Re: Upsilon

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Feb 02 1996 - 12:38:32 EST

On 2/2/96, Carlton Winbery wrote:

> Carl Conrad responded to Tim;
> >> I would only add that some suggest that Upsilon has an occassional V
> >> (as in Victory) or W sound (as in Wax). Examples include the name DAUID
> >> (David) and EUAGGELION (gospel).
> >
> >Interesting point, Tim. I wonder when this took place. We find historians
> >writing Greek in the first and later centuries of our era transliterating
> >Roman names like Varus and Vergilius as OUAROS and OUERGILIOS, which should
> >mean that the OU + vowel was our W sound. But when was the Latin
> >EVANGELIUM, representing the Greek EUAGGELION first being pronounced with
> >our V sound? Does anyone know?
> >
> Interestingly enough modern Greek pronounces the name of EUSEBIUS as
> efsevius. The pronoun AUTOS is aftos.

Yes, I knew this was standard modern Greek; the question is at what time it
came to be the common Greek pronunciation. We do know that the Cyrillic
alphabet used Greek letters to write Russian (and later other Slavic
languages), and we know that it used B for the sound V. Was BASILEUS
already pronounced "vasilefs" at that time? A Greek-derived name such as
Eng. "Eugene" from EUGENHS has its Russian form as "Yevgeni." Is it a
Russian name from early times?

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

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