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Lesson 8 Lecture Notes

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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2800A/B
David Lamari

The Greek Alphabet and Transliteration Vowels • Greeks differentiated between short and long vowels in writing, a practice which no longer exists • Long e (w. a macron) is indicated by eta • Long o (w. a macron) is indicated by omega Sigma • Two different versions of lower case sigma are used ◦ σ was used anywhere in a word except at the end ◦ ς is used when sigma was the final letter in a word The Sound "H" • No character for the English letter "H" in the Greek language - when this sound was needed at the beginning of a word, it was indicated by a character resembling a reverse comma • Frequently disappeared in Greek and English derivatives ◦ ex. Odometer from Greek "hodos", road, way or journey ◦ ex. Greek "periodos" from "peri", around and "hodos" ◦ ex. Method - also from "hodos" shows that hodos comes to English with or without the "h" when compared to odometer Aspirated Consonants • When the sound of the English "H" followed each of these consonants, p, t, or k, in Greek, a character was devised to indicate each of these sounds ◦ phi ◦ theta ◦ chi - translated as "ch", as in chaos • Greek words combined these sounds which explains words like diphtheria and autochthonous. Greek Kappa • The letter "K" was not used in the Latin language of the Romans - Latin "c" was always pronounced hard, and when Latin borrowed Greek words with a kappa, it was changed to a "c". ◦ ex. Korinthos, L. Corinthus • When English borrowed Greek words, they kept up this tradition… ◦ ex. Cephalic, from Greek "kephalikos" ◦ ex. Cranium, from Greek "kranion" • With some exceptions... ◦ ex. Leukocyte, from Greek "Leukos" ◦ ex. Kinetic, from Greek "kinetikos" Greek Rho • When a Greek word began with the letter "r", it was always with rough breathing. • English words derived from such words are translated with an "h" after the "r" ◦ ex. rhythm, rhetoric, rhinoceros • If a prefix or another stem preceded the beginning of a word starting with rho, it was doubled, with the "h" following the second rho ◦ ex. myrrh, hemorrhage, diarrhea Greek Gamma • Assumed a nasal "n" sound before another gamma and before kappa and xi ◦ ex. Greek "aggelos" comes in English as "angel" ◦ ex. Greek "lygx" comes to English as "lynx" Greek Psi • When a Greek word contained the sound of "p" followed by "s", psi represented this ◦ ex. pseudonym ◦ ex. psychology Greek Diphthongs in English • Diphthong - two adjacent vowel sounds in the same syllable • Greek "ai" became "ae" in Latin and "e" in English
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