Accents

Τόνοι

Greek has two different accents: acute (ί) and umlaut (ϊ). The acute accent is far more common and has two main uses.

1) Indicates stress on a multi-syllable word.

  • Καλημέρα
  • συγγνώμη
  • ευχαριστώ

When a double vowel is stressed, the accent goes on the second vowel.

  • είμαι
  • αύριο  (tomorrow)

If accent is placed on the first vowel in a double vowel, the two vowels are pronounced separately – see diphthongs.

Words with 4 or more syllables can have two accents when followed by an
unstressed word, such as a possessive adjective:

  • τα μαθήματά μας  (our lessons)
     

2) Distinguishes between two single-syllable words, mostly question words:

πού where?  (interrogative)   που where  (relative)
πώς what? how?   πως that
ή or   η the  (feminine)

Note: Capital letters can only be accented if the stress is on the first syllable. In this case, the accent precedes the letter:

  • Ά
  • Έ
  • Ή
  • Ί
  • Ό
  • Ύ
  • Ώ
     

See diphthongs for an explanation of the umlaut.
 

Related lessons

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