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Author Topic: Pronunciation of Greek in services  (Read 2645 times) Average Rating: 0
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Apostolos
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« Reply #45 on: October 22, 2012, 11:25:00 AM »

What is interesting in the recordings linked to in Apostolos' post is that this pronunciation sounds strongly Cypriot.

Other than the sharp t's, I wouldn't say there is anything particularly Cypriot about it.
It's the aspirated t, your (I mean English and Germanic in general) way of pronouncing the letter t (in International Phonetic Alphabet it's written as [tʰ]), e.g the English word time is pronounced as [tʰaɪm] by a native English speaker, while a Greek pronounces it as [taim], t is never aspirated in Greek. The reader is a native English speaker (obviously)

It just seems to me that in Modern Greek, words like ἡ, ἧ, ἤ, ἥ, οἱ would be pronounced exactly the same which could lead to confusion or at the very least ambiguity. Not to mention the previously mentioned problems with ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς (which, thanks to Apostolos, I realise didn't occur until the 13th-14th century AD).
But the same can be said for the Hellenistic pronunciation of ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς: the former was (probably) pronounced as [himis] (i is short), while the latter was [hʉmis] (ʉ is a high central rounded vowel, like the French u or German ü). So in rapid speak even a native, hypothetically speaking, could have had experienced difficulties understanding the speaker (the problem was solved in later times when the ὑμεῖς was replaced by the σεῖς which is simply the plural of σὺ: 2nd person personal pronoun in singular; Eng. thou (sing.)=Gr. σὺ, Εng. you (pl.)=Classic/Helenistic ὑμεῖς, Βyz./Modern σεῖς 
Based on all these ambiguous sounds, is it possible for a person who can read and write Koine / Byzantine Greek fluently to be able to attend an Orthodox Liturgy in Greek and understand everything just from listening?
Yes it is
Thanks for all the replies.

One last question: is γ (gamma) coming before ε, η or υ generally pronounced as a 'g' (as in Erasmian pronunciation) or a 'y' (as in modern pronunciation)? I've heard both.

Do you generally say monogeni or monoyeni in the Creed? Agios o Theos or Ayios o Theos?
γ before consonants and a, o, ou is a fricative, similar in pronunciation with the Arabic غ (a back-to-the-throat gargle as akimori makoto so eloquently put it)
γ before e, i, is always palatalized and becomes [ʝ] pronounced like the y in yes.
So, Αγία Γραφή is ayía γrafí
Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός is áyios o theós

Thanks for all the replies.

One last question: is γ (gamma) coming before ε, η or υ generally pronounced as a 'g' (as in Erasmian pronunciation) or a 'y' (as in modern pronunciation)? I've heard both.

Do you generally say monogeni or monoyeni in the Creed? Agios o Theos or Ayios o Theos?

Gamma is never equivalent to English "g"
It is after /n/.  For instance, /an-ge-los/.

My dear Isa, there is no n in the Greek word for angel. The Greek is άγγελος (double gamma is always pronounced as a hard g), not άνγελος.
Both γγ and γκ are pronounced [ng] before consonants and a, o, ou, but...
...before e and i are palatalized and pronounced [ɲɟ] ([ɲ] is similar in pronunciation with the Spanish ñ; [ɟ] is somewhat similar with the g in argue, like there's a tiny i after the g (argiue), so ἄγγελος is more of an ἄνγκιελος than άνγελος
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« Reply #46 on: October 22, 2012, 11:30:38 AM »

Reminds me of my father's Pontic dialect in several ways. Pronunciation-wise, that's, not vocabulary.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 11:31:45 AM by Αριστοκλής » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: October 22, 2012, 11:31:51 AM »

t is never aspirated in Greek.

It is in heavier Cypriot village dialects (which is what LBK compared it to), although the Cypriot aspiration is much heaver than on the recording in question. The same goes for K, which is also unaspirated in Greek, but is in many Cypriot dialects.
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« Reply #48 on: October 22, 2012, 12:49:45 PM »

t is never aspirated in Greek.

It is in heavier Cypriot village dialects (which is what LBK compared it to), although the Cypriot aspiration is much heaver than on the recording in question. The same goes for K, which is also unaspirated in Greek, but is in many Cypriot dialects.
You are absolutely right but I'm referring to the accepted Standard Greek pronunciation and not dialectal Cypriot (or Thessalian, Cretan, Pontian etc.)
Btw is the correct name of the dialect of Pontus in English, Pontic or Pontian?












« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 12:51:14 PM by Apostolos » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2012, 01:04:32 PM »

Btw is the correct name of the dialect of Pontus in English, Pontic or Pontian?

