Word Stress and Syllables : It is definitely important to stress the stressed syllable in each word - and even to stress in an exaggerated rate when you are just beginning with Greek. You might want to review the Syllable exercise you did back in Orientation Week. Every vowel or diphthong in a Greek word indicates a syllable, and an acute, grave, or circumflex accent mark on that syllable means that the syllable is stressed.
.... ἐ .... δά .... κρυ .... σεν .... ὁ .... Ἰη .... σοῦς.
.... ἐδάκρυσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς.
Series of Vowels and Syllables: When there is a series of vowels and/or dipththongs in Greek, this indicates a series of separable syllables. Each vowel or diphthong is its own syllable! This is something that does not happen often in English, but it is very common in Greek. So don't just try to make all the vowels run together. For example, this word has four syllables, because the diphthong οι is the basis for one syllable, and the α as the basis for another syllable, even though they are right next to each other:
And even though this word is small, it has four distinct syllables!
Rough Breathing: It is very hard to get used to the fact that what we indicate with a letter in English - "h" - is indicated with just the little backwards-apostrophe in Greek. It's really too bad that the Greeks did not feel like breathing was worth a letter, the way we did in English! In any case, it means you need to pay special attention to the words that have the rough breathing mark at the beginning of the word, because that means these words begin with an initial aspiration like the English sound indicated by "h". Here are some examples taken at random from the passages this week:
Postpositives. When you have a postpositive particle, like δὲ, that means it is pronounced together in a phrase with the word BEFORE it, rather than with the word after it. Here is where the phrase break would be in this sentence:
ἰδόντες δὲ ....τὸν ἀστέρα
ἀκούσας δὲ.... ὁ βασιλεὺς
Biblical Greek Online. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. Page last updated: April 9, 2005 8:06 PM