Part I: Letters, Sounds, Syllables, Accent
The Greek alphabet has twenty-four letters.
Form Name Equivalents Sound as in Α α ἄλφα alpha a ă: aha; ā: father Β β βῆτα bēta b beg Γ γ γάμμα gamma g go Δ δ δέλτα delta d dig Ε ε εἶ, ἔ (ἒ ψι_λόν) ĕpsīlon ĕ met Ζ ζ ζῆτα zēta z daze Η η ἦτα ēta ē Fr. fête Θ θ, υ θῆτα thēta th thin Ι ι ἰῶτα iōta i ĕ: meteor; ī: police Κ κ κάππα kappa c, k kin Λ λ λάμβδα lambda l let Μ μ μῦ mu m met Ν ν νῦ nu n net Ξ ξ ξεῖ (ξῖ) xi x lax Ο ο οὖ, ὄ (ὂ μι_κρόν) ŏmīcron ŏ obey Π π πεῖ (πῖ) pi p pet Ρ ρ ῥῶ rho r run Σ ς, ς σίγμα sigma s such Τ τ ταῦ tau t tar Υ υ ὖ (ὖ ψι_λόν) üpsīlon ( ŭ: Fr. tu; ū: Fr. sûr Φ φ φεῖ (φῖ) phi ph graphic Χ χ χεῖ (χῖ) chi ch Germ. machen Ψ ψ ψεῖ (ψῖ) psi ps gypsum Ω ω ὦ (ὦ μέγα) ōmĕga ō note
The Greek alphabet has twenty-four letters.
a. Sigma (not capital) at the end of a word is written ς, elsewhere ς. Thus, σεισμός
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,’ upsilon ‘simple u,’ to distinguish these letters from αι, οι, which were sounded like ε and υ.
c. Labda is a better attested ancient name than lambda.2
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
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 ]ΕΙΚΑΙΤΟΙΔΕΜΟΙ||ἔδοξεν τῇ βουλῇ καὶ τῷ δήμῳ.|
|ΕΓΙΤΕΔΕΙΟΝΕΝΑΙΑΓΟΤΟΑΡΛΥΡΙΟ||ἐπιτήδειον εἶναι ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀργυρίου.|
In the older period there were two other letters: (1) Ϝ: ϝαῦ,
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
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
or less open in pronouncing them, the tongue and lips assuming different positions in the case of each.5
A diphthong (δίφθογγος
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.5D
A diphthong ωυ occurs in New Ionic (ὡυτός
ει, ου are either genuine or spurious (apparent) diphthongs ( cross25). Genuine ει, ου are a combination of ε ι, ο υ, as in λείπω
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.8
Diaeresis.—A double dot, the mark of diaeresis (διαίρεσις
In poetry and in certain dialects vowels are often written apart which later formed diphthongs: πάις (or πάϊς)
Every initial vowel or diphthong has either the rough (‘) or the smooth (’) breathing. The rough breathing (
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
Initial υ (υ and υ_) always has the rough breathing.10D
In Aeolic, υ, like all the other vowels (and the diphthongs), always has the smooth breathing. The epic forms ὔμμες
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
In compound words (as in προορᾶν
Every initial ρ has the rough breathing: ῥήτωρ
The sign for the rough breathing is derived from H, which in the Old Attic alphabet (2 a) was used to denote
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
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.16
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)||π||β||φ|
|Dental (teeth sounds)||τ||δ||θ|
|Palatal (palate sounds)||κ||γ||χ|
a. The dentals are sometimes called
Spirants.—There is one spirant: ς (also called a
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.18
Liquids.—There are two liquids: λ and ρ. Initial ρ always has the rough breathing ( cross13).19
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.
b. The name liquids is often used to include both liquids and nasals.20
Semivowels.—ι, υ, the liquids, nasals, and the spirant ς are often called
a. When ι and υ correspond to y and w (cp.
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.
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.
