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The Letters


The Alphabet

1. The Greek alphabet has twenty-four letters.

FormNameEquivalentsSound
as in
Ααἄλφαalphaaă: aha; ā: father
Βββῆταbētabbeg
Γγγάμμαgammaggo
Δδδέλταdeltaddig
Εεεἶ, ( ψι_λόνĕpsīlonĕmet
Ζζζῆταzētazdaze
ΗηἦταētaēFr. fête
Θθ, υθῆταthētaththin
Ιιἰῶταiōtaiĕ: meteor; ī: police
Κκκάππαkappac, kkin
Λλλάμβδαlambdallet
Μμμῦmummet
Νννῦnunnet
Ξξξεῖ (ξῖxixlax
Οοοὖ, ( μι_κρόνŏmīcronŏobey
Πππεῖ (πῖpippet
Ρρῥῶrhorrun
Σς, ςσίγμαsigmassuch
Ττταῦtauttar
Υυ ( ψι_λόνüpsīlonu) yŭ: Fr. tu; ū: Fr. sûr
Φφφεῖ (φῖphiphgraphic
Χχχεῖ (χῖchichGerm. machen
Ψψψεῖ (ψῖpsipsgypsum
Ωω ( μέγαōmĕgaōnote

a. Sigma (not capital) at the end of a word is written ς, elsewhere ς1. Thus, σεισμός earthquake.

b. The names in parentheses, from which are derived those in current use, were given at a late period, some as late as the Middle Ages. Thus, epsilon means ‘simple e,’ upsilonsimple u,’ to distinguish these letters from αι, οι, which were sounded like ε and υ.

c. Labda is a better attested ancient name than lambda.

2. The Greek alphabet as given above originated in Ionia, and was adopted at Athens in 403 B.C. The letters from A to T are derived from Phoenician and have Semitic names. The signs Υ to Ω were invented by the Greeks. From the Greek alphabet are derived the alphabets of most European countries. The ancients used only the large letters, called majuscules (capitals as Ε, uncials as [Eunc ]); the small letters (minuscules), which were used as a literary hand in the ninth century, are cursive forms of the uncials.

a. Before 403 B.C. in the official Attic alphabet E stood for ε, η, spurious ει (6), O for ο, ω, spurious ου (6), H for the rough breathing, ΧΣ for Ξ, ΦΣ for Ψ. Λ was written for γ, and [lins ] for λ. Thus:

ΕΔΟΧΣΕΝΤΕΙΒΟ[lins ]ΕΙΚΑΙΤΟΙΔΕΜΟΙἔδοξεν τῇ βουλῇ καὶ τῷ δήμῳ.
ΧΣΥΛΛΡΑΦΕΣΧΣΥΝΕΛΡΑΦΣΑΝξυγγραφῆς ξυνέγραψαν.
ΕΓΙΤΕΔΕΙΟΝΕΝΑΙΑΓΟΤΟΑΡΛΥΡΙΟἐπιτήδειον εἶναι ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀργυρίου.

3. In the older period there were two other letters: (1) Ϝ: ϝαῦ, uau, called digamma (i.e. double-gamma) from its shape. It stood after ε and was pronounced like ω. ϝ was written in Boeotian as late as 200 B.C. (2) ϟ: κόππα, koppa, which stood after π. Another ς, called san, is found in the sign [sampi ], called sampi, i.e. san + pi. On these signs as numerals, see 348.

3 D. Vau was in use as a genuine sound at the time the Homeric poems were composed, though it is found in no Mss. of Homer. Many apparent irregularities of epic verse (such as hiatus, 47 D.) can be explained only by supposing that ϝ was actually sounded. Examples of words containing ϝ are: ἄστυ town, ἄναξ lord, ἁνδάνω please, εἴκω give way (cp. weak), εἴκοσι twenty (cp. viginti), ἕκαστος each, ἑκών willing, ἔλπομαι hope (cp. voluptas), ἔοικα am like, ἕο, οἷ, him, ἕξ six, ἔπος word, εἶπον said, ἔργον, ἔρδω work, ἕννυ_μι clothe, fr. ϝεσ-νυ_μι (cp. vestis), ἐρέω will say (cp. verbum), ἕσπερος evening (cp. vesper), ἴον violet (cp. viola), ἔτος year (cp. vetus), ἡδύς sweet (cp. suavis), ἰδεῖν (οἶδα) know (cp. videre, wit), ἴ_ς strength (cp. vis), ἰ_τέα willow (cp. vitis, withy), οἶκος house (cp. vicus), οἶνος wine (cp. vinum), ὅς his (123), ὄχος carriage (cp. veho, wain). Vau was lost first before ο-sounds (ὁράω see, cp. be-ware). ϝ occurred also in the middle of words: κλέϝος glory, αἰϝεί always, ὄϝις sheep (cp. ovis), κληϝίς key (Dor. κλα_ΐς, cp. clavis), ξένϝος stranger, Διϝί to Zeus, καλϝός beautiful. Cp. 20, 31, 37 D., 122, 123.


