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The sound ae

Postby Astraea » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:26 am

What Greek sound is being represented by the letters "ae" in English transcription?

In particular, how would I write my username Astraea in Greek?
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Re: The sound ae

Postby annis » Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:43 am

Astraea wrote:What Greek sound is being represented by the letters "ae" in English transcription?


[face=spionic]ai[/face]

In particular, how would I write my username Astraea in Greek?


I'm not sure what accenting would be used, but for the letters, [face=spionic])Astraia[/face].
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Postby Eureka » Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:20 am

Pronounce it "Ahs-trahy-ya".
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Postby Astraea » Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:45 pm

Thanks Eureka and annis! :D

I suppose in Linear B it would be written just like Australia :lol: .
(Seriously, with three consonants in a row it could be a bit strange in Linear B: a-sa-ta-ra-i-a?)
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Postby Bombichka » Mon Mar 21, 2005 6:44 pm

Astraea wrote:Thanks Eureka and annis! :D

I suppose in Linear B it would be written just like Australia :lol: .
(Seriously, with three consonants in a row it could be a bit strange in Linear B: a-sa-ta-ra-i-a?)


I would suggest a-sa-ta-ra-ja for writing your name in Linear B. just transfer the i to the next syllable as a semi-vowel. They did have special signs for such j-diphthongs (or, to escape ambiguousness, shall we call them y-diphtongs?) in Linear B.

as for Australia, if I were a Mycenaean scribe, I'd write it A-wu-sa-ta-ra-ri-ja. :lol:

Linear B is not my strong side, though.
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Postby Astraea » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:19 pm

Bombichka wrote:I would suggest a-sa-ta-ra-ja for writing your name in Linear B. just transfer the i to the next syllable as a semi-vowel. They did have special signs for such j-diphthongs (or, to escape ambiguousness, shall we call them y-diphtongs?) in Linear B.

Thanks! That looks better.
Bombichka wrote:as for Australia, if I were a Mycenaean scribe, I'd write it A-wu-sa-ta-ra-ri-ja. :lol:

:lol: :lol:
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Postby Eureka » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:50 pm

Bombichka wrote:as for Australia, if I were a Mycenaean scribe, I'd write it A-wu-sa-ta-ra-ri-ja. :lol:

No, it's o-se-te-re-i-ra-ja (with a few symbols left out).
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Postby Bombichka » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:47 am

Eureka wrote:
Bombichka wrote:as for Australia, if I were a Mycenaean scribe, I'd write it A-wu-sa-ta-ra-ri-ja. :lol:

No, it's o-se-te-re-i-ra-ja (with a few symbols left out).


Oh, you probably mean representing the actual English pronunciation of "Australia".

I thought about representing the way it is written, together with the original pronunication in Latin (yes, Latin was still spoken in learned circles when the continent was discovered).

Oh well, that's because I'm not a native speaker of English.
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Postby Eureka » Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:25 am

Bombichka wrote:Oh, you probably mean representing the actual English pronunciation of "Australia".

Yes.
Bombichka wrote:I thought about representing the way it is written, together with the original pronunication in Latin (yes, Latin was still spoken in learned circles when the continent was discovered).

Spoken and mispronounced. :)
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Postby Bombichka » Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:47 am

Eureka wrote:Spoken and mispronounced. :)


Perhaps in Italy or Spain they would have pronounced it approximately the way it should sound in Classical Latin, e.g. without the monophthongisation of au or the odd ae (ey) sound of AustrAlia that is heard in English.
Strange pronunciations (like in French, English or German) arise in the North.

In Italy they also pronounce Cicero like "Chichero" but that's another story :wink:
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Postby Astraea » Tue Mar 22, 2005 2:49 pm

Bombichka wrote:Strange pronunciations (like in French, English or German) arise in the North.


English used to have more "normal" vowels (from a Mediterranean point of view), but then there was a vowel shift, or as a friend of mine used to say a "vowel movement".
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Postby ThomasGR » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:48 pm

Eureka wrote:Pronounce it "Ahs-trahy-ya".


Like the Latin transcription suggests so well, the pronunciation of "ai" was always "e" (better said like German "a umlaut"). Astraea in Greek is Astraia, ppronounced Astre\a.
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Postby Bombichka » Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:19 pm

ThomasGR wrote:
Eureka wrote:Pronounce it "Ahs-trahy-ya".