22TABLE OF CONSONANT SOUNDS
|Nasals||Voiced||μ||ν||γ-nasal ( cross19 a)|
|Semivowels||Voiced||υglide (ϝ)||y (|
|Liquids||Voiced||λ ρ |
|Spirants (||Voiced||ς  cross|
|(||Voiced||β (middle)||δ (middle)||γ (middle)|
|Stops (||Voiceless||π (smooth)||τ (smooth)||κ (smooth)|
|(||Voiceless Aspirate||φ (rough)||θ (rough)||χ (rough)|
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:24
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
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.25
Diphthongs.—The diphthongs were sounded nearly as follows:
|αι as in Cairo||αυ as ||ηυ as |
|ει as in vein||ευ as ||ωυ as |
|οι as in soil||ου as in ourang||υι as in Fr. huit|
In ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ 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 (
Consonants.—Most of the consonants were sounded as in English (1). Before ι, κ, γ, τ, ς never had a sh (or
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,
Aeolic has σδ for ζ in ὔσδος (ὄζος
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)||η||ι_||ω||υ_|
|I honour||I permit||I love||I come||I show||nature|
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
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
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
The initial short vowel of a word forming the second part of a compound is often lengthened: στρατηγός
Attic η, α_.—Attic has η for original α_ of the earlier period, as φήμη
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
b. Original α_ became η after υ, as φυή
Doric and Aeolic retain original α_, as in μᾶλον
2. Ionic has η after ε, ι, and ρ. Thus, γενεή, σκιή, ἡμέρη.31
In Attic alone this η was changed back to α_:
1. When preceded by a ρ; as ἡμέρα_
EXCEPTIONS: (a) But ρϝη was changed to ρη: as κόρη for κορϝη
2. When preceded by ε or ι: as γενεά_
This change takes place even when the η is the result of the contraction of εα: as ὑγιᾶ
EXCEPTIONS: Some exceptions are due to analogy: ὑγιῆ
In the choruses of tragedy Doric α_ is often used for η. Thus, μά_τηρ
The dialects frequently show vowel sounds that do not occur in the corresponding Attic words.33D
α for ε: ἱαρός
Transfer of Quantity.—ηο, ηα often exchange quantities, be coming εω, εα_. Thus, ληός (Epic λα_ός
Often in Ionic: Ἀτρεΐδεω from earlier Ἀτρεΐδα_ο
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
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
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
|Strong Grades||Weak Grade|
|a. ε: ο||—or α|
|b. ει: οι||ι|
|c. ευ: ου||υ|
|d. α_: ω||α|
|e. η: ω||ε or α|
|a. ( ἐ-γεν-ό-μην ||: γέ-γον-α ||γί-γ ν-ο-μαι |
|( τρέπω ||: τροπ-ή ||ἐ-τράπ-ην |
|b. πείθ-ω ||: πέ-ποιθ-α ||πιθ-ανός |
|c. ἐλεύ (θ) ς-ο-μαι ||: ἐλ-ήλουθ-α ||ἤλυθ-ο-ν |
|d. φα_-μί (Dor., cross30) ||: φω-νή ||φα-μέν |
|e. ( τί-θη-μι ||: θω-μό-ς ||θε-τό-ς |
|( ῥήγ-νυ_-μι ||: ἔ-ρρωγ-α ||ἐ-ρράγ-η |
|f. —||δί-δω-μι ||δί-δο-μεν |
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
Compensatory lengthening is the lengthening of a short vowel to make up for the omission of a consonant.
