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Koine Greek phonology

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Koine Greek phonology

The Greek language during the Koine Greek period, of about 300 BC to 300 AD, underwent pronunciation blending from almost identical to Classical Greek, while at the end it was closer to Modern Greek.

Contents

  • Overview 1
  • Issues with reconstructions 2
  • Sample reconstructed phonological systems 3
    • Boeotian, 4th century BC 3.1
      • Short vowels 3.1.1
      • Long vowels 3.1.2
      • Diphthongs 3.1.3
      • Stop and former-stop consonants 3.1.4
      • Other consonants 3.1.5
      • Accentuation 3.1.6
    • Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period 3.2
      • Short vowels 3.2.1
      • Long vowels 3.2.2
      • Diphthongs 3.2.3
      • Stop consonants 3.2.4
      • Other consonants 3.2.5
      • Accentuation 3.2.6
    • Egyptian Greek, early 1st century BC 3.3
      • Vowels 3.3.1
      • Diphthongs 3.3.2
      • Stop consonants 3.3.3
      • Other consonants 3.3.4
      • Accentuation 3.3.5
    • Popular pronunciation, 1st century ΒC – 2nd century AD 3.4
      • Stop consonants 3.4.1
      • Other consonants 3.4.2
    • 4th century AD 3.5
      • Vowels 3.5.1
      • Stop and former-stop consonants 3.5.2
      • Other consonants 3.5.3
      • Accentuation 3.5.4
  • Diachronic phonetic description 4
    • Loss of vowel quantity distinction 4.1
    • Transition to stress accent 4.2
    • Diphthongs 4.3
      • Spurious diphthongs 4.3.1
      • Short-first-element i diphthongs 4.3.2
      • Short-first-element u diphthongs 4.3.3
      • Long-first-element i diphthongs 4.3.4
      • Long-first-element u diphthongs 4.3.5
    • Single vowel quality 4.4
    • Loss of aspiration 4.5
    • Consonants 4.6
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7

Overview

The most significant changes during the Koine Greek period concerned vowels: these were the loss of vowel length distinction, the substitution of the Ancient Greek system of pitch accent with a stress accent system, and the monophthongization of diphthongs (except αυ and ευ). These changes seem widely attested from the 2nd century BC in Egyptian Greek, and in the early 2nd century AD in learned Attic inscriptions; it is therefore likely that they were already common in the 2nd century BC and generalized no later than the 2nd century AD.

Another change was the fricatization of the second element of diphthongs αυ and ευ. This change likely took place after the vocalic changes described above occurred. It is attested in Egyptian Greek starting from the 1st century AD, and seems to have been generalized in the late Roman period.

Another series of changes was the fricatization of voiced stops, which is widely attested in Egyptian Greek starting from the 1st century AD, but may have been generalized at a later date, possibly in the late Roman or early Byzantine periods.

Yet another series of changes was the fricatization of aspirated voiceless stops, which is attested in several locations from the 1st century AD, but seems to have been generalized at a later date, possibly in the late Roman or early Byzantine period.

A last change (possibly related to fricatization of aspirated stops) is the loss of /h/, which may have begun as soon as the late 1st century BC in Egyptian Greek, seems to have taken place no earlier than the 2nd century AD in learned Attic inscription, and had most probably been generalized by the late Roman times.

Issues with reconstructions

The primary issue comes from the diversity of the Greek-speaking world: evidence suggests that phonological changes occurred at different times according to location and/or speaker background. It appears that many phonetic changes associated with the Koine period had already occurred in some varieties of Greek during the Classical period.

An opposition between learned language and vulgar language has been claimed for the corpus of Attic inscriptions. Some phonetic changes are attested in vulgar inscriptions since the end of the Classical period; still they are not generalized until the start of the 2nd century AD in learned inscriptions. While orthographic conservatism in learned inscriptions may account for this, contemporary transcriptions from Greek into Latin might support the idea that this is not just orthographic conservatism, but that learned speakers of Greek retained a conservative phonological system into the Roman period. On the other hand, Latin transcriptions, too, may be exhibiting orthographic conservatism.

