Greek diacritics

Greek diacritics

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Greek orthography
Greek orthography
The orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean, was written in Linear B, although there was a lapse of several centuries between the time Mycenaean stopped being...

 has used a variety of diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

s starting in the Hellenistic period
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

. The complex polytonic orthography notates Ancient Greek phonology
Ancient Greek phonology
Ancient Greek phonology is the study of the phonology, or pronunciation, of Ancient Greek. Because of the passage of time, the original pronunciation of Ancient Greek, like that of all ancient languages, can never be known with absolute certainty...

. The simple monotonic orthography, introduced in 1982, corresponds to Modern Greek phonology
Modern Greek phonology
This page presents a sketch of the phonology of Standard Modern Greek.-Consonants:The consonantal system of Greek is difficult to describe, as there is considerable debate about which sounds to describe as separate phonemes and which to analyse as conditional allophones...

, and requires only two diacritics.

Polytonic orthography (πολύς "much", "many", τόνος "accent") is the standard system for Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

. The acute accent
Acute accent
The acute accent is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts.-Apex:An early precursor of the acute accent was the apex, used in Latin inscriptions to mark long vowels.-Greek:...

 (  ), the grave accent
Grave accent
The grave accent is a diacritical mark used in written Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Dutch, French, Greek , Italian, Mohawk, Norwegian, Occitan, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh, Romansh, and other languages.-Greek:The grave accent was first used in the polytonic orthography of Ancient...

 (  ), and the circumflex
Circumflex
The circumflex is a diacritic used in the written forms of many languages, and is also commonly used in various romanization and transcription schemes. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus —a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη...

 (  ) indicate different kinds of pitch accent
Pitch accent
Pitch accent is a linguistic term of convenience for a variety of restricted tone systems that use variations in pitch to give prominence to a syllable or mora within a word. The placement of this tone or the way it is realized can give different meanings to otherwise similar words...

. The rough breathing ( ῾ ) indicates the presence of an h sound before a letter, while the smooth breathing ( ᾿ ) indicates the absence of /h/.

Since in Modern Greek the pitch accent was replaced by a dynamic accent
Stress (linguistics)
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.The stress placed...

, and the /h/ was lost, most polytonic diacritics have no phonetic significance, and merely reveal the underlying Ancient Greek etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

.

Monotonic orthography (μονός "single", τόνος "accent") is the standard system for Modern Greek
Modern Greek
Modern Greek refers to the varieties of the Greek language spoken in the modern era. The beginning of the "modern" period of the language is often symbolically assigned to the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, even though that date marks no clear linguistic boundary and many characteristic...

. It retains only the acute accent (tonos) to indicate stress
Stress (linguistics)
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.The stress placed...

 and the diaeresis ( ¨ ) to indicate a diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

: compare modern Greek παϊδάκια /pajˈðaca/ "lamb chops", with a diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

, and παιδάκια /peˈðaca/ "little children" with a simple vowel
Monophthong
A monophthong is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation....

. Tonos and diaeresis can be combined on a single vowel.

History



The original Greek alphabet did not have any diacritics. The Greek alphabet is attested since the 8th century BC. Until 403 BC, variations of the Greek alphabet—which used capitals exclusively—were used in different cities and areas. From 403 on, the Athenians decided to employ a version of the Ionian
Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

 alphabet. With the spread of Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

, a continuation of the Attic
Attic Greek
Attic Greek is the prestige dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to later Greek, and is the standard form of the language studied in courses of "Ancient Greek". It is sometimes included in Ionic.- Origin and range...

 dialect, the Ionic alphabet superseded more or less quickly the other alphabets, called epichoric. The Ionian alphabet, however, was also made up only of capitals.

Introduction of breathings



The rough and smooth breathings were introduced in classical times in order to represent the presence or absence of an /h/ in Attic Greek
Attic Greek
Attic Greek is the prestige dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to later Greek, and is the standard form of the language studied in courses of "Ancient Greek". It is sometimes included in Ionic.- Origin and range...

