Aeolic Greek

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For the architectural style, see Aeolic order.
History of the
Greek language

(see also: Greek alphabet)
Proto-Greek (c. 2000 BC)
Mycenaean (c. 1600–1100 BC)
Ancient Greek (c. 800–300 BC)
Dialects:
Aeolic, Arcadocypriot, Attic-Ionic,
Doric, Pamphylian; Homeric Greek.
Possible dialect: Macedonian.
Koine Greek (from c. 300 BC)
Medieval Greek (c. 330–1453)
Modern Greek (from 1453)
Dialects:
Cappadocian,Cretan, Cypriot,
Demotic, Griko, Katharevousa,
Pontic, Tsakonian, Yevanic


Image:Greek dialects.png
Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. 400 BC. Aeolic is marked in light green.

Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of rather archaic Greek sub-dialects, spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece), in Lesbos (an island close to Asia Minor) and in other Greek colonies.

It is probable that the Aeolic speakers represent the second (i.e. Achaean) migratory wave of Greeks (Hellenes) from the plains of Central Europe (or, according to other opinions, from what is present-day Ukraine) into their current homeland. The Aeolic dialect shows many archaisms, in comparison to the other Greek dialects (i.e. Ionian-Attic, Doric, Northwestern and Arcado-Cypriot), as well as many innovations.

[edit] Main traits of the Aeolic dialect

  • The original proto-Indo-European (and Proto-Greek) labiovelar, *, turned into p everywhere, whereas the Attic-Ionic, Arcadocyprian and Doric dialects have t before e and i (e.g. Attic τέτταρες, Ionic τέσσερες, Doric τέτορες ~ Lesbian πίσυρες, Boeotian πέτταρες < PIE *kʷetu̯ores). This treatment of the labiovelar finds its exact counterpart in the so-called P-Celtic languages and in the Sabellic languages. This trait may point to an especially close relationship between the Greek (Hellenic), Celtic and Italic branches of the Indo-European language family.
  • The Proto-Greek long ā was retained everywhere, in contrast to the Attic-Ionic dialect, which turned it into a long open ē (e.g. Attic-Ionic μήτηρ ~ Aeolic μάτηρ "mother" < IE *meh₂ter-).
  • The Aeolic dialect made extensive use of the so-called "athematic" verb conjugation, i.e. the conjugation ending in -mi (e.g. Attic-Ionic φιλέω, φιλῶ ~ Aeolic φίλημι "love"). The same is also found in Irish, where this selection has been generalized, i.e -im.
  • In the Lesbian dialect, the tonic accent of all words appears recessive ("barytonesis"), as is typical only in the verbs of other dialects (e.g. Attic-Ionic ποταμός ~ Lesbian πόταμος "river").
  • The athematic infinitive ending of the Aeolic dialect is -men (Lesbian also -menai) as in the Doric dialects, whereas Attic-Ionic has -(e)nai (e.g. Attic-Ionic εἶναι ~ Lesbian ἔμμεν, ἔμμεναι, Thessalian, Boeotian εἶμεν). In the Lesbian dialect this ending also extends to the thematic conjugation (e.g. ἀγέμεν).
  • In Lesbian Aeolic, the phenomenon of "psilosis" occurred, as in the Ionic dialect; this is the absence of the aspiration of initial vowels, frequently the result of the loss of sigma or digamma (e.g. Attic ἥλιος ~ Ionic ἠέλιος, Lesbian ἀέλιος "sun" < Proto-Greek *hāwelios < PIE *seh₂u̯elios, suh₂lios).
  • In Thessalian and Boeotian, the proto-Indo-European (and Proto-Greek) semi-vowel w ("digamma") was retained word-initially, as it was in the Doric dialect (e.g. Attic-Ionic ἔπος ~ Boeotian, Doric ϝέπος "word, epic" < PIE u̯ekʷ-es-, cf. Latin vōx).
  • In Boeotian, the vowel-system was, in many cases, changed in a way reminiscent of the modern Greek pronunciation: Attic-Ionic αι /ai/ ~ Boeotian η /e:/ ~ Modern Greek αι /e/; Attic-Ionic η /e:/ ~ Boeotian ει /i:/ ~ Modern Greek ει /i/; Attic-Ionic οι /oi/ ~ Boeotian υ /y:/ ~ Modern Greek οι /i/.
  • The original Indo-European consonant clusters *-sm-, -sn-, -sr-, -sl-, -ms-, -ns-, -rs-, -ls- were assimilated to -mm-, -nn-, -rr-, -ll-. The Attic-Ionic and Doric dialects have a short nasal / liquid and compensatory lengthening instead (e.g. Attic-Ionic εἰμί ~ Aeolic ἔμμι < PIE *h₁ésmi).

[edit] See also

Ancient Macedonian languagede:Aiolisches Griechisch nl:Aeolisch (dialect)

Aeolic Greek

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