η ι= κληΐς= κλῇς
ι ι= ι_Χίιος= Χῖος
ο α= ωαἰδόα= αἰδῶ
= α_ἁπλόα= ἁπλᾶ
( cross56)
ο ε= ου (sp.)ἐδήλοε= ἐδήλου
ο ει (gen.)= οιδηλόει= δηλοῖ
ο ει (sp.)= ουδηλόειν= δηλοῦν
ο η= ωδηλόητε= δηλῶτε
ο ῃ= οιδηλόῃ= δηλοῖ
= δόῃς= δῷς
ο ι= οιἠχόϊ= ἠχοῖ
ο ο= ου (sp.)πλόος= πλοῦς
ο οι= οιδηλόοιμεν= δηλοῖμεν
ο ου (sp.)= ου (sp.)δηλόουσι= δηλοῦσι
ο ω= ωδηλόω= δηλῶ
ο ῳ= πλόῳ= πλῷ
υ ι= υ_ἰχθυίδιον= ἰχθύ_διον
υ υ= υ_ὑύς (for υἱός) = ὕ_ς
ω α= ωἥρωα= ἥρω
ω ι= ἥρωι= ἥρῳ
ω ω= ωδώω (Hom.)= δῶ

N.—The forms of ῥι_γόω shiver contract from the stem ῥι_γω- (yielding ω or ).


Attic contracts more, Ionic less, than the other dialects. The laws of contraction often differ in the different dialects.

1. Ionic (Old and New) is distinguished by its absence of contraction. Thus, πλόος for πλοῦς voyage, τείχεα for τείχη walls, ὀστέα for ὀστᾶ bones, ἀοιδή for ᾠδή song, ἀεργός for ἀ_ργός idle. The Mss. of Hdt. generally leave εε, εη uncontracted; but this is probably erroneous in most cases. Ionic rarely contracts where Attic does not: ὀγδώκοντα for ὀγδοήκοντα eighty.

2. εο, εω, εου generally remain open in all dialects except Attic. In Ionic εω is usually monosyllabic. Ionic (and less often Doric) may contract εο, εου to ευ: σεῦ from σέο of thee, φιλεῦσι from φιλέουσι they love.

3. αο, α_ο, αω, α_ω contract to α_ in Doric and Aeolic. Thus, Ἀτρείδα_ from Ἀτρείδα_ο, Dor. γελᾶντι they laugh from γελάοντι, χωρᾶν from χωρά_ων of countries. In Aeolic οα_ α_ in βα_θόεντι (Ion. βωθόεντι) = Att. βοηθοῦντι aiding (dative).

4. Doric contracts αε to η; αη to η; αει, αῃ to . Thus, νί_κη from νί_καε conquer! ὁρῇ from ὁράει and ὁράῃ; but α_ε α_ (ἅ_λιος from ἀ_έλιος, Hom. ἠέλιος sun).

5. The Severer (and earlier) Doric contracts εε to η, and οε, οο to ω. Thus, φιλήτω from φιλεέτω, δηλῶτε from δηλόετε, ἵππω from ἵππο-ο ( cross230 D.); the Milder (and later) Doric and N. W. Greek contract to ει, and ου. Aeolic agrees with the Severer Doric.


In poetry two vowels, or a vowel and a diphthong, belonging to successive syllables may unite to form a single syllable in pronunciation, but not in writing. Thus, βέλεα missiles, πόλεως city, Πηληϊάδεω son of Peleus, χρυ_ςέῳ golden. This is called Synizēsis (συνίζησις settling together).


Synizesis may occur between two words when the first ends in a long vowel or diphthong. This is especially the case with δή

-- 22 --

now, or, (interrog.), μή not, ἐπεί since, ἐγώ I, oh; as ἦ ου' O 18.

a. The term synizesis is often restricted to cases where the first vowel is long. Where the first vowel is short, ε, ι were sounded nearly like y; υ nearly like ω. Cp. cross44 a. The single syllable produced by synizesis is almost always long.


Crasis (κρᾶσις mingling) is the contraction of a vowel or diphthong at the end of a word with a vowel or diphthong beginning the following word. Over the syllable resulting from contraction is placed a ' called corōnis (κορωνίς hook), as τἄ_λλα from τὰ ἄλλα the other things, the rest.

a. The coronis is not written when the rough breathing stands on the first word: ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἅ_νθρωπος.

b. Crasis does not occur when the first vowel may be elided. (Some editors write τἄλλα, etc.)


Crasis occurs in general only between words that belong together; and the first of the two words united by crasis is usually the less important; as the article, relative pronoun (ὅ, ἅ), πρό, καί, δή, ὦ. Crasis occurs chiefly in poetry.

a. It is rare in Hom., common in the dialogue parts of the drama (especially in comedy), and frequent in the orators.


π, τ, κ become φ, θ, χ when the next word begins with the rough breathing ( cross124): τῇ ἡμέρᾳ θἠμέρᾳ the day, καὶ οἱ and the = χοι' ( cross68 c).


Iota subscript (5) appears in the syllable resulting from crasis only when the first syllable of the second word contains an ι: ἐγὼ οἶδα ἐγᾦδα I know (but τῷ ὀργάνῳ τὠργάνῳ the instrument, 68 a).


The rules for crasis are in general the same as those for contraction ( cross48 ff.). Thus, τὸ ὄνομα τοὔνομα the name, ὁ ἐν οὑν, ὦ ἄνερ ὦνερ oh man, πρὸ ἔχων προὔχων excelling, τὸ ἱ_μάτιον θοἰμάτιον the cloak ( cross64), ἃ ἐγώ ἁ_γώ.

But the following exceptions are to be noted ( cross67- cross69):


A diphthong may lose its final vowel: οἱ ἐμοί οὑμοί, σοι ἐστί σοὐστί, μου ἐστί μοὐστί. Cp. cross43, cross68.


The final vowel or diphthong of the article, and of τοί, is dropped, and an initial α of the next word is lengthened unless it is the first vowel of a diphthong. The same rule applies in part to καί.

a. Article.—ὁ ἀνήρ ἁ_νήρ, οἱ ἄνδρες ἅ_νδρες, αἱ ἀγαθαί ἁ_γαθαί, ἡ ἀγήθεια ἁ_λήθεια, τοῦ ἀνδρός τἀ_νδρός, τῷ ἀνδρί τἀ_νδρί, ὁ αὐτός αὑτός the same, τοῦ αὐτοῦ ταὐτοῦ of the same.

b. τοί.—τοὶ ἄρα τἄ_ρα, μέντοι ἄν μεντἄ_ν.

c. καί.—(1) αι is dropped: καὶ αὐτός καὐτός, καὶ οὐ κου', καὶ ἡ χη', καὶ οἱ χοι', καὶ ἱκετεύετε χἰ_κετεύετε and ye beseech ( cross64). (2) αι is contracted chiefly before ε and ει: καὶ ἐν κἀ_ν, καὶ ἐγώ κἀ_γώ, καὶ ἐς κἀ_ς, καὶ εἶτα κᾆτα (note however καὶ εἰ κει', καὶ εἰς κεἰς); also before ο in καὶ ὅτε χὤτε. καὶ ὅπως χὤπως ( cross64).

-- 23 --

N.—The exceptions in 68 a-c to the laws of contraction are due to the desire to let the vowel of the more important word prevail: ἅ_νηρ, not ὡνηρ, because of ἀνήρ.


Hom. has ὤριστος ὁ ἄριστος, ωὐτός ὁ αὐτός. Hdt. has οὕτερος ὁ ἕτερος, ὡνήρ ὁ ἀνήρ, ὡυτοί οἱ αὐτοί, τὠυτό τὸ αὐτό, τὠυτοῦ τοῦ αὐτοῦ, ἑωυτοῦ ἕο αὐτοῦ, ὧνδρες οἱ ἄνδρες. Doric has κἠπί καὶ ἐπί.


Most crasis forms of ἕτερος other are derived from ἅτερος, the earlier form: thus, ὁ ἕτερος ἅ_τερος, οἱ ἕτεροι ἅ_τεροι; but τοῦ ἑτέρου θοὐτέρου ( cross64).


Elision is the expulsion of a short vowel at the end of a word before a word beginning with a vowel. An apostrophe (') marks the place where the vowel is elided.

ἀλλ' () ἄγε, ἔδωκ' (α) ἐννέα, ἐφ' (= ἐπὶ) ἑαυτοῦ ( cross64), ἔχοιμ' (ι) ἄν, γένοιτ' (ο) ἄν.

a. Elision is often not expressed to the eye except in poetry. Both inscriptions and the Mss. of prose writers are very inconsistent, but even where the elision is not expressed, it seems to have occurred in speaking; i.e. ὅδε εἶπε and ὅδ' εἶπε were spoken alike. The Mss. are of little value in such cases.


Elision affects only unimportant words or syllables, such as particles, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions of two syllables (except περί, ἄχρι, μέχρι, ὅτι 72 b, c), and the final syllables of nouns, pronouns, and verbs.

a. The final vowel of an emphatic personal pronoun is rarely elided.


Elision does not occur in

a. Monosyllables, except such as end in ε (τέ, δέ, γέ).

b. The conjunction ὅτι that? (ὅτ' is ὅτε when).

c. The prepositions πρό before, ἄχρι, μέχρι until, and περί concerning (except before ι).

d. The dative singular ending ι of the third declension, and in σι, the ending of the dative plural.

e. Words with final υ.


