GlottalGreekGeek wrote:The difference between omicron and omega is that one is long, and one is short. Notice the "micron" in "omicron" and "mega" in "omega". However, the sound is the same, it's just the time you keep on saying it.
(Soon I'll have a precis on this lovely topic for Aoidoi.)
There is very good reason to believe that not only was the difference in vowels of duration
but also of quality.
The omicron is a pure, short vowel, like the English long-o without the off glide (Hungarian examples for Pete: ok, volt, tol). The omega is of long duration (just under twice the length of the omicron) but is much more open, like the Magyar long-a: száz, sár, etc. This explains why alpha and o-vowels combine to make omega.
EDIT 2 : Do not disregard vau, at least not for Homer. Although it was not written in most texts, Homer probably did pronounce it. It is useful for making his verses scan in some instances. See Pharr 525-526
Actually, Homer probably did not. His teacher, or his teacher's teacher, probably did. Homer's verses sometimes require the vau, sometimes not, for the same word, depending on metrical needs. This practice seems unlikely if the vau was still active (this is of course not conclusive).
Pete: vau is usually called "digamma" in Greek linguistics.