Breathing Marks

You have now pronounced all the Greek letters and need only learn a couple of minor points to be able to read almost any Greek word.

 

Whenever a Greek word begins with a vowel or a diphthong, one of the following marks will be written over it:   ’ or ‘.

The first mark, ’, is called a smooth breathing.  It is not pronounced, and allows you to breath smoothly and silently as you start the word.

The second mark,  ‘, is called a rough breathing.  When it appears, the pronunciation of the word begins with an h as in heart.

The marks are written above the vowel at the beginning of the word (ἁdelfoV), or above the second letter of the diphthong that begins the word (eὐquV).  When a word begins with a capital letter, there is no room to place the mark above it, so you will find it just to the left (’Ellhn).

Now for some practice:

      ἁ

      ἠ

      eἰV

      eἱV

      ἐgw

      ὑpo

      ἀdelfoV

      ἸhsouV

      ὁdoV

      eὐquV

      Ἑllhn

      ἁmartia

      aἰwnioV

      oὐranoV

 

Traditionally a rough breathing is placed over r when it begins a word, as in ῤhma.