Talk:Greek diacritics

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I've merged in the material from Polytonic Greek orthography including the "attention" template, which can possibly now be removed, unless anyone things that it still needs a lot more work. rossb 23:30, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I've now taken the liberty of removing the "attention" template, not to say that this article is now finished, but I think it's not in too bad shape. rossb 05:47, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Katharevousa and Dhimotiki[edit]

There was some confusion in the existing article between polytonic/monotonic and Katharevousa/Dhimotiki. Both Katharevousa and Dhimotiki were written with polytonic. Also, there was a quick comment on why monotonic was adopted (polytonic too difficult for students), but I don't think it belongs here. If anything, they belong in a History section of the monotonic article, with some reference to the 1982 debates.--Macrakis 16:20, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

consistency issue?[edit]

I see that the perispoméni is used in the comparison of the versions of "the Lord's prayer", but that elsewhere a tilde is used. Any rationale for this? ^^^^ oops! (little joke's late...) Tomer TALK 06:45, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)

It is clumsy to use the polytonic template everywhere, so it is not being used consistently. This means that the same character may be rendered with different fonts in different places. I suppose this could be fixed by using the polytonic template everywhere (which would be horribly ugly and bulky), though I'd rather find a better technical solution. --Macrakis 03:59, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Just to expand on the above, different fonts display the perispoméni in different ways — some as a circumflex, some as a tilde. If no font is specified, some browsers will not display polytonic characters at all, hence the need to specify a font. The approved way of doing this in Wikipedia is to use the Polytonic template, but in the case of the Lord's Prayer it is done by specifying the font directly (converting this to use the template would be possible but tedious because of the layout). The Polytonic template has recently been altered, and now uses a different font to that specified for the Lord's Prayer. Depending on what browser you use, you may see things differently. rossb 04:33, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Changing transliteration of eta from i to e or ē. Discussion? Septentrionalis 16:26, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It all depends on whether you regard it as Ancient or Modern Greek, as you say in the article. And indeed if transliterate as Modern Greek then Bareia should logically be Varia, but this would obscure the etymology for those who don't know Modern Greek. rossb 16:42, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The acute accent (as it appeared over the second 'i' in 'psili') was used to notate the modern pronunciation of the modern word; I think that the Alexandrian nomenclature is 'psilon pneuma', not 'psili'. The article now has 'e' with an acute, which ought to mean the modern 'e' with a stress accent. Perhaps this is a typo for 'e' with a macron? This stuff is always messy... it makes sense to use transliteration using e-macron etc. for classical, and to use transcription using i-acute etc. for modern, but what about contexts like this one where both are relevant?... --Macrakis 16:47, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The discrepancy between the spellings bugged me, so I standardized on Classical transliteration, as most direct. If anyone cares, go ahead and revert. Septentrionalis 23:00, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


Certain computers (it appears to have nothing to do with choice of browser font) show Rho with rough breathing (#8172) as having a smooth breathing; other computers in the same cluster differ. Odd. Septentrionalis 17:40, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Upsilons with smooth breathings[edit]

Someone named "Apollon Zinos" has left the following (perhaps well-meaning)graffito: "I am not aware of the existence of the following polytonic characters ὐ ὔ ὒ ὖ." He's got a point, does he not? Upsilons, like Rhos, never occur with smooth breathing marks in Classical and Koine Greek, correct? (All of this formulated as a question because my Classical Greek is very rusty, and I'm hoping some more proficient users can confirm this).--Jacopone 00:46, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Nevermind--of course, upsilons do occur with smooth breathings when they are the second element of an initial dipthong (e.g. αὐ, εὐ, oὐ). My apologies...Looks in that case like it's the capital upsilons that need to be corrected. Jacopone 05:14, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

And there is the possibility that someone may want to discuss Ionic sometime, which doesn't aspirate at all. This article is as much for typesetters as for Hellenists. Septentrionalis 18:52, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Error in Greek[edit]

I know nothing about Greek, but by simple eye-crossing, I see that the word ὀφελήματα on the right hand side is missing the ι in οφειλήματα on the left hand side. Is this an error? — Omegatron 00:07, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I just look at wikisource and i cut off the i.If it's incorect here think go and fix it at wikisource too.--Pixel ;-) 07:45, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

That's incorrect, it should have the iota. I've corrected wikisource and will make the corrections here too. Vilĉjo (talk) 16:54, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi! In archean greek and in Katharevousa ι is needed. In Dhimotiki only is incorrect. --Vchorozopoulos (talk) 04:04, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Polytonic vs. monotonic Greek in English articles[edit]

(moved from Talk Pages for broader input)

