Before the merger of ι and υ, there was a previous merger between υ, υι, and οι. υι makes sense as it was the long equivalent of υ. I’m still unsure how οι came to be pronounced as /y/.

1 Answer 1


First, οι /oj/ and αι /aj/ monophthongized into something like /ø/ and /æ/. Then those monophthongs merged with the slightly higher vowels /y/ and /e/.

This is why υ and ε, the previous letters for /y/ and /e/, started to be called "y psilon" and "e psilon"—that is, "plain" /y/ and /e/, written with a single letter instead of two.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.