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Iota adscript

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Iota adscript

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:17 am

Hi,

This is a bit of an odd, unimportant question, but I just realized that the texts I have that use the iota adscript accent the first vowel of a long vowel + iota diphthong, so ῶι e.g. instead of ωῖ. My first question is whether this is in fact the convention for all texts that use the iota subscript. And second, why is it done this way? I was under the impression that the convention is for the second member of a diphthong to bear the accent.
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Postby aso » Sat Aug 05, 2006 5:20 am

of the texts i've seen that use the adscript, all accent the long vowel. i think the reasoning behind this is that the long vowel dominates the diphthong, so much so that (if i recall) w.s. allen says that the long diphthongs were realized simply as long vowels from a very early date. that, at any rate, is the reasoning behind the orthography of the adscript and subscript: the iota's historical value is what matters, not its role in pronunciation.
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Postby annis » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:37 pm

aso wrote:i think the reasoning behind this is that the long vowel dominates the diphthong,


It would also be confusing in the case of long alpha — ᾶι is not αῖ.
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Postby modus.irrealis » Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:11 am

annis wrote:It would also be confusing in the case of long alpha — ᾶι is not αῖ.


I've been scratching my head for a while trying to think of a word where you'd have a real ambiguity. I could only come up with τιμᾶις vs. τιμαῑς (and it took me a while), but would this really be ambiguous in context?

It also makes sense that it's a pronunciation issue, since if I remember correctly, at one point that iota wasn't written at all and was later reintroduced as an subcript. And I guess the adscript is a backformation from the subscript, so the accent probably just stayed the same.

Thanks for the responses.
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Postby jjhayes84 » Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:17 pm

There could be ambiguity in the case of fem. dative singular endings vs. fem. nom. plural; for example:
σκοτίαι = σκοτίᾳ and σκοτίαι = σκοτίαι

I don't know why one would ever need to say "darknesses," but that is the first word that came to mind.
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Postby aso » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:28 am

now that i think of it (and perhaps this is only confined to papyrology), the adscript is used in transcription when the iota is actually written in the papyrus, and the subscript is used when it isn't. i don't think there was ever a thorough separation between words and forms that were spelled with an iota and words and forms that omitted it; it's more or less haphazard.
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Postby modus.irrealis » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:54 pm

jjhayes84 wrote:There could be ambiguity in the case of fem. dative singular endings vs. fem. nom. plural; for example:
σκοτίαι = σκοτίᾳ and σκοτίαι = σκοτίαι


Yeah, it's those kind of examples that make me prefer the subscript version, even if I agree with those who think it's less pleasing aesthetically. But if the last syllable was accented, you wouldn't have any ambiguity no matter how the long diphthong was accented, since the pl. nom. takes the acute. I guess this is such a small issue anyway.

aso wrote:now that i think of it (and perhaps this is only confined to papyrology), the adscript is used in transcription when the iota is actually written in the papyrus, and the subscript is used when it isn't. i don't think there was ever a thorough separation between words and forms that were spelled with an iota and words and forms that omitted it; it's more or less haphazard.


Thanks for that info. Are papyri at least internally consistent, so a document will either always mark the iota or never, or is it completely random? I wonder what that would imply about the writers.
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