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Long vs short

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Long vs short

Postby skywola » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:56 pm

John Williams White, in his first Greek book, at the top of page 2, indicates that:

S4. Vowels are either short or long. There are separate Greek characters (ε, η, ο, ω) for the e and o sounds, but not for a, i, and u sounds. In this book the long vowels are designated by ᾱ, η, ῑ, ω, ῡ; the short vowels are α, ε, ι, ω, υ.

Ok, so η and ω are long . . . .

Then on page 5, section 21 he states that:

S21. The antepenult, if accented, takes the acute, as ἄν-θρω-πος, man; but it can have no accent if the last syllable is long or ends in ξ or ψ, as ἀν-θρώ-που, of a man.

Yet he does not indicate how you are to tell what is short and what is long! Based on this, -που is long, but how are you to know that? I have seen this same issue in other books too . . . no explaination. Does anyone know what the rules are regarding this?
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Re: Long vs short

Postby janaya2 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:11 am

The diphthongs are considered long. However, οι and αι are generally considered short when determining where to place the accent. The main exception is that in the optative mood, the ending οι is considered long.
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Re: Long vs short

Postby sophia » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:31 am

Yes, the diphthongs οι and αι are considered short when they are word-final, i.e. when a word ends in -οι or -αι.

It's also worth bearing in mind that not all two vowel combinations are treated (or were necessarily pronounced) as diphthongs. These definitely are diphthongs: αι, αυ, οι, ει, and υε.
But, for example, the digraph ευ, and combinations like υι and αε, are pronounced as separate vowels.
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Re: Long vs short

Postby skywola » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:33 am

Ok, thanks Janaya and Sophia . . . looks like we are all newbees here . . . :o
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Re: Long vs short

Postby janaya2 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:27 am

Yes, I'm a newbie too! I don't know much Greek yet, but what I do know I am more than happy to share. :-)

I'm working through Pharr at the moment, I don't know much the Homeric and Attic differ as far as diphthongs go but here are the diphthongs listed in Pharr §504:

αι, αυ, ει, ευ, ηυ, οι, ου, υι, ωυ and also those with iota subscript.
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Re: Long vs short

Postby skywola » Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:24 am

I'm working with Reading Greek An Independent Study Guide, (1st Book) Reading Greek Text and Vocabulary (2nd Book) and Reading Greek Grammar and Exercises (3rd Book) I have the audio that goes with this set too. You have to have the three books to make much of it. It is absolutely the best course though, done by Cambridge University Press. I have Parr's and White's books, have studied from White's book, but it is still a difficult language to learn.
I have made an electronic copy of John Williams Whites book, although it is not perfect, (I am revising it once again . . . adding accents, circumflexes, etc.) It is not readable by Textkit though, I created a program of my own, called Tachufind, which was made specifically for learning Greek with JWW's Book, using colored text to find grammar or highlight definitions. If you want to check it out, it is on my website at http://www.tachufind.com, and it 100% free. James Williams White's book is also there for download, but as I said, it is not perfect yet, and I am working on getting a better version ready. The advantage of having a text copy of the book is that you can search it.
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