User:Atelaes/About Ancient Greek

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search


Disclaimer: This page does not yet reflect community consensus and should not be considered policy.

This page decribes policies and practices specific to Ancient Greek entries on the English Wiktionary. These are in addition and deference to Wiktionary's overall standards which are listed at Wiktionary:Entry layout explained.

Greek divisions[edit]

There are currently three divisions of the Greek language on Wiktionary: Greek, Ancient Greek, and Mycenaean. Greek is shorthand for modern Greek. Ancient Greek includes all of Greek from the invention of the Greek alphabet through Koine. Mycenaean includes all words written in Linear B. While there is no specific delineation date between Greek and Ancient Greek yet, a general rule of thumb is that polytonic Greek is Ancient and monotonic is modern. It is conceivable that, in the future, more distinctions will be made as the scope and level of detail increase (perhaps Classical, Koine, Medieval, Katharevousa, and Demotic). It is also possible that Ancient and Modern will one day be merged. In any case, the three group system is the current standard. Information concerning modern Greek can be obtained at Wiktionary:About Greek. While Mycenaean is considered a separate category, it will be treated as a daughter project of Ancient, and its rules and conventions listed here.

Viewing polytonic Greek[edit]

Many users have trouble seeing some of the characters of Ancient Greek. If you're seeing boxes or question marks, here are some tips for fixing these problems. First of all, if you're using Internet Explorer, you might want to consider using Mozilla Firefox, as it is generally more proficient at displaying foreign scripts. An excellent website for checking your browser and acquiring the necessary fonts is [1] where you can check which characters your browser is and is not displaying and look into some possible fonts to fix this.


Ancient Greek entries follow the modern Greek convention with regards to the capitalization of letters, with most words appearing in all lower case letters and proper nouns and certain derivations of proper nouns (e.g. Ἕλλην) appearing with the first letter capitalized. It is admitted that most of the works in question were originally written well before the invention of miniscule Greek letters. However, it should be borne in mind that the majority of the surviving manuscripts of these works do, in fact, appear with upper and lower case letters. Also, the simple fact is that this is a multilingual dictionary and certain uniformity conventions are necessary.


All Ancient Greek entries should have the proper accentuation, both in the entry title and in all places within the entry, and in the translation sections of English entries. Any further diacritics (such as vowel length diacritics) are not to be put in the entry title nor in the translation sections of English entries. They are allowed, but not required within the Ancient Greek entries.


Ancient Greek uses the non-standard header "Inflection," as do many other highly inflected languages, such as Latin. While the standard is to put inflected forms within the POS line, it is impractical to put the number of forms that Ancient Greek has before the definition (for example, see φιλέω). Ancient Greek entries operate under the lead lemma format, where the lemma form (nominative masculine singular for nouns and adjectives and present active indicative first singular for verbs) occupies a privileged position. The entry for the lemma form will have all of the information pertaining to the word (i.e. etymology, full inflection, derived terms, etc.). All other forms will be soft redirects, with the language and POS headers, and a short statement about which inflected form it is of which lemma (see αἰγός for an example). While, in time, we may get bots programmed to write the inflected forms, for the time-being the emphasis is to get as many lemma entries up and running as possible (with their respective inflection tables). There are many templates listed at Category:Ancient Greek inflection templates which are quite helpful.

Format in non-Ancient Greek entries[edit]

When listing a word as a translation of an English word or as part of the etymology of a non Ancient-Greek word, it should be listed specifically as Ancient Greek. There is an etymology template for this usage: [[Template:AGr.]]. Also, when listing an Ancient Greek word on a non Ancient Greek entry, the word should be enclosed within the Template:Polytonic. While most users normally veiwing Ancient Greek entries will already have their systems set up to view things properly, many normal users will not, and this template aids in that process.


The normal standard for modern languages is three independent attestations. However, Ancient Greek, as a dead language, requires only one attestation.

Linear B[edit]

Mycenaean words should be written only in the Linear B script. Romanizations should be included within the POS line and after the word in every other entry. See 𐀂𐀦 and ἵππος for an example of the proper formatting.

IPA & Romanization Table[edit]

Letter Classical IPA Koine IPA Romanization Notes
α a a a
β b v v
γ ɡ ɣ g γ is IPA:ŋ before γ and κ
δ d ð d
ε e e e
ζ zd z ζ is IPA:z when the first letter of a word
η ɛː i ē
θ θ th
ι i i i ι is IPA:j when it is the first letter of a word and the second letter is another vowel
κ k k k
λ l l l
μ m m m
ν n n n
ξ ks ks x
ο o o o
π p p p
ρ r r r
σς s s s
τ t t t
υ y u y
φ f f
χ x ch
ψ ps ps ps
ω ɔː o ō
Digraph Classical IPA Koine IPA Romanization Notes
αι ai
αυ ay
ει e ei
ευ eu ef ey
ηυ ēy
οι ɔɪ oi
ου u u oy
υι yi yi
  • Rough breathing marks are designated by an /h/ at the front of the word. A smooth breathing mark requires no notation.
  • Iota subscripts are not Romanized, nor are they considered in Koine pronunciation. In Classical pronunciation an iota subscriptis designated by a /j/ following the vowel.