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Help in spoken Latin

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Help in spoken Latin

Postby boarderpatrol04 » Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:04 pm

Does anyone know a website? in regards on learning how to pronounce Latin words...or to get a start at speaking latin? any help would be appreciated...and sorry if this question has already been asked...sorry i wasnt going to go through 52 pages of forum...
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Postby Cyborg » Tue Apr 26, 2005 7:39 pm

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Postby amans » Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:54 pm

I have listened to a few of the poems recited on the web site Cyborg suggests, but I beg to disagree. The pronunciation of the singular words in Vojin Nedeljkovic's recitals is not bad, but his use of the metre is so mechanical that one'd think it were a machine speaking and not a human being! In my opinion metre has to be a subtle flow beneath the words - but when it dictates the whole thing as in these recitals, it is just plain wrong. I only get a sense of rhythm here, not meaning, let alone feelings! He could just as well have gone: blah-blah-blah-di-di-blah-di-blah-di-blah-blah...

I do not however know of other sites that I could recommend stante pede but I wouldn't use this one as a model - because the (ab)use of rhythm distorts the picture so much. There must be sites around where you can hear how the vowels, the dipthongs, and the consonants are pronounced - in simple uncomplicated words like "campus", "Caesar", "Cicero", "quae" et cetera. I think that is what boarderpatrol04 is looking for. If I find something I'll report it to you.
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Postby Cyborg » Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:21 am

Let us create a website like that, shall we?
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Postby Interaxus » Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:40 am

I found a couple of samples of amateur theatrical Latin from the Cambridge Latin course here:

http://www.cambridge.org/us/education/latin/audio.asp

But I recommend you try Dale Grote’s brilliant audio readings and comments at:

http://www.languages.uncc.edu/classics/ ... laudio.htm

I suggest you page down to ’RealAudio for the Perseus Reading’ - the story of Perseus, Chapters 1-11. It’s like having a teacher in the palm of your hand. Though first search in Google for " Haec a poetis de Perseo narrantur" (the opening line) so you can follow in the text.

Cheers,
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Postby JLatin1 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:51 am

Interaxus wrote:I found a couple of samples of amateur theatrical Latin from the Cambridge Latin course here:

http://www.cambridge.org/us/education/latin/audio.asp

But I recommend you try Dale Grote’s brilliant audio readings and comments at:

http://www.languages.uncc.edu/classics/ ... laudio.htm

I suggest you page down to ’RealAudio for the Perseus Reading’ - the story of Perseus, Chapters 1-11. It’s like having a teacher in the palm of your hand. Though first search in Google for " Haec a poetis de Perseo narrantur" (the opening line) so you can follow in the text.

Cheers,
Int


My teacher had CDs with readings of stories from the Cambridge Latin Course (what we use at my school); I thought it was quite humorous. Is the sample from Cambridge, how Latin is supposed to be spoken? It sounds quite similar to Spanish. My teacher's pronunciation is more similar to English.
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Postby FiliusLunae » Wed Apr 27, 2005 1:24 am

JLatin1 wrote:My teacher had CDs with readings of stories from the Cambridge Latin Course (what we use at my school); I thought it was quite humorous. Is the sample from Cambridge, how Latin is supposed to be spoken? It sounds quite similar to Spanish. My teacher's pronunciation is more similar to English.


Just the other day, I spoke in Latin to a friend who is also much into languages but hasn't studied Latin. He said to me the same thing you say: Wow, it sounds just like Spanish. My guess is that anyone who hears Latin with a reconstructed classical pronunciation perceives it like that. And well, this raises the never-ending question: what is the correct pronunciation of Latin? How do we know what a Roman sounded like 2000 years ago? I won't get into that as it has been discussed extensively on Textkit. However, I will say that my knowledge of the Romance languages, and the research I've been exposed to and done since I began to learn Latin (and even before) convince me that there is a proper way to pronounce Latin. That is, rolling the R's as in Italian, respecting the length of vowels and double consonants, and so forth. There are two articles I have read, both in Latin, on the internet which deal with this matter, but the links to which I don't have right now since I'm not on my home computer. I will post them once I'm there.

