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Hello. I'm a new member.

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Hello. I'm a new member.

Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:14 am

As Captain Obvious would say, I want to learn Ancient Greek. I already started with Pharr's Homeric Greek textbook a few weeks ago, and now that Greek has proved not to be another ephemeral whim of mine, I decided to join the community.

I am a theatre student, a thespian, and my main interests are Greek drama, Homer, and lyrical poetry - basicially all Greek which was spoken - hence the glottal in my username (it's also alliterative). I have seen productions of Medea and Lysistrata by the National Theatre of Greece in modern Greek which were both excellent (though the English supertitles for Lysistrata were hard to read) , but what really inspired me to dig into the language was seeing Ellen McLaughlin's adaptation of The Persians. The emotional intensity, and the empathy for both the soldiers of both sides and the perpetrator (Xerxes) who must bear causing the ruin of his empire, as well as the actors great performance, make me want to look at the play in its original form.

I also want to try Plato and Thucydides, but they are not my motivation for studying ancient Greek.

Is there any place I could get a recording of, say, the Illiad with reconstructed pronounciation, or ancient greek style music, or something of that nature. I'll probably check UC Berkeley when convienient, but any other help is appreciated. Since I have misgivings about ordering off the internet, I prefer sources I can get to directly in San Francisco or Berkeley.
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Postby adz000 » Sun Dec 12, 2004 5:42 pm

For recordings of reconstructed Greek pronunciation, large public libraries might have Stephen Daitz's recordings. He has several tapes outlining pronunciation and reading select passages. Personally, I think he sounds like a donkey and he gives me negative amounts of pleasure, but it's hard to find much fault with his method or purpose.

Those are all wonderful things to read. Do you have any other experience with dead languages? I would caution this from my own experience with Latin in high school, that it is incredibly difficult (impossible?) to gain a feeling for the working of poetry in one language without understanding its prose. Poetry is really only poetry through its contrast with prose, through its inversions of normal word order, its heightening and intensifying of ordinary language. I had to read Virgil before Cicero and without the latter, the former seemed frigid and mechanistic--of course some would argue that Virgil is frigid anyways--but the difference is that without reading prose, poetry was just a parsing exercise and the difficulties seemed arbitrary rather than done for any greater feeling.

[Maybe this isn't the place to point out that I had a similar problem differentiating between great prose and good prose; we started off real Greek with Plato's Apology, but it was only after reading things like Antiphon and Lysias that I could return to the Apology with pleasure and appreciation.]

Anyways a good textbook (like Donald Mastronarde's "Introduction to Attic Greek"--he is a professor at Berkeley) ought to prepare you and drill you well enough so that you have a feeling for these things intuitively. But I would caution that if you dive right into poetry there's a chance you may be frustrated and repelled without that prosaic baseline.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sun Dec 12, 2004 6:31 pm

Thank you! I will keep you advice in mind. I was worried about the same sort of thing myself, but I decided that Pharr's book suits my interests better than White (Xenophon) or NT Greek. I have heard many good things about Mastronarde's textbooks, but to keep my costs down, and since Textkit (thank you) offers free textbooks, I'll stick with these until I can bring myself to actually spend money.
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Postby chad » Sun Dec 12, 2004 11:07 pm

hi ggg, you can listen to the most accurate reconstructed homeric greek recording i've heard here:

http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/sh/

it's better than daitz, because he holds his notes rather than sliding around between notes. an ancient authority on greek music (aristoxenus) says that in reading poetry you hold your notes, but in speaking prose you slide between pitches constantly.

also at the top-left of the page there's a link "ancient greek music": the author has reconstructed the few surviving substantial bits of greek music, so that you can hear what it sounded like. there he only uses synthesised instruments though. there are at least 2 recordings out there of the same fragments performed with real reconstructed instruments and voices. 2 of the surviving bits of music are from choruses of euripides; one recording i've heard is a french one, where they got a master french instrument maker to recreate the ancient instruments and they got a chorus to sing euripides using the proper greek scales. it's worth finding.

another site with reconstructed recordings is here:

http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/Greek.htm

it has daitz recordings as well as some from other people; the best one is the sophocles one i think.

also i don't think it's a bad thing to begin with poetry rather than prose: professor harris wrote in an article on Pindar's Olympian 1:

I believe it makes little difference if one reads an easy or a hard text at the start, provided that the person is interested and aided by enthusiasm. Greek verse is in many ways easier to read than Attic prose since there is virtually no real Syntax to poetry beyond the placement of the words in artistic configuration, while prose sentences tends to be lengthy, stylistically manicured with mannerisms and conventions.


good luck with it :)
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Postby Eureka » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:15 am

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Postby chad » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:18 am

hi eureka, i can't play media files at work, is that recording reconstructed pronunciation? does he follow pitch and length? i haven't heard it but i remember reading somewhere that he uses the "university" pronunciation, i don't know myself tho, thanks :)
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Postby Eureka » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:30 am

chad wrote:hi eureka, i can't play media files at work, is that recording reconstructed pronunciation? does he follow pitch and length? i haven't heard it but i remember reading somewhere that he uses the "university" pronunciation, i don't know myself tho, thanks :)

He sounds suspiciously like he's using a stress accent, but the sounds of the letters are correct.
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Postby Bert » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:38 am

I don't know how this one rates as to the correctness of the recitation, but I love the sound of it.
http://www.prosoidia.com/od1-10.html
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Postby Eureka » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:44 am

Bert wrote:I don't know how this one rates as to the correctness of the recitation, but I love the sound of it.
http://www.prosoidia.com/od1-10.html

That sounds alright to me, except that he seems to be using a stress accent as well as a pitch accent.
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Postby annis » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:46 am

Eureka wrote:
Bert wrote:I don't know how this one rates as to the correctness of the recitation, but I love the sound of it.
http://www.prosoidia.com/od1-10.html

That sounds alright to me, except that he seems to be using a stress accent as well as a pitch accent.


I think it'll always be difficult for most native speakers of English to do a pure pitch accent. For most of us, the accent is not just stress, but a stress/pitch combination. It's hard to pull them apart.
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Postby Eureka » Mon Dec 13, 2004 2:25 am

annis wrote:
Eureka wrote:
Bert wrote:I don't know how this one rates as to the correctness of the recitation, but I love the sound of it.
http://www.prosoidia.com/od1-10.html

That sounds alright to me, except that he seems to be using a stress accent as well as a pitch accent.


I think it'll always be difficult for most native speakers of English to do a pure pitch accent. For most of us, the accent is not just stress, but a stress/pitch combination. It's hard to pull them apart.

There's further complication: To the human ear, sounds that are of a higher pitch appear to be louder than they are, and vice-versa. For this reason, pitch and stress accents will seem to be very similar to eachother.

However, having said that, one some words, he seems to place the stress accent on a different syllable from the pitch accent.
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Re: Hello. I'm a new member.

Postby mingshey » Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:28 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:(it's also alliterative)


Hi, welcome.

Does 'geek' aliterate with 'Greek' and "Glottal'? I pronounced it as 'jeek', not 'gueek'. :? :oops:
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Re: Hello. I'm a new member.

Postby klewlis » Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:45 am

mingshey wrote:
GlottalGreekGeek wrote:(it's also alliterative)


Hi, welcome.

Does 'geek' aliterate with 'Greek' and "Glottal'? I pronounced it as 'jeek', not 'gueek'. :? :oops:


:shock:

it's a hard g, in spite of being followed by the "e". :)
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Re: Hello. I'm a new member.

Postby Bert » Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:51 am

mingshey wrote:
GlottalGreekGeek wrote:(it's also alliterative)


Hi, welcome.

Does 'geek' aliterate with 'Greek' and "Glottal'? I pronounced it as 'jeek', not 'gueek'. :? :oops:

It's not jeek not gueek. It's geek. I guess that was helpful wasn't it? :)
Just eek with a Gamma in front of it.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Mon Dec 13, 2004 6:03 am

I have always heard and said "geek" with a g as in good.

I will look into all those reconstructed Ancient Greek recordings. Thanks!
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Re: Hello. I'm a new member.

Postby mingshey » Mon Dec 13, 2004 6:24 am

klewlis wrote: :shock:

it's a hard g, in spite of being followed by the "e". :)

Bert wrote:It's not jeek not gueek. It's geek. I guess that was helpful wasn't it? :)
Just eek with a Gamma in front of it.

Thanks. I've been too lazy to look up pronunciations of the words I meet on the internet.
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