Accentuation of Nouns

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115. Accentuation. The accent is often connected with the form of the suffix, and sometimes varies with the meaning. But the rules that can be given on this subject are only partial.

  1. Stems in -ο are generally oxytone when they denote an agent, barytone when they denote the thing done.


    that which is brought






    But νομό-ς pasture, λοιγό-ς pestilence (perhaps thought of as an agent, "destroyer").

  2. Stems in -η are generally oxytone, but there are many exceptions (as δίκ-η, μάχ-η).
  3. Most stems in -ιδ, and all in -ᾰδ, are oxytone. But those which admit an accusative in -ιν are all barytone.
  4. Adjectives in -υ-ς are oxytone; except θῆλ-υ-ς and the isolated feminine θάλεια. Substantives in -υ-ς are mostly oxytone; but see § 116.4.
  5. Neuters with stems in -εσ (nominative accusative -ος) are barytone, but adjectives in -ης, and feminine nouns in -ως, genitive -οος, are oxytone.
  6. Nouns in -ηρ and -ην are oxytone, except μήτηρ, θυγάτηρ (but see § 111.2), ἄρσην, τέρην.

    Nouns in -ωρ and -ων are mostly barytone, but there are many exceptions, especially the abstract nouns in -δων, the substantives in -μων, as δαιτυμών, ἡγεμών, κηδεμών, and most nouns in -ων, genitive -ωνος, as ἀγών, ἀγκών, χειμών, τελαμών.

  7. Stems in -το with the O-form are barytone, with the weak form oxytone


    but στα-τό-ς, etc.

  8. Stems in -τη are mostly oxytone. Accordingly the primitive masculines in -τη-ς, which are Nouns of the Agent, can generally be distinguished from the denominatives in -της (§ 117): e. g. ἀγορητής a speaker, but ναύτης a ship-man (sailor).
  9. Abstract nouns in -τι, -σι are barytone; in -τῡ oxytone.

    It will be seen that, roughly speaking, when the verbal stem is in the weak form, the suffix is accented, and vice versa: also that words with an active meaning (applicable to a personal agent) are oxytone, those with a passive meaning (expressing the thing done) are barytone.

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7.