Vowel length in Ancient Greek


New Member

I've started learning Ancient Greek not very long ago. In order to pronounce the words correctly, I need to know the vowel length. What are the rules for marking the length of the vowels α, ι, υ in the dictionaries, e.g. LSJ? Is a vowel by default short or long?

I also have the access to the Abramowiczówna's Ancient Greek-Polish dictionary.


Arca Defectionis

Civis Illustris
If there is a system for vowel marking and some vowels are left unmarked, they are generally short.

ᾱ ῑ ῡ are the most common ways of marking long vowels. Short vowels can be explicitly marked with an upside-down circumflex, which I don't know how to type, but you will recognize it if you see it.

Remember that ω, η are always long, ε, ο are always short, and circumflex accents only appear over long syllables, so those vowels with circumflex accents on them will usually not have an additional length marker in dictionaries.

All diphthongs are long except οι and αι in final position (and these are counted long in optative verb forms).

Also, I suspect that all vowels bearing iota subscript are automatically long, though I don't remember ever explicitly learning this, so wait for someone else to confirm this conjecture.


New Member
Thanks. Iota subscript is always on long vowels, this I know. I noticed, though, that LSJ rarely marks long alphas, and rather marks short alphas.