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I want to write a sentence like "physics (from ancient greek φύσις)". But I don't know how to typeset the character "ύ" properly. Also I am not sure, if it is a good idea simply to use math-mode here to typeset the greek letters. So, what's the best way to typeset the ancient greek word φύσις?

Edit: I should add that I just copied the word from wikipedia in this case, so the xelatex or babel solutions work very well since I can just copy the greek word into my latex source. But I don't know how I can insert those greek letters directly with my normal german keyboard layout.

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  • 5
    When you copy Greek words from Wikipedia, make sure the diacriticals are correct. Modern Greek indicates stress with a diacritical very much like the oxeia (acute accent), but not necessarily quite like it. You may be using a Unicode precomposed form meant for Modern Greek which may not render quite right (e.g. accent sign pointing up). Depends on the fonts.
    – Alexios
    Sep 3, 2012 at 12:24
  • 1
    @student In regard of your edit. All you have to do is to add another keyboard layout at your operating system and a keyboard shortcut to change between the keyboard layouts. It is rather easy. Google is your friend.
    – pmav99
    Sep 4, 2012 at 18:01

6 Answers 6

47

If you just need a few words, then a simple approach can solve your problem:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[LGR,T1]{fontenc}
\newcommand{\textgreek}[1]{\begingroup\fontencoding{LGR}\selectfont#1\endgroup}
\begin{document}
physics (from ancient greek \textgreek{f'usis})
\end{document}

For longer passages, perhaps loading the polutoniko option with babel may be recommended. Check in the documentation of babel for the translitteration scheme used.

You may also choose different fonts for Greek (the GFS fonts support many of them).

enter image description here

Update

With recent and uptodate TeX distributions, one can also input directly the Greek characters:

% -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[LGR,T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}   % utf8 is required

\newcommand{\textgreek}[1]{\begingroup\fontencoding{LGR}\selectfont#1\endgroup}

\begin{document}
physics (from ancient greek \textgreek{φύσις})
\end{document}
9
  • 2
    Update: as of TeX Live 2013, loading the LGRx encoding is not necessary any more.
    – egreg
    Jul 11, 2014 at 15:10
  • 1
    Is there another update? I get "Package fontenc Error: Encoding file `lgrenc.def' not found.(fontenc)" and then "Package inputenc Error: Unicode char φ (U+3C6)(inputenc) not set up for use with LaTeX."
    – Dr Xorile
    Aug 30, 2017 at 14:43
  • @DrXorile Yes, you should do \usepackage[LGR,T1]{inputenc}
    – egreg
    Aug 30, 2017 at 15:57
  • 1
    Hmmm. That still doesn't work for me ("LaTeX Error: Fill `LGR.def' not found."). I could ask a new question, but thought it might be relevant to keep the answer here?
    – Dr Xorile
    Aug 30, 2017 at 17:05
  • Note that this solution might introduce unwanted Type3 fonts, installing cm-super or using the lmodern package can address this issue (see tex.stackexchange.com/questions/1291/…).
    – Marijn
    Apr 5, 2019 at 14:16
56

use xelatex or lualatex. Then it is really simple:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{DejaVu Serif}

\begin{document}

foo φύσις  bar 

\end{document}

enter image description here

3
  • 31
    I feel that this is the only clean solution. We have created a universal provision for typesetting international letters – Unicode. Everything else is a hack. Sep 3, 2012 at 12:14
  • 3
    Not much use if you don't want DejaVu, nice as it is. This solution does not work with the default Computer Modern (lrm) nor with many other XeLaTeX-compliant font packages. Sep 22, 2016 at 11:02
  • macOS with Homebrew: brew cask install font-dejavu-sans
    – fiedl
    Apr 23, 2019 at 16:47
16

Another way to do this:

\documentclass[10pt,a4paper]{article}
\usepackage[utf8x]{inputenc}
\usepackage[greek,english]{babel}
\begin{document}
physics (from ancient greek \textgreek{φύσις})
\end{document}

Here you can take advantage of LaTeX' ability to recognize Greek characters when babel loads the greek support module. utf8x (Extended UTF-8) encoding of the input file makes sure the characters are mapped correctly. As you can see, with this solution you can keep the Greek letters, no need to transcribe them with Latin characters. (Unlike egreg's solution, here I set the input encoding, not the font encoding.)

6
  • The font encoding is implicitly chosen by \textgreek
    – egreg
    Sep 3, 2012 at 11:39
  • @egreg: Doesn't seem to work properly here... If I remove \usepackage[utf8x]{inputenc}, I get gibberish.
    – Count Zero
    Sep 3, 2012 at 11:43
  • Of course! Without it, LaTeX doesn't know how to interpret the characters.
    – egreg
    Sep 3, 2012 at 11:48
  • @egreg: Ah, sorry I misread your comment... font encoding is implicitly chosen! (Somehow I thought input encoding... Gotta be more thorough... ˙:)˙)
    – Count Zero
    Sep 3, 2012 at 11:50
  • I get "Package babel Error: Unknown option `greek'." It's all greek to me...
    – Dr Xorile
    Aug 30, 2017 at 14:46
8

simply load \usepackage{betababel} instead of babel -- and you can type every text in ancient greek directly from your keyboard (for information on digitating betacode, see package manual). Example:

\documentclass[10pt, a4paper]{scrbook}
\usepackage[brazil]{betababel}
\begin{document}
text \bcode{fu/sis} text
\end{document}

result: enter image description here

0
3

A quick comment on the 'Update' part of egreg's answer. You can also give instructions for a particular Greek font to be used in the output, rather than a default, like this (using GFS Porson for Greek and Tex Gyre Pagella for English):

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[LGR,T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{gfsporson}
\usepackage{tgpagella}
\let\textgreek=\textporson

 \begin{document}
 An accurate picture of the world: 

 \textgreek{οὐ γάρ τις πρῆξις πέλεται κρυεροῖο γόοιο.}
 \end{document}

This also simplifies (at least superficially) the definition of \textgreek{}. I guess it works because the GFS fonts use LGR as their encoding.

1
  • Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format. Jul 11, 2014 at 13:21
2

If you just need a few words copied from somewhere, the simple pdfLaTeX solution is loading "textalpha":

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{textalpha}
\begin{document}
physics (from ancient greek φύσις)
\end{document}

For Greek text with proper hyphenation and upcasing, use Babel with the Greek option and mark up Greek text parts with \foreignlanguage{greek}{φύσις}.

You may use a selection of input methods, e.g.

  • literal Unicode: φύσις
  • LICR: \textphi'\textupsilon\textsigma\textiota\textfinalsigma

For text marked up as Greek also

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