Geminate consonants in Koine Greek.

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Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Geminate consonants in Koine Greek.

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 12th, 2017, 12:05 pm

Arising from the discussion of how elements of pronunciation of the Koine Greek has survived into various dialectical forms of Modern Greek, the follpwing information about geminate (lengthened) consonants is described in Wiki:
Varieties of Modern Greek wrote:Geminate consonants. Most Modern Greek varieties have lost the distinctively long (geminate) consonants found in Ancient Greek. However, the dialects of the south-eastern islands, including Cyprus, have preserved them, and even extended them to new environments such as word-initial positions. Thus, the word <ναι> 'yes' is pronounced with a distinctively long initial [nː] in Cypriot, and there are minimal pairs such as <φύλλο> [ˈfilːo] 'leaf' vs. <φύλο> [ˈfilo] 'gender', which are pronounced exactly the same in other dialects but distinguished by consonant length in Cypriot.
In another article Gemination is described as:
Gemination wrote:Lengthened fricatives, nasals, laterals, approximants, and trills are simply prolonged. In lengthened stops, the obstruction of the airway is prolonged, delaying release. That is, the "hold" is lengthened. Long consonants are usually around one and a half or two times as long as short consonants, depending on the language.


In Ancient Greek, consonant length was distinctive, e.g., μέλω [mélɔː] "I am of interest" vs. μέλλω [mélːɔː] "I am going to". The distinction has been lost in Standard Modern Greek and most varieties, with the exception of Cypriot such as in the pairs πολλοί [polˈli] 'a lot' vs. πολύ [poˈli] 'very'; the same is true for some varieties of the Aegean.
There is a discrepency in the description of the Cypriot dialect there. In one case gemination is described as consonant lengthening, and in the otjer as consonant doubling.

Fair enough, if it existed in Koine Greek, I want to work towards having it in my pronunciation too. The question begging from the discrepency in descriptions is;

Which type of gemination should I be trying to work towards in my pronunciation of Koine Greek?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Geminate consonants in Koine Greek.

Post by RandallButh » May 13th, 2017, 2:17 am

In general, length as a feature dropped out of the Koine and was part of the contribution to the reduction of the vowel system. I would check Gignac 1976 for data on consonants. (Not currently at hand while traveling.)

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