Research request to Ward Powers

Randall Buth ButhFam at compuserve.com
Mon Aug 13 07:13:45 EDT 2001


shalom Ward, 
CAIREIN

The following will provide a necessary foundation to pedagogy and
morphology 
when we ask about how human languages and morphology are best learned, 
remembered, internalized, KTL.  (I'll address the general question in
another 
email.) 

Could help me with an intriguing statement of yours?

Ward EGRAYEN:
>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. <

(>Attic: CARIHi~>) CARI'SHi MOI TA` ME'GISTA EA`N PE'MYHiS MOI . . .
I would greatly appreciate your data examples/notes and briefest summary of

methodological guidelines in establishing your differences.

PARADEI'GMATOS CA'RIN (=E.g.), Are there any problems  with
  EI=I
  H  (a distinct phoneme)
  AI=E
  A  (a distinct phoneme)
  W=O
  OU  (a distinct phoneme)
  OI=U
for first century?

And any data on the Koine fricativization of the consonants, FI, THETA, CHI

would be nice, too. Those are especially problematic, though subphonemic. 

In general, my "system" is based on the confluence of the situation in the
Egyptian
papyri 1cBCE-2cCE with the Roman catacomb inscriptions (see Leon, Ancient 
Jews of Rome, 1960) and the DSS papyri. Fortunately, the three are
remarkably 
close and in line with Horrocks, Greek: History ... Longman, 1997. 
They are referenced in the notes with my Demo CD. 

More background:
Ward EGRAYEN:
>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

It depends on whether you are looking at the phonemes or raw phonetic 
sounds. (For phonemes I would argue that there was a standardized Koine,
used, 
or at least recognized, by most  users from Rome throughout the Eastern 
Mediterranean. For phonetic sounds we can assume dialectic, subphonemic 
(non-meaningful) differences for the broad language. This should be 
overlayed with a recognition/expectation of individual and localized
substandard 
phonemics. Such "substandard" local speakers would still be expected 
to understand the "standard Koine" in speech with visitors and outsiders.) 
Naturally, I would not propose following a substandard speaker. 

Ward PROSEQHKEN: 
>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 would agree that the exact phonetic sounds are "subjective", diverse, and

unrecoverable without ancient recordings of , e.g., various shades of "A" 
sound. However, the PHONEMIC system (e.g., "A" was a single phoneme in 
the first century) and the basic phonetic representation of it are not so
difficult 
to recover. Note the vowels above. They are a function of analysis of the 
misspellings in thousands of written remains and are therefore "objective",

in the practical use of the term. 

KAI PALIN Ward:
>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.

Yes. As mentioned above, I am especially interested in your data behind 
your "valid pronunciations in use", bracketing the first century if
possible.

EN PANTI` TRO'PWi EUODOU~SQAI' SE EU'COMAI,
Randall Buth, PhD
EN IEROSOLUMOIS



More information about the B-Greek mailing list