In the late 9th century BC or early 8th century BC, the Greek alphabet emerged.The period between the use of the two writing systems, during which no Greek texts are attested, is known as the Greek Dark Ages.
It uses only a single accent mark, the acute (also known in this context as tonos, i.e.
simply "accent"), marking the stressed syllable of polysyllabic words, and occasionally the diaeresis to distinguish diphthongal from digraph readings in pairs of vowel letters, making this monotonic system very similar to the accent mark system used in Spanish.
The form in which classical Greek names are conventionally rendered in English goes back to the way Greek loanwords were incorporated into Latin in antiquity. For Modern Greek, there are multiple different transcription conventions.
They differ widely, depending on their purpose, on how close they stay to the conventional letter correspondences of Ancient Greek-based transcription systems, and to what degree they attempt either an exact letter-by-letter transliteration or rather a phonetically based transcription.
This leads to several groups of vowel letters denoting identical sounds today.
Modern Greek orthography remains true to the historical spellings in most of these cases.
When it was adopted for writing Greek, certain consonants were adapted to express vowels.
The use of both vowels and consonants makes Greek the first alphabet in the narrow sense, Three of the original Phoenician letters dropped out of use before the alphabet took its classical shape: the letter Ϻ (san), which had been in competition with Σ (sigma) denoting the same phoneme /s/; the letter Ϙ (qoppa), which was redundant with Κ (kappa) for /k/, and Ϝ (digamma), whose sound value /w/ dropped out of the spoken language before or during the classical period.
In Phoenician, each letter name was a word that began with the sound represented by that letter; thus ʾaleph, the word for "ox", was used as the name for the glottal stop sound, and so on.
When the letters were adopted by the Greeks, most of the Phoenician names were maintained or modified slightly to fit Greek phonology; thus, ʾaleph, bet, gimel became alpha, beta, gamma.
Individual letter shapes were mirrored depending on the writing direction of the current line.