Interpretation is more complex when different dating is found for similar phonetic changes in Egyptian papyri and learned Attic inscriptions. A first explanation would be dialectal differences (influence of foreign phonological systems through non-native speakers); changes would then have happened in Egyptian Greek before they were generalized in Attic. A second explanation would be that learned Attic inscriptions reflect a more learned variety of Greek than Egyptian papyri; learned speech would then have resisted changes that had been generalized in vulgar speech. A last explanation would be that the orthography in learned Attic inscriptions was artificially conservative; changes may then have been generalized no later than they are attested in Egyptian papyri. All these explanations are plausible to some degree, but would lead to different dating for the generalization of the same changes.

To sum this up, there is some measure of uncertainty in dating of phonetic changes; indeed, the exact dating and the rapidity of the generalization of Koine Greek phonological changes are still matters of discussion among researchers. Orthographic variants in contemporary written sources is the most direct evidence, but it is not enough to date a change in every context. Testimony of grammarians and, to a lesser extent, transcriptions into foreign language are interesting because they can indicate which pronunciation was regarded as standard by learned speakers; however, it has been argued that transcriptions may in some cases be conventional rather than phonetic, and Greek grammarians appear to describe learned pronunciation while ignoring established vulgar pronunciation.

Sample reconstructed phonological systems

Boeotian, 4th century BC

Although it belongs to the late classical period rather than the Koine Greek period, Boeotian phonology is shown here as it prefigures several traits of later Koine phonology.

By the 4th century BC, Boeotian had monophthongized most diphthongs, and featured a fricative γ. Note that, in contrast with Ionic-Attic and Koine, υ had remained a back vowel in Boeotian (written ου). Apparently, the Boetian monophthongisation was not accompanied by a disposal of vowel length distinction.[1]

Starting from the end of the 4th century, vulgar Attic seems to display similar values (except for υ which was a front vowel).

Short vowels

Front unrounded Back rounded
Close /i/ /u/
Mid /e/ ε /o/ ο
Open /a/

Long vowels

Front Back
unrounded rounded rounded
Close /iː/ , ει /yː/ (?) οι /uː/ , ου, υι
Close-Mid /eː/ η   /oː/ ω
Open-Mid /ɛː/ αι    
Open /aː/

The /yː/ value for οι is attested later, in the 3rd century BC. An intermediate value of /øː/ has been suggested by some.

Diphthongs

/au/(?)
αυ
/eu/(?)
ευ

No reference has been found on the status of the αυ and ευ diphthongs in Boeotian.

Stop and former-stop consonants

Bilabial Dental Velar
voiceless /p/ π /t/ τ /k/ κ
voiced /b/ (?) β /d/ (?) δ /ɣ/ γ
aspirated voiceless /pʰ/ (?) φ /tʰ/ (?) θ /kʰ/ (?) χ

Fricative values for β, δ, φ, θ and χ are not unlikely, but are not attested in Boeotian at this time. (A fricative value for θ is attested in Laconian in the late 5th century BCE. It is also attested for Doric/Spartan in some plays by Aristophanes [late 5th century BCE].)

Other consonants

Nasals /m/ μ /n/ ν
(/ŋ/) γ
Liquids /l/ λ /r/ (~ [r̥ʰ] ?) ρ ()
Sibilant /s/ σ /z/ ζ, σ
Aspirate(?) /h/(?)

No reference has been found on the status of the aspirate in Boeotian at this period.

Accentuation

The tonal accent system of Ancient Greek probably remained relevant.

Learned pronunciation, 4th century BC until early Roman period

Until the beginning of Roman times, some learned speakers may have retained a conservative pronunciation that preserved many traits of the Ancient Greek phonological system. However, already in the 4th century BC, the popular dialect in Athens was moving in the direction of the Koine without differences in vowel length. See above. Even in Attic learned inscriptions, the learned pronunciation appears to have disappeared by the mid 2nd century AD.

The "learned pronunciation" described here is mostly pre-Koine Attic.

