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

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Tue May 5 21:59:55 EDT 2009

Randall egrapse:
<Would someone argue for something that was
without advantage AND unnecessary AND wrong?>

No, not even I would do that.
Erasmus ran out of vowel sounds so eta for epsilon-iota was
not unnecessary.  I agree it was without advantage. Iota
for epsilon-itoa WOULD have been with advantage because it
sounds better.  But Smyth (p. 13) says that EI was pronounced
as ei in vein, so Erasmus was not wrong.  One out of three.
<...why not be historically consistent and use 'v'?>
Because there are too many onomatopoetic BETA words
including BRUCW (I gnash my teeth) BLUZW (I bubble)
and BARBAROS.  Or are you one of those people
who argue that ancient Greek sheep said VAA VAA?
<And why join O with A?>
Here you got me.  I have argued just recently that
this conflation is the beam sticking out of our 
Erasmian eyes as we look for iotacist specks.
And don't just pick on Phemester.  I again 
restate that I have never heard any Erasmian that
doesn't conflate alpha and omicron on at least some
words.  I can only defend this by saying (a.) it is 
a natural conflation,  a "living" conflation, as you might
say, not in Greek but in English.  (b) You can't distinguish
these two vowels without making Erasmian sound even
worse. (c.) I can't think of a third defense right now.
Your crack about praising the Goddess is funny enough,
but I can give you a more serious problem with A-O.
I have only laughed out loud while reading Greek one time.
I have CRIED out loud while reading Greek plenty of times, but
that's another story.  The one time I laughed out loud is when 
I looked up SAFOS in the big LSJ and they quote Euripides:
ὁ μεν σοφως γαρ ειπεν, ὁ δ’ ἑτερος σαφως
"This guy spoke wisely, but the other guy spoke clearly."  It's
the DE that's so funny.  This joke is impossible in
Phemesterian Greek, and that is a serious problem. 
But your solution, O-W will destroy more jokes, won't it?
Seriously, do we know which conflations A-O, O-W, OU-U
or whatever, cause more chaos with the language.  Is there a 
way to quanitify this?  Or is this too subjective?
Finally, let me just fight back a little for the THEON/THEAN
embarassment.  Look at what you Omegalomanics do to
και ὁ λογος ην προς των θεων.  "And the Word was
Mark L. 
--- On Tue, 5/5/09, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>
Subject: [B-Greek] Why insist on wrong when not necessary and with no advantage?
To: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2009, 9:23 AM

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
[[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
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
B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
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