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How to pronounce Roman names (Latin Pronunciation Guide)

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Imperator Invictus View Drop Down
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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How to pronounce Roman names (Latin Pronunciation Guide)
    Posted: 18-Mar-2005 at 20:50
Whatever happened to those pronunciation guides we used to have here? Well, anyways, for the purists here, this is the one for Latin. The pronunciation of Latin has changed significantly from Classical latin to modern Latinate languages (and English). Even the Latin heard in churches is pronounced different from that of the ancients.  But of course, most of this stuff here is for curiosity, since it's no longer a spoken language, even scholars of the written language discard the "correct" pronunciation, which is largely speculation.

Examples represent commonly "mispronounced" words

Consonants with Examples
(examples used are with modern English pronunciation)
[c]  Pronounced as a hard c, such as Car, Cat, Cage. It is NOT sounded like the c in cent, cede, and cease.
Examples: Centurio (Centurion): Ken-tur-ri-oh
Cicero (the Orator): Kick-ker-roh
Caesar: Kai-sahr

[g]
Always hard G, such as Got, Gothic, God, Goat. NOT pronounced soft, such as in German and gist.
Examples: Germanicus: Grr-man-ni-cus
Exception [gn]: (pronounced ngn after vowel)
Examples: Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the great): Mahng-nus
Gnaeus: Nee-us (nasal n)

[h] as in English.
[i, consonant] like the English y. (The I can be both a vowel and a consonant. Later, consonant Is were written as J's, such as Julius instead of Iulius)
Examples: Traianus (Trajan): Trah-yan-nus
Iulius (Julius): Yoo-li-us

[qu] as in English, eg. Queen, Quack, etc.
[r] rolled r. The roll is proabably the most discarded part of pronunciation among modern english latin readers.
[s] soft s, such as Sam and son
[u/v] U and V were the same letter in classical latin. u/v as a consonant is pronunced as a "w". As a vowel, it has two different pronunciations.
Examples: Veni, Vedi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered): Wen-nee, wed-di, wee-kee
Via Appia (Appian way, the road): Wiya (1 syllable) Ap-pia

[x] as in English


Vowels
Each vowel has two different pronuncations, long and short. Common words are given as examples here, but obviously, the long and short difference would usually not be applicable to non-latin readers.
[a] short: cat, long: (ah) father
Example: Menelaus (Greek, actually): Men-nah-lah-us (long a)

[e] short: get, long: A, way, day, pay
Example: Venus: Way-nus (long e)

short: tip, long: (ee) keep, deep
Example: Italia: ee-tal-liya

[o] short: got, long: (oh) mold
short: us, long: (oo): food, mood


Dipthongs
There are more than two, but the others are too rare for the common reader.
[ae] as in my, high, sky
Examples: Caesar: Kai-sahr

[oe] as in oyster
Examples: Oedipus: Oy-di-pus


How to pronounce the Alphabet
a (ah), b (bay), c (kay), d (day), e ("A"), f (ef), g (gay) h (ha), i (ee), k (ka), l-o (same as english), p (pay), q (koo), r (air), s (es), t (tay), u/v (oo), x (ex).


Neo-latin terms in Classical Pronunciation
Alumi: Alum-nee
Alumae: Alum-nigh (i and ae pronunciation swapped between C. Latin and English)
Stare Decisis (law term): Star-reh Dee-kai-sis (English: Stair-ree, Da-cy-sis)
Dies Irae (day of Wrath): Dies Ir-rye (Church Latin: Dies Iray)
Sub Poena (law term): Sub  Poe-ena (English: Sub peena)


Edited by Imperator Invictus
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  Quote faram Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2005 at 14:06

Originally posted by Imperator Invictus



Consonants with Examples
(examples used are with modern English pronunciation)
[c]  Pronounced as a hard c, such as Car, Cat, Cage. It is NOT sounded like the c in cent, cede, and cease.
Examples: Centurio (Centurion): Ken-tur-ri-oh
Cicero (the Orator): Kick-ker-roh
Caesar: Kai-sahr



Are you sure this is true? I would say the pronunciation of the c has not changed and it is pronunced like nowadays ( Cicero: Ci-cer-oh, but Caesar: Ka-e-sahr)

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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2005 at 23:19
Obviously, that depends on what modern language you're talking about. In modern english, the hard K is not the only sound for the C. 
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  Quote faram Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2005 at 05:02

I mean that the c with e and i like "century" or "civil" in English,while with a, o and u is pronunced like in "car", "corporation" or "curly", isn't it? the same happens in other languages derivated of latin, at least in Spanish, "centuria", "ciudad", but "cabeza" "coche" and "curioso", and I think it's the same in French, "campeur", "cellule" , Italian, Portuguese... So it would be very strange that in all that languages the pronunciation have changed in the same way.

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  Quote Serge L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2005 at 07:16

Yes, tha'ts correct. The pronunciation II posted is the so-called "restituta", a present day reconstruction of what should have been the way 1st century BC- 1st century CE Romans (e.g. Caesar, Cicero) spoke. It's commonly believed that that pronunciation was somewhat different before and after that age.

If I find some time, I'll post something more later.

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  Quote Serge L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Mar-2005 at 10:12

I found a couple of interesting websites:

http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Latin/Grammar/Latin-Pronunc iation-Syllable-Accent.html

gives a reconstructed classical pronunciation, similar (but not identical! of course, those are alh hypotheses, since we have no voice record from those times, and there are subtle differences among scholars) to the one posted by our II, plus hints about how the pronuciation was before classical times and how it evolved in late latinity (among which, the c and g palatalization into which Faram was interested)

http://www.ai.uga.edu/mc/latinpro.pdf

shortly explains the techniques to reconstruct classical pronunciation, and also presents a synoptic tables of main 4 ways to read Latin (Classical reconstructed, Souther European approx. coinciding with "church" or "ecclesiastic" latin, Northern European and English traditional).

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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2005 at 19:01
Those are pretty good links

As for the C sound, let me quote Vox latina:

Latin c in all cases represent a velar plosive - ie. in popular terminology, it is always hard and never soft - even before the front voewls e and i. Inscriptions in fact sometimes write k for c in this environment (eg. pake), and Greek regularly transcribes Latin c by (kappa); the sound was also preserved in words borrowed from Latin by Celtic and Germanic between the first and fifth cneturies A.D., In the grammarians there is no sugestion of anything other than a velar plosive; and Varro (Priscian, K. ii, 30) provides positive evidence by citing anceps beside ancora as an example of the velar value of n (see p. 27) - which only makes sense if the following sound is the samein both cases. There is a further hint in the alliterative formula "censuit consensit consciuit" (Livy, i, 32, 13)

It is true that in the course of time a "softening" took place before e and i (compared the pronunciation of c in French cent, Italian cento, Spanish ciento, from Latin centum); but there is no evidence for this before the fifth century A.D; and even today the word for 100 is prnounced kentu in the Logudoro dialect fo Sardinia.

This of course does not mean to say that Laitn c represents an absolutely identifcal pronunciation in all environments. In English, for example, the initial sound in kit is articulated somewhat further foraward on the palate than in cat, and is accompanied by a cetain degree of lip-rounding in coot. There is perhaps some actual evidence for this in latin; an original short e followed by a "dark" l normally developed to a back vowel, o or u - thus Old Latin helus becomes holus, and the past participle of pello is pulsus; but scelus does not change into scolus, and the past participle of the obsolete cello is celsus, not culsus; one possible explanation of this is that the change was prevented by the frontness of the preceding consonant.

...then it goes on about the usage difference between c and k. If you're interesed in this type of stuff, which I'm sure many are!, I can post more.


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  Quote Praetorian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Apr-2005 at 19:40
how do I start a thred or topic?
Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris
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