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6.38 Elision and Aspiration

Make sure you read Croy's discussion of elision and aspiration in Lesson 6, section 38.

You already learned about how Greek likes to avoid hiatus, which is what happens when one words ends with a vowel and the next word begins with a vowel.

One way to to prevent this from happening is to add a consonant in-between the two vowels. For example, you already have seen that the word οὐ becomes οὐκ before a vowel with smoothing breathing (and it becomes οὐχ before a vowel with rough breathing).

Another way to do this is to drop out one of the vowels. So, for example, when a preposition that ends with a vowel is followed by a word that starts with a vowel, the final vowel of the preposition may be dropped. This is called "elision" (because the final vowel is "elided"). The word ἀλλά is also subject to frequent elision, becoming ἀλλ'

In addition, if the following vowel has a rough breathing, this causes the final consonant of the preposition to become aspirated (remember the aspirated consonants?).

Here are some examples:

  elision before smooth breathing   before rough breathing

ἀπ' ἀρχῆς

from the beginning  

ἀφ' ὑμῶν

from you
μετά μετ' ὀργῆς with anger   μεθ' ἡμῶν with us
κατά κατ' ἐξουσίαν according to authority   καθ' ἡμέραν daily

Biblical Greek Online. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. Page last updated: April 9, 2005 8:06 PM

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