Vowels and Diphthongs

4. There are seven vowels: α, ε, η, ι, ο, υ, ω. Of these ε and ο are always short, and take about half the time to pronounce as η and ω, which are always long; α, ι, υ are short in some syllables, long in others. In this Grammar, when α, ι, υ are not marked as long (α_, ι_, υ_) they are understood to be short. All vowels with the circumflex (149) are long. On length by position, see 144.

a. Vowels are said to be open or close according as the mouth is more open or less open in pronouncing them, the tongue and lips assuming different positions in the case of each.

5. A diphthong (δίφθογγος having two sounds) combines two vowels in one syllable. The second vowel is ι or υ. The diphthongs are: αι, ει, οι, α?, , ; αυ, ευ, ου, ηυ, and υι. The ι of the so-called improper diphthongs, α?, , , is written below the line and is called iota subscript. But with capital letters, ι is written on the line (adscript), as ΤΗΙ ΩΙΔΗΙ τῇ ᾠδῇ or Ὠιδῇ to the song. All diphthongs are long.

a. In , , the ι ceased to be written about 100 B.C. The custom of writing ι under the line is as late as about the eleventh century.

5 D. A diphthong ωυ occurs in New Ionic (ὡυτός the same from αὐτός 68 D., ἐμωυτοῦ of myself = ἐμαυτοῦ 329 D., θωῦμα θαῦμα wonder). Ionic has ηυ for Attic αυ in some words (Hom. νηῦς ship).

6. ει, ου are either genuine or spurious (apparent) diphthongs (25). Genuine ει, ου are a combination of ε ¨ ι, ο ¨ υ, as in λείπω I leave (cp. λέλοιπα I have left, 35 a), γένει to a race (49), ἀκόλουθος follower (cp. κέλευθος way). Spurious ει, ου arise from contraction (50) or compensatory lengthening (37). Thus, ἐφίλει he loved, from ἐφίλεε, θείς placing from θεντ-ς; ἐφίλουν they loved from ἐφίλεον, πλοῦς voyage from πλόος, δούς giving from δοντ-ς.

7. The figure of a triangle represents the relations of the vowels and spurious diphthongs to one another.

From α_ to ι and from α^ to ου the elevation of the tongue gradually increases. ω, ο, ου, υ are accompanied by rounding of the lips.

8. Diaeresis.—A double dot, the mark of diaeresis (διαίρεσις separation), may be written over ι or υ when these do not form a diphthong with the preceding vowel: προΐστημι I set before, νηΐ to a ship.

8 D. In poetry and in certain dialects vowels are often written apart which later formed diphthongs: πάις (or πάϊς) boy or girl, Πηλεΐδης son of Peleus, ἐύ (or ἐΰ) well, Ἀίδης (or Ἀΐδης) Hades, γένεϊ to a race.


Breathings

9. Every initial vowel or diphthong has either the rough (‘) or the smooth (’) breathing. The rough breathing (spiritus asper) is pronounced as h, which is sounded before the vowel; the smooth breathing (spiritus lenis) is not sounded. Thus, ὅρος hóros boundary, ὄρος óros mountain.

9 D. The Ionic of Asia Minor lost the rough breathing at an early date. So also before ρ (13). Its occurrence in compounds (124 D.) is a relic of the period when it was still sounded in the simple word. Hom. sometimes has the smooth where Attic has the rough breathing in forms that are not Attic: Ἀΐδης (Ἅ_ιδης), the god Hades, ἆλτο sprang (ἅλλομαι), ἄμυδις together (cp. ἅμα), ἠέλιος sun (ἥλιος), ἠώς dawn (ἕως), ἴ_ρηξ hawk (ἱέρα_ξ), οὖρος boundary (ὅρος). But also in ἄμαξα wagon (Attic ἅμαξα). In Laconian medial ς became ( (h): ἐνί_κα_ἑ ἐνί_κησε he conquered.

10. Initial υ (υ^ and υ_) always has the rough breathing.

10 D. In Aeolic, υ, like all the other vowels (and the diphthongs), always has the smooth breathing. The epic forms ὔμμες you, ὔμμι, ὔμμε (325 D.) are Aeolic.

