The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
Nathan Binns
Posts: 9
Joined: January 6th, 2015, 5:10 am

The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by Nathan Binns » May 17th, 2020, 9:06 pm

HI everyone,

It's been a while since I posted anything on here! Hope you all have been blessed in the last couple of years. What has brought me back is I am curious to get people's opinions on a new pronunciation scheme for Koine Greek that has been put forward recently by classicist/latinist Luke Ranieri, which he has called the 'Lucian' pronunciation (after the 2nd century Greek writer). Unfortunately I don't know NEARLY enough about Greek to be able to give a constructive review of its strengths or weaknesses so I thought I would share it here and see what you guys think.

He gives the details of his system (and explains respectfully why he thinks it's a more useful system than Dr. Buth's) in this article here, plus has a youtube video about it (in English) here, and a lecture on the history of Greek pronunciation to 500AD (in Latin) here.

I would love to hear your thoughts!
0 x



Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2906
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 18th, 2020, 12:43 am

It's generally well-researched (or at least it fits with my research), but it makes a lot of fine phonetic distinctions that are largely out of the competence of L2 American speakers. For example I can barely hear and am not sure I can produce the palatalization of κ. I suspect that most Americans will be largely unable to follow their recommendations, except for those who are good with accents. The first priority is getting the phonemic distinctions right, which is where American Erasmanian (and to a lesser extent other nativized Erasmians) pronunciations fail. In any case, I've thought for a quite a while that the second-century AD is a good goal for the pronunciation, and I'm pleased to see it here.

There are some differences with Buth, most notably over the pronunciation of αι and οι. I'll let him defend them.

Although I find the pronunciation of ancient Greek fascinating, I'll make a political note. Under that rubric, they note the congruence of their system with speakers of Modern Greek, but none of these abandonments of Erasmanian are likely to get any traction among classicists and as a result they will contribute to the ever-widening divide between classical and NT scholars.
1 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

RandallButh
Posts: 1048
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by RandallButh » May 18th, 2020, 4:35 pm

Briefly, the λουκιανὴ προφορά is a serious endeavor and moving in the right general direction.

But two general points seem misguided:

1. Λουκιανή focusses on subphonemics, sounds that do not differentiate meaning. I addressed many of these in footnotes in various places. Yes, π, τ, κ should be pronounced as non-aspirated "Spanish p, t, k", that is, in a non-gringo manner. And yes, there were people running around who fricativized φ, θ, χ, probably more Aegean, and those who aspirated these as gringo-versions of p,t, k. However, in teaching second language learners one can suggest control of subphonemic [non-meaningful] items, but it is not usually good practice to DEMAND such. Language learners are not usually corrected unless a phoneme boundary is crossed and meaning is compromised.
So, yes, in the authors' terms I am "guilty" of permissiveness. He said he didn't understand my permissiveness, so maybe we have a difference of personality and pedagogical emphasis.

2. The Λουκιανή system misses the merging of length in the Koine system. αι=ε, οι=υ, ω=ο, ει=ι, along with its effects on dipthongs ευ, αυ, ηυ and the accent system. The great Greek vowel-shift was apparently triggered by EI=I: and driven by a loss of length.
This point 2 has a small caveat. Ancient academics were aware of length and preserved it in some schools. But the populace had merged long and short vowels all around the Mediterranean. Length dropped out of the system post-Alexander. Read the Jewish catacomb inscriptions [οδε κιτε ΑΒΓ "here lies so-and-so" ωδε κειται ΑΒΓ] in the West, and the Babata texts in the Judean desert in the East. When someone walked out into the street from the academy, they had to understand Greek that no longer contained phonemic length, with all that that entails.

