https://www.duolingo.com/Jr.Foraker23

What's the difference between Ancient, Classical, and Modern Greek

I've heard all three of these terms, and I know that Ancient Greek is supposed to different from Modern, but what's Classical? Is it just another way to see Ancient Greek? I have never really gotten specific for that.

Also, I have just started learning. This brings me to another question, though. I looked at the description for Greek in DL, and it didn't say what type of Greek it is. What type of Greek are we learning? How many different types of Greek even are there? Does it differ like how Latin America and Spain's Spanish differs? Does it differ to begin with?

I'm completely new to this language, so I could also maybe use a few tips.

Thanks, guys.

Edit: For them Biblical believers out there, my bros in Christ, what type of Greek would the New Testament be in?

2 weeks ago

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Giovanni-10

First of all, I'll start with the easy one. Your last question about the Holly Bible and The New Testament are written in Koine Greek (or Biblical Greek) [=Ελληνιστική Κοινή Διάλεκτος). (Of course in The Old Testment thera are also some aramaic and hebrew texts)

Secondly, the language that you can learn in Duolingo is Modern Greek (Νέα Eλληνική γλώσσα). In other words, the language that Greeks speak right now.

Now, with regard to your first cocern. It is extremely difficult to explain it in a text. Greek langueage is the oldest language and the mother language for all the others. Never make the mistake of comparing the Greek langueage with any other. Greek langueage is alive. Ιt is changing and evolving with the passage of time. Υou are referring to Ancient, Classical, and Modern Greek. In fact there are many more... It has to do with the period of time and the place. Even today, you will find many differences in the language Greeks speak in Athens, in Ionian Islands, Crete, Cyprus, Makedonia, ... Imagine thousands of years ago! Also, it will have many differences in 500 years from today. The major periods of Greek language are: Proto-Greek, Mycenaean Greek, Ancient Greek, Koine Greek, Medieval Greek (or Byzantine Greek) and Modern Greek. As I said above, there are hundreds of different dialects and local idioms.

I do not want to tire you any more, nor discourage you for learning. You need to learn Modern Greek first, to continue with Ancient Greek language (which is difficult enough even for Greeks). But, from the other hand everything beggins from the Ancient language. If you like studing language in general, you are going to love it, because you will see how many words and grammatical rules have their base on it!!! It will be difficult to read the New Testament in the prototype form, but If you study hard and spend time on it, you would be able to read texts in Modern Greak and to communicate with natives on your trip.

I already wrote enough. I will be here for anything more.

Good luck.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JustusRobi3
JustusRobi3Plus
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"mother language for all the others"? Not quite. Ancient Greek only actually gave rise to Modern Greek; not to English, Romance languages, etc.; these came from other sources. Greek does hav a very old and venerable written record, tho'; deeper in time than for Germanic languages and even a bit deeper than Latin or Celtic languages.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jr.Foraker23

Are there any huge differences between them? Like, different letters? Alphabets? Sounds? Also, thanks for all the info you already wrote.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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Sorry I am not Giovanni, but I thought I might add my two cents. The letters are the same, but some of them have different pronounciations in for example β is pronounced like and English B in classical Greek but it has more of a V sound in modern Greek. The main differences are in the grammar though. I think the best thing is to think about your goals, do you want to study mythology? read the new testament? or travel to greece and talk to locals? and decide based on that. My interest is in classical mythology and philosophy so I choose to learn Classical Greek. I do dabble in the modern Greek course a bit, and there is some over lap (it is a good way to practice reading) but there are also enough differences that might get a bit confusing to learn both at once.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jr.Foraker23

Well, that doesn't seem too bad. Thanks to both of you.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky
Michael.Lubetsky
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The pronunciation of the letters in Ancient Greek is actually a matter of some controversy. When I studied Classical (Attic) Greek in university, I learned the "traditional" pronunciation (ie, β would be pronunced "b", θ woud be pronunced like an asperated "t", αι would be pronunced like "aye", etc). However, Greek people today tend to believe very strongly that most of the sound shifts that now characterise Modern Greek pronunciation occured in the ancient period, such that if you reading Socrates, you use modern pronunciation (even if the language is Ancient Greek).

I am not sufficiently well versed in the history of Greek to offer an informed opinion, but I have learned from experience that it better not to argue with Greek people about this issue. :-)

More info here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_phonology

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/konosp

Only ignorant people believe that the pronunciation has remained completely identical for millenia.

