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REading Homer

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REading Homer

Postby Timotheus » Sat Oct 01, 2005 3:19 am

how close do you think this reading is to the real accent of the ancients?

http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/iliad1.htm

I am trying to learn but I don't sound anything like this fellow, and I am trying to stress the accents.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby eliliang » Sat Oct 01, 2005 12:50 pm

Timotheus wrote:how close do you think this reading is to the real accent of the ancients?

http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/iliad1.htm

I am trying to learn but I don't sound anything like this fellow, and I am trying to stress the accents.


I don't think the accents should be be stressed if you are trying to use a reconstructed pronounciation. They should be pitched as in Chinese.

I have a copy of this work:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1579700969/qid=1128170470/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2108759-2237712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
It seems very good, although I can't say whether the accent is particularly authentic or not. Modern day Greek scholars completely disagree with the reconstructed accent, and it has never been clear to me why Greek scholars are held in such low esteem by other classicists when they are the direct descendents of the ancient greeks of which we are learning!
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:57 pm

From what I gather, the reason Greek scholars are held is such "low esteem" in regards to pronounciation is because they insist that modern Greek pronounciation is the way to pronounce the classics without much scholarly evidence. Just because you are descended from those people of antiquity does not excuse you from having solid evidence. Of course, this is just what I've read between the lines; I haven't read enough of the literature on reconstructed pronounciation to say this with much authority; perhaps I have unwittingly picked up a prejudice without sufficient factual support.

Mind you, almost everybody agrees that Modern English has drastic prounounciation shifts from Old English. It has been proven that the people who built the pyramids came from the same gene pool as the people living in Egypt today, but the people in Egypt today sure don't speak Coptic. Genetics has little to do with preserving a language.
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Postby PeterD » Sat Oct 01, 2005 5:50 pm

Hi.

This so-called "modern" Greek pronounciation has been around for a couple of millenia. That is very convincing evidence.

First, there was the awful Erasmian pronounciation -- even Erasmus, himself, didn't buy into it. Now, we have the "new and improved" -- Klingon-sounding -- reconstructed pronounciation. What will these non-Greek native speakers come up with next?
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:34 pm

PeterD wrote:This so-called "modern" Greek pronounciation has been around for a couple of millenia. That is very convincing evidence.


Modern pronounciation is relevant, but languages change a lot over time. Even in the difference of a single generation, there are some differences between the way I pronounce English and the way my father speaks English. While we could probably have a conversation with Shakespeare, the historic rhymes and some scanning issues make is clear that there were significent pronounciation differences between now and Elizabethan times. The fact that Greek had to weather several millenia makes me less convinced of its accuracy. I doubt any reconstructed is 100% accurate, but at least, based on what I know about Greek and phonetics, makes more sense.

Nothing short of a machine which could record sounds which happened a few thousand years ago (and who knows, such a machine could be invented a few hundred years from now) could settle the debate.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby tZeD » Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:43 pm

About the reading, I thought it sounds unnatural to say the least, but as for accuracy, I can't comment, although somethings sounded much different than I would've expected, e.g. his [face=SPIonic]e[/face] was very close to [i].

One question though: do we know anything about what overall sentence intonation would be like? I noticed that in the reading, statements and questions were pretty much the same in this sense, but that doesn't seem all that reasonable.

About modern Greek scholars, are there serious scholars who claim that the pronunciation has never changed? Because this is a totally different issue than how those works should be pronounced today, and I don't see what would be wrong with pronouncing it the modern way. Shakespeare was taught to me and is performed with modern accents too, even though this can destroy rhyming schemes.

In my case, I try to read classical works with some kind of reconstructed accent (but both pitch and length differences are difficult for me), but the bible I read with a modern pronunciation, not only because many of the changes could have occured by the time it was written, but also because that's how it's read in my church and in that sense it's still a living language. I don't see how this method is worse than the usual pronunciation that is taught, which is both historically inaccurate and doesn't sound too great either.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby annis » Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:44 pm

eliliang wrote:I don't think the accents should be be stressed if you are trying to use a reconstructed pronounciation. They should be pitched as in Chinese.


Pitch accent and a tone language like Chinese are completely different things.

Modern day Greek scholars completely disagree with the reconstructed accent, and it has never been clear to me why Greek scholars are held in such low esteem by other classicists when they are the direct descendents of the ancient greeks of which we are learning!


Patriotic and nationalist Greeks disagree with the reconstructed accent. Greek scholars of Greek, while still using the modern pronunciation they were raised on, know perfectly well that language changes over the centuries. There are some hold-outs of course, but opinion is hardly unanimous that the Anglo-Saxon world is afflicting the Greeks with some plot by promoting the reconstructed pronunciation.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby annis » Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:46 pm

Timotheus wrote:how close do you think this reading is to the real accent of the ancients?

http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/iliad1.htm


I have never been a fan of Daitz's pronunciation. I find the pitch contours way too wide.
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pronunciation

Postby elis » Sun Oct 02, 2005 1:28 pm

why Greek scholars are held in such low esteem by other classicists when they are the direct descendents of the ancient greeks of which we are learning!


not so direct.. not so direct.. some greeks might be phantasizing they are though.
modern greeks are more or less a mixture noumerous people: latins, slavs and so on.
I would consider myself more of a balkan.

Patriotic and nationalist Greeks disagree with the reconstructed accent.



that would be quite right.
I would connect it also with the mighty orthodox church tradition.


