of both greek alphabet groups
used the I
shape, few ones a crooked line.
In ancient greek, it was a dichronic (two-valued)
vowel. Could be either short or long /i/. Later it is always pronounced short, normal [i]. Iota had a very busy life both as a letter symbol and a sound. The /i/
sound was very important at the 'iotacistic
' tendency of pronunciation that prevailed after the first pre-christian centuries: it swallowed up, so to speak, all sorts of old vowel-utterances: H
] (but their historical spelling remains the same till today)
[ε:i]. The iotacistic
pronunciation is the counterpart of the 'etacistic
' or Erasmic
, that tends to preserve the analytical utterance of vowel combinations.
In modern greek, Iota is uttered as [j]
in some <ια, ιε , ιo, ιoυ> cases: [ja,je,jo,ju] or sometimes as fast diphthong [ ia,ie,io,iu].
(phaenomenon of synizesis explained
). Hence its name [`jota] instead of [i`o
ta] or [i`ota].
from northsemitic (phoenician): jōdh = (the) hand. This letter had a semiphonic function (as /i/ and /j/) which survived in greek.
greek spelling used psile
for the iota and perismpomene
for the omega: τα
The letter 'I' was very busy: DIGRAMMES: AI (with short A), EI, OI, YI
used to be pronounced as diphthongs
(as in erasmic
) but later ended up as monophthongs
For the so-called 'long diphthongs' AI αι HI ηι
and ΩI ωι
, the mediaeval manuscripts prefer a different form:
after a capital letter: (ιώτα πρoσγεγραμμένoν) iota prosgegrammenon =nearbywritten) Hι
it under a small letter: (ιώτα υπoγεγραμμένoν) (iota hypogegrammenon=underwritten)
Look how many occurrences of the hypogegrammene there are in polytonic
MORE GREEK WORDS STARTING WITH IOTA
•ίδιo=same/itself - idio(syncracy), ιδίωμα-idiom
•ίσo=equal - isotope
Iota with daseia < breathing mark: •ιστoρία=history
•ίππoς (ancient greek)=horse, (modern greek=άλoγo) - ιππόδρoμoς=hippodrome