Listen & Learn: Greek Pronunciation Schemes

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This post has 11 Replies | 2 Followers

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James Taylor | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Aug 31 2017 10:57 PM

1. Thanks for the (Logos NOW) access to this new interactive. Looks pretty useful, with one caveat (see 2.)

2. Why in the world can't any of Logos' pronunciation schemes reflect many of the most common Greek Grammars such as...

Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek

Black's Learn to Read New Testament Greek

Nunn's Elements of New Testament Greek

Summers/Sawyer's Essentials of New Testament Greek

Porter's Fundamentals of New Testament Greek

Harvey's Greek is Good Grief

Morris' Hellenika

Swetnam's Introduction to the Study of New Testament Greek

Long's Kairos

Parker's Learning New Testament Greek Now and Then

Dyer's Preparatory Grammar for New Testament Greek

Clayton's Primer of Biblical Greek

Vine's You Can Learn New Testament Greek!

and the list goes on...

The point is that all the above grammars state that omicron is pronounced with a short o as in not, pot, etc. I realize that there are other opposing views, though at least in my library (I have 50 Greek Grammars) the abundance of New Testament grammars all reflect this pronunciation. I just don't understand why we can't have an audio choice reflecting all these major grammars. Whether it's the alphabet tutor, the pronunciation tool, or the Listen and Learn:Greek interactive, they all have options, but none have the option which represents these grammars. Can we please have this added?

Logos 8  | Dell Inspiron 7373 | Windows 10 Pro 64, i7, 16GB, SSD | iPhone X | iMac 27" i7, 16GB, SSD | OS 10.13

Posts 934
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 1:56 AM

James Taylor:
2. Why in the world can't any of Logos' pronunciation schemes reflect many of the most common Greek Grammars such as...

Agreed, and it is more than just the omicron that is affected by this. Faithlife has obviously put some thought and effort into audio helps, but I largely ignore them precisely because I learned the pronunciations taught in the standard grammars used today, and Faithlife for whatever reason has chosen not to use them.

Posts 1395
James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 6:54 AM

Matthew:
it is more than just the omicron that is affected by this

Yes, I understand that but it is the omicron that really destroys learning vocab with Logos in my opinion. Hearing them pronounce it as a long o as in obey really throws off the hundreds of words that I know and to quote Mounce, he teaches "the standard pronunciation...it is the pronunciation that the vast majority of students use...because the vast majority of people use it, it makes it easier to communicate with other people...it is what most people do...it makes it easier to learn Greek". And ultimately..."When it comes to pronuncation and then memorization, those two are all tied together, IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU PRONOUNCE THESE WORDS CONSISTENTLY" {taken from Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures}

So I'm not asking for exclusivity, but if this is coming from  "the most popular introduction to the field, used in universities and seminaries around the world" and "Over 200,000 students have learned biblical Greek under its guidance", and it's called the "blue hymnal", "the bestselling Greek textbook" etc. If he calls this "the standard pronuciation" that "the vast majority of people use" I think the contrast has been sharply drawn. It makes no sense not to have it as an option (and the majority of Logos users would probably prefer it, if the above quoations are valid). 

 

Logos 8  | Dell Inspiron 7373 | Windows 10 Pro 64, i7, 16GB, SSD | iPhone X | iMac 27" i7, 16GB, SSD | OS 10.13

Posts 934
Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 8:19 AM

I agree and give a hearty amen to everything you just said. I was merely adding onto it by noting that if Faithlife is going to address this, it would make sense to get everything addressed, not just the omicron (though I agree it is the most obvious example). Aligning one vowel with the standard textbooks but not other vowels will still create confusion and inconsistency.

Posts 1107
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 8:35 AM

As I recall, Pennington's New Testament Greek Vocabulary (audio) uses a pronunciation that's closer to what Mounce uses.  I have the CD version, and found it useful when I was working through Basics of Biblical Greek.  There's also the Basics of Biblical Greek Vocabulary (audio).  For some reason, I personally didn't find it as helpful as Pennington. Part of it was that sound and the text seemed out of sync, so that the word being spoken wasn't always the one you saw on the screen (FaithLife may have fixed that by now). Also, the CD format was great for me - I threw it into the CD player in my car and listened to it on the way to and from work every day.  Six months of that and it's hard not to learn at least a little vocabulary.

