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Let's get real!

Here's where you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Do you clearly distinguish ει and η in your mind/ear/voice?

1) Yes, and it is easy,
3
30%
2) Yes, but it is hard,
3
30%
3) No, but it is easy, I'm just lazy.
1
10%
4) No, and it is hard.
3
30%
 
Total votes : 10

Let's get real!

Postby pster » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:27 pm

This has bugged me for a long time. Does anybody have a way of thinking about this? My problem is more with the ει. If it were a diphthong, none of this would bother me. But it is a monophthong. I basically understand it and how it is supposed to sound. But when I am reading Greek, I find it almost impossible to keep the sounds distinct. I end up with two sounds: one for ε and another for both ει and η. Nothing has turned me off more to reading out loud than this issue. But I have to do some oral stuff soon and need to figure out a way of approaching it. Mastronarde says ει is like the German Beet, but my German is laughable. Do German speakers find it easier to make these distinctions?

Thoughts?
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Ahab » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:16 pm

I picked option 4.
To be honest even my pronunciation of my native tongue, English, is not that great even though I endured several years of speech therapy during my early school years. So I tend not to get all tied up in knots over the fact that my pronunciation of ancient Greek must stink also.
"In no scholarly discipline is untidiness more out of place than in grammar."
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby daivid » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:23 pm

pster wrote:This has bugged me for a long time. Does anybody have a way of thinking about this? My problem is more with the ει. If it were a diphthong, none of this would bother me. But it is a monophthong.



Clearly there are several pronunciation schemes around. Taylor teaches ει to be a diphthong. For me keeping ε and η distinct is far harder.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Scribo » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:58 pm

Ok, I won't vote here because I pronounce it /i/. :lol: I'm lame like that. Basically though it's going to be, depending on period, one of those differences that native speakers would have understood but us not so much, it often happens with foreign languages.

The thinking on this varied btw, its somewhat obvious that throughout the classical period these were very much distinct though later both sounds would collapse. Essentially ei and h would be similarish, with the later being more naturally more open and wider. You have to produce a very similar sound using different parts of your mouth.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:54 pm

Scribo wrote:Ok, I won't vote here because I pronounce it /i/. :lol: I'm lame like that. Basically though it's going to be, depending on period, one of those differences that native speakers would have understood but us not so much, it often happens with foreign languages.

The thinking on this varied btw, its somewhat obvious that throughout the classical period these were very much distinct though later both sounds would collapse. Essentially ei and h would be similarish, with the later being more naturally more open and wider. You have to produce a very similar sound using different parts of your mouth.


/i/ is already being used and doubly so. I guess you are using the short /i/? That is lame. Different quality and length? I'm disappointed in you. No more scoffing at Daitz. Gonna start calling you Scriiibo.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:09 am

daivid wrote:
pster wrote:This has bugged me for a long time. Does anybody have a way of thinking about this? My problem is more with the ει. If it were a diphthong, none of this would bother me. But it is a monophthong.



Clearly there are several pronunciation schemes around. Taylor teaches ει to be a diphthong. For me keeping ε and η distinct is far harder.


One is short and the other is long. ε is about as short a vowel as you can have. By the time you get your mouth to prepared say η, you can say ε twice.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:21 am

Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to think of η as French since it is roughly the same as the sound in très.

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum ... 5166;image

And I'm going to think of ει as a kind of neighing sound, where you open your mouth as you do at the dentist's, really letting the air get between your lips and gums.

http://image.shutterstock.com/display_p ... 565877.jpg

I think those two images capture the spirit of these vowels.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Scribo » Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:42 am

I know right? I often have β as /v/ too just out of habit, so Scrivo maybe? Yeah, some habits are hard to break out of. Unless I'm reading metrically, which means that those problems solve themselves but then you've got to deal with my overall poor voice. :lol:

Also, LOL at those pictures. :P
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:59 pm

When I started Greek, I pronounced η basically as a long variant of ε and ει as diphtong. I still might do so, but I try to make ει just a long /e/ sound and η another long e sound.