, which had adopted a form of the alphabet in which the letter H (eta
ETA
ETA , an acronym for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna is an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization. The group was founded in 1959 and has since evolved from a group promoting traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group with the goal of gaining independence for the Greater Basque Country...

) was no longer available for this purpose as it was used to represent the long vowel /ɛː/.

Introduction of accents


During the Hellenistic period (3rd century BC), Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium was a Greek scholar, critic and grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholarship, but also for work on other classical authors such as Pindar and Hesiod. Born in Byzantium about 257 BC, he soon moved to Alexandria and studied under Zenodotus,...

 introduced the breathings—marks of aspiration (the aspiration however being already noted on certain inscriptions, not by means of diacritics but by regular letters or modified letters) and the accents, of which the use started to spread, to become standard in the Middle Ages. It wasn’t until the 2nd century AD that the accents and breathings appeared sporadically in the papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

es. The need for the diacritics arose from the gradual divergence between spelling and pronunciation.

Uncial script


The majuscule, i.e. a system where text is written entirely in capital letters was used until the 8th century, when the minuscule polytonic supplanted it.

Grave accent rule


By the Byzantine period, the modern rule which turns an acute accent on the last syllable into a grave accent (except before a punctuation sign) had been firmly established. Certain authors have argued that the grave originally denoted the absence of accent; the modern rule is, in their view, a purely orthographic convention. Originally certain proclitic
Clitic
In morphology and syntax, a clitic is a morpheme that is grammatically independent, but phonologically dependent on another word or phrase. It is pronounced like an affix, but works at the phrase level...

 words lost their accent before another word and received the grave, and later this was generalized to all words in the orthography. Others, drawing e.g. on evidence from Ancient Greek music, consider that the grave was "linguistically real" and expressed a word-final modification of the acute pitch.

Stress accent


In the later development of the language, the ancient pitch accent were replaced by an intensity or stress
Stress (linguistics)
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.The stress placed...

 accent, making the three types of accent identical, and the /h/ sound became silent.

Simplification


At the beginning of the 20th century (official since the 1960s), the grave was replaced by the acute, and the iota subscript and the breathings on the rho were abolished, except in printed texts. Greek typewriters from that era did not have keys for the grave accent or the iota subscript, and these diacritics were also not taught in primary schools where instruction was in Demotic.

Official adoption of monotonic system


Following the official adoption of the Demotic form of the language, the monotonic orthography was imposed by law in 1982. The latter uses only the acute accent (or sometimes a vertical bar
Vertical bar
The vertical bar is a character with various uses in mathematics, where it can be used to represent absolute value, among others; in computing and programming and in general typography, as a divider not unlike the interpunct...

 intentionally distinct from any of the traditional accents) and diaeresis and omits the breathings. This simplification has been criticized on the grounds that polytonic orthography provides a cultural link to the past.

Modern use of polytonic system


Some individuals, institutions, and publishers continue to prefer the polytonic system (with or without grave accent), though an official reintroduction of the polytonic system does not seem probable. The Greek Orthodox
Church of Greece
The Church of Greece , part of the wider Greek Orthodox Church, is one of the autocephalous churches which make up the communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 church, for example, continues to use polytonic orthography, and some books and the daily newspaper Estia
Estia
Estia is a national newspaper published daily in Athens, Greece. It is generally considered a broadsheet of a conservative, right-wing political alignment, and an advocate of free-market policies...

 are still published in polytonic, especially those few still written in Katharevousa
Katharevousa
Katharevousa , is a form of the Greek language conceived in the early 19th century as a compromise between Ancient Greek and the Modern Greek of the time, with a vocabulary largely based on ancient forms, but a much-simplified grammar. Originally, it was widely used both for literary and official...

. Though the polytonic system was not used in Classical Greece, these critics argue that modern Greek, as a continuation of Byzantine
Medieval Greek
Medieval Greek, also known as Byzantine Greek, is the stage of the Greek language between the beginning of the Middle Ages around 600 and the Ottoman conquest of the city of Constantinople in 1453. The latter date marked the end of the Middle Ages in Southeast Europe...

 and post-medieval Greek, should continue their writing conventions.

