"Speaking" of Pronunciation

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
Yikes,.. I stopped listening as soon as they mentioned the two diphthongs, αὶ
(κόραὶ), οὶ (οἶμοί) --- Lol,---- KORAIE and OYMAYE.. Not to mention that η is pronounced like the English "a."

Basically Erasmian by another name.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Yikes,.. I stopped listening as soon as they mentioned the two diphthongs, αὶ
(κόραὶ), οὶ (οἶμοί) --- Lol,---- KORAIE and OYMAYE.. Not to mention that η is pronounced like the English "a."

Basically Erasmian by another name.
I don't know why you fret so much about this. If you aren't a native Greek speaker, there is little doubt that your speech doesn't sound quite right to those who are. The quality of one's pronunciation has little to do with how well he or she can understand a language, and native speakers are able to tolerate a good deal of phonetic imprecision while still understanding what the speaker intends.
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I don't know why you fret so much about this. If you aren't a native Greek speaker, there is little doubt that your speech doesn't sound quite right to those who are. The quality of one's pronunciation has little to do with how well he or she can understand a language, and native speakers are able to tolerate a good deal of phonetic imprecision while still understanding what the speaker intends.

Is that why Wallace could only communicate with written notes with the native speakers while he was in Greece ? There is "imprecision," and then there is just vicious butcher.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Is that why Wallace could only communicate with written notes with the native speakers while he was in Greece ? There is "imprecision," and then there is just vicious butcher.
Do you think this would make sense to you, if I spoke it to you?
Þâ se ellen-gæst earfoðlîce þrage geþolode, se þe in þýstrum bâd, þät he dôgora gehwâm dreám gehýrde hlûdne in healle;
After all, it is English and mostly applies to you. What's a few hundred years of language change, right?
 

The Real John Milton

Well-known member
Drawing a comparison between old English and Modern English with Koine and Modern Greek is like comparing apples and oranges. English has gone through profound changes over the course of it's history but a modern Greek speaker (especially an academic) will have very little difficulty comprehending Koine, especially simple sentences. Here is some food for thought:

I second Niko Vasileas's answer. Koine doesn't even challenge me. It requires no further effort than an unfamiliar text in modern Greek. There are certainly differences in Grammar (i.e. declination of verbs etc) and some of vocabulary has changed, e.g. words acquiring now meaning. The changes however aren't dramatic i.e. ειμί has become είμαι, η άμπελος has become το αμπέλι. Words that have changed meaning over the years aren't a problem, because the original meaning has often been retained in modern Greek in more formal settings (say in laws). All told there is nothing that a person fluent in Modern Greek can't understand. This means that a lot of school children can't understand it, because just as elsewhere in the world language skills are limited to texting. That is the opposite to older uneducated people who having attended church all their lives can grasp most of the liturgy that is in the original Koine.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Drawing a comparison between old English and Modern English with Koine and Modern Greek is like comparing apples and oranges. English has gone through profound changes over the course of it's history but a modern Greek speaker (especially an academic) will have very little difficulty comprehending Koine, especially simple sentences. Here is some food for thought:
The same comparison could be made with middle English and modern. If it's spoken we'd have trouble understanding it. It is the same for koine and modern Greek speakers. Besides, RJM, how would one who has only studied Koine greek clearly communicate with someone else in the modern world? The vocabulary simply doesn't allow it. You can have the final word, ignorant though I'm sure it will be.
 
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The Real John Milton

Well-known member
I found the following not surprising at all:

David Williams:

Greek speakers have already provided great answers, so I will simply add that my best friend is a native Greek now in the US, and whenever I want an everyday take on a passage I call him and have him read the Koine passage without first reading it in English. He never has a problem with it, always immediately giving a translation in everyday colloquial English, so it must be very close to his native Greek. The previous answers here have personally experienced this as Greek speakers. It seems very close to modern Greek.
 

Gryllus Maior

Well-known member
All I can say is that my experience with native Greek speakers and ancient Greek is quite different. I think a great deal of it has to do with actual experience with ancient Greek, which depends largely on the educational track of the particular speaker, familiarity with biblical texts in Katharevousa, and familiarity with the liturgy (Chrysostom). Some are going to get it better than others. A former fellow student of mine, Maria Pantelia (now at UC Irvine) certainly felt that ancient Greek (including Koine) had to be learned as a different language by modern Greeks, even if at the very beginning levels a modern Greek speaker might have some initial advantages.
 
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