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Haplology

(651 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Haplology is the loss of a syllable that is similar to a syllable nearby. Haplology is the loss of a syllable that is similar to a syllable nearby, as when Latin nutritrix ‘nurse’ became nutrix through loss of the repeated tri, or when English Anglaland ‘land of the Angles’ became England through loss of the repeated la. The phenomenon was named by Maurice Bloomfield (1896) in connection with Vedic Sanskrit rujā́nāḥ, which he derived from *rujāná-nās ‘with broken nose’ through loss of before nās. Haplology is a special case of the Obligatory Contour Principle, the general av…
Date: 2013-11-01

Minima

(1,970 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Minima are minimal prosodic requirements placed on words and their parts. In Ancient Greek, lexical roots and the words they form are minimally two moras in length, and the derivational affixes that form new lexical words are minimally one mora. Nonlexical words and inflectional affixes have no minimal requirements. 1. Introduction Many languages place minimal prosodic restrictions on the size of well-formed words, especially on the so-called lexical or open-class words ‒ nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs built from them ( Hale 1973; Itô 1990; McCarthy and Prince 1990; P…
Date: 2013-11-01

Hiatus

(912 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Hiatus refers to adjacent vowels in adjacent syllables (English preempt, cooperation, reinvent), which many languages avoid. In Ancient Greek, hiatus is usually preempted by eliding one of the vowels, by contracting the vowels into a single vowel, or by separating them with a glide.   All languages prefer syllables with onsets ( Jakobson 1962:526, pace Breen & Pensalfini 1999), i.e., syllables that begin with consonants. But various factors conspire to bring about onsetless syllables; when an onsetless syllable is preceded by a vowel, we speak of hiatus. Diachronically, th…
Date: 2014-01-22

Syllable Weight

(734 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract The grammatical weight (heavy or light) or length (long or short) of a syllable is crucial in poetic meter, accentuation, word minima, and a number of phonological processes. Like a great many languages, Ancient Greek distinguished two types of syllable, heavy and light (also called long and short). A light syllable in any language is one that ends in a single short vowel: be, pa, tro, i. All other syllables are heavy, i.e., those with long vowels, diphthongs, or final consonants: bē, pai, tron, iks. Like modern French, a word-final consonant in Greek was pronounced to…
Date: 2014-01-22

Lesbian Accentuation

(413 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Lesbian accentuation refers to the distribution of tones (the pitch-accent) in the large dialect centered around the island of Lesbos. Nouns, verbs and adjectives in Lesbian Greek had recessive accent, so that Attic Pierídes ‘Pierian muses’ shows up in Sappho as Piérides with a high tone as far back as it can go. The Lesbian (and Aeolic Asian) dialect is best known from the lyric poets Sappho and Alcaeus, whose speech was accented in a manner different from those of other dialects. In most Greek dialects we find a mix of accentuation: some words are rece…
Date: 2014-01-22

Stress

(2,906 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Stress is an abstract property of syllables that often attracts length, loudness, and pitch. Whether Greek had stress or not is not known; evidence for stress in Greek comes from poetic meter and from phonological and morphological considerations including the placement of the recessive pitch accent. Modern Greek has stress (like English or Spanish) and it generally has stress where Ancient Greek had a written accent-mark (acute ´ or circumflex ˆ); orthographically, stress is shown in Modern Greek with an acute accent over the stressed vo…

Prothesis

(1,072 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Prothesis refers to the addition of a vowel at the beginning of a word. Prothesis is properly the addition of a vowel at the beginning of a word, as seen in the Spanish loan espray for English spray. For Greek the term is used more generally for words in which Greek has a word-initial vowel that most of its sister languages lack; while some linguists treat these vowels as added (‘prothetic’) in Greek (e.g., Wyatt 1972), the general consensus is that they often come from vocalized laryngeal consonants in Proto-Indo-European. Greek usually has an extra initial vowel (usually e) in word…
Date: 2013-11-01

Metrics

(4,956 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Metrics is the study of the formal properties of poetry. In Greek meter these involve primarily the distribution of heavy and light syllables in feet and metra and the regulations of word-end in various places in a line via caesurae and bridges. 1. Introduction Metrics is the study of the formal properties of poetry, including the length and internal composition of lines and other recurring units of poems. The main meter of epic poetry is the dactylic hexameter, used exclusively in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and in Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days (Epic Meter); the hexamete…
Date: 2014-01-22

Doric Accentuation

(786 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Doric accentuation refers to the distribution of tones in a dialect centered around Crete, Rhodes, and the south and east of the Peloponnese. The basic pattern is similar to that of Attic-Ionic, but with the high tone one mora (sometimes two) to the right, so that Attic philósophoi ‘philosophers’ shows up as philosóphoi with the high tone on the penultimate syllable rather than the antepenult. Doric Greeks like Stesichorus and Ibycus seem to have had a slightly different pattern of high and low tones in their words than speakers of other dialects.  Thus Attic Greek philósophoi had…
Date: 2013-11-01

Wackernagel’s Law II (V’S)

(1,293 words)

Author(s): Chris Golston
Abstract Wackernagel’s Law II (also called the Law of Lengthening, among other names) refers to the lengthening of a short initial vowel in the second word of a compound, as in dus-āḗs ‘ill-blowing’ from aênai ‘to blow’. The second member of a compound in Greek often begins with a long vowel, where a short vowel would be expected based on the vowel of the root. The lengthening (Germ. Dehnung) of that vowel has come to be known as Wackernagel’s other law, Wackernagel II, the Law of Lengthening, or the Dehnungsgesetz, after Wackernagel (1889). Note that long ā, ē, ō in the second member of eac…
Date: 2014-01-27