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I'm taking Ancient Greek next year...

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I'm taking Ancient Greek next year...

Postby Aurelia » Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:52 am

...anybody have any advice? I'm still in High School and this is my first college-level course. I'm a little nervous and excited. I feel kind of stupid asking this but is the Ancient Greek alphabet the same as the Modern Greek alphabet? Or does the Ancient Greek alphabet have some Etruscan letters in it. I know I have a lot to learn, so let's start here, shall we? I need to learn the diphthongs, digraphs, and alphabet before I even start this course.
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Re: I'm taking Ancient Greek next year...

Postby annis » Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:27 am

Aurelia wrote:I feel kind of stupid asking this but is the Ancient Greek alphabet the same as the Modern Greek alphabet? Or does the Ancient Greek alphabet have some Etruscan letters in it. I know I have a lot to learn, so let's start here, shall we?


Of course!

It's not a stupid question, and actually has some interesting information in the answer.

Short answer: same alphabet.

Long answer: when, say, Plato wrote down a dialog he used the Greek alphabet which became what we have today. Plato used what we would now call the capital letters only, there were no spaces written between words, and none of the accents or breathing marks we now use, SORTOFLIKETHIS.

Over time changes in writing technology and just fashion and style changed how letters were written, resulting ultimately in the lower case letters we know today, which are most closely descended from Byzantine scribal practice (as interpreted by renaissance Italian printing houses, if I recall correctly). The other things - accents and breathing marks - were added initially to help ignorant barbarians learn where to put the correct accent. They became standard late. Even some books from the 1800s print Greek without the accenting most of us would expect.

But if a modern Greek looks at a page of Plato, he isn't going to see unfamiliar letters, though some of the accent marks are no longer used.

As for the Etruscans, some believe their alphabet is modled on the Greek. Other say both the Greeks and the Etruscans borrowed from the same - unknown - source. It's true that different regions of Greece used slightly different alphabets, but I don't think we can talk about Etruscan borrowings into Greek alphabets.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Aurelia » Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:37 am

That's what I thought. My Latin teacher gave us the Etruscan alphabet in class and a few months ago I came across a website that had the Ancient Greek alphabet on it, yet it had some of the Etruscan letters in it. That's why I asked. Now that I know I'm very relieved, because I know my Greek letters (pretty well). :oops: Thanks! :D
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sat Jul 31, 2004 4:02 am

I can field the Etruscan question (I've been trying my own efforts at reconstructing it lately). Aye indeed, as Annis put well, the Greeks did not borrow from the Etruscans (and looked down upon them for their relative depravity). The Etruscans, in fact, learned the alphabet from the Greek colonists in southern Italy, and would always recite and learn every letter of their borrowed version, even especial Greek letters they never used themselves. One addition they made to the alphabet, however -- and possibly to all European languages themselves which would develop after -- was the letter representing "F," which was drawn in the Etruscan alphabet like an Arabic numeral 8. They of course had the phi from the Greeks, but this letter wasn't produced in Greece like the 'F'-sound in philosophia until long after classical times. Phi, instead, was a bilabial fricative, a whistling sound caused by the vibration of air between the lips when pursed. (For those unfamiliar, try making the shape of 'oo' with the lips, and then blow air as if to whistle weakly.) Though Etruscan had this sound and letter from the Greeks, the "F," on the contrary, was alien to Indo-European languages.

The Norse and other Germanic runes are derived from the Etruscan alphabet (many similarities are quickly noted with a direct comparison). The incredibly civilized and sophisticated Etruscans often traded with the rustic barbarians to the north, and no doubt highly influenced their culture. Even the Etruscan word of "god" and "gods," as, æsr, are exactly the same in Old Norse. Thus the Etruscan "F" may have been what brought the Germans to use the sound in their languages, just as the Latins adopted it as well. The proper phi sound was not in Latin, however, and perhaps the Romans' use of "F" in so many words caused the Greeks, once conquered by Rome, to make the labio-dental fricative instead out of its ease of pronunciation. Or maby the Greeks just got lazy. ;)
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Postby Aurelia » Sat Jul 31, 2004 4:17 am

Okay, thanks for the info. I just recognized those letters as Etruscan because that was how I learned them. Now I know better. :D

My next questions are:
How different is Ancient Greek from Modern Greek? Could I go to Greece and speak Ancient Greek and have them understand me? Can I get a comparison to two other languages? Perhaps like Latin and Romansche (sp?)?
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Postby Eureka » Sat Jul 31, 2004 8:11 am

[face=SPIonic]xai=r 0,[/face] Aurelia.
Aurelia wrote:My next questions are:
How different is Ancient Greek from Modern Greek? Could I go to Greece and speak Ancient Greek and have them understand me? Can I get a comparison to two other languages? Perhaps like Latin and Romansche (sp?)?