And, so, for the question you ask: those recordings are actually excellent. They respect every aspect of a Classical pronunciation (or at least the one I consider most correct).
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Postby JLatin1 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:34 am

FiliusLunae wrote:
JLatin1 wrote:My teacher had CDs with readings of stories from the Cambridge Latin Course (what we use at my school); I thought it was quite humorous. Is the sample from Cambridge, how Latin is supposed to be spoken? It sounds quite similar to Spanish. My teacher's pronunciation is more similar to English.


Just the other day, I spoke in Latin to a friend who is also much into languages but hasn't studied Latin. He said to me the same thing you say: Wow, it sounds just like Spanish. My guess is that anyone who hears Latin with a reconstructed classical pronunciation perceives it like that. And well, this raises the never-ending question: what is the correct pronunciation of Latin? How do we know what a Roman sounded like 2000 years ago? I won't get into that as it has been discussed extensively on Textkit. However, I will say that my knowledge of the Romance languages, and the research I've been exposed to and done since I began to learn Latin (and even before) convince me that there is a proper way to pronounce Latin. That is, rolling the R's as in Italian, respecting the length of vowels and double consonants, and so forth. There are two articles I have read, both in Latin, on the internet which deal with this matter, but the links to which I don't have right now since I'm not on my home computer. I will post them once I'm there.

And, so, for the question you ask: those recordings are actually excellent. They respect every aspect of a Classical pronunciation (or at least the one I consider most correct).


Ancient Latin pronunciation has the most in common with Spanish, right, and not Italian? It is easier for Spanish-speakers to master Latin pronunciation, than say an English-speaker?
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Postby Interaxus » Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:47 am

Sorry, JLatin1, if I sounded negative. Personally, I think any attempt to recreate spoken Latin is brave and commendable. And fun. And anyway, just imagine all the different accents heard at Roman dinner parties. Our weird modern-day attempts would probably have produced no more than a shrug of the shoulders. ”Hmmm, these foreigners are taking over the place ...!” :x

I even get something out of Vojin Nedeljkovic's unfeeling readings of some of my favourite poems as I try to fit sense to his sounds. If Amans thinks Vojin is mechanical, what would he have thought of those Swedish girls I once heard chanting Ovid:

PÝramus Ét ThisbÉ, juvenÚm pulchÉrrimus Álter,
Áltera quÁs OriÉns habuÍt praelÁta puÉllis,
CÓntiguÁs temuÉre domÓs, ubi dÍcitur Áltam
CÓctilibÚs murÍs cinxÍsse SemÍramis Úrbem.

Perhaps in Amans' book, form is feeling, feeling form. Perhaps he prefers the Wagnerian approach? :twisted:

http://www.rhapsodes.fll.vt.edu/horace_ode_1.htm

Cheers,
Int
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Postby amans » Wed Apr 27, 2005 7:20 am

Salvete, Interaxe et alii,

Thanks for pointing me to Sonkowsky's hilarious reading! :D LOL. I don't like that style either, I must say. It's a bit easier to understand, but it is overdone, isn't it? (If it's Wagnerian, I don't know: I love Wagner, BTW). I think neither Robert P. Sonkowsky nor Vojin Nedeljkovic's readings are very understandable because of their recital styles - however correct their pronunciation of the singular words may be.

Interaxus wrote:Perhaps in Amans' book, form is feeling, feeling form.


No, on the contrary! I think, Interaxe, that this is exactly what Sonkowsky and Nedeljkovic are doing. Nedeljkovic depends entirely on the meter for his effect, Sonkowsky on this ridiculous Wagnerian style as you call it. They don't seem to remember they are reading a text that carries a meaning, too.

Grote's site is much more to the point in terms of having a resource that you can listen to and from which you can get an impression of the language. It is also interesting to hear his commentaries - I like his informal approach to it :D
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Postby FiliusLunae » Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:19 am

JLatin1 wrote:Ancient Latin pronunciation has the most in common with Spanish, right, and not Italian? It is easier for Spanish-speakers to master Latin pronunciation, than say an English-speaker?