Posts 2384
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 11:22 AM

James Taylor:
Why in the world can't any of Logos' pronunciation schemes reflect many of the most common Greek Grammars

Are you familiar with this thread from 2012 on a similar topic? https://community.logos.com/forums/t/52319.aspx Really helpful to me was seeing the letter broke down as O - micron (little) and O - mega (large). Pronunciation of Koine is messy when one considers the transitional nature of language from Classical to Modern. Then again we have some users who adamantly dislike the whole idea of Erasmian pronunciation as a "made up system"

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

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John Schwandt | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 1:06 PM

This is a good request and I appreciate the pedagogical motivation behind it.  I think some history in the development of these tools could provide some context for where we are now and where the future may lead.  It was about 15 years ago when I recorded sound files for the pronunciation tool (later used in the Alphabet Tutor.)  Around that time Bill Mounce had some materials where he recommended pronouncing long and short alpha differently (long alpha like a in late.)  He still nods to this in a footnote in the third addition of his text.  There has always been shifting standards in the Erasmian system. (cf. the quick list of options in the additional reference section of lesson 2 in GK092, https://ref.ly/logosres/gk092schwandt?art=art29

I think some of these variations are the other sounds that Matthew is referring to, but I’m not clear on what would have to be adjusted besides the pronunciation of omicron to match Mounce’s system.

Some of the possibilities when choosing an Erasmian variation:

  1. Should there be two different sounds for short and long iota? –Mounce, Decker, Nunn, and Croy all recommend this but I have yet to hear it consistently applied.)
  2. Should this be done with short and long upsilon? (e.g., Black or Dyer)
  3. Should this be done with alpha? (Technical Mounce)
  4. Then there is Moulton who has iota always as i as in kite.
  5. Swetnam’s excellent grammar always has iota as the short sound of i as in pit. (I highly recommend his treatments on grammar especially in comparison to Mounce.)
  6. Cambridge’s JACT standard ancient Greek program has alpha as a in “calm,” omicron as o in “pot,” and omega as aw in “saw.” (The difference between omicron and omega being one primarily of duration.)  Mastronarde’s text and Oxoford’s Athenaze curriculum are other examples of this system with similar sounds for omicron and omega.  Erasmus himself says “omega is exactly the same as omicron” (except pronounced for a longer duration.)

There are more variations.  Thus I think Mounce’s calling his own system “standard” is a little strong considering the shoulders that he is standing upon.  I’m happy to acknowledge his success in selling grammars and the training his has provided to so many.  (We are on the same team for encouraging the study of biblical Greek.)  Given the changes over time, respect for past and future scholars, and like likelihood of future variations, I think “conventional” would be a more apt description of his system and more charitable for the fine work produced by others.  The Erasmian system in the Pronunciation Tool, Alphabet Tutor, and GK092 represents an older trend presented in many respected grammars such as:

  • Herbert Weir Smyth (Greek Grammar)
  • Stephen Paine (Beginning Greek)
  • J. Gresham Machen (New Testament Greek for Beginners)
  • Frederick Williams (Elementary Classical Greek)
  • Crosby and Schaeffer (An Introduction to Greek)
  • John Williams White (First Greek Book)
  • Francis Kingsley Ball (The Elements of Greek) 

When we produced an interactive alphabet course, we wanted it to interact with the pronunciation tool and all of the recorded lemmas available in Logos.  So we remained consistent with that solid system.  It does come with a number of benefits since we know that omicron always mapped more closely to omega than it did to alpha.  So it helps with understanding a number of textual transmission issues and potential word play in the NT. 

This is a great option for new learners, but I can see how it is distracting for those that have learned Greek using Mounce.  I’ve had to switch my pronunciation of Greek a number of times so I understand the initial aversion. One should note that the current Greek Audio New Testament uses a system that reflects a Mounce type system if you are looking for more audio resources with that system.