Hi there Hveziris! I was wondering what your view is of the use of polytonic Greek in wikipedia articles. I see you have changed the font or added polytonic Greek to a number of pages related to ancient Greece, but some like Sparta have modern relevance, too. It seems to me that using polytonic for modern Greek usage is anachronistic, since most diacritical marks were made obsolete in the 1980s. What is your view? Argos'Dad 15:35, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi, my view is that for most articles that refer to Greek words polytonic should be used. Obsoletion of marks (including daseia, which translates to a letter "H" in so-called Latin alphabet) along with other educational modernizations led increasingly to the use of atonic system (most notable in Greek media) and other side-effects such as dyslexia to little children or newer generations unable to read even 20th century literature. Major problems are, one can not figure how Ηρακλής without polytonic, for example, gave Heracles and in composite words also where anti-, for example, is used in conjuction with words starting with daseia. Ultimately, a language that can not be developed further was created. Please, bear in mind that, even after 25 years a great percentage of books is published in polytonic and because of the problems created, a small but on-going debate is on about use of polytonic again. Myself, I was instructed not to use any marks one year before high school graduation (in 1982), but still do.User talk:Hveziris
I appreciate your comments and your experience in this, as I am not a native speaker, but what I am getting at is this--should there be a standard for wikipedia use of monotonic and polytonic Greek. I am moving this discussion to the Talk:Polytonic orthography page for others to weigh in.
I guess my thought is that for ancient/Byzantine Greek topics we should use polytonic Greek and for modern Greek (post 1800 CE) we would use monotonic. I recognize that this is unsatisfying, since polytonic Greek was the standard until 1982. However, I would also point out that katharevousa was also the standard until the 1970s? and we don't use katharevousa in articles from that era.
Obviously, this is a small matter as we are editing the ENGLISH not the GREEK wikipedia, but I find the occasional Greek word adds to one's understanding and therefore it warrants some attention and hopefully an agreement on a standard of some sort.Argos'Dad 14:36, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm a native speaker,and hvesiris is very pov.No dyslexia is not acuired like this,you have it or you don't have it.It's like the collor of your hair.I'm not aware of the use of atonic system,it's ither new or marginal.I can read 20th century literature,but i don't because i don't like it."Ultimately, a language that can not be developed further was created" well the move tords an atonic system isn't a development?"a great percentage of books is published in polytonic" realy? can you give a aproximate number? "a small but on-going debate" yes ,very small actully,some peopol are complaning,bur the debate was never reopened.What percentage of 20 year olds are using more then one accent?All this has nothing to do with the use of encient greek words for the etimology,it's like refering to latin.--Pixel ;-) 08:37, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

It is certainly true that some people believe that moving to monotonic was a bad idea. It would be useful to document the debate (without taking POV sides), probably in the Monotonic orthography article.

As for adding the polytonic template to all Greek words in WP, there really isn't much point. The purpose of the template is to force correct display on certain buggy browsers (notably Microsoft IE) and is only needed if polytonic characters are used, which they are not in most cases which have been edited recently.

As for whether Wikipedia should use polytonic or monotonic forms in citing Greek words, it would be nice if it used polytonic everywhere simply because it is easy to derive the monotonic form, whereas given the monotonic form, you cannot determine the polytonic form. On the other hand, the monotonic form is now the official form.... --Macrakis 13:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

My opinion is that for articles having partly or totally to do with ancient Greek or byzantine topics, polytonic should bu used. Otherwise monotonic. I also do not like very much monotonic, but it is for more than 20 years official.--Yannismarou 08:29, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

I think monotonic should be used only for after 1980 greek writings and not for the before ones. The technical issue must be sold as quickly as possoble. Greek chlldren are officialy learning polytonic too from their Grammar School (Gymnasium) and above, (from age 12 to 18). So normaly can read polytonic greek texts too. The most interesting greek literature (archean, byzantine and modern) has also been published translating in Dhimotiki and in monotonic greek. So younger greek chldren can read and understand that literature. In the same time they cannot understand achean and other old greek texts direct from their sourses, even if they knew to read polytonics, because the greek language changed much and many archean words have changed meaning, form, replaced by new or just removed from the today greek language. So, only greek (or others) who learned the archean language totaly by education can realy read and understand those texts. The now able to readed texts in Grammic A and B writing are much more difficult to be understandable too. They used many differend words for the same object and so many of them didn't continue to be used later. So greek language seems to become easier with the time, but even now is one of the most rich one in the world, with more than 5,000,000 word types counted and used in dictionary. --Vchorozopoulos (talk) 04:49, 7 November 2008 (UTC) --Vchorozopoulos (talk) 04:49, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Characters of the Iliad[edit]

I just noticed over in the Iliad article in the /* Major characters */ section that the names of the heroes are written in monotonic - something which strikes me as absurd, but something which I can do nothing about as I do not have the technical expertise to go in and put the polytonic forms in. Anyone willing to help? --5telios 15:02, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Missing table entries[edit]

In the table of renderings of polytonic characters, all the capital letters "with circumflex" are missing. Many other entries are also missing. How come? Is it intentional? —Vivacissamamente 10:03, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Greek polytonic as seen by the 80% of Wikipedia readers[edit]

According to these statistics, 80% of the Internet browsers in use today are Microsoft IE.

