Koine (was: [T] -> [f] etc.)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, October 8, 2003, 17:37|
On Tuesday, October 7, 2003, at 07:24 , John Cowan wrote:
> Mark J. Reed scripsit:
>> But what do you mean by "an English Koine"? I thought
>> Koine was Greek.
Yep - the word is Greek; it means "common". But it was not a Greek
> A koine is a language variety that results from a fusion of dialects,
> taking some features from each. Koine Greek is the prototypical koine;
Yes - but not so much features from other Greek dialects as features from
the L1s of the speakers of the Koine. By the 4th cent. BCE, the Greek of
attained pre-eminence. The Koine is basically Attic Greek, without some
Attic features, e.g. most Greek dialects had 'thalassa' = "sea" - the
Attic 'thalatta' was
felt too provincial. But diaects like Doric had practically no impact on
Koine. It was
an internationalized Attic-Ionic Greek and never unified. And, as an
it was affected by speech habits of the original* L1s of the areas where
it was used.
*Koine Greek was often adopted by the 2nd or 3rd generations in many areas,
but might retain local coloring from the displaced L1.
> Yiddish is essentially the modern descendant of a koine of Middle
> High German dialects, mixed with Slavic and Hebrew.
Yep - basically Middle High German with influences from other languages
used by Ashkenazi Jews.
Koine has now become a common noun to denote (I quote Chambers English
"any dialect which has spread and become the common language of a larger
In the modern world, English is the L1 of about a quarter of its
population but, especially since mid 20th century, it has become, for weal
or woe, the de_facto auxlang of a large part of the world and a process of
koinization seems to me to be taking place.
> On Tuesday, October 7, 2003, at 10:18 , Mark J. Reed wrote:
> Thanks! Does it have to be a natural fusion? Or is an intentional
> fusion -
> a language variety specifically designed to be as "neutral" as possible -
> also a Koine?
The Greek Koine was a natural development as the language became an
international medium. In the process, it did become neutral.
Koines (koinai??) develop through natural process and efforts of
grammarians etc. to keep the language in a straight jacket have generally
had little effect.
> On Tuesday, October 7, 2003, at 07:34 , Joe wrote:
> I doubt there ever will be an English Koine. We'll simply stick with
> English fro mthe 20th century, I think, until it becomes obvious that that
> fails to represent any of the Englishes at all.
Which 20th century English? When the century began the English of the US
and of Britain and of the various Dominions, Colonies etc of the British
Empire, had differences. Foreigners would invariably be taught RP British
The Empire has long gone; foreigners are far more likely to be taught
general American English. And everywhere the English at the close of the
century was different from what it was at the beginning.
Language changes, despite the efforts of prescriptivists; and the changes
continue in the early years of this century.
As I see it an English koine, based on Anglo-American has already been
developing over the past half century or more, i.e. it's already here; and
the way it develops is likely to be affected by its L2 speakers as well as
its L1 speakers.