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Junctural Metanalysis In Homer Owing To Vocal Elision

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Chapter Summary

The ubiquity of elision - the suppression or outright omission in pronunciation of a final vowel or diphthong (ε, ο, short α and ι, αι, οι,and very rarely η) before a word beginning with a vowel - is one of the features that has made Homeric Greek particularly susceptible to the kind of acoustic resegmentation, that is, junctural metanalysis, under consideration. By comparison, the incidence of elision in Thucydidean prose, though substantial, as in the Greek language as a whole, is roughly one-sixth that of Homeric verse, and that of Herodotean prose is less than one-tenth. The figures for Hesiodic verse, on the other hand, are virtually identical to Homer. This chapter considers how the practice of eliding final vowels in certain Greek word-combinations, a practice so ubiquitous in epic diction, has resulted in junctural metanalysis, and how these metanalyzed forms have subsequently evolved into self-sufficient members of the epic lexicon.

Keywords: diphthong; elision; epic lexicon; Greek language; Herodotean prose; Homer; junctural metanalysis; Thucydidean prose; vowel



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