[B-Greek] Vowel rules for Erasmian pronunciation

Katb4now at aol.com Katb4now at aol.com
Thu Jan 8 16:29:14 EST 2004


Chet,

Thank you for the resources!!

There are a LOT of Greek grammars that say there are long and short alphas 
and iotas. Others just give one sound for each of the vowels. Some even give a 
long and short upsilon.

Strong's gives an explanation for when to use long and short alpha, but I'm 
too thick to understand it.

I'm about ready to make up my OWN pronunciation. It surely looks to me as if 
that is what some professors and publishers have done, because they SURELY are 
NOT doing the same thing or even being consistent to their own instructions.

I like your explanation of just one sound for each of alpha and iota. I've 
seen that in a few grammars.

I think I'm just going to find some highly educated person who I can quote 
for each of the things I want to do and just do it. At least I'll have someone 
to blame if someone comes along later and asks my son, Where did you learn that 
AWFUL pronunciation?!"

Kathleen Borsari
homeschool mom

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In a message dated 1/7/2004 9:56:48 PM Eastern Standard Time, creider at uwo.ca 
writes:
Kathleen Borsari writes:

> What are the vowel rules for the Erasmian pronunciation?

Get a library copy of W. Sidney Allen, Vox Graeca or Wm. Sturtevant, _The 
Pronunciation of Greek and Latin_,
or Goodwin & Gulick, _Greek Grammar_ or H. Weir Symth, _Greek Grammar_, or 
Donald J. Mastronarde, _Introduction
to Attic Greek_.  There are probably many other good books, but the others I 
can think of now contain errors.  Oh,
another good one is Reading Greek by JACT (Joint Association of Classics 
Teachers).  This comes with an excellent
cassette.

> How do you know if alpha is like the "a" in "man" or "father"?

Alpha is never pronounced like "a" in man (in most NA dialects of English) 
and is always pronounced like "a" in
father.

> How do you know if the iota is the "i" in "pit" or "machine"?

iota is _never_ pronounced like "i" in pit.  Always like "i" in machine (this 
is true whether it is long or short -- as is
the case for alpha).

> Does anyone know of a cheap source for a "Talking Strong's"?

If "Talking Strong's" makes these mistakes, I would stay away from it.

There are many difficulties involved in choosing a pronunciation for Greek.  
The problem is not so much not knowing
how it was pronounced at a particular time, but of choosing pronunciations 
that are possible given one's own language
background and that also make learning easier.  However, alpha and iota have 
been pronounced exactly the same way
from the time of Homer, through Attic, through Koine^, down to modern Greek.  
At least those two are easy.

Best,

Chet Creider



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