A syllable is part of word and comprises a single vowel or diphthong which may be accompanied by one or more consonants: ό-χι, αη-δό-νι, αρ-πά-χτη-καν, καη-μέ-νος.
For the purposes of syllabification, vowel digraphs and spurious diphthongs count as single vowels: αί-μα, ναύ-της, ά-πια-στος, α-μυα-λιά, για-γιά, γυα-λιά.
In normal speech, spurious diphthongs do not occur after two consonants of which the second is ρ. In these cases the two vowels may be treated as separate syllables: ά-γρι-ος, για-τρει-ά, μα-κρι-ά, χρει-ά-ζο-μαι.
Depending on the number of syllables it has, a word is called:
a) monosyllable, when it consists of a single syllable:ναι, μια
b) disyllable, when it consists of two syllables: παί-ζω
c) trisyllable, when it consists of three syllables: πα-τέ-ρας, τρα-γού-δι
d) polysyllable when it consists of more than three syllables: α-νυ-πό-φο-ρος, α-κρι-βο-θώ-ρη-τος
When a word has two or more syllables, the last syllable is called the final syllable, the second last the penultimate, the third last the antepenultimate and the fourth last is known as the syllable preceding the antepenultimate. The first syllable of a word is called the initial syllable.
In the writing, it is often necessary to start a new line before finishing a word. The word must then be split into parts. But the break cannot be made just anywhere. It can only be made at the point where one syllable ends and the next syllable starts. The division of a word into syllables is called syllabification.
The rules for syllabification are:
1) A consonant between two vowels forms a syllable with the second vowel: έ-χω, κα-λο-σύ-νε-ψε.
2) Two consonants between two vowels form a syllable with the second vowel if a Greek word start with two consonants: λά-σπη (σπίθα, σπέρνω), έ-βγαλα (βγαίνω), κο-φτερός (φτερό, φτωχός), έ-θνος (θνητός), έ-τσι (τσαγκάρης), τζί-τζικας (τζάμι, τζάκι), ύπο-πτος (πτώμα, πτώση), Αι-σχύλος (σχολείο, σχέδιο), ά-φθονος (φθόνος, φθορά).
Otherwise the two consonants are separated: θάρ-ρος, άλ-λο, περ-πατώ, ερ-χομός, δάφ-νη, βαθ-μός.
3) Three or more consonants between two vowels form a syllable with the second vowel if a Greek word can start with at least the first two consonants: ά-στρο (στρώνω), σφυρί-χτρα (χτένι), αι-σχρός (σχήμα).
Otherwise the consonants are separated and the first forms a syllable with the preceding vowel: αμ-βροσία, άν-θρωπος, εκ-στρατεία, παν-στρατιά.
4) Τhe digraphs μπ, ντ, γκ are not divided in syllabification: μπου-μπούκι, α-μπέλι, ντα-ντά, πέ-ντε, μπα-γκέτα, μου-γκρίζω.
5) Vowel digraphs, diphthongs, spurious diphthongs and combinations αυ, ευ count in syllabification as single vowels: αί-μα, νε-ράι-δα, ά-πια-στος, ναύ-της.
The same rules usually apply also to compound words.