rough breathing

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Mon Jan 28 11:04:20 EST 2002


>===== Original Message From waldo slusher <waldoslusher at yahoo.com> =====
>Modern Greek no longer makes use of the rough
>breathing (h) mark. I was told that accent marks were
>added by scribes much later than the first century.
>Which leads me to ask if learning rough breathing
>marks is critical to Koine Greek? Does not context
>itself determine whether EIS is a preposition or
>number?

I would say that the breathing marks are a historical part of spelling but not 
of pronunciation. Probably every literate language has orthographic 
distinctions that are not paralleled phonetically. Often (as in this case), 
they are hold-overs from earlier forms that were pronounced distinctly. But in 
English, we speak of "silent" letters that are only silent because we no 
longer pronounce them. I'd still make use of the breathing marks as an 
interpretive aid, even though I don't pronounce them.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics




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