Short vowels

Front Back
unrounded rounded rounded
Close /i/ /y/  
Mid /e/ ε   /o/ ο
Open /a/

Long vowels

Front Back
unrounded rounded rounded
Close /iː/ , ει /yː/ /uː/ ου
Mid /eː/ η, ει   /oː/ ω
Open /aː/

The ει pseudo-diphthong was confused with ι in manuscripts, except before a vowel, where it was confused with η.

Diphthongs

Front offglide Back offglide
Short first element /ai/
αι
/oi/
οι
/yi/
υι
/au/
αυ
/eu/
ευ
 
(Long first element) (/aːi/)
()
(/oːi/)
()
  (/aːu/)
(ᾱυ)
(/eːu/)
(ηυ)
(/oːu/)
(ωυ)

Long first element diphthongs are written in parentheses because they were gradually monophthongized starting from the classical period; Dionysius Thrax mentions that they were no longer pronounced. By the 1st century BC the process of monophthongization was over (see diachronic description below for more details).

Stop consonants

Bilabial Dental Velar
voiceless /p/ π /t/ τ /k/ κ
voiced /b/ β /d/ δ /ɡ/ γ
aspirated voiceless /pʰ/ φ /tʰ/ θ /kʰ/ χ

Ancient grammarians and transcriptions suggest that voiced and aspirated stop consonants were retained until the beginning of the Roman period. The voiced stops became fricatives before the voiceless aspirates.

Other consonants

Nasals /m/ μ /n/ ν
(/ŋ/) γ
Liquids /l/ λ /r/ (~ [r̥ʰ] ?) ρ ()
Sibilant /s/ σ /z/ ζ, σ
Aspirate /h/

Some scholars regard [ŋ] as an allophone of [n], others as a separate phoneme, which is why it is put in parentheses.

What exact sound represented is a matter of discussion, but it should probably be regarded as an allophone of the /r/ notated by ρ.

ζ denotes a [zz] geminate.

Accentuation

"Learned speech" retained the tonal accent system of Ancient Greek.

Egyptian Greek, early 1st century BC

From the 2nd century BC, Egyptian Greek had monophthongized diphthongs and lost vowel length distinction.

Vowels

Front Back
unrounded rounded rounded
Close /i/ ι, ει /y/ υ, οι, υι /u/ ου
Close-Mid /e/ η    
Open-Mid /ɛ/ ε, αι   /o/ ο, ω
Open /a/ α

Diphthongs

/aw/(?)
αυ
/ew/(?)
ευ

The transition of αυ and ευ from [au], [eu] to [aβ], [eβ] was likely already in progress. A probable intermediate stage is therefore presented here.

Stop consonants

Bilabial Dental Velar
voiceless /p/ π /t/ τ /k/ κ
voiced /b/ β /d/ δ /ɡ/ γ
aspirated voiceless /pʰ/ φ /tʰ/ θ /kʰ/ χ

There is little evidence of fricative pronunciation of β and γ in Egyptian Greek before the 1st century AD. Fricative pronunciation for aspirates may have been generalized even later in Egyptian Greek.

Other consonants

Nasals /m/ μ /n/ ν
/ŋ/ γ
Liquids /l/ λ /r/ (~ [r̥ʰ] ?) ρ ()
Sibilant /s/ σ /z/ ζ, σ
(Aspirate) (/h/)

The aspirate may have already been in the process of disappearing in Egyptian Greek, which is why it is put in parentheses.

Accentuation

The accent had changed to a stress accent.

Popular pronunciation, 1st century ΒC – 2nd century AD

The loss of length in the popular 4th century BC Attic and the spread of Greek under Alexander the Great led to a reorganization of the vowels in the phonology of Koine Greek. There were no longer distinctions of long and short vowels in popular speech.

Front Back
unrounded rounded rounded
Close /i/ ι, ει /y/ υ, οι /u/ ου
Mid /e/ η    
Open Mid /ɛ/ ε, αι   /o/ ω, ο
Open /a/ α

Diphthongs collapsed into single vowels. Βy the 1st century BC the process of monophthongization was over (see diachronic description below for more details).

