[B-Greek] Misc Thoughts about Greek

Amos Bender bendersa at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 20 14:50:35 EDT 2006

Amos Bender
bendersa at earthlink.net
EarthLink Revolves Around You.

Friends at BGreek, 
First I want to say thanks to those who responded to my recent question about a Greek New Testament and word study book.  Now I thought I should share some issues about Greek as I have experienced and discovered, as they might interest some.  
One issue that impressed me is that in the original KJV translation with it's original spelling, Jesus is spelled as "Iesus" sort of like in the Greek, as well as other names starting with J start with an I instead, and being more like the Greek.  Does that mean old English pronunciation as well as spelling was a little more like Greek than English is today?  The spelling in the original KJV is very different than what English is spelled today, while likely Greek spelling also changed through history.  
As I observe various Greek words and their various spellings, I really wonder if the various spellings of words were always pronounced differently.  Or if readers in old times simply knew that although this word in this setting is spelled as this that yet it can or should be pronounced the same as if spelled in it's other way.  One example involves the H-Eta quite often being exchanged for the E-Epsilon at the beginning of words.  This involves at least the words "EULOGHSEN" and "EUPISKON".  Their obviously are other Greek words wherein other letters for some reason likewise are used quite interchangeably. 
Further in some or all ancient Greek, there were no word breaks at all, while the word breaks were put in later.  Even with regards to today's Greek text, it often is quite obvious that some long Greek words simply are a compound words that could or should have been broken down into smaller words, and then be pronounced as those individual words.  Yet with Erasmus rules of Greek pronunciation, many of these compound Greek words are pronounced in a way that none of the words within the compound word are pronounced as they should really sound.  If we would do this with compound English words, we would pronounce the word "weekend" as "wee-kend", and the word "anteater" as "an-tea-ter".  In my own reading I sometimes pronounce compound Greek words, as the separate underlying Greek words and even include the rough breathing in the second compound word, which makes the reading much easier and more understandable, and it is likely more how it sounded in old times.  
I also wish the Alpha would be pronounced different that the Omikron as it would give the language more distinction, while further if the Alpha is pronounced as a short "a" as in "hat" various Greek names sound more like the name does in English.  I also noticed on a web site that someone wished that only vowels with rough breathing were marked with rough breathing marks, while vowels with smooth breathing simply would be left unmarked, which would make it easier to recognize the rough breathing vowels, and I very much agree.  
I likely spend several hours every day reading or listening to the Greek Scriptures, and it is amazing how those strange characters and sounds, which had been so obscure and which seemed could mean so many things or possibly nothing at all, can become so meaningful and distinct.  The various twists to the words which before seemed to obscure the words, now add much meaning to the word and sentence.  I like when the words simply sound right and every word naturally falls into it's place in the train of thought while listening or reading.  Yet I have a long ways to go, and there are many words I yet need to learn.  Feel free to contact me at bendersa at earthlink.net.
God Bless
Amos Bender

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