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Pronunciation of Latin
Thread poster: Arcoiris
Arcoiris
Local time: 04:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 6, 2005

I would appreciate some advice from Classics experts amongst Prozian colleagues.
I would like to know if there is a definitive, standard accepted way to pronounce Latin, because I have heard some recommended pronunciations that I do not understand.
For example:
V as in VACCA, AVIS, OVA
This is pronounced as W:
Wacca, Awis, Owa. However, in languages derived from Latin, the correspondent words are pronounced with a v:
(Spanish) vaca, ave, ov_

C as in CERVA, CERVISIA, SCIRE
This is pronounced as K:
Kerwa, Kerwisia, sKire, but again, I refer to Spanish, this words would be ciervo, cerveza, and (English) Science.

H is sometimes aspitrated and in some versions it is not: NIHIL is sometimes pronounced with an aspitrated H and sometimes as NIIL.

These are just examples of the anomalies (IMHO) i have found when trying to read a text (By the way, I have a very basic, school-level knowledge of Latin). At school I learnt Spanish etymology, but not Latin pronunciation, so I would like to understand why, or if, Latin is pronounced the way I have heard it.
Many thanks in advance


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Spanish to Italian
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Pronunciation of Latin Jul 6, 2005

Dear Apricitas,

there are generally two ways of pronouncing Latin.

One is the Ecclesiastical way, also called "Roman" way, which is what is taught in Italian schools. Some people also call it "'Italian' Latin". This pronunciation requires to pronounce exactly as you would if you were reading italian, plus simplification of diphtongs, etc. (caelo would be pronounced exactly as in Italian's "cielo", for instance).

What you were taught was the Academic (or scientific) pronounciation of Latin. This is a pronunciation that has been researched for years and tries to be as faithful as possible to what should have been the original pronunciation. Of course we do not have recordings, but philologists have been able to draw some distinct lines by researching the way Vulgar Latin has evolved, and the way Classical poetry works (as you pronunciation affected the rythm and the Metrics, which would give us clues about the pronounciation).

The Academic pronunciation is taught in Spain schools, for instance. I think this is taught in the majority of countries, but I am not sure.

The "V" issue is as following: "u" and "v" were ALWAYS pronounced and written as "u" up to the 16th/17th century, but you can find "V" as a capital letter.

"H" has a little aspiration.

C and G are always hard (K / G)

GN is always G-N instead of spanish Ñ or italian GN.

"T" is always T, even before i+vowel: "spatium" is not "spathium" as in Roman Ecclasiastical Latin.

Pros and cons:

-Scientific pron. cannot make us hear long and short vowels or the melodic accent.
-Some of the details are still uncertain
-It is easier for the students
-It is much more similar to the Ancient Greek pron.

Of course the Italians are not very keen on using the Scientific pronunciation, as they are very much at ease with their Ecclesiastical pron.

Hope this helps!
Flavio

[Edited at 2005-07-07 08:55]


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María Roberto
Spanish to English
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That is! Jul 6, 2005

Dear Apricitas:

Flavio, as always, explained very well the topic.

A Spanish link :http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latín_vulgar

Flavio, do you mean "cielo" pronounced as "chelo" in Ecclesiastical Latin?

E.G: a) Classical (Academic) Latin: caelum,(Kaelum).
b) Ecclesiastical Latin: caelum (chelo).

Regards,
María


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Spanish to Italian
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Caelum --> Kaelum // "tchelum" Jul 6, 2005

María Roberto wrote:

Flavio, as always, explained very well the topic.



Thank you María


Flavio, do you mean "cielo" pronounced as "chelo" in Ecclesiastical Latin?


Yes. In Italian you would pronounce "cielo" as "chelo"
in Spanish (as in English "Channel")

Best wishes,
Flavio


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Arcoiris
Local time: 04:20
English to Spanish
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TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jul 7, 2005

Thank you, Flavio for your excellent explanation. It makes things clearer to me .
Thank you Maria for the useful web link

GRATIAS AGO


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Spanish to Italian
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You are welcome :) Jul 7, 2005

Apricitas wrote:

Thank you, Flavio for your excellent explanation. It makes things clearer to me .
Thank you Maria for the useful web link

GRATIAS AGO



You are welcome, Apricitas


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Adam Bartley  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:20
Member (2011)
Latin to English
+ ...
Australia, too Jul 7, 2005

Hello all,

On a brief sabbatical in Austria and have some more time to write. We are taught the "scientific" pronunciation in Australia, too. Not certain about the vowel quantity issue, though. I've always found it easy enough to distinguish ablative and nominative forms, for example. Though you're right, it does get trickier with metre - see for example the lengthening of normally short vowels before double consonants, unless there is a liquid involved. The verdict seems to be, though, that these vowels were still pronounced as short.