Stop consonants

Bilabial Dental Velar
voiceless /p/ π /t/ τ /k/ κ
voiced fricative /β/ β /ð/ δ /ɣ/ γ
voiceless fricative /ɸ/ φ /θ/ θ /x/ χ

By the 1st century the voiced consonants became fricatives [β, ð, ɣ]. The voiceless aspirates were starting to become fricatives in the north of the Mediterranean [ɸ, θ, x].

Other consonants

Nasals /m/ μ /n/ ν
/ŋ/ γ
Liquids /l/ λ /r/ ρ
Sibilant /s/ σ /z/ ζ, σ
(Aspirate) (/h/)

Aspiration had probably dropped out of popular speech.

Accentuation lost distinctions of high and high-low tones, leaving only a high tone for a "stress" accent.

4th century AD

By the 4th century AD, the loss of vowel length distinction and aspiration was most probably generalized. Η was often confused with ι (hence pronounced /i/?), but still occasionally with ε (presumably pronounced /e/, as it still is today in Eastern – i. e., Pontic and Cappadocian – Greek dialects). Fricative values for former voiced and aspirate stop consonants were probably already common; however, some dialects or learned speech, or both, may have retained voiced and aspirate stop consonants until the end of the 1st millennium.

Vowels

Front Back
unrounded rounded rounded
Close /i/ ι, ει, η /y/ υ, οι, υι /u/ ου
Mid /e/ ε, αι, some η (dialectal?)   /o/ ο, ω
Open /a/ α

The confusion between /y/ and /i/ had begun as early as the 2nd century AD in Egyptian Greek, but it was most probably not generalized yet.

Stop and former-stop consonants

Bilabial Dental Velar
voiceless /p/ π /t/ τ /k/ κ
voiced /β/ β /ð/ δ /ɣ/ γ
formerly aspirated voiceless /ɸ/ φ /θ/ θ /x/ χ

Other consonants

Nasals /m/ μ /n/ ν
/ŋ/ γ
Liquids /l/ λ /r/ ρ
Sibilant /s/ σ /z/ ζ, σ

Accentuation

The stress accent system was probably generalized.

Diachronic phonetic description

Loss of vowel quantity distinction

The ancient distinction between long and short vowels was lost in popular speech at the beginning of the Koine period. "By the mid-second century [BCE] however, the majority system had undergone important changes, most notably monophthongization, the loss of distinctive length, and the shift to a primary stress accent."[2]

From the 2nd century BC, spelling errors in non-literary Egyptian papyri suggest stress accent and loss of vowel length distinction. The widespread confusion between ο and ω in Attic inscriptions starting in the 2nd century AD was probably caused by a loss of vowel length distinction.[3]

Transition to stress accent

The means of accenting words changed from pitch to stress, meaning that the accented syllable had only one tone option (high) and was presumably louder and/or stronger.

From the 2nd century BC, spelling errors all over the Mediterranean suggest a loss of vowel length distinction, which is commonly thought to result in the loss of tonal accent. More evidence of stress accent appears in poetry starting from the late 2nd century AD – early 3rd century AD.[4]

Diphthongs

Spurious diphthongs

Before a consonant, the diphthong ει had started to become monophthongal in Attic as early as the 6th century BC, and pronounced like ε̄, probably as [eː]. From the late 4th century BC in Attic, the spurious diphthong (pseudo-diphthong) ει (now notating both etymological ει and etymological ε̄) came to be pronounced like , probably as [iː] (with the quality that the digraph still has in modern Greek).[5]

Before a vowel, the diphthong ει did not follow the same evolution as pre-consonantal ει.[6] One theory to explain this difference is that pre-vocalic ει may have kept a diphthongal value [ej] until the 4th century BC, the [j] being progressively perceived as a glide from [e] to the next vowel.[7] From the late 4th century BC, the pre-vocalic diphthong ει came to be confused with η, which implies that, unlike before a consonant, it retained the value [eː], probably with a loss of openness distinction with η;[6] for later evolution, refer to η below.

