Re: The pronunciation of rho in Classical and Hellenistic Greek

From: Stephen C. Carlson (
Date: Sun Jun 27 1999 - 16:21:48 EDT

At 08:11 PM 6/26/99 -0500, Steve and Janet Reaves wrote:
>Someone asked me whether and how the letter rho was trilled in ancient
>GK. If anyone can point me toward the appropriate resources, I would
>greatly appreciate it.

W. Sidney Allen, VOX GRAECA, quotes Dionysius of Halicarnassus describing
the sound of rho as being pronounced by "the tip of the tongue rising to
the palate near the teeth" and "fanning" or "beating" out the air. p.41.
Allen also cites Plato for stating that the tongue is most vibrant in
making the sound of rho. Therefore, it is most likely that the sound of
the Greek rho was a trilled [r].

Also note that the intial rho is almost always aspirated and/or voiceless.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson              
Synoptic Problem Home Page
"Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words."  Shujing 2.35

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