Jonathan Robie (
Sat, 02 Nov 1996 07:56:24 -0500

Carl Conrad wrote:

> I think
> then that this is probably the way we should understand these words in the
> Greek: the GLWTTA/GLWSSA tends to be the term for the language as written
> and understood by Greek-speakers everywhere--certainly in the Hellenistic
> era by all educated Greek-speakers, while DIALEKTOS signals the distinctive
> speech of different ethnic Greeks in different areas. My impression too is
> that Koine is the name of a DIALEKTOS: hH KOINH DIALEKTOS, and I suspect
> that the reason Koine is a feminine adjective is precisely because the noun
> GLWTTA/GLWSSA is the noun understood implicitly with hH KOINE DIALEKTOS: it
> means "the VERNACULAR language."

I don't think this agrees with the usage in Acts 2. Each person heard in
their own DIALEKTOS (th idia dialektw), and there is a list of the regions.
The group included both Jews and proselytes, so I would expect that this
means both dialects (*not* equivalent to DIALEKTOS) of Hebrew and of Greek.
Cretans and Arabs would probably imply other languages as well.

There also seems to be parallelism between verse 8 (akouomen ekastos th idia
dialektw) and verse 11 (akouomen lalountwn autwn tais hmeterais glwssais).
This parallelism suggests broad equivalence to me, though another
interpretation would be that that verse 8 stresses that they are speaking in
all the local regional dialects (which would be quite a feat, even here in
North Carolina), and verse 11 stresses that this was true even across
completely different languages.

Here is the quote. I'm enclosing verse 12, which is not strictly relevant,
simply because it describes a state in which I spend much of my life, and
which seems particularly relevant to b-greek.

Acts 2:7 (GNT) existanto de kai eqaumazon legontes: ouc idou apantes outoi
eisin oi lalountes Galilaioi;
Acts 2:7 (NASU) They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all
these who are speaking Galileans?
8 (GNT) kai pws hmeis akouomen ekastos th idia dialektw hmwn en h egennhqhmen;
8 (NASU) "And how is it that we each hear [them] in our own language to
which we were born?
9 (GNT) Parqoi kai Mhdoi kai Elamitai kai oi katoikountes thn Mesopotamian,
Ioudaian te kai Kappadokian, Ponton kai thn Asian,
9 (NASU) "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia,
Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 (GNT) Frugian te kai Pamfulian, Aigupton kai ta merh ths Libuhs ths kata
Kurhnhn, kai oi epidhmountes Rwmaioi,
10 (NASU) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around
Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 (GNT) Ioudaioi te kai proshlutoi, Krhtes kai Arabes, akouomen lalountwn
autwn tais hmeterais glwssais ta megaleia tou qeou.
11 (NASU) Cretans and Arabs--we hear them in our [own] tongues speaking of
the mighty deeds of God."
12 (GNT) existanto de pantes kai dihporoun, allos pros allon legontes: ti
qelei touto einai;
12 (NASU) And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying
to one another, "What does this mean?"


Jonathan Robie
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