Like the Latin transcription suggests so well, the pronunciation of "ai" was always "e" (better said like German "a umlaut"). Astraea in Greek is Astraia, ppronounced Astre\a.


I disagree.

Fisrtly, if AI was to be pronounced [e], why didn't they use the letter E to represent it, but had to go through all the trouble distinguishing AI and E?

Secondly, it's all too convenient for a noun ending in [face=spionic]-a[/face] (pronounced [ah]) to have a plural in [face=spionic]-ai[/face] (pronounced [ay]). why on earth should a singular noun in A to take a plural in E?

Thirdly, the the suffix for adjectives meaning "coming from" or "belonging to" is [face=spionic]-ioj[/face]:
[face=spionic]Ko/runqoj[/face] : [face=spionic]Koru/nqioj[/face], [face=spionic])/Olumpoj[/face] : [face=spionic])Olu/mpioj[/face].
thus, you have [face=spionic])Aqhna-i=oj[/face] from [face=spionic])Aqhna=[/face] (the goddess) or [face=spionic])Aqh=nai[/face] (the city), and [face=spionic]Korkurai=oj[/face] from [face=spionic]Ko/rkura[/face], and so on. Since the AI here is simply produced by the juxtaposition of a stem ending in A and a suffix beginning with I, I can't see why it shouldn't it pronounced like [ay] and not like [e]! Then, why shouldn't we pronounce every AI with [ai] and not [e]? if you don't want this, you'll have to apply a special rule only to the adjectives in [face=spionic]-ioj[/face] and explain why they are different form everything else. doing this, you'll be guilty of the same legislative vice characteristic of those who propose laws just for the sake of one person.
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Postby ThomasGR » Tue Mar 22, 2005 9:46 pm

That happens if “grammar” (an logical invention) messes up with language (an illogical thing). :) Language does not follow rules, even if grammar tries to find some and (worst) to force them. It’s true, the rule is –ios, but having a vowel before it, it has to go some conjunctions, the two separated vowels have to become one. It becomes easier to pronounce the word, the speech becomes quicker, and if the first diphthong “ai” wasn’t stressed, than probably we will get even a single vowel (maybe –es). Even linguistically examined one may say that the middle sound between “a” and “i” is “e”, hence ”ai” pronounced quicker in normal speed becomes “e”. And than… the grammarian steps in and makes the rule: words ending in –a get an –ios suffix, but speak it “-eos”, like all people already did.
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Postby adz000 » Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:29 am

Sidney Allen (Vox Graeca 2nd ed., p. 75-76) shows that Greek "ai" was monophthongized at around 100AD (citing Sextus Empiricus, and I assume he also has inscriptions in mind), when it began to be written with an eta, and then when the eta changed values, with an epsilon.
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Postby annis » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:08 am

Nice work on the avatar, Astraea (however we pronounce it). :wink:
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Postby Bombichka » Wed Mar 23, 2005 7:28 am

ThomasGR wrote:That happens if “grammar” (an logical invention) messes up with language (an illogical thing). :) Language does not follow rules, even if grammar tries to find some and (worst) to force them. It’s true, the rule is –ios, but having a vowel before it, it has to go some conjunctions, the two separated vowels have to become one. It becomes easier to pronounce the word, the speech becomes quicker, and if the first diphthong “ai” wasn’t stressed, than probably we will get even a single vowel (maybe –es). Even linguistically examined one may say that the middle sound between “a” and “i” is “e”, hence ”ai” pronounced quicker in normal speed becomes “e”. And than… the grammarian steps in and makes the rule: words ending in –a get an –ios suffix, but speak it “-eos”, like all people already did.


Well, grammar isn't just something imposed on the language by some learned fellow because he liked it more logical. The language itself is somehow logical, 'cause it's a system, and not chaos. Had it been otherwise, we wouldn't be able to learn even our mother tongue, and to understand each other. :wink:

as to the AI--->E shift, you're simply describing what occured in the history of the Greek language later. but I don't see why it has to be that way from the very beginning. Was there a problem for the original pronunciation to be AI, as it should be morphologically? The easy/hard argument leads us nowhere, because what is pronounced "easier" is a very subjective question. how do we define "easy" and how do we know it was really "easy" for the ancient Greeks?

two more arguments:

1. [face=spionic]ai)=[/face] or [face=spionic]ai)/[/face] was an exclamation of grief and sorrow in Ancient Greek. I know of many European languages that use the same exclamation for the same purpose (ay! ay!). Can you think of a language that says "eeeee!" when expressing grief?

