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By the time of Koine greek, in general, it was much the same as today, but I always see the Ancient Greek pronunciation being taught, why is this? Is is it because most people learning koine in english tend to be Christian and learn it purely for just for biblical interpretation, not for to be fluent?

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    What do you say "always"? My impression is that native Greek speakers usually use modern Greek pronunciation, and are often resistant to the idea that there are any Ancient Greek documents that were written by speakers who used substantially different pronunciation. (Either they're complete cranks and deny the existence of anything like Proto-Indo-European, or they think that certain sound changes applied much earlier than historical linguists typically say) – ewawe Aug 12 '17 at 22:57
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    LOL! Amen, I hear ya' on that. I used to be very stiff to the idea of the Ancient greek pronunciation being what we believe it was, but in all I have gathered other than vowels, consanentally Koine was similar to Modern Greek. – Matthew T. Scarbrough Aug 13 '17 at 0:39
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    Well, I've heard people give that explanation before, but a three-way distinction between voiceless aspirated, voiceless unaspirated, and voiced stops actually doesn't really come naturally to an English speaker. On the other hand, four of the fricatives used in Greek are part of English phonology (/f/, /v/, /θ/, /ð/), and the remaining /x/, /ɣ/, /ç/, /j/ are typically not too hard for an English speaker to learn to produce. Also, English speakers are already accustomed to using "ph" = /f/ and "th" = /θ/ in English words of Greek origin. – ewawe Aug 13 '17 at 1:00
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    I think it might be due more to factors like over-conservatism, influence from spelling (transliterations of Koine Greek typically use symbols like "b, d, g", don't they?), pedanticism (my impression is that Classical Greek has more academic prestige, so the pronunciations associated with it have gained some prestige among certain groups), and the appeal of a "neat", regular system. – ewawe Aug 13 '17 at 1:04
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    it is my impression that speakers of a literate culture tend to resist the idea that their language sounded differently (dialects notwithstanding), or that their writing system used to work in a different way. I'm speaking from Japanese; and also I've met several English speakers who dislike being pointed that the orthography used to be more phonological. – melissa_boiko Aug 13 '17 at 1:36
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Much simpler reason. The teaching of Koine Greek is dependent on the local tradition for the teaching of Classical Greek: Classical Greek is more prestigious in language teaching, and is how most language teachers and linguists have been exposed to pre-Modern Greek. There was not a strong impetus for a separate tradition of pronouncing Koine in teaching to evolve: whatever the local convention was for pronouncing Classical Greek was simply carried over to Koine.

And that's not that absurd an outcome. It is practical—the local convention for pronouncing Classical Greek is going to be well known and widely taught, and is (most of the time) stable. It also avoids drawing an unnecessary barrier between teaching of Classical Greek and teaching of Koine.

As it turns out, Koine likely did sound much closer to Modern Greek than Classical Greek; but Koine was a system in flux (which is the point), and there was possibly register variation in the pronunciation of phonemes, precisely because it was in flux. That's a complication that's utterly useless for language teaching: do we need people to be pronouncing phis differently in Luke and in Mark? Do we have any certainty when phi switched pronunciation for a particular social group to begin with?

A stable system like Teaching Erasmian is simply more practical, however ahistorical it may be. Unless you're jumping into a timeship, meticulous historical accuracy of phonetics is not actually the primary consideration in teaching dead languages.

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