Κωνσταντίνος. Γιατί με ωμέγα;

sotos

Senior Member
Greek
Χρόνια πολλά στους εορτάζοντες. Τώρα πρόσεξα ότι το λατινικό Ο μεταγράφηκε σε Ω. Ξέρει κανείς το λόγο;
 
  • bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I'm sure that the O in the Kon- syllable was perceived as long in Latin, hence the omega. Another factor is the open/closed pronunciation of the letters O and E. In different periods, omega and eta(ita) were used to indicate open (in very old times) and close (in more recent times) vowels, respectively.
    At least, that's what I was taught...
    ( sorry for replying in English, as my Greek would not be sufficient )
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Interesting. I don't know how old and recent are the times you suggest. In another case, Otto is Όθων in Greek. Not Ώθων. Roma is Ρώμη for other reason, I think.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Otto is Όθων in Greek
    As a matter of fact, in German the first O is short and the second is long in the name Otto, therefore I find that the transliteration is correct.

    I don't know how old and recent are the times you suggest.
    As far as I know, in Classical times eta(ita) was an open vowel (I'm sure you know the example of the sheep: beee written beta(vita)+eta(ita), whereas in Byzantine and Mod. Greek the sound became more and more close and today ee=i (the sheep would utter viii instead of beee).
    The same would be the case with omega - though I have no examples at hand - although today I don't think omega and omicron correspond to close/open sounds… 'Roma' was pronounced with open O in classical Latin, but with a close O today in Italian.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I'm sure that the O in the Kon- syllable was perceived as long in Latin, hence the omega.
    Τhis can be an explanation.
    However the distinction between long and short vowels began gradually to subside from the 3rd century BC. and was completely lost until the first post-Christian centuries.
    But tradition and the allure of the Classical Greek always played an important important role in our language, so I guess yes.

    About the ω in Όθων:
    Όθων resembles Greek names with the ending -ων in nominative, cf. Τίμων-Τίμωνος, Μέμνων-Μέμνωνος. Hence Όθων-Όθωνος-Όθωνα. This is my opinion.
     
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    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Όθων resembles Greek names with the ending -ων in nominative, cf. Τίμων-Τίμωνος,
    It also resembles Latin nouns and names with the ending -o in the nominative (e.g. sermo, gen.sermonis = talk). And Otto was also declined as Otto,Ottonis,Ottoni,Ottonem (nom,gen,dat,acc). In Italian it's Ottone (from Lat.accusative, where -m was lost).
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    It also resembles Latin nouns and names with the ending -o in the nominative (e.g. sermo, gen.sermonis = talk). And Otto was also declined as Otto,Ottonis,Ottoni,Ottonem (nom,gen,dat,acc). In Italian it's Ottone (from Lat.accusative, where -m was lost).
    Thanks for pointing this out. :)
    So possibly, the form "Όθων"/ος came to Greek through Latin (mainly as to the letter n: Ottonis).
     
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    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    About the ω in Όθων:
    Όθων resembles Greek names with the ending -ων in nominative, cf. Τίμων-Τίμωνος, Μέμνων-Μέμνωνος. Hence Όθων-Όθωνος-Όθωνα. This is my opinion.
    Likewise Βύρων (Byron) and Ναπολέων (Napoleon), which, like Όθων, are inflected and used as Christian names in Greece.
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    The o in Latin 'Roma' was long -- this is why it is closed in Italian. The city's name was transcribed as Ρώμη in Greek at a time when distinctions of length were still very much alive in both languages. (The existence of a Greek word ρώμη meaning 'physical strength' is probably just a coincidence.)
    Φλωρεντία = Florence is spelled with an Ω for the same reason.
    Until recently, it was customary to transcribe French (e)au with an Ω as well, on the grounds that it was long: thus Ουγκώ, Ρεμπώ, Μπωντλαίρ... Nowadays, the tendency is to transcribe foreign proper names as simply as possible: Ουγκό, Ρεμπό, Μποντλέρ... But Ohm (as in Ohm's Law) is still Ωμ, if only because the international symbol for the unit of impedance is Ω :)
    Some people balk at transcribing Haussmann as Οσμάν -- it seems to turn the famous prefect of Paris into a Turk :)
     

