Bert wrote:Sometimes it is better to be silent and have people think you are dense than to speak and prove it (I am speaking about me.) but I am going to take the risk.
Asking a question should never be considered dense.
Can someone explain the reasoning and the conclusion?
Ok. I'm going to take a few liberties with linguistics, mainly by omitting some details, but nothing too shocking to professionals I hope.
First, the sounds /s/ and /z/ are, phonetically speaking, identical in all their features but one: voicing. /s/ is voiceless (i.e., your vocal cords aren't doing anything while pronouncing it) and /z/ is voiced (i.e., your vocal cords are thrumming away).
Second, in general we expect sounds that share most of their features to act similarly in similar contexts.
Third, most of the Greek dialects had a strong aversion to nasals (Î½, Î¼
) and sibilants (Ïƒ
) combining into a cluster anywhere. The first element of the would-be illegal cluster disappeared, with different dialects responding differently to the removal.
Fourth, when Ïƒá½»Î½ compounds with words starting with a dental stop (Î´, Ï„, Î¸
), the nu
stays put. However, when Ïƒá½»Î½ compounds with a word starting in Ïƒ- the nu
is obliterated, as the third point requires.
were /dz/, we would expect the nu
of Ïƒá½»Î½ in compounds to remain in compounds like *ÏƒÏ…Î½-Î¶Î·Ï„á½³Ï‰
. Since the nu
actually disappears (ÏƒÏ…Î¶Î·Ï„á½³Ï‰
), and the only other place nu
is subject to such prejudice is before the sibilant /s/, we conclude that the cluster of sounds in Î¶
starts with the sound most like /s/, namely /z/, leaving /zd/ for the cluster.
Also, how was the Zeta pronounced in Koine and how is it pronounced in Modern?
Both Allen (Vox Graeca
) and Palmer (The Greek Language
) put the change in the late 300s (i.e., 320s), with a probable intermediate [zz] stage. I don't have a chart at hand â€” why oh why is Horrocks out of print?! â€” but I'd be very surprised if Î¶
weren't just /z/ by the time the NT was written. In Modern it's /z/.