PS: It is also interesting that they have named their system "Lucian." Lucian wrote at the end of the second century and is noted for being extremely witty as well as "high register." I've enjoyed many a good story that he has passed on. His "True Story/History" is one of the first sci-fi short stories, replete some full Athenian Greek, in the height of the Second Sophistic. He would be a good choice for an artificial high-register pronounciation scheme. In fact, I think that Lucian wrote the Syrian Goddess. A great read where we have a 2-3c author writing an artificial Herodotian/Ionic Greek. When we run our 9-mo. Greek ulpan/σχολη in ἐν τοῖς ᾽Ιεροσολύμοις (2022?), the Syrian Goddess will be the introductory reading to Ionic Greek, just like the epigrams will provide an introduction into full Greek poetry, and Nonnus' Homeric epic-verse rendition of the gospel of John will be the intro to Homeric verse.
2 x

RandallButh
Posts: 1048
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by RandallButh » May 18th, 2020, 4:43 pm

PPS: Ben Kantor, on this list, has been busy collecting all the epigraphical evidence (primarily Judean/Palaistinian) in a data-base for a future book.
He may have something to say on this, too.
0 x

LukeAmadeusRanieri
Posts: 2
Joined: May 19th, 2020, 9:33 am

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by LukeAmadeusRanieri » May 19th, 2020, 11:22 am

Thanks so much, Nathan, for sharing our video and article! It's quite enthralling to see how many people are interested not only in revitalizing Ancient Greek as a spoken language, but that they are interested in investigating historical phonology as well.
RandallButh wrote:
May 18th, 2020, 4:35 pm
Briefly, the λουκιανὴ προφορά is a serious endeavor and moving in the right general direction.
Dr. Buth! 😃It's very exciting to have caught your attention, sir. Raphael Turrigiano and I are great fans of your work. As polyglots of many modern languages, we can't imagine one ever attempting to truly read material without having first attained basic fluency. And in your talks and papers, you have correctly insisted that one must learn how to speak in order to be able to read well. The Buth Koine Pronunciation is an excellent vehicle to achieve that, as demonstrated by Ben Kantor at KoineGreek.com and many others who have used your system to great effect. Buth Koine Pronunciation is elegent, simple, and close enough to Modern Greek to help potentially bring in more living Greeks.
So, yes, in the authors' terms I am "guilty" of permissiveness. He said he didn't understand my permissiveness, so maybe we have a difference of personality and pedagogical emphasis.
Actually, ὦ κύ̄ριε μου, I was critiquing my own permissiveness, hehe, not yours. Before collaborating with Raphael, I was playing around with something a bit more archaic than Buth Koine Pronunciation, but I wanted both /f/ for φ and /au̯/ for αυ, which as we know is an extremely unlikely coaeval historical development. And then Rahpael helped guide me back to the intermediate stages of both phonemes, which we decided was preferable for Standard Lucian Pronunciation. But our Evolved Variant of Lucian Pronunciation in most respects is virtually identical to Buth Koine Pronunciation; they dovetail together nicely I think.

The only recommendation we suggested was that palatalization, which you excellentely demonstrated to have been incipient quite early (I am currently thinking it was common back into the Classical period), ought to be applied not just to γ before front vowels, but to all velars. If that is added to it, then Koine Buth Pronunciation becomes completely historically valid in my opinion at least for Late Koine and much of the Byzantine era, plausibly even representing the sound of at least some speakers back to the year 1 AD (or even much before!).
2. The Λουκιανή system misses the merging of length in the Koine system. αι=ε, οι=υ, ω=ο, ει=ι, along with its effects on dipthongs ευ, αυ, ηυ and the accent system. The great Greek vowel-shift was apparently triggered by EI=I: and driven by a loss of length.
This point 2 has a small caveat. Ancient academics were aware of length and preserved it in some schools. But the populace had merged long and short vowels all around the Mediterranean. Length dropped out of the system post-Alexander. Read the Jewish catacomb inscriptions [οδε κιτε ΑΒΓ "here lies so-and-so" ωδε κειται ΑΒΓ] in the West, and the Babata texts in the Judean desert in the East. When someone walked out into the street from the academy, they had to understand Greek that no longer contained phonemic length, with all that that entails.
To give you an idea of where I come from, I specialize in Latin phonological changes across the centuries (q.v. my talk on Latin and Greek changes from 500 BC to 500 AD https://youtu.be/c_Giy_LHAlU , which is on the whole surface level but fun). And thanks to the research by J.N. Adams, we know when the Latin phonemic vowel quantity starts to erode (1cAD Pompeian incriptions show final syllable open long vowels shortening) until the system is mostly gone for all speakers (around 5cAD). By coincidence, or by cross-pollination of a sort, Latin and Greek evolve remarkably in step, showing evidence of /β/ or /v/ both in the 1cAD, and both seem to lose their phonemic vowel quantities during the Western Roman Empire.

