Seeing the flow of traffic that comes in to this blog every year on Christmas Eve is a beautiful experience for me. I appreciate your visit, whether you come to learn about Greek or Greek Linguistics, or even if this is the only time you have ever come to the Greek Language and Linguistics Blog and you just wanted to learn how to say Merry Christmas in Greek (You can get that here).
I had the good fortune of encountering Randall Buth’s reading of 1st John today. He uses the reconstructed Imperial Koiné pronunciation, the system that represents how Hellenistic Greek most probably sounded in most places during the period of the Greek and Roman empires, more specifically between 200 BCE and 200 CE.
Given the recent growth of interest in learning to actually speak Hellenistic Greek, I’m not surprised to see another class offering that goal. What I do find surprising is that it’s online, and that it only costs $30. Once I recovered from the surprise, though, I realized that Michael is exactly the person to do this. He is very proficient at both blogging and video production and has already produced a string of youtube videos on speaking Koine Greek.
The folks over at Omniglot.com provided a recording of the phrase in the title of this post that was used here from 2010 to 2015. My link to that recording ceased to function this year, so I replaced it with a recording of my own. Click the triangle below if you want to learn to say “Merry Christmas” in Hellenistic Greek.
New audio added November 25, 2016
Thanks to Omniglot.com for providing the audio that was used in this post from 2010 to 2015!
A note on pronunciation added in 2014:
The pronunciation from Ominiglot.com was done using Modern Greek pronunciation. While there are several important differences between Modern Greek and the way the language was spoken in the Hellenistic Period (Koine), none of those differences impact the pronunciation of καλὰ Χριστούγεννα. Of course at the time of Jesus and Paul no one would have said καλὰ Χριστούγεννα since Christmas was not yet celebrated. When it did come to be celebrated, though, early Christians would have pronounced this phrase the same as it is pronounced today in Greece.
A note on spelling (Added 12/15/2015)
There is one small difference in spelling of the Christmas greeting between 300 CE and the present: the system of written accents has been simplified. Contrast the following spellings. Can you see the difference?