Re: accents

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Feb 10 1997 - 07:02:58 EST

On 10 Feb 1997 (16:22:04), Andrew Kulikovsky wrote:
> Fellow Greeks,
> Do Greek accents have any semantic meaning or modify the meaning of
> Greek words in any way?

Yes, sometimes they do. As a matter of fact, I recently posted a question
about a passage I had failed to understand because I hadn't paid attention
to the accent - see the thread on Ephesians 3:4 in the current archives,
where you will find Carl saying this:

>Carl Conrad wrote:
>>Here's where the ACCENTS are important, Jonathan. It's: hO\. Unless the
>>article hO is followed by an enclitic (e.g. hO/ GE), it NEVER has an
>>accent; when you see a hO with an accent and there's NO following
>>enclitic, it can only be a relative pronoun, as it is in fact here:

The tricky thing about accents is that you can usually ignore them
safely, but there are a few places where they can be significant.
> I remember someone telling me that accents on the last letter of certain
> pronouns indicate interrogation (or something like that anyway). Is this
> correct?
Yes, interrogatives have the accent:

TI/S: who? what?
TI/: why? what?
PW^S: how?

If you remove the accent, they become indefinite references:

TIS, TI: someone, something.
hOPWS: how as a reference: "this is how you do it..."

I believe that there are also some verb forms which are distinguished by
the accent, but I can't remember which.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
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