[B-Greek] Fwd: English "postscriptives"
cwconrad2 at mac.com
Sun Jan 18 12:47:26 EST 2009
I think that Nick (I hope you don't take offense at my referring to
you thus) intended his message to be sent to the list rather than to
me alone. His message first, then my response below it.
Begin forwarded message:
> From: Nikolaos Adamou <nikolaos.adamou at hotmail.com>
> Date: January 18, 2009 11:07:30 AM EST
> To: Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
> Subject: RE: [B-Greek] English "postscriptives"
> Carl Wrote:
>> 1. Postscript: The only way I've heard/seen "postscript" used in
>> reference to ancient Greek is when referring to an iota that is
>> printed on the same line following an alpha, eta, or omega as
>> opposed to the "subscript" iota:
>> iota subscript: φιλίᾳ/καλῇ/λόγῳ [FILIAi/KALHi/LOGWi]
>> iota postscript: φιλίαι/καλῆι/λόγωι [FILIAI/KALHI/
>> The only place I've actually seen iota postscript in printed Greek
>> texts is in text of Aeschylus or other older Greek writers from the
>> era when this iota following alpha/eta/omega was pronounced,
>> according to the prevalent theory of the history of ancient Greek
> What Carl discusses here is what in Greek is known as
> ὑπογεγραμμένη (hypogegrammeni) - iota subscript/
> postscript. Usually is seen in a dative case for articles/nouns/
> adjectives. Although this is the most common case, iota subscript
> exists in other cases too – I will not go further into this. When
> we use Greek in printed form, and we use upper case letters, mostly
> the subscript iota is written as a postscript as ΤΗι ΑΥΤΗι
> ΗΜΕΡΑι (ΤIi AFTIi IMERAi). But there are few printed texts
> give the ὑπογεγραμμένη (hypogegrammeni) in all upper
> case letter text as a subscript. I do not have access to hand
> written manuscripts at the place I am now for a comment on written
> morphology in manuscripts. With respect to pronunciation of
> ὑπογεγραμμένη (hypogegrammeni) in Greek chanting we
> have a note in the General (Musical) Theory by Chrysanthos that is
> preformed as an ἀτελῆς κατάληξις (atelis kataliksis
> – not complete ending – that is a small wave of the voice).
> Carl, it would be useful if you give us a comment about the
> existence of a ὑπογεγραμμένη (hypogegrammeni) in the
> root of words as in τῇ ᾠδῇ (ΤΙι ΟιDIi) as well as in the
> structure of verbs.
I have nothing whatsoever to say about how printed texts that display
the iota subscript below alpha, eta, or omega may be pronounced in the
orthodox liturgy -- that is altogether outside of my province and I
don't think it is a matter of concern to most B-Greekers.
My understanding of the orthographical convention of iota subscript is
1. The diphthongs that survived in regular usage in Classical and
Koine Greek were compounded of SHORT Alpha, Epsilon, and Omicron and
Iota or Upsilon;
2. On the other hand, there were in the older language LONG-vowel
diphthongs compounded of LONG Alpha, Eta, and Omega and Iota; it is
THESE diphthongs that historians of Greek orthography and
pronunciation believe were still being pronounced and written prior to
the Athenian spelling reform of 403 BCE; i.e., before 403 BCE
inscriptions show the diphthongs AI (long alpha + iota -- not the same
as the nom. pl. 1st decl. ending), HI and WI; these diphthongs are
what appear in the dative singular forms of first- and second-
declension nouns, e.g. EKKLHSIAI, BOULHI, LOGWI. They also appear in
older forms of some common nouns, e.g. WIDH (from earlier AOIDH, with
AO contracted to W), later WiDH; they also appear in older spellings
of contract verbs, e.g. AGAPAI (from AGAPAEI), later spelled AGAPAi.
3. According to Smyth § 5a, the Iota in these long-vowel diphthongs
(AI, HI, WI) ceased to be pronounced at some time before 100 BCE and
by 100 BCE were no longer being written with the "postscript Iota).
4. The Subscript Iota is a spelling convention which, according to
Smyth § 5a was not adopted until the 11th century CE; it has never
affected pronunciation since it was instituted; it is nothing more
than a conventional indication that these long vowels now spelled Ai,
Hi, Wi were originally long-vowel diphthongs compounded of long Alpha,
Eta, and Omega with Iota.
What is the most cock-eyed thing about this Iota-subscript convention
is that it was invented at least a millennium after these diphthongs
had become simple long vowels pronounced identically with other long
Alpha, Eta, and Omega vowels. It's roughly comparable to the
(presumably) unthinkable notion that in English in 2009 we should
start spelling the 2rd-singular present-tense verbs with an "-
est" (e.g. "you goest") while continuing to pronounce them without
adding any "-est").
So far as I'm concerned, all of this is primarily of antiquarian
interest. Perhaps it helps learners who are attempting to master the
paradigms to see those subscript-forms of the dative singular in noun
declensions, but it is a very artificial convention. I prefer to
recommend Randall Buth's method: learn to speak/hear EKKLHSIA, BOULH,
and LOGW as dative singular forms in sentences that use them properly.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
More information about the B-Greek