Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Greek)
Greek versus Latin suffixes
It has been a long convention in the Western world, which received largely Greek sources through Latin, to use the Latin suffix -us where the Greek -os, and sometimes -as normally was (and therefore we have Evagrius instead of Evagrios, Anastasius instead of Anastasios, Odysseus instead of Odysseas, etc.). While there is a historic reason for this, a correct transliteration of Greek names to English does not have any reason to pass through the grammar of Latin. Unless a name has a much more common form in English (Gregory instead of Gregorios or George instead of Georgios), it is not correct to use Latin grammar for Greek names. A policy of rendering Greek names (ancient, medieval and modern) according to their native grammar, should be adopted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 17:37, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
- There is an actual reason for it: it is normal in English text (we should not use -us in feminine placenames, where it is no longer normal); our readers will come to us having seen Anastasius, Odysseus, Heraclitus, and will see those forms elsewhere.Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:27, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
- Come to think of it, Odysseas? I see it has become the Demotic usage; but it is not Homer (nor Thucydides, nor Vergil). This is the English Wikipedia; there is no need to introduce modern -er- tweaks. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:08, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
The page appears to be trying to describe how to "construct" the correct anglicized/latinized form for Greek names. This is futile. The only thing the guideline needs to be aware of is "most common form in English usage".
It isn't predictable whether Aristarchus or Aristarch is the form used in English. This is simply a matter of checking with reputable secondary sources. There are special cases like Ulysses that are completely irregular.
This page should give advice on where and when close transliteration ("lang:grc-Latn") or pronunciation details should be given, but the question of anglicizations of latinized Greek is beyond its scope. That simply falls under the main "stick to English usage" rule. --dab (𒁳) 09:27, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
- Thanks for the improvements to the article. I appreciate the effort to streamline and clarify, and I was pleased to learn that grc is a recognized language for Template:lang; I hope this will help editors make sure that ancient names are provided in Ancient Greek as opposed to Modern Greek. Now, the one thing that gives me some pause is that the sentence The normal English practice is to use the Roman standard, rather than attempting a phonetic transcription. was simply removed rather than edited into something more logical. I wouldn't want to see a chaos of moves (for example Philodemus to Philodemos, where "most common" is not as effortlessly clear as, say, Euthyphro vs. Euthyphron) justified by the absence of any guidance here. Would it be acceptable to include a statement that when Latinized and transliterated forms are both in use, the longer-established Latinized ones are generally preferred? Wareh (talk) 14:29, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
You are right, The normal English practice is to use the Roman standard, rather than attempting a [transliteration from Greek directly]. But this isn't really the scope of this page, it's simply a matter of WP:UE. I.e. "Philodemus" is already English and thus "Naming conventions (Greek)" shouldn't even be invoked. I didn't like the appearance that Wikipedia is prescribing "use the Roman standard" when this is simply an observation on the de facto situation in English (and of course there are exceptions, like "Athens"). In my book, Philodemus is lang=en, i.e. it is simply a name to be used in English language context without any markup. Philodēmos is a transliteration, to be italicized and tagged as lang=grc-Latn, and Φιλόδημος should of course just be tagged as lang=grc. --dab (𒁳) 10:16, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
eta with acute accent
In Ancient Greek ή is supposed to be translitterated to ḗ (e with macron and acute accent), or am I missing something? In other words, is this right? --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 00:53, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
- It is much more common to ignore accents when transliterating (magnētis lithos). But there's nothing incorrect about representing the accent as you have done (though I wonder whether everyone will be able to display such an exotic character). Wareh (talk) 02:39, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
- (edit conflict) My concern was about the availability of ḗ in common fonts. I wanted to know whether the most common solution was not giving a damn about poor fonts, not giving a damn about macrons (i.e. magnétis líthos), or not giving a damn about accents (magnētis lithos). So it's the last one. Thanks. --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 10:29, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree. This isn't "required", but it's a nice extra. I think Unicode has ḗ and ṓ precisely for this purpose (seeing that the equivalent characters for a, i, u are missing). --dab (𒁳) 10:09, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
- I know Vietnamese can use diacritics and tone marks on the same vowel, too. I don't know whether e and o can have a macron and other vowels can't, so I couldn't tell whether they were included for Vietnamese or for translitterated Ancient Greek. BTW, does anybody know how common fonts lacking them are? I guess that most readers would prefer to see ē rather than � or a box, so if there are many fonts lacking them I'm going to remove the accents. --A. di M. (formerly Army1987) — Deeds, not words. 10:29, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
The Vietnamese alphabet doesn't use macrons afaik. As for macron+acute, you can use combining diacritics, i.e. ā́ (yields ā́). This may misplace the diacritics in rendering, but it's better than seeing �. ḗ (ḗ) is probably canonically equivalent to ḗ, so it won't matter which you enter since they'll be collapsed server-side. --dab (𒁳) 14:13, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium?
Why are we following this reference work for specialists again?