Absence of elision in Homer often proves the loss of ϝ (3), as in κατὰ ἄστυ X 1. Epic admits elision in σά thy, ῥά, in the dat. sing. of the third decl., in -σι and -αι in the personal endings, and in -ναι, -σθαι of the infinitive, and (rarely) in μοί, σοί, τοί. ἄνα oh king, and ἄνα ἀνάστηθι rise up, elide only once, ἰδέ and never. Hdt. elides less often than Attic prose; but the Mss. are not a sure guide. περί sometimes appears as πέρ in Doric and Aeolic before words beginning with other vowels than ι. ὀξεἶ ὀδύναι Λ 272. Cp. cross148 D. 1.


Except ἐστί is, forms admitting movable ν ( cross134 a) do not suffer elision in prose. (But some cases of ε in the perfect occur in Demosthenes.)


In poetry a vowel capable of taking movable ν is often cut off.


αι in the personal endings and the infinitive is elided in Aristophanes; scarcely ever, if at all, in tragedy; its elision in prose is doubtful. οι is elided in tragedy in οἴμοι alas.

-- 24 --


Interior elision takes place in forming compound words. Here the apostrophe is not used. Thus, οὐδείς no one from οὐδὲ εἷς, καθοράω look down upon from κατὰ ὁράω, μεθί_ημι let go from μετὰ ἵ_ημι ( cross124).

a. ὁδί_, τουτί_ this are derived from the demonstrative pronouns ὅδε, τοῦτο + the deictic ending ι_ ( cross333 g).

b. Interior elision does not always occur in the formation of compounds. Thus, σκηπτοῦχος sceptre-bearing from σκηπτο οχος (i.e. σοχος). Cp. cross878.

c. On the accent in elision, see cross174.


Apocope (ἀποκοπή cutting off) occurs when a final short vowel is cut off before an initial consonant. In literature apocope is confined to poetry, but in the prose inscriptions of the dialects it is frequent. Thus, in Hom., as separate words and in compounds, ἄν, κάτ, πάρ (ἀπ, ὑπ rarely) for ἀνά, κατά, παρά (ἀπό, ὑπό). Final τ is assimilated to a following consonant (but κατθανεῖν to die, not καθθανεῖν, cp. cross83 a); so final ν by 91-95. Thus, ἀλλέξαι to pick up, ἂμ πόνον into the strife; κάββαλε threw down, κάλλιπε left behind, κακκείοντες lit. lying down, καυάξαις break in pieces, for καϝϝάξαις κατ-ϝάξαις, κὰδ δέ, καδδῦσαι entering into, κὰπ πεδίον through the plain, κὰγ γόνυ on the knee (kag not kang), κὰρ ῥόον in the stream; ὑββάλλειν interrupt, ἀππέμψει will send away. When three consonants collide, the final consonant of the apocopate word is usually lost, as κάκτανε slew, from κάκκτανε out of κατ (έ) κτανε. Apocope occurs rarely in Attic poetry. πότ for ποτί (= πρός in meaning) is frequent in Doric and Boeotian.

N.—The shorter forms may have originated from elision.


Aphaeresis (ἀφᾳίρεσις taking away) is the elision of ε at the beginning of a word after a word ending in a long vowel or diphthong. This occurs only in poetry, and chiefly after μή not, or. Thus, μὴ νταῦθα, ἢ μέ, παρέξω μαυτόν, αὐτὴ ξῆλθεν. In some texts editors prefer to adopt crasis ( cross62) or synizesis ( cross60). α is rarely elided thus.


Assimilation.—A consonant is sometimes assimilated to another consonant in the same word. This assimilation may be either partial, as in ἐ-πέμφ-θην I was sent for ἐ-πεμπ-θην ( cross82), or complete, as in ἐμμένω I abide by for ἐν-μενω ( cross94).

a. A preceding consonant is generally assimilated to a following consonant. Assimilation to a preceding consonant, as in ὄλλυ_μι I destroy for ὀλ-νυ_-μι, is rare.


Attic has ττ for σς of Ionic and most other dialects: πρά_ττω do for πρά_σσω, θάλαττα sea for θάλασσα, κρείττων stronger for κρείσσων.

a. Tragedy and Thucydides adopt σς as an Ionism. On χαρίεσσα see cross114 a.

b. ττ is used for that σς which is regularly formed by κ or χ and ι ( cross112), sometimes by τ, θ, and ι ( cross114). On ττ in Αττικός see cross83 a.

-- 25 --


Later Attic has ρρ for ρς of older Attic: θάρρος courage = θάρσος, ἄρρην male = ἄρσην.

a. But ρς does not become ρρ in the dative plural (ῥήτορ-σι orators) and in words containing the suffix -σις for -τις (ἄρ-σις raising).

b. Ionic and most other dialects have ρς. ρς in Attic tragedy and Thucydides is probably an Ionism. Xenophon has ρς and ρρ.


An initial ρ is doubled when a simple vowel is placed before it in inflection or composition. Thus, after the syllabic augment ( cross429), ἔ-ρρει was flowing from ῥέω; and in καλί-ρροος fair flowing. After a diphthong ρ is not doubled: εὔ-ροος fair flowing.

a. This ρρ, due to assimilation of σρ (ἔ-ρρει, καλί-ρροος), or ϝρ (ἐρρήθη was spoken), is strictly retained in the interior of a word; but simplified to single ρ when standing at the beginning, i.e. ῥέω is for ρρέω. In composition (εὔ-ροος) single ρ is due to the influence of the simplified initial sound.

b. A different ρρ arises from assimilation of ρς ( cross79), ρε (sounded like py, 44, cross117), and νρ ( cross95).


In Hom. and even in prose ρ may remain single after a vowel: ἔ-ρεξε did from ῥέζω, καλλί-ροος. So ἰσό-ρροπος and ἰσό-ροπος (by analogy to ῥόπος) equally balanced. ἐκ χειρῶν βέλεα_ ῥέον M 159 represents βέλεα ρρέον. Cp. cross146 D.


β, γ, δ are not doubled in Attic (cp. cross75 D.). In γγ the first γ is nasal ( cross19 a). φ, χ, θ are not doubled in Attic; instead, we have πφ, κχ, τθ as in Σαπφώ Sappho, Βάκχος Bacchus, Ατθίς (Atthis) Attic. Cp. cross83 a.


1. Hom. has many cases of doubled liquids and nasals: ἔλλαβε took, ἄλληκτος unceasing, ἄμμορος without lot in, φιλομμειδής fond of smiles, ἀγάννιφος very snowy, ἀργεννός white, ἔννεπε relate. These forms are due to the assimilation of ς and λ, μ, or ν. Thus, ἀγά-ννιφος is from ἀγα-σνιφος, cp. sn in snow.

2. Doubled stops: ὅττι that (σϝοδ-τι), ὁππότε as (σϝοδ-ποτε), ἔδδεισε feared (ἐδϝεισε).

3. σς in μέσσος middle (for μεθιος medius, cross114), ὀπίσσω backward, in the datives of ς-stems, as ἔπεσσι ( cross250 D. 2), and in verbs with stems in ς (τρέσσε).

4. One of these doubled consonants may be dropped without lengthening the preceding vowel: Οδυσεύς from Οδυσσεύς, μέσος, ὀπίσω. So in Αχιλεύς from Αχιλλεύς. On δδ, ββ, see cross75 D. Aeolic has many doubled consonants due to assimilation ( cross37 D. 3).


A labial or a palatal stop ( cross16) before a dental stop (τ, δ, θ) must be of the same order ( cross16).

a. βτ, φτ become πτ: (τετρι_β-ται) τέτρι_πται has been rubbed from τρί_β-ω rub; (γεγραφ-ται) γέγραπται has been written from γράφ-ω write. γτ, χτ become κτ: (λελεγ-ται) λέλεκται) has been said from λέγ-ω say; (βεβρεχ-ται) βέβρεκται has been moistened from βρέχ-ω moisten.

-- 26 --

b. πδ, φδ become βδ: (κλεπ-δην) κλέβδην by stealth from κλέπ-τ-ω steal; (γραφδην) γράβδην scraping from γράφ-ω write (originally scratch, scrape). κδ becomes γδ: (πλεκ-δην) πλέγδην entwined from πλέκ-ω plait.

c. πθ, βθ become φθ: (ἐπεμπ-θην) ἐπέμφθην I was sent from πέμπ-ω send; (ἐτρι_β-θη) ἐτρί_φθη it was rubbed (τρί_β-ω rub). κθ, γθ become χθ: (ἐπλεκ-θη) ἐπλέχθη it was plaited (πλέκ-ω plait); (ἐλεγ-θη) ἐλέχθη it was said (λέγ-ω say).

N. 1.—Cp. πτά seven, βδομος seventh, φθήμερος lasting seven days.

N. 2.—But ἐκ out of remains unchanged: ἐκδίδωμι surrender, ἐκθέω run out ( cross104).


A dental stop before another dental stop becomes ς.

ἀνυστός practicable for ἀνυτ-τος from ἀνύτω complete, ἴστε you know for ἰδ-τε, οἶσθα thou knowest for οἰδ-θα, πέπεισται has been persuaded for πεπειθ-ται, ἐπείσθην I was persuaded for ἐπειθ-θην.

a. ττ, τθ remain unchanged in Αττικός, Ατθίς Attic, and in κατθανεῖν die ( cross75 D., cross81). So ττ for σς ( cross78).


