Eta + Upsilon diphthong

Manolis Nikolaou aei_didaskomenos at
Mon Apr 1 06:32:40 EST 2002

> I assume from my one skimpy Modern Greek grammar (MODERN GREEK - Teach
> Yourself series, S. A. Sofroniou) and my Berlitz tape & pronunciation key
> on "Greek For Travellers" that the HU diphthong does NOT occur in modern
> Greek, as neither of them list it. Is this correct, or do these "grammars"
> omit the HU diphthong by accident?
> Even if the HU diphthong does not exist in Modern Greek, I assume from
> Zodhiates that a Greek person who read the Koine Greek NT aloud would
> pronounce HU as "eev/eef". Is Zodhiates correct on this?

In ancient Greek, HU only occurs as the temporal augment of AU and EU, in
the past tenses of verbs beginning with the diphthongs above. In modern
Greek, however, there are no temporal augments at all (e.g. the simple
past of AKOUW nowadays is AKOUSA -not HKOUSA). You can guess, therefore,
that the diphthong(?) HU does not either appear as an augment, in
colloquial modern Greek.

Greeks, however, are not unfamiliar with older elements of their language.
"KAQAREUOUSA" (an archaic form of Greek being in official use until 1976)
had retained a lot of ancient grammatical characteristics- the temporal
augments included. So, from this point of view, HU does appear on certain
-more formal- occasions in modern Greek. Zodhiades is right about its
modern pronunciation: "if" or "iv" (english "eef", "eev"), depending on
the following consonant.

Manolis Nikolaou

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