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Postby Teo » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:44 am

I am trying to read the Vulgate but I have now met a serious problem. The
text is not printed with macrons as the following link:
Since there are so many biographical and geographical names in the Bible, how
can I determine the word stress without the help of the macrons?
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Re: Vulgate

Postby bedwere » Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:34 pm

Names from the Hebrew are often puzzling. Try to apply the rules as best as you can. You may find texts from the Vulgate with accents (but not with marcrons) in liturgical books, such as the Breviarium Romanum and the Missale Romanum (do a search on Google Books).
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Re: Vulgate

Postby mwh » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:08 pm

Teo's post duplicates one he first posted on the "Seeking Texts with Macrons online" thread below. I copy the reply I gave there, minus its frivolous second paragraph:

They're not Latin names, but they'd have been brought into line with ordinary Latin pronunciation habits; and at least some of the vowel quantities will have been known, or at least have had accepted values. "Jesus" two longs, for instance. You could try looking at the Greek, which disambiguates "a" "e" and "o" (and some "i"s and "u"s, as in Jesus); presumably the Latin followed suit.

Now to briefly add to that: the original Greek will solve most of the problems of vowel length; no more knowledge of Greek is needed than the vowels. I notice that the RSV (maybe other translations too) marks the accented syllables of the polysyllabic names, I haven't checked on what authority.
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Re: Vulgate

Postby mwh » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:26 pm

A PS on the RSV accents: Added throughout the whole Bible, they appear to be an all too successful attempt to standardize the English pronunciation of the Hebrew names in an assertively English fashion. They do not correspond at all to the accentuations of the Greek, which approximate the Hebrew. Am I alone in seeing this as a deplorable act of cultural colonialism? Everyone knows that God is an Englishman, right?*
*It was in fact in 1559 (antedating the King James Version) that the future bishop of London apparently in all seriousness declared that "God is English."

As to the pronunciation of the names in the vulgate, I really wouldn't worry about it too much. The most you can hope for is a rough approximation. However, as I suggested, the original Greek will solve most of the problems. In addition to the alphabet's disambiguation of many of the vowel quantities (long or short), the accents indicate which syllables are stressed. Beyond that you'd have to resort to the underlying Hebrew, but it was the Greek that the vulgate used and the Hebrew pronunciations will have been very much distorted in the process of transfer first to Greek and then to Latin. (Just think of Abraham, for instance: not only vowels but consonants and aspirates have no stability across languages, which have their own phonology.) And the vulgate itself will have been (and still is) pronounced differently in different times and places. (The same goes for the Greek too of course.)
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