Re: Upsilon

From: David Moore (
Date: Fri Feb 02 1996 - 14:18:25 EST

On Fri, 2 Feb 1996, Stephen C Carlson wrote:

> Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> >On 2/1/96, wrote:
> >> I would only add that some suggest that Upsilon has an occassional V sound
> >> (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?
> My source is W. Sidney Allen, VOX LATINA and VOX GRAECA, highly
> recommended for those seriously interested in ancient pronunciation
> of Latin and Greek.
> According to the evidence, the fricative pronunciation of Latin V first
> appeared sporadically in the first century A.D., became wide-spread in
> the second century, but with a few pockets of the former pronunciation
> ("w") surviving until the fifth century. The fricative pronunciation
> of Greek AU and EU is difficult to date, but it probably happened some
> time after the third century according to Jewish inscriptions in Roman
> catacombs.
> As for DAUID, Greek at the time did not have a 'v' sound, so upsilon
> (or beta) would be the closest sound to represent it. This does not
> necessarily imply that upsilon had that sound, just that it was the
> closest.

        It is probably good to note that the Hebrew waw, which figures in the
Hebrew of "David," may not have originally represented the "v" sound.
Gesenius, in his grammar, classifies the waw as "sonant" rather than
labial or labio-dental (p. 35).

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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