Re: The Sound of Koine

From: Jack Kilmon (
Date: Fri Aug 16 1996 - 23:00:28 EDT

Stephen C Carlson wrote:
> The major evidence for the pronunciation of Koine Greek is how
> the Romans transliterated Greek words into the Roman alphabet,
> and how Latin words were transliterated into the Greek. Similar
> evidence can be adduced for Greek based upon borrowings to and
> from other languages.

        The clumsiness that I perceive with Latin as a model for Greek is the various
ways Latin has been pronounced in different arenas. In British schools, C's sounded
like s's as in Cicero "SISS-a-roh" rather than KEEK-a-ROH and the Veni, Vidi, Vici
"VAYnee, VEEdee, VEEsee" rather than WAYnee, WEEdee, WEEkee." Add to that Church Latin,
pronounced as Italian:

        PAHter NAHster kwi es in CHAYloh, sanctifiCHAYtor nomen tuum, adVAYniat....

rather then:

        bPATer noh-ster kwi es in KI-loh, sacteefeeKAYtor nomen tuum, adWAYniat....

        I wonder if it is not better to go to the original semitic source of the Greek
alphabet. If the Y of EYAGGELION was a vav, as was it's proto-sinaitic antecedent, then
was it pronounced as a waw or a vav? EVanGAYlee0n or eh-wan-GAYleeon? Certainly not
OOwanGAYleeon. Do we take the lead from the Latin V as a waw, or the semitic vav as a

Jack Kilmon

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