"Also, I can kill you with my brain." (toastedcheese) wrote in linguaphiles,
"Also, I can kill you with my brain."

Ancient Greek names

I'm currently working on a novel populated by several characters with Ancient Greek names. I assumed when I started that I knew how to pronounce Ancient Greek well enough to tackle the names I chose, and even did some reading to make sure I was getting vowels right. Of course my confidence was foolish, because I have never studied the language and as far as I can tell there are about fourteen different ways to pronounce it.

Currently I'm concerned about syllable stress. I've been pronouncing the two most important names, Ariston and Kallias, with antepenultimate stress. I'm fairly certain this first one is correct, but in the case of Kallias, one of my test readers wanted to give the name penultimate stress, and just about ten minutes ago it dawned on me that based on what I can remember from my phonology class, this might actually be correct. Needless to say this would be an extremely alienating discovery!

So would anyone like to give me a crash course in how stress works in Ancient Greek, as it applies to names of this type? I'm not interested in any particular dialect/time period, since the novel itself is set in the present.

ETA: So it turns out that Wiktionary is awesome and has pronunciations even for obscurish Ancient Greek names. This is what I turned up:

Classical: [arístɔːn]
Koine: [arˈisto̞ːn]
Byzantine: [arˈiston]

Classical: [kallíaːs]
Koine: [kallˈiaːs]
Byzantine: [kallˈias]

(There are accents over the iotas in both, but they're not showing up on my screen for mysterious font-related reasons.)

So if I'm going to be correct-ish, it's penultimate stress for both? Unless I go with Latin pronunciation, in which case I'd be inclined to go with antepenultimate....

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