Textkit Logo

Absolute beginner - first question

Here's where you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

Moderator: thesaurus

Absolute beginner - first question

Postby john_the_mackem » Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:54 am

Hello everyone.

Recently decided to teach myself Latin, "Just for the hell of it". I've bought myself a few books, a decent latin dictionary and i've downloaded some readers from the net.
I've managed to work my way through verbs of the first declension and some basic nouns. Going ok so far, although perhaps a little slow.

This forum looks like a great resource and I hope to use it throughout my learning. But for now I have one glaringly simple question.

I'm told that the Romans (I'm ignoring Middle-age latin for now) didn't have a letter "J". They actually used the "I" as both a constanant and a vowel. My dictionary shows me the month June is "Iunius" and that a Jew is an "Iudeaus".
How do I pronounce this???

Is it "Y" as in Yew-nee-us and Yew-day-us
Is it "J" as in Jew-nee-us and Jew-day-us
Is it "I" as in eye-oo-nee-us and Eye-oo-day-us

... or have I missed the boat completely?

And given that (according to my book) the "C" is always hard as in "cat" and that the dipthong "ae" is pronounced "eye" as in "high", does this mean that Julius Caesar was actually Yew-lee-us Kai-zar?

My name is John, so I am assuming in Roman times I would be Iohn. How the hell would I pronounce this? Prononuciation is clearly my weak point so far.

Cheers,
Iohn.
john_the_mackem
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:38 am

Postby benissimus » Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:05 am

Hi John,

Despite what others might tell you, speed is far less important than comprehension. Keep a steady pace that is comfortable for you but still challenging and you will do well. Pronunciation can be difficult at first, but I consider it more of a secondary concern, which you can practice while reading the Latin you are working on presently.

Is it "Y" as in Yew-nee-us and Yew-day-us
Is it "J" as in Jew-nee-us and Jew-day-us
Is it "I" as in eye-oo-nee-us and Eye-oo-day-us

The first of the three is correct for the most accurate pronunciation, but a few people who prefer to pronounce Latin as English choose the second.

You must mean Judaeus for "Jew", in which case it would be pronounced Yew-die-us rather than Yew-day-us.

And given that (according to my book) the "C" is always hard as in "cat" and that the dipthong "ae" is pronounced "eye" as in "high", does this mean that Julius Caesar was actually Yew-lee-us Kai-zar?

Yes, but remember that the S always makes a hissing sound, it is never pronounced as the letter Z, so something like Ky-sahr.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
User avatar
benissimus
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2733
Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 4:32 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Postby benissimus » Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:18 am

As for your name, here is the history from www.behindthename.com :
JOHN m English, Biblical
Pronounced: JAWN
English form of Johannes, which was the Latin form of the Greek name Ioannes, itself derived from the Hebrew name Yochanan meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". This name owes its consistent popularity to two New Testament characters, both highly revered as saints. The first was John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, who was beheaded by Herod Antipas. The second was the apostle John who was also supposedly the author of the fourth Gospel and Revelation. The name has been borne by 23 popes, as well as kings of England, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and France. It was also borne by the poet John Milton and the philosopher John Locke.


So your Latin name is Iohannes and you are quite right to realize that the spelling "John" would be very difficult to pronounce in Latin. This is a 3rd declension noun Iohannes, Iohannis; M when you're ready for it. Pronounced Yo-han-ness.

By the way, I hope you benefit from Textkit as many others have and enjoy your studies ;)
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
User avatar
benissimus
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2733
Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 4:32 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: Absolute beginner - first question

Postby mariek » Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:39 pm


Hi John!

Welcome to Textkit! I see Beniss has answered your question. I just want to add something unrelated that might be of intetrest to you. Beniss posted a nice little message on vowel pronunciation a while back, it is the 4th message on this thread : http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?t=189.
User avatar
mariek
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:19 pm
Location: California

Postby john_the_mackem » Mon Mar 15, 2004 5:18 pm

Thanks to everyone who posted, very informative.

I like the idea that Latin speakers would probably put a mis-pronunciation down to an accent. Given that I have a pretty strong accent to start with (North Eastern English), I would probably baffle the citizens of Rome if I began talking.

To be honest, I am learning Latin mainly for the reading and writing. I can't imagine any situations when I would need to listen or speak it. But I suppose it is always handy to know.
john_the_mackem
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:38 am

Postby benissimus » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:37 am

Really those examples I gave who-knows-how-long-ago and those you find in a grammar book are just close to what Roman vowels are supposed to have sounded like. We cannot really know for sure, but the reconstruction is certainly accurate for the most part. Our different English pronunciations of the same words interfere with describing Latin pronunciation accurately, and few English words mirror exactly what we suppose Latin sounded like, so don't put all your faith into similar sounding English examples.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
User avatar
benissimus
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2733
Joined: Mon May 12, 2003 4:32 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Latin pronunciation

Postby cadoro » Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:33 am

I'm no expert in this but I'm certain that Latin "C" is pronounced differently according to the region it is learned.Some say it hard as in cat, but I've also heard it pronounced as soft "ts" before "i" and "e".Each country in Europe during the medieval period would probably pronounce Latin according to its own language rules.
What is important is mutual intelligibility.
cadoro
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:34 am
Location: London

Postby Episcopus » Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:49 pm

Yahweh is gracious = Jonny but like gor any like but

The c as in chinese "cao" the pinyin ts?

It is fair how the Romance languages all have some different ways of sounding "c".
User avatar
Episcopus
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 2563
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm

Postby chad » Thu Mar 18, 2004 2:11 am

hi john and others, it sounds like this topic is pretty much wrapped up, but i'll just add one more thing. the "i" in latin can actually do 4 things:

1. after a consonant, it can just work as a vowel, sounding like "ee"
2. after certain other vowels, it can form a diphthong, eg ei: "ay"
3. at the start of a syllable/consonant, it can be a consonant, like our "y"

(all of these things have been mentionted already)

4. in a word like maior, where the first syllable is open (doesn't have a consonant at the end) and the "i" works as the consonant "y", the "i" also turns the previous syllable to a diphthong with the "ee" sound (so, in this case, the diphthong ae, sounding like "igh"). some books call this the "double i" or something similar.

cheers, chad. :)
chad
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 757
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 2:55 am


Return to Learning Latin

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 62 guests