Monday, 20 September 2010

How would you say 'Aeaea'

Greek pronunciation and spelling is fascinating (if you're funny like that).

I'm just over half way through Robert Fagles' translation of The Odyssey, and the names of places and peoples require a little care, even when saying them in your own head:

Phaeacians (fee-ay-shuns)
Oechalia (ee-kay-li-a)
Onetor (o-nee-tor)
Aegae (ee-gee)

and of course

Aeaea (ee-ee-a)

It caused a certain amount of amusement yesterday when we heard the name Onesimus pronounced 'wun-si-mus' and Philemon as 'fil-a-mon' (if that means nothing to you, look here). It just goes to show how much we take for granted and how lucky we may have been to have a bit of Greek or Latin tucked away from when we were growing up. I can remember my grandmother reading from a childrens book of Greek mythology, telling me stories about Perseus, Hercules (Heracles) and Jason. The illustrations were all pretty 1900s-style impressions of a 'nice' Greek mythology, but I guess they whet my appetite.

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