pronunciation question

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Fri Jan 3 12:31:26 EST 2003


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Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2003 09:57:41 EST
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To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
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Here's a question that one of my students asked me.  It's plausable, but I
don't have an adequate response.  Would anyone else?

My own reaction is that the final s was probably pronounced, given the -os
ending of the MNS 2d declension and -as -hs endings of the first endings,
to say nothing of various verb endings!  If the endings had not been
pronounced, then the varios endings would have changed over time, which
would have been reflected in spelling.

I have a question regarding ancient Greek pronunciation, which I am
sure you can answer. Is it possible that final sigma went unpronounced
in many cases (like final "s" in many French words)? This would make
good sense to me in regard to biblical names, where Greek records
"Judas" or "Joses" instead of "Juda' and "Jose." I know that in Hebrew
there is no "s" sound after these (and many other) proper names, and I
can't imagine that people speaking Greek just started (mis)pronouncing
everyone's name for stylistic or other reasons. There is usually an
effort made, in transliterating proper names, to lean towards accuracy,
even when some sounds aren't represented phonemically by the
corresponding languages alphabet (no "sh" letter or "tz" letter in
Greek as in Hebrew, etc.)

Dr. Stephen Pegler  
Ph.D. New Testament
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Bannockburn, IL



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