11. Diphthongs take the breathing, as the accent (152), over the second vowel: αἱρέω hairéo I seize, αἴρω aíro I lift. But , , take both the breathing and the accent on the first vowel, even when ι is written in the line (5): ᾁδω Ἄιδω I sing, ᾄδης Ἅ_ιδης Hades, but Αἰνεία_ς Aeneas. The writing ἀίδηλος (Ἀίδηλος) destroying shows that αι does not here form a diphthong; and hence is sometimes written αϊ (8).

12. In compound words (as in προορᾶν to foresee, from πρό ¨ ὁρᾶν) the rough breathing is not written, though it must often have been pronounced: cp. ἐξέδρα_ a hall with seats, Lat. exhedra, exedra, πολυίστωρ very learned, Lat. polyhistor. On Attic inscriptions in the old alphabet (2 a) we find ΕΥΗΟΡΚΟΝ εὐὅρκον faithful to one's oath.

13. Every initial ρ has the rough breathing: ῥήτωρ orator (Lat. rhetor). Medial ρρ is written ῤῥ in some texts: Πύῤῥος Pyrrhus.

14. The sign for the rough breathing is derived from H, which in the Old Attic alphabet (2 a) was used to denote h. Thus, HO the. After H was used to denote η, one half ([rough ]) was used for h (about 300 B.C.), and, later, the other half ([smooth]) for the smooth breathing. From [rough ] and [smooth] come the forms ‘and’.


CONSONANTS

15. The seventeen consonants are divided into stops (or mutes), spirants, liquids, nasals, and double consonants. They may be arranged according to the degree of tension or slackness of the vocal chords in sounding them, as follows:

a. Voiced (sonant, i.e. sounding) consonants are produced when the vocal chords vibrate. The sounds are represented by the letters β, δ, γ (stops), λ, ρ (liquids), μ, ν, γ-nasal (19 a) (nasals), and ζ. (All the vowels are voiced.) ρ with the rough breathing is voiceless.

b. Voiceless (surd, i.e. hushed) consonants require no exertion of the vocal chords. These are π, τ, κ, φ, θ, χ (stops), ς (spirant or sibilant), and ψ and ξ.

c. Arranged according to the increasing degree of noise, nearest to the vowels are the nasals, in sounding which the air escapes without friction through the nose; next come the semivowels [υγλιδε] and [ιγλιδε] (20 a), the liquids, and the spirant ς, in sounding which the air escapes with friction through the cavity of the mouth; next come the stops, which are produced by a removal of an obstruction; and finally the double consonants.

16. Stops (or mutes). Stopped consonants are so called because in sounding them the breath passage is for a moment completely closed. The stops are divided into three classes (according to the part of the mouth chiefly active in sounding them) and into three orders (according to the degree of force in the expiratory effort).

Classes
Labial (lip sounds)πβφ
Dental (teeth sounds)τδθ
Palatal (palate sounds)κγχ
Orders
Smoothπτκ
Middleβδγ
Roughφθχ

a. The dentals are sometimes called linguals. The rough stops are also called aspirates (lit. breathed sounds) because they were sounded with a strong emission of breath (26). The smooth stops are thus distinguished from the rough stops by the absence of breathing. ( (h) is also an aspirate. The middle stops owe their name to their position in the above grouping, which is that of the Greek grammarians.

17. Spirants.—There is one spirant: ς (also called a sibilant).

a. A spirant is heard when the breath passage of the oral cavity is so narrowed that a rubbing noise is produced by an expiration.

18. Liquids.—There are two liquids: λ and ρ. Initial ρ always has the rough breathing (13).

19. Nasals.—There are three nasals: μ (labial), ν (dental), and γ-nasal (palatal).

a. Gamma before κ, γ, χ, ξ is called γ-nasal. It had the sound of n in think, and was represented by n in Latin. Thus, ἄγκυ_ρα (Lat. ancora) anchor, ἄγγελος (Lat. angelus) messenger, σφίγξ sphinx.

b. The name liquids is often used to include both liquids and nasals.

20. Semivowels.—ι, υ, the liquids, nasals, and the spirant ς are often called semivowels. ([ιγλιδε] becoming ζ, and ϝ are also called spirants.)

a. When ι and υ correspond to y and w (cp. minion, persuade) they are said to be unsyllabic; and, with a following vowel, make one syllable out of two. Semivocalic ι and υ are written [ιγλιδε] and [υγλιδε]. Initial [ιγλιδε] passed into ( (h), as in ἧπαρ liver, Lat. jecur; and into ζ in ζυγόν yoke, Lat. jugum (here it is often called the spirant yod). Initial [υγλιδε] was written ϝ (3). Medial [ιγλιδε], [υγλιδε] before vowels were often lost, as in τι_μά-[ιγλιδε]) ω I honour, βο[υγλιδε]-ός, gen. of βοῦ-ς ox, cow (43).

b. The form of many words is due to the fact that the liquids, nasals, and ς may fulfil the office of a vowel to form syllables (cp. bridle, even, pst). This is expressed by λ̣ο̣, μ̣ο̣, ν̣ο̣, ρ̣ο̣, σ̣ο̣, to be read ‘syllabic λ,’ etc., or ‘sonant λ’ (see 35 b, c).