Starting from the 6th century in Attic, the diphthong ου had been monophthongized and confused with ο̄. While its initial value had probably been [oː], it must have evolved to [uː] quite early (possibly in the 6th century BC, and at any rate before 350 BC); this vowel quality has been preserved through modern times.[8]

Short-first-element i diphthongs

Diphthong αι was probably monophthongized at first as [ɛː]. This value is attested in Boeotian in the early 4th century BC with the Boeotian spelling of η for αι.[9] Confusion of αι with ε suggests that this transition had taken place by the mid 2nd century BC in Egyptian Greek.[10] Further confusion between αι and ε is found in Palestine in the early 2nd century,[11] and the confusion between αι and ε starting from c. 125 AD in Attic suggests that the monophthongization took place in the early 2nd century AD in learned Attic.[12] Allen thinks the transition to [e] (i.e. loss of openness distinction with ε) to have taken place later; while Allen is not very explicit on this point, this theory seems based on the observation that while both η and αι are confused with ε, αι is not confused with η.[13] However, not all scholars seem to agree.[14] No reference on this point of debate has been found.

Diphthong οι was monophthongized as [yː] or [y] (depending on when the loss of vowel length distinction took place).[15] This is attested in Boeotian in the early as the 3rd century BC with a spelling of υ for οι, but this was probably a dialectal trait.[16] Still, diphthong οι must have kept a diphthongal value at least in learned language until Roman times, as it is transcribed as oe in Latin. Further evidence of monophthongization is found from the early 1st century BC in Egyptian Greek, as well as in the early 2nd century AD in Palestine.[17] Monophthongization in learned language seems attested by a υ spelling for οι found in a text dated from early 2nd century AD and another from c. 240 AD.[18] (Look up note on evolution of υ for subsequent evolution.)

Koine Greek initially seems to feature diphthong υι, which had been progressively monophthongized to [yː] (written υ for ) in Attic from the 6th century BC to the 4th century BC but retained in other Greek dialects.[19] It was later monophthongized as [yː] or [y] (depending on when the loss of vowel length distinction took place). (The author of these lines has not found any reference on when this change took place, but this transition may be phonologically linked to, and at any rate is quite unlikely to have taken place after, the similar transition of οι to [yː]~[y]). (See discussion on υ below for subsequent evolution.)

Short-first-element u diphthongs

Diphthongs αυ and ευ lost their ancient value of [au] and [eu] and acquired a fricative pronunciation of [aβ] and [eβ] or [av] and [ev].[20] Confusion of αυ and ευ with αβ and εβ is found as early as the beginning of the 1st century AD in Egyptian papyri, which attests a fricative pronunciation.[21] Yet, this fricative pronunciation was likely not generalized at once; for instance, Jewish catacombs inscriptions still show a diphthongal value in the 2nd–3rd century AD.[22] Confusion of αυ and ευ with αβ and εβ becomes increasingly common in late Roman and early Byzantine times, which suggests that it had been generalized by this time.[23]

Long-first-element i diphthongs

Diphthong [24] had started to become monophthongal in Attic at least as early as the 4th century BC as it was often written ει and probably pronounced [eː]. In Koine Greek, most were therefore subjected to the same evolution as other classical [eː] and came to be pronounced [iː]. However, in some inflexional endings (mostly 1st declension dative singular and subjunctive 3S), the evolution was partially reverted from c. 200 BC, probably by analogy of forms of other cases/persons, to η and was probably pronounced [eː] at first (look up note on evolution of η for subsequent evolution).[25]

Other long-first-element ι diphthongs ( and [26] became monophthongal by the 2nd century BC, as they were written α and ω;[27] the former was probably pronounced [aː], while the later may have been pronounced [ɔː] at first if openness distinction had not been lost yet, and was eventually pronounced [oː] at any rate (look up discussion of single vowels ο and ω below for details).

