accents

Is vocalizing the Greek words and sentences important? If so, how should Greek be pronounced (what arguments can be made for one pronunciation over another or others?) How can I write Greek characters clearly and legibly?

accents

Postby Jesse Goulet » October 16th, 2011, 1:52 am

I can't remember who I heard what from, but I hear/read that the three accent marks used to indicate the pitch of the voice. But then I heard that by the Koine time that this then switched to just putting stress on one of the syllables, exactly the way English words are pronounced, no matter what accent is over the syllable. I also heard from someone somewhere that only the acute and circumflex became a stress indicator while the grave meant nothing and could just be ignored. I also heard that all three accents don't mean anything, and for all I can remember, I might have also been told that only the acute indicates stress, while both acute AND circumflex signify nothing.

So which one is it? One thing I do know with confidence is that since the ancient world was primarily oral instead of written, that when they wrote they would write based on what they heard. So if our standard editions of the Greek New Testament contain all three accents in them (and since these editions are intended to reflect what the original manuscripts said), then does this mean that the Greek NT still used the same system of pitch that Classical and earlier Greek had? If not, then why do our standard Greek NTs have them? Why not have just a little apostrophe marker to indicate the stressed syllable like what English dictionaries use, or something like that?
Jesse Goulet
 
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Re: accents

Postby Mark Lightman » October 16th, 2011, 12:02 pm

Jesse (not David) wrote

Why not have just a little apostrophe marker to indicate the stressed syllable like what English dictionaries use, or something like that?


Hi, Jesse (not David)

This is essentially the way texts are printed in Modern Greek, the so called mono-tonic system. To print the Greek New Testament this way, and to write conversational Ancient Greek this way, would make a great deal of sense. I know that the circumflex can be helpful in showing whether a vowel is long or short, but your proposal would make things a lot easier, especially for writing Ancient Greek. Purists may object.

What are your thoughts on getting rid of the smooth breathing?
Mark Lightman
 
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Re: accents

Postby Jesse Goulet » October 16th, 2011, 1:43 pm

Mark Lightman wrote:Jesse (not David) wrote

Ha.

This is essentially the way texts are printed in Modern Greek, the so called mono-tonic system. To print the Greek New Testament this way, and to write conversational Ancient Greek this way, would make a great deal of sense.

Do they have their own Modern version of the Greek NT that uses the monotonic system?

I know that the circumflex can be helpful in showing whether a vowel is long or short, but your proposal would make things a lot easier, especially for writing Ancient Greek.

If I recall correctly, didn't short/long vowels disappear by the Koine period as well? If so, then the circumflex would be useless.

What are your thoughts on getting rid of the smooth breathing?

That's my next question. If Buth is right that rough breathings dropped out by the Koine period so that every vowel was pronounced smoothly, then why do our standard Greek NTs still have them? And why do our Greek NTs have words such as "κατά" whose tau roughens before a rough-breathing vowel? E.g. "...καθ' ὑμῶν..." if rough breathings dropped out, why not just keep this construction as "κατ' ὑμῶν"?
Jesse Goulet
 
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Re: accents

Postby Mark Lightman » October 16th, 2011, 7:27 pm

Hi, Jesse,

Do they have their own Modern version of the Greek NT that uses the monotonic system?



That's a good question. I have this text

http://www.orthodoxmarketplace.com/bibles/greek-modern/isbn-9607847172-tgv-anc-greek-wedding-edition-parallel-nt-leather.html

which has, on facing pages, the Koine Greek New Testament and a Modern Greek "translation," The Koine GNT uses the regular accents, while the Modern Greek rendering uses the monotonic system. I have several other Koine GNT's that are published in Greece, and none of them use the modern monotonal system with the ancient text. I don't know if such a thing is available. It seems this would be useful for some Modern Greeks who never learned the old system with circumflexes and graves, but maybe it is assumed that anyone who wants to read the Ancient text needs to learn this system. The old system is not really hard to read, but I think on a subconcious level it slows one down a bit, and it is cumbersome to reproduce in typing.

I believe that a montonic Koine GNT would be easier on the eye and easier for NT Greek learners to learn to read. The only real argument against NT Greek readers who want to do away with all the diacritical marks altogether (and I'm not quite in that camp) is that one will still want to know which syllable to stress. The monotonic system would do this. People THINK that the rest of the diacritical marks are helpful because that is what they are used to, but I maintain Greek would be easier without them.

If I recall correctly, didn't short/long vowels disappear by the Koine period as well? If so, then the circumflex would be useless.


Even if they didn't, many people today read Ancient Greek with a Modern or Buthian προφορά which largley blurs the distinction between long and short vowels. The diphthong αι is pronounced like the e in pet, which we would call short, and omega and omicron are more or less conflated. The real value of the circumflex is in showing where contraction took place, but I'm not sure this is worth retaining the current system, at least for Koine texts.

That's my next question. If Buth is right that rough breathings dropped out by the Koine period so that every vowel was pronounced smoothly, then why do our standard Greek NTs still have them?


Well, my problem is more basic than that. I personally retain the difference between rough and smooth breathings in speaking Greek, but all I am saying is, in printed texts, retain the rough and get rid of the smooth. I've made the point that in many places on line and in small printed texts, one cannot even tell if a mark is smooth or rough, whereas if you got rid of the smooth, it would be EASIER to make that distinction.

We've discussed stuff like this before on the old B-Greek, but not (yet) to the point of nausea.
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