Greece Ancient Greek And Koine Vs. Modern Greek

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JLanguage
Monday 21st of March 2005 10:21:04 AM
Ancient Greek and Koine vs. Modern Greek: What are the differences? Are you, native Grecians, able to understand the Language of Ancient Greece (Iliad and the Odyssey) and the Christian Bible or is this a learnt ability? I was wondering because although I am not Christian, I would like to read the Scriptures and the classics in their original language.

Cheers and Shalom,
-Jonathan


sherarara
Tuesday 05th of April 2005 01:21:42 AM
Hi!

Although I'm not Greek, I have studied all forms of Ancient Greek, including Koine (the language of the Septuagint and the Christian Bible). I've also a bit of modern Greek.

From my classes, I can tell you that modern Greek speakers cannot speak Ancient Greek. It's different from Hebrew that way, mostly because Greek has been an evolving language for thousands of years.

If you want to learn Ancient Greek, Koine or otherwise, start with Attic Greek, the language that most of the Greek authors wrote in (there are major exceptions, but it's dialectical differences and easy to overcome). Once you've learned Attic Greek, you'll have no trouble at all with Koine and other post-classical forms. If you learn Koine first, you might struggle with Classical Greek.

By the by, The Odyssey and the Iliad are written in an older dialect of Greek, one which bears the eponymous name of Homeric Greek. Homeric Greek has a smattering of many different dialects of Greek, with a bit of an emphasis on the Ionic.

Moral of the story? Attic Greek is all around helpful. During my stays in Greece, I've been able to read enough to get around, even if I can't pronounce it correctly.


giorgiom
Saturday 25th of June 2005 02:58:00 AM
Hi,
I'm a greek and I would say it's a complicated situation.

All greek junior high and high school students take 6 years of ancient greek classes at school and at the last grades Antigoni, the Heliad and the Odyssey are some of the "text-books" used at class. So most greeks have an understanding of ancient greek and it's usually quite easy for an educated person to understand a phrase in an older form of greek.

Of course, since greek is an evolving language, nobody SPEAKS ancient greek. It's a written language so even philology graduates won't speak the ancient greek language but they will be able to read it. I stress this because a lot of non-greek people actually say that they speak ancient greek, which to a greek sounds completely weird! The ancient greek language (at least in a greek's point of view) exists only as a written language and nobody is supposed to start a conversation in ancient greek or Koine unless they're quoting an old text. Of course there is some people who use Katharevousa or archaic language in some contexts (the current archbishop of Athens and a lot of clergymen for example tend to use a lot of archaic forms in their speech inside the church, of course the use modern Greek in everyday life and interviews).

Anywayz, although the language is the same and almost all of the modern words are derived from ancient Greek, the older the text is the more difficult it would be for a common greek to understand it. For example an average greek will easily understand the Bible (written in Koine) without trouble, but will need time or even have to ask somebody else in order to "decode" a text written in the 5th century Attican language.

Thus, even my grandma who's a primary school graduate will easily understand Koine and read the Bible in prototype.

A lot of ancient greek, Koine and Katharevousa phrases are also commonly used in modern speech.


So, to sum up, I would say that modern day greeks won't have much trouble to read something in Koine and Byzantine Greek since it's very close grammatically and lexilogically to the modern language. When ancient (mostly Attican) language comes into consideration then most of greeks won't get it immediately but will have to think a little or even ask someone's help in order to understand a phrase. Nevertheless a greek would probably get the meaning out of a carved script (for example on ancient statues, pottery or columns in a museum) but won't usually try to do it since carved text doesn't have spaces and it will take quite a lot of time to separate the words and then find the meaning...


caryra
Tuesday 26th of July 2005 02:23:23 PM
Katharevousa vs. Dhimotiki: Ya sou, I heard that in the early part of the 20th century, most people spoke Katharevousa. They brought in Dhimotiki, which was more popularly spoken, and I heard there were riots because they wanted to make Dhimotiki the national way of speaking? What is the difference and why were people so up in arms about it?


ego
Monday 07th of August 2006 08:28:38 PM
I am a native too and my idea is as follows:

Classical Greek is not easy understandable for someone who never studied ancient Greek at school. Then it depends on the text. Philosophy texts are not understandable, unlike Aristophanes' comedies that can be very understandable.

Koine is almost perfectly understandable by all Greeks. The Church uses it and most listeners understand the text although it's sung. The New Testament is easily readable by any Greek even if he/she never studied ancient Greek at school. I have read that of the whole NT, only 400 words are unknown today. The rest are either in use either not in colloquial use but perfectly understandable by all Greeks.


Jairo_Spain
Sunday 06th of May 2007 04:33:45 AM
ancient greek: Hi everyone!
I´m studying ancient greek in the hight school and I also study modern greek at home and I think that the modern greek is easier than ancient greek. Write your opinion please.Bye


humoros
Tuesday 30th of September 2008 10:34:55 PM
ancient Greek is closer to Hungarian than modern Greek: For me, ancient Greek is easier than modern Greek, because ancient Greek is closer to my native language (Hungarian).

Hungarian seems to have conserved much of the structure and vocabulary.
For example several explanations in the bible and jokes in Utazó (=traveller, nowadays usually written as Odyssey) just do not make sense after translation (eg. in Greek, or other languages) while they make perfect sense in Hungarian.

Invaluable guidance can be found in the following book:
Baráth Tibor: A Magyar Népek Õstörténete




ifrimcorina
Tuesday 30th of September 2008 11:35:11 PM
Originally posted by humorosFor me, ancient Greek is easier than modern Greek, because ancient Greek is closer to my native language (Hungarian).

Hungarian seems to have conserved much of the structure and vocabulary.
For example several explanations in the bible and jokes in Utazó (=traveller, nowadays usually written as Odyssey) just do not make sense after translation (eg. in Greek, or other languages) while they make perfect sense in Hungarian.

Invaluable guidance can be found in the following book:
Baráth Tibor: A Magyar Népek Õstörténete



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