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Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

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Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby Lucus Eques » Mon May 04, 2009 2:11 pm

Χαίρετε!

I have a thought about Greek prosody I'd like to share: that a phrase such as ὦ ἄδελφε! should be pronounced something more like ὂ ἄδελφε!

My first precept is that, in Greek, a final long vowel placed in front of any initial vowel will be shortened in pronunciation, such as οἰκία ἐμοῦ, where the naturally long alpha is made short by being in front of the vowel. (Please correct me if this precept is incorrect.)

The second precept is that a circumflex accent may only occur over a long vowel.

Well, when comes before a vowel, it will be shortened (if there is no hiatus), leaving us with a short-omega, possibly with a similar quality as omicron. But as a circumflex cannot occur over a short vowel, the only two options are acute and grave.

Since an acute may only fall at the end of a word if it is at the end of a phrase, then the reduced circumflex in ὦ ἄδελφε! must become grave, leaving us with the pronunciation ὂ ἄδελφε!.

I wish to share this because it may give us many insights on how to pronounce Attic, and also to confirm that the logic and precepts I have used are sound.

Ἆρα δυνατόν ἐστιν;
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby spiphany » Mon May 04, 2009 2:40 pm

Do you have evidence to back this up, or are you just speculating?
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby Lucus Eques » Mon May 04, 2009 6:00 pm

I am indeed speculating; but if the precepts are true, then so is the conclusion, unless another precept exists to contradict it.
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon May 04, 2009 7:10 pm

Lucus Eques wrote:Since an acute may only fall at the end of a word if it is at the end of a phrase, then the reduced circumflex in ὦ ἄδελφε! must become grave, leaving us with the pronunciation ὂ ἄδελφε!.

But does this always apply when an acute accent comes to be at the end of the word due to some other factor? Elision, e.g., doesn't change an acute to a grave, e.g. μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς.

In this case of a shortened long vowel, a circumflex accent is still written, e.g. Iliad 1.86 ὑψοῦ ἐπὶ ψαμάθοις, ὑπὸ δ᾽ ἕρματα μακρὰ τάνυσσαν· but that may just be orthographic.

But about long vowels being shortened, is this general practice? I thought it was more a feature of epic poetry than other genres, but I could be wrong. But even in Homer, a long vowel won't always be shortened. Actually, I found an example with ὦ itself: Iliad 1.74 ὦ Ἀχιλεῦ κέλεαί με Διῒ φίλε μυθήσασθαι. Do we know if this was a feature of everyday pronunciation?
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby cb » Mon May 04, 2009 8:19 pm

hi, Herodian’s (or pseudo-Herodian’s) De prosodia catholica (which is one of the key sources for our knowledge of grk accents) states expressly that ὦ is circumflex, and the e.g. he uses is before a vowel-initial vocative, ie. exactly the case you are considering:

“καὶ τὸ ὦ κλητικὸν περισπᾶται· "ὦ ἄνθρωπε".”

A question I still have though is how to pronounce this in prose. Dionysius of halicarnassus treated ὦ before ἄνδρες as a separate long syll (see (i) below). In attic comedy however, you often see ὦ being blended into the next vowel-initial word, and commentators on attic prose texts have said that the same probably applies in prose (see (ii) below).

(i) Dionysius of halicarnassus takes this sentence from the opening of demosthenes’ speech on the crown:

“πρῶτον μέν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, τοῖς θεοῖς εὔχομαι πᾶσι καὶ πάσαις.”

He scans it as follows (i will explain in square brackets the metrical feet he refers to):

“ἄρχει δὲ τοῦ κώλου βακχεῖος ῥυθμός [i.e. long-long-short for πρῶτον μέν],
ἔπειθ' ἕπεται σπονδεῖος [i.e. long-long for ὦ ἄν-: this shows that he treats ὦ as a separate long syll],
εἶτ' ἀνάπαιστός τε [i.e. short-short-long for -δρες Ἀθη-],
καὶ μετὰ τοῦτον ἕτερος σπονδεῖος [i.e. long-long for -ναῖοι],
εἶθ' ἑξῆς κρητικοὶ τρεῖς [i.e. three lots of long-short-long for τοῖς θεοῖς εὔχομαι πᾶσι καὶ],
σπονδεῖος δ' ὁ τελευταῖος [i.e. long-long for πάσαις].”

