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Re: Oops-silon (was: Rare Phonetics)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 27, 2001, 4:58
At 1:07 pm -0500 26/6/01, Justin Mansfield wrote:
>On Tue, 26 Jun 2001 18:05:19 +0000, Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...> >wrote: > >>At 2:21 pm -0500 25/6/01, Danny Wier wrote:
>>>That is also found in Abkhaz, and it was in Classical Greek (_huios_ >>>"son", for >>>example). >> >>On what evidence? >> >>As all other diphthongs were falling diphthongs in ancient Greek, I >would >>have thought [yj] is much more likely. Inscriptions show that from the >the >>6th cent. BC onwards the diphthong tends to monophthongize to written >plain >>upsilon; this surely makes more sense if it was [yj] >> [y:], rather >than >>[Hi] >> [y:]? >> > > I agree. A better example would have been the word for gospel, which >may have been pronounced [eHaNge_Hlion]... though there's some dispute >as to whether the upilon was pronounced as [H] or [w] when used as an >offglide...
Is there? I know of no evidence that the semivocalic part of the diphthongs shifted from back rounded to front rounded when /u/ shifted to /y/. Indeed, it is noteworthy, I think, that in Ionia where the shift /u/ >> /y/ began, we find spellings like _aotoi_ for _autoi_, _Glaokos_ for _Glaukos_, _pheogeto:_ for _pheugeto:_ etc. Clearly these scribes were felling unconfortable using the new ysilon in these diphthongs and resorted to {ao} = /aw/ etc. Yet most Greeks came to accept {u} = /y/, but {au} = /aw/. That the Romans consistently (apart from early oral borrowings from Doric) wrote initial and post-consonantal upsilon with {y}, but always wrote the diphthongs {au} and {eu} and never as *{ay} or *{ey} surely is proof enough that the second element was [w], not [H]. Also the Byzantine & modern Greek [v] surely suggest [w]; the early spelling with wau (digamma) in those dialects certainly confirm the earliest sound as [w]. Indeed, the confusions in spelling between -eud- & -ebd- and between -aud- and -abd- as early as the 3rd cent. BC in Boitia surely show that the shift towards the Byzantine pronunciation had already begun by the Hellenistic period. A shift of /aw/ >> /av/, I understand; a shift /aw/ >> /aH/ >> /av/ I find more difficult and, indeed, find no evidence for it. In short, I know of no evidence that [H] occurred in ancient Greek. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================