9. The Greek accents indicated in ancient times not stress (what we call accent), but musical pitch. But since it is impossible for us to reproduce the original pronunciation, the best we can do is to place the stress of the voice upon the syllable where the accent occurs, and give up any distinction in pronunciation between the acute, the circumflex and the grave. Having adopted this method of pronunciation, we should adhere to it rigidly; for unless some one method is adhered to, the language can never be fixed in the memory. It is also important to learn to write the accents correctly, since the accents serve to distinguish various forms from one another and are therefore a great help and not a hindrance in the learning of the language.
10. Preliminary Definitions
The last syllable of a word is called the ultima; the one before that, the penult; and the one before that, the antepenult.
Thus, in the word lambnomen, the ultima is -men, the penult is -no-, and the antepenult is -ba-.
Syllables containing a long vowel or a diphthong are long. But final ai and oi (that is, ai and oi coming at the very end of a word) are considered short so far as accent is concerned.
Thus the last syllable of nqrðpouv is long because it contains the diphthong ou; the last syllable of nqrwpoi is short because the oi is here final oi; the last syllable of nqrðpouv is long because here the oi has a letter after it and so, not being final oi, is long like any other diphthong.
It will be remembered that
e and o
are always short, and
always long. The quantity (long or short) of
11. General Rules of Accent
1. The acute ( ' ) can stand only on one of the last three syllables of a word; the circumflex ( ^ ) only on one of the last two; and the grave ( ` ) only on the last.
Examples: This rule would be violated by postolov, for here the accent would stand on the fourth syllable from the end. It would also be violated by pisteÂomen , for here the circumflex would stand on the third syllable from the end.
2. The circumflex accent cannot stand on a short syllable.
3. If the ultima is long,
(a) the antepenult cannot be accented,
(b) the penult, if it is accented at all, must have the acute.
Examples: Rule 3a would be violated by pçstolû or pçstolou, because in these cases the ultima is long; but it is not violated by pçstole or pçstoloi, because here the ultima is short. Rule 3b would be violated by doÂlou or doÂlwn, but is not violated by doÂlov or doÂloi.
4. If the ultima is short, a long penult, if it is accented at all, must have the circumflex.
Examples: This rule would be violated by doÇle or doÇloi; but it is not violated by doÇlou, because here the ultima is not short, or by u³çv, because here, although a long penult comes before a short ultima, the penult is not accented at all. The rule does not say that a long penult before a short ultima must have the circumflex, but only that if it is accented at all it must have the circumflex rather than some other kind of accent.
5. A long ultima can have either the acute or the circumflex.
Examples: delfoÂ and delfoÀ both conform to the general rules of accent. Further observation, based on other considerations, is necessary in order to tell which is right.
6. An acute accent on the last syllable of a word is changed to the grave when followed, without intervening mark of punctuation, by other words in a sentence.
Examples: delfçv is right where delfçv stands alone; but delfçv postçlou violates the rule-it should be delfèv postçlou.
12. It should be observed that these general rules of accent do not tell what the accenting of any individual word is to be; they only tell what it cannot be. In other words, they merely fix certain limits within which the accenting of Greek words must remain. What the accent actually is, within these limits, can be determined in part by the special rules which follow, but in very many cases must be learned by observation of the individual words. Thus if we have a form luomenou to accent, the general rules would permit luomenoÀ or luomenoÂ or luomnou any other way of accenting would violate the general rules. But which of the three possibilities is actually to be chosen is a matter for further observation. Or if we have a form proswpon to accent, the general rules would permit prçswpon, prosòpon or proswpçn.
There are two special rules which help to fix the accent of many words more closely than it is fixed by the general rules. They are as follows:
13. Rule of Verb Accent
Verbs have recessive accent.
Explanation: The rule means that, in verbs, the accent
goes back as far as the general rules of accent will permit.
This rule definitely fixes the accent of any verb form; it is
not necessary to know what verb the form is derived from
Examples: Suppose a verb form ginðskou to be accented. In accordance with the rule of verb accent, the accent is trying to get as far back as the general rules of accent will permit. But ginwskou would violate Rule 1; and, since the ultima is long, g°nwskou would violate Rule 3a. Therefore the penult must be accented. But ginòskou would violate Rule 3b. Therefore ginðskou correct. On the other hand, if a verb form ginwske is to be accented, although ginwske is forbidden by Rule 1, g°nwske is permitted; and since verbs have recessive accent, that accenting, g°nwske correct, and ginòske or ginwsk would be wrong. If the verb has only two syllables, Rule 4 often comes into play. Thus if the verb form swze to be accented, the rule of recessive verb accent decrees that the former of the two syllables shall be accented. But Rule 4 decrees that the accent shall be not sðze but sòze
14. Rule of Norm Accent
In nouns, the accent remains on the same syllable as in the nominative singular, so nearly as the general rules of accent will permit.
