Attic Greek

Attic Greek

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Attic Greek'
Start a new discussion about 'Attic Greek'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Attic Greek is the prestige dialect
Prestige dialect
In sociolinguistics, prestige describes the level of respect accorded to a language or dialect as compared to that of other languages or dialects in a speech community. The concept of prestige in sociolinguistics is closely related to that of prestige or class within a society...

 of Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 that was spoken in Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

, which includes Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to later Greek, and is the standard form of the language studied in courses of "Ancient Greek". It is sometimes included in Ionic.

Origin and range


Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 is a branch of the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 language family, which includes English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. In historical times, it already existed in several dialects (see article on Greek dialects), one of which was Attic.

The earliest written records in Greek date from the 16th to 11th centuries BC and exist in an archaic writing system, Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

, belonging to the Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 Greeks. The distinction between Eastern and Western Greek is believed to have arisen by Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 times or before. Mycenaean Greek represents an early form of Eastern Greek, a main branching to which Attic also belongs. Because of the gap in the written record between the disappearance around 1200 BC of Linear B and the earliest inscriptions in the later Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 around 750 BC, the further development of dialects remains opaque. Later Greek literature wrote of three main dialect divisions: Aeolic
Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

, Doric
Doric Greek
Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

 and Ionic
Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

. Attic was part of the Ionic dialect group. "Old Attic" is a term used for the dialect of Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

 (460-400 BC) and the dramatists of Athens' remarkable 5th century; "New Attic" is used for the language of later writers.

Attic Greek persisted until the 3rd century BC, when it was replaced by its similar but more universal offspring, Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

, or "the Common Dialect" . The cultural dominance of the Athenian Empire and the later adoption of Attic Greek by king Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 (382-336 BC), father of the conqueror Alexander the Great, were the two keys that ensured the eventual victory of Attic over other Greek dialects and the spread of its descendant, Koine, throughout Alexander's Hellenic empire. The rise of Koine is conventionally marked by the accession in 285 BC of (Greek-speaking) Ptolemy II, who ruled from Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and launched the "Alexandrian period", when the city of Alexandria and its expatriate Greek-medium scholars flourished.

In its day, the original range of the spoken Attic dialect included Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

, Euboea
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

, some of the central Cyclades
Cyclades
The Cyclades is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around the sacred island of Delos...

 islands, and northern Aegean coastal areas of Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 (i.e. Chalcidice
Chalcidice
Chalkidiki, also Halkidiki, Chalcidice or Chalkidike , is a peninsula in northern Greece, and one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Macedonia. The autonomous Mount Athos region is part of the peninsula, but not of the regional unit...

). The closely related dialect called "Ionian" was spoken along the western and northwestern coasts of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 (modern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

) on the east side of the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. Eventually, literary Attic (and the classic texts written in it) came to be widely studied far beyond its original homeland, first in the Classical civilizations of the Mediterranean (Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 and the Hellenistic world
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

), and later in the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, Europe, and wherever European civilization spread to other parts of the world.

Literature


The earliest recorded Greek literature
Greek literature
Greek literature refers to writings composed in areas of Greek influence, typically though not necessarily in one of the Greek dialects, throughout the whole period in which the Greek-speaking people have existed.-Ancient Greek literature :...

, that attributed to Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 and dated to the 8th or 7th centuries BC, was not written in the Attic dialect, but in "Old Ionic". Athens and its dialect remained relatively obscure until its constitutional changes led to democracy in 594 BC, the start of the classical period
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 and the rise of Athenian influence.

The first extensive works of literature in Attica are the plays of the dramatists Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

, Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

 and Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

 in the 5th century BC. The military exploits of the Athenians led to some universally read and admired history, the works of Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

 and Xenophon
Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

. Slightly less known because they are more technical and legal are the orations by Antiphon
Antiphon (person)
Antiphon the Sophist lived in Athens probably in the last two decades of the 5th century BC. There is an ongoing controversy over whether he is one and the same with Antiphon of the Athenian deme Rhamnus in Attica , the earliest of the ten Attic orators...

, Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

, Lysias
Lysias
Lysias was a logographer in Ancient Greece. He was one of the ten Attic orators included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace in the third century BC.-Life:According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the author of the life ascribed to...

, Isocrates
Isocrates
Isocrates , an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works....

 and many others. The Attic Greek of the philosopher Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (384-322 BC), whose mentor was Plato, dates from the period of transition from Classical Attic to koine.

Students learning Ancient Greek today usually start with the Attic dialect, proceeding, depending on their interest, to the koine of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 and other early Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 writings, or Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey. It is an archaic version of Ionic Greek, with admixtures from certain other dialects, such as Aeolic Greek. It later served as the basis of Epic Greek, the language of epic poetry, typically in...

 to read the works of Homer and Hesiod, or Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

 to read the histories of Herodotus and the medical texts of Hippocrates.

