Markos wrote:He tends, like many Europeans and some North Americans, to conflate ο with ω in open syllables but has a shorter omicron in closed syllables.
I am reminded of a perplexity I had with page 1 of "Ancient Greek Alive". The book presupposes an instructor who introduces students to oral Greek before teaching the alphabet. Two of the very first lines in the script are the following:
--οὐ γιγνώσκομεν ἀλλήλους.
The two verbs were put into a box and the last four letters were in boldface. Underneath was the instruction "Endings are important. Listen for them."
This is not a trivial task! I don't know about you, but I have trouble distinguishing the quantity of vowels, particularly in unstressed syllables. But to distinguish between the indicative and the (hortatory) subjunctive it appears that this is required. I would very much like to become familiar with spoken Ancient Greek that lets me train my ear in this way. Alternatively I suppose I could pronounce ο as the 'o' in 'on' and let ω be the 'o' in 'only'. But then I have trouble distinguishing between α and ο. Unless I pronounce α as the 'a' of 'apple'. But this seems to be a bit too lazy.
Another example of pronunciation related difficulties. Suppose that η is to be pronounced with the same quality as ε, but with twice the quantity (that is, as εε). But suppose a speaker pronounces the feminine genitive singular, τῆς, as τές. No harm, right? There isn't (as far as I know) any such word as τές in Ancient Greek, and so I expect the speaker will be understood. But what about if I am trying to listen to (or produce) the difference between ἀληθής and ἀληθές? If I have learned to pronounce τῆς properly I will have a leg up. If not, I will be handicapped. (This pair is challenging to me because I have a tendency to increase the quantity of a stressed syllable).
Bottom line is that he sounds good and he is easy to understand. What else is there?
Ideally I would like a way of pronouncing words that helps me remember how they are spelled and accented. Another desideratum would be that the phonetic changes in written Greek would happen automatically. So that the values of α and ο would be such that if the Ionic τιμάομεν is slurred, it naturally produces the Attic τιμῶμεν. This is one reason why I hesitate to pronounce φ as 'f' - f doesn't naturally follow from juxtaposing a 'p' and an 'h' sound. The ideal system would also have some historical plausibility. Whether Koine or Attic or Ionic, it would be nice to think that its features could have been historically instantiated.
That's why I am leery of pronouncing ᾳ as αι in a system that otherwise resembles Koine - particularly the late variety that replaces tone accent with stress accent. The pronunciation of ᾳ as αι is anachronistic in late Koine, much like someone who pronounces the 'k' in 'knife' but otherwise follows the conventions of modern English. Am I mistaken in this?
Of course, a system that possesses these features should also be one that I can master. That will likely require considerable training, especially with respect to aspiration of consonants and quantity of vowels.
edit: My copy of Bedwere's edition of the Greek Ollendorff just arrived from Lulu!
It looks great - much easier to read from than the electronic version. And with a glossary in back!