Because of the elegance and simplicity of the Buth Koine Pronunciation, I am very much tempted to accept its validity even as early as you posit here, specifically than phonemic vowel length had dropped out after Alexander the Great. But this cannot be reconciled, I'm afraid, with the borrowings of Greek words into Old Latin (300 to 100 BC) and later into Classical Latin (100 BC to 200 AD). The Roman ear demonstrates particular sensitivity to vowel changes in Greek. For example, Latin cōmoedia < κωμῳδίᾱ — this word was first used in the time of Plautus (pre-Classical or Old Latin) and retained to the present day in spoken Latin, whereas later rhapsōdus < ῥαψῳδός was borrowed later. The loss of the long diphthongs based on these sorts of spellings is placed at 150 BC to 50 BC.

But the constant is that Greek words borrowed into Latin retain the same phonemic vowel lengths as they did in the contemporary Greek. If Romans were merely slavishly imitating Classical Attic or 4cBC authors, then they would have retained the long diphthongs too. But that's not the case. Moreover, Classical Latin grammarians frequently compare Latin long vowels and dipthongs to the Greek ones, including αε and οι. The 2cAD Latin tombstone inscription "foinix" < φοίνιξ shows that the inscriber there adopted the contemporary /f/ or /φ/ sound of φ, but the vowel is not written y, which we would expect in a merger. Was this Latin ingraver hearing /øy̯/ or /øː/? It could be either. But οι and υ were not the same sound for him. And moreover, that sepulchral inscription was written in verse, so we know it had a heavy weight — it was a long vowel. What of αι as /ɛː/ ? Absolutely! I can confirm that Latin ae was also pronounced /ɛː/ by many Romans in the Classical Latin Period, and as common as it was, it was not the only dominant pronunciation as evidenced by descendents into the Romance languages. So from my investigations I see Latin ae and Greek αι behaving as either diphthong or monophthong, and these differences must have been diatopic, diaphasic, or any number of possibilities. The point I would emphasize is that we as modern revivalists get to choose from either for historical reconstructions over a broad span of a few centuries. Our Evolved Lucian Pronunciation, in a yet more Innovative variant, also recommends monophthongs for αι and οι.

You have shown highly compelling pieces of evidence for the losing of phonemic vowel length during the Koine Period, but οδε κιτε for ωδε κειται doesn't happen to be one of them, first because ι could be short or long, such as ἀποκρί̄νεται vs ἀπόκρισις, and also because the spelling of ο for ω, just like ε for η and ει before the 403 BC Euclidean spelling reform, was not universal, or so it seems to me based on the usage of Greek orthography in Magna Graecia, where older spelling customs were dominating. And both Greeks and Romans consistently show more attention to vowel quality than quantity when writing, hence the importance of η and ω being introduced because their qualities were sufficiently different from ε ο by the 4cBC, yet α ι υ don't get a similar update (thus it was not an update for the sake of vowel length, but for quality). Classical Latin puns also shows this; Cicero explains why we say nōbīscum and not cum nōbīs because, due to assimilation, cum nōbīs sounds like cunnō bis (!) and therefore is highly offensive to the ear. And as assiduous as the Classical Latin speakers were about vowel length, the long 'i' in no way prevented the listener from hearing the word "bis" with a short 'i'.