I think the analogy with French is a good starting point, but French has two e sounds.Très, même, mais are open sounds like η and nez is a closed sound like ει - only make those sounds longer than the French ones. But then the problem is that these two sounds are nearly complementary in distribution and are nowadays almost not phonemically distinct anymore in "standard" French. So although I speak fluent French, I have difficulty distinguishing the difference between those two sounds. When you listen to some old songs in French or other old stuff, they often make a better distinction than you'll now hear in the street nowadays. (Just hear how Jacques Brel pronounces même! (0:53))

So French has both "ει" and "η" but isn't much help for me. So what I do is that I exaggerete the openness of η and pronounce it almost like Finnish /ä/ - which is much like English man. Maybe that's too much, but this makes it clearly a distinct phoneme, so I don't have to be so careful to keep my ει closed enough.

Nobody has to listen to my Greek though, I pronounce Greek only to myself...
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Scribo » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:00 am

Seriously, thank you, I've been looking for songs etc in French to listen to and improve my accent and that looks amazing. I can get around whenever I'm in French but I'm never 100% happy with my accent since I've never had a chance to work on it. Now, I do, and this stuff comes along. Awesome. :lol:
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:47 am

Brel is pedagogical but please note that if you speak like that in the wrong place at the wrong time, you might be considered a snob and end up with a nosebleed or worse... :) It's not uncommon for French teachers, some politicians etc. to speak like that on occasion though. You might want to check out Georges Brassens too...

Another thing about ει is that in early Greek like Homer it's really two different sounds, sometimes a diphthong and sometimes a long monophthong and you never know when because the spelling reflects Attic pronunciation. And it's the same thing with ου.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Scribo » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:54 am

Paul Derouda wrote:Brel is pedagogical but please note that if you speak like that in the wrong place at the wrong time, you might be considered a snob and end up with a nosebleed or worse... :) It's not uncommon for French teachers, some politicians etc. to speak like that on occasion though. You might want to check out Georges Brassens too...

Another thing about ει is that in early Greek like Homer it's really two different sounds, sometimes a diphthong and sometimes a long monophthong and you never know when because the spelling reflects Attic pronunciation. And it's the same thing with ου.


It's better than how I sound now! I grew up in quite a multi-lingual environment and have always been able to imitate accents admirably however French poses a few problems. In particular I do this weird thing where I'll be speaking passably normal...and then throw in a grossly, insanely, hyperbolically exaggerated word and people will be like: :o :shock:

I don't really see Atticisms in Homer, though there are obvious areas where the Old Ionic elphabet sort of failed, so it may well ought to be OLLOMENEN rather than OU but then they didn't really distinguish e, ei, h, o, w, ou that well either. These texts aren't too good a model for usage though, since they were essentially crib sheets. Is that the term? No idea..heard it on Friends once, we don't use it England.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:18 am

I didn't mean Atticicisms really, just that I think that both ει and ου are one sound each in Attic, but Homer distinguishes two different sounds for each. ει was either a long closed /e/ (like εἰμί) or a true diphthong (like εἶμι). Also I think in ἀκούουσιν the first ου used to be a true diphthong but the second was always a long vowel (long /u/ or closed /o/). These aren't reflected in writing because Attic doesn't make a distinction, but I wouldn't call these Atticisms.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby NateD26 » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:36 pm

I rarely if ever post anything on threads about pronunciation in general or taking
a stand on the right/wrong debate. I only learned the pronunciation from my university
professor, a native Hebrew speaker, who got his classics education in Germany, as far as I
can recall. x was always pronounced as a our Hebrew khaf (kaf without a dagesh), φ as
feh (peh without a dagesh) and θ as the Arabic thā’ (or, the conjectural ancient Hebrew thaf, taf
without a dagesh). Iota subscript was always pronounced since it was the 5th c. BCE we were dealing
with. His υ (German ü) was something I could never reproduced, simply because I was not used to
this type of sound. Nor could I ever roll my ρ, nor has he ever taught us to do so; we merely
pronounced it the way Modern Hebrew speakers pronounce their ר, like the french r. ζ was
pronounced as /dz/, not /zd/.

