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So-Called Latin Pronunciation

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So-Called Latin Pronunciation

Postby jotapianus » Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:40 pm

The arguments over the pronunciation of Latin and how the Romans spoke
in this forum can only make one laugh.


For the first thing the Latin we read and study was never a "spoken language" It was a formal literary language that was used by the educated
classes and was artificially developed on Greek models. This language was
used for writing and formal speeches but was never spoken (Much like
Shakespeare is read outloud and listened to today but only a madman
would attempt to speak in that manner Just like most people don't know what every word of Shakespeare means - so the audience of some formal reading would also not know every word that was being read.)

There were basically two types of spoken Latin - a type spoken mainly in the cities and a ruder type which was spoken in the country. The modern Romance language have all developed from this "common" type of Latin.
So any comparison between the pronunciation of modern Romance language with classical literary Latin should be avoided.


Second of all, no one knows how literary Latin was pronounce. Latin writers who give us information on the pronunciation of Latin are usually writing about the common forms of the language - not the artifical polished literary language which was never used in everyday conversation. People who believe that the Romans talked in the same manner as they wrote are only fooling themselves. You would think that people who are studying a language who take a little time to learn about the history of that language but from the looks of this forum - it looks like they didn't.

Latin does not need any correct pronunciation. Latin is a language that is used today to read ancient texts and/or translate them. The only reason anyone would need to speak Latin was if he were going to become a priest, bishop, etc. in the Catholic Church - But the Catholic Church uses its own form of Latin - which is not quite the same as ancient literary Latin and has its own artifical pronunciation. I find the attempts of people to speak Latin quite amusing - they seems to believe that they are speaking as the Romans spoke - little realizing that they are speaking an artitical literary language that was never spoken.

Latin should be pronounced in whatever way is most comfortable to the reader. All this nonsense about the correct pronunciation is just ridiculous
because classical Latin today is meant to be read and/or translated.
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Re: So-Called Latin Pronunciation

Postby annis » Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:06 pm

Edit: I will not feed trolls. I will not feed trolls. I will not feed trolls...
Last edited by annis on Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thucydides » Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:04 pm

One wonders if jotapianus was trolling
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Postby Cyborg » Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:56 pm

Thucydides wrote:One wonders if jotapianus was trolling

Yep, I found that out too late...
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Postby jotapianus » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:07 am

You sound like a typical unducated person -

When you hear the truth and dont know how to respond
logically you resort to insults. (Sort of like Christian fudamentalists
when they are confronted with science and facts)

How old are you? 13?
You sure act like it.
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Postby annis » Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:07 am

Cyborg wrote:
Thucydides wrote:One wonders if jotapianus was trolling

Yep, I found that out too late...


D'oh! Yes. I hang my head in shame.

This is what? The second? The third?
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Postby Cyborg » Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:10 am

annis wrote:
Cyborg wrote:
Thucydides wrote:One wonders if jotapianus was trolling

Yep, I found that out too late...


D'oh! Yes. I hang my head in shame.

This is what? The second? The third?

I don't know, but am eager to find out what usually happens to them.
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Postby jotapianus » Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:24 am

For your information:

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem in Latin, (literally "argument to the man"), is a logical fallacy that involves replying to an argument or assertion by addressing the person presenting the argument or assertion rather than the argument itself or an argument pointing out an inconsistency between a view expressed by an individual and the remainder of his or her beliefs.
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Postby Cyborg » Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:48 am

You don't want to get in Logic with me, jotapianustultus.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:11 am

Yeah, before criticizing us for endeavoring to polish our Latin, maybe you should polish your English first.
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Postby jotapianus » Sat Jul 09, 2005 6:09 am

Oh I'm so sorry :)

Did I expose you all to be ignorant on Latin - the language
your supposed to be experts in? Are you all so embarrased
that you can't come up with any valid facts to discredit my arguments.

OH - Your all so angry and you know I am right so
you turn around and attack me... Interesting tactics..

Did you learn from the Christian fundamentalists? LOL


What a shame... now you can't pretend to be experts in
the true "Classical Pronunciation" because that so called true pronunciation is a figment of your imagination.