21. Double Consonants.—These are ζ, ξ, and ψ. ζ is a combination of σδ (or δς) or δι (26). ξ is written for κς, γτ, χτ; ψ for πς, βς, φς.

22. TABLE OF CONSONANT SOUNDS

DIVISIONSPhysiological DifferencesLabialDentalPalatal
NasalsVoicedμνγ-nasal (19 a)
SemivowelsVoiced[υγλιδε]ϝ[ιγλιδε]y
LiquidsVoicedλ ρ1
Spirants (Voicedς2
Voicelessς, ς
Voicedβ (middle)δ (middle)γ (middle)
Stops (Voicelessπ (smooth)τ (smooth)κ (smooth)
Voiceless Aspirateφ (rough)θ (rough)χ (rough)
Double (Voicedζ
consonants (Voicelessψξ


ANCIENT GREEK PRONUNCIATION

23. The pronunciation of Ancient Greek varied much according to time and place, and differed in many important respects from that of the modern language. While in general Greek of the classical period was a phonetic language, i.e. its letters represented the sounds, and no heard sound was unexpressed in writing (but see 108), in course of time many words were retained in their old form though their pronunciation had changed. The tendency of the language was thus to become more and more unphonetic. Our current pronunciation of Ancient Greek is only in part even approximately correct for the period from the death of Pericles (429 B.C.) to that of Demosthenes (322); and in the case of several sounds, e.g. ζ, φ, χ, θ, it is certainly erroneous for that period. But ignorance of the exact pronunciation, as well as long-established usage, must render any reform pedantical, if not impossible. In addition to, and in further qualification of, the list of sound equivalents in 1 we may note the following:

24. Vowels.—Short α, ι, υ differed in sound from the corresponding long voweis only in being less prolonged; ε and ο probably differed from η and ω also in being less open, a difference that is impossible to parallel in English as our short vowels are more open than the long vowels. α^: as a in Germ. hat. There is no true ă in accented syllables in English; the a of idea, aha is a neutral vowel. ε: as é in bonté; somewhat similar is a in bakery. η: as ê in fête, or nearly as e in where. ι^: nearly as the first e in meteor, eternal. ο: as o in Fr. mot, somewhat like unaccented ŏ in obey or phonetic (as often sounded). ω: as o in Fr. encore. Eng. ō is prevailingly diphthongal (o^{u}). υ was originally sounded as u in prune, but by the fifth century had become like that of Fr. tu, Germ. thür. It never had in Attic the sound of u in mute. After υ had become like Germ. ü, the only means to represent the sound of the old υ (oo in moon) was ου (25). Observe, however, that, in diphthongs, final υ retained the old υ sound.

24 D. In Lesbos, Boeotia, Laconia, possibly in Ionia, and in some other places, υ was still sounded οο after it became like Germ. ü in Attic.

25. Diphthongs.—The diphthongs were sounded nearly as follows:

αι as in Cairoαυ as ou in outηυ as ēh’-oo
ει as in veinευ as e (met) + oo (moon)ωυ as ōh’-oo
οι as in soilου as in ourangυι as in Fr. huit

In , , the long open vowels had completely overpowered the ι by 100 B.C., so that ι ceased to be written (5 a). The ι is now generally neglected in pronunciation though it may have still been sounded to some extent in the fourth century B.C.—The genuine diphthongs ει and ου (6) were originally distinct double sounds (ĕh’-i, ŏh’-oo), and as such were written ΕΙ, ΟΥ in the Old Attic alphabet (2 a): ΕΓΕΙΔΕ ἐπειδή, ΤΟΥΤΟΝ τούτων. The spurious diphthongs ει and ου (6) are digraphs representing the long sounds of simple ε (French é) and original υ. By 400 B.C. genuine ει and ου had become simple single sounds pronounced as ei in vein and ou in ourang; and spurious ει and ου, which had been written E and O (2 a), were now often written ΕΙ and ΟΥ. After 300 B.C. ει gradually acquired the sound of ei in seize. ευ was sounded like eh’-oo, ηυ and ωυ like ēh’-oo, ōh’-oo, pronounced rapidly but smoothly. υι is now commonly sounded as ui in quit. It occurred only before vowels, and the loss of the ι in ὑός son (43) shows that the diphthongal sound was disliked.