|The short vowels||α||ε||ι||ο||υ|
|are lengthened to||α_||ει||ι_||ου||υ_|
|Thus the forms||τάν-ς||ἐ-μεν-σα||ἐκλιν-σα||τόνς||δεικνυντ-ς|
|the||I remained||I leaned||the||showing|
a. Thus are formed κτείνω
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
c. The diphthongs ει and ου due to this lengthening are spurious (6).37D
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
2. Doric generally lengthens ε and ο to η and ω: ξῆνος, ὧρος, κῶρος, μῶνος. So μῶσα
3. Aeolic has αις, εις (a genuine diphth.), οις from ανς, ενς, ονς. Thus, παῖσα
α_ arises from αι upon the loss of its ι ( cross43) in ἀ_εί
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
Shortening.—A long vowel may be shortened before another long vowel: βασιλέων from βασιλήων
A long vowel before ι, υ, a nasal, or a liquid + a following consonant was regularly shortened: ναῦς from original να_υς
Addition.—α, ε, ο are sometimes prefixed before λ, μ, ρ, ϝ (
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
Disappearance.—The ι and υ of diphthongs often disappear before a following vowel. Thus, ὑός from υἱός
So in Hdt. κέεται for κείεται
a. The disappearance of ε before a vowel is often called
Cp. Hom. θεοί A 18 (one syllable). ι becomes y in Hom. πόλιος (two syllables) Φ 567. ι rarely disappears: δῆμον for δήμιον
b. The disappearance of a short vowel between consonants is called
Assimilation.—A vowel may be assimilated to the vowel standing in the following syllable: βιβλίον
a. On assimilation in distracted verbs (ὁρόω
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 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.47D
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 (
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
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.
The following are the chief rules governing contraction:49
(I) Two vowels which can form a diphthong (5) unite to form that diphthong: γένεϊ γένει, αἰδόϊ αἰδοῖ, κλήϊθρον κλῇθρον.50
(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
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.51
(III) Unlike Vowels.—Unlike vowels are assimilated, either the second to the first (
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
(IV) Vowels and Diphthongs.—A vowel disappears before a diphthong beginning with the same sound: μνάαι μναῖ, φιλέει φιλεῖ, δηλόοι δηλοῖ.53
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 ῃ become οι: δηλόει δηλοῖ, δηλόῃ δηλοῖ.54
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).
(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.55D
In Hom. δεῖος
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.57
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).58
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
[After ει or ου,
|α α||= α_||γέραα||= γέρα_|
|α_ α||= α_||λᾶας||= λᾶς|
|α α_||= α_||βεβάα_σι||= βεβᾶσι|
|α αι||= αι||μνάαι||= 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||= αι||κέραϊ||= κέραι|
|α_ ι||= α_||ῥα_ί_τερος||= ῥᾴτερος|
|α ο||= ω||τι_μάομεν||= τι_μῶμεν|
|α οι||= ῳ||τι_μάοιμι||= τιμῷμι|
|α ου (sp.)||= ω||ἐτι_μάε (ς) ο||( cross55)|
|α ω||= ω||τι_μάω||= τι_μῶ|
|ε α||= η||τείχεα||= τείχη|
|= α_||ὀστέα||= ὀστᾶ ( cross56)|
|ε α_||= η||ἁπλέα_||= ἁπλῆ|
|ε αι||= ῃ||λύ_εαι||= λύ_ῃ|
|= αι||χρυ_σέαις||= χρυ_σαῖς|
|ε ε||= ει (sp.)||φιλέετε||= φιλεῖτε|
|ε ει (gen.)||= ει (gen.)||φιλέει||= φιλεῖ|
|ε ει (sp.)||= ει (sp.)||φιλέειν||= φιλεῖν|
|ε η||= η||φιλέητε||= φιλῆτε|
|ε ῃ||= ῃ||φιλέῃ||= φιλῇ|
|ε ι||= ει (gen.)||γένεϊ||= γένει|
