YI (was: Rare Phonetics)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, June 26, 2001, 17:06|
At 2:21 pm -0500 25/6/01, Danny Wier wrote:
>From: "Christophe Grandsire" <christophe.grandsire@...>
>| En réponse à Danny Wier <dawier@...>:
>| > French: nasal front mid-low rounded vowel [oe~]
>| And don't forget the dreaded /H/ (inverted lowercase h, the non-vocalic
>| equivalent of /y/) which exists in only a handful of languages all over the
>That is also found in Abkhaz, and it was in Classical Greek (_huios_
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:]?
In the Attic dialect the diphthong is found only before vowels, and Sidney
Allen in his "Vox Graeca" recommends the pronunciatuon [yjj]. Indeed, in a
footnote he specifically argues against prnouncing it as a rising diphthong.
One must remember that Greek upsilon was certainly [u] (short) or [u:]
(long) in the earliest Greek, and retained that pronunciation in the Doric
dialects; 'twas the Hellenic Koine that made the Attic-Ionic [y]/ [y:]
universal elsewhere. Therefore, the earliest pronunciation of this
diphthong is, surely, likely to have been [uj].
Michel Lejeune in his "Phonétique historique du mycénien et du grec ancien"
specifically warns against pronouncing the diphthong according the
conventional French way of _oui_ /wi/ [sic] or reading it with the sound of
_ui_ in _huis_ /Hi/; according to him, its earliest sound was like French
_houille_, i.e. /uj/.
He sees the development as [uj] >> [yj] >> [y:], with [yj] being unstable
and tending to monophthongize; I see no reason to doubt him.
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]