Campbell: Advances Chapter 9

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Campbell: Advances Chapter 9

Post by Paul-Nitz »

This thread is for discussing Con Campbell's book, Advances in the Study of Greek (2015) Chapter Nine:

Right up front, the chapter downplays the importance of the choice of pronunciation. The various theories on genesis of the Erasmian pronunciation are given. An explanation of reconstructing pronunciation through misspellings is given. The chapter ends recommending Modern Greek pronunciation, but suggests that Erasmian could also be taught.

Much more could have been said on the pedagogical issue. Maybe, just maybe, for those who follow a pure Grammar Translation approach to Greek (as a code to be deciphered), it’s conceivable that pronunciation does not matter. But it is impossible to learn Greek as a language without pronouncing it in one’s head (phonological loop, phonological store). So, the choice of a pronunciation scheme is important and the choice of something better than Erasmian is, is to me, a given.

The choice between Modern Greek and Restored Koine (Buth) was not presented. Repeatedly, the two were basically equated. Restored Attic was left out of the running (no complaints from this corner!). Restored Koine is, in my opinion, superior to Modern Greek, mainly because it allows more distinction between words, but also because a growing community of those who learn Ancient Greek as a living language use it.

Teaching students two sets of pronunciation (the book suggests both Erasmian and Modern Greek) is at best useless, and at worst pedagogically unsound. Why overload and confuse students? And, when will I ever need to know Erasmian if I speak Modern or Restored Koine? The 99% who speak Erasmian will ALWAYS have a text in front of their eyes. If my Restored Koine doesn’t sound right to them and if their Erasmian sounds painful to me, no problem. We have the text to look at. The only exception (and certainly not a reason to teach 2 schemes) is that those of us who speak Restored Koine will have some trouble communicating with the graduates of the Polis Institute and some few other speakers who use Erasmian. How unfortunate that Polis went with Erasmian. They should consider changing to Restored Koine.
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
Stephen Carlson
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Re: Campbell: Advances Chapter 9

Post by Stephen Carlson »

Agreed on the Restored Koine, though it may be that I'm too close to the players to know how fringe in fact the idea is. (I think it ought to be part of the conversation.)

The is a major "gotcha" about John A. L. Lee's largely modern pronunciation chart which Campbell reproduces on pp. 202-203: the vowel descriptions assume an Australian pronunciation of the vowels. They often don't work for American English speakers. I would recommend the table only for Australian (and perhaps certain British) speakers.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
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