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The three varieties of standard Greek

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The three varieties of standard Greek

Postby mwh » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:20 pm

“Beyond Standards: Attic, the Koiné and Atticism”
Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge 13th-15th September 2018.

Standards of ancient Greek have begun to receive more scholarly attention in recent years (e.g. Horrocks, 2007, Greek: a history of the language and its speakers; Silk and Geogakopoulou, 2009, Standard Languages and Language Standards: Greek past and present). Three varieties of ancient Greek emerged to become standards of the language: Attic, the Koiné and Atticism. Each does so in unique circumstances yet our understanding of the depth, variety and rules of these “standards” remains a work-in-progress, in need of joining traditional philology with new linguistic knowledge and methods.

Building on this interest and scholarship, our conference seeks to bring together scholars working on these varieties to explore new methodologies and approaches to these standards and to enable dialogue between those working on each of the three.
We seek, therefore, papers which approach any aspect of the Attic, Koiné and Atticist varieties of Greek from a linguistic, literary or historico-cultural angle. We especially welcome those researching with new or innovative methodologies and perspectives.

The deadline for abstract submissions is the 30th June. These should be sent to:
beyondstandardsgreek18@gmail.com

Successful applicants will be informed by Friday 6th July.

Registration for the conference and the dinner will also be opened shortly.

Chiara Monaco (cm863@cam.ac.uk)
Robert Machado (rm638@cam.ac.uk)
Conference organisers.
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Re: The three varieties of standard Greek

Postby RandyGibbons » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:02 pm

Hi Michael.

Although I guess in a way it's quite obvious, could you elaborate just a bit on what your (or the Cambridge faculty's) concept of a language "standard" is?

And will you be part of the event?

Interested,
Randy
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Re: The three varieties of standard Greek

Postby mwh » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:16 pm

Hi Randy, You’ll have to ask the organizers that. I have nothing to do with it, I just found it on the papy list. I won’t be participating, but I thought it was an interesting idea to put before Textkittens and maybe kick around a bit.

My immediate thought was that if these three (and these three alone?) are “standards” they’re so in very different ways: Attic circumscribed by time and place (but only retroactively a recognized entity), Atticism self-consciously and normatively modeled on it, koine unartifical but a far from unitary ragbag. Ideologization, both historical and modern, must be central to this kind of framing, but I’m not sure I could accept the validity of koine as any kind of standard language on any definition, except that people talk about as if it were.

Your own thoughts?
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Re: The three varieties of standard Greek

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:25 pm

mwh wrote:[I]f these three (and these three alone?) are “standards”...

I was reading Hippocrates this morning and wondering why Ionic is not listed as a standard. In addition to that a standardised form of Epic verse was composed for perhaps 1,700 years after Homer.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
(Keats, Ode to a nightingale, 1819).
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Re: The three varieties of standard Greek

Postby RandyGibbons » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:26 pm

My first thought is, I'm glad to be a Textkitten!

When I read the Cambridge announcement, my first thought was, what do they mean by "standard"? (And what then is "Beyond Standards", if anything more than a catchy name for the event?). My second thought was, what's the difference between a "standard" and a dialect? (Apparently ἑκηβόloς takes them to be the same.) On quick reflection, though, clearly (?) "standard" has more to do with literary style than with dialect.

Regarding the three alleged standards, my initial thoughts are pretty much identical to yours (Michael). Atticism was a self-conscience effort centuries later to emulate what was perceived to be the "pure" style of, for example, Plato and Democritus. (I know a little about what Cicero and Atticus had to say on the subject, and I know an Atticist style was in fashion for a period in Byzantine history. If I was given a piece of such a Byzantine orator to sight read, would I recognize it as "Atticist"? I don't know.) What is "Attic", aside from being a spoken and written dialect? I'm not really sure I could say, at least with examples. Koiné?: What you said. Hopefully a Textkitten may chime in who has more of a Koiné orientation than I. (My orientation is more Attic ... but wait, what does that mean?!)

I'm not familiar with the literature cited, and so I'm not familiar with what the "problem" is. I've been to Oxford once, and I do know I'd love to go to Cambridge to find out!

(ἑκηβόloς: Coincidentally, my reading of the last six months or so has been almost exclusively Ionian, the Hippocratic corpus and the Ionian Presocratic fragments, to the point where the Attic forms I was trained in look a little "odd" to me!)
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Re: The three varieties of standard Greek

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:01 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:My second thought was, what's the difference between a "standard" and a dialect? (Apparently ἑκηβό[λ]oς takes them to be the same.) On quick reflection, though, clearly (?) "standard" has more to do with literary style than with dialect.

Not that I believe my views are of much value or relevence, let me state more fully, I work within the two definitions: Diglossia is the existence of two (or more) forms of a language (or dialect), where one form has a higher status than the other. Register is the degree to which speech is elevated (or affected) from the colloquial to a literary standard. Two examples:
  1. If Lucian's first spoken language was colloquial Ionic, and then during his studies he learnt a standard, it would be a standard form of his dialect, if however his first form of Greek was Koine and then he learnt Ionic as a purely literary language that nobody currently spoke, then for him it would be a literary standard (of a former dialect).
  2. If the Hippocratic Corpus had been written entirely by the man himself, then he may have been writing in his own tongue, if however later doctors added to the corpus their own linguistic background would be the determining factor as to whether they were:
    1. writing in their mother tongue,
    2. writing to a literary standard of their own dialect, or
    3. writing a language that bore a more distant relationship to the way they personally spoke.

mwh wrote:an interesting idea to put before Textkittens
RandyGibbons wrote:My first thought is, I'm glad to be a Textkitten!

Lucky you. I'd never get cast in the role. (cf. my description of Brigitte Bardot's tan).
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
(Keats, Ode to a nightingale, 1819).
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Re: The three varieties of standard Greek

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:27 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:(ἑκηβόλoς: Coincidentally, my reading of the last six months or so has been almost exclusively Ionian, the Hippocratic corpus and the Ionian Presocratic fragments, to the point where the Attic forms I was trained in look a little "odd" to me!)
Continuing the aside for a moment, because it touches on the personal aspects of interaction with a text in a dialect that is not taught as a "standard"...

I don't remember how I coped with the dialect 25 years ago as an undergraduate, perhaps highly analytically. Nowadays, however, as I read the Ionic, I go to that same slightly detached (happy place) state, like I do when I hear the drunken Irish's comments and assure myself that the girls slowly sipping their drinks a little ways down the bar are NOT in fact smelly black rodents with a white stripe down their back.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
(Keats, Ode to a nightingale, 1819).
User avatar
ἑκηβόλος
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Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:19 am
Location: Nanchang, PRC


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