Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

Get access

(431 words)


Vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound (for consonant length, see Geminates).

Vowel length is phonemic in Ancient Greek, as minimal pairs like the following show:

tṓ ‘the two’ (nom.-acc. dual) :  ‘the’ (nom.-acc. sing.)
hós ‘who’ (masc. sg.) : hṓs ‘like, as’

Since at least Hermann (1816) vowel length has been measured in Greek in terms of moras: a short vowel has a single mora, while a long vowel or diphthong has two (Allen 1987:100; 1973:161-63). Accentuation is conditioned by the moraic structure of a word an…

Cite this page
David Goldstein, “Length”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 09 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000489>
First published online: 2013

▲   Back to top   ▲