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Encyclopedia > Koine Greek
History of the
Greek language

(see also: Greek alphabet)
Proto-Greek (c. 2000 BC)
Mycenaean (c. 1600–1100 BC)
Ancient Greek (c. 800–300 BC)
Dialects:
Aeolic, Arcadocypriot, Attic-Ionic,
Doric, Pamphylian; Homeric Greek.
Possible dialect: Macedonian.

Koine Greek (from c. 300 BC)
Medieval Greek (c. 330–1453)
Modern Greek (from 1453)
Dialects:
Cappadocian,Cretan, Cypriot,
Demotic, Griko, Katharevousa,
Pontic, Tsakonian, Yevanic

Koine Greek (Κοινὴ Ἑλληνική) refers to the forms of the Greek language used in post-classical antiquity (c.300 BC – AD 300). Other names are Alexandrian, Hellenistic, Common, or New Testament Greek. Koine Greek is important not only to the history of the Greeks for being their first common dialect and main ancestor of Demotic Greek, but it is also significant for its impact on Western Civilization as a lingua franca for the Mediterranean. Koine also was the original language of the New Testament of the Christian Bible as well as the medium for the teaching and spreading of Christianity. Koine Greek was unofficially a first or second language in the Roman Empire. This article is an overview of the history of Greek. ... Greek (, IPA — Hellenic) has a documented history of 3,500 years, the longest of any single language within the Indo-European family. ... Because of technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... The Proto-Greek language is the common ancestor of the Greek dialects, including the Mycenean language, the classical Greek dialects Attic-Ionic, Aeolic, Doric and North-Western Greek, and ultimately the Koine and Modern Greek. ... Mycenaean is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, spoken on the Greek mainland and on Crete in the 16th to 11th centuries BC, before the Dorian invasion. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. ... Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of rather archaic Greek sub-dialects, spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece), in Lesbos (an island close to Asia Minor) and in other Greek colonies. ... Arcadocypriot was an ancient Greek dialect spoken in Arcadia and Cyprus between ca. ... Attic Greek is the ancient dialect of the Greek language that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. ... Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. ... Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. ... Pamphylian is a little-attested dialect of Ancient Greek which was spoken in Pamphylia, on the southern coast of Asia Minor. ... Homeric Greek is the form of Ancient Greek that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey. ... Medieval Greek (Μεσαιωνική Ελληνική) is a linguistic term that describes the third period in the history of the Greek language. ... Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ... Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ... Cappadocian (SIL: CPG; ISO 639-2: ine), also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek is a Greek-Turkish mixed language, formerly spoken in Cappadocia (Central Turkey). ... Cretan Greek (Cretan dialect, Greek: Κρητική διάλεκτος or Kritika Κρητικά) is a dialect of the Greek language, spoken by more than half a million people in Crete and several thousands in the diaspora. ... Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ... Griko, sometimes spelled Grico, is a Modern Greek dialect which is spoken by people in the Magna Graecia region in southern Italy and Sicily, and it is otherwise known as the Grecanic language. ... Katharevousa (Greek Καθαρεύουσα, IPA: ) is a form of the Greek language, created during the early 19th century by Adamantios Korais (1748-1833). ... Pontic Greek is a Greek language which was originally spoken on the shores of the Black Sea (Pontus). Pontics linguistic lineage stems from Attic Greek, and contains influences from Byzantine Greek, Turkish influence and some Persian and Caucasian borrowings. ... Tsakonian (also Tsakonic) (Standard Greek Τσακωνική Διάλεκτος — Tsakonic language — is a dialect of, or language closely related to, Standard Modern Greek, spoken in the Tsakonian region of the Peloponnese, Greece. ... Yevanic, otherwise known as Yevanika, Romaniote and Judeo-Greek, was the language of the Romaniotes, the group of Greek Jews whose existence in Greece is documented since the 4th century BCE. Its linguistic lineage stems from Attic Greek and the Hellenistic Koine (Κοινή Ελ&#955... The literal meaning of the Greek word koine (κοινή) is common. It is used in several senses: Koiné Greek (Κοινή Ἑλληνική), a Greek dialect that developed from the Attic dialect (of Athens) and became the spoken language of Greece at the time of the Empire of Alexander the Great. ... Greek (, IPA — Hellenic) has a documented history of 3,500 years, the longest of any single language within the Indo-European family. ... Dhimotiki (Greek Δημοτική, IPA //) or Demotic Greek is the standard language of Greece. ... For alternative meanings for The West in the United States, see the U.S. West and American West. ... Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... John 21:1 Jesus Appears to His Disciples--Alessandro Mantovani: the Vatican, Rome. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth, and on his life, death, resurrection, and teachings as presented in the New Testament. ... The word Bible refers to the canonical collections of fairy tales of Judaism and Christianity. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth, and on his life, death, resurrection, and teachings as presented in the New Testament. ... The Roman Empire is the name given to both the imperial domain developed by the city-state of Rome and also the corresponding phase of that civilization, characterized by an autocratic form of government. ...