This forum should be renamed - "Little Kids who think they know everything about Latin - Come and ask us silly questions but nothing to
hard cause then we will get really mad and have to call you names"


HARDY Ha Ha Ha
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Postby Deses » Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:16 pm

Be a darling, jotapianus, properly formulate your theses (I have some idea as to what it might be) and supply adequate support for it. Provided that you leave hubris aside, we shall discuss your approach. Your attempts thus far were unsuccessful.
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Postby Yhevhe » Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:01 pm

I don't understand - we did not bother you in any way before you came, and we can't bother you in any way if you leave, so, if you simply dislike this page, why don't you leave? Plus, if you already know the answer to the questions you post, why do you want to discuss them? It isn't neccesary to discuss the truth further.
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Postby bellum paxque » Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:23 am

All quiet on the Latin forum, it seems. But who can predict the next attack?
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Postby Episcopus » Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:58 am

I have 1 word for you all. cweb255
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Postby Thucydides » Wed Jul 13, 2005 11:58 am

This is absurd.
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Silencio est mater studorium

Postby Mercurialis » Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:44 pm

Troilling aside, some of the points were worth discussing.

1. Is it not true that reading quietly (silently) to yourself was a skill developed in the Middle Ages? That is to say, is it not true that written Latin was intended to be spoken aloud?

2. Whether or not written Latin was intended to be spoken, the fact is that it could be spoken. If you do not speak it as it was intended, you have two problems. There is the more subtle and constant search for truth, of course. More to the point, however, if you do not get the pronunciation right, then you are hearing the wrong music.

3. We have many cues and clues based on rhymes and meters and puns. In Suetonius, the country accent of Vespasian is mentioned and it is said that his "Claudius" sounded like "Clodius" and that he exaggerated it for humor. Cicero is not alone in going into etymologies, something the Romans seemed to enjoy. (The Greeks made up new words; the Romans took old words apart.)

4. Even if it is "dead" (which I deny), Latin was very much alive for centuries and can be expected to have changed over the 1200 or so years that we give to Roman "history" and certainly over the smaller span of written Latin.

5. This is certainly true of English. We bridle at ignorances such as apostrophe-s for the plural, but they are becoming more common. We write gonna and wanna, so do not be surprised when they become "English." So, too, with Latin, from Andronicus to Augustine. We focus on the golden and silver ages by choice, not necessity.
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Postby chad » Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:47 am

i read somewhere that caesar was the first one who could read silently. at least, the first person recorded. don't know if it's true though.
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Postby Lucus Eques » Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:31 am

chad wrote:i read somewhere that caesar was the first one who could read silently. at least, the first person recorded. don't know if it's true though.


I'm sure that would have been a helpful skill as a general, especially with secret orders.
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Re: Silencio est mater studorium

Postby Democritus » Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:39 am

Mercurialis wrote:1. Is it not true that reading quietly (silently) to yourself was a skill developed in the Middle Ages? That is to say, is it not true that written Latin was intended to be spoken aloud?


I have heard this, but I always found it difficult to believe. I'll bet that, among people who could read, there were always some people reading silently, at least part of the time.

I mean, doesn't every person intuitively learn to think for themselves, using words, without speaking?

Perhaps people preferred reading aloud because the absence of breaks between words made it difficult to follow text without pronouncing. But I still think that some people would have learned to read quietly anyway.

It also may be that, since books were so valuable, and reading was a much less commonly mastered skill, that people were simply not inclined to read quietly to themselves. They just never picked up the habit. Nowadays there are plenty of books and papers for everybody, so there's no need to disturb the whole room when one person wants to read.

I'm speculating, of course. But I wonder what evidence there is for the idea that the ancients never read aloud.
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Re: Silencio est mater studorium

Postby Mercurialis » Mon Jul 25, 2005 8:57 pm

Democritus wrote: I mean, doesn't every person intuitively learn to think for themselves, using words, without speaking?


We do now... You have heard words all your life, even before you were born. I recommend Julian Jaynes on THE BICAMERAL MIND. I do not advance or defend everything in there, but it is important that we not project ourselves on the past if we wish to understand the past in its own terms.
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Bicameral Mind

Postby Thrasher » Tue Aug 02, 2005 3:12 pm

I'm glad you mentioned Julian Jaynes, I often think of his work when dealing with classical language. I think almost everyone here would find his work valuable and interesting. Link here http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... s&n=507846
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Pronunciation and Reading

Postby Ulysses » Tue Aug 09, 2005 4:27 am

It's actually not a mystery as to how Classical Latin was pronounced. [Edit:
if that reads kinda snotty, sorry :oops:] The modern authority on Latin pronunciation is W. Sydney Allen's Vox Latina.

