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824985.  Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:24 am Reply with quote

Dr. Know wrote:
Speaking of Latin, I'm told by a book I was given for my birthday "Latin for all occassions" how to pronounce Latin, and it says that 'Caesar' would have been pronounced more like 'Kaisar'. Is that right?

When I learned Latin, halfway through the course we changed teachers. We were told that we needed to pronounce Caesar (etc) with a hard K rather than a soft S. (Kickero suddenly sounded like a Roman footballer!)

I asked the new teacher why we were changing the way we spoke Latin. He said because that is the way the Romans spoke it.

My reply was "How do we know as they had no tape recorders?"
I was accused of being argumentative and told to keep quiet.

I still would ask the same question. I read somewhere that a reason for the change was the result of extensive academic inquiry (whatever that is?).

Dr. Know
824990.  Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:32 am Reply with quote

I have no idea myself, but if a man with a grey beard and a tweed jacket says something about Latin, I would be inclined to believe him.

824992.  Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:35 am Reply with quote

apropo the "txt spelling" thread, i always use lower-case "i" for the first person pronoun in txts, but more interestingly, i am also increasingly doing it in non-formal emails (ie to friends & others whom i'm not worried about giving a bad impression to).

Spud McLaren
824995.  Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:45 am Reply with quote

You are e.e.cummings AICMFP

825078.  Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:28 am Reply with quote

Actually, it's a corderoy jacket.
My late father, who learned Latin at the turn of the century, under schoolmasters of the "Mr Chips" persuasion; took me to task over my mid-century Latin pronunciation.
He claimed that the phrase 'Caesar adsum iam forte' should be pronounced as if "Seezer 'ad some jam for tea"; whereas I was saying "Kaiser 'ad some yam for tay".
Incidentally, it is worth noting that boys' schools of the Mr Chips variety at that time were teaching not only classical Latin and Greek, but modern German, French, Hindi, Pushti, and Malay to future Empire builders. (but not Chinese or Japanese; pidgin was good enough, and could be picked up when you got there).

825091.  Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:12 am Reply with quote

[quote="mckeonj"]Why is the 'ing' sound sometimes reversed?
When singing "Agnus Dei", we are taught to pronounce it "Anyus Dei".
Is this specific to sung Latin, or does it occur in other, spoken languages?[/quote]

It's not actually reversed. The "ing" phoneme is a velar nasal, but the "gn" phoneme is a palatal nasal. It's made by articulating the velar nasal but with the tongue on the roof of the mouth (the palate) so the release has a "y" glide. Most languages that have the phoneme spell it "gn". Examples are Mike Mignola (ming-yola) and Co-magnon (kro-mang-yon).

827680.  Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:26 am Reply with quote

Dr Know said;
I have noticed, perhaps incorrectly, that English is the only language that always capitalises the first person singular pronoun, I. The rest of the world carries on with it quite happily in lowercase. Why might this be?
I have traced its etymology back to the Goth. ik*, (a common ancestor of the German ich).

Sorry it took a while to get back, I had to reregister!

It turns out that for the English 1st person pronoun a variety of letters had been used; i, j (i longa), I, y and Y (I've no idea if these were dotted or undotted Y's). It turns out that in the 15th century (the first era of printing) that English printers decided to standardise on I. I've discovered lots of tales to explain why that particular letter was chosen - but they all sound a bit apocryphal.


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