But I in no way dispute the idea that phonemic vowel length is disappearing 1cAD-5cAD! Indeed, the very reason the diacritical marks we use today for pitch accent were invented in Alexandria was because the common Egyptian Greek speakers had lost phonemic vowel length — the loss of phonemic vowel length drives the loss of the pitch accent system. Thus, this large population of Greek speakers in Egypt fully justify our speaking Koine without phonemic vowel length, if we choose to do so.

As for pitch accent, the Roman grammarians explain the pitch accent of contemporary Greek with high and low notes in the same way that the Classical Greeks did. Thus I opine that the Greeks with whom the Romans were in contact had pitch accent as well as vowel length (and probably stress accent growing under the pitch accent, as Serbo-Croatian). This in no way elimates the possibility of many millions of Greeks (such as those in Egypt) who had lost these features.

I would be hesitant to say a majority of Greeks had lost geminated consonants, however. Geminated consonants survive in many Greek dialects today. I believe thay should be prescribed in the pronunciation of any form of Ancient Greek.

My conclusion based on the contradictory evidence is that the some Greeks retained phonemic vowel length and others did not, some retained pitch accent and others did not. I don't think it's an either-or situation.

When we have ample evidence of every type of sheet music for voice from the Roman Empire with both pitch accent and phonemic vowel length as well as geminated consonants, such as the 2cAD epitaph of Seikilos whose piece I do a rendition of here (do forgive my mediocre singing voice!)
https://youtu.be/AL9KQ-trY00 — it then seems reasonable to prescribe the teaching of phonemic vowel length as we do for Latin literature of the same period, because otherwise we are robbed of the intended sound of Greek poetry and song. Was such a pronunciation limited to higher registered speakers and composers? Possibly. Since the epitaph of Seikilos was written by common folks, and was meant to be appreciated by common folks who walked by it, I tend to think that the phonemic vowel length question was a diatopic rather that diastratic difference.
PS: It is also interesting that they have named their system "Lucian." Lucian wrote at the end of the second century and is noted for being extremely witty as well as "high register." I've enjoyed many a good story that he has passed on. His "True Story/History" is one of the first sci-fi short stories, replete some full Athenian Greek, in the height of the Second Sophistic. He would be a good choice for an artificial high-register pronounciation scheme. In fact, I think that Lucian wrote the Syrian Goddess. A great read where we have a 2-3c author writing an artificial Herodotian/Ionic Greek. When we run our 9-mo. Greek ulpan/σχολη in ἐν τοῖς ᾽Ιεροσολύμοις (2022?), the Syrian Goddess will be the introductory reading to Ionic Greek, just like the epigrams will provide an introduction into full Greek poetry, and Nonnus' Homeric epic-verse rendition of the gospel of John will be the intro to Homeric verse.
I am pleased you liked the name of "Lucian" ! 😃 Yes, we chose that very deliberately, not only because Lucian flourished in the 2cAD, but because he was probably an L2 Greek speaker like us, and was archaizing. In that way he seems like a great poster-child for us: using as ancient form of an ancient language, foreign speakers of Greek, seeking a join the disparate threads of literature through the centuries. So, if we have erred in our historical phonology, we might be no worse than Lucian who surely also had a a foreign accent when he spoke.

Effectively, we wish to see Lucian Pronunciation replace Erasmian some day, which is unsuitable for historical reconstruction. And we also see future users of Lucian Pronunciation interacting harmoniously with Buth Koine Pronunciation users. Indeed, Lucian Pronunciation's most Innovative Variant is essentially the same as Buth Koine Pronunciation, and the Archaic Variants are virtually indistinguishable from Restored Classical Attic. Thus Lucian Pronunciation is designed to be rolled forwards or backwards per the preference of the speaker, in a systematic way that permits access to Ancient Greek literature of all periods — and best of all, permits spoken communication with any other Ancient Greek speaker, no matter which system that person might also use.