I, being a modern greek, use the modern greek accent to read the ancients. I know it's wrong but reading in an erasmian/reconstructed accent - or just pronouncing eta as long epsilon - is just awkward. It feels completelly ALIEN to the sound of modern greek. The same goes for some consonants like delta,theta etc.

now, in my opinion, it would be obsurd if a non modern greek insisted on pronouncing greek the modern greek way.
the poetic metrics all get destroyed, and pronouncing (e^=eta) he^, he^i, hoi, )\e^, (\e^, e)/i*, all as the mighty "i" is and has to remain a schizophrenic virtue of modern greeks.

*or in unicode:ἡ, ἧι, ἤ, ἥ, εἴ, οἱ
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Re: REading Homer

Postby eliliang » Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:11 pm

annis wrote:
eliliang wrote:I don't think the accents should be be stressed if you are trying to use a reconstructed pronounciation. They should be pitched as in Chinese.


Pitch accent and a tone language like Chinese are completely different things.


I'm not a philologist, but I am a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese. Please explain your comment to me. You seem to be making a distinction without a difference.

In Mandarin Chinese, every morpheme can carry a "pitch change". Chinese call this a "tone", but the pitch contour tells the tale. The only difference that I have noted between the "rising tone" in Mandarin Chinese and the "acute accent" of Classical Greek is that the rising tone represents a notional increase in pitch of a musical minor third, whereas there are claims that the "acute accent" in Classical Greek represented an increase in pitch of musical fifth - about twice as wide a gap in pitch as in Chinese.

Another obvious difference is that the pitch accent as advocated by Stephen G. Daitz (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1579700969/qid=1128351136/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2108759-2237712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) contours over an entire word comprised of multiple morphemes, whereas in Mandarin Chinese, the contour is over each individual morpheme. In this sense, perhaps Classical Greek could be considered less pitched than Mandarin Chinese.

Modern Mandarin Chinese also has over-all pitch decline during the course of an utterance. This is tied to a physiological factor, the drop of sub-glottal pressure, so unless human physiology has changed a lot these last twenty-five centuries, this contour probably existed in Classical Greek also.

I know that there is another, theory about the Greek pitch accent (http://arts.anu.edu.au/linguistics/People/AveryAndrews/Homer/pitch.htm), but is that widely-accepted now?

What other differences between Classical Greek pitch accent and Modern Mandarin Chinese tonal system were you thinking of? Besides these differences in pitch systems, I have not found any other differences in the prosody of Classical Greek speech and Mandarin Chinese speech that I have been able to read on the Internet.

annis wrote:
Modern day Greek scholars completely disagree with the reconstructed accent, and it has never been clear to me why Greek scholars are held in such low esteem by other classicists when they are the direct descendents of the ancient greeks of which we are learning!


Patriotic and nationalist Greeks disagree with the reconstructed accent. Greek scholars of Greek, while still using the modern pronunciation they were raised on, know perfectly well that language changes over the centuries. There are some hold-outs of course, but opinion is hardly unanimous that the Anglo-Saxon world is afflicting the Greeks with some plot by promoting the reconstructed pronunciation.


OK. Not unanimous. But there is definitely Greek scholarly thought that the non-Greek scholars are off-base. e.g., http://www.bsw.org/?l=72081&a=Art06.html
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Postby eliliang » Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:22 pm

PeterD wrote:Hi.

This so-called "modern" Greek pronounciation has been around for a couple of millenia. That is very convincing evidence.

First, there was the awful Erasmian pronounciation -- even Erasmus, himself, didn't buy into it. Now, we have the "new and improved" -- Klingon-sounding -- reconstructed pronounciation. What will these non-Greek native speakers come up with next?


As a non-philologist, the only supporting evidence which I have found for the reconstructed pronunciation, which seems indisputable to me is:

Cratinus, in Dionysalexandros: [face=spionic]o d' hliqioj wsper probaton bh bh legwn badizei[/face]: the fool goes about like a sheep saying "ba ba" (vs. "ve ve").

I don't know how nationalistic Greeks could explain this one away, but other than that, the rest of the evidence I've seen doesn't really move me.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby eliliang » Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:25 pm

annis wrote:
Timotheus wrote:how close do you think this reading is to the real accent of the ancients?

http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/iliad1.htm


I have never been a fan of Daitz's pronunciation. I find the pitch contours way too wide.


What evidence exists that the original Classical Greek pitch contours were narrower? I am just asking because I don't find very much scientific information on the Internet about the classical Greek pitch accent (only descriptive information), and would be much obliged if you could directly me to some more detailed scholarly description.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby annis » Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:31 pm

eliliang wrote:I'm not a philologist, but I am a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese. Please explain your comment to me. You seem to be making a distinction without a difference.


wo hai shuo hanyu yidian. The point I was making is that the pitch accent of Greek doesn't define word meaning the same way it does in the tone languages. Elsewhere on this forum I have compared the *sound* of Greek accents to particular tones in Chinese, but it wasn't clear to me that you were making that point.

OK. Not unanimous. But there is definitely Greek scholarly thought that the non-Greek scholars are off-base. e.g., http://www.bsw.org/?l=72081&a=Art06.html


I have talked about that article on Textkit before. It is useless (near the bottom).
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Re: REading Homer

Postby annis » Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:40 pm

eliliang wrote:What evidence exists that the original Classical Greek pitch contours were narrower? I am just asking because I don't find very much scientific information on the Internet about the classical Greek pitch accent (only descriptive information), and would be much obliged if you could directly me to some more detailed scholarly description.


There are two parts to my objection. The first is basically esthetic. I've heard some fairly artificial recitation styles, and I'm actually a defender of such things for metered verse, but something about Daitz's recitation seems way overdone.

The second matter is his pronunciation of the circumflex. He uses a rise and fall. It seems more likely to me to be a simple high-falling contour (this is the view in Sihler's comparative grammar, too).

