Re: Consonantal iota

Carl W. Conrad (
Wed, 22 Jan 1997 15:52:25 -0600

At 9:27 PM -0600 1/21/97, Lee R. Martin wrote:
>Pardon my intrusion, but it seems to me that the iota in Jerusalem,
>Jordan, Jesus, John, et. al. is a pronounced as a consonant, not a vowel
>(corresponding to the Hebrew consonant yod). The only way it could be
>pronounced as a vowel is to add a syllable, e.g. ee-er-u-sa-lem,
>ee-or-dan, ee-ey-sus etc.

I think that this MAY be true, but how do we KNOW it for sure? What I said
yesterday was that editors, by putting a smooth breathing before the
upper-case Iota, seem to be indicating pronunciation as a vowel. That the
Romans used an I for both vowel and consonant we do know, but what evidence
have we for Greek pronunciation of initial I as a consonant at any time?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR