What do modern Greek speakers think of the phonetics of ancient Greek as it is taught in textbooks and performed (in, say, readings of Homer)? Do they think these reconstructions are accurate? Why?

By: | Post date: 2016-08-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Culture, Linguistics, Modern Greek

What do they think? *sigh*

The students at the Classics Department in the University of Auckland have this channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/…

In which they have published three recordings of pop songs sung in Ancient Greek, with Erasmian pronunciation.

They are exceedingly clever renderings, both in translation and staging. Mama Mia even has a Sappho quote. The students at the Classics Department in the University of Auckland make me proud to be Antipodean. (Because Australians like taking credit for their cooler cousins.)

If you can read Modern Greek, and delve into the comments…

… Well, if you delve into YouTube comments, you deserve what you got. But it is particularly disspiriting. Poke your own eyes out level disspiriting. I am grateful that at least some Greeks leapt to these kids defense’ (even if a couple of them still thought Erasmian was bogus). The majority just made dick jokes (spelling “dick” in Erasmian: πόυτσο. Ha. Ha. Ha).

Most Greeks aren’t aware that Ancient Greek was pronounced differently, and too many of those who are think it’s a Western conspiracy against them. They don’t base this on any knowledge of Ancient Greek epigraphy, or any consideration of how noone is going to invent the alphabet and then come up with a dozen ways of writing /i/. They base this on a rigid refusal to think outside the Reuchlinian box of their own knowledge of Greek.

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