Pontic, as far as I'm aware.
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« Reply #50 on: October 22, 2012, 01:25:53 PM »


Thank you, I'm afraid that's an abomination, an arbitrary way of mis-pronouncing Greek
A much more closer to the Koine pronunciation of the Greek of the Gospel era, and similar to the Byzantine/Modern one is the following:

Gospel of John

http://www.helding.net/greeklatinaudio/greek/

I find this Greek pronunciation a bit disturbing too. Maybe because I am used to hearing the Gospel from native Greek priests/bishops.
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« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2012, 01:34:24 PM »

Thanks for all the replies.

One last question: is γ (gamma) coming before ε, η or υ generally pronounced as a 'g' (as in Erasmian pronunciation) or a 'y' (as in modern pronunciation)? I've heard both.

Do you generally say monogeni or monoyeni in the Creed? Agios o Theos or Ayios o Theos?

There is no definite answer to this.  Grin

I mostly hear Greeks pronounce g as y after e but as (kind of sharp) g after i. They say XristouYena, but aGios. If there is a vowel combination (ia) after g, it is mostly pronounced as y and slurred up (giati: Yati). However, I almost never heard a Greek say PanaYa instead of PanaGhia.
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« Reply #52 on: October 22, 2012, 02:25:58 PM »

ACK!!! Erasmian pronunciation is an abomination. Not only does it not sound anything like Greek, but it sounds artificial (which it is), ghastly and jarring.

Again, there is no such thing as Erasmian pronunciation in the strict sense . . .
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« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2012, 02:40:36 PM »

ACK!!! Erasmian pronunciation is an abomination. Not only does it not sound anything like Greek, but it sounds artificial (which it is), ghastly and jarring.

Again, there is no such thing as Erasmian pronunciation in the strict sense . . .

Amazing... I finally agree with orthonorm on something. Astounding actually.  Cheesy
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« Reply #54 on: October 22, 2012, 02:41:11 PM »

If we should return to the artificial and probably largely incorrect attempted reconstruction of Greek phonology by the Renaissance humanist Erasmus (which we might well more fairly term "seminary Greek" as opposed to "Byzantine Greek"), what about scripture readings in the ENGLISH language?

Should we also start a movement to revert to Renaissance standardations of English too, and read the Psalms in the "original Elizabethan" as found in
THE 1611 KING JAMES WORD OF GOD?Huh

Hehe, there ARE some Protestant KJV onlyists.


I noticed, for the first time the other day that the KJV mistranslated a passage in the NT "Love God and honor the King" when in Greek it actually would read: "Love God and honor the Emperor". While it IS applicable to any leader (since the Roman Emperor was persecuting Christians at the time), its a kind of funny and clear example of almost purposeful mistranslation to encourage certain interpretations (IE: honor the King of England who had the Bible translated)

Was autokrator or basileus used?

I was learned the Erasmian pronunciation in school btw, but when reading Koine/Byzantine texts I'll use the modern greek pronunciation.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 02:47:00 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: October 22, 2012, 02:54:14 PM »

If we should return to the artificial and probably largely incorrect attempted reconstruction of Greek phonology by the Renaissance humanist Erasmus (which we might well more fairly term "seminary Greek" as opposed to "Byzantine Greek"), what about scripture readings in the ENGLISH language?

Should we also start a movement to revert to Renaissance standardations of English too, and read the Psalms in the "original Elizabethan" as found in
THE 1611 KING JAMES WORD OF GOD?Huh

Hehe, there ARE some Protestant KJV onlyists.


I noticed, for the first time the other day that the KJV mistranslated a passage in the NT "Love God and honor the King" when in Greek it actually would read: "Love God and honor the Emperor". While it IS applicable to any leader (since the Roman Emperor was persecuting Christians at the time), its a kind of funny and clear example of almost purposeful mistranslation to encourage certain interpretations (IE: honor the King of England who had the Bible translated)

Was autokrator or basileus used?

I was learned the Erasmian pronunciation in school btw, but when reading Koine/Byzantine texts I'll use the modern greek pronunciation.

It was basileus, but we can't just look at the direct translation, but the overall context, as I pointed out, St. Peter would have been writing from Rome and was writing to the faithful who were in Roman provinces, and therefore had no other king but Caesar.
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« Reply #56 on: October 22, 2012, 02:57:56 PM »

If we should return to the artificial and probably largely incorrect attempted reconstruction of Greek phonology by the Renaissance humanist Erasmus (which we might well more fairly term "seminary Greek" as opposed to "Byzantine Greek"), what about scripture readings in the ENGLISH language?

Should we also start a movement to revert to Renaissance standardations of English too, and read the Psalms in the "original Elizabethan" as found in
THE 1611 KING JAMES WORD OF GOD?Huh

Hehe, there ARE some Protestant KJV onlyists.