His rise and fall circumflex combined with the wide pitch variation makes it seem too wide to me.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby eliliang » Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:11 pm

annis wrote:
eliliang wrote:What evidence exists that the original Classical Greek pitch contours were narrower? I am just asking because I don't find very much scientific information on the Internet about the classical Greek pitch accent (only descriptive information), and would be much obliged if you could directly me to some more detailed scholarly description.


...

The second matter is his pronunciation of the circumflex. He uses a rise and fall. It seems more likely to me to be a simple high-falling contour (this is the view in Sihler's comparative grammar, too).

His rise and fall circumflex combined with the wide pitch variation makes it seem too wide to me.


As you know, Mandarin Chinese does make active use of the falling-rising contour over a single morpheme. Therefore, I don't think that, theoretically, a rising-falling contour is impractical or implausible, in the absence of other information to suggest that the authentic contour was something different. Certainly, the most direct interpretation of the evidence I have found on the Internet for the reconstructed pitch accent would be to use a rising-falling contour for the circumflex accent. (Mandarin Chinese speakers prove every day that average people can make these bending pitch changes faster in normal conversation than would have even been necessary for Classical Greek.) Other historical evidence could suggest otherwise for Greek, however.

So my earlier question rephrased would be: What historical evidence is there for one particularly contour vs. another? For example, what evidence does Sihler use in defense of his proposal of the correctness of a high-falling contour versus the more direct rising-falling contour?

Going back to the my earlier comment on musical fifths versus musical minor thirds, I would have to say that if scholars are right that the Classical Greeks actually had pitch changes of a musical fifth, then they had better pitch control in speech than native Chinese speakers, and I would certainly not doubt their ability to manage a rising-falling contour over a single vowel! In this respect, Stephen G. Daitz's rising-falling contour may be incorrect only because he was not born to a language which uses such pitch contours, and therefore he may not have practiced enough to make pitch changes quickly. This could give him a wider contour (longer vowel) than strictly appropriate. But the pitch contour for a circumflex could still be right, even if he has difficulty performing it correctly on the recording.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby eliliang » Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:17 pm

annis wrote:
eliliang wrote:OK. Not unanimous. But there is definitely Greek scholarly thought that the non-Greek scholars are off-base. e.g., http://www.bsw.org/?l=72081&a=Art06.html


I have talked about that article on Textkit before. It is useless (near the bottom).


He's not a professional philologist, but seems to be quite a scholarly chap:
http://www.teol.lu.se/nt/forskning/caragounis.html

I would not be so quick to dismiss him as being outside the mainstream, as his other academic work does not seem to brand him as an intellectual outlier.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby PeterD » Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:35 pm

Hi, William

annis wrote:Patriotic and nationalist Greeks disagree with the reconstructed accent. Greek scholars of Greek, while still using the modern pronunciation they were raised on, know perfectly well that language changes over the centuries. There are some hold-outs of course, but opinion is hardly unanimous that the Anglo-Saxon world is afflicting the Greeks with some plot by promoting the reconstructed pronunciation.


It's not a question about patriotism and/or nationalism. Greeks, in general, passionately disagree with the reconstructed pronunciation because it sounds beastly. Truly beastly! The Greeks did not care for the awkward Erasmian pr. (and how right they were!). Why should they cover their ears and acquiesce now?

And as for the Anglo - Saxon world, it dropped its load a long time ago. With its impending third world status (have you been to a Walmart lately? 3/4 of all goods are "Made in China"!), I doubt these Anglo - Saxons have the time nor resources to hatch any plot, let alone afflicting the Greeks with the promotion of the rec. pr. :wink:
Last edited by PeterD on Mon Oct 03, 2005 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby eliliang » Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:40 pm

PeterD wrote:Hi, William

annis wrote:Patriotic and nationalist Greeks disagree with the reconstructed accent. Greek scholars of Greek, while still using the modern pronunciation they were raised on, know perfectly well that language changes over the centuries. There are some hold-outs of course, but opinion is hardly unanimous that the Anglo-Saxon world is afflicting the Greeks with some plot by promoting the reconstructed pronunciation.


It's not a question about patriotism and/or nationalism. Greeks, in general, passionately disagree with the reconstructed pronunciation because it sounds beastly. Truly beastly! The Greeks did not care for the awkward Erasmian pr. (and how right they were!). Why should they close their ears and acquiesce now?


Can you address this point:

eliliang wrote:
PeterD wrote:Hi.

This so-called "modern" Greek pronounciation has been around for a couple of millenia. That is very convincing evidence.

First, there was the awful Erasmian pronounciation -- even Erasmus, himself, didn't buy into it. Now, we have the "new and improved" -- Klingon-sounding -- reconstructed pronounciation. What will these non-Greek native speakers come up with next?


As a non-philologist, the only supporting evidence which I have found for the reconstructed pronunciation, which seems indisputable to me is:

Cratinus, in Dionysalexandros: [face=spionic]o d' hliqioj wsper probaton bh bh legwn badizei[/face]: the fool goes about like a sheep saying "ba ba" (vs. "ve ve").

I don't know how nationalistic Greeks could explain this one away, but other than that, the rest of the evidence I've seen doesn't really move me.
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Re: pronunciation

Postby PeterD » Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:46 pm

elis wrote:
why Greek scholars are held in such low esteem by other classicists when they are the direct descendents of the ancient greeks of which we are learning!


not so direct.. not so direct.. some greeks might be phantasizing they are though.
modern greeks are more or less a mixture noumerous people: latins, slavs and so on.
I would consider myself more of a balkan.


Greekness (or, if you prefer, Hellenism) had never to do with race. Race, per se, was an alien concept to the Ancients. It had to do with language, culture/religion, and education.

