rough breathing, KOINE

Randall Buth ButhFam at
Tue Jan 29 17:04:06 EST 2002


Michael egrapsen:
>we know that some words were pronounced with
>an initial "h" sound by means of the aspiration of the preceding
>letter. So we know that UMWN was pronounced with an INITIAL "h"
>sound, but that ALLWN wasn't from the contrast between the two
>in Thessalonians 2:6

This is true, though needs qualification for Koine. The preceding words and

their allomorphs (e.g. OUK/OUC, AP'/AF') had become a historical 
process by the Roman period of Koine. It appears that 'h' had dropped 
out of common speech during that period though it may still have been 
preserved by upper classes who studied the 'classical' language. Gignac, 
apparently followed by Horrcks, points to spelling mistakes that become
common at this time in words like (e.g. OUK/OUX, AP'/AF'). 

I am impressed and puzzled that Michael suggests printing and spelling the 
Greek NT without accent marks other than 'rough' breathing. (see below) 
This would only be effective pedagogically, in my opinion,  if students had

very high audio imput in order to internalize the correct syllable accent.
Modern Greek has not dropped the accent, only replaced the three different 
forms with only one form. 

>PS: for any that might be interested, the above website has the
>complete text of the NT in the way I would like to see it
>presented everywhere.  With no capitalization, no accents, no
>smooth breathings and no subscripts.  I think it is so much
>easier to read than our current conventions.  Of course I
>realize that, for some people, this will be going too far.  But
>of all the changes I'd like to see, the omission of the smooth
>breathing is surely the easiest to accomplish. 

That is getting papyri-esque, not bad. 
Personally, I prefer the 'standard' orthography for students, with the
suggestion that they learn Greek through audio imput and actually 
internalize so well that they can read an "all caps" text (traditionally 
written without any accents) correctly. (Yes, preferably with word 
spaces, and some punctuation. Iota adscript would not be pronounced, 
of course.) A Koine demo now exists at 
where you can hear a Koine reading: "IPPOS" without 'h' and 'ICQUS'
with rounded-fronted "U".


Randall Buth

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