26. Consonants.—Most of the consonants were sounded as in English (1). Before ι, κ, γ, τ, ς never had a sh (or zh) sound heard in Lycia (Λυκία_), Asia (Ἀσία_). ς was usually like our sharp s; but before voiced consonants (15 a) it probably was soft, like z; thus we find both κόζμος and κόσμος on inscriptions. —ζ was probably = zd, whether it arose from an original σδ (as in Ἀθήναζε, from Ἀθηνανσ-δε Athens-wards), or from dz, developed from dy (as in ζυγόν, from (dyυγόν, cp. jugum). The z in zd gradually extinguished the d, until in the Hellenistic period (p. 4) ζ sank to z (as in zeal), which is the sound in Modern Greek.—The aspirates φ, θ, χ were voiceless stops (15 b, 16 a) followed by a strong expiration: π^{h}, τ^{h}, κ^{h} as in upheaval, hothouse, backhand (though here h is in a different syllable from the stop). Thus, φεύγω was π̔εύγω, θέλω was τ̔έλω, ἔχω was ἔ-κ̔ω. Cp. ἐφ᾽ for ἐπ) ῾ῷ, etc. Probably only one h was heard when two aspirates came together, as in ἐχθρός (ἐκτ̔ρός). After 300 A.D. (probably) φ, θ, and χ became spirants, φ being sounded as f (as in Φίλιππος Philip), θ as th in theatre, χ as ch in German ich or loch. The stage between aspirates and spirants is sometimes represented by the writing πφ (= pf), τθ, κχ, which are affricata.—The neglect of the h in Latin representations of φ, θ, χ possibly shows that these sounds consisted of a stop + h. Thus, Pilipus = Φίλιππος, tus = θύος, Aciles = Ἀχιλλεύς. Modern Greek has the spirantic sounds, and these, though at variance with classical pronunciation, are now usually adopted. See also 108.

26 D. Aeolic has σδ for ζ in ὔσδος (ὄζος branch). In late Laconian θ passed into ς (σηρίον θηρίον wild beast). In Laconian and some other dialects β became a spirant and was written for ϝ. δ became a spirant in Attic after Christ.


VOWEL CHANGE

27. Quantitative Vowel Gradation.—In the formation and inflection of words a short vowel often interchanges with its corresponding long vowel. Thus

SHORTαειου
LONG η (α_ after ε, ι, ρ, 31ηι_ωυ_
τι_μά-ωἐά-ωφιλέ-ωἱκά_νωδηλό-ωφύ-σις
I honourI permitI loveI comeI shownature
τι_μή-σωἐά_-σωφιλή-σωἵ_κα_νονδηλώ-σωφῦ-μα
futurefuturefutureimperf.futuregrowth

28. Difference in quantity between Attic and Epic words is due chiefly either to (1) metrical lengthening, or to (2) different phonetic treatment, as καλϝός, τινϝω become Epic κα_λός fair, τί_νω I pay (37 D. 1), Attic κα^λός, τι?́νω.

28 D. Metrical lengthening.—Many words, which would otherwise not fit into the verse, show in the Epic ει for ε, ου (rarely οι) for ο, and α_, ι_, υ_ for α, ι, υ. Thus, εἰνάλιος in the sea for ἐνάλιος, εἰαρινός vernal for ἐαρινός, ὑπείροχος eminent for ὑπέροχος, εἰλήλουθα have come for ἐλήλουθα, οὐλόμενος destructive, accursed for ὀλόμενος, οὔρεα mountains from ὄρος, Οὐλύμποιο of Olympus from Ὄλυμπος. ο before a vowel appears as οι in πνοιή breath. Similarly, ἠγάθεος very holy for ἀγάθεος; but ἠνεμόεις windy (from ἄνεμος) has the η of ὑπήνεμος under the wind (29), and τιθήμενος placing (for τιθέμενος) borrows η from τίθημι.

A short syllable under the rhythmic accent (‘ictus’) is lengthened metrically: (1) in words having three or more short syllables: the first of three shorts (οὐλόμενος), the second of four shorts (ὑπείροχος), the third of five shorts (ἀπερείσια boundless); (2) in words in which the short ictus syllable is followed by two longs and a short (Οὐλύμποιο). A short syllable not under the rhythmic accent is lengthened when it is preceded and followed by a long; thus, any vowel preceded by ϝ (πνείω breathe = πνεϝω), ι or υ before a vowel (προθυ_μί_ῃσι zeal).

