Reading old Greek (was: kudos (was: most looked-up words))
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Friday, December 10, 2004, 7:11|
On Thursday, December 9, 2004, at 09:36 , Philip Newton wrote:
> On Thu, 9 Dec 2004 07:30:58 +0000, Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:
>> system used in Brit schools of the 19th & early 20th centuries is well
>> known; basically, you mentally transcribed it into Roman letters, so to
>> speak, and pronounced it like English!
>> So, for example, _nous_ "mind, intellect" was pronounced /naws/ and
>> "ship" was pronounced /nO:s/ and _kudos_ was pronounced /kju:dOs/.
> Ouch! Reminds me of a Frenchman I met in Greece who had studied a
> little Ancient Greek and tried to convince me that back then, the verb
> ending -euw was pronounced /2o/. (And of my [English] father, whose
> one Greek word is /hoU b&zI"lus/.)
> OTOH, I pronounce all Greek the same way as well -- with Modern Greek
So do I :)
It is at least *Greek*
> I'm sure that there are enough classicists who will
> shudder at /En arCi in o lOGOs, k_jE o lOGOs in prOs tOn TEOn/ and
> /patEr imOn o En tis uranis, ajiasTito tonoma su/.
Probably - but to read the opening verses of John's Gospel or the Pater
Noster in te pronunciation of 5th cent BCE Athens is not exactly correct!
There are two main problems as I see it in using ancient pronunciations:
- one should change according to dialect and time (Who does that?)
- we do not know all the details. What is the point to great lengths to
make sure you always distinguish between, say, [k] and [k_h] in all
environments when we do not know exactly how the pitch accent was
Indeed, we know where the pitch accent was placed only for Homeric, Attic
& Aiolic Greek IIRC. I know that texts in, say, Doric are conventionally
printed with diacritics - but that is what it is, _convention_ based on
IME (quite a long one) those that use a reconstructed ancient
pronunciation actually have it modified, usually quite a bit, to suit
their L1 habits and certainly use something that would probably be
unrecognizable to most of the ancients.
I think it is important for a proper understanding of ancient metrics etc
to know the _theory_ of the reconstructionS [plural] for the different
varieties of Greek - but for practical purposes I use the current Greek
Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight,
which is not so much a twilight of the gods
as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]