(ii) on the other hand, in attic comedy you often see ὦ blending into the next syll. e.g. in aristophanes’ frogs you see:
line 58 μὴ σκῶπτέ μ᾽ ὦδέλφ᾽: οὐ γὰρ ἀλλ᾽ ἔχω κακῶς:
line 60 ποῖός τις ὦδελφίδιον;
line 164 καὶ χαῖρε πόλλ᾽ ὦδελφέ.

the acutes in lines 58 and 164 are bizarre; these are from the 2007 OCT, and there is nothing on the accents in the apparatus explaining this, however the accompanying text Aristophanea might discuss the accents here (i don't have it). In any case these e.g.s show the blending of ὦ into the next vowel-initial word.

A more common e.g. of ὦ blending into the next vowel-initial word is ὦ ἄνδρες (into ὦνδρες), e.g. line 283 of aristophanes’ plutus:

”ἀλλ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽ ἂν κρύψαιμι. τὸν Πλοῦτον γὰρ ὦνδρες ἥκει”.

the scholion for this line (by tzetzes) says:

"ὦνδρες· ἀττικὴ συναλοιφή".

As for the accent of the blended syllable, there is a scholion on lycophron noting specifically that it is circumflex in attic:

"εἰ δέ ἐστιν ἀττικὴ συναλοιφὴ ἀντὶ τοῦ ὦ ἄναξ, περισπᾶται διὰ τὸ ω τῆς κλητικὴς".

As to whether this blending applies outside of poetry, the commentary of Dyer and Seymour on the apology (available on textkit, see pg 37, footnote 1) states that ὦ ἄνδρες was pronounced ὦνδρες. Cecil Wooten takes the same view in his 2008 commentary on demosthenes’ philippic I; on pg 41 discussing the first sentence of the speech, he says:

“Moreover, in this sentence, except for the frozen phrase ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, there is no hiatus, or gaps caused by the meeting of two vowels, to slow down the delivery, and there may not be a hiatus even there, since spoken Attic probably did a synizesis of the two vowels (cf. Smyth ss60-61)”. For the smyth reference, see this link:

http://www.ccel.org/s/smyth/grammar/htm ... ni.htm#p21

nevertheless the question of whether or not to blend ὦ in prose is still unclear to me, as i don’t trust the modern sources if they don’t have ancient backing, and the ancient sources I have seen so far are not definitive on this point.

cheers :)
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon May 04, 2009 9:02 pm

cb wrote:the acutes in lines 58 and 164 are bizarre; these are from the 2007 OCT, and there is nothing on the accents in the apparatus explaining this, however the accompanying text Aristophanea might discuss the accents here (i don't have it).

Wouldn't that just be due to the word here being accented ἀδελφέ instead of ἄδελφε?
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby cb » Mon May 04, 2009 9:24 pm

hi, yes, but why are they accented that way? the books i checked said that ἀδελφέ is the koine accentuation and ἄδελφε attic. these quotes are from aristophanes. thanks, chad :)
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby modus.irrealis » Mon May 04, 2009 9:45 pm

I didn't think it was all that clear cut -- I did a search and found examples in ἀδελφέ in Sophocles and Euripides, e.g.

Electra 1346 τίς οὗτός ἐστ’, ἀδελφέ; πρὸς θεῶν φράσον.
Orestes 1019 ἀδελφέ, καὶ πάροιθε νερτέρου πυρᾶς.

In fact, I couldn't find any examples of a recessive accent in the dramatists.
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby cb » Mon May 04, 2009 9:54 pm

hi, thanks, i checked this in probert's accenting book earlier tonight but can't double-check now; for an online ref see chandler s322:

http://books.google.com/books?id=6KgNAA ... r#PPA93,M1

i will check this further to find out what is going on here, cheers :)
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby Lucus Eques » Wed May 06, 2009 12:58 am

Thanks for the responses!

Getting away from ὦ for a minute, what about:

τοῦ ἀγροῦ

If the above precepts are true, then shouldn't this end up being a shortened 'ου' and accented grave?