Long-first-element u diphthongs

When augmented from ευ in verbs, diphthong ηυ had been altered to ευ from the 4th century BC.[28]

Other long-first-element υ diphthongs (ᾱυ, ηυ and ωυ) had become monophthongal from the 1st century BC, as they were written as α, η and ω;[29] the first was probably pronounced [aː], while the two later may have been pronounced [ɛː] and [ɔː] at first if openness distinction had not been lost yet ([eː] and [oː] otherwise), and were eventually pronounced [iː] and [oː] at any rate (look up discussions of single vowels ο and ω and single vowel η below for details).

Single vowel quality

Apart from η, simple vowels have better preserved their ancient pronunciation than diphthongs.

As noted above, at the start of the Koine Greek period, pseudo-diphthong ει before consonant had a value of [iː], whereas pseudo-diphthong ου had a value of [uː]; these vowel qualities have remained unchanged through Modern Greek. Diphthong ει before vowel had been generally monophthongized to a value of [eː] and confused with η, thus sharing later developments of η.

The quality of vowels α, ε̆ and ι have remained unchanged through Modern Greek, as [a], [e] and [i].

Vowels ο and ω started to be regularly confused in Attic inscriptions starting in the 2nd century AD, which may indicate that the quality distinction was lost around this time. However, this may as well indicate the loss of length distinction, with an earlier or simultaneous loss of quality distinction. Indeed, the fact that some less systematic confusion is found in Attic inscriptions from the 4th century BC may alternatively point to a loss of openness distinction in the 4th century BC, and the systematization of the confusion in the 2nd century AD would then have been caused by the loss of length distinction.[3]

The quality distinction between η and ε may have been lost in Attic in the late 4th century BCE, when pre-consonantic pseudo-diphthong ει started to be confused with ι and pre-vocalic diphthong ει with η.[30] C. 150 AD, Attic inscriptions started confusing η and ι, indicating the appearance of a [iː] or [i] (depending on when the loss of vowel length distinction took place) pronunciation that is still in usage in standard Modern Greek; however, it seems that some locutors retained the [eː]~[e] pronunciation for some time, as Attic inscriptions continued to in parallel confuse η and ε, and transcriptions into Gothic and, to some extent, old Armenian transcribe η as e.[31]

Koine Greek adopted for vowel υ the pronunciation [y] of Ionic-Attic. Confusion of υ with ι appears in Egyptian papyri from the 2nd century AD, suggesting a pronunciation of [i], but this is probably a regional trait.[32] Transcriptions into Gothic and, to some extent, Armenian suggest that υ still retained a [y] pronunciation, and the transition to [i] in mainstream Greek is thought to have taken place at the end of the 1st millennium.[33]

Loss of aspiration

The aspirate breathing (aspiration), which was already lost in the Ionic idioms of Asia Minor and the Aeolic of Lesbos,[34] later stopped being pronounced in Koine Greek. Spelling errors in Egyptian papyri suggest that this loss was already under way in Egyptian Greek in the late 1st century BC.[35] Transcriptions into foreign languages and consonant changes before aspirate testify that this transition must not have been generalized before the 2nd century AD, but transcriptions into Gothic show that it was at least well under way in the 4th century AD.[36]

Consonants

Among consonants, only β, γ, φ, θ, and ζ are certain to have changed from Classical Greek. Consonants δ (and, with lesser probability, χ) are likely to have changed, too, but there is no clear evidence of this in the Koine Greek period.

The consonant ζ, which had probably a value of [zd] in Classical Attic[37][38] (though some scholars have argued in favor of a value of [dz], and the value probably varied according to dialects – see Zeta (letter) for further discussion), acquired the sound [z] that it still has in Modern Greek, seemingly with a geminate pronunciation [zz] at least between vowels. Attic inscriptions suggest that this pronunciation was already common by the end of the 4th century BC.[39]

The digraph -σσ- is much more frequent than Attic -ττ- in Koine Greek.[40]

