Name: tonos, oxia, acute
Adobe PS: tonos
Unicode: 0384, 0301
Script: Greek


History and Examples of Use

In monotonic Greek, the tonos indicates the stressed syllable of a word. In the polytonic Greek system, the same form was read as a high tone mark oxia, alongside the varia and perispomeni. As Greek pronunciation changed and lost its tonal aspect, the polytonic marks came to be read as stress accents. The tonos is the only accent mark surviving in the monotonic system. Note that both monotonic and polytonic systems continue to be used, both inside and outside Greece.


The form of the tonos should closely resemble that of the Latin acute accent. Some Greek types of the 1970s treat the tonos as a kind of generic mark, e.g. a triangle, not related to the polytonic oxia. This is an error. The tonos IS the oxia.


When Greek text is set in all-caps or small-caps, tonos and other accent marks are conventionally removed. When the tonos/oxia falls on the first of two vowels that would otherwise be pronounced as a diphthong, this indicates that the two vowels are pronounced separately (if the tonos/oxia falls on the second vowel, this indicates that the diphthong is stressed). In this situation, when the tonos/oxia is removed from the first vowel in an all-caps setting, a dialytika needs to be inserted over the second vowel to indicate that it is pronounced separately, i.e. μάινα -> ΜΑΪΝΑ.

Casing of Greek accents for all-caps and small-caps can be handled contextually in OpenType fonts using the <calt> feature.