Oxia vs tonos accent

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Alan Bunning
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Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Alan Bunning » September 20th, 2017, 3:34 pm

When comparing Greek words, I discovered that Αἰνών and Αἰνών are not the same. Although they look identical in many Greek fonts, with other fonts you can see the difference if you make the font big enough. The first ώ has the oxia accent (UTF8 E1BDBD) and the second ώ has the tonos accent (UTF8 CF8E). This problem occurs with the other vowels as well. I don’t normally deal with diacritical marks in my Greek texts, so I never noticed it before. Apparently, this problem came about sometime after modern Greek changed to the monotonic system. I found this article that talks a little about the problem https://wiki.digitalclassicist.org/Gree ... ted_vowels. The problem I am having is that different Greek texts are using these marks inconsistently. So my questions are, which is the right accent to use with Koine Greek (the oxia?) and is there a program that will change the one accent to the other? The article says “The latest versions of Unicode (as of 2016) have now formally deprecated and removed the vowel+oxia combinations from the Greek extended range, leaving only the vowel+tonos from the basic Greek and Coptic range.” So should all acute accents now be converted to the tonos accent?

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 21st, 2017, 9:05 pm

Whatever new initiative to remove the oxia are taken, there will always be a body of legacy texts that do not conform to the new standard. Standardisation is one option. Another option is catering for the diversity in some ways, like you currently need to cater for when some words carry an accent from a following enclitic or the situational variation between grave and acute, OR texts like some of yours which are not accented (or which only have diereses).

In my opinion, texts which do not make the distinction between the acute and stress (oxia and tonos) look wierd, when the type-face used to present them uses an upright accent mark instead of one inclined diagonally from bottom left to top right. That depends on the display font used.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Alan Bunning
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Alan Bunning » September 22nd, 2017, 11:17 am

I did some more checking around and it seems that various Greek typing programs are doing one or the other. Apparently one of the popular ones for the Apple OS is only using the tonos accent now. It may not make any difference for several years, but if oxia is truly being deprecated, then it could be a problem if the deprecated codes get re-used for other things, or if some of the fonts get updated. I too, wish the oxia accent was not confused with the tonos, but apparently someone made that decision. I wish that decision could get undone, because the sometimes vertical looking tonos accent (which was meant to replace all accents) should be for modern texts, but I would rather have the oxia accent (for the acute accent only) preserved for ancient texts.

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 22nd, 2017, 12:54 pm

The default B-Greek font that displays on my tablet obscures the distinction as to whether an an acute or a stress marker is in the text. For example, the text:
διὰ τοῦτο εὐφράνθη ἡ καρδία μου, καὶ ἠγαλλιάσατο ἡ γλῶσσά μου· ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἡ σάρξ μου κατασκηνώσει ἐπ’ ἐλπίδι·

When displayed in a word processor program has the acute accent, as follows:
Screenshot_20170922-220036.jpg
Screenshot_20170922-220036.jpg (66.97 KiB) Viewed 491 times
While on BGreek it displays as a stress accent.
Screenshot_20170922-220446.jpg
Screenshot_20170922-220446.jpg (62.38 KiB) Viewed 491 times
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Alan Bunning
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Alan Bunning » September 24th, 2017, 5:30 pm

I decided to do a little inventory of some of the things I use, and the breakout is this:

oxia: NA28 online, WH, Antoniades, Multikey program
tonos: MorphGNT, Nestle 1904, Robinson-Pierpont

I was hoping that there would be a clear winner, but alas... Does anyone have a recommendation?

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 24th, 2017, 5:59 pm

We are using tonos, which is what digital classicist recommends in your OP - do you know where the Unicode standard says oxia is deprecated? I spent about 15 minutes looking, but didn't find it. It's probably there.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » September 24th, 2017, 7:35 pm

If the texts look weird with an upright tonos the problem is in the font. Tonos and oxia should be indistinguishable, slanted acute mark. Therefore whether tonos or oxia is used is only an "implementation detail" which shouldn't concern readers. But it may have other unwanted consequences even if they look indentical. (See http://goldendict.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1631)

In unicode deprecated code points will never be re-used, it's not a problem.

It should be possible to use programming libraries or programs which convert between different normalization forms. Maybe they can convert between oxia and tonos, too? In any case it's not difficult to create such program.

OT: "Unicode requires that both precomposed tonos and oxia vowels must decompose into the vowel and a combining acute accent." (See the link above.) From the viewpoint of the Unicode standard, purists think that precomposed characters should not even exist, and if the standard could be done from the scratch they wouldn't exist. But now they exist and can be used; which one is used in a text may depend on many things.

Alan Bunning
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Alan Bunning » September 24th, 2017, 7:54 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
September 24th, 2017, 5:59 pm
We are using tonos, which is what digital classicist recommends in your OP - do you know where the Unicode standard says oxia is deprecated? I spent about 15 minutes looking, but didn't find it. It's probably there.
No I did not find it either.

Alan Bunning
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Alan Bunning » September 24th, 2017, 7:59 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
September 24th, 2017, 7:35 pm
In unicode deprecated code points will never be re-used, it's not a problem.
That it good to know. Thus, unless someone removes it from their font which is unlikely, it probably won't matter. It is probably more of a problem for developers. In my case, I discovered it when comparing words that look like they should have matched, but didn't.

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 24th, 2017, 8:50 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
September 24th, 2017, 7:35 pm
If the texts look weird with an upright tonos the problem is in the font. Tonos and oxia should be indistinguishable, slanted acute mark.
In polytonic texts, such as miniscule texts up till the 1970's, where there is a need to differentiate between various diacritic marks, that "should" is true. In monotonic texts (i.e. recent Modern Greek texts), however, where there is no need to differentiate one diacritic from the other a non-differentiating upright accent can be used.

Your "implementation detail", then means that we - those who read both polytonic and monotonic texts - have to change between fonts depending on the text being read. That is what used to be needed to be done before the introduction of the Unicode standard.

I know that in word processing we can change fonts in the middle of a document to be able to include a quote from a polytonic text in the body of a monotonic text, but is it possible to do that in an online publishing environment, without resorting to pdf files?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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