[B-Greek] Why insist on wrong when not necessary and with no advantage?

Nicholas Aggelopoulos n_aggelopoulos at hotmail.com
Sun May 10 17:19:06 EDT 2009

On the "fricatization" of beta and gamma, there may be room for rethinking:

The digamma spelled as gamma by Hesychius is also found as B in Cretan
epigraphy (eg BAKUNQOS ΒΑΚΥΝΘΟΣ) and as F (in FAKSOS FΑΚΣΟΣ). It was
probably a fricative-like sound.

2. In Greek we have cognate
words such GERWN ΓΕΡΩΝ (elder) vs hIERWN ΙΕΡΩΝ (priest), or GERA ΓΕΡΑ
(honours) vs hIERA ΙΕΡΑ (sacred) which suggests that the gamma was
similar to the aspirated iota, leading to parallel spellings. Parallel
spellings are found in such English words as sense vs census vs science
where the situation hints not at three distinct pronunciations of c, s
and sc but that the three were at the very beginning of establishment
of English spellings equivalent and in some situations interchangeable.

3. I believe it was you who pointed out that EUDOMOS ΕΥΔΟΜΟΣ
rather than EBDOMOS ΕΒΔΟΜΟΣ appears by mistake in a 3rd C BC
inscription and RAUDOUS ΡΑΥΔΟΥΣ instead of RABDOUS ΡΑΒΔΟΥΣ (2nd C BC;
Gignac 1976:68,n.1).

Nikolaos Aggelopoulos


> Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 21:47:05 +0300
> From: randallbuth at gmail.com
> To: bucksburg at yahoo.com
> CC: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Why insist on wrong when not necessary and with no	advantage?
> shalom Daniel,
> briefly on the aspirated STOPS, In preChristian times the distinction was
> aspirated stops versus unaspirated stops. theta versus tav, phi versus pi,
> khi versus kappa. Latin had early contact with Greek and spelling
> conventions appear to have been made long before the imperial era.
> It appears that the fricative voiceless phons took over from the aspirated
> stops around the Aegean and spread outward. I think that in the Dead
> Sea documents we still had aspirated stops as late as 130 CE.
> However, the voiced stops, beta and gamma had fricativized by the first
> century. Spellings like IGEROS 'holy' make that especially clear.
> Dhelta had partially gone soft and was 'in process'.
> you can listen to some samples on www.biblicalulpan.org
> blessings
> Randall
> On Wed, May 6, 2009 at 8:41 PM, Daniel Buck <bucksburg at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> >  Randall egrapse:
> >
> >>Why aren't you worried about FEY! words and QA words? TA `A becomes
> > Q'A? Doesn't  QOOS  'sharp' sound a bit blunted? . . .
> > Bottom line--If you want 'fi', then consistency still demands veta.
> > If you want theta, then consistency still demands 'dhelta'.<
> >
> I'm following this discussion with a bit of detachment since I've
yet to learn any Greek pronunciation scheme. But I'm very interested in
linguistics and was struck early on in my study of greek by the
phonemic relationship between certain Greek letters that don't
correlate to how they are usually transliterated into English.
> >
> You seem to be saying that, leaving the vowels aside, there are
certain pairs of voiced-unvoiced consonants that logic demands must go
together in any Greek pronunciation scheme:
> >
> > fi (unvoiced labiodental fricative) and veta (voiced labiodental fricative)
> > or
> > phi (unvoiced bilabial fricative) and beta (voiced bilabial fricative)
> >
> >
> > theta (unvoiced dental fricative) and dhelta (voiced dental fricative)
> > or
> > teta (unvoiced aveolar stop) and delta (voiced aveolar stop)
> >
> but the latter scheme leaves no unique counterpart to teta as an
unvoiced aveolar plosive. I suspect this was the pronunciation of theta
when it was first transliterated into Latin, thus the 'th' to show the
plosive aspect of the t. In the same way, phi was probably an unvoiced
bilabial fricative, the 'ph' showing the fricative aspect.
> >
> But when I look at a word like θνῄσκω QNHiSKW, I can't imagine a
plosive preceding a nasal like that. Yet the dental fricative works
just fine.
> >
> > If anyone can clear up my confusion on these linguistic questions, I'd appreciate it.
> >
> > Daniel Buck
> >
> >
> >
> >
> -- 
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
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