Some textbooks of Ancient Greek for foreigners have retained the breathings, but dropped all the accents in order to simplify the task for the learner.

Description


Polytonic Greek uses many different diacritics in several categories. At the time of Ancient Greek, each of these marked a significant distinction in pronunciation.

Monotonic orthography for Modern Greek uses only the two diacritics, tonos and diaeresis (sometimes used in combination) that have significance in pronunciation. Initial /h/ is no longer pronounced, and so the rough and smooth breathings are no longer necessary. The unique pitch patterns of the three accents have disappeared, and only a stress accent
Stress (linguistics)
In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word, or to certain words in a phrase or sentence. The term is also used for similar patterns of phonetic prominence inside syllables. The word accent is sometimes also used with this sense.The stress placed...

 remains. Iota subscript was a diacritic invented to mark an etymological
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 vowel that was no longer pronounced, so it was dispensed with as well.
acute acute,
diaeresis
diaeresis


The transliteration of the Greek names follows Latin transliteration of Ancient Greek; modern transliteration is different, and does not distinguish many letters and digraphs that have merged by iotacism
Iotacism
Iotacism is the process by which a number of vowels and diphthongs in Ancient Greek converged in pronunciation so that they all sound like iota in Modern Greek....

.

Accents



The accents are placed on an accented vowel or on the last of the two vowels of a diphthong (ά, but αί) and indicated pitch
Pitch accent
Pitch accent is a linguistic term of convenience for a variety of restricted tone systems that use variations in pitch to give prominence to a syllable or mora within a word. The placement of this tone or the way it is realized can give different meanings to otherwise similar words...

 patterns in Ancient Greek. The precise nature of the patterns is not certain, but the general nature of each is known.

The acute accent
Acute accent
The acute accent is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts.-Apex:An early precursor of the acute accent was the apex, used in Latin inscriptions to mark long vowels.-Greek:...

( or "high") — — marked high pitch on a short vowel or rising pitch on a long vowel.

The grave accent
Grave accent
The grave accent is a diacritical mark used in written Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Dutch, French, Greek , Italian, Mohawk, Norwegian, Occitan, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh, Romansh, and other languages.-Greek:The grave accent was first used in the polytonic orthography of Ancient...

( or "low") — — marked normal or low pitch.

The grave was originally written on all unaccented syllables, but now only replaces the acute at the end of a word if another accented word follows immediately without punctuation
Punctuation
Punctuation marks are symbols that indicate the structure and organization of written language, as well as intonation and pauses to be observed when reading aloud.In written English, punctuation is vital to disambiguate the meaning of sentences...

.

The circumflex
Circumflex
The circumflex is a diacritic used in the written forms of many languages, and is also commonly used in various romanization and transcription schemes. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus —a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη...

, sometimes printed in the form of a tilde
Tilde
The tilde is a grapheme with several uses. The name of the character comes from Portuguese and Spanish, from the Latin titulus meaning "title" or "superscription", though the term "tilde" has evolved and now has a different meaning in linguistics....

, macron
Macron
A macron, from the Greek , meaning "long", is a diacritic placed above a vowel . It was originally used to mark a long or heavy syllable in Greco-Roman metrics, but now marks a long vowel...

, or inverted breve
Inverted breve
Inverted breve or arch is a diacritical mark  ̑, shaped like the top half of a circle, that is, like an upside-down breve. It looks similar to the circumflex, but the circumflex has a sharp tip, whilst the inverted breve is rounded: compare  â Ê ê Î î Ô ô Û û with Ȃ ȃ Ȇ ȇ Ȋ ȋ Ȏ ȏ Ȗ ȗ ....

 — — marked high and falling pitch within one syllable. The circumflex was also known as oxýbarys "high-low" or "acute-grave", and its original form (like a caret: ^ ) was from a combining of the acute and grave diacritics. Because of its compound nature, it only appeared on long vowels or diphthongs.

Breathings


The breathings were written over a vowel or r.

The rough breathing ' onMouseout='HidePop("44006")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Latin">Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 spiritus asper), , indicates an /h/ before the vowel in Ancient Greek. In Greek grammar, this is known as aspiration. This is different from aspiration
Aspiration (phonetics)
In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say pin ...

 in phonetics
Phonetics
Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, or—in the case of sign languages—the equivalent aspects of sign. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds or signs : their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory...

