Qimmik wrote:But no one will put you in jail for trying.
Qimmik wrote:You should also be aware that some of the phonological changes that led to modern Greek pronunciation had taken place or were in the process of taking place in Babrius' time: the shift from aspirated obstruents to continuants (e.g. φ > /f/), the merger of ει, η, οι and υ with ι, and β > /v/. These probably didn't occur all at once in a single area, but evidence of their taking place is found in papyrus and graffiti misspellings.
Qimmik wrote:M.L. West, in Greek Meter (Oxford 1982), p. 175, confirms what I was noticing above: "[Babrius] invariably has an accented syllable in the penultimate position; and this syllable, and the final syllable nearly always, contains a long vowel or diphthong."
p. 162: "[the Imperial period] is marked by a fundamental change in the Greek language which spelt the eventual ruin of the traditional metrical system, and by the birth of a new system which was to take its place. This was the change in the nature of the accent from being a tonal (pitch) accent to being a dynamic (stress) accent . . . .
"Before the end of the first century AD we meet poets who obey a firm accentual rule . . . [including] Babrius, whose choliambics have the penultimate syllable accented. . . . [T]he breakdown of quantitative distinctions, which is usually held to presuppose [a dynamic accent], was already under way in Babrius' time."
In a sense, I suppose, trying to impose the prosody of 5th century BCE Attic on 2d century CE (?) Babrius is somewhat anachronistic. But no one will put you in jail for trying.
Paroxytonesis becomes regular also in the choliamb of Babrius, both miuric and normal paroemiacs, the trimeter, and the hexameter. While it continues even after the transition to a stress accent, it predates the development (at least in educated varieties of Greek) in the case of the pentameter, and probably the choliamb, and the miurics. The straightforward explanation is an increasing preference for a fall of pitch on the final syllable of the verse.
is there any difference between the acute and circumflex pronunciation after the move to stress accentuation?
To me, it appears Stephenson is suggesting that Babrius is the continuation of the ongoing trend that is related to the linguistic move from pitch -> stress, more than a stark exception, which would be West's view.
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