Yes, so long as you speak very slowly and loudly. :D

No, seriously, they are as different as the passage of time would make them. Apparently, by about the 11th century, the standard Greek language was recognised as a different language from the ancient forms (still used by the orthodox clergy). The separation probably occurred long before that, for most Greeks.


You could easily compare the differences between Modern and Ancient Greek to the differences between Latin and Italian, Spanish or French. In both cases, the breakdown of society plus the passage of 1500 years have caused new languages to replace the old.


Anyway, good luck next year.
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:04 am

No, you couldn't go to Greece and hope people would understand ancient Greek, you'd probably be able to sort of make them understand you, but after a few sentences they would probably beg you to talk English. But once you've learned ancient Greek, learning a bit of modern Greek before going on holiday there shouldn't be much of a problem. I talked to a Greek guy on the internet a few days ago in what I hoped was modern Greek. Lol, he replied that he could understand everything I was saying but that he thought my Greek was strange, that it sounded ... so old. :P
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Postby Aurelia » Sat Jul 31, 2004 6:15 pm

lol, I only know two words in Ancient Greek so far. Kalimera and antio (right?). lol, I could accidentally say Kalimari, which would be squid! :lol:

I downloaded the Beginner Greek thing for Adobe Reader. I started studying the alphabet and it's pronunciations last night. This is going to be fun and interesting but sometimes I question my mental capacity, lol. Sorry, I'm rambling, I'll stop now. :lol:
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Postby PeterD » Sun Aug 01, 2004 3:08 am

Welcome to textkit, Aurelia :)

Glad to learn that you will be studying Greek, one of the most beautiful and expressive of all languages.

Aurelia wrote:lol, I only know two words in Ancient Greek so far. Kalimera and antio (right?).

The first word -- [face=SPIonic]kalhme/ra[/face] good morning, good day -- is indeed Greek. It is a compound (lots of compoud words in Greek!) of the words [face=SPIonic]kalh/[/face] beautiful/fine and [face=SPIonic]h(me/ra[/face] day. Another way of greeting someone is by saying [face=SPIonic]xai=re[/face] (singular) or [face=SPIonic]xai/rete[/face] (plural). It can mean either good day or good night. The second word -- antio -- is not Greek but Italian (addio). Greeks, like everyone else, will also use foreign words in their speech.

The Greek language is thousands of years old. There is the Greek of the Iliad and Odyssey (c. 800 BC); the Greek of the classical age (c. 550 - 300 BC); the Greek of the Hellenistic period (the New Testament Greek); Midieval Greek, and, of course, the current form called Modern Greek. As you can see, there are many forms of Greek because, like all languages, it too has evolved to meet the needs of its speakers. However, due to its very conservative nature, Greek has changed less over the last 3000 years than English has over the last 500 years! So, when you do learn the old forms of Greek, Modern Greek is but a short distance away.

Good Luck, Aurelia. (Actually, having found textkit, I think you're are smart enough not to require any luck!)

Emma85 wrote:I talked to a Greek guy on the internet a few days ago in what I hoped was Modern Greek.

So, you are chasing the Greek boys, eh? Cool!


~PeterD (a.k.a. [face=SPIonic]e(khbo/loj[/face])
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby Aurelia » Sun Aug 01, 2004 3:17 am

I just got those two words because my Latin teacher (who is also going to be my Greek teacher and knows 32 languages) greeted in an email with "kalimera" and ended with "antio".

Another stupid question (lol, I feel so naive) what's a digraph?

This class is going to be a huge challange, any advice? I hope my brain is up for such a feat!
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Postby chad » Sun Aug 01, 2004 4:05 am

hi aurelia, digraph ("2-characters") is a fancy word for a sound which is spelt with 2 characters instead of 1. e.g. in english, the letter "i" in ski uses one character, but in the word "bee" the same sound is represented by the digraph "ee".

diphthong, as u prob. know from latin, means "2-sounds", means a glide from one sound to another within the 1 syllable, so it's different to a digraph :)
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Postby blue » Sun Aug 01, 2004 7:10 am

from what i know, modern greek isn't actually all that different from classical greek. i mean, of course it is different, but not nearly as different as, say, "english" of that period was from the modern language. from greeks i've spoken with on the subject, it's similar to the difference between modern english and the english of shakespeare.

now, speaking is very different from reading, and a lot of the more common words and phrases are the ones that have changed the most, which means modern greek is very worth learning. they could probably understand your classical greek, but it's highly unlikely that you'll understand the modern if you only know classical.
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Postby Eureka » Sun Aug 01, 2004 11:32 am

I don't know Modern Greek at all. But aren't you understating the difference. I'd be very surprised if 2500 years (comparing Attic to modern Greek) didn't change the language into something unrecognisable. (Not to mention the centuries of Ottoman occupation.) :?
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Postby PeterD » Sun Aug 01, 2004 4:06 pm

Eureka wrote:I don't know Modern Greek at all. But aren't you understating the difference. I'd be very surprised if 2500 years (comparing Attic to modern Greek) didn't change the language into something unrecognisable. (Not to mention the centuries of Ottoman occupation.) :?


