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Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

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Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby ariphron » Sat Jan 24, 2015 3:42 am

I would like to announce that I have just posted a recording of Odyssey Book 6 on Internet Archive.
https://archive.org/details/Odysseias06_ariphron

It represents the results of more than a year of practice and experimentation in crafting a reading style in which pitch, stress, and rhythm are controlled independently, and the quantitative verse comes out clearly without a loss of expressivity. Tones rise and fall to mark the boundaries of morphemes, words, and clitic groups, while stress occurs as needed to mark important words, and long and short syllables are clearly distinguished without being too strict.

For pronunciation, the recommendations of Allen's Vox Graeca were my starting point, but I've made many adjustments along the way, largely according to what sounds better to my ears. Many of the details are thus conjectural. My goal, more than exact historical authenticity, is a pronunciation that works equally well for Homer, Herodotus, and Attic writers, that makes the derivations of compound words clear and the Attic contraction rules intuitive, that suggests later developments in the language without loss of distinctions, and that is fun to listen to. Those who have listened to my older recordings will notice that I have started pronouncing β, γ, and δ in some positions as fricatives. This makes it a little more like Modern Greek pronunciation, but the main reason for the change is that since I do not aspirate π, κ, or τ, I was having trouble hearing the distinction between these two classes in my own recordings. Indeed, this is a common problem among attempts at Reconstructed Attic: if you don't aspirate π, κ, and τ, they sound too much like β, γ, and δ; and if you do, they sound too much like φ, χ, and θ. I'm working on a chart that describes my pronunciations of the different letters in various contexts, and I may post it here when it's ready.

Other recordings I've made lately include several passages from Morice.
https://archive.org/details/Morice_stories_ariphron
I find it helpful to alternate reading some verse and some prose. The verse forces me to control the rhythm very precisely, while the prose keeps me from making my style too artificial and singsongy. My prose recordings that I would expect to interest the most people are selections from the Anabasis,
https://archive.org/details/anabasis_ariphron
and the first part of Phillpotts' adapted Herodotus,
https://archive.org/details/phillpotts_herodotus_ariphron

Enjoy!
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Re: Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:18 pm

Very nice! I listened to the beginning of you're recording, and I like it. Of course, like with Joel's recordings, I don't agree with everything...

Those who have listened to my older recordings will notice that I have started pronouncing β, γ, and δ in some positions as fricatives. This makes it a little more like Modern Greek pronunciation, but the main reason for the change is that since I do not aspirate π, κ, or τ, I was having trouble hearing the distinction between these two classes in my own recordings. Indeed, this is a common problem among attempts at Reconstructed Attic: if you don't aspirate π, κ, and τ, they sound too much like β, γ, and δ; and if you do, they sound too much like φ, χ, and θ. I'm working on a chart that describes my pronunciations of the different letters in various contexts, and I may post it here when it's ready.

As far as I heard, you pronounced φ, χ, and θ as aspirated stops and not as fricatives. In what contexts exactly do pronounce them as fricatives? I don't see why you would want to do that, as I find your π, κ, τ / β, γ, δ / φ, χ, θ very distinct and easy to distinguish from one another. You pronounce those sounds well, so I'm not sure what the problem is...

I was bit puzzled with you diphthongs αι and οι, which you pronounced very differently in different contexts. οι is /øi/ most of the time, sometimes /oi/.

The rhythm and the reconstructed pitch accent work very well.

I'm curious: what is your own linguistic background?

Now that I've been giving my critiques on your and Joel's recordings, I think I'm soon going to post a short attempt at reading Homer myself.
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Re: Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby ariphron » Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:32 pm

As far as I heard, you pronounced φ, χ, and θ as aspirated stops and not as fricatives

Always. My new pronunciation makes β, γ, δ into fricatives intervocalically except before a strongly stressed syllable (essentially, δ is /ð/ in the same positions where English d would be reduced to a light tongue flip). Apparently Hellenistic Egyptian Greek is documented to have the aspirated stops together with the voiced fricatives, so there's some historical basis for that mix.

I was bit puzzled with you diphthongs αι and οι, which you pronounced very differently in different contexts. οι is /øi/ most of the time, sometimes /oi/.

That's it exactly. Most of the time I front οι and αι to /øi/ and /æi/, which are relatively close to the sounds they later merged with (/y/ and /ε/), but in some cases I inhibit the fronting, preserving what I take to be older pronunciations. I take digammas, for instance, to inhibit fronting, which is what gives me /oi/ in οῖκος, οἶς, οἶδα, and οἱ (the dative singular pronoun, distinguished from the nominative plural /høi/).

