help with accents?

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help with accents?

Post by franzliszt » Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:17 pm

Hello everybody,

I am quite new in learning ancient Greek and I have some questions about the accents. Specifically, I am curious about the accents of the following names of nymphs:

- Κισσεις
- Νυσα
- Ερατω
- Εριφια
- Βρομις
- Πολυμνω

They appear in Fabulae by Hyginus, but I have found their Greek spellings online (without the accents though). I'm not quite sure how to apply the rules of accentuation to the 'personal' names, so if anyone is willing to explain it to me or to write me the accents for the names listed above, I'd be very grateful.

Thank you in advance!

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Re: help with accents?

Post by Damian » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:03 am


This is accented over ultima(last syllable).

The name ends in long vowel(omega) so we have to mark it with acute over ultima. It starts with a vowel different than 'ypsilon' or 'ro' and according to White's book(First Greek Book) this word doesn't belong to any exception so we must mark it over 'Epsilon' with a smooth pneuma/breathing('psily').

Therefore we write : Ἐρατώ

When and if I find correct answers for the rest I will update this post.

'E'(like especially)-'ΡΑ'(like racket)-'TΩΩΩΩΩ'(like toss) and the last syllable should be pronounced for a longer time as we usually do with omega(@ higher pitch due to acute).


I have just found out that nymphs not muses is our case in this topic :mrgreen:

Κο - ρω - νις

Τhis word is accented over the last syllable.

In accordance to White's book, p5, paragraph 24(point 24):
That word ends to 'short' vowel('ι') consequently we mark it with an acute.

Therefore we write: Κορωνίς

"KO"(like a Colt gun) - "ΡΩΩ"(like rotation) - "ΝΙΣ"(like we pronounce the first three letters of Nissan)

Pronunciation of medium syllable for longer time("ΩΩ") / long vowel
Pronunciation of last syllable @high pitch !



It is accented over the penult.

Both vowels short !

In accordance to White's book, p5, paragraph 22(point 22), last sentence :

We write : Νύσα


high pitch@penult


Ε - ρι - φι - α

It is accented over penult so we treat it like Νύσα(previous name).

Furthermore we must use a breathing/pneuma over the first syllable because this word starts with a vowel. On this part we apply exactly the same rule as the first name above(᾿Ερατώ).

We write : ᾿Εριφία

"E"(e-specially) - "ΡΙ"(ri-sk) - "ΦΙ" (Fi-nland) - "A"(A-frica)

high pitch@penult


Τhis word is accented over ultima and the type of vowels are the same as another name above. Thus we apply the same rules as we did for Κορωνίς(above).

We write : Κισσηίς

I think I am right but uncertain of the way we pronounce it.

"ΚΙΣ"(ki-ss) - "ΣΗ"(se-lect) - "IΣ" (p - eace)

"κισεεεεεεεεεεΙς" ("" - How it sounds / I deliberately replaced η with ε for better understanding) [.]

'η' like 'ω' is long vowel thus we have to pronounce it for a longer time.
'η' when pronouncing sounds like epsilon(Ε). Sounds like 'Ae' in Aegean Sea. [.]

high pitch @ultima due to αcute.

Note ****: I will give an ultra extreme example of a long modern greek word for assisting me to explain the names of the last syllables. It might be useful while someone studies pronouncing of the nymphs names above.

Γενική Πτώση Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας

ηλεκτροεγκεφαλογραφήματος ( g. / του / of )
Η - ΛΕΚ - ΤΡΟ - ΕΓ - ΚΕ - ΦΑ - ΛΟ - ΓΡΑ - ΦΗ - ΜΑ - ΤΟΣ
a type of medical test

ΦΗ : antepenult / Προπαραλήγουσα modern G.
ΜΑ : penult / Παραλήγουσα modern G.
ΤΟΣ: ultima / Λήγουσα modern G.

Every word in ancient greek is accented on one of these three last syllables regardless of its length, thus the pitch during pronouncing must be applied on one of those three last syllables respectively.
Last edited by Damian on Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:39 am, edited 40 times in total.

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Re: help with accents?

Post by mwh » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:10 pm

Some of these transliterations must be wrong. Should be Κισσηίς, Βρομία(?, Βρομίη?, Βρομιίς?), Πολυυμνώ (sic). The others: Νῦσα (Νυσία?), Ἐρατώ (as Damian said), Ἐριφία. These are back-formed from Hyginus’ Latin. Many of the names transmitted in Hyginus are superficially corrupt, however.

Whatever their precise form, these nymph names all suggest association with Dionysus: ivy, Nysa, love, kid, roar, song—see Euripides' Bacchae for all of these. The names could come from a poetic catalogue.
Κισσηίς τ’ Ἐρατώ τε καὶ ἡδύλογος Πολυυμνώ
Νῦσά τε καὶ Βρομίη ποδασωκυδρόμος τ’ Ἐριφείη

You writing a wiki or what?

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Re: help with accents?

Post by Damian » Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:17 pm

Couple of relevant paragraphs in regards to accents.

" We owe the idea of visually indicating word accent to Aristophanes of Byzantium(not to be confused with the Athenian comic poet), an altruistic scholar of around 200 BC who wished to help foreigners to pronounce Greek correctly. "


"Accent in classical Greek was one of pitch, not of stress as in English."

'teach yourshelf ancient greek', by Gavin Betts

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