Re: polytonic Greek: diacritics above long vowels ᾱ, ῑ, ῡ

From: Richard Wordingham <>
Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2013 19:43:31 +0100

On Sat, 03 Aug 2013 16:27:35 -0700
Stephan Stiller <> wrote:

> > 2) Vowel lengths are not shown in closed syllables - strictly
> > speaking, breve and macron are being used to show syllable weight,
> > not vowel length.
> About #2:
> The entry of ἄγαν mentions that there is variation (always so much
> variation we're confronted with for this dialect family!) between
> ᾰγᾱν and ᾰγᾰν, in a note after the dictionary entry (you
> remembered cases like this for your original email, I take it). It'll
> be great to see an example of a superheavy syllable where LSJ doesn't
> reveal anything but another dictionary will tell us about a
> distinction, but if breve/macron usage there were to only indicate
> syllable weight (interpreted literally as a "light or heavy?" bit
> value for the syllable in question), LSJ wouldn't have bothered with
> this annotation.

For metrical purposes, we don't know whether the syllable is open or
closed until we know what comes next. I could try claiming the final
syllable is not closed, but only potentially closed, but I'd actually
overlooked this exception.

Also, I only recently checked what the length marks actually meant. (I
looked it up in an abridgement of L&S - the full LSJ really merits a

I looked the Greek rules for scansion up as I wasn't sure how faithful
a copy of the Greek rules the Latin rules are. The first document that
I found using macrons and breves as part of the text was‎ . It writes them above the
tone accents!

> (About my earlier question: It's dawning on me that perhaps someone
> just precomposed whatever was typographically common or attested with
> some frequency, with LSJ as a model, for which someone must have made
> decisions.)

Also missing are precomposed forms for the likes of <OMICRON,
COMBINING DOUBLE BREVE, UPSILON>, described as a final diphthong
shortened before a following vowel.

Received on Sun Aug 04 2013 - 13:50:07 CDT

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