> τοὺ ἀγροῦ

Unless there is full combination of the vowels together into one, short syllable? that is, τ’ἀγροῦ or τουγροῦ.
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Re: Reduction of final circumflex accented vowels into grave

Postby cb » Thu May 07, 2009 12:32 am

hi, once again I doubt it. firstly, (pseudo-) herodian's work περὶ ἄρθρων specifically states that the article τοῦ had a circumflex:

"πᾶν ἄρθρον ὀξύνεται, χωρὶς τῶν γενικῶν καὶ δοτικῶν· αὖται γὰρ περισπῶνται, τοῦ τῶι, τῆς τῆι, τοῖν ταῖν, τῶν, τοῖς ταῖς."

I understand you are questioning the accenting evidence based on your precepts above. your first precept, however, is not right: correption does not always occur at vowel junctions between words. i gave in my first post above some e.g.s from ancient sources of blending or just hiatus (with no other change) occurring in these cases. in fact Martin West in his 1982 book on grk metrics shows that five different things can happen at a vowel junction. i have scanned the relevant section for you (remove spaces):

www . freewebs . com / mhninaeide / west1982-voweljunction . pdf

the next question is which of these five possibilities which West mentions occurs in prose. your first precept chooses correption. however dionysius of halicarnassus scanned some prose from thucydides and didn’t use correption. He took the sentence from thucydides 2.35.1:

"οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ τῶν ἐνθάδε ἤδη εἰρηκότων ἐπαινοῦσι τὸν προσθέντα τῶι νόμωι τὸν λόγον τόνδε, ὡς καλὸν ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐκ τῶν πολέμων θαπτομένοις ἀγορεύεσθαι αὐτόν."

he scanned this as follows (once again I have noted in square brackets the metrical feet he is referring to):

"τρεῖς μὲν γὰρ οἱ τοῦ πρώτου προηγούμενοι κώλου σπονδεῖοι πόδες εἰσίν [i.e. three lots of long-long for "οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ τῶν ἐν-"],
ὁ δὲ τέταρτος ἀνάπαιστος [i.e. short-short-long for "-θάδε ἤ-"],
ὁ δὲ μετὰ τοῦτον αὖθις σπονδεῖος [i.e. long-long for "-δη εἰ-": this shows that there is no correption of -δη before a vowel-initial word],
ἔπειτα κρητικός [i.e. long-short-long for "-ρηκότων"],
ἅπαντες ἀξιωματικοί."

therefore you can’t assume that correption will apply at each vowel junction between words in attic prose. you need to look at it on a case by case basis and see if there is any good evidence for the choice you make.

to take the case you referred to above, τοῦ, there are attic prose texts which show blending of this into a following vowel-initial word, e.g. τἀνδρός for τοῦ ανδρός in e.g. Plato Laches 179e:

“Ἔδοξε δὴ χρῆναι αὐτούς τε ἐλθεῖν ἐπὶ θέαν τἀνδρὸς καὶ ὑμᾶς συμπαραλαβεῖν ἅμα μὲν συνθεατάς, ἅμα δὲ συμβούλους τε καὶ κοινωνούς, ἐὰν βούλησθε, περὶ τῆς τῶν ὑέων ἐπιμελείας.”

Also τοὐνόματος for τοῦ ὀνόματος in e.g. Demosthenes' against Boeotus 1, section 21:

“Ἀκούετ', ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, ὅτι ἐγὼ μέν εἰμ' ἐπὶ τοὐνόματος τούτου πάντα τὸν χρόνον”

so blending τοῦ into a vowel-initial word would be one reasonable choice. if on the other hand you choose to read τοῦ as you see it, i.e. with no change even if a vowel-initial word follows (following generally dionysius’ scansions of vowel junctions in attic prose quoted above), note that Probert on accenting (2003) suggests that it is not likely that the circumflex in τοῦ was simply written by convention (see s277), i.e. you should pronounce it as a circumflex and not just as an atonic proclitic. the choice of correption in such a case in attic prose, however, goes against all the sources I have seen so far.

as a side point, correption in homer is quite interesting: a study by kelly in 1990 has shown that correption is twice as frequent in the speeches compared with the narrative, and occurs much more frequently at some positions in the line compared with others. i have a note on this study on page 37 of my old Iliad A notes (remove spaces):

www . freewebs . com / mhninaeide / IliadANotes . pdf

if you want to see more of this study let me know and I can send you some scanned extracts, cheers :)
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