Alphabet


The classic Attic Alphabet is made up of the familiar 24 (capital) Greek letters: Α, Β, Γ, Δ, Ε, Ζ, Η, Θ, Ι, Κ, Λ, Μ, Ν, Ξ, Ο, Π, Ρ, Σ, Τ, Υ, Φ, Χ, Ψ, Ω.

It has seven vowels: Α, Ε, Η (long e), Ι, Ο, Υ, Ω (long o). The rest are consonants.

The first form of written Greek was not the Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 as it later became known, but the syllabary
Syllabary
A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent syllables, which make up words. In a syllabary, there is no systematic similarity between the symbols which represent syllables with the same consonant or vowel...

 known as Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

, in which one character stood for the combination of a consonant and a vowel.

The first use of what became the classic Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

 remains unknown. By the time it was attested for in general use in the 8th century BC it was already divided into a western and eastern variety, from which the Etruscan/Latin alphabets and the later Greek alphabet came respectively. What is today referred to as the Greek alphabet was originally the Phoenician alphabet
Phoenician alphabet
The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It was used for the writing of Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the civilization of Phoenicia...

 borrowed to spell Greek words, with some originally Semitic
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

 consonantal letters – such as aleph (Greek Alpha
Alpha (letter)
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 1. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Aleph...

 = A), he (Greek Epsilon
Epsilon
Epsilon is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet, corresponding phonetically to a close-mid front unrounded vowel . In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 5. It was derived from the Phoenician letter He...

 = E), and 'ayin (Greek Omicron
Omicron
Omicron is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 70. It is rarely used in mathematics because it is indistinguishable from the Latin letter O and easily confused with the digit 0...

 = O) – used to represent Greek vowels. The creation of true vowel letters was the most revolutionary linguistic contribution of the Greeks to the development of the alphabet. (For the early forms of the letters, the full complement of letters, and the first inscriptions, see the article Greek alphabet
Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

.)

As the utility of an alphabet became evident, local varieties (sometimes called "epichoric") came into use. The early Attic alphabet still did not distinguish between long and short vowels (i.e. ε and η, ο and ω). It lacked the letters Ψ (psi) and Ξ (xi), using ΦΣ and ΧΣ instead. Lower case letters (α, β, γ, etc.) and iota subscript
Iota subscript
Iota subscript in Greek polytonic orthography is a way of writing the letter iota as a small vertical stroke beneath a vowel. It was used in the so-called "long diphthongs" in Ancient Greek, that is, diphthongs the first part of which is a long vowel: and...

 (a mediaeval invention) were still far in the future. Digamma
Digamma
Digamma is an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet which originally stood for the sound /w/ and later remained in use only as a numeral symbol for the number "6"...

 (no longer in use in the Classical period) stood for a W.

Meanwhile in Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 across the Aegean, a new Ionic form of the Attic alphabet was coming into being. It distinguished between long and short o (Ω and Ο) and stopped using Η (eta) to mark the rough breathing (i.e. H sound). Instead it created a sign for a long e with it, keeping the letter Ε for the short e. The digamma dropped out, and Ψ and Ξ came into existence, bringing the Attic alphabet to its classic 24-letter form. By 403 BCE, the by now internationally experienced city-state of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 had perceived a need to standardize the alphabet, so it officially adopted the Ionic alphabet in that year. Many other cities had already adopted it.

When the ordinary citizen of Ancient Greece read inscriptions and the educated Greek read literature, what they saw was an all upper case Ionic alphabet: Α, Β, Γ, Δ, etc. By the time lower case letters, iota subscripts, accent marks, rough or smooth breathing marks over letters, and punctuation appeared in written Greek in the Middle Ages, Attic Greek writings had not been produced by native speakers for some centuries. Ancient Attic literature as published today thus makes use of a number of such non-ancient features. Uninformed modern readers might think that what they see on the page is the writing system exactly as the ancient Greeks used it in Classical Greece, but it is really Ancient Greek as transcribed by mediaeval Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 scribes.

Long a


Proto-Greek
Proto-Greek language
The Proto-Greek language is the assumed last common ancestor of all known varieties of Greek, including Mycenaean, the classical Greek dialects , and ultimately Koine, Byzantine and modern Greek...

 long ā → Attic long ē, but ā before e, i, r. ~ Ionic ē in all positions. ~ Doric and Aeolic ā in all positions.
  • Proto-Greek and Doric mātēr → Attic mētēr "mother"
  • Attic chōrā ~ Ionic chōrē "place", "country"


But Proto-Greek long ā → Attic ē after w (digamma
Digamma
Digamma is an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet which originally stood for the sound /w/ and later remained in use only as a numeral symbol for the number "6"...

