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48. Contraction unites in a single long vowel or diphthong two vowels or a vowel and a diphthong standing next each other in successive syllables in the same word.

a. Occasion for contraction is made especially by the concurrence of vowel sounds which were once separated by ς, [υγλιδε] (ϝ), and [ιγλιδε] (17, 20 a).

The following are the chief rules governing contraction:

49. (I) Two vowels which can form a diphthong (5) unite to form that diphthong: γένεϊ γένει, αἰδόϊ αἰδοῖ, κλήϊθρον κλῇθρον.

50. (II) Like Vowels.—Like vowels, whether short or long, unite in the common long; εε, οο become ει, ου (6): γέραα γέρα_, φιλέητε φιλῆτε; ἐφίλεε ἐφίλει, δηλόομεν δηλοῦμεν.

a. ι is rarely contracted with ι (ὀφι ¨ ιδιον ὀφί_διον small snake) or υ with υ (ὕ_ς son in inscriptions, from ιύς υἱός, 43).

50 D. ι ¨ ι ι_ occurs chiefly in the Ionic, Doric, and Aeolic dative singular of nouns in -ις (268 D.), as in πόλιι πόλι_; also in the optative, as in φθι-ι_-το φθῖτο.

51. (III) Unlike Vowels.—Unlike vowels are assimilated, either the second to the first (progressive assimilation) or the first to the second (regressive assimilation).

a. An o sound always prevails over an a or e sound: ο or ω before or after α, and before η, forms ω. οε and εο form ου (a spurious diphthong, 6). Thus, τι_μάομεν τι_μῶμεν, αἰδόα αἰδῶ, ἥρωα ἥρω, τι_μάω τι_μῶ, δηλόητε δηλῶτε; but φιλέομεν φιλοῦμεν, δηλόετον δηλοῦτον.

b. When α and ε or η come together the vowel sound that precedes prevails, and we have α_ or η: ὅραε ὅρα_, τι_μάητε τί_μᾶτε, ὄρεα ὄρη.

c. υ rarely contracts: υ ¨ ι υ_ in ἰχθύ_διον from ἰχθυίδιον small fish; υ ¨ ε strictly never becomes υ_ (273).

52. (IV) Vowels and Diphthongs.—A vowel disappears before a diphthong beginning with the same sound: μνάαι μναῖ, φιλέει φιλεῖ, δηλόοι δηλοῖ.

53. A vowel before a diphthong not beginning with the same sound generally contracts with the first vowel of the diphthong; the last vowel, if ι, is subscript (5): τι_μάει τι_μᾷ, τι_μάοιμεν τι_μῷμεν, λείπεαι λείπῃ, μεμνηοίμην μεμνῴμην.

a. But ε ¨ οι becomes οι: φιλέοι φιλοῖ; ο ¨ ει, ο ¨ become οι: δηλόει δηλοῖ, δηλόῃ δηλοῖ.

54. Spurious ει and ου are treated like ε and ο: τι_μάειν τι_μᾶν, δηλόειν δηλοῦν, τι_μάουσι τι_μῶσι (but τι_μάει τι_μᾷ and δηλόει δηλοι_, since ει is here genuine; 6).

55. (V) Three Vowels.—When three vowels come together, the last two unite first, and the resulting diphthong may be contracted with the first vowel: thus, τι_μᾷ is from τι_μα-ῃ out of τι_μα-εςαι; but Περικλέους from Περικλέεος.

55 D. In Hom. δεῖος of fear from δέες-ος the first two vowels unite.

56. Irregularities.—A short vowel preceding α or any long vowel or diphthong, in contracts of the first and second declensions, is apparently absorbed (235, 290): χρύ_σεα χρυ_σᾶ (not χρυ_σῆ), ἁπλόα ἁπλᾶ (not ἁπλῶ), by analogy to the α which marks the neuter plural, χρυ_σέαις χρυ_σαῖς. (So ἡμέας ἡμᾶς to show the -ας of the accus. pl.) Only in the singular of the first declension does εα_ become η (or α_ after a vowel or ρ): χρυ_σέα_ς χρυ_σῆς, ἀργυρέᾳ ἀργυρᾷ. In the third declension εεα becomes εα_ (265); ιεα or υεα becomes ια_ (υα_) or ιη (υη). See 292 d.

Various special cases will be considered under their appropriate sections.

57. The contraction of a long vowel with a short vowel sometimes does not occur by reason of analogy. Thus, νηΐ (two syllables) follows νηός, the older form of νεώς (275). Sometimes the long vowel was shortened (39) or transfer of quantity took place (34).

58. Vowels that were once separated by ς or [ιγλιδε] (20) are often not contracted in dissyllabic forms, but contracted in polysyllabic forms. Thus, θεςός god, but Θουκυ_δίδης Thucydides (θεός ¨ κῦδος glory).


[After ει or ου, gen. means genuine, sp. means spurious.]

