[B-Greek] NT and Modern Greek

frjsilver at optonline.net frjsilver at optonline.net
Fri Nov 3 19:56:58 EST 2006


Dear Friends --

While I'm unaware of any discussion group thinking about this issue, it's long been my feeling that there's only Greek -- not classical, common, or modern.  Just Greek.

I think it's instructive that the KATHEREUOUSA movement of nearly a century ago in Hellas restored many verb forms and the dotic case, but was unconcerned about modifying pronunciation;  Byzantine standards are still at work in official ecclesial documents written even now, and they're perfectly well understood by hOI POLLOI.

Since the only Greek language we have now is described as Modern Greek, and since even contemporary native speakers of MG must tune in to their own language's earlier forms -- much as we must to, say, Chaucer -- I'd suggest that people learn to read/write/speak MG first as a living language, and then retrofit that experience to their studies.

Perhaps I'm all wrong, but I think of language as current and alive, spoken -- not just letters on a page.  Being unable to communicate in whichever language is a demonstration of our deficiencies.  We can analyze Greek grammar and syntax all we want, but it won't be *our* language until we can speak it.  

Try it -- you'll like it!  Besides, you can then take a trip to Hellas and not get scammed, or order intelligently from the menu!

In addition, there's more than sufficient evidence in inscriptions from at least the first century BC onwards to indicate that MG pronunciation is largely now the same as it was then, with respectful acknowledgement of the distinctions in H and U which Randall Buth noted here.

So, I suppose my vote goes to learning MG proficiently first, otherwise we're prone to all the distortions which a purely passive experience of the language makes us vulnerable.

Peace and blessings to all.

Father James Silver

Monk James
Orthodox Church in America

----- Original Message -----
From: Webb Sprague 
Date: Friday, November 3, 2006 2:15 pm
Subject: [B-Greek] NT and Modern Greek
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org

> Hi all,
> 
> (I tried to search the list, but I couldn't get anywhere.)
> 
> Could someone point me to a discussion of how useful learning NT Greek
> is for learning modern, and vice versa? I am sure this is a recurring
> question.
> 
> Thanks
> Webb S
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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> 



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