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Re: Diphthongs (was Re: 3 q's - X-Sampa)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, February 9, 2004, 6:32
On Sunday, February 8, 2004, at 09:44 AM, Muke Tever wrote:

> On Sat, 7 Feb 2004 23:22:46 +0200, M. Astrand <ysimiss@...> wrote:
>> Are there any natural languages that make the difference, having both >> /aj/ and /ai/? Or /aw/ and /au/? > > I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure that Greek kept some kind of > difference between /w/ (spelled digamma) and nonsyllabic /u/ (spelled > upsilon).
Not really - the -u diphthongs are also found spelled with digamma (wau) in those local alphabets that retained the letter.
> If only because digamma dropped in places upsilon didnt: cf. /newos/ > > /neos/ "new", beside /auos/ "dry" (and not */aos/, etc. > > [Historically /au/ in /auos/ had an /s/ after it, but this was > /h/ and > long gone before digamma fell, wasnt it?]
Yep - nevertheless, 'tis still odd. In fact medial -ws- normally disappred, the lost -s- remaining, if it could, as initial aspiration, e.g. *a:uso:s (dawn) --> *a:uho:s --> *ha:wo:s (Mycenaian a-wo-i-jo with derivative ending -jo-) --> Corinthian a:wo:s/ Homeric he:o:s/ Attic heo:s. Where /au/, /a:u/, /eu/ and /e:u/ are found in classical Greek before a vowel, the evidence is that the semivowel was geminate, i.e. the pronunciations were [aww], [a:ww] etc. _hauos_ (dry) is derived from *sausos (cf. Lithuanian: sausas) which would' ve given *hauhos. Now, as I suspect you know, The Greeks did not tollerate two aspirates in the same word, e.g. *sekho: --> *hekho: --> ekho: (I have) . All I can suggest is that maybe in this instance the second aspirate was assimilated, giving *hawwos. (I've consulted Michel Lejeune's "Phonétique historique du Mycénien et du Grec ancien" but he sheds no clear light on it.) Anyway, IMO the evidence is far too scant and unclear to posit a phonemic difference in ancient Greek between /aw/ and /au/. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760