[B-Greek] Orthography of consonantal iota

John M. Linebarger jmlineb at comcast.net
Tue Oct 23 22:10:38 EDT 2007

What was the orthography of the consonantal iota in Greek, which dropped out very early on?  Was it the same as a vocalic iota but pronounced as y instead of i?  Or was it a different character shape altogether?

Reason I ask is that the Greek class I am teaching at church is reaching chapter 11 of Mounce's grammar this weekend, where he introduces the concept of a consonantal iota as a way to explain the morphology of certain third delension nouns.  He states that the consonantal iota dropped out and was replaced by either an iota or an epsilon, but I'm wondering what happened orthographically.  The terminology "dropped out and was replaced by an iota" almost makes it sound like the consonantal iota was shaped differently than an iota; otherwise, it would make more sense to conclude that the pronunciation of the iota character changed, not the character itself.

And when did the consonantal iota drop out of Greek -- was it gone by the time of Homer?

Many thanks!

John M. Linebarger
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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