Contents

History

Koine Greek started taking shape as a common dialect within the armies of Alexander the Great. As the allied Greek states under the leadership of Macedon conquered and colonised the known world, their newly formed common dialect was spoken from Egypt to the fringes of India. Even though Koine Greek was shaped during the late Classic Era, the symbolic starting point of the second period of the Greek language (known as Post-Classic) is set at the death of Alexander the Great and the beginning of the Hellenistic era in 323 BC. The closing of Post-Classic Greek and the passage into the next period of the Greek language, which is known as Medieval Greek, is symbolically assigned at the foundation of Constantinople by Constantine I in 330. In that respect, the Post-Classic period of Greek refers to the creation and evolution of Koine Greek throughout the entire Hellenistic and Roman eras of Greek history until the start of the Middle Ages. Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of, if not the most successful military commanders in history. ... Macedons regions and towns Macedon or Macedonia (from Greek ; see also List of traditional Greek place names) was the name of an ancient kingdom in the northern-most part of ancient Greece, bordering the kingdom of Epirus on the west and the region of Thrace to the east. ... A classic is an item that has become a ubiquitous and unique symbol or icon of a time gone by, mainly because of its inherent quality or its representative status. ... The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance... Greek (, IPA — Hellenic) has a documented history of 3,500 years, the longest of any single language within the Indo-European family. ... Medieval Greek (Μεσαιωνική Ελληνική) is a linguistic term that describes the third period in the history of the Greek language. ... Map of Constantinople. ... Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Emperor in 306 For other uses, see Constantine I (disambiguation). ... The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance... This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ... The History of Greece extends back to the arrival of the Greeks in Europe some time before 1500 BC, even though there has only been an independent state called Greece since 1821. ...


The term Koine

Koine (Κοινή), which is Greek for "Common", is a term that had been previously applied by ancient scholars to several forms of Greek speech. A school of scholars such as Apollonius Dyscolus and Aelius Herodianus maintained the term Koine to refer to the Proto-Greek language, while others would use it to refer to any vernacular form of Greek speech which deferred to the literary language. When Koine gradually became a language of literature, some people distinguished it in two forms: Hellenic (Greek) as the literary post-Classic form, and Koine (common) as the spoken popular form. Others chose to refer to Koine as the Alexandrian dialect (Περὶ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρέων διαλέκτου), meaning the dialect of Alexandria (a term often used by modern Classicists). Apollonius Dyscolus (fl. ... Aelius Herodianus (c. ... The Proto-Greek language is the common ancestor of the Greek dialects, including the Mycenean language, the classical Greek dialects Attic-Ionic, Aeolic, Doric and North-Western Greek, and ultimately the Koine and Modern Greek. ... Alexandria Modern Alexandria. ...