While it is true that through Greece's long history many migrations and invasions occurred, all these foreign inhabitants who stayed behind were eventually -- within a generation or two -- Hellenized. This Hellenization process was a noble and progressive act by the Greeks. Would you rather have had the Greeks slaughter all foreigners in the name of racial purity?

If you want to call yourself a Balkan, it is your prerogative to use a Turkish word to describe your heritage. I prefer the attribute Greek to describe my heritage.

elis wrote:
Patriotic and nationalist Greeks disagree with the reconstructed accent.



that would be quite right.
I would connect it also with the mighty orthodox church tradition.


Do me a favour: Leave the Greek Orthodox Church out of it. It may, like all organized religions, have its shortcomings but it does NOT have any blood on its hands like a few of the other "Christian" denominations.

elis wrote:I, being a modern greek,


I thought you said you were a Balkan? Or was it Vulcan?
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Re: REading Homer

Postby annis » Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:23 am

eliliang wrote:He's not a professional philologist, but seems to be quite a scholarly chap:
http://www.teol.lu.se/nt/forskning/caragounis.html

I would not be so quick to dismiss him as being outside the mainstream, as his other academic work does not seem to brand him as an intellectual outlier.


I'm not dismissing him as being outside the mainstream, I'm dismissing him for shoddy scholarship. His article is riddled with factual errors of the most basic sort. The simplest errors would be corrected by any standard college level linguistics course, and some of the obscurer blunders would be corrected by a little time in a library. I'm dismissing his paper because it is full of falsehoods.
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Re: REading Homer

Postby annis » Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:29 am

PeterD wrote:It's not a question about patriotism and/or nationalism. Greeks, in general, passionately disagree with the reconstructed pronunciation because it sounds beastly. Truly beastly!


This is not a famously sound foundation for research.

The Greeks did not care for the awkward Erasmian pr. (and how right they were!). Why should they cover their ears and acquiesce now?


This isn't the matter at hand. If I'm going to be speaking Greek to modern Greeks I am going to use modern Greek. Why must those of us who want Homer and Sappho to scan and sound more closely to the original be constantly annoyed with the absurd - and false - assertion that Aristotle pronounced Greek just like Cavafy? I promise to recite outside the delicate hearing of modern Greeks.
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Postby Timotheus » Tue Oct 04, 2005 2:12 am

hello everyone

I had no idea that this post would be so discussed. For me at my level it isn't to try to understand the difference in Greek and Chinese tone/pitch meaning. If this is the case I can see why many in the universities don't press this much (or what I have gathered from other Post).

When I read this aloud to a friend that had taken Koine greek and is working on a doctor of classic languages from the university of Washington (Seattle, Washington State; USA) he said I had an inflection somewhat to spanish, of which niether of us speak, but felt most natural to the tounge.

As for speaking in the exact same accent as the ancients I have considered that most improbable. A freind of mine that is trying to get his citizenship here in the US from England told me that in his country he could tell not only from where a person was from (as in York, Cornwell...) but from what city a person was from.

If this is true of language in England then I could imagine in a land of city states that acent could vary from one end of an Island to another. some easily recognized others not. perhaps even the accenting marks, occurring in the middle ages, may not express the truth concerning Homeric or classical Attic (in minor or major populus). :?:

My purpose is to be able to read the original language in such a way that I can easily read it outloud, be understood, (if there is ever a local reading group to be found), as well as get the rythm and meter for the peotic nature of the verse, and be somwhat close to one of the ancients and not so much a forgiener. (or at least be thought by them if I were alive back then as comming from somewhere in Greece, Macidonia, or Asia even If I couldn't be Identified to any one locality).

for the PUrose that there is ever a reading group of Textkit members for Pharr, is there a consensus sa to what accenting or stress should be used and is there examples of it? I have a somewhat musical ear an dit aids a lot in my learning.
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Postby elis » Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:23 am

Greekness (or, if you prefer, Hellenism) had never to do with race. Race, per se, was an alien concept to the Ancients. It had to do with language, culture/religion, and education.

While it is true that through Greece's long history many migrations and invasions occurred, all these foreign inhabitants who stayed behind were eventually -- within a generation or two -- Hellenized. This Hellenization process was a noble and progressive act by the Greeks. Would you rather have had the Greeks slaughter all foreigners in the name of racial purity?

If you want to call yourself a Balkan, it is your prerogative to use a Turkish word to describe your heritage. I prefer the attribute Greek to describe my heritage.



Yes, i consider modern greeks culturally balkans. And i dont see why one shouldnt use this turkish word as a label when there's so many turkish words in the m.greek vocabulary.
about your last point, the hellenization, one has to be just filed with patriotic propaganda to deny that during the last 2 centuries -or since the creation of the m. greek state - there's been a violent hellenization (languagewise) of many peoples that made the mistake to have another language as mothertongue.


Do me a favour: Leave the Greek Orthodox Church out of it


my point was that this attitude of many modern greek scholars has also to do with them being g.o.

I thought you said you were a Balkan? Or was it Vulcan?



? i think it's obvious, balkan is genus, m.greek is species.


let me put it this way, the reconstructed pronunciation mighty be imperfect, filled w/ gaps, flaws etc, but the m.greek one is just paranoid.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Tue Oct 04, 2005 4:30 pm

Mr. Daitz's Greek sounds wrong. I've never heard a language for the first time that sounded wrong. My English sounds as coming from a foreigner, but it doesn't sound wrong. My Mexican neighbor's English is terrible but it doesn't sound wrong. Will Annis' recitation of poetry in Mandarin doesn't sound wrong (he claims his Mandarin is not very good, and I can't judge).

