re: koin/ classical-difference,baby

From: yochanan bitan (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 07:06:23 EDT

christopher egrapsen:
>what is the difference between studying koin greek versus the
>classical greek?
Same language, slightly different dialects (Attic has dual endings and a
fuller use of the optative, to give the main structural differences.
phonology was quite different, too. Already by Roman Koine length and many
vowels had collapsed: ei=i, ai=e, w=o, oi=u.)

>A siminary I know calls koin greek baby greek.

This confuses the typical level of student attainment
(which may apply equally to 1 yr 'classical' as well as 1 yr 'koine')
with the language itself.

Koine-Hellenistic Greek was a/the world-class language,
and used for literature from the time of Alexander into the Byzantine
It's vocabulary was 'awesome' (OUK ASH'MOU QHSAUROU' GLWSSW'N "not a an
insignificant treasure of vocab" as one might turn a phrase).
Naturally there were different 'registers' or levels of use, and many Koine
writers used what could be called a full Atticizing style.
Epictetus (Stoic philospher, 1CE), Paul, Luke, Appian (Roman historian
1-2CE) and Plutarch (Roman-Greek biographer 1CE), CARITON (the prototypical
romance novel, 1-2CE) all exemplify a literary Koine,
KAI OU'TOI PAN'TES KATH'RGHSAN TA TOU NHPI'OU. (cf. 1Cor 13.11 =none wrote
an "o-see, see-spot-run" greek)

If only students could read these the way that students are expected to
read Flaubert and Hugo !

"if students would be able to read these things of Epictetus (etc), it
would be good."

Randall Buth

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