    ioanell

    Member
    Greek
    Another factor is the open/closed pronunciation of the letters O and E. In different periods, omega and eta(ita) were used to indicate open (in very old times) and close (in more recent times) vowels, respectively.
    As far as I know, in Classical times eta(ita) was an open vowel ...
    The same would be the case with omega - though I have no examples at hand - although today I don't think omega and omicron correspond to close/open sounds…
    I am afraid there is here a misunderstanding. The “long/short” vowels is one thing and the “close (not closed)/open” vowels is another. In terms of length, that is in terms of quantity (having to do with the duration of the sound perceived), Classical Greek eta (H) was a long vowel, that is it was pronounced as a double E, viz EE, whereas in terms of closeness, that is in terms of quality (having to do with how close is the tongue in regard with the roof of the mouth and the point of articulation of the vowel) it was a mid vowel, viz neither open nor close (according to the IPA vowels diagram which, of course, allows for differentiations depending on the vowel system of any particular language). Now, of course, in Modern Greek there are no long and short vowels (this distinction having disappeared since the 2nd century B.C.), but the vowels, depending on the point of their articulation within the oral cavity, are classified in open (/α/=α), intermediate (/e/=ε,αι and /o/=ο,ω) and close (/i/=ι,η,υ,ει,οι,υι and /u/=ου). So, I think there's no doubt that “longness” of vowels is one thing and “closeness” of vowels is another.
     

    ioanell

    Member
    Greek
    So possibly, the form "Όθων"/ος came to Greek through Latin (mainly as to the letter n: Ottonis).
    Hi, Perseas. I can’t see any reason for the proper name "Όθων" to have come into Greek through Latin. It could and I believe it did come directly from the German. Given that in the King’s name there was a second o in an open (not vowel, but) syllable, a possibility for the Greek rendition would be a 2nd declension ending in -os, giving a rather “ridiculous” name “Όθος”. The learned society of the newly established Greek State in 1832 (and especially the learned society of the Greek capital of the time, members of which would form part of his court) had no better choice but to render the German name Otto as "Όθων", giving to the young King’s name the more “glamorous” 3rd declension ending -ων (-ωνος), as Πλάτ-ων (-ωνος) or the already transliterated “Byron” as Βύρ-ων (-ωνος).
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Hi, Ioanell. I am sorry that I didn't make myself clear previously. Actually I was not referring to Otto of Greece. The name Otto was already known to the Byzantine society since the 10th century (Otto I Holy Roman Emperor). Otto I was also King of Italy and maybe the inflection of the proper name "Όθων" was based on the Latin inflection of the name. But again I can't be sure. The name could have come into Greek from Old German. It was just a speculation of mine. I have opened a thread in EHL forum and I'm waiting for anwers.
     
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    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I am afraid there is here a misunderstanding. The “long/short” vowels is one thing and the “close (not closed)/open” vowels is another.
    Hello
    I am/was aware of that. However, I was taught that, in different periods of time, the length difference also corresponded to an opening/closure difference in pronunciation. For example, there is a reason why eta(long e) in ''recent'' times has become ''i'' in pronunciation: the reason is that - before that pronunciation change - it had for a long time been pronounced as a close ''e''. An open ''e'' would never become ''i''. And the writing ''bee'' (beta+eta), which was found in former (classical) texts, clearly shows that in previous times the long e was an open e. The sheep call 'bee' does not contain a 'mid' vowel: rather an open vowel. The sheep example is well-known in linguistics (before the ''bee'' call was found, many linguists claimed that Ancient Greek had to be pronounced according to Mod.-G. rules).
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    To further illustrate my point, here is what I found in The pronunciation of Classical Greek (from: A History of Ancient Greek from beginnings to late antiquity, by A.Christides/M.Arapopoulou, Cambridge University Press, 2007 - page 557):

