Re: Greek Pronunciation

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Sun Oct 17 1999 - 08:03:35 EDT

<x-flowed>To: Carl W. Conrad, et al.,

<< I am pretty well convinced that ancient Greek is NOT pronounced today in
most countries in a manner very much like that in which it was pronounced
in ancient Greek-speaking places, but I think there must have been at least
as much variation from place to place as there is variation in the
pronunciation of English today in different places of the world. And
ultimately, I don't think it really matters, so long as one learns a
consistent pronunciation so that one can have the aural reinforcement of
hearing words and sentences to assist with learning the language--I think
that sounding out what one is learning to read is vital to successful
language learning. For this reason I warn my students that the
pronunciation system I am teaching is arbitrary--unlikely to be very close
to the way the language was ever spoken in any one particular place, but I
insist that my students learn my own modified "Erasmian" system and read
aloud regularly in class. >>

That seems to be a practical and healthy attitude to a very complex problem
from my point of view!

In addition, I would offer this piece of advice for any beginning student
learning to pronounce Greek, if anyone challenges your pronunciation, just
look them in the eye, and with as haughty of a voice as you can muster,
say: "I use a neo-Erasmian system of pronunciation, what system do you
use?" <g>

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

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