Microsoft IE version 6 or earlier does not support Greek polytonic. Effectively, approximately 80% of Browser users and Wikipedia readers cannot see Greek polytonic unless properly tagged with {{polytonic... etc.

Therefore, most Wikipedia readers see the phrase "Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι ουδὲν οἶδα", if not properly tagged (i.e. Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι ουδὲν οἶδα) as:

□ν ο□δα □τι ουδ□ν ο□δα

The solution to properly display Greek polytonic is either to use proper tags in Greek polytonic text or to upgrade to the latest browser version. --Odysses () 08:51, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I think we should use polytonic for all ancient Greek words; that browser problem is very serious, as I know too well.--Aldux 15:31, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
If you have browser problems and you are using Microsoft IE, you might consider upgrading to IE 7. It fully supports Greek polytonic.--Odysses () 17:42, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Even with the use of {{polytonic... it doesn't show polytonics in every case, Why?
  • I saw that in greek WP have solved that problem. Why you don't ask them to tell you how to correct the problem here for all?

--Vchorozopoulos (talk) 02:11, 7 November 2008 (UTC)


I reluctantly added an advocate link to this page that I deleted from Diacritics (Greek alphabet). There are two issues here, one political (the reform was allegedly introduced as a rider to an unrelated bill), the other cultural (the reform disrupts cultural continuity). Both views are POV. If at all, they should be presented in a NPOV fashion.  Andreas  (T) 20:38, 24 November 2006 (UTC)


What's the difference between these if they look the same and are used interchangeably? Also Penn U. defines it otherwise: "In polytonic Greek, tonos is a generic name for any accent mark." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguate: Ionian[edit]

Please link Ionian to its proper article, possibly Ionia or Ionic Greek. Thank you. —Centrxtalk • 04:40, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Vote in Greek parliament[edit]

The introduction of the monotonic system late at night on Jan. 11, 1982 has been contested by some groups of being anti-constitutional on the grounds that it was a rider on a unrelated bill on admission of students to certain types of lyceums[1]. This view is not only POV, but also it does not belong into the description of Greek diacritics because this article is not about politics.  Andreas  (T) 20:23, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Hard to read![edit]

I can't see the difference between rough and smooth breathing! The marks needs to be bigger and clearer.

This needs to be addressed to the Unicode Consortium for the most part. Wikipedia does its best to try and represent the clearest polytonic vowels as possible. Maybe if I type them you can see it; ἁ vs. ἀ. OK I guess that will not help much but if you click here it will bring you to the section which discusses it. Look where it says "The breathings, written on the first syllable of words that start with a vowel ..." IlStudioso 01:55, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
At least as of today (01:23, 13 October 2010 (UTC)) this problem still existed in the lead section of the article. The characters were in the wikitext as Unicode constants:
  • wiki: ( {{Unicode|῾}} ) ''and'' ( {{Unicode|᾿}} )
  • shows: ( ῾ ) and ( ᾿ )
I have replaced those with the Unicode entities
  • wiki: ( ῾ ) and ( ᾿ )
  • shows: ( ῾ ) and ( ᾿ )
which makes the distinction much more visible (at least to me...)
I have also removed the WP standard boldface on the diaeresis (dialytika) in the fourth paragraph, and made it <big>. The trouble there is that the Unicode Greek character sets have no separate representation of this diacritic, and the separate umlaut character (¨, U+00A8) used in this paragraph to present it -- which is probably the only way to do so -- tends to look like a macron (¯, U+00AF) when boldfaced.
  • was: ( ¨ )
  • now: ( ¨ )
-- Thnidu (talk) 01:23, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

Pitch of grave accent[edit]

From Smyth:[2]

155. 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.

This is evidence that the grave accent represented no special pitch (perhaps mid pitch, represented by a macron in IPA?), rather than falling or low pitch as this article says. Does other evidence support the view in the article? Erutuon (talk) 21:32, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

A strange Greek diacritic in Britannica 1911[edit]

I don't really know Greek, but occasionally i proofread articles from Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911 for Wikisource, and then i try, to the best of my ability, to type Greek words.

In the article Philology (not yet completely proofread) i found a strange diacritic, which looks like vrachy, but is placed below the letter. See my comment at s:Talk:1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Philology for more details. I hoped to find the answer to this problem in the article about Greek diacritics in Wikipedia, but i couldn't find it.

I would expect that vrachy, if it is used in any way in Greek writing, would be at least mentioned here.

