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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.

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