rough breathing, KOINE

Michael Nicholls mikusa at
Wed Mar 6 16:10:23 EST 2002

> In a message dated 3/6/2002 3:30:13 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
> mikusa at writes:
> Those in my Greek class who pay special attention to accents are reading
> Greek better than anyone (including my professors, who don't emphasize
> it!). In fact, those who pronounce every word exactly (accent, breathing
> etc.) are doing Greek better than anyone in reading, writing, diagramming,
> translating, comprehension - basically everything. It sticks in the mind
> better. My humble opinion.
> ______________________
> I happen to prefer to pronounce it in more of an Erasmian fashion myself
> since in that way I can remember what I am attempting to enter in my computer
> more readily.  I wonder, however, how much of this excellence by those 
> observing these conventions is due to the fact that they might tend to be
> more observant and, of themselves, more excellent than others who fail to
> observe them.  Before anyone gets upset, I'm not saying that those who don't
> observe the Erasmian conventions are less able.  They may simply choose to
> not observe them for whatever reason.  I'm speaking of those who choose to
> observe the conventions as opposed to those who give it no thought to begin
> with.
> gfsomsel

I agree. Some are more inclined to that kind of detail, which probably
pervades all their learning. But I can't really understand why people
would ignore the accent marks and just stumble through the pronunciation.
The marks are my best friend when I read. One professor suggested simply
emphasizing the penult of each word, but that ignores all the phonetic
reasons for the accents to be where they are, e.g. contractions, long
vowels etc.

I'm convinced that if those details were emphasized, Greek would be a
living language for more people, not just an exegetical word puzzle to
work out with a Lexicon.


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