2. and now, more seriously: your suggestion implies that the sound system of Ancient Greek was the same as today. Then, it would seem that it has remained the same for mor than 2500 years. pardon me, but, regarding the history of all languages, that seems utterly absurd.
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Postby ThomasGR » Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:56 am

Well, you seem don’t know the power that the Alexandrian grammarian had at that time. Caesar got fame when the library of Alexandria got on fire and he exploded with great laughter. For him the grammarians were the most useless people who tried to impose a special way of speaking and writing to the people, which was far away from what normal people and even educated one, did. As concerns “ai”, there are inscriptions from earlier centuries that we would now call misspelled and many words were written with “e” although we today would expect to be written “ai”, according to the rule. Nowaday’s orthography is from 3d century BC, an artificial product of grammarians, it does by no way reflect the actual way of speaking, and all written stuff we have today are countless times rewritten according to the spellings and linguistic or poetical tastes of those times. That means Greek orthography never did represent real speech in the strict way we think of it today (at least not after the fourth century BC). Otherwise think about the masculine plural “-aioi”, it would be a torture for them to utter this sequence of vowels and speak them correctly. Try to speak a word containing this suffix quick as it usual will happen in normal speech, and very soon you’ll make the error and minimize it to 2 or less vowels.
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Postby Bombichka » Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:18 pm

Thomas, once again you're using argumenta ad hominem and purely subjective reasoning :wink:

first of all, don't over-estimate the power of the Alexandrian grammarian at that time. Grammarians don't invent language and its rules, they just try to codify them acording to what already exists in language practice. it is ridiculous to think that you can draw a rule from the middle of nowhere and it will be introduced successfully into language practice. it simply doesn't work that way. if something never existed, but was only invented by the grammarians, it will never stick with the bearers of the language, no matter how highly educated and punctilious they might be.

therefore, if Alexandrinian orthography has rules for writing AI, it must have existed somewhere somehow in the pronunciation and not be a pure fiction.

what Caesar thought of grammarians is absolutely irrelevant in this case, as much as what I think of Caesar. :wink: :wink:

secondly, there sure are inscriptions from earlier centuries that we would now call misspelled and many words were written with “e” although we today would expect to be written “ai”, and these spellings really require an explanation. but there are a lot more inscriptions that spell AI correctly. the E-misspelings are of a very insignificant number. that's what Alexandrinian grammarians codified: the language use of the vast majority of cases. Besides, if you're talking about Boeotian inscriptions: there the AI --> E change simply happened earlier than in other dialects and the inscriptions with E or H-spellings prove nothing.

thirdly, the torture you're speaking of in the pronunciation "-aioi" is only a torture for you, and may not be a torture for somebody else.
if you read poetry, you should know that -aioi counts for 2 syllables. for me, for example, it is much easier to pronounce the A and the O in two juxtaposed syllables when thery are divided by a semivowel cluster [ay-o]. pronouncing two vowels like E and I in two separate neighbouring syllables without a cluster in the middle is a torture for me, especially when the two vowels need to remain in two separate syllables ([e-i]).
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Postby annis » Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:29 pm

Thomas, are we going to have to revisit this debate every time someone asks a pronunciation question?

ThomasGR wrote: Otherwise think about the masculine plural “-aioi”, it would be a torture for them to utter this sequence of vowels and speak them correctly.


As I have said repeatedly before, plenty of languages do just this sort of vowel sequence regularly, and the speakers give no signs they find it a torture speaking their native language. There is no reason at all to believe the Ancient Greeks would have found -aioi incapacitating.
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Postby Bombichka » Wed Mar 23, 2005 3:08 pm

annis wrote:Thomas, are we going to have to revisit this debate every time someone asks a pronunciation question?

ThomasGR wrote: Otherwise think about the masculine plural “-aioi”, it would be a torture for them to utter this sequence of vowels and speak them correctly.