I noticed, for the first time the other day that the KJV mistranslated a passage in the NT "Love God and honor the King" when in Greek it actually would read: "Love God and honor the Emperor". While it IS applicable to any leader (since the Roman Emperor was persecuting Christians at the time), its a kind of funny and clear example of almost purposeful mistranslation to encourage certain interpretations (IE: honor the King of England who had the Bible translated)

Was autokrator or basileus used?

I was learned the Erasmian pronunciation in school btw, but when reading Koine/Byzantine texts I'll use the modern greek pronunciation.

It was basileus, but we can't just look at the direct translation, but the overall context, as I pointed out, St. Peter would have been writing from Rome and was writing to the faithful who were in Roman provinces, and therefore had no other king but Caesar.

Perhaps he used 'king' as a synonym for government. There were christians outside of the borders of the Roman Empire and since it was a catholic epistle and not one directed to one particular city 'king' wouldn't be a bad translation. Besides, the Roman East would have seen the emperor as 'king' anyway, only the west was scrupulous to call anyone king.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 02:58:23 PM by Cyrillic » Logged

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« Reply #57 on: October 22, 2012, 03:00:41 PM »

If we should return to the artificial and probably largely incorrect attempted reconstruction of Greek phonology by the Renaissance humanist Erasmus (which we might well more fairly term "seminary Greek" as opposed to "Byzantine Greek"), what about scripture readings in the ENGLISH language?

Should we also start a movement to revert to Renaissance standardations of English too, and read the Psalms in the "original Elizabethan" as found in
THE 1611 KING JAMES WORD OF GOD?Huh

Hehe, there ARE some Protestant KJV onlyists.


I noticed, for the first time the other day that the KJV mistranslated a passage in the NT "Love God and honor the King" when in Greek it actually would read: "Love God and honor the Emperor". While it IS applicable to any leader (since the Roman Emperor was persecuting Christians at the time), its a kind of funny and clear example of almost purposeful mistranslation to encourage certain interpretations (IE: honor the King of England who had the Bible translated)

Was autokrator or basileus used?

I was learned the Erasmian pronunciation in school btw, but when reading Koine/Byzantine texts I'll use the modern greek pronunciation.

It was basileus, but we can't just look at the direct translation, but the overall context, as I pointed out, St. Peter would have been writing from Rome and was writing to the faithful who were in Roman provinces, and therefore had no other king but Caesar.

Perhaps he used 'king' as a synonym for government. There were christians outside of the borders of the Roman Empire and since it was a catholic epistle and not one directed to one particular city 'king' wouldn't be a bad translation. Besides, the Roman East would have seen the emperor as 'king' anyway, only the west was scrupulous to call anyone king.

It wasn't a "universal" epistle, 1 Peter was written specifically to churches in the Roman provinces of Asia Minor who were being persecuted by the Romans.
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« Reply #58 on: October 22, 2012, 04:00:29 PM »

t is never aspirated in Greek.

It is in heavier Cypriot village dialects (which is what LBK compared it to), although the Cypriot aspiration is much heaver than on the recording in question. The same goes for K, which is also unaspirated in Greek, but is in many Cypriot dialects.
You are absolutely right but I'm referring to the accepted Standard Greek pronunciation and not dialectal Cypriot (or Thessalian, Cretan, Pontian etc.)
Btw is the correct name of the dialect of Pontus in English, Pontic or Pontian?
Pontic.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontic_Greek
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« Reply #59 on: October 23, 2012, 12:59:08 AM »

If we should return to the artificial and probably largely incorrect attempted reconstruction of Greek phonology by the Renaissance humanist Erasmus (which we might well more fairly term "seminary Greek" as opposed to "Byzantine Greek"), what about scripture readings in the ENGLISH language?

Should we also start a movement to revert to Renaissance standardations of English too, and read the Psalms in the "original Elizabethan" as found in
THE 1611 KING JAMES WORD OF GOD?Huh

Hehe, there ARE some Protestant KJV onlyists.


I noticed, for the first time the other day that the KJV mistranslated a passage in the NT "Love God and honor the King" when in Greek it actually would read: "Love God and honor the Emperor". While it IS applicable to any leader (since the Roman Emperor was persecuting Christians at the time), its a kind of funny and clear example of almost purposeful mistranslation to encourage certain interpretations (IE: honor the King of England who had the Bible translated)

The word in question does not refer specifically to the Roman emperor.

Are you sure about that?

Jesus does specifically use "Καίσαρας" rather than "βασιλιάς" but that may not be an indication that the later, Petrine passage isn't referring to the Roman Emperor.

St. Peter was writing to Roman Provinces who had no other earthly "king" than Caesar. He also was probably writing from Rome itself.

Yes the context makes it refer to Caesar as a king, but that's not the sole connotation of the word like you made out. Honor the king has the same meaning.
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