ει was always pronounced as a diphthong, as in the sound /ey/ in English, distinct from η
which was just a slightly longer ε.

Really, though, who cares how anyone pronounce or should pronounce these sounds?
It's not like Socrates would just spring out of nowhere and rebuke you in his ironical fashion
for not pronouncing them correctly. Although I would pay my top drachmas to see that. :lol:
Nate.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:22 pm

NateD26 wrote:Really, though, who cares how anyone pronounce or should pronounce these sounds?


Pretty obviously I care or I wouldn't have put up the post. I don't care that much about getting the historically correct pronunciation. What bothers me is that I don't have two distinct sounds ready to hand.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Markos » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:58 pm

What bothers me is that I don't have two distinct sounds ready to hand.


One option is to pronounce ει like a as in late and η like a as in bad.

A pronunciation is like a γνώμη or a πυγή. Everyone has one. :lol:
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:23 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:When I started Greek, I pronounced η basically as a long variant of ε and ει as diphtong. I still might do so, but I try to make ει just a long /e/ sound and η another long e sound.

I think the analogy with French is a good starting point, but French has two e sounds.Très, même, mais are open sounds like η and nez is a closed sound like ει - only make those sounds longer than the French ones. But then the problem is that these two sounds are nearly complementary in distribution and are nowadays almost not phonemically distinct anymore in "standard" French. So although I speak fluent French, I have difficulty distinguishing the difference between those two sounds. When you listen to some old songs in French or other old stuff, they often make a better distinction than you'll now hear in the street nowadays. (Just hear how Jacques Brel pronounces même! (0:53))

So French has both "ει" and "η" but isn't much help for me. So what I do is that I exaggerete the openness of η and pronounce it almost like Finnish /ä/ - which is much like English man. Maybe that's too much, but this makes it clearly a distinct phoneme, so I don't have to be so careful to keep my ει closed enough.

Nobody has to listen to my Greek though, I pronounce Greek only to myself...


I'm not sure what part of his pronunciation of même you are referring to. Pronouncing the second "e" is standard in classical French poetry/drama as long as it is within the line and not followed by a vowel. One hears the extra syllable a lot in French singing down to today. Cue 2:10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wXcvx4EYG4

I suppose the "ê" is different from what we hear today, but it's not clear how much of that is due to time passing and how much of it is due to particularities of that sung performance.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:25 pm

Scribo wrote:Seriously, thank you, I've been looking for songs etc in French to listen to and improve my accent and that looks amazing. I can get around whenever I'm in French but I'm never 100% happy with my accent since I've never had a chance to work on it. Now, I do, and this stuff comes along. Awesome. :lol:


Why work on just your accent, when you can work on your grammar too?

http://platea.pntic.mec.es/cvera/hotpot/chansons/
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:16 pm

pster wrote:I'm not sure what part of his pronunciation of même you are referring to. Pronouncing the second "e" is standard in classical French poetry/drama as long as it is within the line and not followed by a vowel. One hears the extra syllable a lot in French singing down to today. Cue 2:10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wXcvx4EYG4

I suppose the "ê" is different from what we hear today, but it's not clear how much of that is due to time passing and how much of it is due to particularities of that sung performance.

Sorry, I was a bit unclear. I was referring to ê in même, not the second e which is just schwa or whatever. Anyway, I can't quote any authority on this, but I think it's a general tendency that in more traditional chanson or formal speech the distinction between the open and closed e is kept more distinct than in everyday talk. It's the same thing with open and closed /o/ I think. I don't think Brel spoke in normal conversations like that, like he didn't probably make liaison with infinitive-final r's either in normal speech. I think you could call these archaizing features.