|ε ο||= ου (sp.)||φιλέομεν||= φιλοῦμεν|
|ε οι||= οι||φιλέοιτε||= φιλοῖτε|
|ε ου (sp.)||= ου||φιλέουσι||= φιλοῦσι|
|ε υ||= ευ||ἐΰ||= εὖ|
|ε ω||= ω||φιλέω||= φιλῶ|
|ε ῳ||= ῳ||χρυ_σέῳ||= χρυ_σῷ|
|η αι||= ῃ||λύ_η (ς) αι||= λύῃ|
|η ε||= η||τι_μήεντος||= τι_μῆντος|
|η ει (gen.)||= ῃ||ζήει||= ζῇ|
|η ει (sp.)||= η||τι_μήεις||= τι_μῆς|
|η η||= η||φανήητε||= φανῆτε|
|η ῃ||= ῃ||ζήῃ||= ζῇ|
|η οι||= ῳ||μεμνηοίμην||=|
|η ι||= ῃ||κληΐς||= κλῇς|
|ι ι||= ι_||Χίιος||= Χῖος|
|ο α||= ω||αἰδόα||= αἰδῶ|
|= α_||ἁπλόα||= ἁπλᾶ|
|ο ε||= ου (sp.)||ἐδήλοε||= ἐδήλου|
|ο ει (gen.)||= οι||δηλόει||= δηλοῖ|
|ο ει (sp.)||= ου||δηλόειν||= δηλοῦν|
|ο η||= ω||δηλόητε||= δηλῶτε|
|ο ῃ||= οι||δηλόῃ||= δηλοῖ|
|= ῳ||δόῃς||= δῷς|
|ο ι||= οι||ἠχόϊ||= ἠχοῖ|
|ο ο||= ου (sp.)||πλόος||= πλοῦς|
|ο οι||= οι||δηλόοιμεν||= δηλοῖμεν|
|ο ου (sp.)||= ου (sp.)||δηλόουσι||= δηλοῦσι|
|ο ω||= ω||δηλόω||= δηλῶ|
|ο ῳ||= ῳ||πλόῳ||= πλῷ|
|υ ι||= υ_||ἰχθυίδιον||= ἰχθύ_διον|
|υ υ||= υ_||ὑύς (for υἱός)||= ὕ_ς|
|ω α||= ω||ἥρωα||= ἥρω|
|ω ι||= ῳ||ἥρωι||= ἥρῳ|
|ω ω||= ω||δώω (Hom.)||= δῶ|
N.—The forms of ῥι_γόω
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
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
3. αο, α_ο, αω, α_ω contract to α_ in Doric and Aeolic. Thus, Ἀτρείδα_ from Ἀτρείδα_ο, Dor. γελᾶντι
4. Doric contracts αε to η; αη to η; αει, αῃ to ῃ. Thus, νί_κη from νί_καε
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
Synizesis may occur between two words when the first ends in a long vowel or diphthong. This is especially the case with δή
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.
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.)63
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.64 65
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
The rules for crasis are in general the same as those for contraction ( cross48 ff.). Thus, τὸ ὄνομα τοὔνομα
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
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
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.68D
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.69
Most crasis forms of ἕτερος
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' (ὰ) 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.71
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.72
Elision does not occur in
a. Monosyllables, except such as end in ε (τέ, δέ, γέ).
b. The conjunction ὅτι
c. The prepositions πρό
d. The dative singular ending ι of the third declension, and in σι, the ending of the dative plural.
e. Words with final υ.72D
Absence of elision in Homer often proves the loss of ϝ (3), as in κατὰ ἄστυ X 1. Epic admits elision in σά
In poetry a vowel capable of taking movable ν is often cut off.74
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
Interior elision takes place in forming compound words. Here the apostrophe is not used. Thus, οὐδείς
a. ὁδί_, τουτί_
b. Interior elision does not always occur in the formation of compounds. Thus, σκηπτοῦχος
c. On the accent in elision, see cross174.75D
N.—The shorter forms may have originated from elision.76 APHAERESIS (INVERSE ELISION)
Assimilation.—A consonant is sometimes assimilated to another consonant in the same word. This assimilation may be either partial, as in ἐ-πέμφ-θην
a. A preceding consonant is generally assimilated to a following consonant. Assimilation to a preceding consonant, as in ὄλλυ_μι
Attic has ττ for σς of Ionic and most other dialects: πρά_ττω
a. Tragedy and Thucydides adopt σς as an Ionism. On χαρίεσσα see cross114 a.