29. The initial short vowel of a word forming the second part of a compound is often lengthened: στρατηγός general (στρατός army + ἄγειν to lead 887 d).

30. Attic η, α_.—Attic has η for original α_ of the earlier period, as φήμη report (Lat. fāma). Ionic also has η for original α_. Doric and Aeolic retain original α_ (φά_μα_).

a. This is true also of the α_ which is the result of early compensative lengthening, by which -ανσ-, -ασλ-, -ασμ-, and -ασν- changed to -α_σ-, -α_λ-, -α_μ-, and -α_ν-. (See 37 b.) But in a few cases like τά_ς for τάνς, and in πᾶσα for πάνσα (113) where the combination ανς arose at a later period, α_ was not changed to η. ὑφᾶναι for ὑφῆναι to weave follows τετρᾶναι to pierce.

b. Original α_ became η after υ, as φυή growth. In some words, however, we find α_.

30 D. 1. Doric and Aeolic retain original α_, as in μᾶλον apple (cp. Lat. mālum, Att. μῆλον), κᾶρυξ herald (Att. κῆρυξ). But Doric and Aeolic have original η when η interchanges with ε, as in τίθημι I place, τίθεμεν we place, μά_τηρ μα_τέρα mother, ποιμήν ποιμένι shepherd.

2. Ionic has η after ε, ι, and ρ. Thus, γενεή, σκιή, ἡμέρη.

31. In Attic alone this η was changed back to α_:

1. When preceded by a ρ; as ἡμέρα_ day, χώρα_ country. This appears to have taken place even though an ο intervened: as ἀκρόα_μα a musical piece, ἀθρόα_ collected.

EXCEPTIONS: (a) But ρϝη was changed to ρη: as κόρη for κορϝη maiden. (b) Likewise ρη, when the result of contraction of ρεα, remained: as ὄρη from ὄρεα mountains. (c) And ρση was changed to ρρη: as κόρρη for κόρση (79) one of the temples.

2. When preceded by ε or ι: as γενεά_ generation, σκιά_ shadow.

This change takes place even when the η is the result of the contraction of εα: as ὑγιᾶ healthy, ἐνδεᾶ lacking, for ὑγιῆ from ὑγιεςα, ἐνδεῆ from ἐνδεεςα; also, if originally a ϝ intervened, as νέα_ for νεϝα_ young (Lat. nova).

EXCEPTIONS: Some exceptions are due to analogy: ὑγιῆ healthy, εὐφυῆ shapely (292 d) follow σαφῆ clear.

32. In the choruses of tragedy Doric α_ is often used for η. Thus, μά_τηρ mother, ψυ_χά_ soul, γᾶ earth, δύστα_νος wretched, ἔβα_ν went.

33. The dialects frequently show vowel sounds that do not occur in the corresponding Attic words.

33 D. α for ε: ἱαρός sacred, Ἄρταμις (for Ἄρτεμις), τράπω turn Dor.; ε for α: θέρσος courage Aeol., ἔρσην male, ὁρέω see, τέσσερες four ( = τέτταρες) Ion.; α for ο: δια_κατίοι (for δια_κόσιοι) 200 Dor., ὐπά under Aeol.; ο for α: στρότος (στρατός) army, ὄν (ἀνά) up Aeol., τέτορες (τέτταρες) four Dor.; ε for η: ἕσσων inferior (ἥττων) Ion.; ε for ο: Ἀπέλλων Dor. (also Ἀπόλλων); ε for ει: μέζων greater Ion.; ε for ι: κέρνα_ν mix ( = κιρνάναι for κεραννύναι) Aeol.; ι for ε: ἱστίη hearth Ion., ἱστία_ Dor. (for ἑστία_), χρύ_σιος (χρύ_σεος) golden Aeol., θιός god Boeot., κοσμίω arrange Dor.; υ for α: πίσυρες four (τέτταρες) Hom.; υ for ο: ὄνυμα name Dor., Aeol., ἀπύ from Aeol.; ω for ου: ὦν accordingly Ion., Dor.

34. Transfer of Quantity.—ηο, ηα often exchange quantities, be coming εω, εα_. Thus, ληός (Epic λα_ός folk) becomes λεώς, as πόληος becomes πόλεως of a city; τεθνηότος τεθνεῶτος dead; βασιλῆα βασιλέα_ king.

34 D. Often in Ionic: Ἀτρεΐδεω from earlier Ἀτρεΐδα_ο son of Atreus, ἱκέτεω from ἱκέτα_ο suppliant. This εω generally makes a single syllable in poetry (60). The ηο intermediate between α_ο and εω is rarely found.