Briefly, there's numerous ways to identify pronunciation. Ancient grammarians shed quite a bit of light on the subject. Epigraphical studies also contribute immensely. Stonecutters (and not all were apparently literate) could make spelling mistakes just as easily as we do. Often they (mis)spelled a word by writing it phonetically. Greek loan words often provide clues too. Even though we pronounce "philosophy" with an initial f sound, the Latin speaker pronounced "philosophia" (a transliteration of the Greek) with an emphatic p (puh) in imitation of the Greek pronunciation.

We'll never know precisely how Cicero might have sounded in the Forum or how Ovid rehearsed his poetry way over in Tomis: Think of all the regional variations in American English. But we do have a good idea at how Latin was pronounced that's not likely far off.

It's actually a modern misconception that the ancient Latin reader read primarily aloud and avoided silent reading. Sorry I don't have a bibliography handy at the moment, but a number of scholars have exploded the belief that silent reading was atypical. If memory serves me well, it was traced to a scholar of the early 20th cent. and became the undisputed communis opinio when nobody apparently challenged his thesis. It rests on very, very shaky ground. After all, consider that we can read Bill Shakespeare silently and still "hear" it mentally. The same would hold true for the ancient Latin reader. (The argument for oral reading was immensely more developed and supported than the preceding.)

OT...just discovered this site. Lovely. But I was disappointed by the etexts. D/l'd Allen and Greenough NLG, of which I have a hard copy. It was really lo-res and without bookmarks to navigate, so it can't replace the book. If they had inserted bookmarks so you could jump about easier, it would have splendid, even if lo-res. That's the problem with scanning as images and being stingy with the file size. OCR software such as ABBYY is really, really time-consuming when the text format is complex, but it can shrink even a big book down to a ridiculously small size that preserves perfect quality. Small size is understandable though. HQ would easily quadruple the size.


Vale,
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Re: Pronunciation and Reading

Postby benissimus » Tue Aug 09, 2005 7:04 am

Ulysses wrote:OT...just discovered this site. Lovely. But I was disappointed by the etexts. D/l'd Allen and Greenough NLG, of which I have a hard copy. It was really lo-res and without bookmarks to navigate, so it can't replace the book. If they had inserted bookmarks so you could jump about easier, it would have splendid, even if lo-res. That's the problem with scanning as images and being stingy with the file size. OCR software such as ABBYY is really, really time-consuming when the text format is complex, but it can shrink even a big book down to a ridiculously small size that preserves perfect quality. Small size is understandable though. HQ would easily quadruple the size.

Welcome to Textkit! The default resolution for the big documents is lowered now, but you can still get the higher resolution type by opening the online document in your browser and removing the "AR5" from the end of the URL.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Re: Pronunciation and Reading

Postby Jeff Tirey » Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:18 am

Ulysses wrote:OT...just discovered this site. Lovely. But I was disappointed by the etexts. D/l'd Allen and Greenough NLG, of which I have a hard copy. It was really lo-res and without bookmarks to navigate, so it can't replace the book. If they had inserted bookmarks so you could jump about easier, it would have splendid, even if lo-res. That's the problem with scanning as images and being stingy with the file size. OCR software such as ABBYY is really, really time-consuming when the text format is complex, but it can shrink even a big book down to a ridiculously small size that preserves perfect quality. Small size is understandable though. HQ would easily quadruple the size.


Hi Ulysses, I'm glad you found us. We have scanned the books at my scanner's maximum resolution which is 300 dpi. It's not a flatbed scanner, but a sheet feed production scanner designed for archiving documents. I wish too it had slighty higher resolution, but the scanners which scan bother hi rez and at hi speed cost big, big bucks.


Bookmarks would have made the file a nicer navigation experience.

kindly,

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Reading Rooms

Postby rustymason » Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:38 pm

I read somewhere that some wealthy Romans had a special room where they could read (out loud) without disturbing anyone. Don't know, though.

Also, it seems unlikely that a civilization which was relatively new to the written word would not read out loud. I mean, there was still a strong oral (aural?) tradition.

I cannot believe there was no such thing as proper pronunciation, although it's likely that each dialect and region had it's own version of what was proper.

Of course, I'm not an expert, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once.

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