Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 30th, 2012, 2:46 am

RandallButh wrote:Where a text agrees with a reading but uses a different spelling the variant spelling may cited below in a band of 'spelling footnotes', in the second band of footnotes after 'lacunae' (which lists the chosen manuscripts that are not extant for the line in question).


This is how Swanson does it for the Gospels. For Acts and Paul, Swanson got rid of the spelling band and put all spelling variations directly into the horizontal display. I think this is an improvement.

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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby RandallButh » January 30th, 2012, 3:48 am

A couple of clarifications might help the above.

1. The 9th century miniscule revolution in texts did not "maintain" the three accents, but ADDED them. They were not being pronounced in the 9th c.

2. At least one of the accents, perispwmenos tonos, originally required a long vowel since it was basically a high and a low tone, together.
The Great Koine Vowel Shift (300-150BCE) was largely triggered and spread by a collapsing of 'phonemic length' in post-Alexandrian Koine. That means that when the vowel shifts 'stabilized' in the seven-vowel system there were no more long vowels available for distinguishing 'high' from 'high-low' tones and presumably these tones merged.

However, things do not usually disappear neatly without a trace. For example, a word like αὐτὸν 'him' would have no accent in context ("grave" means 'no accent in context, but with a potential high accent at phrase end') and a word like αὐτῶν 'of them' would always have it accent in context. So final-syllable circumflex accents would maintain the circumflex memory, even after it reduced to a high tone.
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby klriley » January 30th, 2012, 7:58 am

There is evidence that even in Classical times some dialects - like Spartan - were already using stress rather than pitch-based accent. So, like the sound changes, there is no easy answer as to when they occurred, as the changes were spread over five or more centuries, and did not occur evenly everywhere. That is why some people can date the changes as occurring early, others much later, all based on the same data. It depends on whether you believe you can claim the change has occurred when you find the earliest example of it, or when it has become generally established. There are a number of excellent books on the history of the Greek language that you could profitably waste many afternoons reading.
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby Mark Lightman » January 30th, 2012, 12:32 pm

Stephen wrote: For verbs, the accent was recessive, so the correct accent was (and is) predictable by and large.


Hi, Stephen,

As you probably know, Sappho gave recessive accents to substantives as well. (You go, girl!) Had Byzantine editors followed her lead, Ancient Greek would be easier to learn and speak. But it is what it is.

Kevin (at least I think it is Kevin; is sounds like something Kevin would write) wrote: There are a number of excellent books on the history of the Greek language that you could profitably waste many afternoons reading.


I think what Kevin means by “profitably waste” is that these books may be interesting in their own right, but they will not lead (ad nauseam alert) to fluency in Ancient Greek.
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby cwconrad » January 30th, 2012, 1:49 pm

Mark Lightman wrote:[quoteAs you probably know, Sappho gave recessive accents to substantives as well. (You go, girl!) Had Byzantine editors followed her lead, Ancient Greek would be easier to learn and speak. But it is what it is.


That's one of the features that characterizes Lesbian Aeolic -- wherefore you find it also in the poetry of Alcaeus (δεῦρο σύμπωθι ...). However, although we may read verse and prose in dialects other than Attic and Hellenistic Koine, I don't think we ordinarily propose to model our pronunciation on the dialects.
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby Mark Lightman » January 30th, 2012, 3:34 pm

Carl wrote:

However, although we may read verse and prose in dialects other than Attic and Hellenistic Koine, I don't think we ordinarily propose to model our pronunciation on the dialects.


Hi, Carl.

1 Cor 13:13b. from the forthcoming A Doric Greek New Testament:

μείζων δὲ τούτων ἁ ἀγάπα.
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby cwconrad » January 30th, 2012, 4:40 pm

Mark Lightman wrote:Carl wrote:

However, although we may read verse and prose in dialects other than Attic and Hellenistic Koine, I don't think we ordinarily propose to model our pronunciation on the dialects.


Hi, Carl.

1 Cor 13:13b. from the forthcoming A Doric Greek New Testament:

μείζων δὲ τούτων ἁ ἀγάπα.


ναί, φίλε Φώσφορε! ὥσπερ γὰρ γέγραπται, "γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς." ὁ δὲ Παῦλος, "οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς διὰ τῆς γλώσσης ἐὰν μὴ εὔσημον λόγον δῶτε, πῶς γνωσθήσεται τὸ λαλούμενον; ἔσεσθε γὰρ εἰς ἀέρα λαλοῦντες." I believe that it was shortly after the Dorian invasion of Boston that people first took up the chant, "Paahk yuh caah in Haahvud Yaahd."
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby RandallButh » January 30th, 2012, 4:43 pm

Mark: 1Cor 13:13b. from the forthcoming A Doric Greek New Testament:

μείζων δὲ τούτων ἁ ἀγάπα.


Let's not get too silly. You know you can't mix Doric and "pop-Erasmian": you'll have a situation of τὸ αἰνεῖν τὰν θεάν! I mean τὸν θεόν. Oh dear, :shock: :?
you'll need to leave the dark force, the dark Lady, and cross over. Or do you want us to just shout μεγάλα ἁ Ἄρτεμις at the top of our lungs and pretend that we are ancient visitors from Ἁλικαρνασσός?

I say let's go back to the texts of NT and treat Greek like the Greeks.
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby Shirley Rollinson » January 30th, 2012, 7:37 pm

Way, way back in this thread (January 29) , Jesse Goulet wrote "All very interesting, but none of this tells me how accents were pronounced"
and so far no-one has given an answer.
Here's how I work it out for myself :
The acute implies "raise the tone" - so raise it by a third, a fourth, or a fifth, according to how you would raise your tone if asking a question (e.g. You did THAT ??) as opposed to the level statement (e.g. "You did that.)
For a grave, drop your tone by the some amount.
For the circumflex, if you really want (I don't bother - I just use the circumflex to alert me in to contacted vowels etc.) you might try "DUH-UH?"

If you don't want to bother raising and lowering the tine, just put a slight stress on the accented syllable.

Don't worry, no-one knows what was "really correct" - just pick a system, read the language, and enjoy it.

λεπτα δυo μoυ :-)
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Re: Buth and diacritic marks/accents

Postby klriley » January 30th, 2012, 8:01 pm

Does not the grave mark the lack of raising, rather than a fall? I am sure I have read somewhere that the Greek grammarians analysed the acute as raising the voice by a fifth. I have often pondered whether that was the actual practice for every Greek speaker, or whether that was some 'ideal' and the actual raising varied according to person and situation. Considering that in modern pitch accent languages the interplay of the rise and fall of the pitch, as well as the stress accent, tends to be much more complicated in phrases/sentences than in words, and Greek seems to mark primarily word accent, I suspect that the fullness of the system is probably impossible to recover at this point in time. Maybe after we invent time machines that do actually work we will find the tonal accent system taught in all Greek classes, but for now I would think that the simple 'modern' system of stress accentuation would be most practical. And for Koiné Greek it is also probably the most accurate.
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