, which applies to consonants, not to vowels.

Rho
Rho (letter)
Rho is the 17th letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals, it has a value of 100. It is derived from Semitic resh "head"...

 (Ρρ) at the beginning of a word always takes rough breathing, probably marking unvoiced
Voice (phonetics)
Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics and phonology to characterize speech sounds, with sounds described as either voiceless or voiced. The term, however, is used to refer to two separate concepts. Voicing can refer to the articulatory process in which the vocal cords vibrate...

 pronunciation. In Latin, this was transcribed as rh.

Upsilon
Upsilon
Upsilon is the 20th letter of the Greek alphabet.  In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 400. It is derived from the Phoenician waw. The name of the letter is pronounced in Modern Greek, and in English , , or...

 (Υυ) at the beginning of a word always takes rough breathing. Thus, words from Greek begin with hy-, never with y-.

The smooth breathing — marked the absence of /h/.

A double rho in the middle of a word was originally written with smooth breathing on the first rho and rough breathing on the second one (διάῤῥοια). In Latin, this was transcribed as rrh (diarrhoea or diarrhea).

Coronis


The coronis indicates a vowel contracted by crasis
Crasis
Crasis is a type of contraction in which two vowels or diphthongs merge into one new vowel or diphthong — making one word out of two. Crasis occurs in Portuguese and Arabic as well as in Ancient Greek, where it was first described.-French:...

 where two words have merged into one. It is identical in appearance to a smooth breathing, from which it may be distinguished by the fact that breathings can only occur on vowels at the start of a word.

Subscript


The iota subscript
Iota subscript
Iota subscript in Greek polytonic orthography is a way of writing the letter iota as a small vertical stroke beneath a vowel. It was used in the so-called "long diphthongs" in Ancient Greek, that is, diphthongs the first part of which is a long vowel: and...

— is placed under the long vowels , η
ETA
ETA , an acronym for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna is an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization. The group was founded in 1959 and has since evolved from a group promoting traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group with the goal of gaining independence for the Greater Basque Country...

, and ω
Omega
Omega is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. In the Greek numeric system, it has a value of 800. The word literally means "great O" , as opposed to omicron, which means "little O"...

 to mark the ancient long diphthongs ι, ηι, and ωι, in which the ι is no longer pronounced.

Adscript


Next to a capital, the iota subscript may be written as a lower-case letter (Αι), in which case it is called iota adscript
Iota adscript
In Greek polytonic orthography, the iota adscript is a iota written after a long vowel in a long diphthong, as opposed to below the vowel as a small vertical stroke ....

.

Diaeresis


In Ancient Greek, the diaeresis , , appears on the letters and to show that a pair of vowel letters is pronounced separately, rather than as a diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

.

In Modern Greek, where diphthongs have become monophthongs, the diaeresis marks vowels that are pronounced as a diphthong rather than together as a digraph
Digraph
Digraph may refer to:* Digraph , a pair of characters used together to represent a single sound, such as "sh" in English* Typographical ligature, the joining of two letters as a single glyph, such as "æ"...

 for a single phonetic vowel. 

The diaeresis can be combined with acute, grave and circumflex but never with breathings, since the letter with diaeresis cannot be the first vowel of the word.

Position in letters


The diacritics are written above lower-case letters and at the upper left of capital letters. In the case of a diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

 or a digraph
Digraph (orthography)
A digraph or digram is a pair of characters used to write one phoneme or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined...

, the second vowel takes the diacritics. A breathing diacritic is written to the left of an acute or grave accent but below a circumflex. Accents are written above a diaeresis, or between the two dots in the case of the acute or grave. When a word is written entirely in capital letters, diacritics are never used; the word (or), is an exception to this rule because of the need to distinguish it from the nominative feminine article Η. Diacritics can be found above capital letters in medieval texts. The diaeresis is always written.

Example

The Lord's Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

polytonic monotonic

Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·

ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·

γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς·

τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·

καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,

ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·

καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

Ἀμήν.

