kudos (was: most looked-up words)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, December 9, 2004, 7:31|
On Wednesday, December 8, 2004, at 03:25 , Muke Tever wrote:
> On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 18:46:59 +0000, Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:
>>> which is itself a reanalysis of Greek _kudos_ [ku:dOs] 'glory',
>> neuter singular. [ku:dOs] was Doric Greek, [ky:dOs] was Attic & Koine,
>> ['kiDOs] is Byzantine & modern.
> Isn't it generally taken that the Ancient Greek short omicron, unusually,
> [o] rather than [O]?
Good point - yes, the secondary lengthening, spelled in early inscriptions
with just plain omicron and then later with omicron-upsilon, was
undoubtedly [o:] which rather suggests the short sound was indeed [o] in
the Classical period. So indeed [ku:dos] is early & Doric, [ky:dos] is
Ionic & Attic.
When [o:] shifted to [u:] which probably began as early as the late 5th
cent BCE and was certainly well establish, as Roman transcriptions show,
by the mid 4th cent BCE, then the contrast between the earlier long vowels[
o:] and [O:] had gone. I guess in the Koine there would have been quite a
bit of regional variation in the pronunciation of omicron between [o] and
[O]. Indeed, confusion in popular spelling between omicron and omega had
already begun as early as the 3rd cent BCE and was commonplace by the 2nd
cent CE. Whether it is indicative of the breakdown of phonemic vowel
length or not at this is unclear, but it does show a breakdown in any
phonemic distinction between [o] and [O].
On Tuesday, December 7, 2004, at 08:45 , Thomas R. Wier wrote:
> Ray wrote:
> On Tuesday, December 7, 2004, at 06:43 , Thomas R. Wier wrote:[snip]
>>> _kudo_ [k_hudo/@u] is a backformation from _kudos_ [k_hudo/@uz](pl.),
> Don't blame me! I'm a classicist enough to use a classicizing
I wasn't blaming you - just showing my horror both at the pronunciation
[k_hudouz] which diphthongizes the final vowel no good reason at all, and
for the false back formation.
>> neuter singular. [ku:dOs] was Doric Greek, [ky:dOs] was Attic &
>> Koine, and ['kiDOs] is Byzantine & modern.
I got the first two wrong - see above :)
> That may be, but the British schoolboys probably learnt the word
> from reading Homer. If so, then there's the question of whether
> the vowel had fronted yet in Attic/Ionic.
That is quite irrelevant. Whether schoolboys of the 19th cent met the word
in Homer, Plato, Thucydides or whatever has _no_ bearing on the
pronunciation - they were taught the same pronunciation for _all_ ancient
& Koine Greek and it ha little to do with actual Greek pronunciation. The
system used in Brit schools of the 19th & early 20th centuries is well
known; basically, you mentally transcribed it into Roman letters, so to
speak, and pronounced it like English!
So, for example, _nous_ "mind, intellect" was pronounced /naws/ and _naus_
"ship" was pronounced /nO:s/ and _kudos_ was pronounced /kju:dOs/.
Ach! indeed - but at least they knew the final vowel of _kudos_ was short
> (Well, Homeric dialect was a mix of many different dialects anyways.)
It is indeed - and comes to us through 5th cent BCE Athenian recensions -
but that had no bearing on the way schoolboys pronounced the stuff.
Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]