Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby RDecker » June 12th, 2011, 5:56 pm

I've tried to compile a simple chart showing the major differences between (some form of) Erasmian pronunciation and "Restored Koine." I've not worked much with the restored koine proposal (i.e., in actually using it), so I'd be grateful for any feedback/correction in how I understand it. My goal is to make the difference intelligible to beginning students who do not have a linguistics background (i.e., 99% of the students I teach!), so I've tried to put it into common English examples without using IPA and other linguistic jargon (as my students would view it). I'm not interested in debating the Erasmian end of things here (Randall has pointed out some issues in that regard in another post in this forum), but in understanding the restored Koine side of the ledger. (The italicized letters in the right hand column of the graphic are how I understand Restored koine to work.) Any comments, suggestions, help?

RestoredKoine.png
Chart of simple English version of Restored Koine
RestoredKoine.png (49.83 KiB) Viewed 1730 times
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby David M. Miller » June 12th, 2011, 10:47 pm

I'll let Randall comment on the details of your chart. (At first glance, the main difference seems to be your rendering of υ and οι as 'oo' in 'book' instead of German ü or 'ew' in 'mew'.)

For the sake of comparison, I am uploading a handout I put together a few years ago that attempts to make "Reconstructed Koine" comprehensible to English-only students. This post links to a higher resolution pdf, as well as recordings, including a Reconstructed Alphabet song: http://gervatoshav.blogspot.com/2008/08/reconstructed-koine-greek-pronunciation.html.
Attachments
Koine Alphabet Handout.png
Koine Alphabet Handout
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby Charlie Johnson » June 13th, 2011, 12:50 pm

Here is a chart with audio links. You could direct your students here. http://www.biblicalgreek.org/grammar/at ... ction2.php
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby RandallButh » June 19th, 2011, 4:05 pm

I guess I found the Erasmian chart above a little confusing.

"alphabet". My dialect of English says "ae" [low, front vowel] for "alphabet", which is not a recognized Erasmian or Koine pronunciation for me. There should not be any difference between Erasmian and Koine for 'alpha'. Say, "aahh".

"zoo"? Koine uses the equivalent of English "z" here, so there wouldn't be a difference, if someone actually used "z" as Erasmian.

"optimum" for o-micron? Ouch! I pronounce "optimum" with the same sound as alpha "aahh". That mixes alpha and omicron in what would best be avoided in the next generation. There is no reason to perpetuate this.

u-psilon as "ulcer"? In English I pronounce this with a centralized shva-sound "duh". In Koine and standard Erasmian it is the German or French "umlaut"-u sound, so there shouldn't be any difference here between Erasmian and Koine, but "ulcer" should not be chosen as an example word for either.

"obey". There shouldn't be any difference here, either, between this Erasmian and Koine, though in reconstructed-Attic Erasmian, the o-mega is more of an "awe" sound.

"weight"? I pronounce the vowel of "weight" and "ape" the same. Fortunately, here the Koine is distinct. ει is not pronounced the same as η in Koine.

"oi" is the same as u-psilon in Koine, the rounded "umlaut-u" sound of French and German. See comment on "ulcer" above.

"ou" should not have any difference between Erasmian and Koine.

I am not sure that "non-technical" has clarified things.
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby RDecker » June 19th, 2011, 9:11 pm

My responses interspersed. I appreciate your help Randall. At the least I want to represent your restored Koine correctly.

Post by RandallButh » June 19th, 2011, 4:05 pm
> I guess I found the Erasmian chart above a little confusing.

It probably would be for a linguist! :) But typical American students, at least in my classes, can't relate to the descriptions of the linguists! "Low front vowel," "centralized shva-sound," etc. mean nothing to them. I'm more interested in getting your koine correct than the Erasmain end of things, though I hear you on some of those items here as well.

> "alphabet". My dialect of English says "ae" [low, front vowel] for "alphabet", which is not a recognized Erasmian or Koine pronunciation for me. There should not be any difference between Erasmian and Koine for 'alpha'. Say, "aahh".

OK, "say aahh" is probably better; I was trying to simplify too much and keep the letter name related to the sound.

> "zoo"? Koine uses the equivalent of English "z" here, so there wouldn't be a difference, if someone actually used "z" as Erasmian.

I've seen quite a bit of diversity on this one. Some insist on "dz" others only "z" (all professing Erasmian). I happen to use just "z" and I've read/heard quite a few others who do the same.

> "optimum" for o-micron? Ouch! I pronounce "optimum" with the same sound as alpha "aahh". That mixes alpha and omicron in what would best be avoided in the next generation. There is no reason to perpetuate this.

So what do you understand to be the "canonical" Erasmian pronunciation of omicron and is that the same or different in Restored Koine? I've heard you pronounce it "Oh-micron," but none of the Erasmian teachers I've ever heard do so.

>u-psilon as "ulcer"? In English I pronounce this with a centralized shva-sound "duh". In Koine and standard Erasmian it is the German or French "umlaut"-u sound, so there shouldn't be any difference here between Erasmian and Koine, but "ulcer" should not be chosen as an example word for either.

