Pronunciation of δʼ ὅτε

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seanjonesbw
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Pronunciation of δʼ ὅτε

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:27 am

Looking at Odyssey 7.3

ἡ δʼ ὅτε δὴ οὗ πατρὸς ἀγακλυτὰ δώμαθʼ ἵκανε,

how should δʼ ὅτε be pronounced? Does δʼ followed by the aspiration produce something like the Hindi dh sound you get in dhoti, Dhoni, dhal etc.? As opposed to English 'dot'?

I have a second question about syllabification, which looking at previous posts is a bit of a minefield. Is the below correct for 7.3? I was trying to follow Allen's rules but I'm not confident I've understood them properly.

ἡ δʼ ὅτε δὴ οὗ πατρὸς ἀγακλυτὰ δώμαθʼ ἵκανε
ἡ | δʼὅ | τε | δὴ | οὗ | πατ | ρὸ | ςἀ | γακ | λυ | τὰ | δώ | μα | θʼἵ | κα | νε
ἁλὶ γὰρ δέδμητο φίλον κῆρ 🌊

Hylander
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Re: Pronunciation of δʼ ὅτε

Post by Hylander » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:09 pm

how should δʼ ὅτε be pronounced?
My guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that δʼ would have been pronounced without aspiration, even in 5th century Athens. But this is a fraught question: do you mean the original pronunciation of the poems when they were first reduced to writing, hot off the press, presumably sometime before 500 BCE, or the pronunciation of classical Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, or even later pronunciations?

It's important to keep in mind that the diacritical marks -- breathings and accents -- were added to the text long after "Homer", beginning in the Hellenistic period. By that time spoken Greek was universally psilotic (the rough breathing had disappeared from speech).

The breathings (and accents) were added by scholars in accordance with 5th century Athenian pronunciation, which was not yet psilotic (at least in upper-class educated speech), based on a continuous tradition stemming from the period of classical Attic. (This is also true of other non-Attic texts.) But with respect to psilosis, classical Attic was conservative in relation to other Greek dialects, and there is evidence that the original Homeric language was already psilotic, as Ionian speech wold have been by the 5th century.

For example, while the word ἡμέρη is marked with a rough breathing in the Homeric texts, in accordance with Attic pronunciation of ἡμέρα, the etymologically equivalent and more prevalent Homeric word ἦμαρ is not, and we find ἐπ᾽ ἤματι in e.g. Od. 12.105, indicating that this word was not pronounced with rough breathing by the time the Homeric texts were reduced to writing.

However, the fact that dh is not a Greek phoneme (unlike θ) makes me think that despite the rough breathing added much later, Greeks in all periods would have pronounced δʼ ὅτε without aspiration. But who knows? Perhaps at some point scholars insisted on a hypercorrect pronunciation with aspiration.

Your syllabification looks right to me. τρ and κλ, when τ and κ close syllables with short vowels and hence make them "heavy"/"long", should be split between the preceding and the next syllable.

mwh
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Re: Pronunciation of δʼ ὅτε

Post by mwh » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:54 pm

For an English-speaker it’s easy to aspirate delta, harder not to. But English phonology—or even Welsh—is so very different from ancient Greek I’m not sure the game is worth the candle. And why should we try to approximate the original pronunciation anyway, when the ancient Greeks themselves didn’t?

More important, I think, is to always pronounce δὲ ὅτε as δʼ ὅτε, effecting the elision in prose as well as in verse.

Syllabification. Yes that’s it. But that won’t always correspond to the verses’ phonetic actualization. In 81, for instance, δῦνε δʼ Ἐρεχθῆος πυκινὸν δόμον. αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς, a speaker could break after δόμον without making the line unmetrical. (Cf. 99 πίνοντες καὶ ἔδοντες· …, and there are far starker instances.) I think of this as a paraphonological phenomenon,

seanjonesbw
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Re: Pronunciation of δʼ ὅτε

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:55 pm

Thank you both, this is really good stuff.
mwh wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:54 pm
For an English-speaker it’s easy to aspirate delta, harder not to.
An excellent point - you have me completely sussed out, I was clearly thinking of some kind of 'overaspirated' breathy delta without thinking about the sound I actually make. You've saved me from pronouncing it like I've just been punched in the stomach.
Hylander wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:09 pm
But this is a fraught question: do you mean the original pronunciation of the poems when they were first reduced to writing, hot off the press, presumably sometime before 500 BCE, or the pronunciation of classical Athens in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, or even later pronunciations?
Rumbled again. I suppose I meant 'for those who aspirated, would they have aspirated here' but as you point out 'those' represents such a broad range of people as to be practically meaningless. Your potted history of aspiration is greatly appreciated - I was rather hoping you'd reply. I'm sure we could create a valuable online Greek resource from all your considered responses written in spotless prose (Qimmikipedia?).
ἁλὶ γὰρ δέδμητο φίλον κῆρ 🌊

Hylander
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Re: Pronunciation of δʼ ὅτε

Post by Hylander » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:44 pm

Thank you for your kind words, Sean, but mwh knows this area better than anyone, and I don’t merely mean better than anyone on Textkit. And he knows ancient Greek as well asanyone alive today.

seanjonesbw
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Re: Pronunciation of δʼ ὅτε

Post by seanjonesbw » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:54 pm

Yes but mwhipedia isn't a very good pun ☺️

In all seriousness I hope everyone is aware how fortunate we are to have mwh in this forum.
ἁλὶ γὰρ δέδμητο φίλον κῆρ 🌊

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