what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

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what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby Penn Tomassetti » July 12th, 2014, 10:16 am

I have seen evidence for some of the vowel shifts online from Buth and others showing iotacism in the early centuries of the Greek speaking church, but I would like to know what evidence supports η and υ as sounding like é and ü. In most of the posts I've read, usually no positive evidence for those sounds is given to establish. It seems the lack of evidence that would show iotacism for those Gr. vowels is usually the basis for assuming their sounds were é and ü, rather than building a positive argument for their sounding like é and ü. I can't afford the major authors on the subject, so I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to explain or point me to where online evidence establishing those vowel sounds is given.

ἔρρωσο
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 12th, 2014, 1:54 pm

The request for online sources only is rather frustrating since a detailed itemization and discussion of the evidence is unfortunately not the kind of thing that online sites (usually done by amateurs and enthusiasts) are good at. Books by recognized authorities are what you need, and even the on-line Wikipedia entry on Koine Greek Phonology, which summarizes well the state of our knowledge, bottoms out with with cites to printed resources for the detailed presentation of the evidence. The source I recommend you consult is W. Sidney Allen, Vox Graeca (1968), pp. 62-66, and that you go on to more technical sources. Yes, this is a printed resource but there is no sense in recommending inferior sources. (Heck, you might even find an pirated copy of it online somewhere if you are really look hard.)

The evidence for the value of Υ, υ, ranges from comparative evidence, synchronic and diachronic dialectal evidence, transliterations from and to foreign languages, and statements of grammarians and rhetoricians, As such, it is tough to summarize briefly on a forum in a manner that conveys the full force of the converging lines of evidence, but I can point to one thing. When the Roman transliterated Greek words like ζέφυρος in the Latin alphabet as zephyrus, they chose to borrow the symbol Y also, even though they had perfectly good letters I and V (our U) for vowel sounds of Modern Greek ι/ει and ου. This suggests that Greek υ has a value not directly representable in the Latin alphabet and differs from /i/ and /u/. In fact, Quintillian, 12.10.27-28, says a much with this very example.
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby MAubrey » July 12th, 2014, 4:20 pm

The easy answer is that Germans did the original reconstruction. :D
Stephen Carlson wrote:When the Roman transliterated Greek words like ζέφυρος in the Latin alphabet as zephyrus, they chose to borrow the symbol Y also, even though they had perfectly good letters I and V (our U) for vowel sounds of Modern Greek ι/ει and ου. This suggests that Greek υ has a value not directly representable in the Latin alphabet and differs from /i/ and /u/. In fact, Quintillian, 12.10.27-28, says a much with this very example.

Unfortunately, that means nothing in terms of the actual vowel quality. There are other options that exist between /i/ and /u/. It doesn't need to be ü (IPA: /y/).
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 12th, 2014, 5:21 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:When the Roman transliterated Greek words like ζέφυρος in the Latin alphabet as zephyrus, they chose to borrow the symbol Y also, even though they had perfectly good letters I and V (our U) for vowel sounds of Modern Greek ι/ει and ου. This suggests that Greek υ has a value not directly representable in the Latin alphabet and differs from /i/ and /u/. In fact, Quintillian, 12.10.27-28, says a much with this very example.

Unfortunately, that means nothing in terms of the actual vowel quality. There are other options that exist between /i/ and /u/. It doesn't need to be ü (IPA: /y/).

That's exactly right. Swedish, for example, has a few of them.

But one of the OP's concerns (if not the major one) was itacism, and it is important to point that there is more going on in scholarly reconstructions than a mere "lack of evidence that would show iotacism" when there is actual evidence against it.
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby MAubrey » July 12th, 2014, 6:15 pm

Ah! I misunderstood the purpose of the initial question.

I'll second the Koine Greek Phonology page on Wikipedia. It is superbly written and accurately referenced.
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby Penn Tomassetti » July 12th, 2014, 7:01 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:The request for online sources only is rather frustrating . . . (Heck, you might even find an pirated copy of it online somewhere if you are really look hard.)


