Re: rendering greek letters and accents

On Wed, 30 Nov 1994 CheeseyDog@aol.com wrote:

> I have been on this list now for several weeks, and I'm still trying to
> figure out how to render the Greek alphabet.  Are there accepted rules?  I've
> noticed that omega is rendered with a "w", presumably because of the
> similarity in appearance, but this does not seem to be the rule of thumb.
>  For example, sometimes "h" stands for a rough breathing mark (houtos), while
> at other times I have seen it used as an eta (kainh).  Another example:
>  theos OR Qeos?  Is everybody winging it, or are there guidelines?

You have rightly observed that there isn't any CONSISTENT approach to 
this matter. There is, to be sure, a standard called "TLG Beta Code" 
which involves using open- and close-parentheses for smooth and rough 
breathings, left- and right- slash-marks for acute and grave accents 
(before the vowel in question), a standard correspondence list for the 
alphabetic characters, etc. Occasionally we post that system on this 
list, but it is readily available at the TLG gopher site, the e-address 
of which escapes me, but I suspect Ted Brunner will post that when he 
sees your message or my reply. The easy thing that many do is to use 
lower-case corresponding characters for all of the Greek alphabetic 
characters but an upper-case O and E for omega and eta. I'm not 
consistent myself, but I tend to use an "w" for omega and "h" for eta 
EXCEPT when I've got a word with both an eta and a rough-breathing in it, 
such as hEmeis = "we"; still other conventions are used by some: 
depending on what they type in their Greek font software to get a 
character, they'll use the keyboard equivalently, whereby J = Xi in my 
own GreekKeys Mac software, but final-sigma (I believe) in some others. 
Although we are idiosyncratic and inconsistent, I don't think it happens 
very often that it is unclear which correspondences are intended.

I greet you personally out there in west St. L. County! 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com