Aeolic Greek

Distribution of Greek dialects in the classical period.[1]
Western group: Central group:
  Aeolic
Eastern group:
  Attic
  Ionic
  Achaean Doric Greek
History of the
Greek language

(see also: Greek alphabet)
P46.jpg

Proto-Greek (c. 3000–1600 BC)
Mycenaean (c. 1600–1100 BC)
Ancient Greek (c. 800–330 BC)
Dialects:
Aeolic, Arcadocypriot, Attic-Ionic,
Doric, Locrian, Pamphylian,
Homeric Greek,
Macedonian (?)

Koine Greek (c. 330 BC–330)
Medieval Greek (330–1453)
Modern Greek (from 1453)
Dialects:
Calabrian, Cappadocian, Cheimarriotika, Cretan,
Cypriot, Demotic, Griko, Katharevousa,
Pontic, Tsakonian, Maniot, Yevanic
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*Dates (beginning with Ancient Greek) from Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p. 12. ISBN 0310218950. 

Aeolic Greek (play /ˈɒlɪk/; also Aeolian /ˈliən/, Lesbian or Lesbic Greek) is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece), Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor (Aeolis).

The Aeolic dialect shows many archaisms in comparison to the other Ancient Greek dialects (Attic-Ionic, Doric, Northwestern and Arcadocypriot), as well as many innovations.

Aeolic Greek is most widely known for being the language of the writings of Sappho and Alcaeus of Mytilene. Aeolic poetry, the most famous example of which being the works of Sappho, mostly uses four classical meters known as the Aeolics, which are: Glyconic (the most basic form of Aeolic line), hendecasyllabic verse, Sapphic stanza and Alcaic stanza (the latter two so named after Sappho and Alcaeus respectively).

In Plato's Protagoras (dialogue), Prodicus labelled the Aeolic dialect of Pittacus of Mytilene as barbarian (barbaros),[2] because of its difference from the Attic literary style:[3]

he didn't know to distinguish the words correctly, being from Lesbos, and having been raised with a barbarian dialect

Contents

Phonology

Consonants

Labiovelars

Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Greek * changed to Aeolic p everywhere. By contrast, PIE * changed to Attic-Ionic, Arcadocypriot, and Doric t before e and i.

  • PIE *etwores → Lesbian písures, Boeotian péttares ~ Attic téttares, Ionic tésseres, Doric tétores "four

Labiovelars were treated the same way in the P-Celtic languages and the Sabellic languages.

Sonorant clusters

A Proto-Greek consonant cluster with h (from Indo-European *s) and a sonorant (r, l, n, m, w, y) changed to a double sonorant in Aeolic (rr, ll, nn, mm, ww, yy) by assimilation. In Attic-Ionic and Doric, the h assimilated to the vowel before the consonant cluster, causing the vowel to lengthen by compensatory lengthening.

PIE VsR or VRs → Attic-Ionic-Doric VVR.
VsR or VRs → Aeolic VRR.[4]
  • PIE *h₁ésmi → Proto-Greek *ehmi → Aeolic emmi ~ Attic-Ionic ēmi (= εἰμί)

Loss of h

Lesbian Aeolic lost in initial h- (psilosis "stripping") from Proto-Indo-European s- or y-. By contrast, Ionic sometimes retains it, and Attic always retains it.

  • PIE *seh₂u̯elios → Proto-Greek *hāwelios → Lesbian āélios, Ionic ēélios ~ Attic hēlios "sun"

Retention of w

In Thessalian and Boeotian (sub-dialects of Aeolic) and Doric, the Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Greek semi-vowel w (digamma) was retained at the beginning of a word.

  • PIE wekʷ-es- → Boeotian, Doric wépos ~ Attic-Ionic épos "word", "epic" (compare Latin vōx "voice")

Vowels

Long a

In Aeolic and Doric, Proto-Greek long ā remains. By contrast, in Attic, long ā changes to long ē in most cases; in Ionic, it changes everywhere.[5]

  • PIE *meh₂ter- → Aeolic, Doric mātēr ~ Attic-Ionic mētēr "mother"

Boeotian

In Boeotian, the vowel-system was, in many cases, changed in a way reminiscent of the modern Greek pronunciation.

  • Attic-Ionic αι /ai/ ~ Boeotian η /eː/ ~ Modern Greek αι /e/
  • Attic-Ionic η /eː/ ~ Boeotian ει /iː/ ~ Modern Greek ει /i/
  • Attic-Ionic οι /oi/ ~ Boeotian υ /yː/ ~ Mediaeval Greek and Old Athenaean οι /yː/ ~ Modern Greek οι /i/

Accent

In Lesbian Aeolic, the accent of all words is recessive (barytonesis), as is typical only in the verbs of other dialects.[6]

  • Attic-Ionic potamós ~ Lesbian pótamos "river"

Morphology

Contracted or vowel-stem verbs that are thematic in Attic-Ionic are often athematic (-mi) in Aeolic.[7]

  • Ionic philéō, Attic philô ~ Aeolic phílēmi "I love"

The same is also found in Irish, where this selection has been generalized, i.e. -im.


Aeolic athematic infinitive active ends in -men or (Lesbian) -menai. ~ Attic-Ionic has -enai.

  • Lesbian émmen, émmenai; Thessalian, Boeotian eîmen ~ Attic-Ionic eînai (spurious diphthong)

In the Lesbian dialect this ending also extends to the thematic conjugation, where Attic-Ionic has -ein. All three of these Aeolic endings occur in Homer.


Proto-Greek -ans and -ons-ais and -ois (first- and second declension accusative plural). ~ Attic-Ionic -ās and -ōs (= -ους).[8][9]

Dative plural -aisi and -oisi. ~ Attic-Ionic -ais and -ois.

The participle has ois and ais for Attic ōs (= ους), ās.[10]

Glossary

Aeolian

Boeotian

Thessalian

References

  1. ^ Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
  2. ^ Protagoras and Meno by Plato - Greek text
  3. ^ James A. Towle, Commentary on Plato: Protagoras 341c
  4. ^ V = vowel, R = sonorant, s is itself. VV = long vowel, RR = doubled or long sonorant.
  5. ^ Smyth, Greek Grammar, par. 30 and note, 31: Attic long e, long a
  6. ^ Smyth, par. 162 note: (Lesbian) Aeolic recessive accent
  7. ^ Smyth, Greek Grammar, par. 656: contract verbs in Aeolic
  8. ^ Smyth, par. 214 note 9: first declension in dialects
  9. ^ Smyth, par. 230 note: second declension in dialects
  10. ^ Smyth, par. 305 note
  11. ^ Athenaeus Deipnosophists -9.369
  12. ^ Boiotia —Anthedon
  13. ^ Boiotia — Orchomenos — early 1st c. BC
  14. ^ Krannon — ca. 250-215 BC SEG 23:437, 7
  15. ^ Selected Papers in Greek and Near Eastern History [1] by David Malcolm Lewis, Peter John Rhodes
  16. ^ Skotoussa — 197-185 BC SEG 43:311
  17. ^ Thessalia — Larisa — 220-210 BC - SEG 27:202
  18. ^ Deipnosophists 14.663-4(pp.1059-1062)
  19. ^ MagnesiaDemetrias — late 2nd c. BC [2]

See also


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