Mr. Daitz sounds like a bad actor trying to be histrionic who has trained himself to do a little yodel every time he sees an accent mark.
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Postby annis » Tue Oct 04, 2005 5:20 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:Mr. Daitz sounds like a bad actor trying to be histrionic who has trained himself to do a little yodel every time he sees an accent mark.


I gather his everyday speaking voice is also fairly, ah, mannered.
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Postby eliliang » Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:50 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:Will Annis' recitation of poetry in Mandarin doesn't sound wrong (he claims his Mandarin is not very good, and I can't judge).


Where can I find Will Annis' recitation of Mandarin poetry?
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Postby eliliang » Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:10 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:Mr. Daitz's Greek sounds wrong. I've never heard a language for the first time that sounded wrong. My English sounds as coming from a foreigner, but it doesn't sound wrong. My Mexican neighbor's English is terrible but it doesn't sound wrong. Will Annis' recitation of poetry in Mandarin doesn't sound wrong (he claims his Mandarin is not very good, and I can't judge).

Mr. Daitz sounds like a bad actor trying to be histrionic who has trained himself to do a little yodel every time he sees an accent mark.


What is wrong with it?

Personally, I would judge right or wrong in the following three different ways:

Category 1: First, if I have a baseline, I can judge against the baseline. Your English, your neighbor's, and Will Annis' Mandarin can all be judged directly against established baselines. You and I have heard native speakers of English, Mandarin, etc.

Category 2: Second, I can judge against what human physiology can or can't do. I made a comment earlier about all tonal languages decreasing pitch over the course of an utterance due to loss of sub-glottal pressure. I could make a guess that Greeks 2500 years ago had the same thing occur since it is based on fundamental human physiology.

Category 3: In the absence of category 1 or 2 evidence, I can judge based on historical development and other documentary evidence. This is from whence much of the reconstructed pronunciation theories apparently come.

On the basis of all three categories, I would then conclude that Daitz' pronunciation is completely plausible. (Plausible is different from authentic, however, since we can not know for sure, authentic given the lack of category 1 data.)

So one what basis do you judge Daitz' pronunciation effort?

Personally, I don't allow myself to give in to what I "think" is right or wrong and allow the evidence to direct me. Many classicists still resist pitch accents because "it doesn't sound right" or because "they don't want their Greek to sound like Chinese". I wouldn't want to do the same in trying to judge the different pitch accent variations.

(By the way, on this topic, I had an interesting email exchange with Prof. William Harris which he was willing to let me share with others. If there is any interest, I can post the summary here.)
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Postby chad » Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:21 pm

hi elilang, as a side point there is evidence for category 2, it's called catathesis (devine and stephens, the prosody of greek speech 1994) :)
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Postby eliliang » Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:17 pm

chad wrote:hi elilang, as a side point there is evidence for category 2, it's called catathesis (devine and stephens, the prosody of greek speech 1994) :)


I understand how vocal fold tension and subglottal pressure contribute to physiological constraints on prosody - for example the 0.1 sec response-time limit on the four laryngeal muscles governs the interaction of pitch change on neighboring morphemes. Loss of subglottal pressure means that it is difficult to maintain pitch level in an untrained voice (this is the "downdrift" effect). etc. How does catathesis work, and what physiological limitation relates to it?
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Postby eliliang » Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:22 pm

eliliang wrote:
chad wrote:hi elilang, as a side point there is evidence for category 2, it's called catathesis (devine and stephens, the prosody of greek speech 1994) :)


I understand how vocal fold tension and subglottal pressure contribute to physiological constraints on prosody - for example the 0.1 sec response-time limit on the four laryngeal muscles governs the interaction of pitch change on neighboring morphemes. Loss of subglottal pressure means that it is difficult to maintain pitch level in an untrained voice (this is the "downdrift" effect). etc. How does catathesis work, and what physiological limitation relates to it?


Aha! I should have done a google before posting.

catathesis = downdrift

So this is exactly what I mentioned about Classical Greek without having read Devine and Stephen, that Classical Greek (just like any tonal language such as Chinese) would experience "downdrift" (or as you say, "catathesis") due to loss of subglottal pressure over the course of an utterance.
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Postby eliliang » Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:25 pm

eliliang wrote:
eliliang wrote:
chad wrote:hi elilang, as a side point there is evidence for category 2, it's called catathesis (devine and stephens, the prosody of greek speech 1994) :)


I understand how vocal fold tension and subglottal pressure contribute to physiological constraints on prosody - for example the 0.1 sec response-time limit on the four laryngeal muscles governs the interaction of pitch change on neighboring morphemes. Loss of subglottal pressure means that it is difficult to maintain pitch level in an untrained voice (this is the "downdrift" effect). etc. How does catathesis work, and what physiological limitation relates to it?


Aha! I should have done a google before posting.

catathesis = downdrift

So this is exactly what I mentioned about Classical Greek without having read Devine and Stephen, that Classical Greek (just like any tonal language such as Chinese) would experience "downdrift" (or as you say, "catathesis") due to loss of subglottal pressure over the course of an utterance.


Did Devine and Stephen write a whole book about this obvious fact (that I guessed at without knowing anything about Classical Greek except that it was tonal)?
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Postby chad » Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:15 pm

hi, they wrote a section on it. there are page refs in an old document i wrote on reconstructed pronunciation on this unused web site:

http://iliad.envy.nu/ "Greek pitch model doc"

nb i've learned a fair bit about greek since then, i don't trust the details of that doc too much now.
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:29 pm

"I gather his [Daitz's] everyday speaking voice is also fairly, ah, mannered." ~Annis

My apologies to Mr. Daitz if his recitation style stems from a speech impediment. I also talk funny; my friend Frank from Cornwall once said that I walk with a lisp and talk with a limp (funny guy). Part of the reason why I bard is to exercise my voice.

