RE: h in Greek epigraphy

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Dec 20 2002 - 16:30:21 EST

  • Next message: David J. Perry: "RE: h in Greek epigraphy"

    David J. Perry a dúirt:
    >Scripsit Michael Everson:
    >> Recently I saw a piece of epigraphical Greek, and while Latin "h" was
    >> written in the transliteration, the letter used in the actual Greek
    >> was ETA.
    >Yes; that is the whole point here. In all variants of the Greek
    >alphabet except the Ionic, eta stood for the "h" sound as in English
    >(hence the equivalent shapes of Eta and H, since it was some western
    >form of the Greek alphabet that was apparently carried to Italy). After
    >the Ionic alphabet was officially adopted at Athens, eta became used for
    >long e in subsequent standardized Greek writing.

    Knew that.

    >Epigraphers need to indicate when they are transcribing into
    >lowercase form, or transliterating, an Eta that was intended to
    >represent the "h" sound and
    >have adopted the Roman lc h as the means for doing so.

    Well, when Cyrillic letter SHCHA is being transliterated, either
    s-caron+c-caron or sometimes s-acute is written when it is Russian,
    and s-caron+t is used when it is Bulgarian. So when eta is
    transliterated by epigraphers they should use either e-macron or h.

    Or is the question "when they transliterate into modern Greek fonts"?
    Because then you have a problem -- since the Greek inscriptions and
    modern Greek are the same, no transliteration should be necessary.
    Though then one would have to know that eta meant, um, heta and that
    [h] should be read. I have seen Greek text where the Latin h was
    substituted for the eta in this context.

    Is the question "should Greek h be encoded"? In such an instance, I'd
    say that the need for a Latin theta and chi for IPA would be a lot
    more urgent, if cloning a borrowed letter were to be contemplated.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Dec 20 2002 - 17:04:00 EST