World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Spiritus asper

Article Id: WHEBN0025851451
Reproduction Date:

Title: Spiritus asper  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Index of linguistics articles, Mycenaean Greek, Greek alphabet, Tenuis consonant, Johanna, Ancient Greek grammar, Spiritus, Beta code, Koine Greek phonology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Spiritus asper

Rough breathing
acute( ´ )
double acute( ˝ )
grave( ` )
double grave(  ̏ )
breve( ˘ )
inverted breve(  ̑ )
caron, háček( ˇ )
cedilla( ¸ )
circumflex( ˆ )
diaeresis, umlaut( ¨ )
dot( · )
hook, hook above(   ̡   ̢  ̉ )
horn(  ̛ )
macron( ¯ )
ogonek( ˛ )
ring( ˚, ˳ )
rough breathing( )
smooth breathing( ᾿ )
Marks sometimes used as diacritics
apostrophe( )
bar( ◌̸ )
colon( : )
comma( , )
hyphen( ˗ )
tilde( ~ )
Diacritical marks in other scripts
Arabic diacritics
Early Cyrillic diacritics
titlo(  ҃ )
Gurmukhī diacritics
Hebrew diacritics
Indic diacritics
anusvara( )
chandrabindu( )
nukta( )
virama( )
chandrakkala( )
IPA diacritics
Japanese diacritics
dakuten( )
handakuten( )
Khmer diacritics
Syriac diacritics
Thai diacritics
Dotted circle
Punctuation marks
Logic symbols

In the polytonic orthography of Ancient Greek, the rough breathing (Ancient Greek: δασὺ πνεῦμα dasỳ pneûma or δασεῖα daseîa: modern Greek δασεία dasía; Latin spīritus asper), is a diacritical mark used to indicate the presence of an // sound before a vowel, diphthong, or rho. It remained in the polytonic orthography even after the Hellenistic period, when the sound disappeared from the Greek language. In modern monotonic orthography, that is after 1982, it has been dropped.

The absence of an /h/ sound is marked by the smooth breathing.


The rough breathing comes from the left-hand half of the letter H.[1] In some Greek dialects, the letter was used for ] (Heta), and this usage survives in the Latin letter H. In other dialects, it was used for the vowel ] (Eta), and this usage survives in the modern system of writing Ancient Greek, and in Modern Greek.


The rough breathing ( ῾ ) is placed over an initial vowel, or over the second vowel of an initial diphthong.

  • αἵρεσις haíresis "choice" (→ Latin haeresis → English heresy)
  • ἥρως hḗrōs "hero"

An upsilon[2] or rho[3] at the beginning of a word always takes a rough breathing.

  • ὕμνος hýmnos "hymn"
  • ῥυθμός rhythmós "rhythm"

Inside a word

In some writing conventions, the rough breathing is written on the second of two rhos in the middle of a word.[3] This is transliterated as rrh in Latin.

In crasis (contraction of two words), when the second word has a rough breathing, the contracted vowel does not take a rough breathing. Instead, the consonant before the contracted vowel changes to the aspirated equivalent (i.e., π → φ, τ → θ, κ → χ),[4] if possible, and the contracted vowel takes the apostrophe or coronis (identical to the smooth breathing).

  • τὸ ἕτερον → θοὔτερον (not *τοὕτερον) "the other one"
    tò héteronthoúteron

This change to the consonant before the contracted vowel has survived into Modern Greek, e.g. πρωθυπουργός (prime minister) from πρώτος (first) and υπουργός (minister) where υπουργός was originally aspirated.

Technical notes

In Unicode, the code point assigned to the rough breathing is U+0314  ̔  combining reversed comma above. The pair of space + rough breathing is U+1FFE  ῾  greek dasia.

There is a polytonic Greek code range in Unicode, covering precomposite versions (breathing mark + vowel etc.). Editing these is facilitated by dedicated Greek word processors such as Nanos (

The rough breathing was also used in the early Cyrillic alphabet when writing the Old Church Slavonic language. In this context it is encoded as Unicode U+0485  ҅  combining cyrillic dasia pneumata

In Latin transcription of Semitic languages, especially Arabic and Hebrew, a symbol similar to the rough breathing U+02BF  ʿ  modifier letter left half ring, is used to represent the letter ayin.

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.