Any stop standing before a stop other than τ, δ, θ, or in other combination than πφ, κχ, τθ ( cross81) is dropped, as in κεκόμι (δ) -κα I have brought. γ before κ, γ, or χ is gamma-nasal ( cross19 a), not a stop.


Before μ, the labial stops (π, β, φ) become μ; the palatal stops κ, χ become γ; γ before μ remains unchanged.

ὄμμα eye for ὀπ-μα (cp. ὄπωπα), λέλειμμαι I have been left for λελειπ-μαι from λείπ-ω leave, τέτρι_μμαι for τετρι_β-μαι from τρί_β-ω rub, γέγραμμαι for γεγραφμαι from γράφ-ω write, πέπλεγμαι for πεπλεκ-μαι from πλέκ-ω plait, τέτευγμαι for τετευχ-μαι from τεύχ-ω build.

a. κ and χ may remain unchanged before μ in a noun-suffix: ἀκ-μή edge, δραχ-μή drachma. κμ remains when brought together by phonetic change ( cross128 a), as in κέ-κμη-κα am wearied (κάμ-νω).

85 a D

So in Hom. ἴκμενος favoring (ἱκά_νω), ἀκαχμένος sharpened.

b. γγμ and μμμ become γμ and μμ. Thus, ἐλήλεγμαι for ἐληλεγγ-μαι from ἐληλεγχ-μαι (ἐλέγχ-ω convict), πέπεμμαι for πεπεμμ-μαι from πεπεμπ-μαι (πέμπ-ω send).


A dental stop (τ, δ, θ) before μ often appears to become ς. Thus, ἤνυσμαι for ἠνυτ-μαι (ἀνύτ-ω complete), πέφρασμαι for πεφραδ-μαι (φράζω declare), πέπεισμαι for πεπειθ-μαι (πείθ-ω persuade).


On the other hand, since these stops are actually retained in many words, such as ἐρετμόν oar, πότμος fate, ἀριθμός number, ς must be explained as due to analogy. Thus, ἤνυσμαι, πέφρασμαι, πέπεισμαι have taken on the ending -σμαι by analogy to -σται where ς is in place (πέφρασται for πεφραδ-ται). So ἴσμεν we know (Hom. ἴδμεν) follows ἴστε you know (for ἰδ-τε). ὀσμή odor stands for ὀδ-σμη.


β regularly and φ usually become μ before ν. Thus, σεμνός revered for σεβ-νος (σέβ-ομαι), στυμνός firm for στυφ-νος (στύ_φω contract).


γίγνομαι become, γιγνώσκω know become γί_νομαι, γι_νώσκω in Attic after 300 B.C., in New Ionic, late Doric, etc.


λν becomes λλ in ὄλλυ_μι destroy for ὀλ-νυ_μι.

λν is kept in πίλναμαι approach. On sigma before ν see cross105.


Aeolic βόλλα council, attic βουλή and Doric βωλά_ (with compensatory lengthening), probably for βολνα_.


ν before π, β, φ, ψ becomes μ: ἐμπί_πτω fall into for ἐν-πι_πτω, ἐμβάλλω throw in for ἐν-βαλλω, ἐμφαίνω exhibit for ἐν-φαινω, ἔμψυ_χος alive for ἐν-ψυ_χος.


ν before κ, γ, χ, ξ becomes γ-nasal ( cross19 a): ἐγκαλέω bring a charge for ἐν-καλεω, ἐγγράφω inscribe for ἐν-γραφω, συγχέω pour together for συν-χεω, συγξύ_ω grind up for συν-ξι_ω.


ν before τ, δ, θ remains unchanged. Here ν may represent μ: βρον-τή thunder (βρέμ-ω roar).


ν before μ becomes μ: ἔμμετρος moderate for ἐν-μετρος, ἐμμένω abide by for ἐν-μενω.

a. Verbs in -νω may form the perfect middle in -σμαι ( cross489 h); as in πέφασμαι (from φαίνω show) for πεφαν-μαι (cp. πέφαγ-κα, πέφαν-ται).

b. Here ν does not become ς; but the ending -σμαι is borrowed from verbs with stems in a dental (as πέφρασμαι, on which see cross87).


ν before λ, ρ is assimilated (λλ, ρρ): σύλλογος concourse for συν-λογος, συρρέω flow together for συν-ρεω.


ν before ς is dropped and the preceding vowel is lengthened (ε to ει, ο to ου, cross37): μέλα_ς black for μελαν-ς, εἷς one for ἑν-ς, τιθείς placing for τιθεν (τ) -ς, τούς for τόν-ς.

a. But in the dative plural ν before -σι appears to be dropped without compensatory lengthening: μέλασι for μελαν-σι, δαίμοσι for δαιμον-σι divinities, φρεσί for φρεν-σι mind. But see cross250 N.


With ς a labial stop forms ψ, a palatal stop forms ξ.

λείψω shall leave for λειπ-σωκῆρυξ herald for κηρυκ-ς
τρί_ψω shall rubτρι_β-σωἄξω shall leadἀγ-σω
γράψω shall writeγραφ-σωβήξ coughβηχ-ς

-- 28 --

a. The only stop that can stand before ς is π or κ, hence β, φ become π, and γ, χ become κ. Thus, γραφ-σω, ἀγ-σω become γραπ-σω, ἀκ-σω.


A dental stop before ς is assimilated (σς) and one ς is dropped.

σώμασι bodies for σωμασσι out of σωματ-σι, ποσί feet for ποσσί out of ποδ-σι, ὄρνι_σι birds for ὀρνι_σσι out of ὀρνι_θ-σι. So πάσχω suffer for πασσχω out of παθ-σκω (cp. παθ-εῖν and cross126).

a. δ and θ become τ before ς: ποδ-σι, ὀρνι_θ-σι become ποτ-σι, ὀρνι_τ-σι.


Hom. often retains σς: ποσσί, δάσσασθαι for δατ-σασθαι (δατέομαι divide).


κ is dropped before σκ in διδα (κ) -σκω teach (διδακ-τός taught).

π is dropped before σφ in βλα (π) ς-φημία_ evil-speaking.


ντ, νδ, νθ before ς form νσς ( cross98), then νς, finally ν is dropped and the preceding vowel is lengthened ( cross37).

πᾶσι all for πανς-σι out of παντ-σι, τιθεῖσι placing for τιθενς-σι out of τιθεντ-σι. So γίγα_ς giant for γιγαντ-ς, λύ_ουσι loosing for λυ_οντ-σι, σπείσω shall make libation for σπενδ-σω, πείσομαι shall suffer for πενθ-σομαι (πένθος grief).


a. ἐν in, σύν with in composition are treated as follows:

ἐν before ρ, ς, or ζ keeps its ν: ἔν-ρυθμος in rhythm, ἐν-σκευάζω prepare, ἐνζεύγνυ_μι yoke in.

σύν before ς and a vowel becomes συς-: συς-σῴζω help to save. before ς and a consonant or ζ, becomes συ-: συ-σκευάζω pack up, σύ-ζυγος yoked together.

b. πᾶν, πάλιν before ς either keep ν or assimilate ν to ς: πάν-σοφος all-wise, παν-σέληνος or πασσέληνος the full moon, παλίν-σκιος thick-shaded, παλίς-συτος rushing back.


On ρς see cross79 a. λς is retained in ἄλσος precinct. ρς, λς may become ρ, λ with lengthening of the preceding vowel: ἤγειρα I collected, ἤγγειλα I announced for ἠγερ-σα, ἠγγελ-σα.


Hom. has ὦρσε incited, κέρσε cut, ἐέλσαι to coop up, κέλσαι to put to shore.


Sigma between consonants is dropped: ἤγγελ (ς) θε you have announced, γεγράφ (ς) θαι to have written, ἕκ (ς) μηνος of six months (ἕξ six, μήν month).

a. But in compounds ς is retained when the second part begins with ς: ἔν-σπονδος included in a truce. compounds in δυς- ill omit ς before a word beginning with ς: δύσχιστος hard to cleave for δυς-σχιστος (σχίζω).


ἐξ out of (= ἐκς) drops ς in composition before another consonant, but usually retains its κ unaltered: ἐκτείνω stretch out, ἐκδίδωμι surrender,

-- 29 --

ἐκφέρω carry out, ἐκθύ_ω sacrifice, ἐκσῴζω preserve from danger (not ἐξῴζω), ἐκμανθάνω learn thoroughly. Cp. cross82 N. 2, 136.


ς before μ or ν usually disappears with compensatory lengthening ( cross37) as in εἰμί for ἐς-μι. But σμ stays if μ belongs to a suffix and in compounds of δυς- ill: δυς-μενής hostile.

a. Assimilation takes place in Πελοπόννησος for Πέλοπος νῆσος island of Pelops, ἕννυ_μι clothe for ἑς-νυ_μι (Ionic εἵνυ_μι), ἔρρει was flowing for ἐ-σρει, 80 a.


ς is assimilated in Aeol. and Hom. ἔμμεναι to be for ἐς-μεναι (εἶναι), ἀργεννός white for άργες-νος, ἐρεβεννός dark (ἐρεβες-νος, cp. Ερεβος), ἄμμε we, ὔμμες you (ἀσμε, ὐσμες). Cp. cross81 D.


