Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Lesbian Accentuation
(413 words)


Lesbian accentuation refers to the distribution of tones (the pitch-accent) in the large dialect centered around the island of Lesbos. Nouns, verbs and adjectives in Lesbian Greek had recessive accent, so that Attic Pierídes ‘Pierian muses’ shows up in Sappho as Piérides with a high tone as far back as it can go.

The Lesbian (and Aeolic Asian) dialect is best known from the lyric poets Sappho and Alcaeus, whose speech was accented in a manner different from those of other dialects. In most Greek dialects we find a mix of accentuation: some wo…

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Chris Golston, “Lesbian Accentuation”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 28 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_000045>
First published online: 2013

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