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 Post subject: greek vowels
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:26 pm 
Niš
Niš

Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:32 am
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Why does Ancient Greek use different glyphs to distinguish length for some vowels (e and o) but not others (a, i, and u)?


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 Post subject: Re: greek vowels
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:25 pm 
Smeric
Smeric
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Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2003 2:57 pm
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Location: Scattered disc
I believe it was originally a seven vowel setup, with the ē and ō vowels tracing back to originally distinct vowel qualities, whereas the ā ī ū are less common and arose from secondary processes of lengthening. e.g. /oso/ > /oo/ > /ou/ > /ū/ (but still spelled "ou").

I believe that other languages with vowel length often also have separate origins for each of the long vowels. e.g. Japanese has ō far more common than ā, and ō comes from two vowels that were different in quality (one similar to pre-Greek omega, the other to omicron), but there was never a distinct "ō" row in the kanji, let alone one row for each of the two distinct ō's, showing that sometimes the devisers of an orthography are attracted to symmetry.

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 Post subject: Re: greek vowels
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:04 am 
Avisaru
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:05 pm
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 Post subject: Re: greek vowels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:06 am 
Lebom
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:21 pm
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Location: Taipeium, Respublica Sinarum
Is it known when the length distinction and diphthongs arose? I'm thinking maybe that the diphthongs monophthongized first in some dialect, then when other dialects developed long-omicron and long-epsilon phonemes, they picked up the conveniently available omicron-iota and epsilon-iota digraphs, but nothing similar exists for long-alpha, long-upsilon, or long-iota, so they made do with the old ones.

If you mean the epsilon-eta and omicron-omega pair instead, then the answer is simple: they're different in quality.


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 Post subject: Re: greek vowels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:01 am 
Avisaru
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Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:34 am
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gives lots of information, and it's also worth checking out the other dialects and the Koine Greek page to see the development.

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 Post subject: Re: greek vowels
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:03 am 
Avisaru
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