Πάλιν, ὦ κύ̄ριε Βουθ, ἐγὼ καὶ Ῥᾱφᾱὴλ ἔχομέν σοι χάριτας πολλά̄ς — we are very flattered you took the time to look at our work, and reiterate our utmost admiration for what you have done and continue to do for Spoken Koine.
4 x

Stephen Nelson
Posts: 67
Joined: April 28th, 2019, 1:51 pm
Contact:

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by Stephen Nelson » May 19th, 2020, 1:20 pm

Personally, I always palatalize velars (velar fronting) before front vowels from force of habit. It was ingrained in me when I learned Russian, which systematically employs contrastive palatalization. The phonetic process of palatalizing/fronting velars is very similar to that of Standard Modern Greek.

When I learned Spanish (after Russian), I had to override the habit of palatalizing/fronting velars,which contributed to a Russian accent (in Spanish) that I eventually managed to jettison. Later on, when I started Greek, I subconsciously mapped my unpalatalized Spanish velars onto Greek (for some strange reason). Eventually, I forced myself to palatalize/front velars before front vowels, conforming to Modern Greek, which required particular focus for the 'soft' (palatal fricative) variant of χ (chi) - [ç].

Coincidentally, that is one of the key features being promoted as part of this new 'Lucian Pronunciation' scheme, which is music to my ears. But, I do wonder why it's considered a 'key feature of most historical Koine'. Is there really evidence for that in inscriptions/texts? Is it described by any Hellenistic grammarians?

Front [k] and back [kʲ] are actually distinct in English as well; albeit a very subtle distinction. At least I think this applies to most accents. So, that really shouldn't present any issues; aside from the fact that English native speakers probably don't notice the difference (as indicated in the comment above). I think the key is the palatalization/fronting of the palatal fricative 'χ' (chi) - [ç] - where English speakers notoriously fail. This tends to grate at the ears of speakers of Standard Modern Greek.

However, Io Manolessou and Nikolaos Pantelidis document several variations of this phenomenon in Modern Greek in great detail in a paper, available on ResearchGate, called 'Velar Fronting in Modern Greek Dialects'. There they confirm a few rare instances where this does not take place: (1) regularly in the dialect of Carpathos (Karpathos) - with variation in individual villages, (2) the dialect of Pharasa in Cappadocia, and (3) four sub-varieties of the dialect of Naxos, with similar phenomena in parts of Crete, Rhodes and other regions. For more details, see the article:

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... k_Dialects

The dominant shift for κ, for example, is to [c] - a palatal stop/plosive. Here's what W. Syndey Allen says about κ Vox Graeca (pg. 17) - in relation to Restored Attic Pronunciation:
κ As in many languages, the precise point of articulation of the velar series may have varied to some extent according to the following vowel, i.e. further forward before a front* vowel and further back before a back* vowel. Such variation would, of course, be non-distinctive and so, by phonemic principles, would not demand symbolization, but would be liable to be indicated if, by historical accident, a symbol happened to be available (cf. VL, pp. 14 f.). Thus in the oldest Attic inscriptions one finds before the vowl o the symbol Ϙ (κόππα), which had represented the Semitic uvular plosize [q] ('qо̄f'): e.g. (pre-550 B.C.) ευδιϙοσ, but ανδοκιδεσ. This practice, however, ceased at an early date, and with the official adoption of the Ionic alphabet in the archonship of Eucleides (403-2 B.C.) the sign no longer existed (except as numeral = 90, where it retained its original alphabetical position between π = 80 and ρ = 100, with various later shapes, [...]). It survived in the west Greek alphabet, and thence as the Q of Latin (cf. Quintilian, i. 4. 9).

There is no evidence in ancient times for the 'palatalized' pronunciation of κ as [kʲ] before front vowels which is normal in modern Greek.
I'm not really sure how we could possibly pick up on this subtle distinction from orthographic evidence. And, it's not clear if kappa was [k̟] or a [c], when it alternated with koppa. So I'm curious what the evidence is for this in Hellenistic Greek. Though I assume it must have become standard at some point in the Byzantine period. And χ (chi) must have followed suit, though Allen is seemingly silent on this point.