"Where can I find Will Annis' recitation of Mandarin poetry?" ~Elilang

I'll tell you if you promise not to make fun of him. ( :wink: , Will.)

"What is wrong with [Daitz's Greek]?" ~Elilang

I said it sounds wrong, not that it's wrong. It sounds unnatural, even for a histrionic performance. I've heard many different languages in my lifetime, all of them once for the first time (that is, without a baseline) and they never sounded wrong to me. I've seen kabuki on television, and knowing no Japanese, I could tell the actors used an affected voice, and yet it didn't sound wrong to me. Even Chewbaka from Star Wars didn't sound wrong to me, so go figure how lenient my ears are.

"Personally, I would judge right or wrong in the following three different ways: [...] So on what basis do you judge Daitz' pronunciation effort?" ~Elilang

Artistes like me have a fourth way: their sensitivity; in this case, honed by long meditation and practice on Homeric performance, and guided by my betters at Textkit.

"Personally, I don't allow myself ..." ~Elilang

Everyone is different, Eli.

"... interesting email exchange with Prof. William Harris ..." ~Elilang

Let's hear it.

"Did Devine and Stephen write a whole book about this obvious fact ... ?" ~Elilang

I don't think the sarcasm was neccesary, Eli.
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Postby eliliang » Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:33 am

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Where can I find Will Annis' recitation of Mandarin poetry?" ~Elilang

I'll tell you if you promise not to make fun of him. ( :wink: , Will.)


Being a native speaker of Chinese, it is interesting to me to hear other interpretations of the language, especially if they are reasonably good. But if it isn't a faithful reproduction of the language, I would not find it funny, just not as interesting to listen to.

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"What is wrong with [Daitz's Greek]?" ~Elilang

I said it sounds wrong, not that it's wrong. It sounds unnatural, even for a histrionic performance. I've heard many different languages in my lifetime, all of them once for the first time (that is, without a baseline) and they never sounded wrong to me. I've seen kabuki on television, and knowing no Japanese, I could tell the actors used an affected voice, and yet it didn't sound wrong to me. Even Chewbaka from Star Wars didn't sound wrong to me, so go figure how lenient my ears are.


I am perhaps too analytical as I always look for the rationale behind feelings. A feeling or judgement is composed of a myriad of smaller details, some of which a person might not put a name to. When I hear a judgement, it is always interesting for me to dig a little deeper and see if there is anything there I could "hang my own hat" on - that I could adopt for myself. The way I work, if there is no rationale for something, then I just can't believe it. Sort of like going to the "Magic Spot" in Santa Cruz, California and being told that gravity doesn't work there, but not being told why. Well, then I am such a rationalist that I just don't believe it. This was a long digression, but I just wanted to explain why I jump at unsubstantiated assertions. Just part of my make up, I guess.

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Personally, I would judge right or wrong in the following three different ways: [...] So on what basis do you judge Daitz' pronunciation effort?" ~Elilang

Artistes like me have a fourth way: their sensitivity; in this case, honed by long meditation and practice on Homeric performance.


See above.

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Personally, I don't allow myself ..." ~Elilang

Everyone is different, Eli.


Just taking rationalism to the limit I guess. See above.

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"... interesting email exchange with Prof. William Harris ..." ~Elilang

Let's hear it.


OK. I'll dig it up and post the more interesting bits here. It has to do with Chinese and Greek pronunciation and even the movie "Troy".

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"Did Devine and Stephen write a whole book about this obvious fact ... ?" ~Elilang

I don't think the sarcasm was neccesary, Eli.


I am always amazed when people think the obvious deserves detailed analysis. In academia, the desire not to do new research leads people to do "incremental" research, mostly building off of what is mostly done by others. I have seen so many dissertations that start off with 200 pages of rehashing what has been done before. I have rarely (ok, never) seen a dissertation such as Godel's 34 page masterpiece which had truly innovative results.

I don't think of myself as particularly knowledgeable in linguistics. If I can think of an idea out of my head based on basic principles, then the linguists out there certainly can, and I was wondering if they would think Devine and Stephens' "discovery" of downdrift in Greek as particularly wonderous to behold. I was being sarcastic, and intentionally so.

Chad did say that it was only one chapter that was devoted to this in their book, so perhaps Devine and Stephens' point was not the study of downdrift in Greek, but some new and unexpected idea derived from a startling combination of facts. Only one thing is certain for me right now, and that is that since I have blabbed on about Devine and Stephens for several messages now all without owning the book, I've contributed to their royalties by having just gone to Amazon.com and ordered their book. So I will see for myself in a few days exactly how obvious or nonobvious their results are for myself. Until then, I'll just keep quiet on Greek prosody I guess.
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Postby eliliang » Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:09 am

eliliang wrote:
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"... interesting email exchange with Prof. William Harris ..." ~Elilang

Let's hear it.


OK. I'll dig it up and post the more interesting bits here. It has to do with Chinese and Greek pronunciation and even the movie "Troy".


Here is the interesting portion of my chat with Prof. Harris. He gave me permission to share this with others.