I am sorry to have frustrated you with my question. Perhaps you shouldn't have bothered to answer. Frankly, I am shocked that you would suggest using a pirated copy of anything. That is really low. It's not as if I couldn't ask a library for the author you suggested. Anyhow, I'm not asking you to detail the evidence item by item. Just for someone to point me in the right direction, which I see you have done. Thank you for the little bit of info you were willing to share and I hope it wasn't a bother for you to do so.
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby Penn Tomassetti » July 12th, 2014, 7:11 pm

MAubrey wrote:The easy answer is that Germans did the original reconstruction. :D

χαχαχαχαχα! :D

Mike,
I appreciate your responses. Don't worry about hitting my question exactly, I'm pretty curious about most of everything. I've read the Wikipedia IPA info before and found it helpful, though I guess I would like to see if anyone else has shown any evidence that I could look at from or through this forum.

Of course, I am also interested in diphthongs, but thought I'd start out asking a simpler question.

Thanks again!
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby MAubrey » July 12th, 2014, 7:26 pm

Penn Tomassetti wrote:though I guess I would like to see if anyone else has shown any evidence that I could look at from or through this forum.

If you have the patience, there's a good bit of Threatte's grammar of Attic inscriptions available to read on Google Books, but you'll have to clear your browser cache every time you hit the page limit, though.

And if you're more patient, you can take Buth's claims and check them against real papyri and inscriptions at Perseus (Duke Databank of Papyri) and the Packard Humanities Insitute's website (http://epigraphy.packhum.org/inscriptions/). Both of those will require more effort on your part, but you'll have real data and real spelling errors.

Penn Tomassetti wrote:Of course, I am also interested in diphthongs, but thought I'd start out asking a simpler question.

Consonant clusters, I can provide more help...even if you weren't asking.

http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2010/01/0 ... -clusters/
http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2010/02/1 ... -clusters/
http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2010/03/0 ... -clusters/

Be sure to read the comments, there's more data there.
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby Penn Tomassetti » July 12th, 2014, 7:39 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:The evidence for the value of Υ, υ, ranges from comparative evidence, synchronic and diachronic dialectal evidence, transliterations from and to foreign languages, and statements of grammarians and rhetoricians, As such, it is tough to summarize briefly on a forum in a manner that conveys the full force of the converging lines of evidence, but I can point to one thing. When the Roman transliterated Greek words like ζέφυρος in the Latin alphabet as zephyrus, they chose to borrow the symbol Y also, even though they had perfectly good letters I and V (our U) for vowel sounds of Modern Greek ι/ει and ου. This suggests that Greek υ has a value not directly representable in the Latin alphabet and differs from /i/ and /u/. In fact, Quintillian, 12.10.27-28, says a much with this very example.


I appreciate this information. It is that kind of stuff that I enjoy hearing about. Latin does shed light on my question, though by itself it can't show the exact pronunciation of the Greek speakers that were contemporary to the time Latin authors transliterated those words, only some approximations, as you indicated. Transliteration can be a tricky thing sometimes in modern languages. Dominican Spanish has "Yaniqueque" [dʒanikeke], which corresponds to our "Johnnycake," and English has "no problemo" [no pɹablemo] which corresponds to Spanish "no hay problema" (a phrase which most English speakers understandably do not even attempt to sound out).
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Re: what evidence shows Koine υ sounded like German ü?

Postby Penn Tomassetti » July 12th, 2014, 7:56 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Penn Tomassetti wrote:though I guess I would like to see if anyone else has shown any evidence that I could look at from or through this forum.

If you have the patience, there's a good bit of Threatte's grammar of Attic inscriptions available to read on Google Books, but you'll have to clear your browser cache every time you hit the page limit, though.

And if you're more patient, you can take Buth's claims and check them against real papyri and inscriptions at Perseus (Duke Databank of Papyri) and the Packard Humanities Insitute's website (http://epigraphy.packhum.org/inscriptions/). Both of those will require more effort on your part, but you'll have real data and real spelling errors.

Penn Tomassetti wrote:Of course, I am also interested in diphthongs, but thought I'd start out asking a simpler question.

Consonant clusters, I can provide more help...even if you weren't asking.

http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2010/01/0 ... -clusters/
http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2010/02/1 ... -clusters/
http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2010/03/0 ... -clusters/

Be sure to read the comments, there's more data there.


This is great! Thanks! :D
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