I've only heard of 3 other instances of evidence for some kind of palatal allophones of /k/ (not palatalized kappa) before front vowels in AG:
  • Proto-Greek: /kj/ > *tʃ > ts > tt, ss - i.e. φυλάκ-jω > φυλάσσω (Attic - φυλάττω)
  • Arcadian "tsan" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_(lett ... %22tsan%22
  • Greek transliteration of Persian č as a palatalized stop (tau, not kappa) - Tissaphernes, Persian Čiθrafarnah.
0 x

Raffaele1617
Posts: 2
Joined: May 22nd, 2020, 9:53 am

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by Raffaele1617 » May 22nd, 2020, 10:32 am

Stephen Nelson wrote:
May 19th, 2020, 1:20 pm
There is no evidence in ancient times for the 'palatalized' pronunciation of κ as [kʲ] before front vowels which is normal in modern Greek.
Hi there Stephen! This is Raphael. So, this is technically not wrong - to my knowledge, there is no direct ancient evidence of /k/ specifically being realized as [c] before front vowels. However, there is significant evidence of other velar sounds being palatalized before front vowels, such as the insertion of γ before /i/, presumably representing a palatal fricative [ʝ].

Given that palatalization seems to affect velars in Greek uniformly as a class, and given that there is evidence where you expect to see it of this palatalization, the fact that there is no such evidence specifically for κ doesn't mean much, I think.

It's also worth pointing out that palatalization of velars seems to begin affecting Latin in the first few centuries AD, in the period of most intense contact between Latin and Greek. This and a few other shifts that happen in both languages simultaneously seems to indicate a period of linguistic convergence.
1 x

Shirley Rollinson
Posts: 346
Joined: June 4th, 2011, 6:19 pm
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by Shirley Rollinson » May 23rd, 2020, 10:56 am

Raffaele1617 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 10:32 am
Stephen Nelson wrote:
May 19th, 2020, 1:20 pm
There is no evidence in ancient times for the 'palatalized' pronunciation of κ as [kʲ] before front vowels which is normal in modern Greek.
Hi there Stephen! This is Raphael.
- - - snip snip - - -
Dear Raphaele1617,
How about introducing yourself to us ?
Thanks,
Shirley Rollinson
0 x

RandallButh
Posts: 1048
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by RandallButh » May 23rd, 2020, 12:07 pm

You have shown highly compelling pieces of evidence for the losing of phonemic vowel length during the Koine Period, but οδε κιτε for ωδε κειται doesn't happen to be one of them, first because ι could be short or long, such as ἀποκρί̄νεται vs ἀπόκρισις, and also because the spelling of ο for ω, just like ε for η and ει before the 403 BC Euclidean spelling reform, was not universal, or so it seems to me based on the usage of Greek orthography in Magna Graecia, where older spelling customs were dominating.
Sorry for the delay in comment. We all have other commitments.

The quote (οδε κιτε "here lies") does, in fact, demonstrate merged/dropped length. First, ε is short while the etymological vowel αι was long. This cannot be attributed to pre-Euclidian spelling from 500-700 years (!) earlier because E was used for long-E ("proto-eta") not AI. Secondly, once ε demonstrates the drop of length, the  o for ω and ι for ει become confirmatory, a preponderance of evidence for this particular sentence.

