pronouncing letter Z

Are you reading Homeric Greek? Whether you are a total beginner or an advanced Homerist, here you can meet kindred spirits. Besides Homer, use this board for all things early Greek poetry.
aq
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:57 pm
Location: astana

pronouncing letter Z

Post by aq » Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:19 pm

hi everybody!!!
if my english seems to be rough, excuse me, it is.

my question
in the phonetics guide of this book there is written that ZETA is pronounced like ZD in Ahura-MaZDa

but, i'm sorry, is that TRUE?
as i think now, it is not!!!!

is that situation common in english tradition of pronouncing AncientGreeek? or, may be, contemporary people do not pronounce this letter so?
lo que pasa es que in our (soviet and russian) books and grammars ZETA
is pronounced DZ

it is logically: p+s is psi. k+s is ksi and t+s must be TS

i hope nobody considers my words an insult

jk0592
Textkit Member
Posts: 140
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:20 am
Location: Montreal, Canada

Post by jk0592 » Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:28 pm

This is something that also surprised me when going through the phonology of the Greek alphabet. I always thought that ΖεÏ￾Ï‚ would be pronounced dzeus, but it seems that it should really be pronounced zdeus...
This is confirmed by Pharr, and also by Balme and Lawal's "Athenaze".

User avatar
perispomenon
Textkit Fan
Posts: 256
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 5:19 pm
Location: Mijdrecht
Contact:

Post by perispomenon » Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:38 pm



annis
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3399
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA
Contact:

Post by annis » Wed Dec 27, 2006 12:08 am

perispomenon wrote:Is that indeed the case, for words beginning with Z?
Yep.

It's remarkable how often the question of zeta comes up. The first big discussion was in 2003, zeta pronounce.

The evidence that ζ starts with a sibilant (/s/, /z/, etc.) sound is based on how nu interacts with sibilants. Take the preposition σύν being used as a prefix:

συν + τίθημι > συντίθημι
συν + βούλομαι > συμβούλομαι
συν + κεῖμαι > σύγκειμαι
συν + στέλλω > συστέλλω (note in ν+σ the nu disappears)
συν + ζητέω > συζητέω

That ν+σ and ν+ζ have the same treatment of nu at compound boundaries suggests zeta is a cluster starting with a sibilant.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

Bert
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1890
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 2:28 am
Location: Arthur Ontario Canada

Post by Bert » Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:16 am

annis wrote:
That ν+σ and ν+ζ have the same treatment of nu at compound boundaries suggests zeta is a cluster starting with a sibilant.
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.
Somehow the logic completely passes me by.
Can someone explain the reasoning and the conclusion?

Also, how was the Zeta pronounced in Koine and how is it pronounced in Modern?

annis
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3399
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA
Contact:

Post by annis » Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:21 am

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 (ν, μ) and sibilants (σ) 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 σύν compounds with words starting with a dental stop (δ, τ, θ), the nu stays put. However, when σύν compounds with a word starting in σ- the nu is obliterated, as the third point requires.

If ζ were /dz/, we would expect the nu of σύν in compounds to remain in compounds like *συν-ζητέω. Since the nu actually disappears (συζητέω), and the only other place nu is subject to such prejudice is before the sibilant /s/, we conclude that the cluster of sounds in ζ 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 — why oh why is Horrocks out of print?! — but I'd be very surprised if ζ weren't just /z/ by the time the NT was written. In Modern it's /z/.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

Bert
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1890
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 2:28 am
Location: Arthur Ontario Canada

Post by Bert » Wed Dec 27, 2006 4:40 am

annis wrote:
If ζ were /dz/, we would expect the nu of σύν in compounds to remain in compounds like *συν-ζητέω. Since the nu actually disappears (συζητέω), and the only other place nu is subject to such prejudice is before the sibilant /s/, we conclude that the cluster of sounds in ζ starts with the sound most like /s/, namely /z/, leaving /zd/ for the cluster.
When I got to that part I went; "Aaaaah, now I get it.
Thank you.

aq
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:57 pm
Location: astana

pronounciation of Z

Post by aq » Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:34 am

thanks a lot, annis
't seems to be logically, it explains and helps

but another question has appeard: zeta's origins
as i know, in verbs and in nouns Zeta < /d/+/j/ , is not it?




[/quote]

modus.irrealis
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1093
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:08 am
Location: Toronto

Re: pronounciation of Z

Post by modus.irrealis » Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:54 am

I've come to look at this as a really interesting puzzle because after having thought the pro-[zd] arguments had won the day, I took a closer look and seems the evidence is very conflicting.

The thing that confusing me the most is that Dionysius Thrax says ζ is σ + δ in one section, which works with [zd]. But then he puts ζ in the category of ἡμίφωνα which I understand as being sounds that can be pronounced continuously, which works with [dz] (or maybe [z]). Unless the two passages were not written by the same person, I don't know how to reconcile the two statements, except if he meant the [z] in [zd] could be pronounced continuously but I find that interpretation a little difficult, but maybe I'm wrong there.

With the argument that Annis presented, it seems to me to assume that an affricate like [dz] in Greek would function exactly like any other stop + fricative combination, but I don't see how you could establish this in a non-circular way. For example, in English, an affricate like [tʃ] functions differently from stop + fricative combinations - it can occur at the beginning of words for one thing.

All in all, I've seen strong arguments for both sides and it's very hard for me to let me be convinced by one side.
aq wrote:but another question has appeard: zeta's origins
as i know, in verbs and in nouns Zeta < /d/+/j/ , is not it?
Yes, that is one of the sources -- I can think of examples like ελπιζω < ελπιδ-jω.

Bert
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 1890
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 2:28 am
Location: Arthur Ontario Canada

Re: pronounciation of Z

Post by Bert » Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:33 am

modus.irrealis wrote:
aq wrote:but another question has appeard: zeta's origins
as i know, in verbs and in nouns Zeta < /d/+/j/ , is not it?
Yes, that is one of the sources -- I can think of examples like ελπιζω < ελπιδ-jω.
Would that be an argument in favour of dz?

Post Reply