I guess I'm just an amateur linguist, although I've had a lot of conversations with my sister, who is a professional.
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Re: Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:51 pm

Ok, I see what you're afterwith thise diphthongs. They're weird to me, but it all depends what you're after exactly. Are you aiming something like late 4th century?

With linguistic background, I meant what is your native language...
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Re: Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby mwh » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:55 pm

This sounded very alien to me at first, which I have no doubt is how Homer would have sounded too. And once acclimatized, I was able to follow as you read, and it was clear that this is extremely well done; but I’m not competent to judge. One thing that threw me was your αι (or αι's)—which of course is not to say it’s wrong.

I see both you and Paul D. are aiming at 5th-cent. Attic. It will be interesting to see how or whether the two of you reconcile your differences.
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Re: Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jan 25, 2015 12:57 am

I suppose Ariphron is aiming something a bit later than I am, though I'm not sure how much later. I didn't know the diphthongs were changing that early though. It might be that Ariphron is better informed than me. Anyway, what I'm aiming is simething like the first half of the 5th century.
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Re: Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby ariphron » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:13 am

I doubt that I'm any more informed than Paul. Most of what I know is what I read in Vox Graeca, and Allen gives very wide windows when it comes to sound shifts that don't result in lost distinctions. For instance, with ου, originally [o:]/[ow], he is confident that people were losing the genuine/spurious distinction by (IIRC) the 5th century B.C., but for when it went from [o:] to [u:] he says the evidence is not clear: anytime from the 5th century to the second century. On that sound, my [o:] represents an earlier stage in the language than Paul's (and most readers') [u:], possibly enough earlier to be anachronistic.

I haven't seen any research on when the diphthongs started shifting, and I doubt there's much evidence to go by. Presumably it happened at least a couple generations before they started merging with the monophthongs, and possibly centuries. The reasoning that my pronunciation reflects is partly by analogy with other sounds in the language. If it is known that ᾱ -> η and υ -> [y] occurred fairly early in the development of Attic/Ionic, then why not the fronting of other vowels as well?

For me, the most striking difference between my approach and Paul's is that when there are two vowels in hiatus that correspond to an Attic contracted form, Paul pronounces them as written, but I try to pronounce the contracted vowel, with a shift in pitch in the middle to indicate that it should be scanned as two syllables. A justification for my approach might be the spelling phenomenon described in sections 643-646 of Smyth. In this, Paul's approach clearly reflects an earlier stage in the language than mine.

My native language is English, and I've also learned reasonably good German and Chinese, and some Swedish and French. My Greek pronunciation is influenced by all of these, but probably the biggest single source of inspiration is the speech of my wife's hometown (outside of Xi'an), a Central Plains Mandarin dialect. That's where I get the model for my αι.
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Re: Odysseias Z: New Audio Recording

Postby mwh » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:06 am

Many thanks for the elucidations, in this and your previous. All of them seem reasonable to me. I do allow myself to wonder whether by the time of the Panathenaia, say, or at any rate by the time of Plato's Ion, the vocalic distinctions that you recognize were still made, or made so robustly. How sure can we be that every η and ου and ει, for instance, did not now have the value of every other η and ου and ει in the standardized orthography? (Admittedly that may be rather an extreme notion.) Likewise with internal hiatus, such as 31 πλυνεουσαι, which you contract to the point of unmetricality, or so it seems to my unreliable ear; cf. 14 μητιοωσα. These surely have to be recognizably two distinct syllables, whatever precisely those syllables are and however we explain the orthographic peculiarities of diectasis.

But you have clearly thought and thought clearly about all this, and my queries are no more than that. It is miraculous to me how successful you are in executing so complex a set of rules, and with such consistency. Accurate or not, it sounds as if it could be! I think it would be good if your enterprise and its informing principles could reach a wider audience with linguistic and musical expertise. In North America a panel at the annual meeting of the Society of Classical Studies (ex American Philological Association) would make a good venue. But what’s really needed is an international forum on Homeric recitation. Could we interest FIEC in it, perhaps?

I haven't yet listened to your other recordings (and very few by others), but presumably Homer is a special case. Any ideas on how we should imagine Homeric performance in the rest of the Greek world?
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