[B-Greek] Grammatical question:? double dots over a vowel

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Jun 28 19:21:56 EDT 2006

On Jun 28, 2006, at 6:28 PM, Bert de Haan wrote:

>   "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
> wrote:
> "So Rev 19:6 ALLHLOUIA with daeresis over the iota means that this?
> word has five syllables: AL-LH-LOU-I-A, not the four AL-LH-LOUI-A?
> that it would normally have."
> I would have thougth that ALLHLOUIA has five syllables either way  
> and that
> the diaeresis indicates that OU is the diphthong rather than UI.

Obviously I should never have typed out LOUI as a single syllable in
the paragraph cited above, and I probably should not have talked of
diphthongs in this instance at all. Rather the diaeresis is employed  
to indicate that the vowel over which it appears is not to be  
combined in
pronunciation with the vowel(s) preceding but distinctly in a new

Moreover, there exists a diphthong UI, but the diaeresis over the  
Iota in
ALLHLOUIA clearly indicates that UI here is NOT the diphthong.

In fact, the OU, unless I'm mistaken, is not really a diphthong here in
this word at all but a long U vowel. This is, after all, a Hebrew word
taken into Greek. What's really different about the Greek is that the
combination YA (ALLELU-YAH is "Praise YHWH") cannot actually
be represented in Greek because the Iota cannot function as a consonant
in Greek. So what in the Hebrew original was a single syllable YAH
must be represented as a disyllabic combination in Greek: I-A.

Perhaps it would be safer and clearer to say that the diaeresis  
that the vowel over which it appears is to be pronounced as a new
syllable or part of a new syllable and not in combination with preceding
contiguous vowel(s).

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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