α ¨ α= α_γέραα= γέρα_
α_ ¨ α= α_λᾶας= λᾶς
α ¨ α_= α_βεβάα_σι= βεβᾶσι
α ¨ αι= αιμνάαι= μναῖ
α ¨ = α?μνάᾳ= μνᾷ
α ¨ ε= α_τι_μάετε= τιμᾶτε
α ¨ ει (gen.)= α?τι_μάει= τι_μᾷ
α ¨ ει (sp.)= α_τι_μάειν= τι_μᾶν
α ¨ η= α_τι_μάητε= τι_μᾶτε
α ¨ = α?τι_μάῃ= τι_μᾷ
α ¨ ι= αικέραϊ= κέραι
α_ ¨ ι= α?ῥα_ί_τερος= ῥᾴτερος
α ¨ ο= ωτι_μάομεν= τι_μῶμεν
α ¨ οι= τι_μάοιμι= τιμῷμι
α ¨ ου (sp.)= ωἐτι_μάεςο55
= ἐτι_μῶ
α ¨ ω= ωτι_μάω= τι_μῶ
ε ¨ α= ητείχεα= τείχη
= α_ὀστέα= ὀστᾶ56
ε ¨ α_= ηἁπλέα_= ἁπλῆ
ε ¨ αι= λύ_εαι= λύ_ῃ
whence λύ_ει
= αιχρυ_σέαις= χρυ_σαῖς
ε ¨ ε= ει (sp.)φιλέετε= φιλεῖτε
ε ¨ ει (gen.)= ει (gen.)φιλέει= φιλεῖ
ε ¨ ει (sp.)= ει (sp.)φιλέειν= φιλεῖν
ε ¨ η= ηφιλέητε= φιλῆτε
ε ¨ = φιλέῃ= φιλῇ
ε ¨ ι= ει (gen.)γένεϊ= γένει
ε ¨ ο= ου (sp.)φιλέομεν= φιλοῦμεν
ε ¨ οι= οιφιλέοιτε= φιλοῖτε
ε ¨ ου (sp.)= ουφιλέουσι= φιλοῦσι
ε ¨ υ= ευἐΰ= εὖ
ε ¨ ω= ωφιλέω= φιλῶ
ε ¨ = χρυ_σέῳ= χρυ_σῷ
η ¨ αι= λύ_ηςαι= λύῃ
η ¨ ε= ητι_μήεντος= τι_μῆντος
η ¨ ει (gen.)= ζήει= ζῇ
η ¨ ει (sp.)= ητι_μήεις= τι_μῆς
η ¨ η= ηφανήητε= φανῆτε
η ¨ = ζήῃ= ζῇ
η ¨ οι= μεμνηοίμην=
η ¨ ι= κληΐς= κλῇς
ι ¨ ι= ι_Χίιος= Χῖος
ο ¨ α= ωαἰδόα= αἰδῶ
= α_ἁπλόα= ἁπλᾶ
ο ¨ ε= ου (sp.)ἐδήλοε= ἐδήλου
ο ¨ ει (gen.)= οιδηλόει= δηλοῖ
ο ¨ ει (sp.)= ουδηλόειν= δηλοῦν
ο ¨ η= ωδηλόητε= δηλῶτε
ο ¨ = οιδηλόῃ= δηλοῖ
= δόῃς= δῷς
ο ¨ ι= οιἠχόϊ= ἠχοῖ
ο ¨ ο= ου (sp.)πλόος= πλοῦς
ο ¨ οι= οιδηλόοιμεν= δηλοῖμεν
ο ¨ ου (sp.)= ου (sp.)δηλόουσι= δηλοῦσι
ο ¨ ω= ωδηλόω= δηλῶ
ο ¨ = πλόῳ= πλῷ
υ ¨ ι= υ_ἰχθυίδιον= ἰχθύ_διον
υ ¨ υ= υ_ὑύς (for υἱός= ὕ_ς
ω ¨ α= ωἥρωα= ἥρω
ω ¨ ι= ἥρωι= ἥρῳ
ω ¨ ω= ωδώω (Hom.)= δῶ

N.—The forms of ῥι_γόω shiver contract from the stem ῥι_γω- (yielding ω or ).

59 D. Attic contracts more, Ionic less, than the other dialects. The laws of contraction often differ in the different dialects.

1. Ionic (Old and New) is distinguished by its absence of contraction. Thus, πλόος for πλοῦς voyage, τείχεα for τείχη walls, ὀστέα for ὀστᾶ bones, ἀοιδή for ᾠδή song, ἀεργός for ἀ_ργός idle. The Mss. of Hdt. generally leave εε, εη uncontracted; but this is probably erroneous in most cases. Ionic rarely contracts where Attic does not: ὀγδώκοντα for ὀγδοήκοντα eighty.

2. εο, εω, εου generally remain open in all dialects except Attic. In Ionic εω is usually monosyllabic. Ionic (and less often Doric) may contract εο, εου to ευ: σεῦ from σέο of thee, φιλεῦσι from φιλέουσι they love.

3. αο, α_ο, αω, α_ω contract to α_ in Doric and Aeolic. Thus, Ἀτρείδα_ from Ἀτρείδα_ο, Dor. γελᾶντι they laugh from γελάοντι, χωρᾶν from χωρά_ων of countries. In Aeolic οα_ α_ in βα_θόεντι (Ion. βωθόεντι) = Att. βοηθοῦντι aiding (dative).

4. Doric contracts αε to η; αη to η; αει, αῃ to . Thus, νί_κη from νί_καε conquer! ὁρῇ from ὁράει and ὁράῃ; but α_ε α_ (ἅ_λιος from ἀ_έλιος, Hom. ἠέλιος sun).

5. The Severer (and earlier) Doric contracts εε to η, and οε, οο to ω. Thus, φιλήτω from φιλεέτω, δηλῶτε from δηλόετε, ἵππω from ἵππο-ο (230 D.); the Milder (and later) Doric and N. W. Greek contract to ει, and ου. Aeolic agrees with the Severer Doric.

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