Re: koine vs. classic

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Mar 25 1998 - 06:47:35 EST

At 4:07 PM -0600 3/24/98, WmHBoyd wrote:
>Am I wrong to think "koine" Greek must have been something like
>the simplefied international English of our own day.

Yes, I think that's right. Perhaps "Basic English?" In fact, the sort of
English that is written on this and other internet lists by both those who
are and those who are not native English-speakers; the interesting fact
about this, which is also true, I think, of KOINH, is that some who are not
native speakers of English write a higher literary level of it than do some
native speakers. But it is easy to recognize English that in major or minor
respects clearly reflects an alien word-order, occasionally an alien
grammatical construction, more commonly a misuse of an English colloquial
idiom. And to the extent that one has attained some facility in standard
ancient Greek, one can recognize the features in some Hellenistic Greek
writing that are intelligible but that stick out like a sore thumb as
unmistakable evidence that the writer is not thoroughly at home in standard
Greek usage (of course that word "standard" is a bit slippery, too).

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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