Well, in essence, I'd say that the Classical pronunciation that we know of today has more in common with Spanish and Italian than with other major Romance languages. Both of these languages maintain the five vowel system from Latin (excepting phonemic long vowels), though in standard Italian we can speak of seven vowels (besides the five, a distinction between open and closed "e" and "o"). Spanish and Italian both posses the "trilled R", and neither weakens or loses unstressed syllables, as do, for instance, French and Portuguese. So, indeed, it is easier for both Spanish (-speaking) or Italian natives to learn the reconstructed Classical pronunciation. Both languages, however, went through similar sound changes, for instance, palatizing Latin <c> /k/. Neither language is pronounced today exactly like the Latin "Classical" model. Probably the only reason people get the "impression" that Latin pronounced this way sounds like Spanish is because it lacks the affricates so characteristic of Italian within Romance (such as [ch] in "ciao"). Thus, I'm saying that people unfamiliar with the language or the Classical pronunciation immediately hear a Spanish-like quality to it. This is interesting because I've heard this several times from different people; it is interesting that they say "it sounds like Spanish", not Italian. I'm not sure, but it could the frequency of sounds: R's, S's and its lack of voicing ([z]) (that is, in both Latin and Spanish "rosa" » [rosa], unlike Italian [roza]). Again, the low frequency of the affricates in Spanish: [ch] (as in "cheese") though it does exist in Spanish, its realization and frequency is much higher in Italian, as well as [dg] (as in "judge") and [ts] and [dz], none of which exist in the Classical model (except for the very rare <z> [dz]) nor in Spanish (the ocurrence of [dg] is allophonic and another topic altogether).
Spanish possesses other sounds not found in Italian such as the velar (or uvular in some places) fricative <j> IPA /x/ (or [X]), and the dental fricative <z> [0] (like TH in English "thin"). Once, someone posted here a link to a site with recordings in Latin from a Spanish-speaking country, and I remarked of how Latin <j> was pronounced like in Spanish: [x] (like a "raspier" English <h>), so that "Jesus" sounded something like "hessoos" instead of the Classical "yessoos". And, finally, a very important thing is that neither Spanish nor Italian possess the phonemic distinction between short and long of vowels like Latin, though Italian has the advantage of having this distinction with consonants.

Going back to your question, it would indeed be easier for a Spanish-speaker to learn the Classical pronunciation than for an English speaker, but keeping the things mentioned above in mind that Spanish doesn't exactly sound like the pronunciation in question; so even for these speakers, there are things to learn.

P.S. Here's one of the articles I had talked about: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classic ... tinpr2.htm. It's a good article, though I don't agree with everything, in particular what it states about the quality of some of the vowels (e.g. short "i" ought to be pronounced like Spanish "ir", not like English "pit").
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Postby amans » Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:46 am

Hi FiliusLunae,

And thanks for your interesting post! :D As you know a lot about pronunciation, I'd like to take up the pronunciation of "g" in combination with "n", like in "magnus". I've read somewhere, that this word should be pronounced "maNgnus". What is your opinion on that? Sorry, if I am a bit clumsy in putting my question but I don't very much about phonetics and notation etc. :)
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Postby cweb255 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:11 am

JLatin1 wrote:Ancient Latin pronunciation has the most in common with Spanish, right, and not Italian? It is easier for Spanish-speakers to master Latin pronunciation, than say an English-speaker?

Whenever someone hears me pronounce Latin with correct accents, they always tell me it sounds like Italian. And then Ecclesiastical Latin is almost exactly like early Italian, but I don't hear the resemblence to Spanish spoken in the Americas, especially in Mexico where it sounds nothing alike.
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Postby Cyborg » Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:20 pm

On Latin pronunciation, I like the url below (download the file lordfranetext058rlat10pdf.pdf) for it discusses each letter separately alongside of support from Roman grammarians - Marius Victorinus, Donatus, etc.).

I don't know if there is any stronger evidence than that. I'd really like to know, for that matter, where could I see pictures of those grammarians' papyri (or any other, since I've not seen one), and get information on whether have those been modified by the Church or something of the like.

http://manybooks.net/support/l/lordfran/
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Postby boarderpatrol04 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:11 pm

hey cyborg...thx for that link...i think thats what ive been looking for...i think....lol...thanks anyways
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Postby FiliusLunae » Mon May 02, 2005 10:44 pm

Cyborg, that's the other article I had talked to about! It was on a different server though, but it's the same article; I just couldn't find the URL the other day. :wink:

amans wrote:Hi FiliusLunae,

And thanks for your interesting post! :D As you know a lot about pronunciation, I'd like to take up the pronunciation of "g" in combination with "n", like in "magnus". I've read somewhere, that this word should be pronounced "maNgnus". What is your opinion on that? Sorry, if I am a bit clumsy in putting my question but I don't very much about phonetics and notation etc. :)


I pronounce it "mang-nus". And we have discussed this here before: see here.

Just yesterday, on a TV show from Mexico (here in California we have plenty of channels in Spanish), the people in the show sang "Ave Maria" in Latin. The vowels qualities were crystal clear. Not concerning length, the five vowels, sounding just as in Latin, were there. It was like music to my ears (well, they were singing) hearing everything pronounced in such a way that resembles the Classical Latin pronunciation. The Italians would have pronounced everything in nearly the same way, except that they would have pronounced "gratia" as [gratsia], while the singers on that show said [gratia], as in Latin of course. They pronounced the Latin mostly as if were Spanish, and thus didn't sound exactly like the Classical pronunciation, yet I'd rather hear this anytime than the English aspirated T's, P's, and K's, the French and German guttural R's, or the Nuntii Latini's [kva], [sva], and [gva].
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Postby Cyborg » Tue May 03, 2005 3:21 pm

FiliusLunae wrote:Cyborg, that's the other article I had talked to about! It was on a different server though, but it's the same article; I just couldn't find the URL the other day. :wink:

That's great, I'm glad I could help. :)

FiliusLunae wrote:I pronounce it "mang-nus". And we have discussed this here before: see here.

I cannot see why is this an issue. Why are there still questions about this "gn" thing? What is a line from a Roman writer that raises questions? I would love to see one. The article mentioned above presents only one quotation:

"[Prisc. I.] Gnus quoque, vel _gna_, vel _gnum_, terminantia, longam habent vocalem penultimam; ut a
_regno_, _regnum_; a _sto_, _stagnum_; a _bene_, _benignus_; a _male_, _malignus_; ab _abiete_,
_abiegnus_; _privignus_; Pelignus."

As I'm a beginner, I can only understand some of this excerpt: "Gnus too, or 'gna', or 'gnum', (?), have the penultimate vowel long, as for 'regno', 'regnum'; for 'sto', 'stagnum' (...)"

And then the author of the article says "perhaps the liquid sound, as in cañon". This liquid sound seems far from what Priscian states in the quote from my point of view. Can anyone tell me why is the "liquid ñ sound" hypothesis considered?
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Postby sisyphus » Wed May 04, 2005 1:30 am

If i might just raise another discord in this canon: i know "r" is trilled. But is every "r" trilled without exception?

My English Received Pronunciation tongue finds some much more natural than others. Those followed by some consonants require much more effort and seem, well, unnatural. For example, the trill in "agricola" comes almost without thinking, whilst that in "acerbus" requires force, a significantly higher pressure of the breath.

i'm not a fanatical purist, but i would like to learn good habits as early as possible.
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Postby FiliusLunae » Wed May 04, 2005 7:22 am

Cyborg: I really don't know why. I can tell you however that in Italian, as you might know, <ng> is indeed pronounced like <ñ> in Spanish (i.e. a palatal nasal), so that "regnum" in Italian is "regno", pronounced [reñño] (yes, it's doubled). In Spanish and Portuguese, this word becomes "reino", in Catalan "regne" (pronounced "reng-nuh", with a velar nasal, not palatal), and in French "règne" (<gn> here too as ñ).


sisyphus wrote:If i might just raise another discord in this canon: i know "r" is trilled. But is every "r" trilled without exception?

My English Received Pronunciation tongue finds some much more natural than others. Those followed by some consonants require much more effort and seem, well, unnatural. For example, the trill in "agricola" comes almost without thinking, whilst that in "acerbus" requires force, a significantly higher pressure of the breath.

i'm not a fanatical purist, but i would like to learn good habits as early as possible.


Salve, Sishyphe.

