Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

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bedwere
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Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

Post by bedwere » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:15 am

At. page 34 of Blackie's Greek Primer we have

τῑμῶσα τὴν βασίλισσαν τῑμᾷς τὴν πόλιν ἧς δὴ ἐκείνη κεφαλὴ ἐστίν.

I would have written κεφαλή ἐστιν and couldn't find any reason in Smyth for κεφαλὴ ἐστίν.

What do you think? Thanks!

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Re: Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

Post by mwh » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:01 am

I'd say you're right, but I don’t understand why people get so exercised over this sort of thing. Surely we have better things to do than police accentuation of εστι. As I said elsewhere:
Rules for εστι are all over the map, and largely arbitrary. Smyth, whom I believe Dickey aims to follow, gives a poorly coordinated hotch-potch (esp. 187). Editorial practice varies
The native grammarians, as the quote from Chandler shows, were not in agreement among themselves. And even if they were, their dogmas are not necessarily reliable. This is where linguistics comes in. I wouldn’t get too worked up about such a trivial matter myself.
You’re welcome.

PS In actuality -η and ἐ- would have been merged, so κεφαλήστιν would be a more accurate representation.

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Re: Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

Post by RandyGibbons » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:32 am

PS In actuality -η and ἐ- would have been merged, so κεφαλήστιν would be a more accurate representation.
Michael, do you mean merged in speech, or in writing (which I don't think I ever see in modern editions), or both?

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Re: Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

Post by jeidsath » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:09 pm

Five minutes of looking at inscriptions will give you instances of Attic written hiatus, sometimes in verse inscriptions where it was certainly not pronounced. In literary Attic verse, there seem to be only a few specific categories of exceptions where hiatus was ever pronounced. Maas claims that a lot of Attic prose avoids hiatus too, but I'm personally a little dubious about that -- written hiatus seems to be frequent enough in what I've read, often in ways that would not elide well.

There is no rule for it that I know of, but something like "δοκεῖν γὰρ εἰδέναι ἐστὶν ἃ οὐκ οἶδεν" in Apology 29a6 is painful to me. Written like that, It looks like the εστιν applies to the ειδεναι, and that it's saying "For to opine is to know what you do not know," and I have to go back and re-read to realize what's actually going on. (In context it means something like "for it is to think to know what one does not know".) I don't know that ἔστιν would be any better, but I'm sure that in speech to native speakers the meaning would have been as clear as a bell somehow the first time they heard it. (Maybe the εστιν should simply be deleted?)
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Re: Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

Post by jeidsath » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:57 pm

I came across the following in Chandler today (928.), and include it for its relevance, and not as any sort of comment:

Image
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Re: Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

Post by mwh » Thu Oct 10, 2019 9:07 pm

δοκεῖν γὰρ εἰδέναι ἐστὶν ἃ οὐκ οἶδεν. You don’t have to be a native speaker to find the meaning clear as a bell; you shouldn't have to go back and re-read it. And you should not find it painful. (And to delete ἐστὶν would be ruinous. There are times when ἐστὶ is dispensable, and times when it’s not.)

And there’s no room for doubt about the avoidance of hiatus in certain kinds of prose. (Attic orators, for instance, or Longus.) A final short vowel is automatically elided before a word beginning with a vowel (just as in verse), with certain exceptions, and collisions of long vowels at word junctures tend to be avoided.
There’s a ton of work done on this (e.g. Reeve on the novelists; Norden’s Die antike Kunstprosa fundamental).

Chandler was idiosyncratic as usual. But he knew that dictum est is disyllabic, regardless of how it’s written, and he knew that dictumst (or dictumpst, as in some manuscripts) comes reasonably close to its pronunciation. I have nothing against scriptio plena (writing every word in full), so long as it’s not confused with its phonetic actualization.
In Greek (unlike in Latin), verse is conventionally written on different principles from prose, but that’s just convention. (Most readings of prose are painful to the ear, since they slavishly follow what’s printed on the page instead of respecting the cola and commata.)

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Re: Weird Accents in Blackie's Greek Primer

Post by Andriko » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:40 am

I think Mr Chandler is spot on - one of the things that makes reading some Greek so hard is the extensive elisions that have been edited in. I'm not sure if Greek is read out loud enough for the 'painfull' vocal collisions to be a problem - if it was read out load and spoken more often, I suspect people would naturally start doing it instinctively anyway.

As a side note, spoken modern Greek - to my questionable ear - almost always merges the end the next vowel in some way (κιεγω, κιαυτο, αυταϊναιληθεια are all things I have heard, for example, though it's possible that this is a Cypriot thing).

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