σδ becomes ζ in some adverbs denoting motion towards. Thus, Αθήναζε for Αθήνας-δε Athens-wards ( cross26, cross342 a).


Aeolic has σδ for medial ζ in ὔσδος branch (ὄζος), μελίσδω make melody (μελίζω).


Two sigmas brought together by inflection become ς: βέλεσι for βέλες-σι missiles, ἔπεσι for ἔπες-σι words ( cross98), τελέσαι for τελές-σαι (from τελέω accomplish, stem τελες-).

a. σς when = ττ ( cross78) never becomes ς.


Homer often retains σς: βέλεσσι, ἔπεσσι, τελέσσαι.


Many of the rules for the euphony of consonants were not established in the classical period. Inscriptions show a much freer practice, either marking the etymology, as σύνμαχος for σύμμαχος ally ( cross94), ἐνκαλεῖν for ἐγκαλεῖν to bring a charge ( cross92), or showing the actual pronunciation (phonetic spelling), as τὸγ (= τὸν) κακόν ( cross92), τὴμ (= τὴν) βουλήν ( cross91), τὸλ (= τὸν) λόγον, ἔγδοσις for ἔκδοσις surrendering ( cross104), ἐχφέρω, ἐχθύ_ω for ἐκφέρω, ἐκθύ_ω ( cross104).


Numerous changes occur before the semivowel y (= y, cross20) before a vowel. This y is often indicated by the sign y. In 110-117 (except in cross115) y is = y.


λy becomes λλ: ἄλλος for ἀλιος Lat. alius, ἅλλομαι for ἁλyομαι Lat. salio, φύλλον for φυλyον Lat. folium.


After αν, ον, αρ, ορ, y is shifted to the preceding syllable, forming αιν, οιν, αιρ, οιρ. This is called Epenthesis (ἐπένθεσις insertion).

φαίνω show for φαν-yω, μέλαινα black for μελαν-yα, σπαίρω gasp for σπαρ-yω, μοῖρα fate for μορ-yα. (So κλαίω weep for κλαϝ-yω 38 a.) On ι after εν, ερ, ιν, ιρ, υν, υρ, see cross37 a.


κy, χy become ττ (= σς cross78): φυλάττω guard for φυλακ-yω (cp. φυλακή guard), ταράττω disturb for ταραχ-yω (cp. ταραχή disorder).

-- 30 --


(I) τy, θy after long vowels, diphthongs, and consonants become ς; after short vowels τy, θy become σς (not = ττ cross78), which is simplified to ς.

αἶσα fate from αἰτ-yα, πᾶσα all from παντ-yα, μέσος middle (Hom. μέσσος) from μεθ-yος (cp. Lat. med-ius), τόσος so great (Hom. τόσσος) from τοτ-yος (cp. Lat. toti-dem).

a. In the above cases τy passed into τς. Thus παντ-yα, παντσα, πανσσα, πάνσα (Cretan, Thessalian), πᾶσα ( cross37 D. 3).


(II) τy, θy become ττ (= σς cross78): μέλιττα bee from μελιτ-ια (cp. μέλι, -ιτος honey), κορύττω equip from κορυθ-yω (cp. κόρυς, -υθος helmet).

a. χαρίεσσα graceful and other feminine adjectives in -εσσα are poetical, and therefore do not assume the native Attic prose form in ττ. But see cross299 c.

b. ττ from τy, θy is due to analogy, chiefly of ττ from κy.


τ before final ι often becomes ς. Thus, τίθησι places for τίθητι; also in πλούσιος rich for πλουτ-ιος (cp. πλοῦτος wealth).

a. ντ before final ι becomes νς, which drops ν: ἔχουσι they have for ἔχοντι ( cross37).


Ioric often retains τ (τίθητι, ἔχοντι). σέ is not from (Dor.) τέ (cp. Lat. te), no is σοί from τοί.


δy between vowels and γy after a vowel form ζ: thus, ἐλπίζω hope for ἐλπιδ-yω, πεζός on foot for πεδ-yος (cp. πεδ-ίο-ν ground), ἁρπάζω seize for ἁρπαγ-yω (cp. ἅρπαξ rapacious). After a consonant γy forms δ: ἔρδω work from ἐργ-yω.


πy becomes πτ, as in χαλέπτω oppress from χαλεπ-yω. ρεγλιδε becomes ρρ in Βορρᾶς from Βορέα_ς Boreas. Here ε was sounded nearly like y ( cross44, cross61 a).


The spirant ς with a vowel before or after it is often lost. Its former presence is known by earlier Greek forms or from the cognate languages.


Initial ς before a vowel becomes the rough breathing.

ἑπτά seven, Lat. septem; ἥμισυς half, Lat. semi-; ἵστημι put for σι-στη-μι, Lat. si-st-o; εἱπόμην I followed from ἐ-σεπ-ο-μην, Lat. sequor.

a. When retained, this ς is due to phonetic change (as σύν for ξύν, σι_γή silence for ςwι_γη Grm. schweigen), or to analogy. On the loss of ( see cross125 e.


Between vowels ς is dropped.

γένους of a race from γενε (ς) -ος, Lat. gener-is, λύ_ει thou loosest from λύ_ῃ for λυ_ε- (ς) αι, ἐλύ_ου from ἐλυ_ε- (ς) ο thou didst loose for thyself, τιθεῖο for τιθεῖσο, εἴην from ἐς-ιη-ν Old Lat. siem, ἀλήθε-ια truth from ἀληθες-ια.

-- 31 --

a. Yet ς appears in some -μι forms (τίθεσαι, ἵστασο), and in θρασύς θαρσύς 128. ς between vowels is due to phonetic change (as ς for σς 107, πλούσιος for πλουτιος cross115) or to analogy (as ἔλυ_σα for ἐλυ_α, modelled on ἐδεικ-ς-α), cp. cross35 c.


ς usually disappears in the aorist of liquid verbs (active and middle) with lengthening of the preceding vowel ( cross37): ἔστειλα I sent for ἐστελ-σα, ἔφηνα I showed for ἐφαν-σα, ἐφήνατο for ἐφαν-σατο. Cp. cross102.


Digamma (3) has disappeared in Attic.

The following special cases are to be noted:

a. In nouns of the third declension with a stem in αυ, ευ, or ον ( cross43). Thus, ναῦς ship, gen. νεώς from νηϝ-ός, βασιλεύς king, gen. βασιλέως from βασιλῆϝ-ος ( cross34).

b. In the augment and reduplication of verbs beginning with ϝ: εἰργαζόμην I worked from ἐ-ϝεργαζομην, ἔοικα am like from ϝεϝοικα. Cp. cross431, cross443.

c. In verbs in εω for εϝω: ῥέω I flow, fut. ῥεύ-σομαι.


Some words have lost initial σϝ: ἡδύς sweet (Lat. sua (d) vis), οὗ, οἷ, ἕ him, ὅς his (Lat. suus), ἔθος custom, ἦθος character (Lat. con-suetus).


Hom. εὔαδε pleased stands for ἐϝϝαδε from ἐσϝαδε.


A smooth stop (π, τ, κ), brought before the rough breathing by elision, crasis, or in forming compounds, is made rough, becoming an aspirate (φ, θ, χ). Cp. cross16 a.

ἀφ' οὗ for ἀπ () οὗ, νύχθ' ὅλην for νύκτ (α) ὅλην ( cross82); θἄ_τερον the other ( cross69), θοἰμάτιον for τὸ ἱ_μάτιον the cloak ( cross66); μεθί_ημι let go for μετ (ά) ἵ_ημι, αὐθά_δης selfwilled from αὐτός self and ἁδεῖν please.

a. A medial rough breathing, passing over ρ, roughens a preceding smooth stop: φρουρός watchman from προ-ὁρος, φροῦδος gone from πρό and ὁδός, τέθριππον four-horse chariot (τετρ ἵππος).


New Ionic generally leaves π, τ, κ before the rough breathing: ἀπ' οὗ, μετίημι, τοὔτερον. But in compounds (9 D.) φ, θ, χ may appear: μέθοδος method (μετά after + ὁδός way).


Two rough stops beginning successive syllables of the same word are avoided in Greek. A rough stop is changed into a smooth stop when the following syllable contains a rough stop.

a. In reduplication ( cross441) initial φ, θ, χ are changed to π, τ, κ. Thus, πέφευγα for φε-φευ-γα perfect of φεύγω flee, τί-θη-μι place for θι-θη-μι, κέ-χη-να for χε-χη-να perf. of χάσκω gape.

b. In the first aorist passive imperative -θι becomes -τι after -θη-, as in λύ-θη-τι for λυ-θη-θι; elsewhere -θι is retained (γνῶθι).

c. In the aorist passive, θε- and θυ- are changed to τε- and τυ- in ἐ-τέ-θην was placed (τίθημι) and ἐ-τύ-θην was sacrificed (θύ_ω).

d. From the same objection to a succession of rough stops are due ἀμπέχω ἀμπίσχω clothe for ἀμφ-, ἐκε-χειρία_ truce for ἐχε-χειρια_ (from ἔχω and χείρ).

