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Let's get real!

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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

Re: Let's get real!

Postby Markos » Tue May 07, 2013 3:07 pm

Irene:
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.


I think Pster and I are just having some fun, but the serious point is that both iotacism and American shwaism do conflate several (but not all) vowels, exchanging phonemic clarity for euphony. In both cases it is more easily tolerated by native speakers than second language learners. My point is only that pronunciation, like language in general, should only be described, never prescribed or proscribed. I think that is what Pster means by getting real, and I think, from your previous posts, that you agree?
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby IreneY » Tue May 07, 2013 3:29 pm

Yes I do. And the fact that I'm a native Greek speaker doesn't come into it in this case. I just find the distinction between the two, when we go away from pronouncing epsilon iota as a diphthong, something I'm not interested in. At all. That's just my take though ergo the smiley (can't believe I put "ergo" and "smiley" in the same sentence) in my first post in this thread.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Tue May 07, 2013 4:05 pm

IreneY wrote: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.


Yes, but there is a slippery slope, maybe even a couple of slippery slopes. Why should we bother with accents if we don't even care how the underlying vowels are pronounced?
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Tue May 07, 2013 4:22 pm

Markos wrote:I think Pster and I are just having some fun, but the serious point is that both iotacism and American shwaism do conflate several (but not all) vowels, exchanging phonemic clarity for euphony. In both cases it is more easily tolerated by native speakers than second language learners. My point is only that pronunciation, like language in general, should only be described, never prescribed or proscribed. I think that is what Pster means by getting real, and I think, from your previous posts, that you agree?


Yes, No, and I don't know.

Yes, we are having fun.

No, I don't agree that one should not prescribe. Meaning emerges in part from regularity. In all honesty, I'm fairly reactionary about language. We should, as best we can, adhere to the dominant rules. It is quite incorrect to reason from the observation that language changes over time to the view that the linguistic norms somehow lack normative force. People who poopoo linguistic norms are either James Joyce, Don Quioxte, or just too lazy to pay attention. People who can't distinguish between a restrictive "that" and a non-restrictive "which" are almost always the same people who are terrible listeners. The same holds true of pronunciation. I had four hours of second language class today and I'm sick and tired of trying to understand people who can't put in the effort to distinguish hard g's and soft g's among other things. I'm not talking about you of course Markos. Just speaking generally. ;)

I don't know exactly why I titled the thread the way I did. I think I just wanted folks to give honest answers.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Tue May 07, 2013 4:27 pm

IreneY wrote:Yes I do. And the fact that I'm a native Greek speaker doesn't come into it in this case. I just find the distinction between the two, when we go away from pronouncing epsilon iota as a diphthong, something I'm not interested in. At all. That's just my take though ergo the smiley (can't believe I put "ergo" and "smiley" in the same sentence) in my first post in this thread.


Well, if you put it that way, I can't argue with you. It brings to mind Wittgetnstein's Lecture on Ethics:

Supposing that I could play tennis and one of you saw me playing and said “Well, you play pretty badly” and suppose I answered “I know, I’m playing pretty badly but I don’t want to play any better,” all the other man could say would be “Ah, then that’s all right.”

http://braungardt.trialectics.com/philo ... on-ethics/
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Tue May 07, 2013 4:28 pm

Anyway, I'm just giving you guys a hard time. I'm too lazy to do anything productive. But at least the rain stopped. I think I'll go outside. :D
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed May 22, 2013 11:47 am

pster wrote: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:

Actually I agree with this, but with two reservations:
1) The French pronunciation you're referring to might be taught at a university setting for foreigners and Jacques Brel used it, but in real life I don't think very many speakers make a phonematic distinction between all these three sounds. I think you could compare this pronounciation with British RP English. But if you can pronounce these sounds consistently, I suppose it's a pretty good guide.
2) I don't see why short ɛ has to be an open sound, I think an intermediate sound between the long ɛι and η is more likely. Or maybe short ɛ was more or less open according to the context.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby pster » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:50 pm

So I'm looking at the early pages of the Assimil that has the Hagel audio and they say:

alpha: long like in part and short like in partie,

iota: long like in île and short like in il,

eta: short like in crème.

So far so good. I like these as I see them as applying pressure to Paul's position that the French don't clearly distinguish long and short vowels these days.

But then! I was shocked to see:

epsilon: short like in été,

epsilon-iota: (long) like in préétabli.

Is this really Hagel's position!?!? Simple short epsilon is to be rendered (in IPA) /e/ ?

Of course I don't really know squat about any of this, but the reason I don't like this is because I would think that if eta took over for long alpha, it would make sense that there would be some short version of eta. That would be epsilon. But on this Assimil way of doing things, there is no short version of eta.
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Re: Let's get real!

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:08 pm

Sidney Allen's point of view seems to be (eg. diagram on p. 62) that in Classical Attic short epsilon was midway between long eta and epsilon-iota, so neither long sound had an exact short counterpart. According to this diagram, the other short vs. long sounds didn't exactly match in quality either. Diachronically I think the idea was that at some point in time epsilon's long counterpart was eta and in some other century epsilon's long counterpart was monophthong epsilon-iota, and that explains why in Attic we seem to have both oppositions at times. I don't remember the specifics, it's all in Allen somewhere.
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