I've just spent a weekend at a Byzantine conference, and had an odd moment when I realized that none of the written material (handouts and such) followed this system:
- Most people Latinized in the traditional manner (Palaeologus, Demetrius)
- A minority transliterated as though from Demotic (Dimitri)
- Judith Herrin Anglicized Christian names, and used -os for surnames, but she did so consistently (John, Constantine, and Theophylact; not Theophylaktos).
Why are we using a "standard" which nobody follows, and which will detach lay readers (for whom we are supposed to care) from nine-tenth of the existing literature? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:17, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
- I think you're right that Latinized names are still current among Byzantinists, and since Wikipedia normally uses them for Ancient Greek, there's the extra argument for uniformity. I think the preference of Greek writers in English is perhaps exerting more influence than the ODB. Wareh (talk) 22:05, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
Another instance of this practice has come up at Maximus Planudes - occasionally Maximos Planoudes; can anyone see a genuine reason why we should prefer the eccentric style of one Oxford reference to impose on all Byzantines a style which is used for neither ancient nor modern Greek? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:25, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
- Because it is actually used, and by a great many scholars? And why is Maximos Planoudes eccentric, when it represents an accurate and straightforward transliteration of the name? Constantine ✍ 10:04, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
- Google Books (restricted to books published in the last 20 years) says Maximus Planudes occurs in 2,680 volumes, Maximos Planoudes in 265. Therefore, the first spelling is observed as a norm, and the second spelling deviates the norm (i.e. is "eccentric"). It's not surprising that an exception to the norm can be found in a reference that applies a rigid scheme without reference to normal English usage. Wareh (talk) 13:57, 5 November 2010 (UTC)
- I am in absolute agreement with PManderson. There seems to be little or no reason to continue a deceptive practice in transliterating names, which will be noticed only by those familiar with subject material--and thus likely to recognize who "Thoukudides" is--and will give the proper names to laypeople, who would likely be equally unfamiliar with "Thoukudides" and "Thucydides." As a model for transliterations, I would suggest community members examine Robert Fitzgerald's celebrated translations of the Iliad and Odusseia. Hamilqart (talk) 00:39, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
- Why do people always bring the Classics into this? They have a widely accepted system of latinization, which due to the influence of the Classical world in Western culture is recognizable to the mainstream public. It would be stupid and counter-productive to try and make people use Aristoteles instead of Aristotle or Lysandros rather than Lysander. And yet, even there one can see the trend where these names are transliterated, with Alexandros and Ptolemaios instead of Alexander and Ptolemy (or Odusseia instead of Odyssey)... Byzantine studies are, unfortunately, in a different league. How many have even heard of Alexios Komnenos or Michael Palaiologos? People have heard of Justinian, and that is why we don't use either Justinianus or Ioustinianos in the article. The ODB form is awkward, yes, and inconsistent, but so is pretty much any transliteration system which has to take into account common usage and a modicum of recognizability. The point is, to the average reader "Andronikos Komnenos" is no more and no less recognizable, if recognizable at all, than "Andronicus Comnenus". Plus the system is used by the majority of recent publications, both those destined for the broad public as those for use by the scholars themselves. Constantine ✍ 09:34, 2 June 2011 (UTC)
- The inconsistent and bastardized forms you mention are indeed in place, but I feel that Wikipedia should not be encouraging them; given the community's influence, I feel that it is in a wonderful position to begin turning the ship around towards more faithful transliteration. For the scholar, the result is simply a more faithful and scholarly presentation of information. I understand that transliterating Greek into corrupted forms is the commonly accepted practice. But it is far from a universally accepted one, and I feel that it would reflect much more positively to take a stand against the corruption of classical languages, which teaches students information about people and cities who--by the names given--never even existed at all. If I had to suggest a single scholar as a model for transliteration, it would be Robert Fitzgerald, whose faithfulness in transliteration does not suggest pedantry, but reverence.
- If you think about it, so many little tidbits about who the Hellenes were float to the surface when you look at ancient names. Philip II; the name means nothing, tells us nothing. Philippos II; a lover (lit. "friend") of horses. The name tells us so much, not so much Philippos himself, who was of course no horseman when named, but about the land in which he lived. Makedonia, with its broad plains, was well-suited to raising strong horses, and horse breeding was not just a military matter, but clearly a sentimental part of Makedonian culture, something that the Makedones prized when they looked over their land. Alternatively, and perhaps more likely, we can extrapolate from the name that Philippos' ancestors, if not the whole of Makedonia (which was not a unified culture, even less so before Philippos) had a certain connection to horse culture, either within or beyond the ability of horse-breeding to showcase wealth.
