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

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Nov 30 19:16:43 EST 2006

On Nov 30, 2006, at 7:00 PM, Carl Thomas wrote:

> After reading these post on Modern vs. Erasmian pronunciation I'm more
> confused about which I should use. At this point in my life (I'm  
> 62) all
> I wanted to do is fulfill a life's dream and that is learn to read and
> do a little work in the Greek New Testament. So I'm setting here and
> still asking which should I use but I should have know that there  
> would
> not be a consensus. Just like my 40 years of work in the church there
> has never been a consensus but then again that as also brought a  
> lot of
> enjoyment and it has driven me to do a lot studying that I may not  
> have
> done. So now the question remains. Which one? And can I decide that?
> :-)      Questions, questions.

In fact, ONLY YOU can decide which you want to use. OF COURSE
those who will express themselves on this issue will split over it.
For my part, I find it tedious to read again and again, after intervals
of a few short weeks, the same insistent urgings from the same persons
for the same view of the right pronunciation. But: when new beginners
keep asking that same question over and over again, we must expect
to see the same answers, I guess. But ultimately, YOU and ONLY YOU
must make the choice -- and which you choose is far less important if
you're not likely to communicate orally in Biblical Greek with others.
What you need is some consistent way of vocalizing the Greek as an
aid to learning vocabulary and thinking vocally about Greek texts.

The unquestionably GOOD thing about the recurrence of this
discussion is that it means more beginners continue to start out their
way toward reading Biblical Greek -- and they're serious about it
or they wouldn't be raising the question of pronunciation so

> Anthony Buzzard wrote:
>> 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>
>>> User-Agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20061025)
>>> 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
>>> http://adfontes.ath.cx
>>> http://curtishinson.com
>>> 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
>> www.restorationfellowship.org
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> -- 
> Carl Thomas
> Ashland, Montana 59003
> United States of America
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Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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