Re: Teaching Beginning Greek Pronounciation

From: Isidoros (
Date: Sat Feb 22 1997 - 22:23:11 EST

>At 11:02 AM -0600 2/22/97, Sam Johnson wrote:

>>.... I have learned the Erasmus system but Spiros Zodhiates
>> convinced me to learn modern greek pronounciation.
>> I am really leaning toward teaching them modern greek because I see
>> some definite advantages

to whom Carl Conrad at 11:45:34 responed by

>While I'm not pushing for the Erasmian pronunciation, I don't quite see
>>what the "definite advantages" of the modern Greek pronunciation
>might be.

Sam, Carl, filoi,

With all due respect to the points raised following the above by Carl, IMO
the advantage is ESSENTIAL, and ONE - with many *IMPORTANT* benefits
deriving directly from it. The basic "advantage" is that the one IS THE
language of Christos, the LANGUAGE - and by l-anguage I mean the l-iving
l-ogos, the ora-l (and not quite... the "pronounciation" - as pro(n)-
-an-c-iation is the constant chasing after the monkey's tale, the ever
-artificial- trying to catch-up, with the original) the one then IS, the
Greek, the Hellenic, rather, properly, while the other, the Erasmian, is,
if anything, at the end, a terrible disantvantage. To begin with the
"written" is not "l"anguage, it may be dead-anguage (danguage?)
text-anguage (tanguage) or print-anguage (panguage!!) but it is not THE
"l"iving, it is not the (g)"l"ossa, the "l"a"l"ia, as in
*(g)"l"osso"l"a"l"ia*" (what a wonderful word!!) And the Erasmian is an
attempt to "resurrect
the *written*, [what Carl calls below "dead", in the ancient Greek sense of
said texts], by... technical re-citation. See, modern Greek is living and
well, and after two thousand years from the writing of Bibloi it is as
close to the Koine _living_ language of the Evang"e"l"ists as nearly as one
can come these days - very close, indeed. For anyone who speaks and
understands modern Greek can speak and understand very well the Koine,
the "L"ord's g"l"ossa. Of course, better than modern Greek is the Greek
that is recited, read and psalted in the Greek Orthodox Ecclesiai, the
language of the "l"iturgy, which has been taken pains, by a very long line
of Greek Orthodox priests and monachs and, later on, by psaltes (though
the last, I think, by considerable "professionaly" imposed affectation) to
be maintained, unbroken, and very much alive - and "swing-ing," as
observes, by his experiences, Jonathan Robie (please see JR's post of Sat,
 22 Feb 1997 20:46:14) and it does swing! And it sings! And laments!
And Thanks Gloriously, THE *l-anguage* of Christ. Or as nearly to it!
"Operating (functioning)" too, in accord with the Spirit of Christos'
L-iturgy! (Liturgw, at a base level "meaning", to "function, operate")

But, its getting late (here). I'd like to continue this for whoever
interested tomorrow, and address the one primary concern that seems
to exist in Carl's and Ronald's mind. The technical aspects of teaching
THE Greek "pronunciation", Koine (as in the Orthodox churchus of Hellas,
but also the monasteries of Athos, Sinai, Antiochia, Palestini, etal -
not at all "disturbing" if I may try to counter and so "prejudice" you.

And then, in a seperate post, addres the importance of mastering the (near)
original "pronounciation" regarding "Kat-ech(o)-es-is", the
"accessing" and "fulfillment" of the "logos" through getting "down" and
"into", i.e. through "immersion" into the "l"anguage of Christos, without
the befumbling, cumbersome, interferring [and prohibiting, in the final
analysis] crutches (wonderfyl, if one wants to ever follow, limping)
offered to us by the honorable Erasmus.

But, before parting, one last note, in the form of question, regarding a
comment, I know meant altogether well, and in the ordinar-ily
scholasticly sa[i]d way:

> It has always seemed to me that the fundamental reason for pronouncing
>a dead language is to gain the aural reinforcement for the written words.

Which is a *dead* language, here?!!

Me agapii,

The Ionic Centre, Athens

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