Later Attic has ρρ for ρς of older Attic: θάρρος
a. But ρς does not become ρρ in the dative plural (ῥήτορ-σι
b. Ionic and most other dialects have ρς. ρς in Attic tragedy and Thucydides is probably an Ionism. Xenophon has ρς and ρρ.80
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
a. This ρρ, due to assimilation of σρ (ἔ-ρρει, καλί-ρροος), or ϝρ (ἐρρήθη
In Hom. and even in prose ρ may remain single after a vowel: ἔ-ρεξε
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
1. Hom. has many cases of doubled liquids and nasals: ἔλλαβε
2. Doubled stops: ὅττι
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. βτ, φτ become πτ: (τετρι_β-ται) τέτρι_πται
b. πδ, φδ become βδ: (κλεπ-δην) κλέβδην
c. πθ, βθ become φθ: (ἐπεμπ-θην) ἐπέμφθην
N. 1.—Cp. ἑπτά
N. 2.—But ἐκ
A dental stop before another dental stop becomes ς.
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
Before μ, the labial stops (π, β, φ) become μ; the palatal stops κ, χ become γ; γ before μ remains unchanged.
a. κ and χ may remain unchanged before μ in a noun-suffix: ἀκ-μή
So in Hom. ἴκμενος
b. γγμ and μμμ become γμ and μμ. Thus, ἐλήλεγμαι for ἐληλεγγ-μαι from ἐληλεγχ-μαι (ἐλέγχ-ω
A dental stop (τ, δ, θ) before μ often appears to become ς. Thus, ἤνυσμαι for ἠνυτ-μαι (ἀνύτ-ω
On the other hand, since these stops are actually retained in many words, such as ἐρετμόν
β regularly and φ usually become μ before ν. Thus, σεμνός
λν becomes λλ in ὄλλυ_μι
λν is kept in πίλναμαι
ν before π, β, φ, ψ becomes μ: ἐμπί_πτω
ν before κ, γ, χ, ξ becomes γ-nasal ( cross19 a): ἐγκαλέω
ν before τ, δ, θ remains unchanged. Here ν may represent μ: βρον-τή
ν before μ becomes μ: ἔμμετρος
a. Verbs in -νω may form the perfect middle in -σμαι ( cross489 h); as in πέφασμαι (from φαίνω
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).95
ν before λ, ρ is assimilated (λλ, ρρ): σύλλογος
ν before ς is dropped and the preceding vowel is lengthened (ε to ει, ο to ου, cross37): μέλα_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
With ς a labial stop forms ψ, a palatal stop forms ξ.
|λείψω ||κῆρυξ |
|τρί_ψω ||ἄξω |
|γράψω ||βήξ |
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.98
A dental stop before ς is assimilated (σς) and one ς is dropped.
a. δ and θ become τ before ς: ποδ-σι, ὀρνι_θ-σι become ποτ-σι, ὀρνι_τ-σι.98D
Hom. often retains σς: ποσσί, δάσσασθαι for δατ-σασθαι (δατέομαι
κ is dropped before σκ in διδα (κ) -σκω
π is dropped before σφ in βλα (π) ς-φημία_
ἐν before ρ, ς, or ζ keeps its ν: ἔν-ρυθμος
σύν before ς and a vowel becomes συς-: συς-σῴζω
b. πᾶν, πάλιν before ς either keep ν or assimilate ν to ς: πάν-σοφος
On ρς see cross79 a. λς is retained in ἄλσος
Hom. has ὦρσε
Sigma between consonants is dropped: ἤγγελ (ς) θε
a. But in compounds ς is retained when the second part begins with ς: ἔν-σπονδος
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-
a. Assimilation takes place in Πελοπόννησος for Πέλοπος νῆσος
ς is assimilated in Aeol. and Hom. ἔμμεναι
Aeolic has σδ for medial ζ in ὔσδος
Two sigmas brought together by inflection become ς: βέλεσι for βέλες-σι
a. σς when = ττ ( cross78) never becomes ς.107D
Homer often retains σς: βέλεσσι, ἔπεσσι, τελέσσαι.108
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
λy becomes λλ: ἄλλος for ἀλιος Lat. alius, ἅλλομαι for ἁλyομαι Lat. salio, φύλλον for φυλyον Lat. folium.111
After αν, ον, αρ, ορ, y is shifted to the preceding syllable, forming αιν, οιν, αιρ, οιρ. This is called
κy, χy become ττ (= σς cross78): φυλάττω
(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.