35. Qualitative Vowel Gradation.—In the same root or suffix we find an interchange among different vowels (and diphthongs) similar to the interchange in sing, sang, sung.

a. This variation appears in strong grades and in a weak grade (including actual expulsion of a vowel—in diphthongs, of the first vowel). Thus, φέρ-ω I carry, φόρ-ο-ς tribute, φώρ thief, φαρ-έ-τρα_ quiver, δί-φ ρ-ο-ς chariot (twocarrier), λείπ-ω I leave, λέ-λοιπ-α I have left, λιπ-εῖν to leave. The interchange is quantitative in φόρ-ο-ς φώρ (cp. 27).

b. When, by the expulsion of a vowel in the weak grade, an unpronounceable combination of consonants resulted, a vowel sound was developed to render pronunciation possible. Thus, ρα or αρ was developed from ρ between consonants, as in πα-τρά-σι from ατρ-σι (262); and α from ν, as in αὐτό-μα-το-ν for αὐτο-μṇ-τον automaton (acting of its own will), cp. μέν-ο-ς rage, μέ-μον-α I yearn. So in ὀνομαίνω name for ὀνομṇ-[ιγλιδε]ω; cp. ὄνομα.

c. A vowel may also take the place of an original liquid or nasal after a consonant; as ἔλυ_σα for ἐλυ_ς. This ρ, λ, μ, ν in b and c is called sonant liquid or sonant nasal.

36. TABLE OF THE CHIEF VOWEL GRADES

Strong GradesWeak Grade
1. 2.
a. ε: ο—or α
b. ει: οιι
c. ευ: ουυ
1. 2.
d. α_: ωα
e. η: ωε or α
f. ωο

a. ( ἐ-γεν-ό-μην I became: γέ-γον-α I am bornγί-γ ν-ο-μαι I become
( τρέπω I turn: τροπ-ή routἐ-τράπ-ην I was put to flight
b. πείθ-ω I persuade: πέ-ποιθ-α I trust (568πιθ-ανός persuasive
c. ἐλεύθσ-ο-μαι I shall go: ἐλ-ήλουθ-α I have goneἤλυθ-ο-ν I went (Epic)
d. φα_-μί (Dor., 30) I say: φω-νή speechφα-μέν we speak
e. ( τί-θη-μι I place: θω-μό-ς heapθε-τό-ς placed, adopted
( ῥήγ-νυ_-μι I break: ἔ-ρρωγ-α I have brokenἐ-ρράγ-η it was broken
f.δί-δω-μι I giveδί-δο-μεν we give

N. 1.—Relatively few words show examples of all the above series of grades. Some have five grades, as πα-τήρ, πα-τέρ-α, εὐ-πά-τωρ, εὐ-πά-τορ-α, πα-τ ρ-ός.

N. 2.—ε and ι vary in πετάννυ_μι πίτνημι spread out.


COMPENSATORY LENGTHENING

37. Compensatory lengthening is the lengthening of a short vowel to make up for the omission of a consonant.

The short vowelsαειου
are lengthened toα_ειι_ουυ_
Thus the formsτάν-ςἐ-μεν-σαἐκλιν-σατόνςδεικνυντ-ς
becomeτά_ςἔμειναἔκλι_νατούςδεικνύ_ς
theI remainedI leanedtheshowing

a. Thus are formed κτείνω I kill for κτεν-[ιγλιδε]ω, φθείρω I destroy for φθερ-[ιγλιδε]ω, δότειρα giver for δοτερ-[ιγλιδε]α, κλί_νω I lean for κλιν-[ιγλιδε]ω, ὀλοφύ_ρω I lament for ὀλοφυρ-[ιγλιδε]ω.

b. α becomes η in the σ-aorist of verbs whose stems end in λ, ρ, or ν, when not preceded by ι or ρ. Thus, ἐφαν-σα becomes ἔ-φηνα I showed, but ἐπεραν-σα becomes ἐπέρα_να I finished. So σελήϝη moon for σελασ-νη (σέλας gleam).

c. The diphthongs ει and ου due to this lengthening are spurious (6).

37 D. 1. Ionic agrees with Attic except where the omitted consonant was ϝ, which in Attic disappeared after a consonant without causing lengthening. Thus, ξεῖνος for ξένος stranger, εἵνεκα on account of (also in Dem.) for ἕνεκα, οὖρος boundary for ὅρος, κοῦρος boy for κόρος, μοῦνος alone for μόνος. These forms are also used generally in poetry.

