Bardo de Saldo wrote:"I am just contesting the point that there is anything loaded into the ruleset of the brain of anyone alive today, including you [me], on ancient greek tonal contour inventory." ~Elilang
You don't need to make things up, Eli. If you want to contest, contest something that was actually said.
I see I wasn't clear. You said earlier:
Bardo de Saldo wrote: Bardo de Saldo wrote: eliliang wrote: Bardo de Saldo wrote:
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.
I said it sounds wrong, not that it's wrong. It sounds unnatural, even for a histrionic performance.
"Personally, I would judge right or wrong in the following three different ways: [...]
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.
Have you considered the rational possibility that for hearing human speech nothing beats a human ear?
When I said:
eliliang wrote: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.
I meant that you you identified Daitz's pronunciation as "unnatural". I interpreted that to be in the sense of "unnatural: not in accordance with or determined by nature; contrary to nature
". Modern phonetic theory says that there is a tonal contour inventory for every contour tone language. For example, take Mandarin Chinese. There are certain contour tones which fit in the Chinese contour tone inventory. The rise-fall contour does not exist in the Chinese contour tone inventory. Among all polyphonic languages that ever existed and will exist naturally, there is a maximal set which contains all possible contour tones profiles". (With respect ot my earlier message, Ega
of the Kra
language family happens to be one of those that use more contour tone profiles than most.) Therefore, unnatural in the sense I gave would imply impossible contours. Contour profiles that never existed in Ancient Greek, and furthermore, could simply not exist in any human language (i.e., not in accordance with or determined by nature
). Your comments above strongly suggest that the (trained?) human ear can judge authenticity of a polyphonic pronunciation in the absence of any living native speakers. So I return to my original comment. 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.
I claim that there is nothing in the brains or ears (trained or untrained) of any people alive today that is set up to be able to judge the authenticity of tonal contours in a language which has not been spoken in over two millennia. I'd go even further and say that to think that one could so judge authenticity based on listening to speech in a language which one has never heard native speakers is just wrong-headed. However, I invited you to judge that for yourself by listening to the Ega
recording I provided the URL for earlier.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"As you [me] are sitting out there on the limb ..." ~Elilang
Reminds me of a little poem I wrote a while back on the subject. How did it go? Ah, yes:
Arreando a la luna prendo vuelo,
y vuelto a contemplar el panorama,
con buena voluntad busco la trama
que ofrezca a las tinieblas un consuelo;
con el impulso salta el alma en celo
y se posa en lo alto de una rama,
hasta que lo gravado la reclama
y aterrizo de bruces en el suelo:
Estoy como a la hora de partida,
más cercano a la tumba que al destino;
con el burro espantado en estampida,
los trastos rebotando en el camino,
y el arriero, arreado por la vida,
corriendo tras el rastro del equino.
I find myself admiring the poetry of the verses and its meaning (via http://babelfish.astalavista.com
), but unfortunately not both (since, no hablo español). Is poetry a vocation or avocation, Bardo?
Bardo de Saldo wrote:"... I am just now (gently and with the greatest respect as should be granted to an artiste) "sawing off that limb" you [me] have climbed out on. [...]. [...]. [...]." ~Elilang.
I will respond to your misplaced aggressivity with kindness, Eli.
You have just provided me with an excellent example of what I have been arguing these past several messages.
How do you know that I am being aggressive? You read it into my messages obviously, since you have neither met me in person nor even spoken to me. However, you have based your interpretation on your past experience.
Some scientists claim that humans still have instincts, a form a prewiring of the brain we are all born with. Bare your teeth at a baby who has never experienced anything but a mother's loving caresses, and that baby will probably still startle and cry. The appearance of bare teeth may have been wired genetically into us from the time we were swinging in the trees of the forest primeval.
Clearly interpretion of the emotions behind electronic symbols running before your eyes as you sit in front of your electrical appliance of a computer does not qualify to jostle that prewiring. Similarly, I would be hard pressed to be convinced that sensitivity for polyphonic speech contours goes into the pre-wiring! So from whence comes the ability to tell if a language is spoken correctly or incorrectly (or in your words above, "unnaturally
") if one has never heard the language performed in nature (with native speakers)?
By the way, I am not being aggressive at all towards you. I harbor no illwill of any sort towards you. I picture you as some sort of bearded bear of person with a jovial mien, someone who will drink wine and belt out the verses of the Illiad over a campfire.
My comments about the cutting of the limb were in jest, nothing more.
