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Greek (modern & ancient)

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Enabling Greek on your computer

Both Windows and Macintosh computers are capable of typing in modern and ancient Greek with a little configuration. Please see these general instructions on how to enable languages on your computer and then come back here for more Greek-specific information.

Enabling Foreign Languages on your Computer

On both Macintosh and Windows, you'll want to choose the Greek Polytonic keyboard for full access to all of the diacritics. See the images to the right to view these layouts.

Typing

See my page on Visual Keyboards for using the built-in utilities of Windows and Macintosh. They are handy visual guides when you are learning to type to the keyboard layouts installed on your computer.

Word Processing

MS Word for both Windows and Macintosh works very well for typing both modern and ancient Greek. No extra configuration is necessary.

You may find, however, that the default fonts are not sufficient for ancient Greek. Not all fonts contain all of the characters used in typing ancient Greek, and so Word will automatically substitute a font that does for the necessary characters. Unfortunately, this substitution is done on a character by character basis, so you will end up with words being displayed in a mixture of fonts.

To avoid this, choose to use a font that you know contains all of the necessary characters. Here are a list of free fonts suggested for ancient Greek:

Moodle

You can use Greek in Moodle just as with any other program. On Macintosh it's perfectly seemless. On Windows, you'll want to change the default display font in Firefox to something that contains all of the necessary characters for polytonic Greek.

Some good fonts are Gentium and Cardo. These are free to download and easy to install. Once you have them, change the default display font for Greek in Firefox and you are good to go!

Internet Searching

Google (is there really anything else?), has some builtin language prefrence tools that allows you to search in both English and Greek automatically.

To go the main Google page and click on Preferences. Here you can set your preferred interface language, and any languages that you want to include in your searches. You can also configure Google's SafeSearch settings (for blocking explicit content), the number of results per page and whether or not to display results in a new window.

These preferences are done via cookies, meaning that you'll need to change these preferences in every browser you use (and on every computer).

Online Resources

Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) http://www.tlg.uci.edu/

Now that you know how to type in Greek on your computer, you can search the TLG! If you are on Macintosh 10.3 or higher or Windows XP, enter the Unicode version of the TLG.

Email

Yes, you can email in ancient Greek! You can use any email program that is unicode compliant on either Macintosh or Windows. On the Mac I recommend Apple's Mail.app, but on Windows Thunderbird is the way to go. (in TB be sure to set your default encodings to UTF-8! Instructions are here).

Chat

Brief testing shows that Apple's iChat seems to allow ancient Greek input. My favorite chat program on Windows is Trillian, but it doesn't allow the expanded character set necessary for ancient Greek (though modern Greek would likely be ok). the MSN Messenger client for Windows does handle all of the Greek characters properly, so you'll want to use that for all of your Greek chatting needs on Windows.

Related Documents

  • GRkpolytonic_Microsoft (1149 KB Word Document)
    This is a document produced by Microsoft that describes in full detail how to install and use the Greek Polytonic input system of Windows XP.
  • GRKpolytonic_Win (216 KB PDF Document)
    This document contains screen shots of the keyboard layout for Greek Polytonic on Windows XP.
  • GRKpolytonic_Mac (642 KB PDF Document)
    This document contains screen shots of the keyboard layout for the Greek Polytonic keyboard built in to OS 10.5 for Macintosh.