Does pronunciation matter? If so, why?

Benjamin Chandler
Posts: 20
Joined: April 13th, 2017, 2:43 am
Location: Nicholson. Georgia

Re: Does pronunciation matter? If so, why?

Post by Benjamin Chandler » June 21st, 2017, 11:54 pm

Vasile Stancu wrote:
August 31st, 2011, 2:08 am
RandallButh wrote:I still find the term 'majority' opaque and hiding what the priniciples actually are.
I borrowed the term from the concept of 'majority text' related to NT manuscripts. It implies in that case the reading that occurs in a majority of the manuscripts, and I used it to suggest the idea of pronouncing letters/letter associations in such a way as to accomodate the majority of cases found along history.

Consider this collection of words (and there are, of course, countless such cases):

εἰς – εἷς - ἦς – ἧς
(in – one – was (being) – whose (fem))
εἰ – εἶ - ἡ - ἤ - ἦ
(if – you (sg.) are/go – art. fem. – otherwise – I was (being))
ἰδέα - ἡδέα
(form - pleasant)
εἶδεν - ἴδεν - ἦδεν
((s)he saw (attic) – (s)he saw (homeric ionic) – (s)he was devouring)
λέγει – λέγῃ - λέγοι
((s)he says – say (pres. subj. act. 3rd sg.) – (s)he would say)
αὐτοῖς – αὐτῆς
(to them (masc./neut.) – her)
ἡμεῖς - ὑμεῖς
(we – you (pl.))
οἶκον – εἶκον - ἧκον
(house – I was/they were resembling – I was/they were come)
τοῖς – τῆς – τίς
(art. dat. pl. masc./neut. – art. gen sg. fem. – who?)
εἰκῇ - οἰκεῖ - οἰκῇ
(at random – (s)he inhabits)
λιπών – λοιπόν – λοιπῶν
(having left – remaining over – of the remaining over (pl.))
λιπεῖν – λιπῆν – λυπεῖν
(to leave (pres.) – to leave (aor.) – to greave)
λείπω – λίπω
(I leave – I left (subj.))

(1) If I pronounce [ει, η, οι, ι, υ] or [ο, ω] the same way, applying for instance the Modern Greek phonology, I would be doing a disservice to all those words (and to the grammar that stands behind them) that are so much different from one another in meaning, which I would force to sound alike. To what purpose? To be historically in agreement with one particular ('minority') situation found at a certain point in time (?)

(2) If I do indeed pronounce them differently, which I believe could be demonstrated that was the practice at certain moments of time along the history of the Greek language (not for all at the same time though), then I would be in disagreement with those who have already adapted their pronounciation to Modern Greek (for instance) principles.

What to choose? I personally prefer the first case.
Devenios Doulenios wrote:The Greeks themselves disagree with you. They use Modern Greek pronunciation for reading works from all periods of ancient Greek. If that isn't a real Greek solution, I fail to see why.
I agree with you as far as the Greeks of today are concerned; but how about the Greeks of ‘yesterday’? Do you think Plato, for instance, woud endorse that?
I would just like to point out that our own language has the same problems, so I don't think that this would be a valid reason for using Erasmian. As for how Koine was originally pronounced, no one can know %100 unless we find ancient audio recordings. Here's a list of some of the English homophones:

air, heir
eye, aye, I
bare, bear
be, bee
brake, break
buy by
cell sell
cent scent
cereal serial
coarse course
dam damn
dear deer
die dye
fair fare
fir fur
flour flower
for four
hair hare
heal heel
hear here
him hymn
hole whole
hour our
idle idol
in inn
knight night
knot not
know no

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3332
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Does pronunciation matter? If so, why?

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 25th, 2017, 12:19 am

Tongue-in-cheekly, let me say that for English speakers using the restored pronunciation, the choice between pronouncing οι / υ as either /jü/ or /ü/ matters in the pronunciation of φακοί "lentils" (the uncooked peas not φακῆ "lentils" the cooked soup). :o
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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