9. The Greek accents indicated in ancient times not stress (what we call accent), but musical pitch. But since it is impossible for us to reproduce the original pronunciation, the best we can do is to place the stress of the voice upon the syllable where the accent occurs, and give up any distinction in pronunciation between the acute, the circumflex and the grave. Having adopted this method of pronunciation, we should adhere to it rigidly; for unless some one method is adhered to, the language can never be fixed in the memory. It is also important to learn to write the accents correctly, since the accents serve to distinguish various forms from one another and are therefore a great help and not a hindrance in the learning of the language.
The last syllable of a word is called the ultima; the one before that, the penult; and the one before that, the antepenult.
Thus, in the word λαμβάνομεν, the ultinia is -μεν, the penult is -νο-, and the antepenult is -βα-.
Syllables containing a long vowel or a diphthong are long. But final αι and οι (that is, αι and οι coming at the very end of a word) are considered short so far as accent is concerned.
Thus the last syllable of ἀνθρώπους is long because it contains the diphthong ου; the last syllable of ἄνθρωποι is short because the οι is here final οι; the last syllable of ἀνθρώποις is long because here the οι has a letter after it and so, not being final οι, is long like any other diphthong.
It will be remembered that ε and ο are always short, and η and ω always long. The quantity (long or short) of α, ι, and υ, must be learned by observation in the individual cases.
(1) The acute (´) can stand only on one of the last three syllables of a word; the circumflex (῀) only on one of the last two; and the grave (`) only on the last.
Examples: This rule would be violated by ἄποστολος, for here the accent would stand on the fourth syllable from the end. It would also be violated by πιστεῦομεν, for here the circumflex would stand on the third syllable from the end.
(2) The circumflex accent cannot stand on a short syllable.
(3) If the ultima is long,
(a) the antepenult cannot be accented,
(b) the penult, if it is accented at all, must have the acute.
Rule( 3)(a) would be violated by ἀπόστολῳ, or ἀπόστολου, because in these cases the ultima is long; but it is not violated by ἀπόστολε or ἀπόστολοι, because here the ultima is short.
Rule (3)(b) would be violated by δοῦλου or δοῦλων, but is not violated by δοῦλος or δοῦλοι.
(4) If the ultima is short, a long penult, if it is accented at all, must have the circumflex.
Examples: This rule would be violated by δούλε or δούλοι; but it is not violated by δούλου, because here the ultima is not short, or by υἱός, because here, although a long penult comes before a short ultima, the penult is not accented at all. The rule does not say that a long penult before a short ultima must have the circumflex, but only that if it is accented at all it must have the circumflex rather than some other kind of accent.
(5) A long ultima can have either the acute or the circumflex.
Examples: ἀδελφοῦ and ἀδελφού both conform to the general rules of accent. Further observation, based on other considerations, is necessary in order to tell which is right.
(6) An acute accent on the last syllable of a word is changed to the grave when followed, without intervening mark of punctuation, by other words in a sentence.
Examples: ἀδελφός is right where ἀδελφός stands alone; but ἀδελφός ἀποστόλου violates the rule — it should be ἀδελφὸς ἀποστόλου.
12. It should be observed that these general rules of accent do not tell what the accenting of any individual word is to be; they only tell what it cannot be. In other words, they merely fix certain limits within which the accenting of Greek words must remain. What the accent actually is, within these limits, can be determined in part by the special rules which follow, but in very many cases must be learned by observation of the individual words. Thus if we have a form λυομενου to accent, the general rules would permit λυομενού, λουομενοῦ or λουμένου. Αny other way of accenting would violate the general rules. But which of the three possibilities is actually to be chosen is a matter for further observation. Or if we have a form προσωπον to accent, the general rules would permit πρόσωπον, or προσωπόν.
There are two special rules which help to fix the accent of many words more closely than it is fixed by the general rules. They are as follows:
Verbs have recessive accent.
Explanation: The rule means that, in verbs, the accent goes back as far as the general rules of accent will permit. This rule definitely fixes the accent of any verb form; it is not necessary to know what verb the form is derived from or to have any other information whatever. Knowing that it is a verb form, one needs only to look at the ultima. If the ultima is short, an acute must be placed on the antepenult (supposing the word to have as many as three syllables); if the ultima is long, an acute must be placed on the penult.
Suppose a verb form ἐγινωσκου is to be accented. In accordance with the rule of verb accent, the accent is trying to get as far back as the general rules of accent will permit. But ἔγινωσκου would violate Rule 1; and, since the ultima is long, ἐγίνωσκου would violate Rule 3a. Therefore the penult must be accented. But ἐγινῶσκου would violate Rule 3b. Therefore ἐγινώσκου is correct. On the other hand, if a verb form ἐγινωσκε is to be accented, although ἔγινωσκε is forbidden by Rule 1, ἐγίνωσκε is permitted; and since verbs have recessive accent, that accenting, ἐγίνωσκε, is correct, and ἐγινῶσκε or ἐγινωσκέ would be wrong.
