ἡ ὑποπροφορά

ἡ ὑποπροφορά

Postby Mark Lightman » February 6th, 2012, 10:16 am

ἡ ὑποπροφορά is a term that I coined in early 2012 to refer to the pronunciation (προφορά) that lies beneath (ὑπό) one’s pronunciation. For Ancient Greek, the προφορά is the pronunciation scheme (Erasmian, Restored Attic, Buthian, Modern Greek, one’s own mix, et. al.) that one uses. The ὑποπροφορά is the more subtle way that that pronunciation scheme winds up sounding. As I see it, there are three (3) differences between the προφορά and the ὑποπροφορά.


#1 Οne’s προφορά is largely a matter of choice, whereas one’s ὑποπροφορὰ is largely not. An American can decide to speak Ancient Greek with a Modern Greek accent, but, for the most part, he will still wind up sounding like someone speaking Ancient Greek with an American accent. Particularly so to a Native Greek. I remember that Niko A. once commented that John Simon’s fantastic GNT audio at greeklatinaudio.com sounded “unnatural” to him, despite the fact that Simon uses a Modern Greek προφορὰ. I suspect that Niko, who is a Native Greek, was picking up more on Simon’s ὑποπροφορά than on his προφορά.

Somebody once said—I forget who, it might have been Mark Lightman--that the προφορὰ proposes but the ὑποπροφορά disposes. For example, various pronunciation schemes tell you that omicron is pronounced like short “o” in “office” OR like long “o” as in “note.” But, as a practical matter, all sorts of Ancient Greek speakers, Erasmians and MG and Buthians alike, often will pronounce omicron long like “o” as in “note” in open syllables, but like “o” in “office in (some) closed syllables. Really, it depends on the Greek word. Many people, even Modern Greeks, will say ὡ λώγως ἦν πρὼς τὼν θεὰν. (What Buth might call Modern Greek selective Doric Astartism.) Continental Europeans tend to do something similar with eta, like long “a” as in “late” in open syllables, but like short “e” as in pet in (some) closed syllables. (ἡ τες ὑποπροφορᾶς γραφή.) No Greek grammar will tell you to do this, but it happens all the time. Then there is the odd phenomenon of what I call American hypoprophoric final epsilon. Everyone agrees that epsilon should always be pronounced short “e” as in “pet.” But on a few select words like φίλατε many Americans pronounce the final ε like “ay” as in “late.” Why does this happen? Because ὑπὸ τῆς ὑποπροφορᾶς νικᾶται ἡ προφορά.

But the ὑποπροφορά is generally more subtle than how sounds are pronounced. The ὑποπροφορά is how sounds SOUND. One’s ὑποπροφορά consists of whether vowels are glided or clipped, how tonal the speech sounds, how fast words are spoken and which vowels and consonants are fully enunciated. Think about all the people you know for whom English is a second language. Many of these folks pronounce English precisely by the book (προφορἀ) but each of them has a distinct SOUND to their English (ὑποπροφορά.)

#2 For me, at least—maybe it’s just me, but for me at least—when it comes to understanding Ancient Greek, the ὑποπροφορά is a bigger factor than the προφορά. All things being equal, I find Erasmian to be a little easier to understand than MG or Buthian because it is more phonetic and I’m a little more used to it. But I have discovered that it is easier for me to understand a Buthian προφορά with a strong American ὑποπροφορά than it is to understand an Erasmian προφορά with, say, a strong French or British ὑποπροφορά. For me-- maybe it’s just me--the more American hypoprophoric one is—glided vowels, slow pace, no rolled rhos, unstressed short vowels reduced to schwa—the easier it is for me to understand you. Now, I’m not saying that one SHOULD or should ΝΟΤ adopt American hypoprophoric Greek. I have never told anyone how they should speak any language and I never will. All I am doing is expressing the fact that, for me, certain hypoprophorica make a prophora a little easier to understand. And I am talking only on the margins here. I can understand any προφορά not withstanding any ὑποπροφορά, so I have no strong feelings about how you speak Ancient Greek, as long as you do so often, and preferably to me. I am, in short, a descriptive, not a prescriptive, hypoprophorologist.