Roots

The linguistic roots of the Common Greek dialect had been unclear since ancient times. During the Hellenistic age, most scholars thought of Koine as the result of the mixture of the four main Ancient Greek dialects, "ἡ ἐκ τῶν τεττάρων συνεστῶσα" (the composition of the Four). This view was supported in the early 19th century by Austrian linguist P. Kretschmer in his book "Die Entstehung der Koine" (1901), while the German scholar Wilamowitz and the French linguist Antoine Meillet, based on the intense Attic elements of Koine - such as σσ instead of ττ and ρσ instead of ρρ (θάλασσα - θάλαττα, ἀρσενικός - ἀρρενικός) - considered Koine to be a simplified form of Ionic. The final answer that is academically accepted today was given by the Greek linguist G. N. Hatzidakis, who proved that, despite the "composition of the Four", the "stable nucleus" of Koine Greek is Attic. In other words, Koine Greek can be regarded as the result of the admixture of the three Ancient Greek dialects and Attic. The degree of importance of the non-Attic linguistic elements on Koine can vary depending on the region of the Hellenistic World. In that respect, the idioms of Koine spoken in the Ionian colonies of Asia Minor and Cyprus would have more intense Ionic characteristics than others. The literary Koine of the Hellenistic age resembles Attic in such a degree that it is often mentioned as Common Attic. The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Antoine Meillet (Paul-Jules-Antoine Meillet, November 11, 1866 - September 21, 1936), was one of the most important French linguists of the early 20th century. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. ... Attic Greek is the ancient dialect of the Greek language that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Ionia (Greek Ιωνία; see also List of traditional Greek place names) was an ancient region of southwestern coastal Anatolia (now in Turkey) on the Aegean Sea. ... Anatolia (Greek: ανατολη anatole, rising of the sun or East; compare Orient and Levant, by popular etymology Turkish Anadolu to ana mother and dolu filled), also called by the Latin name of Asia Minor, is a region of Southwest Asia which corresponds today to... Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. ...


Sources of Koine

The first scholars who studied Koine, both in Alexandrian and contemporary times, were classicists whose prototype had been the literary Attic language of the Classic period, and would frown upon on any other kind of Hellenic speech. Koine Greek was therefore considered a decayed form of Greek that was not worthy of attention. The reconsideration on the historical and linguistic importance of Koine Greek began only in the early nineteenth century, where renowned scholars conducted series of studies on the evolution of Koine throughout the entire Hellenistic and Roman period that it covered. The sources used on the studies of Koine have been numerous and of unequal reliability. The most significant ones, are the inscriptions of the Post-Classic periods and the papyri, for being two kinds of texts that have authentic content and can be studied directly. Other significant sources are the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The teaching of the Testaments was aimed at the most common people, and for that reason they use the most popular language of the era. Information can also be drained from some Atticist scholars of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, who, in order to fight the evolution of the language, published works which compared the supposedly "correct" Attic against the "wrong" Koine by citing examples. For example Phrynichus Arabius during the second century AD wrote: An attic is an area found above a house. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance... Papyrus plant Cyperus papyrus at Kew Gardens, London Papyrus is an early form of paper made from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that grows to 5 meters (15 ft) in height and was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt. ... The Septuagint: A page from Codex vaticanus, the basis of Sir Lancelot Brentons English translation. ... Note: Judaism commonly uses the term Tanakh. ... John 21:1 Jesus Appears to His Disciples--Alessandro Mantovani: the Vatican, Rome. ... Atticism literally means favouring the Athenians. ... The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance... Attic Greek is the ancient dialect of the Greek language that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. ...

  • Βασίλισσα οὐδείς τῶν Ἀρχαίων εἶπεν, ἀλλὰ βασίλεια ἢ βασιλίς.
    • "Basilissa (Queen), none of the Ancients said, but Basileia or Basilis".
  • Διωρία ἑσχάτως ἀδόκιμον, ἀντ' αυτοῦ δὲ προθεσμίαν ἐρεῖς.
    • "Dioria (deadline), badly illiteral, instead use Prothesmia".
  • Πάντοτε μὴ λέγε, ἀλλὰ ἑκάστοτε καὶ διὰ παντός.
    • "Pantote (always) do not say, but Ekastote and Dia pantos".

Other sources can be based on random findings such as inscriptions on vases written by popular painters, mistakes made by Atticists due to their imperfect knowledge of pure Attic, or even some surviving Greco-Latin glossaries of the Roman period [1], e.g: Atticism literally means favouring the Athenians. ... An attic is an area found above a house. ...

  • "Καλήμερον, ἦλθες; - Bono die, venisti?" (Good day, you came?).
  • "Ἐὰν θέλεις, ἐλθὲ μεθ' ἡμῶν. - Si vis, veni mecum." (If you want, come with us).
  • "Ποῦ; - Ubi?" (Where?).
  • "Πρὸς φίλον ἡμέτερον Λεύκιον. - Ad amicum nostrum Lucium." (To our friend Lucius).
  • "Τί γὰρ ἔχει; - Quid enim habet?" (What does he have?—What is it with him?).
  • "Ἀρρωστεῖ. - Aegrotat." (He's sick).

