Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue Aug 18 02:24:29 UTC 2009

It seems to me that the pronunciation of the Greek diphthong tends to
follow the Anglicized pronunciation of the _Latin_ reflex of the word in

Usually if the "ei" corresponds to Latin "i" the "i" /aj/ pronunciation
is usual. E.g.: "eidolon"/"idolum"/"idol", "cheiro-"/"chiro-",
"oneiro-"/"oniro-", "meio-"/"mio-", "deiktikos"/"dicticos"/"deictic".

If the "ei" corresponds to Latin "e" or "ei" the "e" /i/ pronunciation
seems to be usual although only a few examples come to my mind right
now. E.g., "hygeian", "cassiopeian", "Mede[i]a". [Maybe these proper
names tended to be transliterated conservatively rather than fully

What this means is unclear to me. Maybe it has something to do with the
vowel shift as I think Wilson Gray suggested. Maybe the Anglicized
pronunciation tended to follow a (real or imaginary) Latinized Greek.
Maybe the Latin versions were taken to be a guide to the unknown or
controversial Greek pronunciations.

No doubt there are exceptions. I think "seismic" has variable pronunciation.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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