), deleted by Classical Period.
  • Proto-Greek korwā → early Attic-Ionic *korwē → Attic korē (Ionic kourē)

Short a


Proto-Greek short ă → Attic short ě. ~ Doric: short ă remains.
  • Doric Artamis ~ Attic Artemis
    Artemis
    Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...


Sonorant clusters


Compensatory lengthening
Compensatory lengthening
Compensatory lengthening in phonology and historical linguistics is the lengthening of a vowel sound that happens upon the loss of a following consonant, usually in the syllable coda...

 of vowel before cluster of sonorant (r, l, n, m, w, sometimes y) and s, after deletion of s. ~ Aeolic: compensatory lengthening of sonorant.
PIE
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 VsR or VRs → Attic-Ionic-Doric VVR.
VsR or VRs → Aeolic VRR.
  • Proto-Indo-European *es-mi (athematic verb) → Attic-Ionic ēmi (= εἰμί) ~ Aeolic emmi "I am"

Upsilon


Proto-Greek and other dialects' /u/ (English food) became Attic /y/ , represented by y in Latin transliteration of Greek names.
  • Boeotian kourios ~ Attic kyrios "lord"


In the diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s eu and au, upsilon continued to be pronounced [u].

Long diphthongs


In the original long diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s with i, the i stopped being pronounced: āi, ēi, ōi → ā, ē, ō. The mediaeval iota subscript
Iota subscript
Iota subscript in Greek polytonic orthography is a way of writing the letter iota as a small vertical stroke beneath a vowel. It was used in the so-called "long diphthongs" in Ancient Greek, that is, diphthongs the first part of which is a long vowel: and...

 indicates this fact.

Contraction


Attic contracts more than Ionic.
a + e → long ā.
  • nika-e → nikā "conquer (thou)!"


e + e → ē (written ει: spurious diphthong
Spurious diphthong
A spurious diphthong is an Ancient Greek vowel that is etymologically a long vowel, but is written and pronounced exactly like a true diphthong ει, ου .-Origin:...

)
  • PIE *trey-es → Proto-Greek trehes → Attic trēs = τρεῖς "three"


e + o → ō (written ου: spurious diphthong)
  • early *genes-os → Ionic geneos → Attic genous "of a kind" (genitive singular; Latin generis with r from rhotacism)

Vowel shortening


Attic ē (from long e-grade of ablaut
Indo-European ablaut
In linguistics, ablaut is a system of apophony in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages...

 or Proto-Greek ā) is sometimes shortened to e:
  1. when followed by a short vowel, with lengthening of the short vowel (quantitative metathesis
    Quantitative metathesis
    Quantitative metathesis is a specific form of metathesis or transposition involving quantity or vowel length...

    ): ēo → eō
  2. when followed by a long vowel: ēō → eō
  3. when followed by u and s: ēus → eus

  • basilēos → basileōs "of a king" (genitive singular)
  • basilēōn → basileōn (genitive plural)
  • basilēusi → basileusi (dative plural)

Hyphaeresis


Attic deletes of one of two vowels in a row.
  • Homeric boē-tho-os → Attic boēthos "running to a cry", "helper in battle"

Palatalization


PIE
Proto-Indo-European language
The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

 *ky or *chy → Proto-Greek ts (palatalization
Palatalization
In linguistics, palatalization , also palatization, may refer to two different processes by which a sound, usually a consonant, comes to be produced with the tongue in a position in the mouth near the palate....

) → Attic tt. — Ionic and Koine ss.
  • Proto-Greek *glōkh-ya → Attic glōtta — Ionic glōssa "tongue"


Sometimes Proto-Greek *ty and *tw → Attic tt. — Ionic and Koine ss.
  • PIE *kwetwores → Attic tettares — Ionic tesseres "four" (Latin quattuor)


Proto-Greek and Doric t before i or y → Attic-Ionic s (palatalization).
  • Doric ti
    Reduplication
    Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word is repeated exactly or with a slight change....

    -the
    Proto-Indo-European root
    The roots of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language are basic parts of words that carry a lexical meaning, so-called morphemes. PIE roots always have verbal meaning like "to eat" or "to run", as opposed to nouns , adjectives , or other parts of speech. Roots never occur alone in the language...