#3 I lied when I said that there are three differences between the ὑποπροφορά and the προφορά. I can only think of two, and I have already pretty much said everything on this “topic” that I want to. (Can something be ad nauseam the first time you say it?) By the way, what is this obsession with dividing everything into threes? Thus Caesar did with Gaul, thus vaudeville did with stooges. There are TWO ways ὑποπροφορά differs from προφορά.

τὸ τέλος.
Mark Lightman
 
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Re: ἡ ὑποπροφορά

Postby cwconrad » February 6th, 2012, 3:34 pm

Mark Lightman wrote:ἡ ὑποπροφορά is a term that I coined in early 2012 to refer to the pronunciation (προφορά) that lies beneath (ὑπό) one’s pronunciation. ... The ὑποπροφορά is the more subtle way that that pronunciation scheme winds up sounding.


Do you still use it in February of 2012?

Mark Lightman wrote:#1 Οne’s προφορά is largely a matter of choice, whereas one’s ὑποπροφορὰ is largely not. An American can decide to speak Ancient Greek with a Modern Greek accent, but, for the most part, he will still wind up sounding like someone speaking Ancient Greek with an American accent.


This is commonly referred to as a "twang"

Mark Lightman wrote:Somebody once said—I forget who, it might have been Mark Lightman--that the προφορὰ proposes but the ὑποπροφορά disposes. For example, various pronunciation schemes tell you that omicron is pronounced like short “o” in “office” OR like long “o” as in “note.” But, as a practical matter, all sorts of Ancient Greek speakers, Erasmians and MG and Buthians alike, often will pronounce omicron long like “o” as in “note” in open syllables, but like “o” in “office in (some) closed syllables. Really, it depends on the Greek word. Many people, even Modern Greeks, will say ὡ λώγως ἦν πρὼς τὼν θεὰν.


It does seem to become problematic when you pronounce it idiosyncratically and spell it the way you pronounce it. γέγραπται δή· "καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἄδηλον ὁ κάλαμος σημεῖον δῷ, τίς παρασκευάσεται εἰς πόλεμον;" διὸ διαφέρει πάντως ἡ ὀρθογραφία.

Mark Lightman wrote: ... Then there is the odd phenomenon of what I call American hypoprophoric final epsilon. Everyone agrees that epsilon should always be pronounced short “e” as in “pet.” But on a few select words like φίλατε many Americans pronounce the final ε like “ay” as in “late.” Why does this happen? Because ὑπὸ τῆς ὑποπροφορᾶς νικᾶται ἡ προφορά.


πῶς οὖν διαφέρει "νικᾶται" τοῦ "νικᾶτε";

Mark Lightman wrote:Think about all the people you know for whom English is a second language. Many of these folks pronounce English precisely by the book (προφορἀ) but each of them has a distinct SOUND to their English (ὑποπροφορά.)


Of course we make allowances for "twangs" or "accents" -- but there's a point beyond which a "twang" or "accent" passes into the unintelligible, what the Greeks themselves called βαρβᾰρισμός,

Mark Lightman wrote:#3 I lied when I said that there are three differences between the ὑποπροφορά and the προφορά. I can only think of two, and I have already pretty much said everything on this “topic” that I want to. (Can something be ad nauseam the first time you say it?) By the way, what is this obsession with dividing everything into threes? Thus Caesar did with Gaul, thus vaudeville did with stooges. There are TWO ways ὑποπροφορά differs from προφορά.


