A few questions concerning Attic Greek

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
I'll make this as quick as possible. First, though, I will say that my iPod keyboard doesn't include breathing marks or the circumflex mark. I will edit the appropriate diacritics into the post when I get to my laptop.

1. The book I am using starts off using only genitive pronouns for possession, like ο πατήρ μου. The author wrote that when emphasis was needed, the full, non-enclitic form is used, as in ο πατηρ εμου. Now, however, he is introducing the possessive pronouns and saying that they should *always* be used when emphatic. What is the difference between the usage of the three forms?

2. I understand that enclitics throw their accent back upon the preceding word under conditions that are mutually understood and not worth mentioning. However, I don't understand why it is represented in writing with both the original accent and the new accent, as "έχουσί τι". Are both accents pronounced? The author of the book didn't care to go into this, since his position was that the diacritics should be ignored and everything should be pronounced as if it were English >_>

3. How frequent is the dual number? Can it be replaced in any case with the plural? Also, can the dual form of εγώ, νώ, be used with the plural form in the indicative mood?

4. My book does not deal specifically with Attic, but it includes Attic forms. However, it makes some things vague - in Attic, is the second declension -ος completely and entirely replaced with -ως?

I had more questions, but, lucky for you, they have slipped my mind.
 

Gregorius

Civis Illustris
Nikolaos dixit:
The author of the book didn't care to go into this, since his position was that the diacritics should be ignored and everything should be pronounced as if it were English >_>
Get a different book. That stance is just plain lazy. You should at least use a stress accent to coincide with what would have originally been a pitch accent.

I'm no expert, as I'm only halfway through a self-taught course myself, but I think I can help at least somewhat.

1. Not sure about this one, but my advice is this: when in doubt, use the possessive pronoun for emphasis and the enclitics if no emphasis is needed That's probably the dominant trend in Greek texts, and even if you come across an exception, you can still deduce what it means quite easily. This is, of course, assuming you're not like me and are therefore focused more on comprehension than production.

2. Hansen and Quinn, authors of a well-respected textbook, say both accents should be written and pronounced.

3. Again unsure, but probably about as rare as the future perfect verb forms (i.e. quite seldom used). I think Hansen and Quinn relegate the dual to the appendices, if that helps.

4. This one's easy. No. The special -ως group, usually just called "Attic declension" is a small subset of the second declension, of which the vast majority of member nouns follow the normal -oς pattern.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Get a different book. That stance is just plain lazy. You should at least use a stress accent to coincide with what would have originally been a pitch accent.
I'm just using it as a primer. I think that it's stance was the spirit of its time, the nineteenth century.

Thanks for your answers!

A few more questions:

5. Should the omega in the Attic declension be pronounced as an omicron? The accentuation seems to indicate this, with the way that it is treated as if short.

6. Why is it that a heavy monosyllabic encliticon (like μου) does not change an ultimate circumflex into an acute, or a penultimate acute into an ultimate acute? Is it simply just because it doesn't, or can it be explained?

7. Can someone upload recordings of these words, just to give me some idea of how to pronounce similar words?

ζῶον
νόος (uncontracted)
εὕνοος (uncontracted)

... and a phrase, for an idea of connected speech. Your choice, just please write the phrase so that I can follow it. Thank you very much!
 

Afranius

New Member
I've been studying ancient Greek for over five years so if you are talking about it, i'll try to help you.

5. Should the omega in the Attic declension be pronounced as an omicron? The accentuation seems to indicate this, with the way that it is treated as if short.
I will make it easy , you can pronounce an omega as an omicron everywhere (even, of course, in the Attic declension) because we are no more able to understand the diferrence in quantity; but as a matter of fact for a greek man living in V century B.C. an omega lasted two times an omicron. So according to Plato, for example, two omicrons one next to the other were equal to an omega.

6. Why is it that a heavy monosyllabic encliticon (like μου) does not change an ultimate circumflex into an acute, or a penultimate acute into an ultimate acute? Is it simply just because it doesn't, or can it be explained?
There's a specific series of rules that explains the influence of enclitics on the accent, my greek grammar is in italian otherwise i'd have scanned you the page. Just one thing: I'm pretty sure that an enclitic can't change an ultimate circumflex in an acute in any situation. Enclitics only cause a "movement" of the accent or can "produce" a new second accent. I think that you sholud check on a well-written grammar book, because those things are quite simple if you have a look at them.

7. Can someone upload recordings of these words, just to give me some idea of how to pronounce similar words?

ζῶον
νόος (uncontracted)
εὕνοος (uncontracted)
I can't record those word but you would read the first word exactly this way: z-o-o-n; the second one n-o-o-s and so on. basically the accents deal with the quantity of the sillable, not with its pronunciation. I'll try to record you a whole phrase in ancient greek.
 
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