[B-Greek] Orthography of consonantal iota (correction)

Carl W.Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Oct 25 06:25:31 EDT 2007


On Oct 25, 2007, at 6:06 AM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

>
> On Oct 24, 2007, at 7:36 PM, Kevin Riley wrote:
>
>> Sydney Allen in his book Vox Graeca also has a somewhat fuller
>> answer that
>> those who like details may enjoy.  The consonantal /j/ was
>> represented in
>> Mycenaean Greek, and in virtually all the places it was surmised to
>> have
>> existed before the translation of Linear B texts.  It has always
>> puzzled me
>> why the Greeks did not represent /j/ consistently by I, and the only
>> explanation that makes sense is that it had been lost at the
>> beginning of
>> words before the adoption of the alphabet, and elsewhere its
>> existence was
>> obvious and did not need to be represented.
>
> Kevin, I'm wondering just WHERE in the extant ancient Greek texts the
> existence of consonantal iota "may have been obvious and did not need
> to be represented." It is my understanding that consonantal iota did
> indeed evanesce sometime before the emergence of alphabetic writing
> in the Phoenician-derived characters. The consonantal iota is
> certainly a key element in linguistic reconstructions of the pre-
> history of the language: I suppose most students of Greek are
> familiar with the importance of consonantal iota in the formation of
> a great number of omega-type verbs (e.g. BAINW < BAN-yW, where it's
> assumed that the "y" vocalized and then metathesized so that BAN-yW
> became BAINW); the -yW (or perhaps more accurately -yO/E- infix) is
> said to have played an underlying role in the formation of the
> numerous -TT- or -SS- verbs (Attic -TT-, Ionic and Koine -SS-, as
> FULATTW/FULASSW) built upon guttural stems (FULAK-yW --> FULASS-W and
> of -PTW verbs (e.g. BLAPTW, NIPTW from BLAB-yW, NIF-yW) built upon
> labial stems.
>
> One very important verb appears to be based upon an iota-consonant
> root, although I don't know if this is a matter of universal
> consensus: hIHMI, more commonly seen in compound verbs (AFIHMI, later
> AFIW) than in the simplex, appears to have been in proto-Greek yIyH-
> MI (perhaps cognate with Latin IACIO/IECI). According to theoretical
> reconstruction, the root was -yH-; the root was reduplicated to
> produce the present stem yIyH-; then at some point in the era between
> Mycenean (Linear B) and alphabetic representation the intervocalic -
> y- between I and H evanesced, while the initial y preceding the I
> shifted over to an aspirate that is represented in historical Greek
> as a rough breathing: hI from yI (that's the same thing that happened
> to initial S -- as in hISTHMI from an original present stem that was
> presumably SI-STH-, the initial S shifting into an aspirate while the
> medial S evanesced.

My error here: while medial S evanesced when vocalic, it survived in  
this instance as the initial consonant in the syllable STH.

>
>>   I am now curious as to whether,
>> like /w/, it was used in some of the dialects.
>>
>> Kevin Riley
>>
>> -------Original Message-------
>>
>> From: George F Somsel
>> Date: 25/10/2007 6:48:16 AM
>>
>>
>> Our illustrious leader answered this some years ago.
>>
>> http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/archives/96-12/0819.html
>>
>> George
>> Gfsomsel
>>
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>
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Ret)
>
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
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Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Ret)




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