[B-Greek] Recent discussion concerning Erasmian pronunciation

John Sanders john.franklin.sanders at gmail.com
Mon May 4 02:48:50 EDT 2009

I have a few thoughts on the classification of language, not as an expert or
scholar on the subject.  I have a thought experiment (I presume one can turn
it into a real experiment).  Actually, two or three such experiments.

First Experiment

Take a classical play, or biblical text, or perhaps a modern screen play
such as Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” (where one would change all the
Latin parts that would have been spoken in Greek into Greek).  Randomly
divide the Greek speaking parts into Modern Standard Greek or Standard Koine
Greek (as defined by Dr. Buth).  These parts would be randomly selected
before each presentation.  Make presentations in the United States with
audiences from professors, teachers, and students of classical or biblical
Greek.  After each presentation make an inquiry from each viewer on who
spoke Modern Greek and who spoke Koine Greek.  I do not believe that there
will be many, in any, who can consistently identify Modern Standard Greek
from Koine Standard Greek.  What this would mean is that to “foreign ears”
these two languages are dialects with no discernable differences to an
uneducated speaker.

Second Experiment:

Take a Modern Greek play and divide the speaking parts randomly so that half
speak with an Erasmian pronunciation and the other half into either speaking
modern Greek or Koine Greek pronunciation.  This would be presented to
Modern Greek speaking audiences.  After each presentation the audience
members would be queried into identifying the Modern Greek speaking parts
from those who spoke an old form of Greek (Biblical or Classical).   I would
suspect that there will be a consistency on the part of the respondents to
classify Koine speaking parts along with Modern Greek speaking parts.

The point of my experiments is that from an oral dimension Koine is just the
leading phase of Modern Greek (and I may add, from a grammar and syntax
dimension is the final phase of Classical Greek).

Of course, I am writing this as an observer and not as a gladiator.

John Sanders
Suzhou, China

On Mon, May 4, 2009 at 10:53 AM, Michael Aubrey <mga318 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Nikolaos,
> I'm curious. How you, as a native speaker, view those of us,
> who like Buth, use a reconstructed historical pronunciation?
> Do the historically reconstructed phonologies of Koine Greek
> by people such as RandaIl Buth, Rondal Smith, and Gerhard
> Mussies, all of which maintain an incredibly consistent amount
> of agreement, hold water in your view? Would you consider
> them as helpful and/or valid?
> Mike Aubrey
> ________________________________
> From: Nikolaos Adamou <nikolaos.adamou at hotmail.com>
> To: Jeffrey T. Requadt <jeffreyrequadt_list at hotmail.com>; b-Greek <
> b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Sunday, May 3, 2009 7:39:54 PM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Recent discussion concerning Erasmian pronunciation
> There is a third group, native Greeks, who
> read the bible without any interruption from the time it is written,
> without a
> need of any translation, in their own language; a language with music and
> meter.
> Do they know how their language sounds?
> Or this does not count!
>  ---
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