W. Harris wrote:
E. Liang wrote:
W. Harris wrote:
E. Liang wrote:
W. Harris wrote:
E. Liang wrote:
W. Harris wrote:
E. Liang wrote: I've read your essay on musical pitch accents in Greek (http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/Classics/Greekaccents.html), but have been at a loss to find a good example of that accent which fits the description in your essay. In listening to them, the question of plausibility comes up. It doesn't seem that there are any examples on the Internet of you demonstrating the accent, so I have instead found some examples by others. Some of the ones which I have found include:
  1. Stefan Hegel's musical accent: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/agp/
  2. Stephen Daitz's musical accent: http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/Greek.htm
  3. Alan Shaw's musical accent: http://www.prosoidia.com/odys.html and http://www.prosoidia.com/trg.html
  4. Angelo Mercado's musical accent: http://caelestis.info/sauvagenoble/media/2004/0121/Sappho_Fragment_31.mp3

Do any of these approximate what you had in mind when you wrote your essay? Is there a better example of the musical pitch accent?

Actually your note came at a critical point for me.

No I have not been happy with the various recordings, but will go over the ones you url'd to me next few days and start thinking about doing my long overdue recording.

TRoy was a Mid Near Eastern city, and no one there GReek or native very thought of speaking like our academic scholars. I plan a short recording in a semi-Near Eastern style..... will drive the Classicists wild of course. The don;t even like pitches which sound Chinese or Bergman. Did you notice the Arabic sounding interludes in the TV TROY? Very sensitive and well worked into the plot.

I am, at a momentary standstill in my piano recordings, perhaps I can take the hint from your email to get myself in gear (music gear..).
If I do, I can let you know from your printout, or just check the website in a month.

Thanks, encouraging...

Bill

Certainly, I look forward to your upcoming recording, and I think a middle-eastern flavor would be very interesting indeed.

If you don't mind, I'd like to share your interesting reply/comments with a small group of classical greek learners.

Glad to have these too, will get to a faster terminal and listen again.

Interesting how many people are doing Ancient Greek on their won or in small groups, shows that educationis personal and not tied to colelge enrolment and paid (expensive) coursework.'

Bill

I forgot to comment on one of your statements. Actually, I am Chinese so naturally, I find pitch-based languages such as Chinese to be pretty easy and obvious. One difference might be that instead of a rising and lowering pitch of the perispomena and properispomena, Mandarin Chinese has a lowering and rising pitch (tone). However, there are many ways that pitch may be done and the pitch glide performed. For example, Chinese has a pitch change per morpheme/syllable which gives it even more of a sing-song quality that probably Greek had - the reconstructed Greek pitch seems to want acute pitch changes to be held until the end of the word. Also, is it by a musical fifth (3:2) that the Greek acute gets pitched up? That seems to be a lot! Mandarin Chinese's rising tone is only a rise of a minor third (6:5). If Classical Greek's acute tone is a rise by a musical fifth, that probably explains why some find it strange. Anyways, all this may explain why I am interested in the pitch accent and why I think I can learn it well, if I can properly find it done right.

I agree that a real musical fifth is hard to maintain. Especially at this remove from classical period, "intonation" may well embody other variables as well. Never thought before it before, but the Greeks were certainly able to deduce halftones by listening to some of the scales (modes). COuld they have been thinking of five halftones, e.g. a major third?

OF course people will say there was no diatonic scale then, but from Vitruvius' 30 BC discussion of amphitheater acoustics in Book V it is clear that there were subtle refinenemnts in the tuning jars, or that acoustic system would never have worked. I have a notice about that on the site under I Corinthians 13, a short statement of something I once wrote for the Acoustic Soc Amer. I am stretching the point now, but your Third sounds much better to me.

The Greek pitches have IE background in Skt and Lithuanian, but not exact word for word. And they are rarely phonematic, perhaps just a few dozen words in common use at most. Then the MSS tradition has a wide variety of ptich markings, Chandler 2 ed l884 Greek Acentuation is the master study of the variants. And Aeolic was always reecessive in the poetry we have..... another thing to consider, since Iliad must have been initially Aeolic. And l9 th c. editors establishd their own printing preferences...... more in there than weeks to eye.

My wife is Korean but I have never noticed pitches in her telephone talk with family, lots of stresses and certain rising intonations at the end of a phrase. Being Chinese you are in a much better position to think about Greek, it is hard for Americans who are really monotone by preference and annoyed by traditional Brit speech patterns, to think of musicality in their languages. Maybe part of the reason we write poorly, compared to the best British.

Bill

If classical greek acute pitch was a rise of a major or minor third, this would make more sense to me. It is as you say. Even as a native Chinese speaker, I have trouble imagining how one could sustain pitch changes of a musical fifth, and hold them for the duration of a word, word after word. Also, pitch changes take a certain amount of time, and larger pitch changes take more time than small pitch changes.

Probably why you don't hear much in the way of tones when your wife talks in Korean is that while Chinese is a tonal language, Korean is largely atonal. Korean uses pitch, but as in English, pitch contours over the sentence, not over the individual words, syllables or morphemes.

By the way, a few days ago, when I was researching the Greek pitch accent, I found reference to some research which argued that even a grave accent originally indicated a rise in pitch, although smaller. While this research was not new (from 1993), its conclusions definitely run counter to what is taught in the greek textbooks I have access to - that the grave accent is either a lowering pitch or, at the very least, not a rising pitch: http://arts.anu.edu.au/linguistics/People/AveryAndrews/Homer/pitch.htm

About the grave, aside from the ridiculous western practice of pronouncing it with a stress exactly like an acute, there are statements from the Greek Metrical writers that the grave or baru represents a tonal base line. This is corroborated by some of the papyri used in schools which put a grave over every syllable not otherwise marked. In othr words, the msg to readers was DOWN, keep your pitch down........

Exactly which of the various speakers in that polyglot Near East this instruction was aimed is not clear. I thin the unnecessary smooth breathing must have been aimed at the Roman tendency to aspirate initial vowels, e.g. Catullus' poem "Arrius".

Bill
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Postby annis » Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:34 am

eliliang wrote:So one what basis do you judge Daitz' pronunciation effort?