To me it seems like the distinction between open and closed /e/ in French is disappearing and these sounds might be in the process of merging into a single phoneme. I checked up Wikipedia's article "French phonology", they're saying that "allait [alɛ] ('was going'), vs. allé [ale] ('gone')" are at least a minimal pair. To me the difference between these two seems very slight, maybe I make a distinction when I'm speaking but I'm not aware of it consciously. I'm not a native speaker though, but almost, my dad's French and I've been speaking French most of my life.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:32 pm

So you are saying that the "ê" is particularly open for Brel?
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:42 pm

I just checked my Langenscheidt--sad day when you have to go to Germans to learn how to pronounce French!--and they indicate ɛ: for même but ɛ for très. I've always tried to be aware of the distinctions between ɛ:, ɛ and e, at least since my university days anyway. My professor was the head of the department, was British, and had all the personality of a steel wool pad, but had learned all her French in a vacuum (or so the story went) and so was a hyper-stickler for detail, and I still remember her making a big deal about how to pronounce tête. So after that class I made a point of mastering the phonetic alphabet in my dictionary. The next year Francophones told me that I sounded very Parisian. :mrgreen:
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:38 pm

Yes, Brel's ê is particularly open to my ear. Maybe that doesn't mean anything. Maybe I'm just voicing my own uncertainty about French e and ɛ like you're voicing yours about Greek ει and η. Anyway, I think the problems are analogous.

As far as I know, difference between vowel quantity is never phonemical in French, so I wouldn't worry about ɛ: and ɛ. I think quantity changes according to position in the clause, emphasis etc. I'm not so sure though, it comes naturally to me, since I've never really read those rules in a book.

And yeah, I can imagine how it makes you sound like a Parisian. Pronounce all those final e's and you'll sound like you're from Marseilles...

Btw, Markos' suggestion sounded pretty good to me.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:04 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:Yes, Brel's ê is particularly open to my ear. Maybe that doesn't mean anything. Maybe I'm just voicing my own uncertainty about French e and ɛ like you're voicing yours about Greek ει and η. Anyway, I think the problems are analogous.

Aren't there two issues that you have put on the table?
ɛ: vs. ɛ in Brel's même and today's même,
ɛ vs. e in allait and allé.
Paul Derouda wrote:As far as I know, difference between vowel quantity is never phonemical in French.

I'd like to pretend I know what you mean, but I don't. Can you explain this? Do you mean that there is no utterance whose meaning would change if we changed a short vowel to a long one or vice versa?
Paul Derouda wrote:Btw, Markos' suggestion sounded pretty good to me.

I don't like Maaarkos' suggestion any more than Scriiibo's. a:/a and i:/i are already oversubscribed.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:14 pm

il vs. île is i vs i:

Wouldn't that difference in quantity be phonemical?
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:59 pm

My dictionary says gives il [il] and île [il], même [mɛm] and très [trɛ]. I would usually pronounce all these vowels short. I could also pronounce all of these long in some contexts, probably even il, I can't say exactly when but I think it has to do with emphasis or clause position or something.

I had another look at the Wikipedia article: "With the exception of the distinction made by some speakers between /ɛ/ and /ɛː/ in rare minimal pairs like mettre [mɛtʁ] ('to put') vs. maître [mɛːtʁ] ('teacher'), variation in vowel length is entirely allophonic." So maybe that's part of what surprises me about Brel's ê, though I still suspect his ɛ is more open than mine...

So if your sources say [mɛ:m], maybe that reflects "some speakers's" way of speaking which some other people consider standard.

Argh, I don't know, haven't ever properly studied this stuff except by speaking.

Markos' suggestion is an ok approximation in my opinion if we don't seem to be able to nail down [ɛ:] and [e:] properly with our linguistic backgrounds.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:20 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:My dictionary says gives il [il] and île [il], même [mɛm] and très [trɛ]. I would usually pronounce all these vowels short. I could also pronounce all of these long in some contexts, probably even il, I can't say exactly when but I think it has to do with emphasis or clause position or something.

I had another look at the Wikipedia article: "With the exception of the distinction made by some speakers between /ɛ/ and /ɛː/ in rare minimal pairs like mettre [mɛtʁ] ('to put') vs. maître [mɛːtʁ] ('teacher'), variation in vowel length is entirely allophonic." So maybe that's part of what surprises me about Brel's ê, though I still suspect his ɛ is more open than mine...

So if your sources say [mɛ:m], maybe that reflects "some speakers's" way of speaking which some other people consider standard.

Argh, I don't know, haven't ever properly studied this stuff except by speaking.

