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CN for G

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gerontius grumpus
448347.  Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:33 pm Reply with quote

Some Roman names began with Cn, like Cnaeus, we are told that it is pronounced like a G.
Does anybody know why this should be when there was already a G for the G sound?
Also how do C and N get to sound like G?

 
suze
448381.  Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:16 pm Reply with quote

We've discussed fairly recently the fact that Latin at one point used the letter C to represent both the /k/ sound and the /g/ sound. Around 230 BCE, it was decided that this was confusing, and hence the letter G was devised - see a discussion starting at post 443312.

Furthermore, it is generally supposed that <gn> was pronounced /ŋn/; that is "Agnus Dei" was pronounced "Angnus". I've heard this pronunciation in church, although it's certainly not universal there.

 
96aelw
448395.  Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:36 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
Some Roman names began with Cn, like Cnaeus, we are told that it is pronounced like a G.


Are you sure? That's not something I've heard. The name, incidentally, is Gnaeus rather than Cnaeus; due to the C/G business suze mentioned, and the fact that the standard abbreviations for praenomina seem to have become standardized before 230 BC, the standard abbreviation for Gnaeus is Cn, just as the standard abbreviation for Gaius is C. But all the while Romans were using Gs, Gnaeus was Gnaeus rather than Cnaeus, as far as I know.

I've always heard it pronounced G-naeus, with the Gn rather like that of Flanders and Swann's gnu.

 
Celebaelin
448560.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:49 am Reply with quote

I've got terrible acne!

Don't worry it's just your age.

 
mckeonj
448673.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:05 am Reply with quote

Similarly, NG as an initial consonant appears in other languages, for example ngopal=horse in Irish (the g is softened to a k sound); and even as a full surname in (whatever language they speak in what used to be Siam, I can't keep up).
I had an intriguing speculation about the English surname Ing, with the variation Inge and Ince. Are they gaelic leftovers. or some other source?

 
legspin
448681.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:19 am Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
Similarly, NG as an initial consonant appears in other languages, for example ngopal=horse in Irish (the g is softened to a k sound); and even as a full surname in (whatever language they speak in what used to be Siam, I can't keep up).
I had an intriguing speculation about the English surname Ing, with the variation Inge and Ince. Are they gaelic leftovers. or some other source?


Are you sure about that?
I thought the irish for horse was capall and the plural was na gcapall (also applies to the genetive I think).
As always though, I am open to correction.

 
mckeonj
448779.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:13 pm Reply with quote

legspin:
I wrote in haste, and got it slightly wrong, as I am not a native speaker. Below is a comment from an Irish political forum, about a Norn Irn politician feeling insulted when addressed in Irish.

Quote:
Bheadh orm a rá sa cás sin gurb ionann ‘go rabh maith agat’ agus cac na ngcapall in amanntaí.

Tá mé ag seasamh le mo phointesea, níorbh ghá di a thafaint air as Gaeilge, is cuma cé chomh feargach is a bhí sí.

Da mba rud é go raibh suíochán agam féin sa tionól úd agus is beag an baol, ní labhairfinn ach Gaeilge ach beirim mo dheimhin dhuit ach da mba rud é gur leor duine liom i dteanga ar bith a thuig mé go maith, labhairfinn sa teanga ceanna leo.

Sin mo thuairim.


Note the phrase cac na ngcapall = horseshit
and ‘go rabh maith agat’ is a standard greeting, very inoffensive.

That's what I was quoting from memory.

 
legspin
448968.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:46 pm Reply with quote

No problem. Seemingly I spoke in haste too. My wife is the speaker in this house and she informed me after the fact that na capaill is the plural. Na gcapall is only the genitive case.

 

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