[B-Greek] Dating Beta Fricativization

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Mon Sep 12 12:01:57 EDT 2005

> 1. Actually, you do need to use the Greek changes on Latin. OU had always been the natural choice. 

But the choice of beta over ou could be due to Latin u becoming more like v. Greek preference of beta to ou in several cases (presumably, not everywhere) is easily explained by consonantal v sound of u in specific Latin environments. Beta-to-ou preference is no evidence for the pronunciation of beta, as data interpretation is dependent on uncertain variable, the u sound.

> 2. Phonological changes in languages tend to be fairly symmetric by 'feature'. While it is correct to check and trace each phoneme or etic realization separately, it is also true that other parallel evidence can be supportive. Not only do we have the Veta evidence listed above but we have pretty strong fricative 'ghamma' evidence as well. 

The parallels cannot be used to date the shifts. Witness a lag of about a millenium between fricativization of Hebrew tav and bet. Fricative dalet seemingly ceased in antiquity, and certainly in European Hebrew for two thousand years, but preserved in some Sephardic dialects.

> 3. You cite IABE by Theodoret a 5th century Greek writer. It would be difficult to conceive of B transcribing a VAV//'wau' if VETA had not already become a fricative. 

I offer another explanation, that Theodoret transliterated written YHWH (Y->I)(H->A)(W->B)(final H->E), not recorded actual pronunciation. Stand-alone waw is surely beta, not ou.

Vadim Cherny


  There is also more evidence than that in the summary article on the website. Both Gignac's extensive work as well as Horrocks' summaries should be consulted, fuller citations in the footnotes on the website. 



  Randall Buth 



  Randall Buth, PhD

  Director, Biblical Language Center


  and Director, Biblical Studies in Israel

  Hebrew University, Rothberg International School

  ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il


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