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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Subject: Proto-Greek
Question: My proto-greek isn't what it used to be... I'm a theoretical
morphologist, not really my forte. I need (need is a big word, I'm
writing a science-fiction piece) to figure out how the word ''titan'' could
have been pronounced about 6 000 years ago, so 4 000 BC. I can't
find anything interesting on the changes that may have been
occurring between proto-greek and ancient greek... I'm guessing odds
are it would have been pronounced just the same, but I thought I'd
ask.

Thanks a lot!

Reply: Six thousand years ago I think we wouldn't be talking about Proto-Greek but Proto-Indo-European, or even a language-stage ancestral to that (which of course we have no way of reconstructing). It seems likely, according to Liddell and Scott, that the name "Titan" shares its root with "titax" which was a word that sometimes cropped up for 'king', and as you surmise, so far as I can tell from my sources there is no reason to suppose that it was pronounced in P.I.E. any differently from in Ancient Greek. Hope this is a bit of help.

Regards,

Geoffrey Sampson

Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
 
Date: 04-Nov-2012
 

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