    -nti → Attic tithēsi = τίθεισι "he places" (compensatory lengthening
    Compensatory lengthening
    Compensatory lengthening in phonology and historical linguistics is the lengthening of a vowel sound that happens upon the loss of a following consonant, usually in the syllable coda...

     of e → ē = spurious diphthong
    Spurious diphthong
    A spurious diphthong is an Ancient Greek vowel that is etymologically a long vowel, but is written and pronounced exactly like a true diphthong ει, ου .-Origin:...

     ει)

Shortening of ss


Early Attic-Ionic ss → Classical Attic s.
  • PIE *medh-yos → Homeric messos (palatalization) → Attic mesos "middle"

Loss of w


Proto-Greek w (digamma
Digamma
Digamma is an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet which originally stood for the sound /w/ and later remained in use only as a numeral symbol for the number "6"...

) was lost in Attic before historical times.
  • Proto-Greek korwā → Attic korē "girl"

Retention of h


Attic retained Proto-Greek h- (from Proto-Indo-European initial s- or y-), but certain other dialects lost it (psilosis
Psilosis
Psilosis is the sound change in which Greek lost the consonant sound /h/ during antiquity. The term comes from the Greek psílōsis and is related to the name of the smooth breathing , the sign for the absence of initial in a word...

 "stripping", "de-aspiration").
  • Proto-Indo-European *si-sta-mes → Attic histamen — Cretan istamen "we stand"

Movable n


Attic-Ionic places an n (movable nu) at the end of some words that would ordinarily end in a vowel, when the next word starts with a vowel, to prevent hiatus
Hiatus (linguistics)
In phonology, hiatus or diaeresis refers to two vowel sounds occurring in adjacent syllables, with no intervening consonant. When two adjacent vowel sounds occur in the same syllable, the result is instead described as a diphthong....

 (two vowels in a row).
  • pāsin élegon "they spoke to everyone" vs. pāsi legousi
  • pāsi(n) dative plural of "all"
  • legousi(n) "they speak" (3rd person plural, present indicative active)
  • elege(n) "he was speaking" (3rd person singular, imperfect indicative active)
  • titheisi(n) "he places", "makes" (3rd person singular, present indicative active: athematic verb)

Morphology


Morphology as used here means "word formation." It can also include inflection
Inflection
In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the modification of a word to express different grammatical categories such as tense, grammatical mood, grammatical voice, aspect, person, number, gender and case...

, the formation of the forms of declension
Declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

 or conjugation
Grammatical conjugation
In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

 by suffixing endings, but that topic is presented under Ancient Greek grammar
Ancient Greek grammar
Ancient Greek grammar is morphologically complex and preserves several features of Proto-Indo-European morphology. Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, articles, numerals and especially verbs are all highly inflected. This article is an introduction to this morphological complexity.-Diacritics:The...

.
  • Attic tends to replace the -ter "doer of" suffix with -tes: dikastes for dikaster "judge".
  • The Attic adjectival ending -eios and corresponding noun ending, both two-syllable with the diphthong
    Diphthong
    A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

     ei, stand in place of ēios, with three syllables, in other dialects: politeia, Cretan politēia, "constitution", both from politewia, where the w drops out.

Grammar


Attic Greek grammar is to a large extent ancient Greek grammar
Ancient Greek grammar
Ancient Greek grammar is morphologically complex and preserves several features of Proto-Indo-European morphology. Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, articles, numerals and especially verbs are all highly inflected. This article is an introduction to this morphological complexity.-Diacritics:The...

, or at least when the latter topic is presented it is with the peculiarities of the Attic dialect. This section only mentions some of the Attic peculiarities.

Number


In addition to singular and plural numbers, Attic Greek had the dual number
Dual (grammatical number)
Dual is a grammatical number that some languages use in addition to singular and plural. When a noun or pronoun appears in dual form, it is interpreted as referring to precisely two of the entities identified by the noun or pronoun...

. This was used if only two nouns were involved and was present as inflection in noun, adjectives, pronouns and verbs (any categories inflected for number). Attic Greek was the last dialect to retain this from older forms of Greek and the dual number had died out by the end of the fifth century before Christ.

Declension


With regard to declension
Declension
In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and articles to indicate number , case , and gender...

, the stem is the part of the declined word to which case endings are suffixed. In the a-, alpha- or first declension feminines, the stem ends in long a, parallel to the Latin first declesion. In Attic-Ionic the stem vowel has changed to long e (eta) in the singular, except (in Attic only) after e, i, r: gnome, gnomes, gnome(i), gnomen, etc., "opinion", but thea, theas, thea(i), thean, etc., "goddess."

