GREEK RULES AND LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLES
B. Ward Powers
bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
Mon Aug 13 01:35:09 EDT 2001
At 11:34 AM 010812 -0400, Randall Buth wrote:
Greetings, Randall, and b-greekers.
>I like what you are doing with asking questions of synchronic perception
>of Greek forms. I would agree that that is what needs to be done if people
>would want to teach or learn the language.
> >So this allows us to formulate the first rule:
> >1. To form the aorist tense flexions of a verb, add -SA- as the punctiliar
> >morph to the verb's lexal.
> >A verb which does this is a First Aorist verb (that is, First
>Conjugation), and regular, and (at least in this matter) predictable.
> >1. I think it's real neat to see the results which are produced by such
> >linguistic analysis, and I affirm that they assist us in our understznding
> >of the functioning of the language.
>Yes, they do, though I think that one should start one level 'more real',
>'lower' or 'more inside' the langauge. E.g. FILEI~N, FILH~SAI and FILW~
>are real words. FILEW is artificial for the KOINE. I don't believe that a
>Koine Greek user would have related to the synchronic language with a
I am not in basic disagreement here - although I do strongly favour the
didactic benefits to be gained from the recognition of such forms as FILEW.
Randall calls them "artificial"; I would call them "underlying".
>Also, sound should be used as the synchronic base. A spelling system only
>imperfectly points to what is in a user's head.
Here I would partially disagree with Randall. I would of course concur that
the basic form of a language (any language) is the spoken form. It precedes
the written form, and writing it down is simply an attempt to represent and
preserve the spoken words.
But for koine Greek all we have is the written form. My own reading and
research concerning the pronunciation of Greek in the koine period has led
me to conclusions which do differ from those of Randall. I believe we would
both agree, however, that there was not the one standardized universal
pronunciation of Greek throughout this period throughout the areas where it
was spoken: rather, pronunciation did come to differ somewhat over time,
and from one area to another. Therefore any attempt to reproduce the
"sounds" of Greek must be subjective, in decided what pronunciation (out of
several which could have been chosen) one will select to use.
I believe in teaching my students a pronunciation scheme which they are
thereafter to master and use, so that they can verbalize their reading. But
the one I have chosen to teach and use is one which, while drawn from valid
pronunciations in use during the koine period, is deliberately phonemic -
one letter, one sound. This aids memory, word recognition, spelling, and (I
believe) ultimately, comprehension.
In this, Randall and I differ in our views. But we are here in danger of
moving away from the topic which I was raising of "Linguistic Principles",
and moving instead onto the well-trodden path of Greek pronunciation
generally, concerning which there is already much in the archives.
>These provide a truer synchronic, linguistic base for writing rules.
> >5. When followed through further, this approach enables us to detect
> >numerous patterns in the morphology of koine Greek. And this in its turn
> >would simplify teaching, learning, and remembering Greek morphology.
>NAI NAI [ne ne]
>Randall Buth, PhD
Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-8714-7255
259A Trafalgar Street Phone (Australia): (02) 8714-7255
PETERSHAM NSW 2049 email: bwpowers at optusnet.com.au
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College
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