-- 32 --

e. The rough breathing, as an aspirate ( cross16 a), often disappeared when either of the two following syllables contains φ, θ, or χ. ἔχω have stands for ἔχω σεχω ( cross119, cp. ἔ-σχον), the rough changing to the smooth breathing before a rough stop. The rough breathing reappears in the future ἕξω. Cp. ἴσχω restrain for ἱσχω from σι-σχ-ω, ἔδεθλον foundation, but ἕδος seat, Lat. sedes.

f. In θρίξ hair, gen. sing. τριχ-ός for θριχος, dat. pl. θριξί; ταχύς swift, comparative ταχί_ων (rare) or θά_ττων (θά_σσων) from θαχι_ων ( cross112).

g. In ταφ- (τάφος tomb), pres. θάπ-τ-ω bury, fut. θάψω, perf. τέθαμ-μαι ( cross85); τρέφω nourish, fut. θρέψω, perf. τέ-θραμ-μαι; τρέχω run, fut. θρέξομαι; τρυφ- (τρυφή delicacy), pres. θρύπτω enfeeble, fut. θρύψω; τύ_φω smoke, perf. τέ-θυ_μ-μαι.

N.—The two rough stops remain unchanged in the aorist passive ἐθρέφθην was nourished, ἐθρύφθην was enfeebled, ἐφάνθην was shown forth, ὠρθώθην was set upright, ἐθέλχθην was charmed, ἐκαθάρθην was purified; in the perfect inf. πεφάνθαι, κεκαθάρθαι, τεθάφθαι; in the imperatives γράφηθι be written, στράφηθι turn about, φάθι say.


Transfer of Aspiration.—Aspiration may be transferred to a following syllable: πάσχω for παθ-σκω (cp. cross98).


Hdt. has ἐνθαῦτα there (ἐνταῦθα), ἐνθεῦτεν thence (ἐντεῦθεν), κιθών tunic (χιτών).


Some roots show variation between a final smooth and a rough stop; δέχομαι receive, δωροδόκος bribe-taker; ἀλείφω anoint, λίπος fat; πλέκω weave, πλοχυός braid of hair; and in the perfect, as ἦχα from ἄγω lead.


Hom. and Hdt. have αὖτις again (αὖθις), οὐκί not (οὐχί). All the dialects except Attic have δέκομαι.


Metathesis (transposition).—A vowel and a consonant often exchange places: Πνύξ the Pnyx, gen. Πυκνός, τίκτω bear for τι-τκ-ω (cp. τεκ-εῖν).

a. Transposition proper does not occur where we have to do with αρ, ρα ( cross20, cross35 b) as in θάρσος and θράσος courage; or with syncope ( cross44 b) due to early shifting of accent, as in πέτ-ομαι fly, πτε-ρόν wing; or where a long vowel follows the syncopated root, as in τέμ-νω τέ-τμη-κα I have cut.

In βέβληκα I have thrown (βάλλω throw), βλη is formed from βελε found in βέλε-μνον missile.


Hom. κραδίη, καρδίη heart, κάρτιστος best (κράτιστος), βάρδιστος slowest (βραδύς), δρατός and -δαρτος from δέρω flay, ἔ-δρακον saw from δέρκομαι see.


Dissimilation.—a. λ sometimes becomes ρ when λ appears in the same word: ἀργαλέος painful for ἀλγαλεος (ἄλγος pain).

b. A consonant (usually ρ) sometimes disappears when it occurs also in the adjoining syllable: δρύφακτος railing for δρυ-φρακτος (lit. fenced by wood).

c. Syllabic dissimilation or syncope occurs when the same or two similar syllables containing the same consonant succeed each other: ἀμφορεύς a jar for ἀμφι-φορευς, θάρσυνος bold for θαρσο-συνος. This is often called haplology.

d. See also under 99, 125 a, b.

-- 33 --


Development.—δ is developed between ν and ρ, as in ἀνδρός of a man for ἀνρος from ἀνήρ (cp. cinder with Lat. cineris); β is developed between μ and ρ (or λ), as in μεσημβρία_ midday, south from μες-ημρια_ for μες-ημερια_ from μέσος middle and ἡμέρα_ day (cp. chamber with Lat. camera).


So in Hom. μέ-μβλω-κα have gone from μλω from μολ- in ἔ-μολ-ο-ν ( cross128 a). At the beginning of words this μ is dropped; thus, βλώσκω go, βροτός mortal for μβρο-τος (root μρο-, μορ-, as in mor-tuus). In composition μ remains, as in ἄ-μβροτος immortal; but ἄ-βροτος immortal is formed from βροτός.


Labials and dentals often correspond: ποινή and τίσις retribution; φόνος murder, θείνω strike. π and κ: αἰπόλος goat-herd, βουκόλος ox-herd. πτ for τ is found in πτόλεμος war, πτόλις city for πόλεμος, πόλις. Cp. Neoptolemus and Ptolemy. So χθ and χ in χθών ground, χαμαί on the ground.


The dialects often show consonants different from Attic in the same or kindred words.


τ for ς: Doric τύ, τοί, τέ, δια_κατίοι (δια_κόσιοι), ϝί_κατι (εἴκοσι), Ποτειδά_ν (Ποσειδών).

ςτ: Doric σά_μερον to-day (τήμερον Attic, σήμερον Ionic).

κπ: Ionic (not Hom.) κότε when, κότερος which of two? ὅκως, κόσος, κῆ.

κτ: Doric πόκα (πότε), ὅκα (ὅτε).

γβ: Doric γλέφαρον eyelid, γλά_χων (Ion. γλήχων) pennyroyal.

δβ: Doric ὀδελός (ὀβολός) a spit.

πτ: Hom. πίσυρες, Aeol. πέσσυρες four (τέτταρες); Aeol. πήλυι far off (cp. τηλόσε), πέμπε five (πέντε).

θτ: see cross126 D.

φθ: Hom. φήρ centaur (θήρ beast).

ρς: (rhotacism): late Laconian, Elean τίρ who, Thessal. Θεόρδοτος god-given.

ςθ: late Laconian σιός for θεός god ( cross26 D.).

νλ: Doric ἐνθεῖν come.


No consonant except ν, ρ, or ς (including ξ and ψ) can stand at the end of a Greek word. All other consonants are dropped.

a. Exceptions are the proclitics ( cross179) ἐκ out of, derived from ἐξ (cp. cross104, cross136), and οὐκ not, of which οὐ is another form ( cross137).

b. Examples of dropped final consonants: σῶμα body for σωματ (gen. σώματος); παῖ oh boy for παιδ (gen. παιδ-ός); γάλα milk for γαλακτ (gen. γάλακτ-ος); φέρον bearing for φεροντ (gen. φέροντ-ος); κῆρ heart for κηρδ, cp. καρδ-ία_; ἄλλο for ἀλyοδ ( cross110), cp. Lat. aliud; ἔφερε- (τ) was carrying, ἔφερο-ν (τ) were carrying ( cross464 c, e).

c. An original final m preceded by a vowel becomes ν, cp. ἵππον with Lat. equum. So ἕν one from ἑμ ( cross349 a), Lat. sem-el, ἅμα once.

-- 34 --


Movable N may be added at the end of a word when the next word begins with a vowel. Movable ν may be annexed to words ending in -σι; to the third person singular in ; and to ἐστί is.

Thus, πᾶσιν ἔλεγεν ἐκεῖνα he said that to everybody (but πᾶσι λέγουσι ταῦτα), λέγουσιν ἐμοί they speak to me (but λέγουσί μοι), ἔστιν ἄλλος there is another ( cross187 b), Αθήνησιν ἦσαν they were at Athens.

a. Except ἐστί, words that add ν do not elide their final vowel ( cross73).

b. Verbs in -εω never (in Attic) add to the 3 sing. of the contracted form: εὖ ἐποίει αὐτόν he treated him well. But ἤει went and pluperfects (as ᾔδει knew) may add ν.

N.—Movable ν is called ν ἐφελκυστικόν (dragging after).


Hom. has ἐγώ (ν) I, ἄμμι (ν) to us, ὔμμι (ν) to you, σφί (ν) to them. The suffixes -φι and -θε vary with -φιν and -θεν: θεόφι (ν), πρόσθε (ν). Also κέ (ν) = Attic ἄν, νύ (ν) now. The Mss. of Hdt. avoid movable ν, but it occurs in Ionic inscriptions. Hdt. often has -θε for -θεν (πρόσθε before, ὄπισθε behind).


Movable ν is usually written at the end of clauses, and at the end of a verse in poetry. To make a syllable long by position ( cross144) the poets add ν before words beginning with a consonant. Prose inscriptions frequently use ν before a consonant.


Movable Σ appears in οὕτως thus, ἐξ out of, before vowels, οὕτω, εκ before consonants. Thus, οὕτως ἐποίει he acted thus but οὕτω ποιεῖ he acts thus; ἐξ ἀγορᾶς but ἐκ τῆς ἀγορᾶς out of the market-place.

a. εὐθύς means straightway, εὐθύ straight towards.


Several adverbs often omit ς without much regard to the following word: ἀμφί about, ἀμφίς (poet.), μέχρι, ἄχρι until (rarely μέχρις, ἄχρις), ἀτρέμας and ἀτρέμα quietly, πολλάκις often (πολλάκι Hom., Hdt.).


οὐκ not is used before the smooth breathing, οὐχ (cp. cross124) before the rough breathing: οὐκ ὀλίγοι, οὐχ ἡδύς. Before all consonants οὐ is written: οὐ πολλοί, οὐ ῥᾴδιος. Standing alone or at the end of its clause οὐ is written οὔ (rarely οὔκ), as πῶς γὰρ οὔ; for how not? Cp. cross180 a.

a. A longer form is οὐχί (Ion. οὐκί) used before vowels and consonants.

b. μηκέτι no longer derives its κ from the analogy of οὐκέτι no longer.


