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§560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:47 pm
by jaihare
I notice the division of the word Ἀγαμέμνων is a little strange in §560. Pharr has it divided as:

Ἀγ-α-μέ-μνων

I would expect it to be different, especially the accented syllable. Is it correct as written here?

Thanks,
ΙΑΣΩΝ

P.S. Sorry if I ask too many questions. Like I said -- I'm eager!

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:12 pm
by annis
jaihare wrote:I notice the division of the word Ἀγαμέμνων is a little strange in §560. Pharr has it divided as:

Ἀγ-α-μέ-μνων

I would expect it to be different, especially the accented syllable. Is it correct as written here?


This is odd. For the purposes of Homeric scansion, I would scan it as Ἀ-γα-μέμ-νων. I have no idea why Pharr is laying out syllabification for later Greek here.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:18 pm
by Lex
jaihare wrote:I notice the division of the word Ἀγαμέμνων is a little strange in §560. Pharr has it divided as:

Ἀγ-α-μέ-μνων

I would expect it to be different, especially the accented syllable. Is it correct as written here?


I have a general rule I follow when using Pharr: When you think that he is wrong, think again.

That's not to say that he is never wrong, but he seems to have been one of those old school scholars that paid serious attention to details.

In Ἀγαμέμνων, I think he splits it the way he does because in §560, "In dividing words into syllables, ...combinations of consonants which can begin a word... are usually placed at the beginning of the syllable." Since μν can begin a word, the last syllable is -μνων, not -νων, as you would intuitively expect. Unfortunately, I can't find a list of combinations of consonants that can begin a word.

jaihare wrote:P.S. Sorry if I ask too many questions. Like I said -- I'm eager!


Hehehehe... Patience is a virtue, grasshopper!

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:51 pm
by modus.irrealis
I think it's just a matter of syllabification meaning different things. There's syllabification in terms of how actual pronunciation is divided into syllables, which would be how annis did it, and is important for metre and so on, and then there's syllabification as part of the conventions for writing the language, which is what Pharr is doing, and is important for splitting words at the end of a line and so on. These don't have to be the same -- to steal an example from wikipedia, English learning is lear-ning in terms of pronunciation but learn-ing in terms of writing.

It's kind of like how we write words separately even though syllabification in terms of pronunciation ignores word boundaries, so for example, pronunciation-wise it would've been Ἀ-γα-μέμ-νω-νεσ-τί.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:04 am
by Lex
modus.irrealis wrote:...There's syllabification in terms of how actual pronunciation is divided into syllables, which would be how annis did it...


If the Greeks used μν to start words, how do we know they didn't pronounce Ἀγαμέμνων with a syllable starting with μν?

modus.irrealis wrote:...English learning is lear-ning in terms of pronunciation but learn-ing in terms of writing...


:? I don't say it that way.

annis wrote:This is odd. For the purposes of Homeric scansion, I would scan it as Ἀ-γα-μέμ-νων. I have no idea why Pharr is laying out syllabification for later Greek here.


:? :? I thought scansion was all about the meter, not syllabification.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:10 am
by jaihare
Lex wrote:
modus.irrealis wrote:...English learning is lear-ning in terms of pronunciation but learn-ing in terms of writing....


:? I don't say it that way.


I do. :lol: I would naturally say lear-ning for regular pronunciation.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:21 am
by modus.irrealis
Lex wrote: :? I don't say it that way.

Maybe not for all then, but for lots of English speakers the two syllabifications are in conflict for this word -- check out http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=learning to see how they have learn-ing and [lur-ning].

annis wrote: :? :? I thought scansion was all about the meter, not syllabification.

But metre is based on heavy/light (or long/short) syllables and these are related to syllabification because heavy syllables are those that end in either a long vowel, diphthong, or consonant. So the ο in τὸν ἄνδρα scans short because it's το-ναν-δρα but long in τὸν πατέρα because it's τον-πα-τε-ρα.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:33 am
by modus.irrealis
Lex wrote:If the Greeks used μν to start words, how do we know they didn't pronounce Ἀγαμέμνων with a syllable starting with μν?