Markos' suggestion is an ok approximation in my opinion if we don't seem to be able to nail down [ɛ:] and [e:] properly with our linguistic backgrounds.


It seems like your dictionary doesn't use the colon at all. Am I right about that?
The online French dictionary I use is like that. My understanding is that the phonetic alphabet rarely fully deployed and what one gets is some simplification depending on who the audience is. I love precision and tradition, but if my dictionary used the full alphabet, I'd change my ways.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... t_2005.png
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby daivid » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:24 am

It seems to me that the pronunciation that you need to use depends on how you intend to use Greek.
If you just intend to read and write, as long as each grapheme is distinct it doesn't matter how you pronounce them. To be able to convert the letters into some sound in your head is an important part of learning a word . ie phonemes suffice.

If you want to upload videos to youtube then you have to conform to other peoples expectations
(even when those expectations are wrong).

I don't really get poetry but that I imagine is the one area where it is important to be able to get the exact sound of the poet would have spoken.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:51 am

pster wrote:
It seems like your dictionary doesn't use the colon at all. Am I right about that?
The online French dictionary I use is like that. My understanding is that the phonetic alphabet rarely fully deployed and what one gets is some simplification depending on who the audience is. I love precision and tradition, but if my dictionary used the full alphabet, I'd change my ways.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... t_2005.png

I checked Petit Robert too, which I think is the best French monolingual dictionary. They don't seem to distinguish different quantities of ɛ and they explicitly call mettre and maître homonyms. Check their introduction under "Evolution du système vocalique".
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Scribo » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:32 am

daivid wrote:It seems to me that the pronunciation that you need to use depends on how you intend to use Greek.
If you just intend to read and write, as long as each grapheme is distinct it doesn't matter how you pronounce them. To be able to convert the letters into some sound in your head is an important part of learning a word . ie phonemes suffice.

If you want to upload videos to youtube then you have to conform to other peoples expectations
(even when those expectations are wrong).


I don't really get poetry but that I imagine is the one area where it is important to be able to get the exact sound of the poet would have spoken.


Which is one of the reasons why I honestly can not be bothered. See, if it was someone who has actually spent some time on the topic criticism would be interesting. If someone has an aeshetic reason, I actually find that interesting too. However, when you get these idiots who haven't even seen a book on linguistics commenting with the surety a panel of experts would not dare have on any subject it annoys me. Look over some of the good videos on YT to see the comments I mean "you bro beta is vita, c is actually che" and so on.

You know, I thought of putting something up here of me reading the vowels but I can't work out the best way to do it. Youtube seems a silly idea.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:22 pm

OK, what was tricking me is this: when the ɛι dipthong gave way to a pure vowel in the fifth century, it closed quite a bit. Makes perfect sense because of the iota. But I was led astray by a certain author's often deeply annoying pedagogy. Said author will remain nameless.

Now I can set up a correspondence with French--although Paul probably won't like it:

ɛι=/eː/=(long) close mid front as in aller except a bit longer.

η=/ɛː/=long open mid front as in tête

ɛ=/ɛ/=short open mid front as in très

So, the key thing is that ɛ has more in common with η than it does with ɛι.

What would have been really cool is to hear the early Attic distinction between ɛι and ῃ, but we'll have to leave that for another day. :mrgreen:
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:40 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
pster wrote:
It seems like your dictionary doesn't use the colon at all. Am I right about that?
The online French dictionary I use is like that. My understanding is that the phonetic alphabet rarely fully deployed and what one gets is some simplification depending on who the audience is. I love precision and tradition, but if my dictionary used the full alphabet, I'd change my ways.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... t_2005.png

I checked Petit Robert too, which I think is the best French monolingual dictionary. They don't seem to distinguish different quantities of ɛ and they explicitly call mettre and maître homonyms. Check their introduction under "Evolution du système vocalique".