There are as many syllables in a Greek word as there are separate vowels or diphthongs: thus, ἀ-λή-θει-α truth.


The last syllable is called the ultima; the next to the last syllable is called the penult (paen-ultima almost last); the one before the penult is called the antepenult (ante-paen-ultima).

-- 35 --


In pronouncing Greek words and in writing (at the end of the line) the rules commonly observed are these:

a. A single consonant standing between two vowels in one word belongs with the second vowel: ἄ-γω, σο-φί-ζω.

b. Any group of consonants that can begin a word, and a group formed by a stop with μ or ν, and by μν, belongs with the second vowel: τύ-πτω, ὄ-γδοος, ἄ-στρον, ἔ-χθος; πρᾶ-γμα, ἔ-θνος, λί-μνη.

c. A group of consonants that cannot begin a word is divided between two syllables: ἄν-θος, ἐλ-πίς, ἔρ-γμα. Doubled consonants are divided: θάλατ-τα.

d. Compounds divide at the point of union: εἰς-φέρω, προς-φέρω; ἀν-άγω, εἰσάγω, συν-έχω. (But the ancients often wrote ἀ-νάγω, εἰ-σάγω, προ-σελθεῖν, ἐ-ξάγω, δυ-σάρεστος.)

e. ς, when followed by one or more consonants, is either attached to the preceding vowel (ἄ-ρις-τος), or, with the consonant, begins the following syllable (ἄ-ρι-στος). (The ancients were not consistent, and there is evidence for the pronunciation ἄ-ρις-στος.)

f. The ancients divided ἐκ τούτου as ἐ-κ τού-του. This practice is now abandoned.


A syllable ending in a vowel is said to be open; one ending in a consonant is closed. Thus, in μή-τηρ mother the first syllable is open, the second closed.


A syllable is short when it contains a short vowel followed by a vowel or a single consonant: θε-ός god, ἐ-νό-μι-σα I thought.


A syllable is long by nature when it contains a long vowel or a diphthong: χώ-ρα_ country, δοῦ-λος slave.


A syllable is long by position when its vowel precedes two consonants or a double consonant: ἵππος horse, ἐξ out of.

a. One or both of the two consonants lengthening a final syllable by position may belong to the next word: ἄλλο_ς πολί_της, ἄλλο_ κτῆμα.

b. Length by position does not affect the natural quantity of a vowel. Thus, both λέ-ξω I shall say and λή-ξω I shall cease have the first syllable long by position; but the first vowel is short in λἐξω, long in λήξω.


ϝ may be one of the two consonants: πρός (ϝ) οἶκον (¯ ¯ ˘).


A stop with a liquid after a short vowel need not make the preceding syllable long by position. A syllable containing a short vowel before a stop and a liquid is common (either short or long). When short, such syllables are said to have weak position.

Thus, in δάκρυ, πατρός, ὅπλον, τέκνον, τί δρᾷ the first syllable is either long or short as the verse requires. In Homer the syllable before a stop with a liquid is usually long; in Attic it is usually short.

-- 36 --

a. The stop and the liquid making weak position must stand in the same word or in the same part of a compound. Thus, in ἐκ-λύ_ω I release the first syllable is always long, but in ἔ-κλυε he heard it is common.

b. β, γ, δ before μ, or ν, and usually before λ, make the preceding syllable long by position. Thus, ἁγνός (¯˘) pure, βιβλίον (ע˘) book.

N.—‘Common’ quantity has been explained as due to a difference in syllabic division. Thus, in τέ_κνον, the first syllable is closed (τέκ-νον); while in τεκνον the first syllable is open (τέ-κνον). Cp. cross141.


The quantity of most syllables is usually apparent. Thus, syllables

a. with η, ω, or a diphthong, are long.

b. with ε, ο, before a vowel or a single consonant, are short.

c. with ε, ο, before two consonants, or a double consonant, are long.

d. with α, ι, υ, before two consonants, or a double consonant, are long.

N.—But syllables with ε, ο, or α, ι, υ before a stop and a liquid may be short ( cross145). Cp. also 147 c.


In Hom. an initial liquid, nasal, and digamma (3) was probably doubled in pronunciation when it followed a short syllable carrying the rhythmic accent. Here a final short vowel appears in a long syllable: ἐνὶ μεγάροισι (˘[macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]˘), cp. cross28 D. The lengthening is sometimes due to the former presence of ς or ϝ before the liquid or nasal: ὅτε λήξειεϝ (˘[macrdot]¯[macrdot]˘) (cp. ἄλληκτος unceasing for ἀ-σληκτος), τε ῥήξειν ([macrdot]¯[macrdot]) (cp. ἄρρηκτος unbroken for ἀ-ϝρηκτος). (Cp. cross80 a, cross80 D., 81 D.)


The quantity of syllables containing α, ι, υ before a vowel or a single consonant must be learned by observation, especially in poetry. Note, however, that α, ι, υ are always long

a. when they have the circumflex accent: πᾶς, ὑ_μῖν.

b. when they arise from contraction ( cross59) or crasis ( cross62): γέρα_ from γέραα, ἀ_ργός idle from ἀ-εργος (but αργός bright), κἀ_γώ from καί ἐγώ.

c. ι and υ are generally short before ξ (except as initial sounds in augmented forms, cross435) and α, ι, υ before ζ. Thus, κῆρυξ, ἐκήρυξα, πνιξω, ἁρπαζω, ἐλπιζω.

d. ας, ις, and υς are long when ν or ντ has dropped out before ς ( cross96, cross100).

e. The accent often shows the quantity ( cross163, cross164, cross170).


α, ι, υ in Hom. sometimes show a different quantity than in Attic. Thus, Att. καλός, τινω, φθανω, λύ_ω, ἵ_ημι, Hom. κα_λός, τί_νω, φθά_νω ( cross28), and λυω and ἵημι usually.


A vowel standing before another vowel in a Greek word is not necessarily short (as it usually is in classical Latin).


1. In Hom., and sometimes in the lyric parts of the drama, a syllable ending in a long vowel or diphthong is shortened before an initial vowel: ἄξω ἑλών ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]), εὔχεται εἶναι ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]¯), κλῦθί μευ ἀργυρότοξ' ([macrdot]:˘˘[macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]). Here ι and υ have become semivowels ( cross20, cross43); thus, εὔχετα | yεἶναι, cp. cross67. -ᾳ, -ῃ, -ῳ were shortened like α_, η, ω. Thus, ἀσπέτῳ ὄμβρῳ ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]¯).

2. This shortening does not occur when the rhythmic accent falls upon the final syllable: ἀντιθίῳ Οδυσῆι ([macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]˘˘[macrdot]˘), ᾧ ἔνι ([macrdot]˘˘).

3. The shortening rarely occurs in the interior of a word. Thus, Hom. ἥρωος (¯˘˘), υἱόν (˘˘), in the Attic drama αὑτηΐ (¯˘¯), τοιοῦτος (˘:¯˘), ποιῶ (˘¯), often written ποῶ in inscriptions (cp. cross43).

-- 37 --


There are three accents in Greek. No Greek accent can stand farther back than the antepenult.

1. Acute (/): over short or long vowels and diphthongs. It may stand on ultima, penult, or antepenult: καλός, δαίμων, ἄνθρωπος.

2. Circumflex (=): over vowels long by nature and diphthongs. It may stand on ultima or penult: γῆ, θεοῦ, δῶρον, τοῦτο.

3. Grave (\): over short or long vowels and diphthongs. It stands on the ultima only: τὸν ἄνδρα, τὴν τύχην, οἱ θεοὶ τῆς Ελλάδος.


The acute marks syllables pronounced in a raised tone. The grave is a low-pitched tone as contrasted with the acute. The circumflex combines acute and grave.


Accented syllables in Ancient Greek had a higher pitch (τόνος) than unaccented syllables, and it was the rising and falling of the pitch that made Ancient Greek a musical language. The Greek word for accent is προσῳδία_ (Lat. accentus: from ad-cano), i.e. ‘song accompanying words.’ Musical accent (elevation and depression of tone) is to be distinguished from quantity (duration of tone), and from rhythmic accent (stress of voice at fixed intervals when there is a regular sequence of long and short syllables).

N.—The accent heard in Modern Greek and English is a stress-accent. Stress is produced by strong and weak expiration, and takes account of accented syllables to the neglect of the quantity of unaccented syllables. Thus, shortly after Christ, ἄνθρωπος was often pronounced like a dactyl, φίλος like a trochee; and πρόσωπον, ἐννέα, were even written πρόσοπον, έννήα.


The marks of accent are placed over the vowel of the accented syllable. A diphthong has the accent over its second vowel (τοῦτο), except in the case of capital ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ (as Αιδης, 5), where the accent stands before the first vowel.


A breathing is written before the acute and grave (οἵ, ἤ), but under the circumflex (ὦ, οὗτος). Accents and breathings are placed before capitals: Ομηρος, Ωραι. The accent stands over a mark of diaeresis (8): κληῗδι.


