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Classical Pronounciation of "Lucrece"

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Classical Pronounciation of "Lucrece"

Postby strider » Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:44 am

I was recently reading Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece, and found myself repeatedly stumbling over the the ill-fated heroine's name. As I understand classical pronounciation, Lucrece should be pronounced "Loo-cree-kay". But somehow a soft 'c' (hence "Loo-crease-ay") seems more natural and pleasing to the ear. Which would be the preferred classical pronounciation: soft or hard 'c'?

I thank you for any advice you could render me in this matter.
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Postby Silenus » Sat Dec 16, 2006 2:05 am

The Roman name is Lucretia, which you may find easier to pronounce "classically." I don't believe that Lucrece is actually a classical name, but rather a more modern variant. This would explain why the classical pronunciation sounds unnatural.

The modern pronunciation of Lucrece is "Loo-crease."
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Postby strider » Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:32 am

Thanks for the help, Silenius.
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Pronouncing Lucrece

Postby adrianus » Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:05 pm

Salve Strider
Shakespeare wouldn't have used 'classical Roman' pronunciation. His 'c' before 'e' was a soft 'c' (or 's') in Latin words, just as in his English. The Elizabethan (Shakespeare's) Latinised pronunciation of Lucrece was, I think, Loo-kráy-say and also Loo-kree-seh (depending on what school you went to in the 16th century). An Elizabethan would have pronounced Lucretia similarly, as Loo-kráy-sia and also Loo-kráy-tsia, and Loo-kree-sia. So your instinct to say 'Loo-crease-say' is absolutely right, I believe, for how Shakespeare may have intended it to be pronounced. (The French would have pronounced similarly 'ce' = 'say' but an Italian would have said Loo-kráy-tschay for Lucrece.)
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Postby Chris Weimer » Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:12 pm

The French wouldn't have pronounced the final /e/, nor am I so sure even Shakespeare did so.
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Lucrece

Postby adrianus » Mon Jan 01, 2007 6:40 pm

I'm not sure if Shakespeare pronounced the last syllable, either. I was just addressing Strider's point, Chris, which I interpreted to be how might Shakespeare have pronounced Lucrece, if it were to be pronounced as a Latin word. Silenus's suggestion, 'Loo-crease', fits the bill in the case of pronouncing Lucrece as if it were an English name. I suppose it comes down to scansion, to know if Shakespeare meant for the last syllable to be pronounced or not. Silenus may be right, to read it straightforwardly as an English name.

Regarding French pronunciation, again I was talking about how a French person would have pronounced Lucrece as a Latin name in the sixteenth century. (Minor point: sixteenth-century French isn't pronounced quite the same as French is today, but even today the final 'e' --usually silent--can be sounded in the exaggeratied enunciation of a song or recital, say. This was more common in sixteenth-century French than it is today, when that language had also more tonic pitching than it has today. But as I said, I was talking about French pronunciation of Latin, not French pronunciation of French. Sorry if I hadn't made that clear in the earlier post.).

PS I thought to just quickly check online and found
Rape' of Lu•crece', The
Pronunciation: (lOO-krēs', lOO'krēs), [key]
a narrative poem (1594) by Shakespeare.
confirming what Silenus said. I looked, also, at the poem online and it scans as Silenus suggests. My points were just pedantic, then. (Note to self: must try to be less pedantic in 2007.)
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