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Author Topic: Katharevousa in Orthodox Liturgical Sevices  (Read 2016 times) Average Rating: 0
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SamB
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« on: September 22, 2004, 08:12:57 PM »

I'm currently studying Greek (in several of its forms) and am more than proficient enough in pronouncing Greek sentences in both the Erasmian and thimotiki pronunciations.  I would like to inquire about both the form(s) of language and the system(s) of pronunciation used in liturgical functions in the Greek Churches.

But before that, I would like to know what slight differences do exist between katharevousa and thimotiki vis a vis pronunciation (detailed answers preferred).

Now to tackle questions on the Greek the Church uses:

First, language.  Naturally, I will presume the Gospel (and the entirety of the Old and New Testaments) appears in the books in Koine.  What of the Office and Liturgy, and the liturgical texts and prayers (troparia, kontakia, etc.)?  Are they written in the Koine of the Bible, in katharevousa, or perhaps in a form succeeding the former and preceding the latter (since katharevousa was an artificial creation of the nineteenth century)?  I also presume the clergy deliver sermons in katharevousa.

Finally, regarding phonetics, I assume that regardless of the Greek form of different texts, everything is read, using the katharevousa system of pronunciation.  Assuming I am correct, again, how does it compare to reciting words in thimotiki?  Listening to a recording of chants from Athos, I notice that the dipthongs are more or less identical to those in thimotiki, but that at times the fricatives may be replaced by Erasmian (or classical) consonants (eg. the 'chi' becomes a hard 'k').  And I believe I do detect the observance of rough breathing marks in Greek chant.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

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« Last Edit: September 22, 2004, 08:13:57 PM by SamB » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2004, 06:46:51 PM »

I'm bumping up this thread.  I hope one of you replies to it, as I know we have Greek-speakers or students of Greek on this board.  Hello, anyone?

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Anastasios
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2004, 08:43:06 PM »

Greek Chant is pronounced exactly as the spoken language is.  The differences you may have noticed are probably due to regional accents more than anything else.

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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2004, 03:06:56 AM »

This must be the first time I've ever seen "katharevousa" and Koine equated as the same dialects. Katharevousa was a silly attempt to purify modern or common (demotic) Greek of "foreign" (Turkish, Arabic, Latin, even English) words. Koine was the common Greek of its period and was (is) just as inclusive of "new", non-classical words in its time as modern is today.
As far as pronouncing Katharevousa, who cares? It's not in use now and when it was (for a short legally mandated period), it wasn't spoken anyway.  
As to pronouncing Koine, I understand that on the Holy Mountain, the only guide I'll accept, the modern scheme is used. Good enough for me.
As to "classical" systems of pronunciation, I suffered that enough in college many years ago. The "Eurasian" system is just an artifical re-construction as well, despite all the non-Hellenic experts' insistence to the contrary. I finally won the point with my professor when I argued that unless I was given a part in a production of, say, Ajax, why should he care how I pronounced the idiom as long as I could translate it properly and freely read it.

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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2004, 05:49:47 AM »

In Greece, the pronounciation of Classical, Koine, Katharevousa and Dimotiki are all identical. Breathings are no longer pronounced.

Sermons are delivered in Modern Greek

New hymns and prayers are composed as much as possible in Koine (actually somewher between Classical and Koine Greek IIRC) and this is very much the work of the Holy Spirit. Father Gerasimus, a monk of Mount Athos who died in 1991, wrote over 100 hymns in Classical/Koine Greek even though he had never studied Koine. I'm not even sure he had a basic school education.

A good example would be to look at the troparia and kontakia for Saint Silouan who is a recent Saint and is celebrated today. Alas it was my wife's turn to go to the vigil last night so I can't tell you off the top of my head what they were written in. I'll ask and try to get back to you on this.

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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2004, 02:45:41 PM »

SamB,
I can now confirm that all the hymns are in Classical/Koine Greek, even the recent ones. We had a special evening service for Saint Silouan tonight and I got to have a look at the service.
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2004, 04:16:19 PM »

Efkharisto!  

Demetri, concerning katharevousa not being spoken, I understand it functioned much like today's Fushah Arabic, being used in the press, on the news, in formal speeches, and in writing (letters and so on).

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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2004, 06:50:05 PM »


Demetri, concerning katharevousa not being spoken, I understand it functioned much like today's Fushah Arabic, being used in the press, on the news, in formal speeches, and in writing (letters and so on).

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Yep. That was the plan... didn't work, though!

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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2004, 05:07:01 PM »

Some would blame socialist philistines in the government for that. Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2004, 05:17:59 PM »

Some would blame socialist philistines in the government for that. Smiley

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Perhaps. But to me the whole exercise was silly. As an American, I would object to being forced to using Elizabethan English today - a more or less equivalent analogy.
As to Arabic, I've no clue if a similar effort is (was, would be) a useful thing.

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