[b-greek] In response to Aspectual only change

From: Wayne Leman (wleman@mcn.net)
Date: Tue Nov 14 2000 - 17:07:22 EST

Clay replied:

> If we are talking about Hellenistic Greek there was no fixed method of
> pronunciation to communicate this feature. To the extent that the aspect
> encoded in the vowels it is lost even in speech when you have an
> international language where vocalization is regional.


Well, I wish we had recordings from that time to nail it down empirically,
but since we don't, I can only speak a bit more from a cross-linguistic
perspective. If people feel the need to make some meaning distinction clear,
they find a way to do it, even if there are mitigating factors such as
vowels falling together. Since we no longer have the singular vs. plural 2nd
person number distionction we previously had with thee/ye, notice how some
English speakers who feel a need to make this semantic distinction clear do
so. Some of the second person plurals I have heard are:

you all
you guys
yous guys

I suspect that the ancient Greeks did the same if shifts among the vowels
made aspectual distinctions unclear. This is the nature of how people use
language, to make clear what they are trying to say, even if they have to
change the language to do so.

Wayne Leman
Bible translation site: http://bibletranslation.lookscool.com/

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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