The grave is written in place of a final acute on a word that is followed immediately by another word in the sentence. Thus, μετὰ τὴν μάχην after the battle (for μετά τήν μάχην). It is also sometimes placed on τὶς, τὶ ( cross334), to distinguish these indefinite pronouns from the interrogatives τίς, τί.

a. An oxytone ( cross157) changes its acute to the grave when followed by another word, except: (1) when the oxytone is followed by an enclitic ( cross183 a); (2) in τίς, τί interrogative, as τίς οὗτος; who's this? (3) when an elided syllable follows the accented syllable: νύχθ' ὅλην ( cross124), not νὺχθ' ὅλην ( cross174 a); (4) when a colon or period follows. (Usage varies before a comma.)

-- 38 --


The ancients regarded the grave originally as belonging to every syllable not accented with the acute or circumflex; and some Mss. show this in practice, e.g. πὰγκρὰτής. Later it was restricted to its use as a substitute for a final acute.


The circumflex is formed from the union of the acute and the grave ( = ^), never from . Thus, παῖς πάὶς, εὖ ἔὺ. Similarly, since every long vowel may be resolved into two short units (morae), τῶν may be regarded as = τόὸν. The circumflex was thus spoken with a rising tone followed by one of lower pitch. μοῦσα, δῆμος are thus = μόὺσα, δέὲμος; μούσης, δήμου are = μὸύσης, δὲέμου. In διδοῦσα (i.e. διδόὺσα) compared with διδούς the accent has receded ( cross159) one mora.

a. The whole vowel receives the acute when the second short unit of a vowel long by nature is accented: Δί_ Δὶί.


Words are named according to their accent as follows:

Oxytone (acute on the ultima): θήρ, καλός, λελυκώς.

Paroxytone (acute on the penult): λύ_ω, λείπω, λελυκότος.

Proparoxytone (acute on the antepenult): ἄνθρωπος, παιδεύομεν.

Perispomenon (circumflex on the ultima): γῆ, θεοῦ.

Properispomenon (circumflex on the penult): πρᾶξις, μοῦσα.

Barytone (when the ultima is unaccented, cross158): μοῦσα, μήτηρ, πόλεμος.


A word is called barytone (βαρύ-τονος deep-toned, low-toned) when it has no accent on the ultima. All paroxytones, proparoxytones, and properispomena are also barytones.


An accent is called recessive when it moves back as far from the end of the word as the quantity of the ultima permits ( cross166). The quantity of the penult is here disregarded (τρέπωμεν). Cp. cross178.


Oxytone (ὀξύς, sharp + τόνος) means ‘sharp-toned,’ perispomenon (περισπώμενος) ‘turned-around’ (circumflectus, cross156). Paroxytone and proparoxytone are derived from ὀξύτονος with the prepositions παρά and πρό respectively. Acute corresponds to Lat. acutus (ὀξεῖα, scil. προσῳδία_).


The invention of the marks of accent is attributed to Aristophanes of Byzantium, librarian at Alexandria about 200 B.C. The use of signs served to fix the correct accentuation, which was becoming uncertain in the third century B.C.; marked the variation of dialect usage; and rendered the acquisition of Greek easier for foreigners. The signs for the accents (and the breathings) were not regularly employed in Mss. till after 600 A.D.


The position of the accent has to be learned by observation. But the kind of accent is determined by the following rules.


1. Aeolic has recessive ( cross159) accent in all words except prepositions and conjunctions. Thus, σόφος, Ζεῦς, i.e. Ζέὺς, αὖτος, λίπειν (= λιπεῖν), λίποντος (= λιπόντος), ἄμμες (= ἡμεῖς).

2. Doric regarded final -οι ( cross169) as long (ἀνθρώποι), and probably -αι in nouns (χώραι); made paroxytones the 3 pl. act. of the past tenses (ἐφέρον, ἐλύ_σαν) and such words as παίδες, γυναίκες, πτώκας; made perispomena the gen. masc. pl. of pronouns (τουτῶν, ἀλλῶν) and the gen. fem. pl. of adj. in -ος (ἀμφοτερᾶν). The substitution, in the accus. pl., of -ας and -ος for -α_ς and -ους, caused no change in the accent (πά_σας, ἀμπέλος).

-- 39 --


The antepenult, if accented, can have the acute only (ἄνθρωπος, βασίλεια queen, οἰκοφύλακος of a house-guard). If the ultima is long, either by nature or by position ( cross144), the antepenult cannot take an accent: hence ἀνθρώπου ( cross176 a), βασιλεία_ kingdom, οίκοφύλαξ.

a. Some nouns in -εως and -εων admit the acute on the antepenult. Thus, the genitive of nouns in -ις and -υς (πόλεως, πόλεων, ἄστεως), the forms of the Attic declension, as ἵ_λεως ( cross289). So the Ionic genitive in -εω (πολί_τεω); also some compound adjectives in -ως, as δύσερως unhappy in love, ὑψίκερως lofty antlered. On ὧντινων see cross186.


The penult, if accented and long, takes the circumflex when the ultima is short by nature (νῆσος, ταῦτα). In all other cases it has the acute (φόβος, λελυκότος, τούτου).

a. Apparent exceptions are ὥστε, οὔτις, ἥδε (properly ἧδε). See cross186.

b. A final syllable containing a vowel short by nature followed by ξ or ψ does not permit the acute to stand on the antepenult (οἰκοφύλαξ); but the circumflex may stand on the penult (κῆρυξ).


The ultima, if accented and short, has the acute (ποταμός); if accented and long, has either the acute (λελυκώς), or the circumflex (Περικλῆς).


When the ultima is long, the acute cannot stand on the antepenult, nor the circumflex on the penult. Thus, ἄνθρωπου and δῶρου are impossible.


When the ultima is short, a word, if accented

a. on the ultima, has the acute: σοφός.

b. on a short penult, has the acute: νόμος.

c. on a long penult, has the circumflex: δῶρον.

d. on the antepenult, has the acute: ἄνθρωπος.


When the ultima is long, a word, if accented

a. on the ultima, has the acute or the circumflex: ἐγώ, σοφῶς.

b. on the penult, has the acute: λέων, δαίμων.


Final -αι and -οι are regarded as short: μοῦσαι, βούλομαι, πρόπαλαι, ἄνθρωποι. But in the optative -αι and -οι are long (λύ_σαι, βουλεύοι), as in contracted syllables. So also in the locative οἴκοι at home (but οἶκοι houses).

a. The difference in the quantitative treatment of -αι and -οι depends on an original difference of accentuation that may have vanished in Greek. -αι and -οι, when short, were pronounced with a clipped, or simple, tone; when long, with a drawled, or compound, tone.

-- 40 --


The quantity of α, ι, υ ( cross147) may often be learned from the accent. Thus, in θάλαττα, ἥμισυς, πῆχυς, δύναμις, μῆνις, the vowel of the last syllable must be short; in φίλος the ι must be short (otherwise φῖλος). Cp. cross163.


Contraction.—If either of the syllables to be contracted had an accent, the contracted syllable has an accent. Thus:

a. A contracted antepenult has the acute: φιλεόμενος φιλούμενος.

b. A contracted penult has the circumflex when the ultima is short; the acute, when the ultima is long: φιλέουσι φιλοῦσι, φιλεόντων φιλούντων.

c. A contracted ultima has the acute when the uncontracted form was oxytone: ἑσταώς ἑστώς; otherwise, the circumflex: φιλέω φιλῶ.

N. 1.—A contracted syllable has the circumflex only when, in the uncontracted form, an acute was followed by the (unwritten) grave ( cross155, cross156). Thus, Περικλέὴς Περικλῆς, τι_μάὼ τι_μῶ. In all other cases we have the acute: φιλὲόντων φιλούντων, βεβὰώς βεβώς.

N. 2.—Exceptions to 171 are often due to the analogy of other forms ( cross236 a, cross264 e, 279 a, 290 c, 309 a).


If neither of the syllables to be contracted had an accent, the contracted syllable has no accent: φίλεε φίλει, γένεϊ γένει, περίπλοος περίπλους. For exceptions, see cross236 b.


Crasis.—In crasis, the first word (as less important) loses its accent: τἀ_γαθά for τὰ ἀγαθά, τἀ_ν for τὰ ἐν, κἀ_γώ for καὶ ἐγώ.

a. If the second word is a dissyllabic paroxytone with short ultima, it is uncertain whether, in crasis, the paroxytone remains or changes to properispomenon. In this book τοὔργον, τἄ_λλα are written for τὸ ἔργον, τὰ ἄλλα; but many scholars write τοὖργον, τἆλλα.


Elision.—In elision, oxytone prepositions and conjunctions lose their accent: παρ' (for παρὰ) ἐμοῦ, ἀλλ' (for ἀλλὰ) ἐγώ. In other oxytones the accent is thrown back to the penult: πόλλ' (for πολλὰ) ἔπαθον.

a. Observe that in πόλλ' ἔπαθον the acute is not changed to the grave ( cross154 a, cross3). A circumflex does not result from the recession of the accent. Thus, φήμ' (not φῆμ') ἐγώ for φημὶ ἐγώ. τινά and ποτέ, after a word which cannot receive their accent ( cross183 d), drop their accent: οὕτω ποτ' ἦν.

-- 41 --


Anastrophe (ἀναστροφή turning-back) occurs in the case of oxytone prepositions of two syllables, which throw the accent back on the first syllable.

a. When the preposition follows its case: τούτων πἐρι (for περὶ τούτων) about these things. No other preposition than περί follows its case in prose.

