Textkit Logo

Greek diphtongs

Here you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Greek, and more.

Greek diphtongs

Postby ivan » Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:33 pm

I downloaded a book from this site, Greek grammar by William W. Goodwin. It is written that you read diphtong "eu" as "eu" in feud (so /ju/). But in an other grammar I found that you read it like /eu/.

In that other grammar is written that diphtong "ei" is written just like that, /ei/. But, in this grammar by William W. Goodwin, it is explained about it, first it was /ei/, and then /i:/. So, I'm asking, what would be better to use, or what do you prefer?
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:27 pm

Re: Greek diphtongs

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:03 am

Different authorities advise different pronunciations.

/eu/ is certainly more correct.

The case of ei is more complicated. In origin there were two different sounds, the way Homer pronounced them:

1) /ei/, a true dipthong, as in εἶμι, to go.
2) /e:/, a long, closed eh-like sound (somewhere I saw this compared to French "nez"), as in εἰμί, to be.

So how do you know? Well, you don't. In Attic, these sounds have merged and both are pronounced /e:/. Later on, it will become /i/.

I suppose you just should just pick one pronounciation and be consistent. If you want to know more, you could read earlier threads here, and you could also read the Wikipedia article "Ancient Greek Phonology", to get started. It can get really complicated, and you'll see that people don't always agree on Classical Greek pronunciation!
User avatar
Paul Derouda
Global Moderator
Posts: 1914
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:39 pm

Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 68 guests