Consonants φ, θ, which were initially pronounced as aspirates [pʰ] and [tʰ], developed into fricatives [f][41] and [θ]. On the other hand, there is no specific evidence of the transition of consonant χ from aspirate [kʰ] to fricative [x]~[ç] in the Koine Greek period. There is evidence for fricative θ in Laconian in the 5th century BC,[42] but this is unlikely to have influenced Koine Greek which is largely based on Ionic-Attic. The first clear evidence for fricative φ and θ in Koine Greek dates from the 1st century AD in Pompeian inscriptions.[43] Yet, evidence suggest an aspirate pronunciation for θ in Palestine in the early 2nd century,[44] and Jewish catacomb inscriptions of the 2nd–3rd century AD suggest a pronunciation of [f] for φ, [tʰ] for θ and [kʰ] for χ, which would testify that the transition of θ to a fricative was not yet general at this time, and suggests that the transition of φ to a fricative may have happened before the transition of θ and χ.[45] Armenian transcriptions transcribe χ as [kʰ] until the 10th century AD, so it seems that χ was pronounced as aspirate by at least some speakers until then.[46]

It is not known with accuracy when consonants β, γ and δ, which were originally pronounced [b], [ɡ], [d], acquired the value of [v],[47] [ɣ], and [ð] that they have in Modern Greek.[48] Though some evidence of fricative γ after a front vowel go as far back as the 4th century BC, it does not seem to have been a standard pronunciation.[49] Ancient grammarians describe the plosive nature of these letters, β is transcribed as b, not v, in Latin, and Cicero still seems to identify β with Latin b.[50] Evidence from non-literary papyri suggests a fricative pronunciation in some contexts (mostly intervocalic) from about the 1st century AD; however, this pronunciation was not necessarily generalized yet.[51] Increasingly common confusion of αυ and ευ with αβ and εβ in late Roman and early Byzantine times suggests that the fricative pronunciation of β was common if not general by this time.[52] Yet, it is not before the 10th century AD that transcriptions of β as fricative v or γ as voiced velar l are found in Armenian, which suggests that the transition was not general before the end of the 1st millennium; however, previous transcriptions may have been learned transcriptions.[53]

