Textkit Logo

Are you a barbarian?

Here's where you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Are you a barbarian?

Postby 1%homeless » Tue Dec 02, 2003 7:25 am

Seems to me that if you use Attic pronunciation, you sound like a barbarian to Modern Greek folks. I wonder if this is the true consensus of most Attic Greek linguists in Greece? The world mostly agrees with the classical pronunciation, but most linguists in Greece seem to not agree with the rest of the world. Why? What is up with these silly folks? Am I just stereotyping? I’ve listened to Old English and I think it is much more beautiful than current English. I don’t think Old English sounds ‘barbarous’ at all. I wonder if their subjectivity is the reason why they don't agree with the rest of the world. It's interesting, does the rest of the world agrees with us in Old English pronunciation...? Anyways, I'd just like to know what pronunciation you people use for Classical Greek.

Another big question is how many of you attempt pitch accent, rather than stress accent? It's funny that the author of Vox Graeca advises against it; not because it didn't exist, but because it is too complex and blah. Being familiar with two Chinese dialects, I totally disagree with him. Yes, words interacting with each other and other variables do influence the pitch accents, but abandoning tones would be very alien in Attic Greek and would be even worse in Chinese. In Chinese, the tones don’t vary often from their established tones. I'd say even though we would have inaccurate rendering of pitch, it would be more inaccurate to remove pitch accent entirely. Anyone agree with me on this?
User avatar
1%homeless
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:21 am
Location: East Hollywood

Postby mingshey » Tue Dec 02, 2003 7:51 am

Modern greek is beautiful in it's own way. So I think I could understand the greeks. But as a classics fan, not a traveller to greece, I'd keep trying to pronounce the pitch accents plus iota subscript and, if my memory allows, the digamma in the etymology, etc..
User avatar
mingshey
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1332
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2003 6:38 am
Location: Seoul

Postby chad » Tue Dec 02, 2003 10:36 am

i read somewhere that greeks defined hoi barbaroi as those whose language sounded like the bleating "bar-bar" of sheep, i.e. non-greek... is that just an urban myth or is it good etymology?

i agree with u that the pitch accent is worth attempting. i've put a lot of effort into this as well... it's amazing how i had to get on top of grammar, phonology, re/syllabification, tetrachord theory, and the bulk of devine & stephen's "prosody of greek speech" before i could start reconstructing just a few lines of greek... and everytime i learn something new i have to start from the beginning again :)

to show u where i'm up to, i've just now created a temporary website and uploaded my reconstructed Greek classical pronunciation documents. it's just my own work in progress, so i haven't explained everything fully... hopefully u can work it out :)

http://iliad.envy.nu/

in the "Greek Pitch Model" doc i've modelled all the evidence i've seen relating to the relative pitch levels of successive syllables in greek sentences:

the terminology "catathesis" + "anathesis" &c are explained on this site (by Avery Andrews):

http://arts.anu.edu.au/linguistics/Peop ... /pitch.htm

i've started reconstructing the iliad and demosthenes' de corona (on my temp site), just the first few lines/clauses...

the ~ signs in those docs mean that the previous syllable needs to be sustained an extra beat or so (ie long syllables). the grey annots below the lines of greek refer to my pitch model document...

any comments/advice, please post them here or email me. i'd also be interested to hear how others like u 1%homeless are working on the pitch accent! :)

cheers, chad. :)
chad
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 757
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:55 am

Re: Are you a barbarian?

Postby annis » Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:00 pm

1%homeless wrote:The world mostly agrees with the classical pronunciation, but most linguists in Greece seem to not agree with the rest of the world. Why?


Until the 1970s Attic Greek was still the model for written Greek. (Can you imagine having to learn Old English just to read a newspaper?) So most Greeks are probably still quite used to pronouncing classical Greek with modern pronunciation... it was how their read their menus, newspapers and books until quite recently.

(Any Greeks here who lived through Katharevousa? I don't know how close to Attic it was. I gather there was some simplification.)
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Postby Lex » Wed Dec 03, 2003 9:21 pm

chad wrote:i read somewhere that greeks defined hoi barbaroi as those whose language sounded like the bleating "bar-bar" of sheep, i.e. non-greek... is that just an urban myth or is it good etymology?


Hmmmm.... so what sound do Greek sheep make? Or llamas?
I, Lex Llama, super genius, will one day rule this planet! And then you'll rue the day you messed with me, you damned dirty apes!
User avatar
Lex
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 732
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 6:34 pm
Location: A top-secret underground llama lair.

Postby annis » Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:06 pm

Lex wrote:Hmmmm.... so what sound do Greek sheep make? Or llamas?