Let me add a caveat on etymological spellings. There was a learned/scholastic attempt to set/teach some spellings in the Koine period, like ει for etymological long ι and ι for etymological short ι. These were not always followed, of course, but more telling is that they also confused the etymological roots of words with long ι, like *αποκρεινεσθαι. This was an artificial stop-gap. Etymology is also powerful and can explain why people would spell (and sometimes even choose) spellings like ph when they were saying f, or would write with different vowels even when sounded the same. This means, practically, that once a change takes place, the continued "correct" spelling no longer means that the old pronunciation was continuing. The Judean Desert Greek texts (c 130CE) show both etymologically correct texts and totally length-less popular texts. We can see how the scribes were taught, but we can also see how y poly were speaking (οι πολλοι). In the first century Land of Israel (Matt2.20-22, soon to become Palaistina in the 2ndCE), the people were speaking Koine Greek without length. Even imperial inscriptions like the "Nazareth" edict/rescript point in this direction with such delightful spellings as τύνβους [2 tomb], ἀμετακεινήτους [5 -κιν- unmoved], ἐπιδίξῃ [6 -δειξ- would prove, surely inconsistent with line 5 and even accented], ἐξερριφφότα [9 -ιφο- thrown away], δώλῳ [10 δο- with guile, ω for accented short], θρησκ-κίας [16–17 –κκί- devotion], τειμᾶν [18 -τιμαν to honor, Koine spelling rule for EI], μετα-κεινῆσαι [19-20 -κι- to not remove, Koine spelling rule}. The phonology clearly reflects a Greek that was no longer using length phonemically. The only way out would be to question the authenticity of the inscription, sometimes attempted (“Since its original publication in 1930 by M. Franz Cumont, no scholar has published evidence to disprove its authenticity. Clyde Billington of Northwestern College has dated it to A.D. 41 and interpreted it as evidence for the historicity of Christians preaching the resurrection of Jesus within a decade of His crucifixion.”). And the phonology is confirmed with our Dead Sea Greek.
.
ΠΕΙΛΑΤΟΣ in NT texts adds another minor twist. Our old texts tended to write with PEILATOS, which demostrates the learned Koine spelling rule, reflecting the etymological long-I in Latin. However, the NT textual tradition was later regularized around PILATOS, which appears to be an etymological correction to Latin. And so it stayed until Westcott and Hort tried writing according to older manuscripts in their first edition.
1 x

Stephen Nelson
Posts: 67
Joined: April 28th, 2019, 1:51 pm
Contact:

Re: The 'Lucian Pronunciation' of Koine Greek

Post by Stephen Nelson » May 23rd, 2020, 3:32 pm

Raffaele1617 wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 10:32 am
[...] there is significant evidence of other velar sounds being palatalized before front vowels, such as the insertion of γ before /i/, presumably representing a palatal fricative [ʝ].

Given that palatalization seems to affect velars in Greek uniformly as a class, and given that there is evidence where you expect to see it of this palatalization...
There may have been a tendency towards uniformity. But doubt this this is consistent across space and time. I imagine there may have been exceptions.

If you get a chance to look at the study I cited above by Io Manolessou and Nikolaos Pantelidis, it documents a dizzying variety (in modern Greek dialects) with respect to velar fronting, which is extremely widespread - but not ubiquitous. Here's are some key excerpts (emphasis added):
A preliminary observation is that fronting need not affect all four velar consonants. As already described by Newton (1972b: 127-128), fronting is defined by an implicational hierarchy k > g > x > ɣ. This means that if a dialect does present velar fronting, this will first affect stops and then fricatives, with [ɣ] always being the least frequently affected. Furthermore, when fronting goes beyond type 1, all affected consonants usually belong to the same “type”.
[...]
Similarly, the Greek dialects of South Italy also display palate-alveolar fronting of type 2 (Rohlfs, 1977: 32-34; Katsoyannou, 1995: 115-117; Coutsougera and Katsoyannou, 2011: 63- 64), and again Romance influence is possible but not necessary. Only [k] seems to be affected regularly by fronting, while [g] is fronted only in some cases, and [x ɣ] never. Velar fronting in S. Italian Greek is not attested before the 19th c.
[...]
In the Peloponnese, fronting affects only the velar stops.


This illustration gives a great snapshot of the current diversity:
Velar fronting.png
Velar fronting.png (94.21 KiB) Viewed 148 times
I think we can all acknowledge that Ancient Greek was no more monolithic than Modern Greek with respect to dialects and accents. At the end of the day, we're forced to restrict our examination to a small sample of texts produced by a small minority of literate people.
0 x

Post Reply

Return to “Greek Language and Linguistics”