2. Doric generally lengthens ε and ο to η and ω: ξῆνος, ὧρος, κῶρος, μῶνος. So μῶσα muse from μονσα for μοντ[ιγλιδε]α, τώς for τόνς the, ἠμί am for ἐσμι, χηλίοι 1000 for χεσλιοι, Ionic χείλιοι. (In some Doric dialects ϝ drops as in Attic (ξένος, ὅρος); and ανς, ονς may become α^ς, ος: δεσπότα^ς lords, τός the.)

3. Aeolic has αις, εις (a genuine diphth.), οις from ανς, ενς, ονς. Thus, παῖσα all (Cretan πάνσα, Att. πᾶσα), λύ_οισι they loose from λύ_οντι. Elsewhere Aeol. prefers assimilated forms (ἔμεννα, ἔκλιννα, ξέννος, ἔννεκα, ὄρρος, ἔμμι, χέλλιοι). But single ν, ρ are also found, as in κόρα_, μόνος. Aeolic has φθέρρω, κλίννω, ὀλοφύρρω; cp. 37 a.

38. α_ arises from αι upon the loss of its ι (43) in ἀ_εί always (from αἰεί), ἀ_ετός eagle (αἰετός), κλά_ει weeps (κλαίει), ἐλά_α_ olive-tree (ἐλαία_, cp. Lat. oliva).

a. This change took place only when αι was followed by ϝ (αἰϝεί, αἰϝετός from ἀϝιετος, κλαιϝει from κλαϝιει, 111, 128) or ι (Θηβα_ίς the Thebaïd from Θηβαιίς); and only when ϝ or ι was not followed by ο.


SHORTENING, ADDITION, AND OTHER VOWEL CHANGES

39. Shortening.—A long vowel may be shortened before another long vowel: βασιλέων from βασιλήων of kings, νεῶν from νηῶν of ships, τεθνεώς from τεθνηώς dead.

39 D. In the Ionic genitive of  stems (214 D. 8) -εων is from -ηων out of -α_ων. So in Ionic βασιλέα from βασιλῆα king. So even before a short vowel in Hom. ἥρω^ος, ἥρω^ι hero (cp. 148 D. 3).

40. A long vowel before ι, υ, a nasal, or a liquid + a following consonant was regularly shortened: να^ῦς from original να_υς ship, ἐμίγεν from ἐ-μιγη-ντ were mixed. The long vowel was often introduced again, as Ion. νηῦς ship.

41. Addition.—α, ε, ο are sometimes prefixed before λ, μ, ρ, ϝ (prothetic vowels). Thus, ἀ-λείφω anoint with oil, λίπος fat; ἐ-ρυθρός red (cp. Lat. ruber), ἐ-είκοσι from ἐ-ϝείκοσι; ὀ-μόργνυ_μι wipe; ἐ-χθές and χθές yesterday, ἴ-κτις weasel (κτιδέη weasel-skin helmet) are doubtful cases.

42. Development.—A medial vowel is sometimes developed from λ or ν between two consonants; thus αλ, λα; αρ, ρα; αν (35 b). Also (rarely) in forms like Ion. βάραγχος = Att. βράγχος hoarseness.

43. Disappearance.—The ι and υ of diphthongs often disappear before a following vowel. Thus, ὑός from υἱός son, βο-ός genitive of βοῦ-ς ox, cow. ι and υ here became semivowels ([ιγλιδε], [υγλιδε]), which are not written. Cp. 148 D. 3.

43 D. So in Hdt. κέεται for κείεται lies, βαθέα for βαθεῖα deep.

44. a. The disappearance of ε before a vowel is often called hyphaeresis (ὑφαίρεσις omission). Thus Ionic νοσσός chick for νεοσσός, ὁρτή for ἑορτή festival; ἀδεῶς fearlessly for ἀδεέως. Here ε was sounded nearly like y and was not written.

44 a. D. Cp. Hom. θεοί A 18 (one syllable). ι becomes [ιγλιδε] in Hom. πόλιος (two syllables) Φ 567. ι rarely disappears: δῆμον for δήμιον belonging to the people M 213.

b. The disappearance of a short vowel between consonants is called syncope (συγκοπή cutting up). Thus πί_πτω fall for πι-πετ-ω, πατρός father for πατέρος. Syncopated forms show the weak grade of vowel gradation (35, 36).

45. Assimilation.—A vowel may be assimilated to the vowel standing in the following syllable: βιβλίον book from βυβλίον (βύβλος papyrus).

a. On assimilation in distracted verbs (ὁρόω see, etc.), see 643 ff., 652.

1 * is voiceless.

2ς was voiced only when it had the ζ sound (26).

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