a. In the above cases τy passed into τς. Thus παντ-yα, παντσα, πανσσα, πάνσα (Cretan, Thessalian), πᾶσα ( cross37 D. 3).114
(II) τy, θy become ττ (= σς cross78): μέλιττα
b. ττ from τy, θy is due to analogy, chiefly of ττ from κy.115
τ before final ι often becomes ς. Thus, τίθησι
a. ντ before final ι becomes νς, which drops ν: ἔχουσι
Ioric often retains τ (τίθητι, ἔχοντι). σέ is not from (Dor.) τέ (cp. Lat.
δy between vowels and γy after a vowel form ζ: thus, ἐλπίζω
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.119
Initial ς before a vowel becomes the rough breathing.
a. When retained, this ς is due to phonetic change (as σύν for ξύν, σι_γή
Between vowels ς is dropped.
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.121
ς usually disappears in the aorist of liquid verbs (active and middle) with lengthening of the preceding vowel ( cross37): ἔστειλα
Digamma (3) has disappeared in Attic.
The following special cases are to be noted:
c. In verbs in εω for εϝω: ῥέω
Some words have lost initial σϝ: ἡδύς
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 (ὸ) οὗ, νύχθ' ὅλην for νύκτ (α) ὅλην ( cross82); θἄ_τερον
a. A medial rough breathing, passing over ρ, roughens a preceding smooth stop: φρουρός
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
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
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
d. From the same objection to a succession of rough stops are due ἀμπέχω ἀμπίσχω
e. The rough breathing, as an aspirate ( cross16 a), often disappeared when either of the two following syllables contains φ, θ, or χ. ἔχω
f. In θρίξ
g. In ταφ- (τάφος
N.—The two rough stops remain unchanged in the aorist passive ἐθρέφθην
Transfer of Aspiration.—Aspiration may be transferred to a following syllable: πάσχω for παθ-σκω (cp. cross98).126D
Hdt. has ἐνθαῦτα
Some roots show variation between a final smooth and a rough stop; δέχομαι
Hom. and Hdt. have αὖτις
a. Transposition proper does not occur where we have to do with αρ, ρα ( cross20, cross35 b) as in θάρσος and θράσος
Hom. κραδίη, καρδίη
Dissimilation.—a. λ sometimes becomes ρ when λ appears in the same word: ἀργαλέος
b. A consonant (usually ρ) sometimes disappears when it occurs also in the adjoining syllable: δρύφακτος
c. Syllabic dissimilation or syncope occurs when the same or two similar syllables containing the same consonant succeed each other: ἀμφορεύς
d. See also under 99, 125 a, b.
Development.—δ is developed between ν and ρ, as in ἀνδρός
So in Hom. μέ-μβλω-κα
Labials and dentals often correspond: ποινή and τίσις
The dialects often show consonants different from Attic in the same or kindred words.132D
τ for ς: Doric τύ, τοί, τέ, δια_κατίοι (δια_κόσιοι), ϝί_κατι (εἴκοσι), Ποτειδά_ν (Ποσειδών).
ς “ τ: Doric σά_μερον
κ “ π: Ionic (not Hom.) κότε
κ “ τ: Doric πόκα (πότε), ὅκα (ὅτε).
γ “ β: Doric γλέφαρον
δ “ β: Doric ὀδελός (ὀβολός) a spit.
π “ τ: Hom. πίσυρες, Aeol. πέσσυρες
θ “ τ: see cross126 D.
