A Conversation for The Greek Alphabet

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 1


Before 700BC the Greek alphabet was very different. The story says Cadmus brought the new vowels and the letters after T.

Before Cadmus, the Greek alphabet was more like the Hebrew. There was a letter named Digamma which took the place of our letter F. The digamma is now only used as a numeral to represent 6. Names spelled with an F were replaced by a PHI.

I also read in Manly P. Hall's Secret Teachings of All Ages, that there was a letter called episimon bau.

One more thing. When Cadmus brought the new letters, another thing happened in the Greek writing system. The direction of the writing formerly had been variable. Left, right and boustrophodon. Now the writing only went from left to right.

The vowels Cadmus brought are IEHOVA. There was no J in Latin or Greek.

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 2

Nema Fakei

What? Surely the digamma was a w sound that looked like an F (hence the name - 2 gammas, one on top of the other).

- There is no V in greek as we know it... Do you mean upsilon?

Besides which, we cannot properly represent all the greek letters of all times.

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 3


I can put an u-(psilon) on my computer, but it won't transfer to here. So, I went with the Latin.

I don't know which sound the digamma made, but Cadmus added a phi when they took the digamma out and made it only a numeral. (Which base system do you suppose they were using?)

You seem angry. Have I offended you?

I've read that the digamma had more than one shape. It was in a very old dictionary, directly under the heading for F. Apparently, it also took the form of the u-(psilon).

Since you are obviously educated in this area, perhaps you can verify the fact that Greek was written in different directions until about 800 bc and then the Cadmus letters were added and suddenly they only wrote to the right.

Do you find this at all odd? Do you feel it has any significance?

Still, Pikasmiley - schooloffish
smiley - schooloffish

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 4

Nema Fakei

I am not angry; I am sorry if I seem it.

Also form of upsilon?! Certainly. The u/v can also be a consonant in latin (n.b. They are the same letter.) - so Gk NAFC becomes NAYC (ship), and then becomes becomes latin navis.

I would imagine Cadmus and others decided to start up a standard of writing in one direction. I recall something about bi-directional writing, and I wouldn't be surprised, especially since we think little to nothing was written pre-900bc. But other than that, I can't give you hard verification.

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 5


Greek has no C. They had the Kappa, right? In your NAYC, is the 'c' a sigma or a kappa, or is it something else?

Also, did you ever read that one of the five dialects regularly changed the initial letter Lambda to Delta? Do you think this might have been an error resulting from someone taking the letters off a wax tablet improperly. Lambda becomes Delta if you underline it one wax. Much the same way as drawing a line in pen, then making an F on the line. It can be an E because of the line.

Or do you suppose instead that it is linguistic and someone actually mixed up the sounds of the initial L sound and D sound, which I think is less likely?

I found this in a Greek Lexicon under the heading of the initials L and D. They gave little histories of the letters. They didn't mention the wax, but I read later that the Egyptians used pen and ink because they had papyrus. The Greeks had to settle for wax tablets which must have been quite messy.

They did have velum from the sheepskin, but that was bulky and expensive. However, my curiosity concerning the wax writing has its own flaw. If the L/D shift was not linguistic, that would suggest that written correspondence could have caused the shift. It's not a classic Grimm shift, however, such as B/P or T/D.

Anyway, I'm glad you're not angry and I love pondering the past. I'm working on the more plausible theory that both Egyptian and Hebrew were directionally tensed. This would change quite a few textbooks.

Both languages are said by translators to have only perfect and imperfect tenses. Both cultures, however, were writing histories and prophecies. I think they might have had tenses. If so, directional tensation has been overlooked. It would work like this...

Left = Past
Vertical = Present
Right = Future
Boustrophodon = AS it's happening (now defunct, note: consider the word pASt should have been pAt as in 'down pat'. If so, the word pASt should be 'as it's hsppening')

This could cause problems if you don't know how to turn present tense writing into past tense. They probably had rules to indicate such things, and likely employed the apostrophe and semivowels to indicate proper tenses in such situations.

Anyway, when they quit using direction, the vowels got popular. So maybe originally...

A = pAt
E = prEsEnt
U = fUtUre

If so, that would be reflected in words like sAt and sEt. Or Affect and Effect.

Of course the problem here is that one misspelling can change the entire tense of the passage. So next would come the tense WORDS. That makes it solid. I WAS. I AM. I WILL BE. No mistakes here. If you spell them wrong, it still carries meaning. I wEs at the store. You automatically realize 'I wAs at the store'.

