So, I'm... an occasional student of Classical Greek, and I'd like to share the phonology that I've made up for it.
Basically, a number of things struck me as too difficult:
- The pitch accent. I have a lot of trouble with anything that's not a simple stress accent.
- The aspiration distinction. I'm totally comfortable using unaspirated plosives (e.g. in Spanish) or aspirated plosives (e.g. in German) as needed, but I find it much harder to maintain a consistent contrast between the two within one language.
- The prescribed values of ε, η, ο, and ω. Being familiar with languages like German and Latin, I find it hard to wrap my head around the idea of having long open [ɛː], [ɔː] contrasting with short close [e], [o]. It's like nodding my head and saying "no".
It's not that I find these things impossible, it's just that they make it more of a chore for me to pronounce the language. In this respect, I was influenced by the phonology I had chosen for Latin - basically classical, but lacking some of the more "exotic" features like velarized [ɫ] and nasalized vowels. I don't think we need to perfectly imitate the norms of one city (be it Rome or Athens) during one short period. And given the foundational role played by Greek and Latin in Western civilization (and the extensive borrowing of Greek words into Latin), I wanted to find a phonological scheme that I could use for both languages. I think everyone would agree that it's barbaric to apply the Latin stress rule to Greek, but aside from that, I pretty much use the same sounds for both. Here's what I've settled on:
α - short [ɐ], long [aː] (possibly [a] when unstressed)
ε - [ɛ]
η - [eː] (possibly [e] when unstressed)
ι - short [ɪ], long [iː] (possibly [i] when unstressed)
ο - [ɔ]
υ - short [ʏ], long [yː] (possibly [y] when unstressed)
ω - [oː] (possibly [o] when unstressed)
αι - [ɐe]
ει - [ɛɪ]
οι - [ɔe]
αυ - [ɐo]
ευ - [ɛʊ]
ου - [uː]
(In my transcription of the diphthongs, I'm influenced by Canepari and other linguists who suggest that putative open-to-[ɪ] and open-to-[ʊ] diphthongs are generally better written with [e] and [o].)
β - [b]
γ - [ɡ], or [ŋ] before velars
δ - [d]
ζ - [z]
θ - [θ]
κ - [k]
λ - [l]
μ - [m]
ν - [n]
ξ - [ks]
π - [p]
ρ - [r] or [ɾ]
σ - [s], or [z] before voiced consonants
τ - [t]
φ - [f]
χ - [x]
ψ - [ps]
rough breathing - [h] with a vowel, null with ρ
For stress, I simply treat an acute or circumflex accent as a primary stress, imitating Modern Greek. Indeed, I like to omit the diacritics altogether when writing Classical Greek (with the exception of the dieresis), relying on a Hebrew-style "you just gotta know" approach.
So basically, this is the scheme that appeals most to me (coming from a decidedly western and somewhat Germanic perspective); your mileage may vary.
Native: [flag=]en-us[/flag] Good: [flag=]es[/flag] [flag=]fr[/flag] Okay: [flag=]de[/flag] [flag=]la[/flag] Beginning: [flag=]it[/flag] Interested in: [flag=]he[/flag] [flag=]hi[/flag] [flag=]ru[/flag]
Today we are cats in the apocalypse!