I suspect that this whole meditation upon ὑποπροφορά derives from the effort to speak with a forked tongue when the left fork is not in tune with the right fork. The sustained effort to speak with a forked tongue may well lead to tongue torque, which does indeed quickly end up ad nauseam. It all comes from having too many tines in your tuning fork. Somewhere in the Republic PLato suggests that education is a matter of getting one's responses into a harmony -- of getting them "tuned." Isn't that the case with pronunciation as well? There is a threshold of intelligibility in the language that is spoken that must be reached if one is to be understood by others. There may be a ὑποπροφορά, but if so there may well be a ὑπερπροφορά as well, and ἡ ὀρθὴ πρᾶξις is "the golden mean."
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
cwconrad
 
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Re: ἡ ὑποπροφορά

Postby RandallButh » February 7th, 2012, 4:29 am

In the real world of multilingual communication the phoneme is the goal. A second language learner needs to practice until they land in the 'phoneme' area of the sound that they are aiming for. Certain broadstrokes can also be 'cleaned up' with lots of good listening, and good imitation. E.g., with practice, the puff of air after 'p' 't' and 'k' can be dropped by Norteamericanos learning to espeak espanish. Probably the most important item for English speakers to practice is to pronounce clear vowels in unstressed syllables. (An etic λωγως is fine and will not have any problems of confusion with λαγας or λαγως 'rabbit')

Practically, that means that the goal of a speaker is to speak 'cleanly'. If everything is inside the phonemic goal of a target language they will be easily understood by other fluent speakers. Difficulties usually arise when the phonemic boundaries are transgressed and those are the boundaries that will and should be corrected by 'caretaker speech' (mother to child, teacher to class [maybe that explains my antipathy to 'lagas' especially since it's unnecessary for English backgrounds]). Different dialects, of course, may also have different phoneme grids, beyond phonetic differences. Contextual redundancy will remove most of these problems for fluent speakers and questions can be asked where unresolvable.

As for ancient Greek and KOINH ELLHNIKH we can only know the phonemes, not the "accentual/twang" phonetics.
-- Except that we can asume that 'pi' 'tau' and 'kappa' were closer to Spanish than English because they were phonemically unaspirated against the aspirates 'phi' 'theta' 'chi'. When 'phi' 'theta' 'chi' became fricatives (during Koine era, resulting in modern Greek and Erasmian 'f' etc., and being pre-Koine for Laconian "sios" 'god') the "emic" statis of the 'unaspiration' of 'pi' 'tau' 'kappa' became less critical but presumably would have remained.

(PS: Carl's ni-ka-te [νικᾶται 'being overcome' vs. νικᾶτε 'you-all overcome'] was handled by context. Speakers must be able to hold a half-dozen words in the head at the same time for subconscious differentiation to take place. Normally the subject is already being partially assumed by the listener so that the correct perception of ni-ka-te will take place at the start. The final vowels AI vs. E is one of the most frequent disagreements/mistakes among ancient scribes of the GNT. Meaning was rarely affected because 'third person' subject vs. 2nd or 1st was usually clear. But some scribes seem to have thought that you'all overcome was νικᾶται or even νεικᾶται [just like Vaticanus always wrote γεινωσκω 'I know'].
Compare א W p66 below for -ται "you all" [a.k.a. -τε]:
[following a υμιν and εμοι in the immediate clausal context John 16:33]

ινα εν εμοι ειρηνην εχητε· εν τω κοσμω θλειψιν εχετε αλλα θαρσειτε --------B-Vaticanus
ινα εν εμοι ειρηνην εχηται· εν τω κοσμω θλειψιν εχεται αλλα θαρσειται --------א-W [p66]
ινα εν εμοι ειρηνην εχητε· εν τω κοσμω θλειψειν εξετε αλλα θαρσειτε --------D

and at Luke 11:22 with νικήσῃ αὐτόν 'would defeat him' we find
νικηση αυτον ---------- B C
νεικηση αυτον ---------- p45 69
νεικησει αυτον ---------- W θ
Rom 12:21 "don't be overcome by the bad but overcome ..."
μη νεικω υπο του κακου αλλα νεικα ---------B [p46 D06*] [ps: in context νεικω is middle imperative, < νεικάου*, not 1s active indicative < νεικάω* ]
μη νικῶ υπο του κακου αλλα νίκα---------most everyone else

we've got to love the scribes, and they did an admirable job.
θαρσειται υμεις, ναι θαρσωμεν)
RandallButh
 
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