Flashcards in Basics of Biblical Greek Deck (5)
When do you find the two different forms of sigma?
a. The “final sigma” form ς is written wherever lower-case sigma is the last letter of a word.
b. The normal lower-case form σ is written wherever lower-case sigma is not the last letter of a word.
What are the two breathing marks, and when do you find them?
a. The rough breathing mark sounds like the English letter “h.”
b. The smooth breathing mark does not affect pronunciation.
• If the first letter of a word is a vowel or the letter rho, the word has a breathing mark.
• If the first letter of a word is not a vowel or the letter rho, the word does not have a breathing mark.
• If the first letter of a word is upsilon or rho, the breathing mark is always a rough breathing mark.
Otherwise, either a rough breathing mark or a smooth breathing mark could be used, depending upon the word.
• The breathing mark is placed as follows:
• If the word begins with a diphthong, then the breathing mark goes over the second vowel of the diphthong
• Otherwise, the breathing mark goes over the first letter of the word.
• Exception: If the first letter is a capital letter (and not part of a diphthong), the breathing mark goes in
front of the capital letter instead of over it, because there is no room over the capital letter to put a
How does the iota subscript affect pronunciation?
The iota subscript does not affect pronunciation.
When is the diaeresis used?
• The diaeresis ( ¨ ) is used over the second of two vowels in a row that normally form a diphthong, but should be
pronounced separately in this particular word. For example, in English, “Noel” as a man’s name has one
syllable and rhymes with “mole” because “oe” forms a diphthong in English. “Noël” as a woman’s name,
however, has two syllables and is pronounced as “no el” because the diaeresis over the “e” indicates that “oe”
does not form a diphthong in this word.