φ “ θ: Hom. φήρ
ρ “ ς: (
ς “ θ: late Laconian σιός for θεός
ν “ λ: Doric ἐνθεῖν
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.
b. Examples of dropped final consonants: σῶμα
c. An original final m preceded by a vowel becomes ν, cp. ἵππον with Lat. equum. So ἕν
MOVABLE CONSONANTS 134
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 -ε; and to ἐστί
Thus, πᾶσιν ἔλεγεν ἐκεῖνα
a. Except ἐστί, words that add ν do not elide their final vowel ( cross73).
b. Verbs in -εω never (in Attic) add -ν to the 3 sing. of the contracted form: εὖ ἐποίει αὐτόν
N.—Movable ν is called ν ἐφελκυστικόν (
Hom. has ἐγώ (ν)
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.136
Movable Σ appears in οὕτως
a. εὐθύς means
Several adverbs often omit ς without much regard to the following word: ἀμφί
a. A longer form is οὐχί (Ion. οὐκί) used before vowels and consonants.
There are as many syllables in a Greek word as there are separate vowels or diphthongs: thus, ἀ-λή-θει-α
The last syllable is called the ultima; the next to the last syllable is called the penult (paen-ultima
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.141
A syllable ending in a vowel is said to be open; one ending in a consonant is closed. Thus, in μή-τηρ
A syllable is short when it contains a short vowel followed by a vowel or a single consonant: θε-ός
A syllable is long by nature when it contains a long vowel or a diphthong: χώ-ρα_
A syllable is long by position when its vowel precedes two consonants or a double consonant: ἵππος
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
ϝ may be one of the two consonants: πρός (ϝ) οἶκον (¯ ¯ ˘).145
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.
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
b. β, γ, δ before μ, or ν, and usually before λ, make the preceding syllable long by position. Thus, ἁγνός (¯˘)
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. cross141.146
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.146D
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
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.
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.147D
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.148
A vowel standing before another vowel in a Greek word is not necessarily short (as it usually is in classical Latin).148D
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).
ACCENT: GENERAL PRINCIPLES 149
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.150
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.151
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
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.152
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.153
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.154
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
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.)
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.156
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 (
a. The whole vowel receives the acute when the second short unit of a vowel long by nature is accented: Δί_ Δὶί.157
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.158
A word is called
An accent is called
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.162
The position of the accent has to be learned by observation. But the kind of accent is determined by the following rules.162D
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).
The antepenult, if accented, can have the acute only (ἄνθρωπος, βασίλεια
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
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).165
The ultima, if accented and short, has the acute (ποταμός); if accented and long, has either the acute (λελυκώς), or the circumflex (Περικλῆς).166
When the ultima is long, the acute cannot stand on the antepenult, nor the circumflex on the penult. Thus, ἄνθρωπου and δῶρου are impossible.167
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.168
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.169
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
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.
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
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.173
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.174
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.
a. When the preposition follows its case: τούτων πἐρι (for περὶ τούτων)
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
N.—In poetry, πάρα may stand for πάρεισι or πάρειμι; and ἄνα
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.177
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.178
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
The forms of the article beginning with a vowel (ὁ, ἡ, οἱ, αἱ); the prepositions ἐν, εἰς (ἐς), ἐξ (ἐκ); the conjunction εἰ
A proclitic sometimes takes an accent, thus:
a. οὐ at the end of a sentence: φῄς, ἢ οὔ;
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:
d. When the proclitic precedes an enclitic ( cross183 e): ἔν τισι.
Enclitics (from ἐγκλί_νω
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
d. The particles γέ, τέ, τοί, πέρ; the inseparable -δε in ὅδε, τοσόσδε, etc.
N.—Enclitics, when they retain their accent, are called
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,
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.183
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).
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.184
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).185
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
Sometimes an enclitic unites with a preceding word to form a compound (cp. Lat. -que,
a. οἷός τε
An enclitic retains its accent (is orthotone, cp. cross181 N.):
a. When it is emphatic, as in contrasts: ἢ σοὶ ἢ τῷ πατρί σου
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
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 ἕ 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
Herbert Weir Smyth [n.d.], A Greek Grammar for Colleges; Machine readable text [info] [word count] [Smyth].