Finally, a very important source of information on the ancient Koine Greek is the Modern Greek language with all its dialects and its Koine form and idioms, which have preserved most of the ancient language's oral linguistic details that the written tradition has lost. For example the Pontic and Cappadocian dialects preserved the ancient pronunciation of η as ε (νύφε, συνέλικος, τίμεσον, πεγάδι etc), while the Tsakonic preserved the long α instead of η (ἁμέρα, ἀστραπά, λίμνα, χοά etc) and the other local characteristics of Laconic. Idioms from the Southern part of the Greek-speaking regions (Dodecanese, Cyprus etc), preserve the pronunciation of the double similar consonants (ἄλ-λος, Ἑλ-λάδα, θάλασ-σα), while others pronounce in many words υ as ου or preserve ancient double forms (κρόμμυον - κρεμ-μυον, ράξ - ρώξ etc). Linguistic phenomena like the above imply that those characteristics survived within Koine, which in turn had countless idiomatic variations in the Greek-speaking world. Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ... Pontic Greek is a Greek language which was originally spoken on the shores of the Black Sea (Pontus). Pontics linguistic lineage stems from Attic Greek, and contains influences from Byzantine Greek, Turkish influence and some Persian and Caucasian borrowings. ... Cappadocian (SIL: CPG; ISO 639-2: ine), also known as Cappadocian Greek or Asia Minor Greek is a Greek-Turkish mixed language, formerly spoken in Cappadocia (Central Turkey). ... Tsakonic or Tsakonian (Standard Greek Τσακωνική Διάλεκτος — Tsakonic language — is a dialect of Modern Greek that is spoken in the Tsakonian region of the Peloponnese, Greece. ... Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. ... The Dodecanese (Greek: Δωδεκάνησα, Dodekánisa, meaning twelve islands; see also List of traditional Greek place names) are a group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, off the southwest coast of Turkey. ...


Evolution from Ancient Greek

The study of all sources from the six centuries that are symbolically covered by Koine reveals linguistic changes from Ancient Greek on phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary and other elements of the spoken language. Most new forms start off as rare and gradually become more frequent until they are established. From the linguistic changes that took place in Koine, Greek gained such a resemblance with its Medieval and Modern successors that almost all characteristics of Modern Greek can be traced in the surviving texts of Koine. As most of the changes between Modern and Ancient Greek were introduced with Koine, today Koine Greek is largely intelligible to speakers of Modern Greek. Note: This article contains special characters. ... Medieval Greek (Μεσαιωνική Ελληνική) is a linguistic term that describes the third period in the history of the Greek language. ... Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ... Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ... Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Main article: Greek language Modern Greek (Νέα Ελληνικά or Νεοελληνική, lit. ...


Phonology

Main article: Koine Greek phonology

Koine Greek is phonologically a transition period: at the start of the period, the language was virtually identical to Classical Ancient Greek, whereas in the end the language had phonologically a lot more in common with Modern Greek than Ancient Greek. Koine Greek is phonologically a transition period: at the start of the period, the language was virtually identical to Classical Ancient Greek, whereas in the end the language had phonologically a lot more in common with Modern Greek than Ancient Greek. ...


The three most significant changes during this period were the loss of vowel length distinction, the substitution of the pitch accent system with a stress accent system, and the monophtongalization of most diphthongs.


Evolution in phonology is summarised below:

  • The ancient distinction between long and short vowels was gradually lost, and from the 2nd century BC all vowels were isochronic.
  • Since the 2nd century BC, the means of accenting words changed from pitch to stress, meaning that the accented syllable is not pronounced in a musical tone but louder and/or stronger.
  • Long diphthongs, which in older times were written with a subscript of ι after a long vowel, stopped being pronounced and written in popular texts.
  • The diphthongs αι, ει, οι, and υι became single vowels. In this manner 'αι', which had already been converted by the Boeotians into a long ε since the 4th century BC and written η (e.g. πῆς, χῆρε, μέμφομη), became in Koine, too, first a long ε and then short. The diphthong 'ει' had already merged with ι in the 5th century BC in regions such as Argos or in the 4th c. BC in Corinth (e.g. ΛΕΓΙΣ), and it acquired this pronunciation also in Koine. The diphthongs 'οι' and 'υι' acquired the pronunciation of the modern French 'U' ([y] in IPA), which lasted until the 10th century AD. The diphthong 'ου' had already acquired the pronunciation of Latin 'U' since the 6th century BC and preserved it in modern times.
  • The diphthongs αυ and ευ came to be pronounced [av] and [ev] (via [aβ], [eβ]), but are partly assimilated to [af], [ef] before the voiceless consonants θ, κ, ξ, π, σ, τ, φ, χ, and ψ.
  • Simple vowels have preserved their ancient pronunciations, except η which is pronounced as ι, and υ, which retained the pronunciation [y] of modern French 'U' only until the 10th c. AD, and was later also pronounced as ι. With those changes in phonology there were common spelling mistakes between υ and οι, while the sound of ι was multiplied (iotacism).
  • The consonants also preserved their ancient pronunciations to a great extent, except β, γ, δ, φ, θ, χ and ζ. Β, Γ, Δ (Beta, Gamma, Delta), which were originally pronounced as b, g, d, acquired the sound of v, gh, and dh ([v] (via β), [ɣ], [ð] in IPA) that they still have today, except when preceded by a nasal consonant (μ, ν); in that case, they retain their ancient sounds (e.g. γαμβρός - γαmbρός, άνδρας - άndρας, άγγελος - άŋgελος). The latter three (Φ, Θ, Χ), which were initially pronounced as aspirates (/pʰ/, /tʰ/ and /kʰ/ respectively), developed into the fricatives [f] (via [ɸ]), [θ], and [x]. Finally the letter Ζ, which is still categorised as a double consonant with ξ and ψ, because it was initially pronounced as σδ (sd), later acquired the sound of Z as it appears in Modern English and Greek.

Pitch accent is a kind of accent system employed in many languages around the world. ... In linguistics, stress is the emphasis given to some syllables (often no more than one in each word, but in many languages, long words have a secondary stress a few syllables away from the primary stress, as in the words cóunterfòil or còunterintélligence. ... In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies the release of some obstruents. ... Distribution of Greek dialects, ca. ... Anatolia (Greek: ανατολη anatole, rising of the sun or East; compare Orient and Levant, by popular etymology Turkish Anadolu to ana mother and dolu filled), also called by the Latin name of Asia Minor, is a region of Southwest Asia which corresponds today to... Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of rather archaic Greek sub-dialects, spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece), in Lesbos (an island close to Asia Minor) and in other Greek colonies. ... The Lesbos Island shown off the coast of Turkey, northwest of Izmir Lesbos (in Greek, Λέσβος see also List of traditional Greek place names; and in Turkish, Midilli Adası) is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. ... Argos (Greek: Άργος, Árgos, IPA argos) is a city in Greece in the Peloponnese near Nafplio, which was its historic harbor, named for Nauplius. ... Corinth, or Korinth (Greek: Κόρινθος, Kórinthos; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a Greek city-state, on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. ... For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words see here. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... Assimilation is a regular and frequent sound change process by which a phoneme changes to match an adjacent phoneme in a word. ... In phonetics, a voiceless consonant is a consonant that does not have voicing. ... Iotacism is the process by which a number of vowels and diphthongs in Ancient Greek converged their pronunciation to sound like iota in Modern Greek. ... For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words see here. ... In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies the release of some stop consonants. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...

Biblical Koine

"Biblical Koine" refers to the varieties of Koine Greek used in the Christian Bible and related texts. Its main sources are:

  • the Septuagint, a 3rd century B.C. Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, which includes the Deuterocanonical books, a series of books that were not part of the Hebrew scriptures but considered part of the Bible by Greek-speaking Jews of the era, and later accepted as part of the Old Testament by some Christians. Most of the texts are translations, but there are some portions and texts composed in Greek. Sirach, for instance, has been found in Hebrew, but the additions to Daniel are almost certainly composed in Greek;
  • the New Testament, composed originally in Greek (although some books may have had a Hebrew-Aramaic substrate and contain some Semitic influence on the language).