See also

References

  1. ^ Verse texts in the Boeotian vernacular, such as the poetry of Corinna, retain vowel length.
  2. ^ Horrocks (1997:109)
  3. ^ a b Allen (1987:94)
  4. ^ Allen (1987:130)
  5. ^ Allen (1987:69–72). Diphthong 'ει' had already merged with ι in the 5th century BC in regions such as Argos or in the 4th century BC in Corinth (e.g. ΛΕΓΙΣ). It was also the case in Boeotia in the early 4th century BC (Allen, op. cit., page 74)
  6. ^ a b Allen (1987:72–73)
  7. ^ This perceived glide would explain why, in the 5th and 4th centuries BC in Attic, though there was no pre-vocalic ε̄ that ει may have been confused with, ει was often written as ε; indeed, while the confusion seems to have ceased after the 4th century BC, several etymological pre-vocalic ει remain in altered ε̆ form in Koine Greek. Such a perceived glide may actually be even older, since in Homeric verses etymological pre-vocalic ει is often written either as a short ε or a long ει. Allen, op. cit., page 83–84.
  8. ^ Allen (1987:75–78)
  9. ^ This spelling (e.g. IG 7.1672.6 Θειβῆος = Θηβαῖος, Corinna fr. 664 μέμφομη = μέμφομαι; cf. Lejeune (1972:230–1)) indicates that the transition of αι to [ɛː] had taken place in Boeotian but not in Attic in the early 4th century BC Allen (1987:74).
  10. ^ Randall Buth, Ἡ Κοινὴ Προφορά, page 3.
  11. ^ Buth, op. cit., page 3.
  12. ^ Allen (1987:79)
  13. ^ Allen (1987:79) The transition would then have taken place after the transition of η to [iː]~[i] was over in mainstream Greek, that is to say no earlier than the late Roman period or early Byzantine period.
  14. ^ Buth, op. cit., page 3.
  15. ^ with possible intermediate states [øj] and [øː]
  16. ^ Lejeune (1972:230–1), Allen (1987:81): e.g. IG 7.283 etc. τῦς ἄλλυς προξένυς = τοῖς ἄλλοις προξένοις,
  17. ^ Buth, op. cit., page 3.
  18. ^ Allen (1987:81)
  19. ^ Allen (1987:81), note 54
  20. ^ Comparable to the modern pronunciation of [av] and [ev] (partially assimilated to [af], [ef] before voiceless consonants θ, κ, ξ, π, ς, τ, φ, χ, and ψ, this assimilation being undated).
  21. ^ Buth, op. cit., page 4, note 8, citing Francis Thomas Gignac, A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods. Volume One: Phonology. Milan 1976, pages 68, note 1, and page 70.
  22. ^ Allen (1987:80), note 47
  23. ^ Buth, op. cit., page 4, note 8, citing Horrocks (1997:111)
  24. ^ note that the subscript ι notation is medieval, the ι is adscript in ancient texts where it appears
  25. ^ Allen (1987:85–86)
  26. ^ once again, the subscript notation is medieval
  27. ^ Allen (1987:86). However, when augmented from οι in verbs, diphthong had been altered to οι instead (Allen 1987:87), note 70
  28. ^ Allen (1987:87), note 70
  29. ^ Allen (1987:87)
  30. ^ Allen (1987:73). This evolution had probably happened by the early 4th century BCE in Boeotian but definitively not in Attic, as shown by e.g. Boeotian πατειρ vs Attic πατήρ (Allen 1987:74)
  31. ^ Allen (1987:74–75)
  32. ^ Allen (1987:68)
  33. ^ Allen (1987:68), note 14
  34. ^ Lejeune (1972:281–2)
  35. ^ Randall Buth, op. cit., page 5–6, citing Gignac, op. cit., page 137–138.
  36. ^ Allen (1987:53)
  37. ^ Allen (1987:56)
  38. ^ Allen (1987:58), note 115
  39. ^ Allen (1987:58)
  40. ^ Allen (1987:13–14)
  41. ^ An intermediate stage of [ɸ] has been proposed by some, but there is no specific evidence to support this (Allen 1987:25)
  42. ^ e.g. Aristophanes Εἰρήνη, l. 214, σιώ for θεώ (Allen 1987:26)
  43. ^ Particularly meaningful is lasfe found for λάσθη (Allen 1987:23)
  44. ^ Randall Buth, op. cit., page 4
  45. ^ Allen (1987:24)
  46. ^ Allen (1987:25)
  47. ^ An intermediate stage of [β] has been proposed by some, cf. Horrocks (1997:112)
  48. ^ except when preceded by a nasal consonant (μ, ν, γ); in that case, they retain their ancient sounds (e.g. γαμβρός > γαμπρός [ɣamˈbros], ἀνήρ, ἄνδρα > άντρας [ˈandras], ἄγγελος > άγγελος[ˈaŋɟelos])
  49. ^ Allen (1987:31–32)
  50. ^ Allen (1987:31)
  51. ^ Allen (1987:32), note 46
  52. ^ Randall Buth, op. cit., page 4, note 8, citing Horrocks (1997:111)
  53. ^ Allen (1987:32), note 45

Bibliography

  • Allen, W. Sidney (1987), Vox Graeca: the pronunciation of Classical Greek (3rd ed.), Cambridge: University Press,  
  • Buth, Randall (2008), Living Koine Greek, Part One, Jerusalem: Biblical Language Center,  
  • Buth, Randall (2008), Ἡ κοινὴ προφορά: Notes on the Pronunciation System of Phonemic Koine Greek (PDF) 
  • Gignac, Francis (1976), A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods: Vol. 1 Phonology, Milan: Instituto Editoriale Cisalpino-La Goliardica,  
  • Horrocks, Geoffrey (1997), Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers, London and New York: Longmans,  
  • Lejeune, Michel (1972), Phonétique historique du mycénien et du grec ancien (2nd ed.), Paris: Éditions Klincksieck 
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