Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 21:11:53 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Re: Respelling Re Ben Barrett's comment on Greek pronunciation of the : the point here is simply that English speakers regularly assume that the spelling , except in historically voiced function words, verb finals, and some noun plurals, represents the English phoneme /THETA/ (our e-mail ASCII limitations don't include a direct representation of the symbol). Thus the modern English spelling-pronunciation of words like , , , and ("valley [dale] of the Neander river"), which were imported with the spelling , though it represented a /t/ in the language from which it was directly imported. The historical reasons for the in the borrowed form are various (Hellenism, elegant variation, etc.), but since English did not borrow directly from spoken ancient Greek, the actual pronunciation of 500 B.C. is not immediately relevant, except insofar as someone may have had a theory about it which influenced the English spelling, and hence the spelling-pronunciation (e.g., the re-introduction of /k/ in (cf. Chaucer's , the original borrowed form). --Rudy Troike (rtroike[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]