There has been some debate to what degree Biblical Greek represents the mainstream of contemporary spoken Koine and to what extent it contains specifically Semitic substratum features (cf. Aramaic primacy). These could have been induced either through the practice of translating closely from Hebrew or Aramaic originals, or through the influence of the regional non-standard Greek spoken by the originally Aramaic-speaking Jews. Some of the features discussed in this context are the Septuagint's normative absence of the particles μεν and δε, and the use of εγενετο to denote "it came to pass." Some features of Biblical Greek that are thought to have originally been non-standard elements eventually found their way into the main of the Greek language. The Septuagint: A page from Codex vaticanus, the basis of Sir Lancelot Brentons English translation. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ... The deuterocanonical books are the books that Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Ethiopian Orthodoxy, and Oriental Orthodoxy include in the Old Testament that were not part of the Jewish Tanakh. ... Note: Judaism commonly uses the term Tanakh. ... A Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, referred to as Christ. ... The Wisdom of Ben Sira, (or The Wisdom of Yeshua Ben Sira or merely Sirach), called Ecclesiasticus (not to be confused with Ecclesiastes) by Christians, is a book written circa 180–175 BCE. The author, Yeshua ben Sira, was a Jew who had been living in Jerusalem, who may in... John 21:1 Jesus Appears to His Disciples--Alessandro Mantovani: the Vatican, Rome. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... In linguistics, a substratum (lat. ... Aramaic Primacists believe that the Christian New Testament and/or its sources were originally written in the Aramaic language, not Koine Greek as is generally claimed. ... This article describes the Biblical dialects of Hebrew. ... Aramaic is a group of Semitic languages with a 3,000-year history. ...


New Testament Greek

The Koine Greek in the table represents the New Testament Koine Greek, deriving to some degree from the dialect spoken in Iudaea and Galilaea during the 1st century and similar to the dialect spoken in Alexandria, Egypt. Note, the realizations of certain phonemes differ from the more standard Attic dialect of Koine. Note the soft fricative "bh", the hard aspirated "th", the preservation of a distinction between the four front vowels "i", "ê", "e", and "y" (which is still rounded), and other features.

Greek English IPA
α a ɑ
β (-β-) b (-bh-) b (-β-)
γ gh ɣ
δ d d
ε e ɛ
ζ zz
η ê e
θ th
ι i i
κ k k
λ l l
μ m m
ν n n
ξ ks ks
ο o o
π p p
ρ r ɾ
σ (-σ-/-σσ-) s (-s-/-ss-) s (-z-/-sː-)
τ t t
υ y y
φ ph
χ kh
ψ ps ps
ω ô o
αι ai ɛ
ει ei i
οι oi y
αυ au ɑw
ευ eu ɛw
ηυ êu ew
ου ou u

Sample Koine Texts

The following excerpts illustrate the phonological development within the period of Koine. The phonetic transcriptions are tentative, and are intended to illustrate two different stages in the reconstructed development, an early conservative variety still relatively close to Classical Attic, and a somewhat later, more progressive variety approaching Modern Greek in some respects.


Sample 1

The following excerpt, from a decree of the Roman Senate to the town of Thisbae in Boeotia in 170 BC, is rendered in a reconstructed pronunciation representing a hypothetical conservative variety of mainland Greek Koiné in the early Hellenistic era.[1] The transcription shows partial, but not yet completed raising of η and ει to /i/, retention of pitch accent, fricativization of γ to /j/ but no fricativisation of the other stops as yet, and retention of word-initial /h/. Boeotia or Beotia (//, (Greek Βοιωτια; see also list of traditional Greek place names) was the central area of ancient Greece. ...

