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Greek: An Intensive Course

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Greek: An Intensive Course

Postby QvaeDeleasAliqvisVltor » Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:52 pm

I read recently a minutum of information presented in "Greek: An Intensive Course" and I encountered an apparent fallacy, supposing Herbert Weir Smyth's book to be the paragon of the Greek Grammars. The book predicated the character rho beginning to never have a rough breathing and upsilon beginning always to have a rough breathing; however, as is insinuated above, Smyth's grammar is at variance with the former, saying both always to have a rough breathing.

Does any of you know definitively to which assertion I should place greater credence, either apropos of the laurels and merits of the writers of these two great books or for a source extrinsic and more reliable than either mentioned?
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Postby annis » Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:53 am

In The Greek Language (L. Palmer, U of Oklahoma Press, 1980) quotes the ancient grammarians as insisting that initial rho, or the second rho of a two-rho cluster, were "aspirated" which is generally taken to mean a voiceless r.

Those local writing systems that preserved a letter for h, wrote rh- or hr- for initial rho, and the Roman spelling also used an h for things like rhetor.

Palmer thinks the aspiration is correct, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

On what page do H&Q make their assertions?
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Postby bingley » Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:35 pm

Qdav, I think you must have misunderstood H&Q. From page 3:

All words beginning with a vowel must have either a smooth breathing or a rough breathing. All words beginning with upsilon have a rough breathing.

[face=SPIonic]u(po/qesij [/face] hypothesis


Likewise, all words beginning with rho have a rough breathing; this is not pronounced. Note the name of the letter: rho. Rho is the only consonant which takes a breathing.


[face=SPIonic]r(htorikh/[/face] rhetoric
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