[B-Greek] Why insist on wrong when not necessary and with noadvantage?

Kevin Riley klriley at alphalink.com.au
Wed May 6 03:29:28 EDT 2009

You cannot blame Erasmus for some of these things.  Erasmus, and following
him the English classicists, pronounced A and O as distinct sounds, and EI
was pronounced as spelt - a diphthong made up of E + I.  They did the same
with OU : O + U.  Most European languages at the time could distinguish
between O and W either by length or by pronouncing the first as a close /O/
the second as an open /O/.  What you are talking about is a scheme followed
by American classicists many years later.  Erasmus made some mistakes, but
lets not blame him for those things he knew nothing about.

Kevin Riley
-------Original Message------- 
From: Mark Lightman 
Date: 6/05/2009 12:00:35 PM 
Randall egrapse: 
<Would someone argue for something that was 
Without advantage AND unnecessary AND wrong?> 
No, not even I would do that. 
Erasmus ran out of vowel sounds so ETA for epsilon-iota was 
Not unnecessary. I agree it was without advantage. Iota 
For epsilon-itoa WOULD have been with advantage because it 
Sounds better. But Smyth (p. 13) says that EI was pronounced 
As ei in vein, so Erasmus was not wrong. One out of three. 
<...why not be historically consistent and use 'v'?> 
Because there are too many onomatopoetic BETA words 
Including BRUCW (I gnash my teeth) BLUZW (I bubble) 
And BARBAROS. Or are you one of those people 
Who argue that ancient Greek sheep said VAA VAA? 
<And why join O with A?> 
Here you got me. I have argued just recently that 
This conflation is the beam sticking out of our 
Erasmian eyes as we look for iotacist specks. 
And don't just pick on Phemester. I again 
Restate that I have never heard any Erasmian that 
Doesn't conflate alpha and omicron on at least some 
Words. I can only defend this by saying (a.) it is 
A natural conflation, a "living" conflation, as you might 
Say, not in Greek but in English. (B) You can't distinguish 
These two vowels without making Erasmian sound even 
Worse. (c.) I can't think of a third defense right now. 
Your crack about praising the Goddess is funny enough, 
But I can give you a more serious problem with A-O. 
I have only laughed out loud while reading Greek one time. 
I have CRIED out loud while reading Greek plenty of times, but 
that's another story. The one time I laughed out loud is when 
I looked up SAFOS in the big LSJ and they quote Euripides: 
ὁ μεν σοφως γαρ ειπεν, ὁ δ’ ἑτερος σαφως 
"This guy spoke wisely, but the other guy spoke clearly." It's 
The DE that's so funny. This joke is impossible in 
Phemesterian Greek, and that is a serious problem. 
But your solution, O-W will destroy more jokes, won't it? 
Seriously, do we know which conflations A-O, O-W, OU-U 
Or whatever, cause more chaos with the language. Is there a 
Way to quanitify this? Or is this too subjective? 
Finally, let me just fight back a little for the THEON/THEAN 
Embarassment. Look at what you Omegalomanics do to 
και ὁ λογος ην προς των θεων. "And the Word was 
Mark L. 

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