  • περὶ ὧν Θισ[β]εῖς λόγους ποιήσαντο· περὶ τῶν καθ᾿αὑ[τ]οὺς πραγμάτων, οίτινες ἐν τῇ φιλίᾳ τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ ἐνέμειναν, ὅπως αὐτοῖς δοθῶσιν [ο]ἷς τὰ καθ᾿ αὑτοὺς πράγματα ἐξηγήσωνται, περὶ τούτου τοῦ πράγματος οὕτως ἔδοξεν· ὅπως Κόιντος Μαίνιος στρατηγὸς τῶν ἐκ τῆς συνκλήτου [π]έντε ἀποτάξῃ οἳ ἂν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν δημοσίων πρα[γμ]άτων καὶ τῆς ἰδίας πίστεων φαίνωνται.
perì hôːn tʰizbîːs lóɡuːs epojéːsanto; perì tôːn katʰ hautùːs praɡmátoːn, hoítines en tîː pʰilíaːi tîː heːmetéraːi enémiːnan, hópoːs autoîs dotʰôːsin hoîs tà katʰ hautùːs práɡmata ekseːɡéːsoːntai, perì túːtuː tûː práɡmatos húːtoːs édoksen; hópoːs ˈkʷintos ˈmainios strateːɡòs tôːn ek têːs syŋkléːtuː pénte apotáksiː, hoì àn autôːi ek tôːn deːmosíoːn praɡmátoːn kaì têːs idíaːs písteoːs pʰaínoːntai.
"Concerning those matters about which the citizens of Thisbae made representations. Concerning their own affairs: the following decision was taken concerning the proposal that those who remained true to our friendship should be given the facilities to conduct their own affairs; that our governor Quintus Maenius should delegate five members of the senate who seemed to him suitable in the light of their public actions and individual good faith."

Sample 2

The following excerpt, the beginning of the Gospel of St John, is rendered in a reconstructed pronunciation representing a progressive popular variety of Koiné in the early Christian era, with vowels approaching those of Modern Greek.[2] The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel in the sequence of the canon as printed in the New Testament, and scholars agree it was the fourth to be written. ...

  • ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. πάντα δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἓν ὃ γέγονεν. ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων̣· καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.
en arˈkʰi in o ˈloɣos, ke o ˈloɣos im bros to(n) tʰeˈo(n), ke tʰeˈos in o ˈloɣos. ˈutos in en arˈkʰi pros to(n) tʰeˈo(n). ˈpanda di aɸˈtu eˈjeneto, ke kʰoˈris aɸˈtu eˈjeneto ude ˈen o ˈjeɣonen. en aɸˈto zoˈi in, ke i zoˈi in to pʰos ton anˈtʰropon; ke to pʰos en di skoˈtia ˈpʰeni, ke i skoˈti(a) a(ɸ)ˈto u kaˈtelaβen.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."

External links

Notes

  1. ^ Horrocks (1997: 87), cf. also pp. 105-109.
  2. ^ Horrocks (1997: 94).

References

  • Randall Buth, Ἡ κοινὴ προφορά: Koine Greek of Early Roman Period
  • Abel, F.-M. Grammaire du grec biblique
  • Andriotis, Nikolaos P. History of the Greek language
  • Smyth, Herbert Weir, Greek Grammar, Harvard University Press, 1956. ISBN 0-674-36250-0
  • Cornybeare, F.C, and Stock, St. George. Grammar of Septuagint Greek: With Selected Readings, Vocabularies, and Updated Indexes
  • Allen, W. Sidney, Vox Graeca: a guide to the pronunciation of classical Greek – 3rd ed., Cambridge University Press, 1987. ISBN 0-521-33555-8


Ages of Greek
c. 2000 BC    c. 1600–1100 BC    c. 800–300 BC    c. 300 BC–AD 330    c. 330–1453    1453–present
Proto-Greek    Mycenaean    Ancient Greek    Koine Greek    Medieval Greek    Modern Greek

  Results from FactBites:
 
Greek Language - MSN Encarta (1710 words)
Koine was the language of the court and of literature and commerce throughout the Hellenistic empires.
Phonetically the two are identical, both varying from Ancient Greek principally in the substitution of stress for pitch in accented syllables and in the altered pronunciation of vowels and diphthongs.
In declension, Modern Greek (purist and vernacular) has abandoned two basic forms used in Ancient Greek: the dual, a form indicating that a noun, pronoun, or adjective refers to two persons or things; and the dative case, which is now used only in a few idiomatic expressions.
Koine Greek - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2001 words)
Koine Greek is important not only to the history of the Greeks for being their first common dialect and main ancestor of Demotic Greek, but it is also significant for its impact on Western Civilization as a lingua franca for the Mediterranean.
Koine also was the original language of the New Testament of the Christian Bible as well as the medium for the teaching and spreading of Christianity.
Koine Greek was therefore considered a decayed form of Greek that was not worthy of attention.
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