Of course it is quite possible that the strange sign in Britannica is not vrachy, that the typesetter of Britannica made a mistake and used a sign that doesn't exist, or that the answer is very simple and i badly misunderstand something.

Thanks in advance. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 20:39, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

The diacritic is an inverted breve below, used to indicate a semivowel. Iota with inverted breve below is not a single character in Unicode, but is written by adding a combining diacritic (check the external link above) to iota.
ι̯ represents the Proto-Indo-European y or i̯ (German and Latin j), which disappeared in Greek after causing some interesting sound changes. υ̯ is sometimes used as a replacement for ϝ (digamma), which descended from Proto-Indo-European w or u̯ and also disappeared in Greek early on. — Eru·tuon 17:04, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Order of polytonic characters[edit]

I have proposed a different ordering for the Greek polytonic characters in the insert box below the edit box on the talk page of WikiProject Greece.  --Lambiam 04:36, 19 July 2010 (UTC)


I had reworded the explanation of aspiration to make it less opinionated. But Cassowary perceives it as still implicitly criticizing the traditional terminology and therefore removed it. Because the terminological difference is notable, I intend to restore it, but reword it to make it even more neutral. — Eru·tuon 15:10, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Gereek uncial[edit]

The section on Greek uncial is phrased poorly and I am not sure what it is trying to say. In the history of the latin alphabet, there is a figure (File:Evolution_of_minuscule.svg) with Greek uncial if that is of any help. --Squidonius (talk) 22:21, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Combining character[edit]

re [3] by Vilcxjo: Now it is a mess again for me. I have WinXP and Firefox.

But in general: a combining character needs a character to combine with. That is how it works. So I added a space (nbsp). So I suggest to accept my edit as an improvement, and research your own presentation. -DePiep (talk) 00:38, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

I wasn't responsible for the previous presentation, but it looked just fine - specifically, all the diacritics lined up vertically. Your edit resulted in those which had a nbsp being offset to the right of those which didn't. I'm mystified by your comment, as none of the characters in those tables are defined by Unicode as "combining characters" – they are all spacing characters. Which leads me to suppose that perhaps Firefox is doing the rendering wrongly. Vilĉjo (talk) 22:41, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
You are right. Over at WP:Village pump I discussed and learned. -DePiep (talk) 23:14, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Tones for Names[edit]

Today I noticed that the person who wrote Constantine Phaulkon's name in Greek made a huge spelling mistake. Just as I was about to fix it, I began to question what to do; since he was born before 1982, so I add tone marks to his name, or should I use post 1982 Greek? Is there a rule about this on Wikipedia? Konstantinos (talk) 02:42, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

There is a rule for it: WP:GREEK. The short version is that popular English forms should be provided first; Greek text should be provided; the Greek text should always be glossed; the gloss should use the appropriate format (the scholarly transliteration formats for ancient or modern Greek as appropriate). There are iffy cases and some minor differences between systems (WP:GREEK e.g. unhelpfully cites the ISO and the UN formats interchangably and Wikipedia articles actually more often use the BGN format), but for the most part just choose one and be consistent in the article and you should be fine.
In your case, it's a modern name and there's no difference between names from 1500 or 2000: accent marks and diaereses are included and everything else is left out (in glosses) or everything is left out (article titles).  — LlywelynII 03:51, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Macron and breve[edit]

These are included in the Beta Code and here but there is no explanation for what they're supposed to do. — LlywelynII 03:51, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Circumflex or tilde?[edit]

In the beginning of the article it says: "circumflex ( ῀ )". Clearly, one part of the juxtaposition must be wrong. I don't know which one. (talk) 09:36, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

The tilde began as a variant of the circumflex, and appears in its place in some Greek fonts. The name of the latter is a Latin calque of the Greek περισπωμένη, and is the name preferred by classicists. ΘΕΟΔΩΡΟΣ 13:00, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Computer encoding / diacritics[edit]

There are letters with macron and breve: Ᾱᾱ Ῑῑ Ῡῡ Ᾰᾰ Ῐῐ Ῠῠ. Are there also combinations like macron + acut etc.? -07:47, 13 January 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Regrettably there are no Unicode characters for Greek letters with both macrons and other accents, or breves and other accents. Adding those would approximately triple the number of Greek vowel characters, and they didn't do it. — Eru·tuon 16:05, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Textcritical signs of Aristarchus of Samothrace and other ancient greek writers and Philologists[edit]

Does anyone have the time and knowledge to write something about it? Aristarchus of Samothrace and other ancient greek Philologists and their textcritical signs.

I have found some sources, see:

Brill's Companion to Ancient Greek Scholarship, 2015 (2 Vols.) pp. 549-562 and The ambiguity of signs: critical σημεῖα from Zenodotus to Origen Author: Francesca Schironi

There are also "pictures" of these signs in this book.

Informationskampagne (talk) 14:29, 8 November 2015 (UTC)