As I have said repeatedly before, plenty of languages do just this sort of vowel sequence regularly, and the speakers give no signs they find it a torture speaking their native language. There is no reason at all to believe the Ancient Greeks would have found -aioi incapacitating.


sorry if, as a newbie, I have participated in reviving a debate with which you might be fed up already. I'll try to abstain.
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Postby ThomasGR » Thu Mar 24, 2005 8:35 am

OK, I apologize, maybe I was a little naughty, but other than making generalizations and repeatedly saying that there many languages that have long vowel clusters, you could not provide me any example of the kind "ευυ-", "οιο-","ευει-" (at the beginning of a word) or words like "ευοίωνος" or "ευαοίοι" in any other language. Even Malaysian or Haitian (langauages famous for extensive use of vowels) don't have that.
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Postby Eureka » Thu Mar 24, 2005 8:58 am

ThomasGR wrote:OK, I apologize, maybe I was a little naughty, but other than making generalizations and repeatedly saying that there many languages that have long vowel clusters, you could not provide me any example of the kind "ευυ-", "οιο-","ευει-" (at the beginning of a word) or words like "ευοίωνος" or "ευαοίοι" in any other language. Even Malaysian or Haitian (langauages famous for extensive use of vowels) don't have that.

Many of those vowels were in fact semivowels, so you shouldn't worry about "long vowel clusters".

For example, ευοίωνος would be "ew-woy-yo-nôs". No long vowel clusters at all.
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Postby Bombichka » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:38 am

Eureka wrote:Many of those vowels were in fact semivowels, so you shouldn't worry about "long vowel clusters".

For example, ευοίωνος would be "ew-woy-yo-nôs". No long vowel clusters at all.


that's right. in fact, I mentioned semivowel clusters, and not *vowel clusters*. the latter notion is a kind of [face=SPIonic]o)cu/mwron[/face] :wink:
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Postby ThomasGR » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:56 am

Eureka wrote:
ThomasGR wrote:OK, I apologize, maybe I was a little naughty, but other than making generalizations and repeatedly saying that there many languages that have long vowel clusters, you could not provide me any example of the kind "ευυ-", "οιο-","ευει-" (at the beginning of a word) or words like "ευοίωνος" or "ευαοίοι" in any other language. Even Malaysian or Haitian (langauages famous for extensive use of vowels) don't have that.

Many of those vowels were in fact semivowels, so you shouldn't worry about "long vowel clusters".

For example, ευοίωνος would be "ew-woy-yo-nôs". No long vowel clusters at all.


I will disagree, I promis it's the last time, but only iota serves as a semivowel (in the above example) and only after a consonat, not following a vowel. In the last case it creates a diphthong (semivowels do not that!) and ... guess what, I fell in love with Koine-pronunciation and find reading Pindar and Homer this way even more attractve.
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Postby Eureka » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:27 am

ThomasGR wrote:I will disagree, I promis it's the last time, but only iota serves as a semivowel (in the above example) and only after a consonat, not following a vowel. In the last case it creates a diphthong (semivowels do not that!) and ...

There is plenty of evidence from Linear-B inscriptions that iota had the value of /j/ when in diphthongs that preceded a vowel.
ThomasGR wrote: guess what, I fell in love with Koine-pronunciation and find reading Pindar and Homer this way even more attractve.

You lose most of the onomatopoeia if you do that, but it's obviously up to you.
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Postby Bombichka » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:30 am

ThomasGR wrote:In the last case it creates a diphthong (semivowels do not that!)

On the contrary, this is exactly what semivowels do all the time! be sure to refresh your phonetics.:wink:

ThomasGR wrote:and ... guess what, I fell in love with Koine-pronunciation


yes, we can see that quite clearly :) but personal feelings are one thing, and the actual state of affairs is another. besides, the Modern Greek pronunciation maybe ain't exactly how it could have sounded to the original readers of the New Testament.

but everybody is free to choose the pronunciation that (s)he likes.

[face=SPIonic]ei)rh/nh soi[/face] :wink:
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Postby annis » Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:29 pm

ThomasGR wrote:OK, I apologize, maybe I was a little naughty, but other than making generalizations and repeatedly saying that there many languages that have long vowel clusters, you could not provide me any example


A random selection, off the top of my head, from Japanese.

aoi - blue (there is a manga genre called yaoi)
iie - no
toriaezu "that's it, that's all"
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Postby annis » Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:44 pm

ThomasGR wrote:guess what, I fell in love with Koine-pronunciation and find reading Pindar and Homer this way even more attractve.


Good! I actually don't really care much how people pronounce their Greek. But if someone asks about the reconstructed pronunciation, I wish we could just focus on that.
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Postby Astraea » Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:03 pm

annis wrote:Nice work on the avatar, Astraea (however we pronounce it). :wink:


Thank you.... and I had no idea I was asking such a controversial question....
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