So the direction of writing is of great interest to me for these reasons. The Greeks started writing in the old style. Then Cadmus (with a C) came and brought new letters. Then they wrote only to the right. Was there someone in charge fiddling around with the area's writing systems?

If I'm not boring you, I'll share more questions.

Take care.

Still, Pikasmiley - schooloffish
smiley - schooloffish

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 6

Nema Fakei

I meant sigma. I use C because small sigmas are sometimes written c.

L and D are quite similar - Lat. Lacrima comes from Gk Dakruon. Try pronoumcing Lacruw, and speed up your voice. (w - omega)

Dentals might, I think, be listed as follows:
T, D(muted), TH(aspirated), DH (english this, muted and aspirated), RR(rolled - spanish, liquid), L(liquid, muted). But the change may also have been due to the addition of an extra stroke, as you say.

If your theory is correct, Cadmus (originally Kadmoc, now latinicised?) must have simply suggested that they write the letters, making direction useless and confusing. That seems correct.

It's certainly a good idea... possible, but I don't know yet about probable.

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 7


Computer was down!

I'm leaning towards a group of leaders making decisions for the area. Socrates suggests that the guys in charge could actually change our history by burning the truth and substituting lies.

I think the same ruling body might have decided to quit directional tensation for 'letteral' tensation. If so, Kadmuc was a messenger and teacher explaining the new rules in the area. I think maybe the 'secret societies' were really in charge, much like today, I suspect.

Take care.

Still, Pikasmiley - schooloffish
smiley - schooloffish

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 8


I went off to check my understanding of the development of the alphabet (which was a bit rusty) and found a superb source of this information (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0007&query=head%3D%231).

The following seem relevant:

- [Certain names for the letters], were given at a late period, some as late as the Middle Ages. Thus, epsilon means 'simple e', upsilon 'simple u', to distinguish these letters from [diphthongs which were pronounced the same]....

- Labda is a better attested ancient name than lambda.

- The Greek alphabet as given above originated in Ionia, and was adopted at Athens in 403 B.C. The letters from A to T are derived from Phoenician and have Semitic names. The signs [upsilon] to [omega] were invented by the Greeks.

- In the older period there were two other letters: (1) F: 'uau', called digamma (i.e. double-gamma) from its shape. It stood after [epsilon] and was pronounced like [omega]. f was written in Boeotian as late as 200 B.C. (2) [koppa] koppa, which stood after [pi]. Another [sigma], called san, is found in the sign [sampi], called sampi, i.e. san + pi.

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 9

Researcher 241692

Am new to this, and thought maybe you could help.
I am doing a study on the names YHWH and the Greek Iesous.
I figured out the V letter and the upsilon U sound for IEHOUA, but I have been searching for the pronounciation on the name Isous. I once found a reference about the last S (sigma) and an accent mark. The reference said the spelling was actually IESOUS` and that the last S symbol was an ancient regional ending sigma symbol and was silent. The accent ` was a breathing accent that made the last sound after the OU an rough exhale sound rising upward in pitch as the sound OUAH instead the sound OUH, which would have been a ' accent mark.
I wonder if you have any knowledge of something like this and where I might find that info again?

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 10


although the last reply is rather old I will put some information in here.

Digamma which looks similar to an F is pronounced w like in 'towel'.
I'm not sure, but aren't there any English words, in which the f ist pronounced like a w? Maybe in some older words?

In Ancient Greek the digamma vanished and was often replaced
by spiritus asper in front of vowels (horaw < Foraw);
in front of Konsonants (rhiptw < Fpipiw);
between vowels (pleite < pleFete);
by nothing (hedyc [pronounce hedys!] < sFadys [F is annihilated and the sigma is replaced by spiritus asper (h)]);
in front of konsonant and at the end of a word by y (basileys and asty)

Digamma & IEHOVA

Post 11



I am hoping someone can help me out with something! I belong to a theatre group and we will be performing the Trackers of Oxyryhnchus by Tony Harrison in a couple of weeks. The play contains ancient greek and we are in desperate need of a phonetic translation! We have had a real problem getting help with this, with the only result being someone literlly translating it, which was useful, but doesn't help us be able to pronounce it!

I am a totally novice at all this and am very ignorant of it all I'm afraid! Is this something you would be willing to help with? There isn't very much to translate but it is integral to the piece..

Look forward to hearing from you...

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