Division of words into syllables

James Ernest jernest at hendrickson.com
Tue Jul 3 11:06:49 EDT 2001

Smyth discusses the division of Greek words into syllables for the purpose
of breaking words at line endings -- and also pronunciation, but who cares
about that?  ;-) -- in para. 140 (page 35).  Goetchius (The Language of the
New Testament, p. 318 n. 2) has a simpler restatement of basically the same
rules (he ditches Smyth's [i.e., the ancients'] weasling about sigmas
followed by other consonants).  

Here's how Goetchius puts it:
(a) A single consonant goes with the following vowel:
(b) Any group of consonants that can begin a word (in Greek) goes with the
following vowel:
(c) A consonant plus M or N goes with the following vowel:
(d) Other consonant groups are divided:
(e) Compounds are divided at the point of junction:

My questions:
(1) Does anyone know of a fuller or better discussion (i.e., explicit and
unambiguous rules that correspond to somebody's actual practice)?  I find
nothing in BDF; my Moulton-Howard morphology is on loan, but I could
probably scrounge another somewhere.
(2) Where might I find a list of all consonant combinations that can begin a
word (needed for rule b in both Smyth and Goetchius).
(3) I suppose there's no reliable way to automate rule e....

James D. Ernest, Ph.D.
Associate Editorial Director, Hendrickson Publishers
s-mail: Hendrickson Publishers, 140 Summit Street, P. O. Box 3473
  Peabody, MA 01961-3473 USA
fax: 978/573-8243
phone: 978/573-2243
Please note changed address for personal mail and out-of-office access as of
March 30, 2001:
e-mail: j.d.ernest at bc.edu (accessible to me anywhere)
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