|æ| and |œ| (was: Hebrew?)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, October 2, 2004, 7:13|
On Friday, October 1, 2004, at 12:05 , Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Quoting Rodlox <Rodlox@...>:[snip]
>> the sounds of Latin/Classical Greek/Hebrew.
> Well, Classical Greek and Hebrew aren't normally written in the Latin
> and no transliteration I've seen employ the ae- and oe-ligatures, unless
> count the traditional latinization of Greek names,
..and that is only a tradition that goes back to the Renaissance. In the
Classical Latin they were written |ae| and |oe|. Ligatures, it is true,
are found in informal inscriptions and in codices; but these ligatures of
things like OR are as common as AE and AV and others. Thee was no
consistent system - it depended upon space & whim :)
> in which they correspond to
> Classical Greek /aj/ and /oj/ (which in modern Greek has gone to /e/ and
..and which the Greeks write and still do write as AI and OI respectively.
> In Classical Latin, they were, of course, similarly /aj/ and /oj/,
> pronounced [aj] and [oj] or thereabouts.
Yep - similar to the vowels in English 'buy' and 'boy'.
> Already in Antiquity, however, they
> went to [e]-like sounds, w
Yes - by the 4th cent CE |ae| had become [E} and |oe| ha become [e].
> ith the result that in Medieval Latin we commonly see
> _letus_ and _pena_ for Classical _laetus_ and _poena_.
That spelling with just |e| was the norm in the Middle Ages. The humanists
of the Renaissance wanted to restore the Classical spelling, but still
pronounce the sounds simply as /e/; the spellings |æ| and |œ| were, I
guess, a compromise. But they were used in the spelling of _Latin_, not
Greek - and the sound they represented was hardly an innovation! Modern
texts of Old English spell 'ash' with |æ| which denoted /æ/ as opposed to
plain |a| which denoted /a/. I have always assumed that the letters were
written as a ligature by Old English scribes, but I am not sure - there
are others on the list that can tell us whether they did or not. But if
they did, then we could say |æ| was an Old English innovation.
On Friday, October 1, 2004, at 10:08 , Philip Newton wrote:
> On Fri, 1 Oct 2004 10:24:35 +0200, Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>
>> On Oct 1, 2004, at 10:59 AM, Rodlox wrote:[snip]
>> So the question is, what *sounds* do you mean by AE and OE? I can
>> think of a number of possibilities for each one, based on their use in
>> Latin, Old English, Modern English, French, and other languages.
>>> the sounds of Latin/Classical Greek/Hebrew.[snip]
>> Okay, i don't know about Greek
> Greek, of course, did not use the Latin alphabet :) so there are no ae
> or æ letters/combinations.
> However, the combinations alpha-epsilon and omicron-epsilon aren't
> common, either; perhaps you are referring to alpha-iota and
> omicron-iota? AFAIK, these typically turn into "ae" and "oe" when such
> words are borrowed into Latin.
Yep - spot on!
>> but from what i've read, in Latin, |ae|
>> and |oe| (sometimes spelled ligature'd) represented /aj/ and /oj/, i.e.
>> diphthongs beginning with /a/ (for AE) and /o/ (for OE) and ending at
>> /i/. Hebrew does have these sounds.
> I believe those are the values in Ancient Greek as well, for |ai| and
Indeed they were.
> (I think |oi| later became something like [y]; it's now [i]
In fact Y and OI did become pronounced the same, presumably [y], by the
Hellenistic period and both are now, as you say, [i] (phonemically /i/).
> in Modern Greek, while |ai| is [E].)
Yep - phonemically /e/.
> Then there are also alpha with iota subscript and omega with iota
> subscript (e.g. in Ha(i)dês or O(i)deion); I'm not sure how those
> combinations are pronounced.
The writing of the iota as subscript was a Byzantine practice. The
ancients wrote the iota after the letter thus AI and ΩI. The ancient
pronunciation was [a:j] and [O:j], the first being similar to modern Dutch
|aai|. The sounds appear to have become simple long vowels before the end
of the BCE era, and were certainly so by the Byzantine era.
> (Modern Greek ignores the subscript [and
> doesn't even write it any more] and simply pronounces them [a] and
They were still written in the Katharevousa variety of modern Greek. But
modern practice since the 1980s has been to drop the subscripts and the
'breathings' on initial vowels and drop the grave & circumflex accents and
use only the acute accent to denote stress.
But these sounds with 'iota subscript' were not normally ever written as
|æ| or |œ| when Romanized.
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" ]