The rest of the messages were by manner of intellectual discussion of differing viewpoints.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:By the time I'm finished, I will have helped you realize how behind that posing as some kind of Star Trek's 7-of-9 lies a sensitive heart. As an added bonus, you will agree with me that Mr. Daitz's Greek is implausable, and to top it off, you'll have a nice place on which to hang your own hat. Ready? Hold on to your hat:
The World Wide Web is full of web pages dedicated to Classical Greek. Every other Classics Professor seems to post his or her own little discertation on reconstructed pronunciation. Many of them would be willing to give you their opinion on others' recorded examples. And of all these Professors, who did Ms. Eli choose as an authority in whom to confide her phonetic doubts? Someone who rambled for hours on perispomena and properispomena? No. Someone with exciting new theories on catathesis and subglottal pressure? Again, no. Ms. Eli chose to go to Mr. Harris, who had posted on his website an essay on beauty. On beauty, ladies and gentlemen! Was that rational? So let's talk about beauty, Eli, that dearest of friends of rationalists. How many of the Classics do you think described Greek as being an especially beautiful language? More than one? That would be more evidence than the one guy (good old Dionysius) who talked about the fifth, and he gets quoted ad nauseam. So, Eli, listen again to Mr. Daitz with your ears or whatever other organ you want, employ as much of your cerebral acumen as you want to process the input, and tell me who would describe Mr. Daitz's verborrhea as beautiful. Not me.
I have never once called Mr. Daitz rendition beautiful. It is not beauty that is on trial here. I have never even been asked my opinion, nor have I offered one on whether I consider Daitz's Greek pronunciation to be "beautiful". I have only asked if it is consistent or inconsistent with the evidence we have on the ancient Greek language. I have asked, because "I don't know". I am not an expert. I know only what I can read, and then not even that.
I think that I have some judgement myself on beauty. Years ago, I did a tour as a fulltime fashion design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the garment district of Manhattan. Before that, I studied Art History. Beauty and aesthetics are not foreign to me. However, I strongly believe in applying qualitative judgements to those domains which they are best suited and quantitative judgements to those appropriate for quantitative judgements. You make an eloquent case, but it does not convince me that we can decide on the authenticity of Daitz's pronunciation based on aesthetical judgement. We can judge the aesthetics of his rendition of Greek, not its authenticity.
Now, perhaps that is all that you were getting at - that Daitz's Greek is aesthetically ugly. Then I have misinterpreted your comment that it is "unnatural" as meaning that it could not occur in natural human language, when perhaps you only meant that it was ugly.
Furthermore, as you must be aware, aesthetics is highly culture-specific. In the Pa Dong Karen tribe of Burma, women with elongated necks are considered aesthetically pleasing (i.e., http://www.gluckman.com/LongNk.jpg
). I don't know about your aesthetical judgement on this, but my own aesthetics finds it displeasing.
My view is that Daitz's Greek pronunciation may be "ugly" based on my 20th Century culture-specific frame of reference, but that there are many naturally-occurring and man-made things in this world (e.g., http://www.ethnix.com/Figures/CATEGORY/Fertility/0nimba.jpg
), which are ugly based on my ethnocentric aesthetical framework, which nonetheless have a right to exist and in my view, ugliness is not a criterion for judging if they could have existed.
Drawing on my Art History background, I want to give the example of a very famous art appreciator. His name was Bernard Berenson (http://www.hup.harvard.edu/itatti/villa_berenson.html
). He was perhaps the last American dean of Italian Renaissance paintings, and made a private fortune working for art collectors and dealers judging authenticity by visual inspection. He felt that for the masters of the Italian Renaissance, he knew there works so well, that he could look at any work of that period and give an attribution to an artist. He would sometimes spend hours studying a painting. He would then make his pronouncement. And you know what? With the advent of x-rays and modern technologies, we have found that many of his attributions were wrong.
So, returning to you earlier rhetorical question:
Bardo de Saldo wrote:Have you considered the rational possibility that for hearing human speech nothing beats a human ear?
My answer would still have to be no. Ears (and the brains behind them) are good at judging aesthetics of an aural performance based on an aesthetical framework, just as eyes (and the brains behind them) are good at judging the aesthetics of a visual performance based on an aesthetical framework. But they are no better at judging authenticity of a pronunciation in a language that has no native speakers in two millennia than eyes are at judging authenticity of works of visual art.
By the way, in case your pre-wiring is still jangling that I am baring my teeth, let me again say that all my comments are strictly made for the purpose of having a stimulating intellectual discourse, and I absolutely am not baring my teeth at you and am not attacking you in any way. (Be not afraid.
In reference to the previous posting, well said, Peter.