Πάτερ ημών ο εν τοις ουρανοίς· αγιασθήτω το όνομά σου·

ελθέτω η βασιλεία σου·

γενηθήτω το θέλημά σου, ως εν ουρανώ, και επί της γης·

τον άρτον ημών τον επιούσιον δος ημίν σήμερον·

και άφες ημίν τα οφειλήματα ημών,

ως και ημείς αφίεμεν τοις οφειλέταις ημών·

και μη εισενέγκης ημάς εις πειρασμόν, αλλά ρύσαι ημάς από του πονηρού.

Αμήν.

Computer encoding


There have been problems in representing polytonic Greek on computers, and in displaying polytonic Greek on computer screens and printouts, but these have largely been overcome by the advent of Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 and appropriate font
Font
In typography, a font is traditionally defined as a quantity of sorts composing a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface...

s.

Unicode


While the tónos of monotonic orthography looks similar to the oxeîa of polytonic orthography in most fonts, Unicode has historically had separate symbols for letters with these diacritics. For example, the monotonic "Greek small letter alpha with tónos" is at U+03AC, while the polytonic "Greek small letter alpha with oxeîa" is at U+1F71. The monotonic and polytonic accent however have been de jure equivalent since 1986, and accordingly the oxeîa diacritic in Unicode decomposes canonically to the monotonic tónos — both are underlyingly treated as equivalent to the Latin acute accent, U+0301.

Below are the accented characters provided in Unicode. In the uppercase letters, the iota adscript may appear as subscript depending on font.

Upper case

breathing,
etc.
accent vowel rho
adscript
  Α Ε Η Ι Ο Υ Ω Ρ
acute ´ Ά Έ Ή Ί Ό Ύ Ώ        
grave
Grave accent
The grave accent is a diacritical mark used in written Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Dutch, French, Greek , Italian, Mohawk, Norwegian, Occitan, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh, Romansh, and other languages.-Greek:The grave accent was first used in the polytonic orthography of Ancient...

`        
smooth  ᾿  
acute  ῎  
grave  ῍  
circumflex  ῏  
rough  ῾
acute  ῞  
grave  ῝  
circumflex  ῟ Ἷ  
diaeresis ¨ Ϊ Ϋ
macron  ˉ
breve  ˘

Lower case

breathing,
etc.
accent vowels rho
subscript
α ε η ι ο υ ω ρ
acute ´ ά έ ή ί ό ύ ώ  
grave `  
circumflex  ῀      
smooth  ᾿
acute  ῎  
grave  ῍  
circumflex  ῏      
rough  ῾
acute  ῞  
grave  ῝  
circumflex  ῟      
diaeresis ¨ ϊ ϋ
acute  ΅ ΐ ΰ
grave  ῭
circumflex  ῁
macron  ˉ
breve  ˘

See also

  • Diacritic
    Diacritic
    A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

    • Pitch accent
      Pitch accent
      Pitch accent is a linguistic term of convenience for a variety of restricted tone systems that use variations in pitch to give prominence to a syllable or mora within a word. The placement of this tone or the way it is realized can give different meanings to otherwise similar words...

      • Acute accent
        Acute accent
        The acute accent is a diacritic used in many modern written languages with alphabets based on the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts.-Apex:An early precursor of the acute accent was the apex, used in Latin inscriptions to mark long vowels.-Greek:...

      • Grave accent
        Grave accent
        The grave accent is a diacritical mark used in written Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Dutch, French, Greek , Italian, Mohawk, Norwegian, Occitan, Portuguese, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh, Romansh, and other languages.-Greek:The grave accent was first used in the polytonic orthography of Ancient...

      • Circumflex
        Circumflex
        The circumflex is a diacritic used in the written forms of many languages, and is also commonly used in various romanization and transcription schemes. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus —a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη...

        • Tilde
          Tilde
          The tilde is a grapheme with several uses. The name of the character comes from Portuguese and Spanish, from the Latin titulus meaning "title" or "superscription", though the term "tilde" has evolved and now has a different meaning in linguistics....

