Just sounding it out? Greek and Latin from speech to page | Classics for Everyone

A recent post on the Classics for Everyone blog might be of interest to a number of readers, particularly those who recently attended the Summer Greek school here at Newman.

Summer Greek 2015
Summer Greek 2015

At the beginning of the week we spent some time discussing the problems that are posed concerning how to pronounce words of a language that is no longer in use. This problem is exacerbated by differences in conventions relating to pronunciation of Classic and Koine Greek, different institutional and national preferences, as well as a school of thought that is seeking to adopt modern Greek forms.

We also looked at a few ways that do help us to approximate (at least) how we think various letter forms and dipthongs were sounded; sound effects in plays (notably Aristophanes’ Frogs ), onomatopoeic words, as well as apparent auditory errors in the copying of manuscripts. However, we also noted that the oral aspect of Koine is helpful (I’d argue essential) in not only learning the language and helping words to register in our minds, but it also helps to make sense of some of the language’s idiosyncracies (for example, why some endings differ depending on whether the following word begins with a vowel or consonant).

Classics for Everyone‘s post below explores this question in much more detail:

Just sounding it out? Greek and Latin from speech to page | Classics for Everyone.

Facebook Before Facebook: Tagging in Antiquity

Earlier this week for our module ‘Text, Culture and Interpretation’, we were looking at the oral/aural and performative aspect of biblical texts. During this session I was explaining some of Jesper Svenbro’s work on the anthropology of reading in Antiquity, particularly in relation to funerary inscriptions. Sarah Bond’s Guest blog (below) is therefore quite timely in provoking more questions about how inscriptions work in Antiquity and, as one of my friends said is also “so cool”!


This is a guest blog by Sarah E. Bond, ancient historian in the Classics Department at the University of Iowa. The post highlights the link between media in the past and in our own digital world, a theme that is frequently addressed here. Sarah maintains a blog devoted to classical culture. EK

In the digital world, tags are ubiquitous. When we digitally tag items, we are essentially applying metadata (information about your information) to an object. We practice this all the time: when we write a blog post and want to increase viewership, when we upload an image onto Flickr, or when we identify individuals or places in Facebook posts. At Facebook’s Desktop Help center, they attempt to explain the reasons for tagging: “When you tag someone, you create a link to their profile…Your status update may also show up on that friend’s Timeline.” In antiquity, tags functioned in a similar manner to today. Though…

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