Question about Living Koine materials

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
RandallButh
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by RandallButh » November 6th, 2015, 4:57 am

Chris,

Have you read, and possibly re-read, the PDF description of why the system is the way it is, on the biblicallanguagecenter.com website? That would be the place to start and then we can discuss any points aren't clear.

Chris Servanti
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by Chris Servanti » November 6th, 2015, 10:17 am

RandallButh wrote:Chris,

Have you read, and possibly re-read, the PDF description of why the system is the way it is, on the biblicallanguagecenter.com website? That would be the place to start and then we can discuss any points aren't clear.
Sorry i guess I didn't make my question very clear. I understand finding that oi and u might have been the same (I'm not asking how or why there). What I meant was how did you decide in words that have the same phonemes to make different sounds (it seemed like this was by design). For instance: το 'οι' και το 'υ' εχουσιν την φωνην ομοιην ορθως; ουν δια τι εν τοις λογοις 'οικος' και 'σταφυλη' ουκ εχουσιν την ομοιην φωνην; (I wrote that in koine because my keyboard was already there and i wanted a little practice :))

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » November 6th, 2015, 1:04 pm

Chris Servanti wrote: Sorry i guess I didn't make my question very clear.
It's still unclear to me. The same phoneme in speech was represented by several different letters/letter combinations in writing. 'οικος' could be written ικοσ and 'σταφυλη' σταφιλη (or even σταφιλι according to later pronunciation) if the writing system were completely phonemic. What do you mean by "how did you decide in words that have the same phonemes to make different sounds"?

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 6th, 2015, 1:15 pm

Chris, a word in your ear, and not meaning to distract the conversation...
Chris Servanti wrote:την ομοιην φωνην
This type of three-termination adjective ὅμοιος has the accusative feminine singular in alpha as ὁμοίαν. To split hairs, I think the way to refer to the sound of a semi-vowel is by ὁ φθόγγος. You could try τὴν αὐτὴν φωνήν "the same sound" (to stick with your choice of words).
Last edited by Stephen Hughes on November 6th, 2015, 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by RandallButh » November 6th, 2015, 1:19 pm

For Chris' question:
They do have the same sound, if you are referring to the οι in οῖκος and the υ in σταφυλή. They are the same unit, the same phoneme.

However, the accented syllable in οικος may lead some speakers to enunciate its vowel more clearly than the unaccented sound in σταφυλη. And the same is true on the listening side in reverse. The accented syllable will be a smidgin longer and allow for better recognition and differentiation, while the unaccented syllable may be perceived as clipped and the ears may place it into more familiar sound-mapping territory. Sound recognition is actually negotiated in a brain by the sounds themselves and the expectations of what is already internalized of the language itself. It usually takes a significant amount of time for learners of a language to "hear" a new sound system.

There are also natural contours that are placed on any pronunciation by the surrounding letter/phonemes: word initial followed by a velar stop in the one case, and a bilabial/labiodental fricative followed by a lateral sonorant in the other.

For Eeli:
The οι and the υ were a single phoneme (a rounded, high-front vowel), but a separate phoneme from ι (an unrounded high-front vowel).
The ι and ει are the same phoneme, but those symbols and their phoneme were not equal to the phoneme represented by οι and υ.

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » November 6th, 2015, 2:25 pm

RandallButh wrote: For Eeli:
The οι and the υ were a single phoneme (a rounded, high-front vowel), but a separate phoneme from ι (an unrounded high-front vowel).
The ι and ει are the same phoneme, but those symbols and their phoneme were not equal to the phoneme represented by οι and υ.
Yes, a gross mistake by me. What I said would be true for later period where οι and υ were also pronouced like ι. But the idea is still the same. I don't understand what Chris meant because οι and the υ were a single phoneme but he said that at the same time they somehow weren't. That's how I interpreted him.

Anyways, the wikipedia page about Koine phonology is interesting and Chris might find something there.

Chris Servanti
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by Chris Servanti » November 6th, 2015, 3:33 pm

RandallButh wrote: There are also natural contours that are placed on any pronunciation by the surrounding letter/phonemes: word initial followed by a velar stop in the one case, and a bilabial/labiodental fricative followed by a lateral sonorant in the other.
This is kind of what I was getting at; how did you decide that οι before a velar would be closer to an ι and that υ preceded by a labial would be more like ιου/ιυ?
If the goal is to make the words flow more smoothly you definitely win, but at the cost of unpredictability.
And if the goal is to make the words as close to the original sounds as possible, it seems like a wild goose chase, because there's no real way we could know.
And, furthermore, all these decisions are based on a primace that we're not entirely sure of; that being that the phonemes were even inconsistent depending on their surroundings.

(Not trying to attack you're work, it's quite wonderful and pioneering)

RandallButh
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by RandallButh » November 6th, 2015, 6:16 pm

And, furthermore, all these decisions are based on a premise that we're not entirely sure of; that being that the phonemes were even inconsistent depending on their surroundings.
First of all, some good news. Most of the natural sub-phonemic changes happen on their own. No one has to think about them and a person should not try to listen for them. For example, do you hear the difference in the "t" between the word 'table' and 'stable' when you are speaking or listening to English? You should approach Greek the same way.