But it's true that most of the sound changes took place a looong time ago. Not in the time of Socrates, but by the time of the late koine period, yes.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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After researching this a bit more, the matter of pronounciation seems like quite a hot topic!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JustusRobi3
JustusRobi3Plus
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The sound changes did not take place all at once. Socrates (470-399 BCE) probably still used "Classical" pronunciation, while by ~400 CE, pronunciation was approaching modern, tho' the distinction between [i] and [y] was likely maintained, at least for many speakers, til ~1000 CE.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/konosp

Yes, that's what I've heard as well, υ was the last major sound change that occured.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/93k8nXGk

Yeah people get very angry about this in the very small community of those who actually read or speak ancient or classical Greek. If you study Ancient Greek in a Greek university they use the modern Greek pronunciation. If you study it at most of the other universities they use the other one. No one seems to have kicked off here about it. The other thing that upsets people is whether the accents reflect tones or stress. A lot of heat and light is consumed on that one. If you want to read it then study yes it's hard work. There are valid points to be made by most sides.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Stergi3
Stergi3
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The form of Greek that is taught in Duolingo is Modern Standard Greek, that is a linguist term and not adopted by all Greeks, who say that this language is Demotike (People's language).

Why so? There had been a serious problem in Greek language since the Middle Ages. The scholars could not accept that the language has been involved since the classical period. Since the language had much evolved and "corrupted" by foreign words of Latin (that is Italian mostly) and Turkish (and more, Arabic and Farsi) the scholars considered as their duty to write in a form of Ancient language. This movement extended more after the Indepedence of the Greek state (1830), so there had been a real diglossia. The form of this language, named Katharevousa (cleaned up) was the official language of the Greek state until lately. This controversy provoked even riots with dead in Athens (1901), https://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%95%CF%85%CE%B1%CE%B3%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AC .

A movement to replace this language with the language of the people had been started developing by the writers named Demotikistes (demotike fans), including poets as Dionyssios Solomos (National Poet) and Kostis Palamas. etc. The language of the people had many deficiencies in terminology though, so the scholars had to adopt many words from Katharevousa or create new. Some extemists didn't avoid the use of new words according the people's language rules, sometime with ridiculous result. This gap started closing after the fall of the military Junta (1974) and the journalists adopted a mild version of Demotike, so as it became the official language of the Greek State now. The final form came in 1982 when the Greek Parliament voted for a more simplified form with just one word accent (tonos, so the system is called monotonic). This is the Modern Standard Greek, a mixture of words from Demotike with many words from Katharevousa and new ones according the rules of the language.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mokurai
MokuraiPlus
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Ancient Greek includes Homer: Iliad, Odyssey, Homeric hymns, which were not written down until much later.

Classical Greek is mainly the Greek of Athens, from the time of Cleisthenes and Solon to the conquests by the Macedonians and the Romans.

Then we have the Koine Greek of Christian scripture.

Greek then continued to evolve under the Byzantine Empire and then the Ottoman Empire and independence up to modern times.

Greek was written in several different ways: Linear A, Linear B, and the Greek alphabet. Scholars can read Linear B, but not Linear A, which goes back to 2500 BCE in the Minoan civilization. Writing in Linear B seems to have started around 1400 BCE. There was a period of several centuries, the Greek Dark Ages, from which no writing has survived. The Greek alphabet, derived from the Phoenician alphabet, appeared in the ninth or eighth century BCE.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ObitoSigma
ObitoSigma
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Homeric Greek is a weird mix of Ionic and Attic Greek with other dialects.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JustusRobi3
JustusRobi3Plus
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Yes, that's it: Homeric Greek is a hybrid of dialects, probably mixed for poetic reasons; and was therefore presumably never used as a vernacular.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BillDe
BillDePlus
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There is a translation of Linear A but it is as a Semitic language not as a Greek language. Greek scholars don't like having one of their languages stolen so the debate about Linear A continues...

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/djmclay

Where did you get the info that Linear A was a Semitic language? There are several theories as to which language group it belonged to, and the current leading theory of these is that it was an unidentified Minoan branch of Indo-European.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/konosp

Lol, what? Where are you getting this from? Linear A hasn't even been deciphered yet. And I've never heard of Minoan being categorized as Semitic before.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BillDe
BillDePlus
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See Evidence for the Minoan Language by Cyrus H. Gordon published in 1966 and Ugarit and Minoan Crete, same author, same year. For a less technical discussion see Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilizations, W W Norton & Co Inc (1965).

Gordon is controversial and I've never seen any Greek scholar support him, but there has been some support from Semitic scholars.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/konosp

Let's not trust Greek scholars not supporting a controversial theory, but let's trust Semitic scholars supporting a controversial theory.

Makes sense.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/konosp

Let's also ignore that Cyrus Gordon was Jewish himself, and made outlandish claims such as this:

"Gordon also held that Jews, Phoenicians, and others crossed the Atlantic in antiquity, ultimately arriving in both North and South America."

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/djmclay

To add to this, his research was published in the 1960's. Historical consensus changes over time, even within individual schools of thought. Research goes out of date very quickly in academia.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpells
MissSpells
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This Langfocus video might answer some of your questions: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OIB5SKG3no0

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky
Michael.Lubetsky
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I did three semesters of Ancient (Attic) Greek back in university. It was unquestionably the most challenging language I have ever attempted to learn (and that includes Polish, Japanese and Klingon).