N. 1.—In poetry anastrophe occurs with the other dissyllabic prepositions (except ἀντί, ἀμφί, διά). In Homer a preposition following its verb and separated from it by tmesis ( cross1650) also admits anastrophe (λούσῃ ἄπο for ἀπολούσῃ).

N. 2.—When the final vowel of the preposition is elided, the accent is dropped if no mark of punctuation intervenes: χερσὶν ὑφ' ἡμετέρῃσιν B 374.

b. When a preposition stands for a compound formed of the preposition and ἐστί. Thus, πάρα for πάρεστι it is permitted, ἔνι for ἔνεστι it is possible (ἐνί is a poetic form of ἐν).

N.—In poetry, πάρα may stand for πάρεισι or πάρειμι; and ἄνα arise! up! is used for ἀνάστηθι. Hom. has ἔνι ἔνεισι.


When a short ultima of the nominative is lengthened in an oblique case

a. a proparoxytone becomes paroxytone: θάλαττα θαλάττης, ἄνθρωπος ἀνθρώπου.

b. a properispomenon becomes paroxytone: μοῦσα μούσης, δῶρον δώρον.

c. an oxytone becomes perispomenon in the genitive and dative of the second declension: θεός θεοῦ θεῷ θεῶν θεοῖς.


When, for a long ultima, a short ultima is substituted in inflection

a. a dissyllabic paroxytone (with penult long by nature) becomes properispomenon: λύ_ω λῦε.

b. a polysyllabic paroxytone (with penult either long or short) becomes proparoxytone: παιδεύω παίδευε, πλέκω πλέκομεν.


In composition the accent is usually recessive ( cross159) in the case of substantives and adjectives, regularly in the case of verbs: βάσις ἀνάβασις, θεός ἄθεος, λῦε ἀπόλυ_ε.

a. Proper names having the form of a substantive, adjective, or participle, usually change the accent: Ἔλπις (ἐλπίς), Γλαῦκος (γλαυκός), Γέλων (γελῶν).

b. Special cases will be considered under Declension and Inflection.


Ten monosyllabic words have no accent and are closely connected with the following word. They are called proclitics (from προκλί_νω lean forward). They are:

The forms of the article beginning with a vowel (ὁ, ἡ, οἱ, αἱ); the prepositions ἐν, εἰς (ἐς), ἐξ (ἐκ); the conjunction εἰ if; ὡς as, that (also a preposition to); the negative adverb οὐ (οὐκ, οὐχ, cross137).

-- 42 --


A proclitic sometimes takes an accent, thus:

a. οὐ at the end of a sentence: φῄς, ἢ οὔ; do you say so or not? πῶς γὰρ οὔ; for why not? Also οὔ no standing alone.

b. ἐξ, ἐν, and εἰς receive an acute in poetry when they follow the word to which they belong and stand at the end of the verse: κακῶν ἔξ out of evils Ξ 472.

c. ὡς as becomes ὥς in poetry when it follows its noun: θεὸς ὥς as a god. ὡς standing for οὕτως is written ὥς even in prose (οὐδ' ὥς not even thus).

d. When the proclitic precedes an enclitic ( cross183 e): ἔν τισι.

N.— used as a relative (for ὅς, cross1105) is written . On demonstrative see cross1114.


Enclitics (from ἐγκλί_νω lean on, upon) are words attaching themselves closely to the preceding word, after which they are pronounced rapidly. Enclitics usually lose their accent. They are:

a. The personal pronouns μοῦ, μοί, μέ; σοῦ, σοί, σέ; οὗ, οἷ, ἕ, and (in poetry) σφίσι.

b. The indefinite pronoun τὶς, τὶ in all cases (including τοῦ, τῷ for τινός, τινί, but excluding ἄττα τινά); the indefinite adverbs πού (or ποθί), πῄ, ποί, ποθέν, ποτέ, πώ, πώς. When used as interrogatives these words are not enclitic (τίς, τί, ποῦ (or πόθι), πῇ, ποῖ, πόθεν, πότε, πῶ, πῶς).

c. All dissyllabic forms of the present indicative of εἰμί am and φημί say (i.e. all except εἶ and φῄς).

d. The particles γέ, τέ, τοί, πέρ; the inseparable -δε in ὅδε, τοσόσδε, etc.

N.—Enclitics, when they retain their accent, are called orthotone. See cross187.


Also enclitic are the dialectic and poetical forms μεῦ, σέο, σεῦ, τοί, τέ, and τύ (accus. = σέ), ἕο, εὗ, ἕθεν, μίν, νίν, σφί, σφίν, σφέ, σφωέ, σφωί_ν, σφέων, σφέας, σφας and σφᾶς, σφέα; also the particles νύ or νύν (not νῦν), Epic κέ (κέν), θήν, ῥά; and Epic ἐσσί, Ion. εἶς, thou art.


The accent of an enclitic, when it is thrown back upon the preceding word, always appears as an acute: θήρ τε (not θῆρ τε) from θήρ τέ.


The word preceding an enclitic is treated as follows:

a. An oxytone keeps its accent, and does not change an acute to a grave ( cross154 a): δός μοι, καλόν ἐστι.

b. A perispomenon keeps its accent: φιλῶ σε, τι_μῶν τινων.

c. A proparoxytone or properispomenon receives, as an additional accent, the acute on the ultima: ἄνθρωπός τις, ἄνθρωποί τινες, ἤκουσά τινων; σῶσόν με, παῖδές τινες.

d. A paroxytone receives no additional accent: a monosyllabic enclitic loses its accent (χώρα_ τις, φίλος μου), a dissyllabic enclitic retains its accent (χώρα_ς τινός, φίλοι τινές) except when its final vowel is elided ( cross174 a).

-- 43 --

N.—Like paroxytones are treated properispomena ending in ξ or ψ when followed by a dissyllabic enclitic: κῆρυξ ἐστί; and so probably κῆρυξ τις.

e. A proclitic ( cross179) takes an acute: ἔν τινι, εἴ τινες.


Since an enclitic, on losing its accent, forms a part of the preceding word, the writing ἄνθρωπος τις would violate the rule ( cross149) that no word can be accented on a syllable before the antepenult. A paroxytone receives no additional accent in order that two successive syllables may not have the acute (not φίλός ἐστιν).


When several enclitics occur in succession, each receives an accent from the following, only the last having no accent: εἴ πού τίς τινα ἴδοι ἐχθρόν if ever any one saw an enemy anywhere T. 4.47.


Sometimes an enclitic unites with a preceding word to form a compound (cp. Lat. -que, -ve), which is accented as if the enclitic were still a separate word. Thus, οὔτε (not οὖτε), ὥστε, εἴτε, καίτοι, οὗτινος, ᾧτινι, ὧντινων; usually περ (ἕσπερ); and the inseparable -δε in ὅδε, τούσδε, οἴκαδε; and -θε and -χι in εἴθε (poetic αἴθε), ναίχι. οὔτε, ᾧτινι, etc., are not real exceptions to the rules of accent ( cross163, cross164).

a. οἷός τε able is sometimes written οἷόστε. οὐκ οὖν is usually written οὔκουν not therefore , and not therefore? in distinction from οὐκοῦν therefore. ἐγώ γε and ἐμοί γε may become ἔγωγε, ἔμοιγε.


An enclitic retains its accent (is orthotone, cp. cross181 N.):

a. When it is emphatic, as in contrasts: ἢ σοὶ ἢ τῷ πατρί σου either to you or to your father (ἐμοῦ, ἐμοί, ἐμέ are emphatic: εἰπὲ καὶ ἐμοί tell me too), and at the beginning of a sentence or clause: φημὶ γάρ I say in fact.

b. ἐστί is written ἔστι at the beginning of a sentence; when it expresses existence or possibility; when it follows οὐκ, μή, εἰ, ὡς, καί, ἀλλά (or ἀλλ'), τοῦτο (or τοῦτ'); and in ἔστιν οἵ some, ἔστιν ὅτε sometimes. Thus, εἰ ἔστιν οὕτως if it is so, τοῦτο δ ἔστι that which exists.

c. In the phrases ποτὲ μὲν . . . ποτὲ δέ, τινὲς μὲν . . . τινὲς δέ.

d. After a word suffering elision: πολλοὶ δ' εἰσίν (for δέ εἰσιν), ταῦτ' ἐστί.

e. When a dissyllabic enclitic follows a paroxytone ( cross183 d).

N. 1.—When they are used as indirect reflexives in Attic prose ( cross1228), the pronouns of the third person οὗ and σφίσι are orthotone, οἷ is generally enclitic, while is generally orthotone.

N. 2.—After oxytone prepositions and ἕνεκα enclitic pronouns (except τὶς) usually keep their accent (ἐπὶ σοί, not ἐπί σοι; ἕνεκα σοῦ, not ἕνεκά σου; ἕνεκά του, not ἕνεκα τοῦ). ἐμοῦ, ἐμοί, ἐμέ are used after prepositions (except πρός με; and in the drama ἀμφί μοι).


Greek has four marks of punctuation. The comma and period have the same forms as in English. For the colon and semicolon Greek has only one sign, a point above the line (.): οἱ δὲ ἡδέως ἐπείθοντο· ἐπίστευον γὰρ αὐτῷ and they gladly obeyed; for they trusted him X. A. 1.2.2. The mark of interrogation (;) is the same as our semicolon: πῶς γὰρ οὔ; for why not?

Previous Section

Next Section

Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].
Powered by PhiloLogic