[B-Greek] Why insist on wrong when not necessary and with no advantage?

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Tue May 5 11:23:03 EDT 2009

Would someone argue for something that was
without advantage AND unnecessary AND wrong?
I hear a potential Seinfeld skit.

Well, after Mark's courageous and strident support of PHemister's
Greek I had a listen again after many years.
[definitely not recommended for learning Greek]

[What follows technically only applies to a particular brand of
Erasmianism. I am well aware that there are other brands.]

The support of this Lightman-Phemister system raises serious
questions of logic in the argumention.

For example, Marylin reads EI as H. She thereby defeats one of the
Erasmian claims/goals of differentiating every graph. But what is
worse is that she equates it with a vowel with which it was never
equated in the history of the Greek language.
(We know this because EI and Hta have different historical
trajectories. EI joined 'I' during the fourth century BCE but Hta did
rise to 'I' until several centuries later.)

The question becomes
Why choose wrong, when one could just as easily have chosen
right? English did NOT force this, since Phemister can pronounce
the sound of English 'feet' (Greek I).

And why join O with A? This is not something forced by English.
Again, in the history of the Greek language A was never equated
with O. Greeks joined O (like 'hope') and W (like 'awe'), and
Phemister could have done the same if she was looking for a
loose single vowel.

Now if someone is going to collapse a few of the graphs of the
Greek language into fewer sounds (EI=H, A=O, OY=Y), why in
the world would they join them against the language itself?
(Hellenistic Greeks had  EI=I, A, W=O, OY, Y)

I can forgive Y=OY on the grounds that the sound of Greek Y
(YPSILON) doesn't occur in English. (German 'ue', French 'u')
[[I don't recommend it, of course, since I feel that learning a language
involves some changes for the learner. This post is simply
arguing within the parameters of Lightman-Phemisterian Greek.]]

In the above cases there is NO theoretical advantage acquired
AND it was unnecessary.
So why would someone insist on WRONG?
And then, why would someone want it fixed in concrete!?

Ah yes, how do I define 'wrong'? A wrong joining would be to
join two vowels together against the historical choice of the
language. And in two of the above three examples it was not
even necessary in that person's native language.

The bottom line is that U.S. Erasmians should consider using
 EI=I instead of EI=H. Then, instead of A=O they should
use O=W. Just those two changes would put them back on the
same side of the track with the Greeks. And it wouldn't cost
any more vowel pairings than they already have.

Finally, since the soft sounds 'f' and 'th' are used, why not be
historically consistent and use 'v' and 'dh', too?  v and 'dh' entered
the Greek language BEFORE the shift to 'f' and 'th'. We will
pardon the lack of 'xh' and 'gh', because Americans may want to
sound "American". But people should not create unnecessary
problems. Again, this would cost nothing in terms of theory
but would put them back on the side of the tracks with the
Greek language.

As posted couple of years ago,
why would US Erasmians want to praise Astarte and cohorts?

The concrete isn't dry as long as you're depending on
written texts to follow something. The time to change is
when the concrete is still wet.



Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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