The verb system of Ancient Greek is very complex, with verbs being conjugated by tense (present, past, future), voice (active, passive and MIDDLE (wth?)), mood (indicative, subjunctive, imperative and OPTATIVE (again, wth?)), number (singular, plural and dual (sigh)), all over six principal parts for each verb which have to be memorised.

The punch line to the joke about verbs is that they aren't even used that much. In many ancient Greek texts, there can be one verb per paragraph. The rest of the "verbs" are expressed in gerund or participle forms. For example, instead of saying "I went to the market, met up with Socrates and invited him to dinner", you may say "Having gone to the market, upon meeting up with Socrates and inviting him to dinner, [....]"

These participle and gerund forms are not only conjugated, but also DECLINED like adjectives, with four cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative) and gender, etc.

Adding to the complexity is that there are a large number of prefixes that are often added to verbs to shade meaning, creating the challenge, when you want to look up a word in a dictionary, of identifying the "core" verb and transpositing it to the first principal part that would appear in a dictionary. I had an Ancient Greek-English dictionary but often could not actually find the words I was looking for. (Of course, this was before the days of Google Translate).

Koine Greek (which is, among other things, the Greek of the Christian Scriptures) was essentially the lingua franca of the Hellenistic world (ie, Greek-speaking world after Alexander the Great--including what is now Greece, Turkey, Egypt, much of the Middle East and into Central Asia). Greek was widely used as a second language and, as you might expect, was greatly "simplified". Unfortunately, the "simplificiation" did not always result easier texts to read. For example, Ancient Greek distinguished the subjective voice ("If do not believe that you speak the truth") from the optative voice ("I am happy that you are here..."). Koine Greek still uses both subjunctive and optative, but tends to be more "loose" about how they are used. So if you want to read Koine, you have to be able to recognise both the subjunctive and optative forms, but they will not necessarily be used in a consistent matter. Again, sigh.

None of this is meant to dissuade you from taking up Koine Greek -- if you are a believer, there is really is no substitute than reading Scripture in the original language (although I believe that there is some evidence that the Gospel of St Mark was originally written in Syriac). Just be ready for a challenge!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/letterlover13
letterlover13
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Glad to see you back!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jr.Foraker23

Me? Oh, thank you. I didn't think I was that remembered, especially after changing my picture. Thanks, though.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/letterlover13
letterlover13
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I recognized your username ;)

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jr.Foraker23

Oh, yeah. You probably remember me from a month ago as the guy who just went around being a meanie and telling people what they should and shouldn't put in their posts. I was kind of rude back then, but then again, some stuff in my life was happening. I'll stop there. Thanks for telling me, though.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/11_kasia
11_kasia
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Welcome back! :)

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16
jaye16
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There is a lot of fine information here by other learners so I won't add to it. I will, however, offer you some insights into some information the Greek team has prepared for you.

First of all. you'll need to access the Greek keyboard on your device whether it be desktop, laptop or phone. Then you'll need to become familiar with the Greek alphabet, which might seem daunting at first so you'll be happy to learn that half of the 24 letters are the same as those of the Latin alphabet in capitals and are found on the same key on the keyboard. We have explained where to find the others. In addition, we offer some ideas of pronunciation most of which are the same as the English but the few "foreign" sounding ones are explained.

HOW TO GET THE GREEK KEYBOARD These links will not only show you how to get the Greek keyboard but also how to find the Greek letters on it, how to add accents etc. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22040507 It will also help you learn the alphabet and where to find other sources.

THE GREEK ALPHABET https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22424028

And here is another to help you navigate Duolingo

FAQ - General Questions, Bugs & Reports https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23799672

Some simple hints to get you started:

  1. Always read the comments before posting.

  2. Read the Tips & notes. At the start of each lesson look for the tiny light bulb image.

  3. Read the drop down hints. Pass your cursor over a word and a list of translations will appear. (hint, choose the top word).

These are the official Duolingo guidelines which you should read. https://www.duolingo.com/guidelines And these will answer lots of questions about how Duo works. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8000024

If you have questions just ask.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/djmclay

There is Ancient Greek, Koine Greek (Hellenistic & Mediaeval), and Modern Greek. Classical Greek probably refers to Attic Greek at the high of Athen's power before the Peloponnesian War – so it's a specific form/dialect within what we broadly call 'Ancient Greek'.

Regarding different types of modern Greek, I assume we are learning the standardised version (based on dialect of Athens). There are several other dialects that are different, such as that found in Crete. Also, there is a version of Greek called Tsakonian that is very different to other dialects – some linguists classify it as a separate language since it descends directly from the Doric language spoken by the ancient Spartans.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/konosp

The standard version is not based on the dialect of Athens, because Athens was just a big village when the modern state of Greece was established. SMG is based more on Peloponnesean and perhaps Ionian dialects.

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/djmclay

Interesting. Thanks for the correction!

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/konosp

No problem.

As a matter of fact, the Greek speakers of old Athens spoke this dialect, which is now almost extinct: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Old-Athenian-language

2 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PommyJohn

Biblical, that is ancient, Greek

2 weeks ago
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