Greek/Transliteration/Marking Accents

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This page contains additional rules for transliterating the accents on Greek; it should only be used when requested in the Project Comments.

They apply in addition to the normal rules for transliterating Greek.

The rationale for doing this is that we want the accents to appear in the post-processed version, and it's a lot of work for the post-processor to add them all!

Basic system

Add a symbol resembling the accent just before the letter if it's above, or just after if it's below. (Like our normal diacritical mark system, but without adding [] as well.)

This picture contains the normal accents and other marks:

Greek accents.png

From left to right:

  • ha : Rough breathing (as standard).
  • )a : Smooth breathing. Place the ) wherever you'd put the h if it was a rough breathing.
  • \a : Grave accent
  • /a: Acute accent
  • a|: Iota under the letter (called "iota subscript".)
  • ^a: Circumflex accent
  • ^a: Circumflex accent (again): ~ is just a different way of representing the same thing used in some fonts.
  • "a: Diaresis (= pronounce this as a separate vowel, not a diphthong). Rare

If you find anything else, please mark it up using the normal diacritic rules, so iota + macron becomes [=i], for instance.

If you need to put both a breathing and an accent at the start of a word, the breathing goes first.


  • Accents only occur on vowels
  • A word starting with a vowel will have a breathing mark on the first letter (or the second if it starts with two vowels). Very occasionally you will find a breathing mark in the middle of a word.
  • Most words have exactly one accent (\, /, ^, ~). Some short words don't have one. A long word can sometimes have two (by stealing the accent from the following word).

Special cases

(All rare, but for reference in case one comes up and you want to know what to do. Getting things in the wrong order won't cause anything to break and the scripts should handle them anyway.)

If you have two or more accents needing to go in the same place, please put them in the order listed above. So iota with acute accent and diaeresis is /"i. Omicron with a macron and grave accent is \[=o]. (Note: the breathing and accent rule above is a particular case of this, the only remotely common one.)


(Deliberately chosen to show a couple of the harder cases.)


t^ô| )Iouda"ism^ô| )ap\o m/erous.


h/olôn The/on, )ouk )aut\on d\e )e^inai to^u k/osmou

(Note the oddity in )e^inai: the breathing mark on the iota goes to the front of the word, but the accent on the same letter stays put.)