No comment on llamas, but sheep go [face=spionic]bh/ bh/[/face], or, famously, sometimes [face=spionic]mh/ mh/[/face] - "no! no!" - which sent Ajax into a sheep-slaughtering frenzy in Sophocles' play.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Postby mingshey » Thu Dec 04, 2003 1:33 am

annis wrote:No comment on llamas, but sheep go [face=spionic]bh/ bh/[/face], or, famously, sometimes [face=spionic]mh/ mh/[/face] - "no! no!" - which sent Ajax into a sheep-slaughtering frenzy in Sophocles' play.


HAHAHA, the greeks must had similar sense of humor to us. I once saw such a pun in Plato's Republic(614b).
[face=SPIonic]a)ll ' ou) me/ntoi soi, h]n d' e)gw/, )Alki/nou ge a)po/logon e)rw=, a)ll' a)lki/mou me\n a)ndro/j[/face]
User avatar
mingshey
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1332
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2003 6:38 am
Location: Seoul

Postby 1%homeless » Thu Dec 04, 2003 7:29 am

Thanks for the links chad. Your pdfs look pretty spiffy. Keep up on the good work, that way I don't have to work much. :-)
User avatar
1%homeless
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:21 am
Location: East Hollywood

Postby CRCulver » Fri Dec 05, 2003 4:10 am

One problem is that Greeks want to believe that their modern language is much closer to Koine or Attic Greek than it actually is. Thus they tend to believe that many of the sound peculiarities in current Greek (labiodental beta, three vowels joining together, change of the aspirated consonants) were already present by the time of the founding of the Church. This is plainly not true for a number of aspects of Greek pronunciation.

Because Greek scholars tend to be swayed by nationalist sentiment, Greece actually contributes very little to study of ancient Greek. That's why England, a country remote enough from the situation which has a higher amount of reputable scholars, has been responsible for most of the breakthroughs in Greek philology.
CRCulver
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 1:22 am

Postby chad » Fri Dec 05, 2003 4:17 am

really, england? i thought it was germany for some reason. is it true that the oxford uni press didn't publish accents for years, believing them irrelevant?

if you can recommend a good book on the history of greek philology, i'll definitely hunt it down CRCulver, i'd like to learn a little about it, thanks :)
chad
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 757
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:55 am

Postby demetri » Sat Dec 06, 2003 4:51 am

CRCulver wrote:One problem is that Greeks want to believe that their modern language is much closer to Koine or Attic Greek than it actually is. Thus they tend to believe that many of the sound peculiarities in current Greek (labiodental beta, three vowels joining together, change of the aspirated consonants) were already present by the time of the founding of the Church. This is plainly not true for a number of aspects of Greek pronunciation.


I can't disagree with this assessment. However, modern Hellenes HEAR the pronunciation of Koine spoken as you describe everytime they step into a church. They mostly do not understand the liturgy itself, but the words "sound" right to their ear. No wonder they're confused. (Just as I was 30 years ago in my first Attic Greek class at university.) So, if I may ask a VERY neophyte question, where did the pronunciation scheme we use for Attic/Koine come from? My professor warned me my familiarity with modern Greek would be a detriment; he was correct. ( Let me add, in my confusion, that my paternal grandparents' Pontic Greek sounded much different than what I generally grew up with, albeit in the USA).

Thanks,
demetri
demetri
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:33 am

Postby CRCulver » Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:06 am

demetri wrote:So, if I may ask a VERY neophyte question, where did the pronunciation scheme we use for Attic/Koine come from?


There have been several systems of pronunciation in use, depending on the country. However, they all seem pretty silly now that the reconstructed pronunciation has been reasonably well reached through comparative philology with other Indo-European languages. The old English method, in which long vowels have the same values as in English, is just awful to hear.

I would recommend taking a look at an extremely helpful guide to Ancient Greek phonology at: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/docs/CompPhon.pdf This is written by Carl Conrad, one of the world's foremost experts on (mainly Koine) Greek. All beginning Greek students know that it is important to know approximately how things are properly sounded in order to, for example, conjugate properly things with contracted vowels like "-ao" verbs. Understanding deeply the authentic phonology of Greek is a great help to mastering it, and is a huge boost to other ancient IE languages like Avestan and Sanskrit.
CRCulver
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 1:22 am

Pronunciation

Postby demetri » Sat Dec 06, 2003 12:55 pm

Thank you, CRCulver. This will make good reading on a snowy Saturday. And, yes, I intend (hope?) to extend my study to Lazuri and Mingrelian (definitely unrelated to Greek, but the exercise might help.)
demetri
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:33 am


Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ahab, ariphron, C. S. Bartholomew, daivid, edonnelly, Google Adsense [Bot], Qimmik, y11971alex and 52 guests