[B-Greek] Dating Beta Fricativization

R Yochanan Bitan Buth ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il
Tue Sep 13 09:32:27 EDT 2005


>w is closer to v/b than to ou

I will try to help. That item is not correct, at least not as stated.
Actually, [w] is a phonetic vocoid and would be closer to (or exactly)
[u], that is, equal to graphic OU or to archaic U. (This is "Phonology
101" and not an item for discussion.) You could only argue what you
have for a labiodental or bilabial fricative. Such fricatives would
fall between a vocoid and a stop in amount of airstopage. 

On the other hand, you could argue that Hebrew /w/ was no longer [w]
but had become a fricative. Then you are no longer talking about the
qualities of [w] but about [v] or bilabial "spanish" [v]. (Please
excuse the rough transliteration, we don't have IPA available in
ASCII.) And [v] would be as close to [b] as to [w]. In fact, it would
have been the current BETA graph, see below.


If you are claiming a need to use one symbol, then the symbol of
choice, when BETA was 'b', was 'U'. You see this in LXX DAUID/DAUEID. 

As for the phonetic evidence on BETA/VETA, please read and digest
Gignac. The attestations for VETA are not ambiguous. [Please note,
some surveys of Greek are superficial or done by those without much
training in phonology. They sometimes lump everything together between
'classical times' and 'modern', and might suggest that VETA is very
late, but they would not be dealing with the evidence. I wouldn't put
too much credence in such descriptions.]


Finally, neither [yabe] nor [yave] nor [yawe] has any absolute meaning
for "yhwh" if Theodoret was only operating in a written framework. And
you can't prove whether he was ignorant of acoustics on this one item,
or wasn't, by his written evidence. I would suggest ending the thread
or continuing privately.


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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