Re: hHMIN, hUMIN : were both pronounced the *same* ?

Michael Holmes (
Tue, 10 Dec 1996 10:58:53 -0600 (CST)

At 06:09 AM 12/10/96 -0600, Carl W. Conrad wrote, in response to some
comments by Stephen C. Carlson about the question of how certain pronouns
were pronounced:

>Stephen, I find this fascinating.I know we've discussed similar items about
>pronunciation on earlier occasions,and I am really curious about the
>evidence for this assertion; it's not so much that I think it is wrong as
>that I don't see how universal statements can be made about how Koine Greek
>was pronounced in every area where it was spoken and written at any
>particular time. I think there must have been considerable variation from
>one area of the world to another, and also that pronunciations that came to
>be standard everywhere later must have already been current or coming into
>currency somewhere earlier. So I guess I'm curious about the real evidence
>for this. I wold think that papyri from Egypt must be the strongest
>evidence, and I guess that they can be dated with reasonable probability
>within a quarter century or so?

For an extensive discussion of the pronounciation of Greek in late
Antiquity, largely based on the evidence of papyri (of all sorts), see:

Francis T. Gignac, _A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine
Periods_ (2 vols.; Milan: Istituto Editoriale Cisalpino, 1976, 1981); vol. 1
deals with phonology, vol. 2 with morphology.

He offers an extensive discussion of phonological variation and assimilation
in the periods indicated by his title, with copious presentation of evidence.

Mike Holmes
Bethel College