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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 dialect so much as.....
> 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 Athens had attained pre-eminence. The Koine is basically Attic Greek, without some peculiarly 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 international medium, 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 spoken or used by Ashkenazi Jews. Koine has now become a common noun to denote (I quote Chambers English Dictionary): "any dialect which has spread and become the common language of a larger area." 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 English. 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. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) ===============================================


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>