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Pronounciation difficulties

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Pronounciation difficulties

Postby psilord » Sun Dec 26, 2004 10:09 pm

Hello,

In Pharr's book, there is a koppa, a kappa, and a chi. I think the koppa is an aspirated 'k' sound while the kappa is an unaspirated 'k' sound. But what is the chi? Aspirated 'k' sound? Or is it more like the ch in 'chance'?
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Re: Pronounciation difficulties

Postby annis » Sun Dec 26, 2004 10:33 pm

psilord wrote:In Pharr's book, there is a koppa, a kappa, and a chi. I think the koppa is an aspirated 'k' sound while the kappa is an unaspirated 'k' sound. But what is the chi? Aspirated 'k' sound? Or is it more like the ch in 'chance'?


Ignore the koppa, it was only used in certain local scripts, or for the number 90. They retained the full semitic alphabet for numbering even when a letter wasn't used for a Greek sound. Koppa falls into that group.

Kappa is unaspirated 'k', chi is aspirated 'k'.
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Postby psilord » Sun Dec 26, 2004 11:09 pm

Ok, so let's see if I have this straight:

tau = unaspirated t
theta = aspirated t

kappa = unaspirated k
chi = aspirated k

pi = unaspirated p
phi = aspirated p

koppa (and I assume vau) are to be disregarded?

The rest of the consonants I've figured out.

Now, about the vowels.... :)

Can you give some more english examples than Pharr's book? There aren't enough words to get a good sample of the differences between the vowels, especially omega and omicron. Also, epsilon and eta are difficult for me to figure out.

Much appreciated!

P.S. This thread will get long I'm sure as I will inevitably ask questions about stressing (Strength of voice? Raised in pitch? Lengthened vowel?) and the musical pitch system.
The funny part is that anyone who knows how to speak homeric greek could probably teach me all I need to know in 30 minutes with voice mimicing. But Pharr's book just doesn't seem to have enough examples for me to grok it and it is very nonflowing in the explanations it gives.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:07 am

The difference between omicron and omega is that one is long, and one is short. Notice the "micron" in "omicron" and "mega" in "omega". However, the sound is the same, it's just the time you keep on saying it.

Some English examples of omega are "go" and "told". An example of omicron is "obey". Now that I think about it, could the use of omega and omicron in English be related to stress?

Same deal with eta and epsilon - eta is long, epsilon is short.

EDIT : As there are no native speakers of Ancient Greek around, or any recordings, how to pronouce the sounds is debatable. While we can get closer to the original, there is no One Right Way. With all the dialects, the pronounciation buisness was probably quite complicated. However, I still find it useful to try to get as close as possible.

EDIT 2 : Do not disregard vau, at least not for Homer. Although it was not written in most texts, Homer probably did pronounce it. It is useful for making his verses scan in some instances. See Pharr 525-526
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Postby annis » Mon Dec 27, 2004 3:07 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:The difference between omicron and omega is that one is long, and one is short. Notice the "micron" in "omicron" and "mega" in "omega". However, the sound is the same, it's just the time you keep on saying it.


(Soon I'll have a precis on this lovely topic for Aoidoi.)

There is very good reason to believe that not only was the difference in vowels of duration but also of quality.

The omicron is a pure, short vowel, like the English long-o without the off glide (Hungarian examples for Pete: ok, volt, tol). The omega is of long duration (just under twice the length of the omicron) but is much more open, like the Magyar long-a: száz, sár, etc. This explains why alpha and o-vowels combine to make omega.

EDIT 2 : Do not disregard vau, at least not for Homer. Although it was not written in most texts, Homer probably did pronounce it. It is useful for making his verses scan in some instances. See Pharr 525-526


Actually, Homer probably did not. His teacher, or his teacher's teacher, probably did. Homer's verses sometimes require the vau, sometimes not, for the same word, depending on metrical needs. This practice seems unlikely if the vau was still active (this is of course not conclusive).

Pete: vau is usually called "digamma" in Greek linguistics.
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Postby annis » Mon Dec 27, 2004 3:24 am

psilord wrote:Also, epsilon and eta are difficult for me to figure out.


Epsilon: short and tense, like English "day" without the off-glide (like a pure Hungarian vowel).

Eta: long, lax, like "send, fell", but just under twice as long as the epsilon.

Most Gk textbooks still give the Erasmian pronunciation, which has the omicron/omega and epsilon/eta qualities exactly opposite what I've given here.

The Greek Alphabet gives good details on various matters.
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Postby psilord » Mon Dec 27, 2004 4:29 am

annis wrote:]
Most Gk textbooks still give the Erasmian pronunciation, which has the omicron/omega and epsilon/eta qualities exactly opposite what I've given here.