Sub-phonemic differences are not important because they are not meaningful. If they changed the meaning they would be "phonemes." But sub-phonemic sounds and little shifts don't change the meaning of anything. Only phonemes need to be internalized.

As for being sure that phonemes had different realizations, that is true of every natural language, so there is not much to debate. Insiders to a language usually don't hear or notice sub-phonemic sounds, and outsiders usually do hear the difference if it makes a phonemic difference in their own languages. The main point is to get "in the ball park" with each phoneme. That is what second language users do. If they stay within the boundaries of a phoneme, the native speaker may hear something foreign, but they won't bother to correct anything because they will have heard the correct word. That even happens to me when I visit Greece. I can speak with a Koine οι/υ and the Greeks hear it as their "ι", because that is what they expect to hear in the context/word and I do not wonder into "ε" "α" "ο" or "ου".

Maybe there is a good wiki that will help you understand what phonemes are. I don't have time to look right now.
how did you decide that οι before a velar would be closer to an ι and that υ preceded by a labial would be more like ιου/ιυ?
I don't remember ever deciding such a thing. As explained previously, if you hear that, it is either your ears playing tricks, something to be expected when learning a new language, or else natural adaptations taking place in spoken speech.

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by Louis L Sorenson » November 6th, 2015, 11:38 pm

BTW, the new book, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament, by Constantin R Campbell, Zondervan, 2015, has a chapter on Pronunciation (chapter 9. pp.192-208). Campbell comes to the conclusion that using a Modern or Restored Koine pronunciation is a better choice, and states that over the coming decades, he expects more and more teachers to use a pronunciation that was actually in use at any given time period.

My term for Erasmian is "Spell-Talk." I use and have used for 40+ years spell-talk in English to learn and remember spelling of some words. Some words more than others. I cannot think of what words I currently use spell-talk for when writing English, but here are a couple of examples of learning English spelling via spell-talk: .....opt-ee-own "option" pronounced "op-shun"; con-cor-dance "concordance' pronounced 'con-cor-dunce'; lee-sion "lesion" pronounced "lee-zhun"; Spell-talk can be helpful for learning spelling, but I cannot use spell-talk when I am talking Englsih (my native language), and it does not always match a word. Rough "ro-ugh," Bough "bo-ugh", "bought" "bo-ught"., etc. And when I read English, I do not 'hear' spell-talk, I hear the actual spoken language in my audio loop.So while spell-talk can be helpful in composition, you do not need to use spell-talk to read. There are homonyms in every language. And so language learners learn that the sound ee [i:] in Greek can mean εἰ, εἶ, or ·ει (at the end of the verb) or ἢ (in Modern Greek) or even οι or υ. Context plays an important part. You do not learn to read words as stand-alone units. A reader reads words as one member of a set written in a specific order. Word order and content building bring expectations (hence clarifications/specifications) to the reader. Native speakers seldom struggle with homonyms, unless the content is ambiguous.

So use spell-talk for memorizing spellings and perhaps writing, but when you speak and read, use the actual pronunciation used by speakers of a language.

Chris Servanti
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Re: Question about Living Koine materials

Post by Chris Servanti » November 7th, 2015, 10:12 am

RandallButh wrote:
And, furthermore, all these decisions are based on a premise that we're not entirely sure of; that being that the phonemes were even inconsistent depending on their surroundings.
First of all, some good news. Most of the natural sub-phonemic changes happen on their own. No one has to think about them and a person should not try to listen for them. For example, do you hear the difference in the "t" between the word 'table' and 'stable' when you are speaking or listening to English? You should approach Greek the same way.

Sub-phonemic differences are not important because they are not meaningful. If they changed the meaning they would be "phonemes." But sub-phonemic sounds and little shifts don't change the meaning of anything. Only phonemes need to be internalized.

As for being sure that phonemes had different realizations, that is true of every natural language, so there is not much to debate. Insiders to a language usually don't hear or notice sub-phonemic sounds, and outsiders usually do hear the difference if it makes a phonemic difference in their own languages. The main point is to get "in the ball park" with each phoneme. That is what second language users do. If they stay within the boundaries of a phoneme, the native speaker may hear something foreign, but they won't bother to correct anything because they will have heard the correct word. That even happens to me when I visit Greece. I can speak with a Koine οι/υ and the Greeks hear it as their "ι", because that is what they expect to hear in the context/word and I do not wonder into "ε" "α" "ο" or "ου".

Maybe there is a good wiki that will help you understand what phonemes are. I don't have time to look right now.
how did you decide that οι before a velar would be closer to an ι and that υ preceded by a labial would be more like ιου/ιυ?
I don't remember ever deciding such a thing. As explained previously, if you hear that, it is either your ears playing tricks, something to be expected when learning a new language, or else natural adaptations taking place in spoken speech.
Thanks for the explanation, I'll try to grasp a better understanding :)

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