Hehe, I know what you're talking about. I don't know where exactly, but I remember listening to some British people online reading Latin, and they said, for instance: mater » "ma-tah", pater » "pa-tah". Let's just say...err.. that it wasn't good. :roll:

And yes, every /r/ is trilled. I have to say that when I first began to learn Latin (just last year, by the way), influenced by the Iberian Romance tongues, I pronounced all R's in Latin the way they're pronounced in Spanish. That is, I pronounced a single R, like in "ero", as an alveolar tap like in Spanish "pero"; this would be more or less the American pronunciation given to intervocalic T and D as in "butter". Double RR, like in "erro", I rendered as a true alveolar trill, like in Spanish "perro"; that is, truly trilling the tongue on the alveolar ridge, not just touching it.
However, as I progressed, did more research on the subject, and listened to educated Latin recordings, I was convinced that what I had read all along, that all the R's are truly trilled, was true. I mean to say that I had always read that the R's in Latin were pronounced this way, but, because of my experience speaking Spanish, it felt rather odd trilling all the R's; so, again, I pronounced them all like in Spanish: distinguishing a tap for single R, and a trill for double R, e.g. errare.
Now, however, I do trill all the R's, as I believe that to be most correct. In some dialects of Italian (by this, I mean certain regional accents), this is exactly the way R's are rendered (in other dialects, they are pronounced more or less like in Spanish).
So, yes, I do believe that all R's are to be trilled, even if not everyone follows this. Double RR is treated just like any other double consonant: just prolong the sound (i.e. the trill), cf. laudavisse, erro, ero.
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Postby Cyborg » Thu May 05, 2005 4:52 am

FiliusLunae wrote:Cyborg: I really don't know why. I can tell you however that in Italian, as you might know, <ng> is indeed pronounced like <ñ> in Spanish (i.e. a palatal nasal), so that "regnum" in Italian is "regno", pronounced [reñño] (yes, it's doubled). In Spanish and Portuguese, this word becomes "reino", in Catalan "regne" (pronounced "reng-nuh", with a velar nasal, not palatal), and in French "règne" (<gn> here too as ñ).

This is curious, because "reino" (port.) seems like the perfect evolution of what Priscian says about "gn"; after all, when I say "reino" what I'm really doing is prolonging the "e" sound with help from "i".
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Postby sisyphus » Thu May 05, 2005 9:18 pm

Fili Lunae,

Thanks for your explanations. i'll keep on trilling then.

Cheers.
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Postby Barrius » Fri May 06, 2005 12:47 am

More spoken Latin:

Latin Before you Know It Lite (FREE) - trial version of full product http://www.download.com/Latin-Before-You-Know-It-Lite/3000-2279_4-10369243.html

Rosetta Stone Latin Level 1 (free demo) http://www.rosettastone.com/ind/free_demo
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:37 am

As regards 'gn' in Latin, the only logical conclusion is that it resembles the 'ng' in English words like "singing" and "king." This sound is known as a "velar nasal," and some languages like Sanskrit have a separate letter which represnts it, but most, like Latin, German, and Greek, do not, and make do with combinations to express it.

The reason that this must be is that there are words that begin with the sound, such as the praenomen Gnaeus. Latin is too phonetic for the "g" to simply be ignored. Thus is must be included. But pronouncing this as "g-naeus" is unacceptable. Therefore there must be a single, solitary sound.

In Italian, and other Romance languages, this sound, among others, was moved forward, palatalized, thus rendering the palatal nasal 'ñ'. It follows very logically, if by moving backward in time, one moves the sounds backward in the mouth, one may arrive at the Classical pronunciation. Nothing else makes sense.
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Postby Cyborg » Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:45 pm

FiliusLunae, I forgot to say I think the same as you on the "Latin sounds like Spanish" issue; I always also thought that was because the lack of fricatives.

Lucus Eques, I understand the logic behing your post, and the "Gnaeus" example really makes sense. But I'll make use of my right to remain skeptical about that until I have enough Latin knowledge to be able to read Latin Authors on grammatical issues. Until then, I'll keep saying "mah-gnoos" and "g-naeus". :)
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Postby Lucus Eques » Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:51 am

Cyborg wrote:FiliusLunae, I forgot to say I think the same as you on the "Latin sounds like Spanish" issue; I always also thought that was because the lack of fricatives.

Lucus Eques, I understand the logic behing your post, and the "Gnaeus" example really makes sense. But I'll make use of my right to remain skeptical about that until I have enough Latin knowledge to be able to read Latin Authors on grammatical issues. Until then, I'll keep saying "mah-gnoos" and "g-naeus". :)


Whatever suits you, amice o mi. :) My opinions are distinctly controversial — but then, they always are. :-D
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