One thing I was going to add to one of my earlier comments but forgot, re: the 5th.

Our source for the 5th interval is Dionysius of Halicarnassus. I have often suspected that the interval was either an average, or, more likely, referred to a public speaking practice, where you expect some exaggeration. If I may quote Allen, Vox Graeca at length (pp.120-121):

Vox Graeca, W.S. Allen, 3rd ed. wrote:Regarding the range of variation between low and high pitches in speech, there is a well-known statement by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (De Comp. xi, pp.40 f. UR) to the effect that 'the melody of speech is measured by a single interval, approximately that termed a "fifth", and does not rise to the high pitch by more than three tones and a semitone, nor fall to the low by more than this amount'. This statement is generally understood in its most obvious interpretation, but an alternative suggestion merits notice --- namely that the interval of a fifth may refer not to the total range but rather the variation from the mean. Dionysius does not always express himself clearly, but this interpretation would save the latter part of his statement from tautology; and the total range then implied need not be excessive, at least if, as it appears, it is intended as a maximum. Descriptions of the melodic range of Norwegian, for example, average around a sixth, but these are generally based on a more or less formal rendering and 'in everyday speech the size of the interval can vary greatly, from nothing to an octave, according to the age, sex, temperament and emotional state of the speaker; whether he is speaking quickly or slowly, with or without strong emphasis and according to the position of the word in the sentence. The length of the word can also influence the size of the interval.'
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:13 am

"I am perhaps too analytical as I always look for the rationale behind feelings. A feeling or judgement is composed of a myriad of smaller details, some of which a person might not put a name to. When I hear a judgement, it is always interesting for me to dig a little deeper and see if there is anything there I could "hang my own hat" on - that I could adopt for myself. The way I work, if there is no rationale for something, then I just can't believe it." ~Elilang

Have you considered the rational possibility that for hearing human speech nothing beats a human ear? If someone sounds worried, do you have to hang your own hat on what inflection of which morpheme, perispomena or properispomena caused you to come to that judgement before saying "that person sounds worried"? You sound like the kind of person who needs a seismographer and a gas spectrometer to ascertain whether she has farted or not. :D
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Postby Bardo de Saldo » Wed Oct 05, 2005 7:52 am

Thanks for bringing us the Harris interview, Eli. The Middle-Eastern accent part sounds interesting. As Tim said earlier, Greeks from neighboring islands in the time of Homer must have sounded as different as a Texan, a Scot and an Australian; so who's to say that when I sing my hexameters Gypsy-style (vowels athwartships, consonants fore-and-aft) I don't sound just like a Myrmidon?
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Postby eliliang » Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:35 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:"I am perhaps too analytical as I always look for the rationale behind feelings. A feeling or judgement is composed of a myriad of smaller details, some of which a person might not put a name to. When I hear a judgement, it is always interesting for me to dig a little deeper and see if there is anything there I could "hang my own hat" on - that I could adopt for myself. The way I work, if there is no rationale for something, then I just can't believe it." ~Elilang

Have you considered the rational possibility that for hearing human speech nothing beats a human ear?


No. Because quite to the contrary of your assertion, it is completely irrational.

The human ear is nothing without the brain's processing. I will grant you that the brain is a better pattern recognizer than anything that man has been able to create hereto. The problem is that the brain does not create a pattern out of the void. It uses other patterns it has seen before in its complex ruleset.

I am just contesting the point that there is anything loaded into the ruleset of the brain of anyone alive today, including you, on ancient greek tonal contour inventory.

Without the support of phonetic theory, you have gone out on the limb of asserting that Dr. Daitz's tonal contours do not exist in the human tonal contour inventory. Using a different wording, you imply that it is in a sense "not human" (that such contours can not exist in a natural human language). As you are sitting out there on the limb, I am just now (gently and with the greatest respect as should be granted to an artiste) "sawing off that limb" you have climbed out on.

Bardo de Saldo wrote:If someone sounds worried, do you have to hang your own hat on what inflection of which morpheme, perispomena or properispomena caused you to come to that judgement before saying "that person sounds worried"? You sound like the kind of person who needs a seismographer and a gas spectrometer to ascertain whether she has farted or not. :D


How do you know someone sounds worried? This is a real obvious one. If you have never met a worried person, you probably wouldn't recognize worry in a voice. You instantly recognize worried people because you have seen them before and heard their prosody when they are worried and mentally correlated the two in a part of your brain that is very good at that. I spoke about category 1 baselines. This is a case of a category 1 baseline. Because of the baseline on humans, I could guess that the ancient Greeks probably sounded similar when worried since emotional overtones in the voice transcend language families. But we were speaking of accents and pronunciation. I would still assert we have no baselines to judge the correctness of the pitch accent of Dr. Daitz.

Let's take a case closer at hand. Would you feel that you could judge the correctness of a modern tonal language? Take for example the Ega language of the Kwa family with its contour tones on three levels and multiple crossover glides: http://www.spectrum.uni-bielefeld.de/langdoc/jipa/sounds/passage.wav

Listen to the recording. I would imagine you have never heard the language spoken before so you have had no baseline. What do you think?
Last edited by eliliang on Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby eliliang » Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:38 pm

Bardo de Saldo wrote:Thanks for bringing us the Harris interview, Eli. The Middle-Eastern accent part sounds interesting. As Tim said earlier, Greeks from neighboring islands in the time of Homer must have sounded as different as a Texan, a Scot and an Australian; so who's to say that when I sing my hexameters Gypsy-style (vowels athwartships, consonants fore-and-aft) I don't sound just like a Myrmidon?
You very well might. How's about sending us a URL for one of your recordings? :wink:
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