H. W. Smyth

Greek Grammar Notes

Part 1 1-26


a. Sigma (not capital) at the end of a word is written ς, elsewhere σ. Thus, σεισμός earthquake.





b. The names in parentheses, from which are derived those in current use, were given at a late period, some as late as the Middle Ages. Thus, epsilon means `simple e,' upsilon `simple u,' to distinguish these letters from αι, οι, which were sounded like εand υ.



c. Labda is a better attested ancient name than lambda.












3 D. Vau was in use as a genuine sound at the time the Homeric poems were composed, though it is found in no Mss. of Homer. Many apparent irregularities of epic verse (such as hiatus, 47 D.) can be explained only by supposing that Ϝ was actually sounded. Examples of words containing Ϝ are:  ἄστυ town, ἄναξ lord, ἀνδάνω please, εἴκω give way (cp. weak), εἴκοσι twenty (cp. viginti), ἕκαστος each, ἑκών willing, ἔλπομαι hope (cp. voluptas), ἔοικα am like, ἕο, οἷ, ἕ him,ἕξ six, ἔπος word, εἶπον said, ἔργον, ἔρδω work, ἕννῡμι clothe, fr. Ϝεσ-νῡμι (cp. vestis), ἐρέω will say (cp. verbum), ἕσπερος evening (cp. vesper), ἴον violet (cp. viola), ἔτος year (cp. vetus), ἡδύς sweet (cp. suavis), ἰδεῖν (οἶδα) know (cp. videre, wit), ἴς strength (cp. vis), ἰτέα willow (cp. vitis, withy), οἶκος house (cp. vicus), οἶνος wine (cp. vinum), ὅς his (123), ὄχος carriage (cp. veho, wain). Vau was lost first before ο- sounds (ὁράω see, cp. be-ware). Ϝ occurred also in the middle of words: κλέϜος glory, αἰϜεί always, Ϝις sheep (cp. ovis), κληϜίς key (Dor. κλᾱΐς, cp. clavis), ξένϜος stranger, ΔιϜto Zeus, καλϜός beautiful. Cp. 20, 31, 37 D., 122, 123.




5 D. A diphthong ωυ occurs in New Ionic (ὠυτός the same from ὁ αὐτός 68 D., μωυτοῦ of myself = μαυτοῦ 329 D., θωῦμα = θαῦμα wonder). Ionic has ηυ for Attic αυ in some words (Hom. νηῦς ship).




8 D. In poetry and in certain dialects vowels are often written apart which later formed diphthongs:  παίς (or παΐς) boy or girl, Πηλεΐδης son of Peleus, εὖ  (or ) well, Ἀίδης (or Ἀΐδης) Hades, γένεϊ to a race.







9 D. The Ionic of Asia Minor lost the rough breathing at an early date. So also before ρ (13). Its occurrence in compounds (124 D.) is a relic of the period when it was still sounded in the simple word. Hom. sometimes has the smooth where Attic has the rough breathing in forms that are not Attic: Ἀΐδης (Ἄιδης), the god Hades, ἆλτο sprang (ἀλλομαι), ἄμυδις together (cp. ἅμα), ἠέλιος sun (ἥλιος), ἠώς dawn (ἕως), ἴρηξ hawk (ἱέρᾱξ), οὔρος boundary (ὅρος).  But also in ἄμαξα wagon (Attic ἄμαξα ). In Laconian medial v became h (h): n4ka4 = n4kjse he conquered.



10 D. In Aeolic, υ , like all the other vowels (and the diphthongs), always has the smooth breathing. The epic forms ὔμμες you, ὔμμι, ὔμμε (325 D.) are Aeolic.



* is voiceless.



was voiced only when it had the ζ sound (26)




24 D. In Lesbos, Boeotia, Laconia, possibly in Ionia, and in some other places, υ was still sounded oo after it became like Germ. in Attic.






26 D. Aeolic has σδ for ζ in ὔσδος (ὄζος branch). In late Laconian θ passed into σ (σηρίον = θηρίον wild beast). In Laconian and some other dialects β became a spirant and was written for Ϝ.  δ became a spirant in Attic after Christ.