- For another example, consider the Qart-Hadastim. "Carthaginians" has no real meaning or significance. But by thinking of them, writing about them, acknowledging these people as the Qart-Hadastim, we get a fuller idea of who they are, and bear that in mind whenever the name is shown; they are the people of the "Qart Hadast," the "New City." Their self-image, unlike many other groups, isn't of a people who have dwelt in their lands since time immemorial. They're acknowledging themselves as a seafaring, transplanted people. How interesting is that? They don't tell themselves that they live at the center and origin of the universe; they're colonists, mariners. I understand the concerns about "change" and "new things," but the misconceptions about names--that there was ever a man named [Joo-lee-us See-zer]--are self-perpetuating, and we ought to look to breaking that cycle. Much writing outside of Wikipedia shies away from this kind of thing. But then again, not all sources of information are like Wikipedia. Most, certainly, don't insist on neutrality and supportability to the extent that Wikipedia does, and the community is rightly proud of its scholarly uniqueness in that regard. Hamilqart (talk) 21:40, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Transliteration for modern Greek: consonant clusters
Since there's some controversy regarding the transliteration of some consonant clusters in modern Greek, let's discuss them. The issues are about γκ, μπ and ντ. In this reference, that discusses the UN system we chose in 2006 (see Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Greek)/Archive 1#Modern Greek), these are transliterated as gk, mp and nt respectively. One exception: μπ is transliterated as b at the beginning and at the end of a word. Other transliteration systems (e.g. BGN/PCGN) make other choices, and I think it's important to stick to our choice of one system, in order to avoid all those nice variant names like Pirgos, Pirghos, Pyrghos. I know this doesn't reflect English pronunciation, and it isn't meant to. Markussep Talk 14:59, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
- Well, I for one don't see why we have to "stick" to any particular system. There are several transliteration systems, all of them valid and usable as the occasion demands. The guideline must recognize existing usage, not prescribe a system and try to straitjacket everything in it. γγ and γκ are traditionally transliterated as "g" or "ng", and more recently as "gg" or "gk" respectively. Personally, I heartily loathe the latter forms, as they are an obvious way to directly transcribe the individual letters but misses the whole point of the cluster being a single sound, but my personal taste doesn't have a say in the matter. I don't really see the problem with having Ioannis Giagkos alongside Theodoros Pangalos, provided that the usage is established (Giagkos for instance is officially written in this way). Also, IMO, the guide here should be how recognizable a name would be to an English-speaker: for instance, both "Andonis" and "Antonis" can be found as transliterations of "Αντώνης", but only the second preserves the visual hint to the original Latin name that is familiar as "Anthony". Similarly, no one would use "nt" to render "Αντρέας", and vice versa one wouldn't use "nd" to render "Αντίπαρος". Same goes for the μπ cluster. Constantine ✍ 16:13, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
- What I certainly want to avoid, and you'll probably agree, is different transliterations for the same name, like Palaiochori vs. Paleohori. I agree that we should follow English usage, if there is a clear preference for one version in English. To my experience, there are many cases where existing usage is extremely scattered or not very logical. See for instance Chalkidiki, Hersonissos, Alonissos, Kalabaka. About your Giagkos and Pangalos examples: if that's what they're called in English, I see no reason to force them both to "gk" or "ng". I think your Αντίπαρος, Αντώνης and Αντρέας examples also illustrate the problem: who decides what's the best transliteration for those, if we decide not to follow a system? Markussep Talk 21:35, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
- I quite agree with you, I merely do not think that following any one system too rigidly is the way to go. Common usage should override transliteration in cases where a form is long-established like Chalcidice, Messenia, Athens or Elis. Similarly, "Andreas" must be recognizable to being related to "Andrew" and the "Anti-" element in Antiparos must be clear as well. Otherwise we can be lax, it is not so important if it is spelled Alonnisos or Alonnissos. To answer your question, it is we who decide. There is no consistent usage, no guideline on how to transliterate modern Greek names, and Greeks themselves mix things up constantly. The only requirement should be that the form we choose is recognizable so that someone with knowledge of Greek can back-transliterate it, and that it should if possible help in pronunciation. As an example, rendering Μπάμπης as "Mpampis" is technically accurate but useless, as the name is pronounced "Babis" or rather "Bambis". Personally, my preference is for the "traditional" way, with some nods to phonetic pronunciation: retain the ai, ei, oi, ou, and y, render γγ and γκ as ng/g, μπ as b, mb or mp, chi as ch and gamma as g. Constantine ✍ 07:33, 8 June 2011 (UTC)
Modern Greek, vowel clusters
Hello! Sorry for my bad English. Can anybody explain me the sense of this?
"av, af (before θ, κ, ξ, π, σ, τ, φ, χ, ψ, and final)"
does that mean, that "αυ" in every other case have to be translated as "av", and just before θ, κ, ξ, π, σ, τ, φ, χ, and ψ as "af"?
Or does that mean, that the vowel cluster "αυ" just appeared before θ, κ, ξ, π, σ, τ, φ, χ, and ψ, and that this is in one's own discretion, how to be translated (whether "av" or "af")?--126.96.36.199 (talk) 15:10, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
gg in names
Should the page make clear on the issue of "gg" not "ng" e.g. Aggeliki Daliani, actress, Angeliki Karapataki, water polo player, Aggeliki Tsiolakoudi, javelin thrower. Just a question? In ictu oculi (talk) 05:24, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
- I think γγ is always "ng". That's also what it says on this naming conventions page (under "consonant clusters"). If the person is commonly called "Aggeliki" in English, or calls herself that way, I supoose we should follow that, but generally it should be "Angeliki". Markussep Talk 10:35, 5 January 2013 (UTC)