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1) Accents: In Koine Greek, there are 3 accent marks (acute, grace & circumflex).
For each of these accent marks, there are at least 3 general rules of use (the acute
accent has 4 rules) and 10 altogether. Though it is not imperative to learn the
accent marks and their rules, it is certainly useful. If you want to read Greek out
loud while teaching or preaching or presenting a paper is one reason. Another
reason is to distinguish between the proper meanings of words. For example, here
are some words where the accent (or lack thereof) entirely changes the meaning:
Notice the 3 types accent marks in this portion of Mk. 1.8 (can you name them?):
Here are some tips for remembering the accent marks and their rules:
• Acute = /
o The word acute means “sharp”. In music, a “sharp” is often thought of as
a higher pitch. In other words, to sing sharp is to sing “above” or “up
over” the correct note. The acute accent is reminiscent of a “sharp” as it is
• Grave = \
o The word grave makes one thing of “down” or “under” the ground. The
grace accent mark reminds us of a burial grave as it points downward:
• Circumflex = ̑ or ̄
o The word circumflex makes us think of a “circle”. Since the circumflex
itself looks like a half-circle, this is easy to remember. Where a straight
line is used instead of the half-circle, just think of the semi-circle as
having been “un-flexed” or “flattened” out, like a muscle.
• 10 Rules: (*Note also that accents stand over vowel of accented syllable & 2
vowel of a diphthong.)
Rule 1 Rule 2 Rule 3 Rule 4
On long or short syllable On any of last 3 syllables Not on antepenult when
Not on long penult
when ultima’s short
On long or short syllable Only on ultima Forms when enclitic
Only on long syllable Only on penult or ultima Not on penult if
With Accent τίς who? εἴκοσι twenty κάλως rope
Without Accent τις anyone εἰκόσι images καλῶς well
. va . !a :·tca u +a : u ea·t, au ·e : e. !a:·t c.t u +a : . | :|.u +a·t a vt a .