    It is assumed that the long open e (written ''eta'' like in ''demos'', deme) was approximately like the French or German open e in words like 'père' (father) and 'werden' (to become), but that it was longer than them. During the course of the classical period, it gradually became a close e, finally merging with it into a close i.
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    To summarise, are you gentlemen/ladies saying that O in "Constantine" was a long vowel and therefore was transliterated to Ω;
     

    ioanell

    Member
    Greek
    Yes, Sotos. And if you aren't bored to read some more of my post, for the scholar followers of the movement of Atticism in the first post-Christian centuries and, specifically, after Constantinus (< participle cōnstans, gen. constant-is< verb cōnsto,<prep. cum+verb sto) became emperor of the Roman Empire, when transliterating his name and given that the syllable Cōn was a long one in Latin, it was natural, although distinction between long and short vowels had already been lost in their time, to render the Latin long ō with the Greek (formerly long) vowel ω, forming thus the name ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΣ. The same happened later on (with the standardisation of the lower-case writing in the early 9th century), when imitating the Latin Cōnstantīnus they wrote Κωνσταντῖνος in order to show the longness even of the iota (ι), by stressing it with a circumflex in front of a short ending -ος. The Latin cōnsto, as far as I know, had the o long, because it was a compound word with the first syllable-word ending in a consonant and the next syllable beginning with a consonant as well. That is, it was long “by position”, to borrow a term from poetry. But any other explanation would be welcome.

    Consto=exist, cost, agree, be consistent, etc. - Constantinus=firm, steady, decisive, etc.
     

    ioanell

    Member
    Greek
    As far as I know, in Classical times eta(ita) was an open vowel., whereas in Byzantine and Mod. Greek the sound became more and more close and today ee=i
    there is a reason why eta(long e) in ''recent'' times has become ''i'' in pronunciation
    Of course, the “eta” didn’t become in Byzantine and Mod. Greek more and more close and today ee=i nor in “recent” times has become “i”, but “eta” has been pronounced as “i” for 2.000 years now, that is well before the Byzantine period.

    (I'm sure you know the example of the sheep: beee written beta(vita)+eta(ita)
    The example with the sheep is an extant fragment of Dionysalexandros, a play of Cratinus, the important Athenian comic poet of the Old Comedy. The fragment "ὁ δ' ἠλίθιος ὥσπερ πρόβατον βῆ βῆ λέγων βαδίζει.", following a controversy between Erasmian and Non-Erasmian linguists over the correct sound (=pronunciation) of Classical Greek letters, and specifically here of the ancient β and η, was put forward to show and successfully prove that β was pronounced as b and η was pronounced as ee. When Cratinus was writing this, he was simply trying to as best as possible render what he and his contemporaries were hearing, that is or bee, which undoubtedly is what we also hear today, as sheep haven’t mutated over the years and still produce the same bleat. So, it seems to be an agreement so far. But the silly man, imitating the sheep’s sound while going around, was producing a HUMAN sound ee and that sound, according to the IPA chart of vowels, is undoubtedly classified as mid-vowel. And all sounds produced by animals, produced either by the mouth (and the tongue) or by the throat or the nose or a combination of them, when reproduced either mechanically or by humans imitating them, either successfully or less successfully, can be classified within the IPA chart.

    The sheep call 'bee' does not contain a 'mid' vowel: rather an open vowel.
    Consequently, yes, the sheep’s bleat does contain a mid-vowel, to be precise an open-mid vowel e, but in no case an open vowel, because “e”, whatever its tone, is neither an open vowel, as “a” is, nor a close vowel, as “i” is. Of course, this applies only if we acknowledge and respect the extremely scientific work of the IPA. Otherwise, not.
     

    bearded

    Senior Member
    Italian
    e”, whatever its tone, is neither an open vowel, as “a” is, nor a close vowel, as “i” is.
    When I wrote open/close vowel, I referred to sounds like in French è/é. Sorry for my inaccurate definition (OK: open-mid/close-mid).
    As for eta=i, please note that I put the word ''recent'' between inverted commas… However, you are certainly right in stating that the i-pronunciation started long before the Byzantine period. My mistake was partially amended in #15, when I quoted the fact that the change occurred ''during the course of the classical period''.
    I don't intend to be polemic, and thank you for your precisions.
     

    ioanell

    Member
    Greek
    I don't intend to be polemic
    Hi. After some time of absence, I ‘m glad to be back to this interesting forum. The above statement does credit to you, bearded, and I do feel quite the same. As I wrote in another thread about a month ago, “I believe this is a forum where everybody, whenever possible and regardless of different views and opinions at times, contributes with good intentions and politeness to the common knowledge”.
     
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