Cheers,

Adam Bartley

Flavio Ferri Benedetti wrote:

Apricitas wrote:

Thank you, Flavio for your excellent explanation. It makes things clearer to me .
Thank you Maria for the useful web link

GRATIAS AGO



You are welcome, Apricitas


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
In Argentina Jul 7, 2005

Flavio Ferri Benedetti wrote:


The Academic pronunciation is taught in Spain schools, for instance. I think this is taught in the majority of countries, but I am not sure.
Flavio



It is the one I am currently learning at Fundación Litterae (chaired by Dr. Alicia Zorrilla). 'Acer' is thus pronounced /'aker/.

Nice forum, Flavio!

Au


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María Roberto
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ducite ab urbe domum, mea carmina, ducite Flavium. Jul 8, 2005

Flavio:
When are you going to scan verses for us?
Like “ Some music to relax”
http://www.proz.com/topic/34335

Please, “Bucolicum Carmen VIII”
Thanks!
María
(Carmina Flavii sperandum)


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Spanish to Italian
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Verses Jul 8, 2005

María Roberto wrote:

Flavio:
When are you going to scan verses for us?
Like “ Some music to relax”
http://www.proz.com/topic/34335

Please, “Bucolicum Carmen VIII”
Thanks!
María
(Carmina Flavii sperandum)



Hello María)

You mean you want me to record my voice pronouncing Latin verses?

Hehe!


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María Roberto
Spanish to English
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I mean... Jul 8, 2005

Latin: scando, is, ere, scandi, scansum: subir, trepar, escalar; medir versos, escandir.
Español: (Del lat. scandĕre) 1. tr. Métr. Medir el verso, contar el número de pies o de sílabas de que consta.

Latin “scandere” is also the source of Portuguese escandir = to scan verses, to conform to metrical patterns, besides meaning to climb, it already had that meaning, too.

English: scando (no perf. or sup.; cf.: ascendo, descendo, etc.), 3, v. a. and n. [Sanscr. root skand-, to climb; cf. Gr. σκάνδαλον, σκάνδαληθρον].

I. Act., to climb, mount, clamber or get up; to ascend.

A. Lit. (rare but class.)

B. Trop. (only in the poets and in late prose): paulatim gradus aetatis scandere adultae, Lucr. 2, 1123 : scandit aeratas vitiosa naves Cura, Hor. C. 2, 16, 21 .

Hence, in the grammarians: scandere versus, qs. to climb up, i. e. to measure or read by its feet, to scan verses.

Flavio:

Please, have a look at: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~loxias/vivamus.mp3
Catulo, Poem V.

I’m sure you could scan Catulo’s verses more gorgeous than the link above.

Or than Carl Orff ´s “ Catulli Carmina” (1943)

Why not?

María
(A fan of Flavio´s singing carrier)


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Spanish to Italian
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Scandere :) Jul 9, 2005

Hello María!

I guess I am not still prepared to scan verses... Alas!

Best wishes,
Flavio


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Deschant
Local time: 04:20
National pronuntiations Jul 12, 2005

I only have to add a tiny detail to Flavio's brilliant explanation. During the Middle Ages and also later, each country adapted Latin pronuntiation to its own phonetics. The most well-known national pronuntiation is the Italian one, which is more or less the same than the ecclesiastical one explained by Flavio. National pronuntiations are still important for musicians: when performing an ancient vocal work with latin text, they have to decide if they choose the standard pronuntiation, the ecclesiastical one or the local one (for example, French pronuntiation if the work was written and performed in France... that would be the more "authentic" choice).

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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 05:20
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Latin in Historical Performance of Music Jul 12, 2005

Dearest Eva,

that's right! If we listen to historically-informed performances of Lully, Charpentier or Delalande (to name a few) sacred music in Latin, we'll often hear Latin pronounced the French way.

Some critics from outside France despise this, but it is indeed very authentic.

It was inevitable, I think, that Latin acquired different pronounciations depending on the country.

Love,
Flavio (countertenor


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:20
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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Winston Churchill on Latin pronunciation. Aug 4, 2005

When I learned Latin at school (in England, in the 1940s), we were taught to pronounce "v" as "w", which always seemed odd to me. Later I read Winston Churchill's "My Early Life", in which he comments on this form of pronunciation, introduced in the early 20th century. He deplored the fact that Julius Caesar's famous words "Veni, vidi, vici" (in his schooldays pronounced "Vehni, Veedee, Vichi") had been changed to "wainy, weedy, weekie".
(Tried to find his exact words on the Web, but without success).


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