Brian and Anastasia Donovan’s Sabbatical Trip to Crete, 2012–2013
Donovan, Professor of English at Bemidji
State University (in northern Minnesota, USA), writes:
I shall be on sabbatical leave for the academic year 2012–2013, doing philological research on the ancient Greek rhetorician/pamphleteer Isocrates; and I and
my wife Anastasia (“Stas”) shall reside the while on the north coast of Crete, with occasional travels elsewhere in Greece. This site is a journal of our travels and experiences, illustrated with our photographs.
Almost all of the pictures are made to display on the text pages at a fraction of their full size, but the full-size images are immediately accessible to view or download (e.g., in Windows/Firefox, right-click on any image and choose “View Image” in the resulting menu box).
Note on orthography, transliteration, and pronunciation of Modern Greek
Greek names and words are generally given here in the Western or Roman alphabet, with an acute accent marking the stressed or accented syllable, as it generally does in written Modern Greek (in lower or mixed case, anyhow). This marking is the more necessary since in this matter Greek routinely violates the expectations of English speakers—expectations shaped by Latin rules that Greek has always ignored. For example, the name of the village where we have taken an apartment is Panormo, which looks like it should be pronounced Panórmo since the -rm- cluster makes the next-to-last syllable “long by position,” and thus accented, per the Latin system; but in Greek it is actually Pánormo, and so written here. On maps you will more often find the name rendered Panormos and/or Πάνορμος (or “Panormus” in Latin-labeled maps as early as the 16th century, as I discovered in the Maritime Museum of Crete). This is the nominative form, but the accusative form is used on highway signs and in most other contexts and so is used here, as likewise Réthymno for Réthymnon, Iráklio for Iráklion, etc.
- γ (gamma) is transliterated g. When followed by e, i, or y, it is generally pronounced like y in yellow, e.g., both times in the name Geórgios (our landlord) and at the beginning of the name Giórgos (local SCUBA guy). Here in Crete, though, I have occasionally heard that soft gamma pronounced more like zh (or s in leisure)—e.g., the town of Agía Pelagía was announced by the driver of our bus from Iráklio as ah-ZHEE-ah pel-ah-ZHEE-ah. Otherwise it is a voiced guttural fricative, a bit like the ch in German nach but voiced. Sometimes in transliteration this sound is rendered as gh.
- δ (delta) is transliterated d, but it generally sounds as ð, i.e., the (voiced) th sound in then. Sometimes it may be transliterated dh. (The voiceless th sound, as in thin, is written θ, transliterated th.) The d sound that delta formerly represented is now rendered by ντ (nu tau) at the beginning of a word, which is also transliterated d, ambiguously enough, though d rarely if ever transliterates ντ in these pages. In the middle of a word that combination is likely to be pronounced as nd.
- β (beta) sounds and is transliterated as v, as does the υ (upsilon) in the former dipthongs αυ and ευ, when another vowel or a voiced consonant follows; when a voiceless consonant follows, the υ in these diphthongs sounds and is transliterated as f. The b sound that beta formerly represented is now rendered by μπ (mu pi), transliterated b, though in the middle of a word it sometimes sounds as and is transliterated mb, as in Adelianós Kámbos for Αδελιανός Κάμπος (but note Giaboudákis for Γιαμπουδάκης).
- Vowels and dipthongs η, ι, υ, ει, and οι all sound alike in Modern Greek, like the i in machine, which I think makes nonsense of the common Modern Greek claim that Ancient Greek was pronounced the same as Modern. All five are alike properly transliterated i, though I favor y for υ (upsilon), as traditional. The letter e transliterates either ε (epsilon) or αι (alpha-iota diphthong), both pronounced as e in bed.
- φ (phi) is sounded and properly transliterated f, though I sometimes favor ph as traditional.
This page was last modified 5 May 2013.