EHOBBS at WELLESLEY.EDU
Tue Dec 19 13:50:50 EST 2000
From: LUCY::EHOBBS "Edward Hobbs" 19-DEC-2000 13:47:16.18
To: IN%"spedrson at netzero.net"
Subj: RE: [b-greek] re: Modern Greek, ... a new direction-Peterson
Without engtering into the discussion about Modern Greek as a vehicle for
learning Koine Greek, may I point out that the very example used to show
that modern English speakers can understand Shakespeare (English written
four centuries ago) shows the opposite.
A modern English speaker certainly has no idea what Shakespeare meant by
"Wherefore art thou Romeo?" by quoting it as "Wherefore art thou?"
The sentence in Shakespeare means, "Why is your name 'Romeo'?"
The modern reader who thinks it reads "Wherefore art thou?"
or "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?"
supposes it means "Where are you, Romeo?"
The Greek of the New Testament is almost 2,000 years old; Shakespeare's
English is only 400 years old. But modern readers who do not study
Tudor English MISunderstand much of what they read.
(And that's worse than simply NOT understanding.)
"But apparently they can read it and know what they're reading. That was
most of my point. Just as a Modern English speaker can read "wherefore
art thou?" and understand it (yet not understand it quite well enough to
construct grammatically appropriate sentences using "thee"s and "thou"s, I
presume a Modern Greek speaker can read the old grammar at least in a
similar fashion, pronouncing it with his own modern accent, perhaps not
understanding all its quirks fully, but still able to make sense of it.
And of course, the slightly more studious reader could learn the
differences from his own grammar without too much difficulty."
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