Pronounciation of PNEUMA

bertdehaan at bertdehaan at
Thu Jan 9 19:55:31 EST 2003

> From: "Translation Officer - Bible Society of South Africa" <translate at>
> Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001 08:52:05 +0200
> To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at>
> Subject: [b-greek] Re: Pronounciation of PNEUMA
> Dear Theodore
> You asked:
> > Would it be possible or practical to organize an international congress or
> > committee for the purpose of developing a unified system of pronunciation
> > that could be accepted by most biblical language scholars and teachers?
> I have also wondered about that one but, as Trevor pointed out, it is not a
> simple matter.  Another maybe less academical reason is a suspicion that
> I've got, namely that one would have a hard time trying to get the
> English-speaking world to accept the same pronunciation as, for instance,
> the Dutch or the Germans. 
I do not have an educated contribution to make about this but I can understand what you mean. I grew up in Holland and when I moved to Canada I had to learn to pronounce sounds that are for foreign to the Dutch language. One of them was the "th" sound. Matthew Miller in his post -just for fun- asked among others; Which Greek word do you find the hardest to pronounce?  I find BHQZAQA almost impossible to pronounce because of the Theta followed by a Zeta and then another Theta. I can hardly imagine a Dutch professor teaching the pronunciation of this word the same way an English professor would. Take this for what it is worth.
Bert de Haan, Arthur Ontario 

> Speakers of Modern Greek will probably insist
> that they have the (most) "correct" pronunciation, and
> teachers/lecturers/professors at tens of thousands of
> schools/seminaries/colleges/universities will continue to teach the queer
> ways of pronunciation they have learned from their predecessors.  Scholars
> who are knowledgeable about the phonetics of Classical Greek will have their
> own (properly founded) theories.  To me, as a former student of the
> phonetics of modern languages, the pronunciation of Classical/Koine Greek
> (and Latin, for that matter) is one happy mess ...
> Regards,
> Manie van den Heever
> PS: We use the Israeli pronunciation or a reasonable facsimile thereof in
> our Biblical Hebrew courses, and it seems to work fine (I am aware of th

More information about the B-Greek mailing list