So, with respect to Pharr's examples of sounds, I should use these instead of his? He reverses the eta/epsilon (and I can't tell with omega/omicron because both his examples are in french).

Also, what is alpha? the Hungarian "a" (no grave) sound?
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Postby psilord » Mon Dec 27, 2004 9:55 pm

Ok, I got the alpha, omicron, and omega difference after extended practice. Now, concerning improper dipthongs. Do I sound the iota as hinted in Pharr 506?
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Postby annis » Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:52 am

psilord wrote:Ok, I got the alpha, omicron, and omega difference after extended practice. Now, concerning improper dipthongs. Do I sound the iota as hinted in Pharr 506?


I do, but usually only when reading Homer. Most people do not. These dropped the final iota very early.
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Postby annis » Tue Dec 28, 2004 1:55 am

psilord wrote:Also, what is alpha? the Hungarian "a" (no grave) sound?


That tends too much toward ə (the schwa). I'd stick with a short (in duration) a as in father.
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Postby psilord » Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:17 am

Ok, given that:

epsilon: [face=spionic]e[/face] is pronounced like "day" (without the glide) and
eta: [face=spionic]h[/face] is pronounced like "send"--opposite of Pharr, then how is

[face=spionic]ei[/face]

pronounced? Pharr says it is like 'ei' in freight. But since it appears that Pharr's vowel mapping is reverse of the current pronunciation guidelines, what does it become now or does it stay the same? Also, how is the ei in freight different from the ay in day, other than the glide at the end(which might not be present since I sampled two people in saying that word and one did a glide and the other not)? Is the glide what makes [face=spionic]ei[/face] the dipthong and differentiates it from [face=spionic]e[/face]?

Also, are [face=spionic]hu,oi,ou,wu[/face] all pronounced the same? Kinda like an 'oo' in spoon?
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Postby annis » Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:05 pm

psilord wrote:then how is

[face=spionic]ei[/face]

Is the glide what makes [face=spionic]ei[/face] the dipthong and differentiates it from [face=spionic]e[/face]?


The problem here is that this combination of letters is used to represent two separate sounds which merged very early. I normally pronounce this as a long epsilon /e:/ which is what it became early. It could also represent a true epsilon+iota /ei/. The only way to know the difference is to know your etymology well. In [face=spionic]lei/pein[/face] the first is /ei/ the second /e:/.

Also, are [face=spionic]hu,oi,ou,wu[/face] all pronounced the same? Kinda like an 'oo' in spoon?


They are not at all pronounced the same. [face=spionic]ou[/face] is /u:/, like "spoon," but the rest are pronounced like their components, with the proviso that final upsilon isn't fronted in a diphthong. So [face=spionic]hu[/face] is /E:u/, [face=spionic]oi[/face] is /oi/, and the very rare [face=spionic]wu[/face] is /O:u/ (well, it's more common in Herodotus).
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Postby psilord » Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:27 pm

annis wrote: They are not at all pronounced the same. [face=spionic]ou[/face] is /u:/, like "spoon," but the rest are pronounced like their components, with the proviso that final upsilon isn't fronted in a diphthong. So [face=spionic]hu[/face] is /E:u/, [face=spionic]oi[/face] is /oi/, and the very rare [face=spionic]wu[/face] is /O:u/ (well, it's more common in Herodotus).


Oh I see. I misunderstood Pharr's 504. I thought the > " < marks meant EVERYTHING on the above line, not individual words. That clears things up....

What do you mean by "final upsilon isn't fronted in a dipthong"?

Also, what is a vowel (often a dipthong) which has two little dots over it? An example would be from Pharr's Lesson I vocabulary: [face=spionic]proia/ptw[/face]. Obviously, I don't know how to put the two dots over the iota in betacode.

How's your "current evidence of pronounciation for Homeric Greek" document comming along?
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Postby annis » Thu Dec 30, 2004 8:49 pm

psilord wrote:What do you mean by "final upsilon isn't fronted in a dipthong"?


By itself upsilon is ü (a front vowel) not u, but in diphthongs it's just u.

Also, what is a vowel (often a dipthong) which has two little dots over it? An example would be from Pharr's Lesson I vocabulary: [face=spionic]proi+a/ptw[/face].


That indicates that the vowel does not combine with the previous one to form a diphthong, that it is pronounced as a full syllable on its own.

Obviously, I don't know how to put the two dots over the iota in betacode.


That's a + after the letter. I've updated the "how to represent Greek" sticky post.

How's your "current evidence of pronounciation for Homeric Greek" document comming along?


Fine. Well, mostly fine. I'm almost tempted to take over Wonko's studio for a few hours and add to the collection of web sites of people reciting Homer. Give me another week or so.
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