Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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(912 words)


Hiatus refers to adjacent vowels in adjacent syllables (English preempt, cooperation, reinvent), which many languages avoid. In Ancient Greek, hiatus is usually preempted by eliding one of the vowels, by contracting the vowels into a single vowel, or by separating them with a glide.  

All languages prefer syllables with onsets (Jakobson 1962:526, paceBreen & Pensalfini 1999), i.e., syllables that begin with consonants. But various factors conspire to bring about onsetless syllables; when an onsetless syllable is preceded by a vowel…

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Chris Golston, “Hiatus”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 05 March 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000478>
First published online: 2013

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