The Sound of Koine

Jack Kilmon (
Thu, 15 Aug 1996 17:14:19 -0600

Dr. Tauber:

Thank you for your response. When I was a lad of 8, an Uncle who taught the
classics was teaching me Latin and Koine Greek. At the same time, Dr. Albright was
informally teaching me Hebrew and Aramaic and Dr. Van Beek was teaching me Egyptian from
Gardiner's. It was as a young altar boy that I noticed "Church :atin" was pronounced
like Italian rather than the Latin of Cicero or Vergil. My insisting on using Latin
like the Romans resulted in not a few cracks on the knuckles.
I began to wonder if the pronouciation of Koine had not been similarly corrupted
by the English where Greek was a standard part of a classical education. The "standard"
seemed to me to smack more of anglo-germanic than Greek.
In later years, during my first trips to Greece, many Athenians thought I was
from the Islands. It made me wonder if "Island Greek" did not preserve more of the
Koine sounds.
I find it difficult to believe that Paul said AG-eeya rather than AH-gYa for
Agia. What is the evidence that the sound of Modern Greek is so different than Koine?

Jack Kilmon