Ionic dialect

From Academic Kids

Ionic Greek was a sub-dialect of the so called Attic-Ionic dialectal group of the Ancient Greek (see Greek dialects).

Ionic Greek was mainly spoken in the Greek colonies of Asia Minor, and the Ionian Islands of antiquity (the modern periphery South Aegean). It was the language in which Herodotus wrote his famous History, since he was a native of Halicarnassos, a Greek colony in Asia Minor. Many Ionic traits are also found in the - mainly Aeolic - language of Homer's epic poetry.

Its main differences from standard ancient Greek or Attic was the following:

  1. Attic long [a:] was turned into [e:] in every position, even after a vowel or [r], something which was not the case in Attic, e.g. Attic [nea:nia:s]> Ionic [nee:nie:s] = a young person.
  2. In many cases, Attic initial aspiration lacked in Ionic, e.g. Attic [hippos]> Ionic [ikkos] = a horse.
  3. In many cases Ionic turned ur-Greek labiovelar sound [qu] in [k] rather than [p] in front of back vowels, e.g. Attic [hopo:s]> Ionic [oko:s] = the same way (as). Attic a [p] in front of back vowels (i.e. [a], [o], [u]) and a [t], as a rule, in front of front vowels (i.e. [e], [i]), whereas Aeolic had a [p] everywhere. It is worth mentioning that the same difference existed also in Celtic and Italic branches of the Indo-European language family, for example between Latin and Oscan, as well as between P-Celtic (Welsh) and Q-Celtic (Irish), something which may point to a close relationship between these three Indo-European branches.
  4. Ionic retained the original Greek hiatus (after the disappearance of some intervocalic consonants), whereas Attic turned it in a long vowel, according the case, e.g. Attic [gene:]> Ionic [genea]= genders, families.
  5. Ionic retained the double [ss], as old Attic also did ; around 4th century B.C., Attic changed the aforementioned [ss] in [tt], e.g. Attic [tettares]> old Attic [tessares], the same as ionic [tessares]= four. Modern Greek, derived from the Koine (i.e. the "common" Greek language), returned to that older [ss] (nowadays pronounces as a single [s]), a phenomenon that was the result of many Ionic trait absorbed in Attic of the Hellenistic times.
  6. Very analytical word-order, perhaps the most analytical one within ancient Greek dialects.
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