I’m not opposed to producing another set of lemma recordings using a Mounce system and it could happen at some point.  However, I would expect the general shift back toward a renewed interest in more historically accurate versions within the Erasmian system given the spreading interest in reconstructing Koine pronunciation.  The big issue that marks any system as an Erasmian system is how diphthongs are pronounced.

Posts 1395
James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 1:54 PM

Thank you for the response John, I appreciate the consideration to ammend some of the tools to reflect at least the omicron nuance of the Erasmian pronunciation (along with you, I'm not sure any of the other vowels need to changed to reflect these other systems). I also appreciated the information you compiled with regards to other possible differences. I think when Bill says "standard" he may be saying more than you're giving him credit for.He doesn't call "his own system the standard", but rather that he uses the standard system. He didn't invent that idea of short o as in pot/not, and this is reflected in grammars which predate his (like Moulton 1895 or Nunn 1923). I realize that there are different opinions on this and I'm fine with that, I just think that it's oversimplifying to limit that to a Mounce thing, considering the list of 13 grammars I noted above which all have that pronunciation for omicron (and that is certainly not an exhaustive list). I just remembered Johnny Cisneros also teaches that in his course, as well as Danny Zacharias, in his Greek course. Point being, it's not just a Mounce thing.

I am thankful to have resources like Greek Audio New Testament which pronounces omicron in this way (not,pot), as you mentioned. And for vocab helps I use his Flashworks software. (I just love Logos so much that I like doing everything in one place :-))

Anyway, thanks again for all of your work in the tools!

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Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 1 2017 2:25 PM

John Schwandt:

However, I would expect the general shift back toward a renewed interest in more historically accurate versions within the Erasmian system given the spreading interest in reconstructing Koine pronunciation.

Yes! Yes

Posts 2384
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 2 2017 8:32 AM

John Schwandt:
This is a good request and I appreciate the pedagogical motivation behind it.  I think some history in the development of these tools could provide some context for where we are now and where the future may lead.

John, THANK you for a response with great detail from someone who would know why certain decisions were made and respect for those who would hold to other preferences.

When I first learned Koine at Moody Bible Institute in the mid 1980's it was widely understood that our two professors who taught Biblical Greek both used the same text but varied in pronunciation of the iota--one preferred i as in KITE and the other used an "ee" pronunciation as in KEY. It was a great lesson for a young student to understand that God-loving academicians could honestly disagree over minor issues while respecting one another and sharing a common love for a bigger purpose.

Just last week I had a discussion with a college student in the heart of Kansas (who grew up as a Missionary Kid in Greece) shared that he bristles whenever a co-ed claims to know Greek because she can pronounce the name of her sorority. Big Smile -- a good reminder for all of us to study hard, but hold our conclusions with a loose grip.

A church where I was previously on staff opened an after-school teen ministry and chose a trendy Greek name - Sophos Youth Center. The church members couldn't even agree on pronunciation, much less the teens of the community--eventually the ministry was renamed "Elkhorn Area Youth Center". Tongue Tied 

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 1395
James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 2 2017 8:47 AM

David Thomas:
Sophos Youth Center. The church members couldn't even agree on pronunciation, much less the teens of the community

Sounds like the problem they have at Logos, another two omicron name, where the scholars in residence, Logos Pro trainers, sales/promotional leadership all pronounce their own company name differently. :-) And therefore the confusion spills over into the user community, as one pastor asks another, do you use Lowgows, and the other responds, you mean Lahgahs?

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Posts 2384
David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Sep 2 2017 10:58 AM

James Taylor:
do you use Lowgows, and the other responds, you mean Lahgahs?

GeekedI use one of the software titles by the company that is now called "Faithlife"

How can a company get the omicron "right" when they can't even agree on the pronunciation of the Company Name?

http://community.logos.com/forums/t/119401.aspx

https://blog.logos.com/2015/11/how-to-pronounce-logos-and-other-important-evangelical-words/

 

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

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