[B-Greek] Syllabification

James Ernest j.d.ernest at bc.edu
Sat May 17 15:07:48 EDT 2008

Regarding hyphenation to break words at end of line in typesetting:

ENGLISH: Usage varies. For American usage (not the same as British usage,
which I expect Australian editors probably follow), look up words in
Merriam-Webster and see the discussion of "word division" in *The Chicago
Manual of Style *(hereafter: *CMS*), 15th ed., 7.33-45 (pages 286-89). I
believe British usage pays more attention to etymology, American usage to

(CLASSICAL) GREEK: See the discussion in *CMS* 15, 10.139-142 (pages
438-39). CMS gives rules and examples. One of their examples is EM-PRO-SQEN
(agreeing with Mounce). Smyth seems to be more concerned with pronunciation
than with word division in print (as the A-RIS-STOS example suggests),
though he mentions writing at end of line; at any rate, I think US
publishers would look to *CMS* rather than to Smyth for guidance. My
haphazard observations in NA and UBS indicate (as I recall) that the
publishers of those editions followed the same rules that *CMS* gives. In *The
Apostolic Fathers*, 3rd ed., we followed *CMS* rules (or at least meant to).

Here are the *CMS* rules, slightly reorganized, examples omitted (just
because I have the rules already sitting here typed out and don't want to
take the time to type in the examples):

10.139. Two consecutive vowels that do not form a diphthong are divided.
10.140. When a single consonant occurs between two vowels, the word is
divided before the consonant.

10.141A. If a consonant is doubled, the word is divided after the first

10.141B. If a mute is followed by its corresponding aspirate, the word is
divided after the first consonant.

10.141C. If the combination of two or more consonants begins with a liquid
or a nasal, division is made after the liquid or nasal.
10.141 D. All other combinations of two or more consonants follow the
10.142. Compound words are divided between parts; within each part the above
rules apply. The commonest type of compound word begins with a preposition
or a prefix.

(If you look up the example in *CMS*: can you find two errors in the
examples? I notified their editors of one some months ago and just noticed a
second. --The errors don't affect the positioning of the hyphens.)
James D. Ernest, PhD
Editor, Baker Academic

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