Bombichka wrote:I'm curious if thre are any attempts at reconsctructing koine Greek as pronounced by the time the Gospels were written.
I've heard recitations of Homer and Plato with reconstructed pronunciation, but I've never come across a reconstructed reading of, say, Matthew or Luke.
Bombichka wrote:- I think ther must have been some difference between the [e] with diphthongic provenance (developped from ai) and the [e] which was a continuation of the original epsilon. the former was probably more open
- the second element of au and eu was probably not labiodental, as in Modern Greek (i.e. pronounced with the teeth touching the lower lip) but was probably more like the bilabial Spanish v in vino.
I cannot be 100 % sure it was exactly like that, but I can present arguments why this is probable.
Bombichka wrote:if [e]<[ai] merged with another type of e-sound, it merged with the epsilon, forming an open e, and the eta was the closed e.
I think this was so because it is only natural that an a-sound moving towards e retains some of its former wider pronunciation. for example, the e-sound in French coming from an original Latin a (as in lat. amare - fr. aimer) is pronounced more open than the e-sound from Latin e or i, which, in many cases, has even turned to the so-called "e-muet", pronounces like the u in engl. but (cf. lat pensare - fr. peser).
Besides, I recall reading somewhere there are Modern Greek dialects in which there is a distinction between the e's of diphthongic and of monophthongic origin. I still have to confirm this information, but it sounds convincing to me.
As to the second element of the aw- and ew-diphthongs, it is also natural that it should have passed through a bilabial stage before turning into a labiodental consonant. the same semi-vowel has undergone the same development in Spanish. a proof that something like this also happened in Greek are forms such as the dialectal atos instead of autos, where probably a bilabial v before a silent plosive became itself silent and was later "swallowed" by the speakers of the dialect. Modern Greek emorfos < Ancient Greek eumorphos demonstrates a somewhat similar process.
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