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Hypodiastole. Note the difference from comma.

The hypodiastole (Greekὑποδιαστολή, hypodiastolḗ, lit. "lower separation [mark]"), also known as a diastole,[1] was an interpunct developed in late classical and Byzantine Greek texts before the separation of words by spaces was commonplace. In the scripta continua then used, a group of letters might have separate meanings as a single word or as a pair of words. The papyrological hyphen (enotikon) showed a group of letters should be read together as a single word, while the hypodiastole showed that they should be taken separately. Compare "ἐστὶ,νοῦς" ("it is a mind") to "ἐστὶν,οὖς" ("it is an ear"), and "ὅ,τι" ("whatever") to "ὅτι" ("...that...").[2]

The hypodiastole was similar in appearance to the Greek comma and was eventually entirely conflated with it: in Modern Greek, the term ypodiastolī́ υποδιαστολή) refers to the comma in its role as a decimal point and words such as ό,τι are written with standard commas. A separate Unicode point—ISO/IEC 10646 standard (U+2E12) (⸒)—exists for the hypodiastole but is only intended for reproductions of its historical occurrence in Greek texts.[2]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "diastole, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1895.
  2. ^ a b Nicolas, Nick. "Greek Unicode Issues: Punctuation Archived November 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.". 2005. Accessed 7 Oct 2014.

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