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Video on history of Greek pronunciation

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Video on history of Greek pronunciation

Postby Xyloplax » Thu Jun 12, 2014 5:40 pm


I came across this interesting but tedious video (with cheesy music and graphics), and though its treatment of spurious diphthongs is very interesting and helps understand how they arose, I have serious issues with it as a whole, and am not sure what, if anything, is correct in the video. What do people think of this? For me, it basically flies in the face of most of Vox Graeca by W. Sidney Allen, and seems like a modern pronunciation apologists video. I think Allen's book makes compelling arguments and the video cannot rectify classical onomatopoeia with modern pronunciation, for example.
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Re: Video on history of Greek pronunciation

Postby ariphron » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:17 pm

I skipped through the video, so my impression is not definitive, but it seems that the main claim is that the iotas that appear adscript in modern editions were always a typographical convention and never pronounced. In practical terms, this doesn't seem terribly different from the recommendation of Vox Graeca, which IIRC says that the iota adscript seems to have disappeared from speech early enough that you'd be well advised to omit it. Certainly the way I read Greek (which I consider thoroughly informed by Vox Graeca) treats the semivowels, both the iota and the digamma ([j] and [w]), as things that speakers freely added and dropped for comfort and euphony (my rationale for the confusion of genuine and spurious ει and ου), so there are only a handful of places where an argument along the lines of this video might persuade me to stop reading iotas that I have been pronouncing.
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Re: Video on history of Greek pronunciation

Postby demetri » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:58 pm

On the other hand I found the video most edifying. But then I am no fan of any reconstructed scheme including Erasmus's. But then I can readily admit the modern is not correct either.

It took me several viewings of Professor Zachariou's lesson and found it compelling in many points. Over the years (about 45 of playing with Greek) I have found myself using BOTH classic Erasmus and modern, often on the same block of text. Greek was (and still is to some extent) a melodic language and most reconstructions are just plain painful to my ear. I do not fault any scheme someone else favors. What works for one's understanding and grasp of the language, well, works for them. And that is fine with me. I do get a chuckle how some folks automatically dismiss any opinions by a GREEK that does not fit their own.
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