[B-Greek] Fwd: Re: Modern vs. Erasmian pronunciation, something new

Anthony Buzzard anthonybuzzard at mindspring.com
Thu Nov 30 18:04:13 EST 2006

Gentlemen, I can affirm after many years teaching NT Greek with a 
modern pronunciation that it works well and the possible difficulty 
caused by so many sounds being "ee" is really not a problem.
We just say "when in doubt say 'ee'" (!)    UMEIS and EMEIS sound the 
same but if one remembers that the U (upsilon) corresponds to YOU, all is fine.
The language is exciting for students who sometimes meet Greek 
speakers who are rather amazed that they can recite John 1 and be 
understood! Americans and African English speakers manage the pure 
vowel sounds quite well, generally, and some gifted ones learn to 
read quite fluently in a very few weeks. This gives a sense of success.
Anthony Buzzard, Atlanta Bible College

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>Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006 15:45:33 -0600
>From: Curtis Hinson <curtis at curtishinson.com>
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>To: Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>,
>         B-Greek <B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Modern vs. Erasmian pronunciation, something new
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>That certainly all rings a bell.  There is a mythology regarding
>pronunciation that is deeply rooted and that flies in the face of a fair
>examination of phonological evidence and language acquisition theory.
>It is, in a word, closed-minded and un-scholarly.
>My experience these past few years teaching off and on has been that
>students who learn modern pronunciation from me have had no complaints
>about understanding the accent, never having known any other.  Erasmian
>students complain sometimes about a Greek accent when they hear it.
>This observation makes me suspect that we are indeed creatures of habit,
>even those with far more scholarly experience and background than I.  So
>we should cultivate and teach good habits to begin with, instead of bad
>ones, lest we later waste time defending systems that are merely bad
>habits and not good scholarship or good pedagogy.
>I've been thinking that English is a big mess.  You know, we have vocab
>sourced from several different languages and one can't tell the
>pronunciation of a word by looking at it's spelling, one just has to
>know.  So why don't we pick a phonology from a source language and throw
>out the others?  That way "hors d'oeuvre" will finally sound like "horse
>doh-vrah", it's less work for students.  Or I guess instead we could
>just pick some random alien phonology that has nothing to do with
>English and use that.  Oh, wait, just kidding.  :-D
>Bless the Name
>Curtis Hinson
>Randall Buth wrote the following on 11/30/2006 1:24 PM:
> > I share some of your concerns and even your history. During the 80's
> > to early 90's I
> > was using a modern pronunciation. Around 1995-1996 while sitting in
> > Africa far afield
> > from most NT centers, Bible translation colleagues convinced me that
> > no one in NT
> > studies would listen to "modern" materials, even if pedagogically
> > sound. The same
> > people all agreed that a "Koine" pronunciation would need to be 
> used. I agreed.
> >
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Anthony Buzzard

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