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Headword: Αἶ
Adler number: alphaiota,1
Translated headword: ai, if
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
With smooth breathing and circumflex accent, it means "would that", by a shortening of αἶθε ['if only'], but with rough breathing [it is] the feminine article and relative pronoun.[1]
With smooth breathing and circumflex it also denotes an adverb[2] of lament, especially when doubled: "Ai, ai, wretched nurse burnt [....]"[3]
Greek Original:
Αἶ: ψιλούμενον καὶ περισπώμενον τὸ ὄφελον σημαίνει, κατὰ ἀποκοπὴν τοῦ αἶθε, δασυνόμενον δὲ ἄρθρον θηλυκὸν καὶ ἀναφορικόν. σημαίνει δὲ καὶ ἐπίρρημα θρηνητικὸν περισπώμενον καὶ ψιλούμενον, ὃ καὶ διπλασιάζεται. αἶ αἶ τάλαινα θηλαμὼν κεκαυμένη.
Notes:
= Synagoge (Codex B) alpha484, and Photius, Lexicon alpha501; cf. Apollonius Sophistes, Homeric Lexicon 13.19, and Hesychius alpha1652.
[1] That is, αἱ , pronounced like English "high", the nominative plural feminine form of the definite article and the relative pronoun.
[2] The word translated here as 'adverb', ἐπίρρημα , is perhaps better understood as "interjection" in this context; cf. Dickey 2007: 126-7.
[3] Lycophron, Alexandra 31; the 'wretched nurse' in this context is the city of Troy.
Reference:
Dickey, E. 1997. Ancient Greek Scholarship. Oxford.
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; gender and sexuality; imagery; poetry; women
Translated by: Anne Mahoney on 21 May 1999@14:26:33.
Vetted by:
Eric Nelson on 31 December 1999@22:48:41.
David Whitehead (added keywords; cosmetics) on 26 June 2001@06:21:37.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 25 February 2003@17:19:40.
William Hutton (augmented notes, added keywords, cosmetics, raised status) on 13 April 2008@10:07:17.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 10 May 2012@04:55:09.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 10 May 2012@14:44:07.
David Whitehead (coding and other cosmetics) on 20 November 2015@07:24:57.

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