Q: Re: Pronunciation of the Greek diphthong "ei" and (vs.) the Greek letter "eta"

Robert E. Wermuth robertewermuth at worldnet.att.net
Thu Jan 9 16:00:24 EST 2003

> >===== Original Message From "Robert E. Wermuth" 
> <robertewermuth at worldnet.att.net> =====
> >Any reason for NOT teaching the pronunciation of the Greek diphthong "ei"
> >as sounded in the English "height?"
> One reason is that it's not pronounced that way in Modern Greek or, 
> apparently, in Roman-period Koine. (They seem to have interchanged EI with I.)
> Of course, that wouldn't get you to pronouncing it like H, but the way your
> question was articulated it's still relevant. (Plus, there is still the issue
> of confusing it with something else. Pedagogically, I agree that there would
> be good reason to keep the sounds as distinct as possible. On the other hand,
> most natural language learning involves sound and spelling mismatches, so one
> could argue that it's just part of what you do when learning a language.)
> Trevor Peterson
> CUA/Semitics

Yet, in my experience, most Greek instructors seem to make no distinction
between the (way they teach the) pronunciation of the EI dipthong vs. the
pronuniciation of H, i.e., both pronounced with a long "a" sound. This
seems to really cloud the beginning student's memorization, particulary
when, in the Subjunctive, there is a lengthening of the thematic vowel
learned previously in connection with the Indicative. Is this an accurate
OR effective method of instruction if good student success is the goal?

R. Wermuth
robertewermuth at worldnet.att.net

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