Re: Greek Pronunciation

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Sep 16 1998 - 15:37:41 EDT

I now have in hand the article that Edgar (and Mark O'Brien long before)
called our attention to. I have read through it quickly and have to say
that, although I want to read it very carefully through two or three more
times, it really does seem very cogent. It is very tightly based upon
inscriptional evidence that can be dated with reasonable certainty. I'm
still inclined to think that for pedagogical purposes one really needs to
distinguish the vowels and diphthongs in pronunciation as clearly as
possible without succumbing to any illusion that our pronunciation does in
fact approximate the actual pronunciation of Greek at any time or place in
antiquity. I've always thought that the pronunciation of the NT era was
much closer to the pronunciation of modern Greek than to the pronunciation
of classical Attic, but that it would be a pedagogical mistake to encourage
beginning students to pronounce H, EI, I, YI, OI, and Y in essentially the
same fashion. Pedagogically I think it's better to pretend that the Greek
we are pronouncing is more like German or Italian, wherein the way a word
is spelled really does not mislead about the way a word is pronounced.

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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