“Wheeler’s Law” refers to a phonologically conditioned accent retraction process reconstructed for an early pandialectal stage of Greek by which oxytone words became paroxytone if they ended in a heavy-light-light syllable sequence (HLL), e.g. *[poi̯ kilós] > [poi̯ kílos] ‘multicolored’, *[dedegmenós] > [dedegménos] ‘awaiting, expecting’ (LHLL). Note that word-final syllables ending in a short vowel followed by one consonant (e.g. [os]) count as light for Wheeler’s Law, just as they do for the Law of Limitation. The accent retraction was originally proposed by Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1854–1927) in 1885; for further insights, analysis, and references, see Probert 2006.
© 2014, Brill. This encyclopedia entry first appeared in Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, edited by Georgios K. Giannakis et al., 515-516, Leiden: Brill, 2014.
The definitive version is available at: Brill.
Gunkel, Dieter. "Wheeler's Law." In Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics 3, P-Z, Index, edited by Georgios K. Giannakis et al, 515-516. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
Gunkel, Dieter, "Wheeler's Law" (2014). Classical Studies Faculty Publications. 25.