The plural is the same in both cases: gnomai and theai, but other sound changes were more important in its formation. For example, original -as in the nominative plural was replaced by the diphthong, -ai, which did not undergo the change of a to e. In the few a-stem masculines, the genitive singular follows the o-declension: stratiotēs, stratiotou, stratiotēi, etc.

In the o-, omicron- or second declension, mainly masculines (but some feminines), the stem ends in o or e, which is composed in turn of a root plus the thematic vowel, an o or e in Indo-European ablaut
Indo-European ablaut
In linguistics, ablaut is a system of apophony in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages...

 series parallel to similar formations of the verb. It is the equivalent of the Latin second declension. The alternation of Greek -os and Latin -us in the nominative singular is familiar to readers of Greek and Latin.

In Attic Greek an original genitive singular ending *-osyo after losing the s (as happens in all the dialects) lengthens the stem o to the spurious diphthong -ou (see above under Phonology, Vowels): logos "the word", logou from *logosyo, "of the word". The dative plural of Attic-Ionic had -oisi, which appears in early Attic but simplifies to -ois in later": anthropois "to or for the men".

Classical Attic


See also Classical Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 and Classical Latin
Classical Latin
Classical Latin in simplest terms is the socio-linguistic register of the Latin language regarded by the enfranchised and empowered populations of the late Roman republic and the Roman empire as good Latin. Most writers during this time made use of it...



Classical Attic may refer either to the varieties of Attic Greek spoken, and written in Greek majuscule during the 5th and 4th centuries BC (Classical-era
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

 Attic) or to the Hellenistic and Roman era standardized Attic Greek, mainly on the language of Attic orators
Attic orators
The ten Attic orators were considered the greatest orators and logographers of the classical era . They are included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace.-The Alexandrian "Canon of Ten":* Aeschines* Andocides* Antiphon* Demosthenes*...

, and written in Greek uncial
Uncial
Uncial is a majuscule script commonly used from the 3rd to 8th centuries AD by Latin and Greek scribes. Uncial letters are written in either Greek, Latin, or Gothic.-Development:...

 (good Attic and vehement rival of vulgar or Koine Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

)

Varieties


The varieties of Classical-era Attic are:
  • The vernacular
    Vernacular
    A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

     and poetic dialect of Aristophanes
    Aristophanes
    Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

  • The dialect of Thucydides
    Thucydides
    Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

     (mixed Old Attic with neologisms)
  • The dialect and orthography of Old Attic inscriptions in Attic alphabet before 403 BC (Ionic alphabet-reform by archon Eucleides
    Eucleides
    Eucleides was archon of Athens at the end of the fifth century BC.During the year that he spent in office , the murderous oligarchy of the Thirty Tyrants was driven out of Athens and the Athenian democracy re-established...

    ). Thucydidean orthography, albeit transmitted, is close to them.
  • The conventionalized and poetic dialect of the Attic tragic poets, mixed with Epic and Ionic Greek
    Ionic Greek
    Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek .-History:Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century B.C.By the end of the Greek Dark Ages in the 5th Century...

     and used in the episodes. (In the choral odes conventional Doric
    Doric Greek
    Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

     is used).
  • Formal Attic of Attic orators
    Attic orators
    The ten Attic orators were considered the greatest orators and logographers of the classical era . They are included in the "Alexandrian Canon" compiled by Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace.-The Alexandrian "Canon of Ten":* Aeschines* Andocides* Antiphon* Demosthenes*...

    , Plato
    Plato
    Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

    , Xenophon
    Xenophon
    Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

     and Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

    , imitated by the Atticists or Neo-Attic writers. It is considered good or standard Attic.

See also

  • Ancient Greek
    Ancient Greek
    Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

  • Ancient Greek dialects
  • Ancient Greek grammar
    Ancient Greek grammar
    Ancient Greek grammar is morphologically complex and preserves several features of Proto-Indo-European morphology. Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, articles, numerals and especially verbs are all highly inflected. This article is an introduction to this morphological complexity.-Diacritics:The...

  • Ancient Greek phonology
    Ancient Greek phonology
    Ancient Greek phonology is the study of the phonology, or pronunciation, of Ancient Greek. Because of the passage of time, the original pronunciation of Ancient Greek, like that of all ancient languages, can never be known with absolute certainty...

  • Attic numerals
    Attic numerals
    Attic numerals were used by the ancient Greeks, possibly from the 7th century BC. They were also known as Herodianic numerals because they were first described in a 2nd century manuscript by Herodian...

  • Greek Alphabet
    Greek alphabet
    The Greek alphabet is the script that has been used to write the Greek language since at least 730 BC . The alphabet in its classical and modern form consists of 24 letters ordered in sequence from alpha to omega...

  • Greek language
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...


External links