Explanation: This rule differs from the rule of verb accent in that it does not of itself fix the accent of noun forms. The accent on the nominative singular (the form given in the vocabularies) must be learned by observation for every noun separately, just as the spelling of the word must be learned. So much is merely a part of the learning of the vocabularies. But when once the accent on the
(1) If there be a noun logov, neither the general rules of accent in §11 nor the rule of noun accent will determine whether the accent is lçgov or logçv But once it has been determined that the accent is lçgov then the accent on the other forms of the noun can be determined. The other forms, without the accent, are logou, logû, logon, loge,logoi, logwn, logoiv, logouv On every one of these forms the acute will stand on the penult; since (a) the rule of noun accent decrees that the accent remains there if the general rules of accent permit, and since (b) the general rules of accent never forbid the accent to be placed on a penult, and since (c) Rule 2 decrees that only an acute accent can stand on a short syllable.
(2) In the case of a noun oºkov its various forms being after the analogy of lçgov above, (a) and (b) of the considerations mentioned above with regard to lçgov still hold. But (c) does not hold, since here the penult is not short but long. In this case, Rules 3b and 4 will determine when the accent is acute and when it is circumflex; when the ultima is long, the accent (on the penult) will be acute, and when the ultima is short, the accent (on the penult) will be circumflex. Thus oºkov, o¹kou, oºkû, oºkon. oºke, oºkoi, o¹kwn, o¹koiv,o¹kouv .
(3) In the case of a noun nqrwpov the accent is trying in every other form to get back to the antepenult, in accordance with the rule of noun accent, since it is the antepenult which is accented in the nominative singular. But where the ultima is long, the accent cannot get back to the antepenult, since that would violate Rule 3a. The nearest syllable to the antepenult which it can reach in these cases is the penult. The rule of noun accent decrees that that
nearest syllable is the one upon which the accent must stand. But since the ultima is long in these cases, Rule 3b decrees that the accent (upon the penult) shall be an acute not a circumflex. Thus nqrwpov, nqrðpou, nqrðpû, nqrwpon, nqrwpe, nqrwpoi, nqrðpwn, nqrðpoiv, nqrðpouv.
(4) In the case of a noun édçv the accent will stand in every form upon the ultima, since the general rules of accent never prevent the accent from standing on an ultima. If the ultima is short the accent must of course be acute: But if the ultima is long, the accent, so far as the general rules are concerned, can be either acute or circumflex. In these eases, therefore, the rules so far given will not determine which accent is to be used. Thus édçv, édçn, éd, édo°, But whether édoÀ, édü, édðn, édo°v, édoÀv, or édoÂ, édþ, édòn, édo²v, édoÂv are correct must be left for future determination. The decision is part of the learning of the declension of this particular class of nouns.
(In all written exercises, the breathing and accents should be put in immediately after each word has been written just as the i's are dotted and the t's crossed in English. It is just as wrong to wait until the end of a whole paradigm or a whole sentence to add the breathings and accents as it would be to wait similarly in English before one crosses the t's.)
I. Write the following verb forms with the accent, and then pronounce them:
luomen, luomjn, lusw.
luou, lue, lusamjn
3. didaske, didaskontai, didaskomeqa (the final a is short).
4. lue (the u here, as in all these forms beginning with lu is long), luou, luousi (the final i is short). 5. lusai, lusw, luete
II. Accent the following forms of the nouns whose nominative singular is (1) pçstolov, (2) kðmj, (3) plo²on :
1. postoloiv, postolouv, postolou,postoloi, postolû. 2. kwmaiv, kwmai, kwmav ( a long), kwmÛ. 3. ploia (final a short), ploiwn, ploioiv, ploiou, ploiû, ploion.
III. Are the following words accented correctly, so far as the general rules of accent are concerned? If not, tell in each case what rule (or rules) has been violated. Then accent each of the words in all the ways which the general rules of accent would permit.
1. didomen, ørai, prçfjtaiv. 2. dçxÛ, ¿jmou, oÊranon. 3. rjmov, boula°, lÁe.
[Note: The student should apply the principles of accent in the study of all subsequent lemma, observing how the rules are followed, and never passing by the accenting of any word in the paradigms or exercises until it is thoroughly understood. In this way, correct accenting will soon become second nature, and the various logical steps by which it is arrived at will no longer need to be consciously formulated.]