    • Voiceless glottal fricative
      Voiceless glottal fricative
      The voiceless glottal transition, commonly called a "fricative", is a type of sound used in some spoken languages which patterns like a fricative or approximant consonant phonologically, but often lacks the usual phonetic characteristics of a consonant...

      • Rough breathing
      • Smooth breathing
    • Iota
      Iota
      Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 10. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Yodh . Letters that arose from this letter include the Roman I and J and the Cyrillic І , Yi , Je , and iotified letters .Iota represents...

      • Iota adscript
        Iota adscript
        In Greek polytonic orthography, the iota adscript is a iota written after a long vowel in a long diphthong, as opposed to below the vowel as a small vertical stroke ....

      • Iota subscript
        Iota subscript
        Iota subscript in Greek polytonic orthography is a way of writing the letter iota as a small vertical stroke beneath a vowel. It was used in the so-called "long diphthongs" in Ancient Greek, that is, diphthongs the first part of which is a long vowel: and...

    • Diaeresis
      Diaeresis
      Diaeresis or dieresis may refer to:* Diaeresis , pronunciation of vowels in a diphthong separately, or the division made in a line of poetry when the end of a foot coincides with the end of a word...

       — Synaeresis
      Synaeresis
      In linguistics, synaeresis or syneresis is a sound change by which two vowels are pronounced together rather than separately...

      • Umlaut (diacritic)
        Umlaut (diacritic)
        The diaeresis and the umlaut are diacritics that consist of two dots placed over a letter, most commonly a vowel. When that letter is an i or a j, the diacritic replaces the tittle: ï....


  • Greek language
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

    • Ancient Greek phonology
      Ancient Greek phonology
      Ancient Greek phonology is the study of the phonology, or pronunciation, of Ancient Greek. Because of the passage of time, the original pronunciation of Ancient Greek, like that of all ancient languages, can never be known with absolute certainty...

    • Koine Greek phonology
      Koine Greek phonology
      Koine Greek is phonologically a transition period: at the start of the period, the language was generally virtually identical to Classical Ancient Greek, whereas in the end the language had phonologically a lot more in common with Modern Greek than Ancient Greek....

    • Modern Greek phonology
      Modern Greek phonology
      This page presents a sketch of the phonology of Standard Modern Greek.-Consonants:The consonantal system of Greek is difficult to describe, as there is considerable debate about which sounds to describe as separate phonemes and which to analyse as conditional allophones...


  • Greek orthography
    Greek orthography
    The orthography of the Greek language ultimately has its roots in the adoption of the Greek alphabet in the 9th century BC. Some time prior to that, one early form of Greek, Mycenaean, was written in Linear B, although there was a lapse of several centuries between the time Mycenaean stopped being...

    • Greek alphabet
      Greek alphabet
      The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

      • Greek language question
        Greek language question
        The Greek language question was a dispute discussing the question whether the language of the Greek people or a cultivated imitation of Ancient Greek should be the official language of the Greek nation. It was a highly controversial topic in the 19th and 20th centuries and was finally resolved...

        • Katharevousa
          Katharevousa
          Katharevousa , is a form of the Greek language conceived in the early 19th century as a compromise between Ancient Greek and the Modern Greek of the time, with a vocabulary largely based on ancient forms, but a much-simplified grammar. Originally, it was widely used both for literary and official...

        • Demotic Greek
      • Minuscule

Further reading

Panayotakis is critical of the adoption of monotonic, and also provides a useful historical sketch.

External links


General information:

Polytonic Greek fonts:
  • http://www.greekfontsociety.gr/pages/en_typefaces20th.htmlGreek Font Society public domain
    Public domain
    Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

     polytonic fonts]
  • Public domain Greek polytonic unicode fonts
  • Gentium — a typeface for the nations, open
    SIL Open Font License
    The SIL Open Font License is a free and open source license designed for fonts by SIL International for use with some of their Unicode fonts. The license is considered free by the Free Software Foundation, which states that a simple hello world program is enough to satisfy the license's requirement...

     font supporting polytonic Greek
  • Athena, public domain
    Public domain
    Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

    polytonic Greek font