C'est la vie. The Academie Frainçaise doesn't use the IPA alphabet at all. http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/g ... 07835125;; The more of that alphabet you know, the more of it you want from your dictionary. But then the lexicographer has to get bogged down in these kinds of issues we have been discussing and actually may not feel qualified. A happy medium has to be found. I've been aware of this whole matter for a long time. As I say, I learned the basic IPA alphabet (with long marks) to read my Cassell's French dictionary a long time ago and have often found myself disappointed with dictionaries that didn't use as much of it as I knew. Here's the pocket Cassell's which I am happy to report still uses the long marks: http://www.amazon.com/Cassells-French-E ... 0020136803
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Markos » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:08 pm

ἔγραψεν pster
I just checked my Langenscheidt--sad day when you have to go to Germans to learn how to pronounce French!--and they indicate ɛ: for même but ɛ for très.


γ.φ.μ.! (γελῶν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ!) lol, laughing out loud, :lol:

They say--I don't know if it is true or not--that the Germans are wont to say, "You'll like Vienna. It's like Paris, but without the French."
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Σαῦλος » Wed May 01, 2013 7:44 am

I "grew up" speaking a German tradition Erasmian.
ει was pronounced as "why" and so we didn't distinguish between αι and ει.
But, German Erasmian, American, or British, it wouldn't much matter. I didn't read. I decoded.

A couple years back, I picked up both a communicative approach to learning and teaching (which is not equivalent to and "auditory" method) and also the Restored Koine pronunciation (Buth, Living Koine books). Now I don't mix up ει and αι and I wouldn't mix up ει and η. ει is pronounced like "we" and so is iota. αι and ε are pronounced as ̈́"pet." οι and υ are pronounced with a rounded "oo" (like German umlaut uber) So I have more things I could mix up now. And I do sometimes I spell things wrong: ερχεσθε instead of ερχεσθαι, πινᾶς instead of πεινᾶς. But, it truly doesn't matter for me now. Just as I understood the guy on the radio today saying "These things vary very much," so I am not bothered by homonyms. I hear and understand, I don't hear and see a visual representation of the word in my head.

For what it's worth.
I will babble until I talk. ετι λαλαγω...
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Markos » Wed May 01, 2013 4:32 pm

This thread on pronunciation has been surprisingly dispassionate and tolerant of difference. I suppose there is a first time for everything.

Σαῦλος: I "grew up" speaking a German tradition Erasmian.
ει was pronounced as "why" and so we didn't distinguish between αι and ει.


I didn't know this. This makes as much, or as little, sense as anything. French Erasmians tend to conflate ε and η only is closed syllables. (τῆς -> τες) American and Canadian Erasmians, on the other hand, tend to conflate these only in OPEN, final syllables. (φίλτατε -> φίλτατη.) This makes as much, or as little, sense as anything.

ει is pronounced like "we" and so is iota. αι and ε are pronounced as ̈́"pet."


This, and the fact that you have said ἔρρωσο to the rough breathing, partly explains why in your magnificent audios you pronounce εἶναι like ἵνα. But the other reason you do this is something you have probably never even thought about or noticed, viz. the fact that most Americans pronounce all short, unstressed vowels as "uh." (A schwa, I think they call it.) This is the way I speak English and this is the way the ESL teacher for whom I volunteer from time to time speaks English. But the funny thing is that the students, Mexicans and Iranians and Thais and Tibetan exiles who grew up in India, do NOT pronounce the English vowels this way. They actually distinguish between the vowels BETTER than we do. (the kitchen-> thee keetchen instead of thuh kitchuhn.) We never even bother to tell the students about this and no one notices and no one gives a crap because they are focused on learning the language. All of this makes as much, or as little, sense as anything.

By all means, let's get real.

ἀληθεύσωμεν δή.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby daivid » Wed May 01, 2013 11:33 pm

Markos wrote: This is the way I speak English and this is the way the ESL teacher for whom I volunteer from time to time speaks English. But the funny thing is that the students, Mexicans and Iranians and Thais and Tibetan exiles who grew up in India, do NOT pronounce the English vowels this way. They actually distinguish between the vowels BETTER than we do. (the kitchen-> thee keetchen instead of thuh kitchuhn.) We never even bother to tell the students about this and no one notices and no one gives a crap because they are focused on learning the language. All of this makes as much, or as little, sense as anything.