Because the ε of Ἀγαμέμνων scans long so the μ must belong to the same syllable as the ε, otherwise the ε would scan short. It sounds a bit circular, but as far as I know, it's the explanation for these things.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:01 am
by annis
modus.irrealis wrote:Because the ε of Ἀγαμέμνων scans long so the μ must belong to the same syllable as the ε, otherwise the ε would scan short. It sounds a bit circular, but as far as I know, it's the explanation for these things.


Yep. In Homer, when a stop and a resonant (ν, μ, λ, ρ) are next to each other, say in πατρός, the syllable — and the scansion — divides the syllable between them, πατ-ρός. In later forms of Greek verse (and most especially in Attic comedy, often believed to be the closest to colloquial language) it would be divided πα-τρός.

Except for typesetting, there is no particular reason for the budding Homerist to have to learn Attic syllabification, yet that is what Pharr gives in 560.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:42 am
by Lex
modus.irrealis wrote:Because the ε of Ἀγαμέμνων scans long so the μ must belong to the same syllable as the ε, otherwise the ε would scan short.


I'm still confused. My (mis?)understanding was that the syllable containing the ε in Ἀγαμέμνων is long by position (§522), since it's followed by two consonants. What I don't understand is why the second μ should be considered part of that syllable because the vowel is long. I didn't think it was necessary that the first following consonant (μ) be part of the same syllable, in order to affect the quality of the preceding vowel (ε).

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:54 am
by annis
Lex wrote:I'm still confused. My (mis?)understanding was that the syllable containing the ε in Ἀγαμέμνων is long by position (§522), since it's followed by two consonants. What I don't understand is why the μ should be considered part of that syllable because the vowel is long. I didn't think it was necessary that the first following consonant (μ) be part of the same syllable, in order to affect the quality of the preceding vowel (ε).


From the standpoint of phonetics it has to. The only way a naturally short vowel gets to be prosodically long (I prefer the terms light and heavy myself for syllables, to avoid confusion) is if it has a consonantal coda.

So, the syllable is long — not the vowel — because μ is at the end of it, not the other way around.

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:20 am
by Lex
annis wrote:From the standpoint of phonetics it has to. The only way a naturally short vowel gets to be prosodically long (I prefer the terms light and heavy myself for syllables, to avoid confusion) is if it has a consonantal coda.

So, the syllable is long — not the vowel — because μ is at the end of it, not the other way around.


Yikes!

Ok, so I was confusing long vowels and long syllables. The syllable containing the ε is long (or heavy), the vowel itself is not. I understand that much.

Now... You said "The only way a naturally short vowel gets to be prosodically long ... is if it has a consonantal coda." I take it a "consonantal coda" means a consonant following the vowel in the same syllable? I can't find anything about this in Pharr. Pharr says "(§522) It [a syllable] is long by position when its vowel is followed by two or more consonants, or by a double consonant. (§523) One or both of the consonants which make a syllable long by position may come in the following word." It says nothing about one of the following consonants being in the same syllable. Is this something I am missing in my reading of Pharr, or something that Pharr is missing?

Re: §560 - Syllables

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:48 am
by annis
Lex wrote:Now... You said "The only way a naturally short vowel gets to be prosodically long ... is if it has a consonantal coda." I take it a "consonantal coda" means a consonant following the vowel in the same syllable? I can't find anything about this in Pharr.


I'm using the vocabulary of modern phonetics. A syllable has an onset, a nucleus and (optionally in most languages) a coda. In every language I'm aware of the only way a syllable becomes heavy is if either (1) the nucleus is long or (2) it has a coda (and one might argue that the ι and υ in diphthongs represent /j/ and /w/ codas).

Pharr says "(§522) It [a syllable] is long by position when its vowel is followed by two or more consonants, or by a double consonant. (§523) One or both of the consonants which make a syllable long by position may come in the following word." It says nothing about one of the following consonants being in the same syllable. Is this something I am missing in my reading of Pharr, or something that Pharr is missing?


Something Pharr is missing, whether on purpose or as a sign of the age of the book I'm not sure.

In Homer Ἀγαμέμνων is always scanned uu--, which means to me it has to be syllabified — in any phonetic sense of that word — Ἀ-γα-μέμ-νων.