Hi Eureka,

What is astonishing about Greek is that it can "twist" and "bend" but it will never "break." That's the way Greek is. Sure, the language has undergone changes through the centuries (changes are expected for a language with such a remarkable long history), but most of these changes ocurred when Greek was the common language of the civilized world (c. 300 BC - 400 AD).

If you are interested in the history of the Greek language, here are two books that you may find interesting: 1. The Greek Language L. R. Palmer; 2. Greek: A History of the Language and Its Speakers Geoffrey C. Horrocks. Both of these books may be of course purchased on amazon via the textkit link. :)

As for the Turkish occupation, while it was disastrous on a human level, it, like the Slavic migrations of the 7th and 8th centuries AD, hardly made a dent. Except for a couple of hundred of Turkish words that have entered the Greek lexicon, there was no impact whatsoever. The Ottomans were not known for their rhetorical or language skills if they had any worthy skills at all.

~[face=SPIonic]e(khbo/loj[/face] (a.k.a. PeterD) :wink:
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby PeterD » Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:15 pm

Since we are comparing Ancient Greek to Modern Greek, let's have a sample of Modern Greek. Let's use a few verses from a poem by Konstantinos Kavafys (1863-1933) that I talked about recently in the Open Board.

[face=SPIonic]Perime/nontaj tou\j Barba/rouj[/face]

"[face=SPIonic]Ti/ perime/noume sth\n
a)gora\ sunaqroisme/noi;[/face]
"

"[face=SPIonic]Ei)=nai oi( ba/rbaroi na\
fqa/soun sh/mera.[/face]
"

"[face=SPIonic]Giati\ me/sa sth\ Su/gklhto
mia\ te/toia a)praci/a;
ti/ ka/qontai oi( sugklhtikoi\
kai\ de\n nomoqetou=ne;
[/face]"

So, what do you think? Can you understand it?

Notwithstanding the syntax, if the above poem were written in Attic Greek, we would have:

Line 1: [face=SPIonic]perime/nomen[/face]

Line2: [face=SPIonic]e)n th=| a)gora=|[/face]

Line3: [face=SPIonic])/Estin, i(/na[/face]

Line4: [face=SPIonic]fqa/swsi, sh/meron[/face]

Line5: [face=SPIonic]Dia\ ti/, e)n th=| Suglh/tw|[/face]

Line6: [face=SPIonic]toiau/th[/face]

Line8: [face=SPIonic]ou)de\n, nomoqetou=sin[/face]

There are of course noticeable differences between the Attic and Modern language but these are not great enough to render it a completely different language.


~[face=SPIonic]e(khbo/loj[/face]
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby Aurelia » Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:49 pm

er, okay lol. I don't understand any Greek that well yet. But what I did get (I think) is PeterD's signature (is your signature about the Olympics in Athens?)
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Postby PeterD » Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:44 am

Aurelia wrote:er, okay lol. I don't understand any Greek that well yet. But what I did get (I think) is PeterD's signature (is your signature about the Olympics in Athens?)

Maybe, Aurelia. I do hope that the gods are again on the side of the Greeks when they host the games in about two weeks.

Let's see what others think about two signatures lines.
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis
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Postby Aurelia » Wed Aug 04, 2004 2:58 am

Will you please PM me and tell me what it literally means? Hehe, I have two signature lines too.
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Postby Matteos » Sat Aug 07, 2004 6:50 pm

Hi Aurelia,

Having just completed my first year of Ancient Greek last May, I think I may have a helpful hint to offer you.

Bathe in confusion and let ambiguity wash over you.

Er, what I really mean to say is that many things will seem difficult at first, but will gradually make sense when you see them a second, third, fourth time. In our class, practically everyone was confused when a new section was introduced, and then, miraculously, things would begin to sink in. Which was right about the time our teacher would confuse us again!

So I recommend many small bites and slow chewing. Enjoy the meal!


Matt
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Postby Bert » Sat Aug 07, 2004 10:03 pm

Matteos wrote:Hi Aurelia,

Having just completed my first year of Ancient Greek last May, I think I may have a helpful hint to offer you.

Bathe in confusion and let ambiguity wash over you.

Er, what I really mean to say is that many things will seem difficult at first, but will gradually make sense when you see them a second, third, fourth time. In our class, practically everyone was confused when a new section was introduced, and then, miraculously, things would begin to sink in. Which was right about the time our teacher would confuse us again!

So I recommend many small bites and slow chewing. Enjoy the meal!


Matt

That is exactly what W.D. Mounce says in "Basics of Biblical Greek".
He calls it -the fog-. It will move with you as you learn, so what you have learned 3 weeks ago will be out of the fog.
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Postby Aurelia » Tue Aug 10, 2004 7:10 pm

Now I am distraught. I might not be able to take this course because of financial reasons. Please pray for me, send me some positive vibes, anything! :cry:
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