Those students are simply wrong but they right in there wrongness. They speaking as if English spelling was a guide to pronunciation. I we English speakers were sensible we would reform our spelling. These foreign students are doing the opposite - reforming English pronunciation to conform to the spelling and a result they are going to make a better job of reading and spelling than if they pronounced English correctly.

This is pretty much what Erasmus did. (That is according to Matthew Dillon in The Erasmian Pronunciation of Ancient Greek: A New Perspective, The Classical World, Vol. 94, No. 4 (Summer, 2001). I can't pretend to have read Erasmus' essay itself.) He simply said that all these distinctions that exist in the written language must of once reflected real differences in sound. Hence we should try and speak that pure form of the language.

There are those who argue that this pure unsullied form of the language is a myth. I really don't know enough to judge the strength of those arguments but really - so what. If Erasmian pronunciation is a myth it is a useful myth. To read and lean the language we need to vocalize and it helps if our vocalization reflects the distinctions found in the spoken language so much the better.

Checking out Christophe Rico's site I see he pretty much says this. He is attempting to teach 1st cent CE Greek by getting us to speak Greek. Yet the pronunciation he teaches is not 1st century. The reason he does not is that for him speaking Greek is ultimately just a means to an end - to read the texts - so it necessary to teach a pronunciation that reflects the written language.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby daivid » Wed May 01, 2013 11:44 pm

Scribo wrote:
daivid wrote:It seems to me that the pronunciation that you need to use depends on how you intend to use Greek.
If you just intend to read and write, as long as each grapheme is distinct it doesn't matter how you pronounce them. To be able to convert the letters into some sound in your head is an important part of learning a word . ie phonemes suffice.
If you want to upload videos to youtube then you have to conform to other peoples expectations
(even when those expectations are wrong).


Which is one of the reasons why I honestly can not be bothered. See, if it was someone who has actually spent some time on the topic criticism would be interesting. If someone has an aeshetic reason, I actually find that interesting too. However, when you get these idiots who haven't even seen a book on linguistics commenting with the surety a panel of experts would not dare have on any subject it annoys me. Look over some of the good videos on YT to see the comments I mean "you bro beta is vita, c is actually che" and so on. .


I put that badly as I was describing from my own point of view. At the moment I can pronounce Greek in any way I want - no one can hear me except maybe the neighbors. Should I work out how to make videos uploadable to youtube then that freedom will go and should I get to the point then I will simply find out what others are doing and attempt to conform to that.

But anyone who is speaking in form that others can hear, whether troll infested youtube or an academic seminar does at least to some extent have to take into account what others expect.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby IreneY » Tue May 07, 2013 8:49 am

Where's the "No, and I don't see the reason to do so" option in the poll? :D
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Tue May 07, 2013 1:03 pm

IreneY wrote:Where's the "No, and I don't see the reason to do so" option in the poll? :D


I hadn't thought of that, but some others here seem sympathetic to that way of thinking. That leads one to ask if there is a really reason to distinguish any vowels at all. Indeed, it seems we really could just make them all schwas! Think of how much simpler everything would be!

menen eede thee Peleeedee Echelees
eeleemenen, e mere Echeeees elge etheke

:roll:
Last edited by pster on Tue May 07, 2013 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Markos » Tue May 07, 2013 1:23 pm

Pster:
IreneY wrote:Where's the "No, and I don't see the reason to do so" option in the poll? :D


I hadn't thought of that, but some others here seem sympathetic to that way of thinking. That leads one to ask if there is a really a reason to distinguish any vowels at all. Indeed, it seems we really could just make them all schwas! Think of how much simpler everything would be!

menen eede thee Peleeedee Echelees
eeleemenen, e mere Echeeees elge etheke


nuh uhs the tuhm fuhr uhll guhd muhn tuh come tuh the uhd uv thuhr cuhntruhmuhn.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby IreneY » Tue May 07, 2013 2:39 pm

Oh c'mon! That's not an argument worthy of a person who studies ancient Greek! The distance between not differentiating between epsilon iota and eta and having only one vowel is huge.
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