Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Fri Mar 29 07:25:17 EST 2002

At 8:41 PM -0800 3/28/02, c stirling bartholomew wrote:
>on 3/28/02 10:37 AM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>> Since when  has there been a complaint from list-administrators about
>> absence of rough breathings and iota subscripts? I prefer to see them and I
>> always write them myself when transliterating, but I don't think I've
>> censured a failure to use them.
>You are right. I have no memory of you are Carlton or Edward ever making a
>big deal about rough breathings and iota subscripts. We do however have some
>others on the list who have complained about lack of compliance and they
>were making it sound like the only acceptable form of posting Greek was 100%
>compliance. My response was to this perceived attitude.
>It took me all day but I now have a fully automated means of converting NA27
>to b-greek standard (100%). This is a lot more difficult that it sounds. You
>have to try it to find out.

We do mean to be as tolerant as possible of mechanical errors, typos,
misspellings, as also of such things as omitted rough breathings and iota
subscripts. What we're concerned about is ready intelligibility of the
Greek text--if we think it's cited in error, certainly any list-member
(since list-membership implies at least being a starter in Greek) can check
it in his or her own GNT.

The list seemed to dawn on me last night (unless it was a greater
darkness!): what this whole thing of wanting to copy and paste a Greek text
into an ASCII message is about. It appears to me that it may be about the
difficulty of WRITING Greek text. I had always thought that Greek teachers
make a point at the beginning of a course of insisting that class members
can transcribe Greek from a text to a written page or to a blackboard or
whatever so that the Greek text is intelligible. I now wonder whether Greek
may sometimes be taught without that training, whether it's learned solely
as a matter of recognition of written texts. If that's the case, it strikes
me that even the institution of Unicode as standard for list citation of
Greek will be any easier--unless people are able to copy and paste a
Unicode GNT directly into the wording of a message to be sent to the list.

Strictly as a matter of pedagogy, I think that learning to transcribe Greek
from a printed text to another medium--by pencil, by pen, by chalk, by
typing--has a lot to do with success at learning a language even at the
earliest stages. It's certainly far more important than learning the
accents. When I taught Greek, I never took points off for missed accents or
omitted accents, but I did insist on accurate transcription, as I think
that's an indication that the forms of words are really understood.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at OR cwconrad at

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