If the verb has only two, syllables, Rule 4 often comes into play. Thus if the verb form σωζε is to be accented, the rule of recessive verb accent decrees that the former of the two syllables shall be accented. But Rule 4 decrees that the accent shall be not σώζε but σῶζε.
In nouns, the accent remains on the same syllable as in the nominative singular, so nearly as the general rules of accent will permit.
Explanation: This rule differs from the rule of verb accent in that it does not of itself fix the accent of noun forms. The accent on the nominative singular (the form given in the vocabularies) must be learned by observation for every noun separately, just as the spelling of the word must be learned. So much is merely a part of the learning of the vocabularies. But when once the accent on the nominative singular has been given, the accent on the other forms of the noun is fixed by the rule.
(1) If there be a noun λογος, neither the general rules of accent in §11 nor the rule of noun accent will determine whether the accent is λόγος or λογός. But once it has been determined that the accent is λόγος, then the accent on the other forms of the noun can be determined. The other forms, without the accent, are λογου, λογῳ, λογον, λογε, λογοι, λογων, λογοις, λογους. On every one of these forms the acute will stand on the penult, since (a) the rule of noun accent decrees that the accent remains there if the general rules of accent permit, and since (b) the general rules of accent never forbid the accent to be placed on a penult, and since (c) Rule 2 decrees that only an acute accent can stand on a short syllable.
(2) In the case of a noun οἶκος, its various forms being after the analogy of λόγος above, (a) and (b) of the considerations mentioned above with regard to λόγος still hold. But (c) does not hold, since here the penult is not short but long. In this case, Rules 3b and 4 will determine when the accent is acute and when it is circumflex; when the ultima is long, the accent (on the penult) will be acute, and when the ultima is short, the accent (on the penult) will be circumflex. Thus οἶκος, οἴκου, οἴκῳ, οἶκον, οἶκε, οἶκοι, οἴκων, οἴκοις, οἴκους.
(3) In the case of a noun ἄνθρωπος the accent is trying in every other form to get back to the antepenult, in accordance with the rule of noun accent, since it is the antepenult which is accented in the nominative singular. But where the ultima is long, the accent cannot get back to the antepenult, since that would violate Rule 3a. The nearest syllable to the antepenult which it can reach in these cases is the penult. The rule of noun accent decrees that that nearest syllable is the one upon which the accent must stand. But since the ultima is long in these cases, Rule 3b decrees that the accent (upon the penult) shall be an acute not a circumflex. Thus ἄνθρωπος, ἀνθρώπου, ἀνθρώπῳ, ἄνθρωπον, ἄνθρωπε, ἄνθρωποι, ἀνθρώπων, ἀνθρώποις, ἀνθρώπους.
(4) In the case of a noun ὁδός, the accent will stand in every form upon the ultima, since the general rules of accent never prevent the accent from standing on an ultima. If the ultima is short the accent must of course be acute. But if the ultima is long, the accent, so far as the general rules are concerned, can be either acute or circumflex. In these cases, therefore, the rules so far given will not determine which accent is to be used. Thus ὁδός, ὁδόν, ὁδέ, ὁδοί. But whether ὁδού, ὁδῴ, ὁδών, ὁδοίς, ὁδούς, or ὁδοῦ, ὁδῷ, ὁσῶν, ὁδοῖς, ὁδοῦς are correct must be left for future determination. The decision is part of the learning of the declension of this particular class of nouns.
(In all written exercises, the breathings and accents should be put in immediately after each word has been written just as the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed in English. It is just as wrong to wait until the end of a whole paradigm or a whole sentence to add the breathings and accents as it would be to wait similarly in English before one crosses the t’s).
I. Write the following verb forms with the accent, and then pronounce them:
1. ἐλυομεν, ἐλυομην, ἐλυσω.
2. ἐλυου, ἐλυε, ἐλυσαμην.
3. διδασκε, διδασκονται, διδασκομεθα (the final α is short).
4. λυε (the υ here, as in all these forms beginning with λυ, is long), λυου, λυουσι (the final ι is short).
5. λυσαι, λυσω, λυετε.
II. Accent the following forms of the nouns whose nominative singular is (1) ἀπόστολος, (2) κώμη, (3) πλοῖον:
1. ἀποστολοις, ἀποστολους, ἀποστολου, ἀποστολοι, ἀποστολῳ.
2. κωμαις, κωμαι, κωμας (α long), κωμῃ.
3. πλοῖα (final α short), πλοιων, πλοιοις, πλοιου, πλοιῳ, πλοιον.
III. Are the following words accented correctly, so far as the general rules of accent, are concerned? If not, tell in each case what rule (or rules) has been violated. Then accent each of the words in all the ways which the general rules of accent would permit.
1. ἔδιδομεν, ὥραι, πρόφηταις.
2. δόξῃ, ἐρῆμου, οὖρανόν.
3. ἔρημος, βουλαί, λύε.
[Note: The student should apply the principles of accent in the study of all subsequent lessons, observing how the rules are followed, and never passing by the accenting of any word in the paradigms or exercises until it is thoroughly understood. In this way, correct accenting will soon become second nature, and the various logical steps by which it is arrived at will no longer need to be consciously formulated.]
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