So I have the following elegiac couplet:

κεἱ ψυχή τε πέρην ἐπικεῖται, ἔσχατη ἆσσον,
μεῖνα δ' ἔγωγ’ ἔμπης, ἰσχναΐνων κραδίην.

Theoretically, the latter hemistich in the second verse should have the metric structure _uu _uu _, so that's where the diaeresis is coming from. However, I am not sure where the accent should fall, whether on the α or on the ι. The ω in the last syllable would dictate it should fall on the ι, but upon reading the word ἰσχναΐνων out loud (not in the context of the pentameter, of course) it feels wrong. On the other hand, placing it on the α would break major stress rules. What should be done?

  • 2
    I don't know anything about poetic scansion, but phonologically an acute on a long vowel/diphthong indicates a rising tone on the second mora. If it were the α that had the rising tone the diphthong would originally have had a circumflex.
    – Cairnarvon
    Mar 31 '21 at 13:57
  • 2
    The accent on ἔσχατη is violating the same rule. (And if TKR guessed correctly that this is your own composition, wouldn't ἆσσον take a genitive? Though it would ruin the meter.)
    – b a
    Mar 31 '21 at 23:17

I'm doubtful that the diaeresis would be used in this way: you can't generally break diphthongs into two short vowels metri causa. There are occasional examples in Homer of disyllabic scansion of what in Classical Greek terms would be a diphthong, e.g. ἐύ for εὖ, but those are archaisms, not applications of a productive rule.

That said, the accentuation with diaeresis would certainly be ἰσχναΐνων, since ἰσχνάϊνων would break a basic rule of Greek accent.

(BTW is this couplet your composition? I can't make sense of the first line -- could you provide a translation?)

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