It does an American student no good to tell him to use a German or French pronunciation that he does not know and has never heard. If we can't approximate it in English, then technical precision will be sacrificed (in my system!) for pedagogical purposes. Yes, a teacher could pronounce that sound for them, but how can it be represented in printed English using standard English words and sounds? Is the "oo" in "book" good enough? (I'd rather have an English word with "u" with the right sound...)

>"obey". There shouldn't be any difference here, either, between this Erasmian and Koine, though in reconstructed-Attic Erasmian, the o-mega is more of an "awe" sound.

OK, so are you saying that my using "book" for Restored Koine" is not correct? (That's the sort of thing I'm really asking for in this post.) Would you accept "obey" as accurate for Koine?

> "weight"? I pronounce the vowel of "weight" and "ape" the same. Fortunately, here the Koine is distinct. ει is not pronounced the same as η in Koine.

So is my "ski" accurate for Koine?

>"oi" is the same as u-psilon in Koine, the rounded "umlaut-u" sound of French and German. See comment on "ulcer" above.

>"ou" should not have any difference between Erasmian and Koine.

So which English sound best represents this? soup? hoop? boot?

>I am not sure that "non-technical" has clarified things.

Perhaps not. But my intention is to express your Koine pronunciation accurately with ordinary English sounds (as closely as we can) without using foreign letters or linguistic jargon (as my students perceive it). If you can endue such "foolishness" long enough to enable me to represent you accurately, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks.

Rod
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby MAubrey » June 19th, 2011, 9:49 pm

RDecker wrote:
RandallButh wrote:u-psilon as "ulcer"? In English I pronounce this with a centralized shva-sound "duh". In Koine and standard Erasmian it is the German or French "umlaut"-u sound, so there shouldn't be any difference here between Erasmian and Koine, but "ulcer" should not be chosen as an example word for either.


It does an American student no good to tell him to use a German or French pronunciation that he does not know and has never heard. If we can't approximate it in English, then technical precision will be sacrificed (in my system!) for pedagogical purposes. Yes, a teacher could pronounce that sound for them, but how can it be represented in printed English using standard English words and sounds? Is the "oo" in "book" good enough? (I'd rather have an English word with "u" with the right sound...)


The problem is that English doesn't have the sound. The best thing for you to do here might be to tell them to make as "ee" sound, but round their lips like they do with an "oo" sound while doing it. That's probably a relatively easy way to teach *what* the sound is, but getting people to use it in their speech is going to take far more work. The strength of the so-called "Erasmian" pronunciation is that it was general adapted to the sounds of the first language of whoever was using it. Nobody actually needed to learn a new sound system, they just needed to use the one they already had.
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby jbbulsterbaum » February 15th, 2012, 9:52 pm

Maybe telling them to pronounce 'you' but substituting 'ee' for 'y' and making comparisons to 'ewe'? I think it's reaonable to make some linguistic demands of people learning a new language: even without linguistics under belt. One cannot even evade this learning a language relatively simple as Spanish, in which 'v' at the beginning of a word is a subtle intermediate between 'b' and 'v' in English standard where some air passes through nearly closed, slightly buzzing lips: I had beginner level courses in both high school and college, and in neither did teachers avoid either telling, demonstrating, or demanding we learn such oddities to an English speaker, but normal part of everyday Spanish (in the educated form taught in schools). Such demands and slight, sometimes nigh imperceptible distinctions can add to the allure and interest of a language, and cause folks to pay attention a bit more.
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby RandallButh » February 16th, 2012, 1:47 am

Thank you. Yes, I, too, believe that a few simple tips and changes at the beginning stages of learning a foreign language is part of the overall package and brings a sense of reality to it.

As for u-psilon, we teach it two ways.
English students can hold the vowel from 'tee' with the tongue while rounding the lips for 'ou'
or they can hold the lips from the vowel in a word like 'you' and slowly push the tongue forward until the tip touches the bottom front teeth and the vowel 'sounds funny'. that is their new vowel.
And they should listen to the sounds in the recordings and from teachers. Over-mimicking to the point of seemingly making fun of the sound is also helpful in getting the new mouth muscle positions to be comfortable and speech-quick. Maybe creatively make fun and mispronounce Inspector Clυseau, and his bυmb. Do you smell fυmes? (Pink Panther movies, for those not aware)

And it helps to remember that this is a real language. French and German teachers deal with this every year with new students. The lack of something in English should never be a reason for dropping or avoiding something basic and simple.
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby Jesse Goulet » February 26th, 2012, 2:34 am

English DOES have that sound, in the pronoun "you" and the word "feud" and "fume." It's basically an "oooo" with a "y" at the beginning.
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Re: Restored Koine in nontechnical terms

Postby RandallButh » February 26th, 2012, 4:53 am

Jesse Goulet wrote:English DOES have that sound, in the pronoun "you" and the word "feud" and "fume." It's basically an "oooo" with a "y" at the beginning.


Not.
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