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Greek Text in TS Eliots Wasteland - Pronunciation?


ok, I think I can pretty safely say that this will be the strangest request posted all week, but here goes. The above graphic contains text that serves as sort of a prologue to TS Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland.”

Obviously it’s in Latin with the quotations in Greek. I’d like to know how to repeat this entry out loud, but not surprisingly I dont have the slightest idea how to pronounce the greek in it.

Nor do I know windows’ character map well enough to attempt to type the words into google with “english translation” next to it, and I cant think of any other ideas. Can anyone transliterate this for me? To be clear, I’m NOT interested in the english translation, just the phoenetic spelling of the pronunciation.

As strange as this is, I actually give it a pretty good shot of getting an answer on a website this big. For the curious among you, this is the translation:

“I saw with my own eyes the Sibyl at Cumae hanging in a jar, and when the boys said to her, Sibyl, what do you want? she replied I want to die.”

Thanks in advance

When do you need it by? I just sent an email to one of my friends teaching in the Classics Department. I’ll let you know if/when he gets back to me. I do know that classical Greek is tough to scan and pronounce and anything we have today is a very rough gestimate.

J

I can’t pronounce it in modern Greek but I think I can make it out with Erasmian pronunciation.

Sibulla ti theleis apothanien thelo

Sib-ul-la ti thel-ace a-po-than-ien thel-o

I could be wrong though so someone with more knowledge in Koine Greek will probably correct me.

One more thing to note: the accent marks stress the syllables

I received a reply already. As I suspected the pronunciation of classical Greek is always a bit sketchy. So here is what my friend said: Using the Erasmian-hypothetical classical pronunciation, it would be:

Síbylla ti (as in is) thél-ace…apothan-ane (as is inane) thélô; in demotic, ‘Sibilla ti tél-is…apothanéen télô’. That’s about as close as I can get phonetically! Hope it helps!

There are a few phonetic differences between the two posts.

The fellow that helped with the phonetic rendering in my earlier post did his dissertation on Classical Greek Lit and he teaches both the language and the literature as well as Latin so I would go with his.

Personally, I wouldn’t know the difference which is evident by the fact that I thought it was Attic Greek not Koine. Nice work 4-13. Are you a classics student?

[quote]Simmondj wrote:
There are a few phonetic differences between the two posts.

The fellow that helped with the phonetic rendering in my earlier post did his dissertation on Classical Greek Lit and he teaches both the language and the literature as well as Latin so I would go with his.

Personally, I wouldn’t know the difference which is evident by the fact that I thought it was Attic Greek not Koine. Nice work 4-13. Are you a classics student?

[/quote]

Oh its not Koine. That just what I happen to know in Greek :). I just added the disclaimer because I was using Erasmian pronunciation and thats usually what we use with Koine Greek. I figured someone would correct me like your friend.

No I’m not a classics student. But I have a weird obsession with ancient obsolete languages.

k-13 Interesting obsession. I liked the idea of having an obsession with ancient obsolete languages. I have a bit of Old English and a little more Latin, but I think when it comes down to the discipline of learning those languages the idea of having an obsession with them starts to wane. I have to do Latin now as a language requirement for my Doctorate. That’s what I get for dabbling.

Eliot is amazing in his knowledge of languages. Apart from French, Latin, and Greek, he apparently knew Sanskrit.

J

Thanks very much for your help guys, I appreciate it

[quote]KBCThird wrote:
Obviously it’s in Latin with the quotations in Greek. I’d like to know how to repeat this entry out loud, but not surprisingly I dont have the slightest idea how to pronounce the greek in it.

Nor do I know windows’ character map well enough to attempt to type the words into google with “english translation” next to it[/quote]

Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σίβυλλα τί θέλεις; respondebat illa: ἀποθανεῖν θέλω.

Edit: Oops, broke the forums =\

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/18993 - for the characters

[quote]4-13 wrote:
I can’t pronounce it in modern Greek but I think I can make it out with Erasmian pronunciation.

Sibulla ti theleis apothanien thelo

Sib-ul-la ti thel-ace a-po-than-ien thel-o

I could be wrong though so someone with more knowledge in Koine Greek will probably correct me.

One more thing to note: the accent marks stress the syllables [/quote]

Although no doubt of little use now the proper syllabification is

Si-bul-la ti the-la-ce a-po-tha-nien the-lo

The accents also mark the pitch not the stress.