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Spoken Latin!

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Spoken Latin!

Postby Interaxus » Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:04 am

Watch, listen, enjoy!

http://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/videocasts/

Cheers,
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Postby Chris Weimer » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:05 am

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Postby quendidil » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:33 pm

Terentius' accent is quite heavy.
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Accent and pronunciation

Postby metrodorus » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:19 pm

This is a wonderful new resource, that went live in early March. More videos have been added recently, and it looks like it will build into a substantial resource.

The internet is gradually waking up to the demand for spoken Latin that obviously exists out there.


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Last edited by metrodorus on Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Amadeus » Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:18 pm

Milena's accent is much better than Terentius'. :lol:
Lisa: Relax?! I can't relax! Nor can I yield, relent, or... Only two synonyms? Oh my God! I'm losing my perspicacity! Aaaaa!

Homer: Well it's always in the last place you look.
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Postby quendidil » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:35 pm

Terentius does seem to have reduced his accent from when a certain YouTube video which included him however. He now trills the Rs more consistently.

My main peeve with him is the aspiration of stops; wasn't aspiration regarded as quite pretentious in the Classical era? Other things like pronouncing m instead of nasalizing the previous vowel and occasional degrading of final short vowels (actually a few LONG vowels as well! I heard "in Britani@" quite clearly) to a schwa also marr his pronunciaton.

However, I do commend his fluency.
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby faye » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:52 pm

Hello all,
The videos featuring Terentius and Milena, which seem to have been the starting point for this thread, are no longer on the University of Kentucky webpage, but most of them are available on Youtube (search for Terentius or Milena). I have actually studied with Terentius in person, as well as with Reginald Foster and Milena. Terentius is arguably the very best speaker of Latin in the world today - or at least he is among the very best speakers. This isn't only my opinion. There is pretty wide consensus about this among people in speaking Latin circles. I am not talking about 'accent'. I am talking about word-choice, grammar, structure of sentences. In Terentius’ casual conversation, classically structured periods with flawless word choice and tense sequence come out of his mouth with effortless ease. It is amazing. And what about accent? I think we should distinguish between phonetics and pronunciation. There may a North American twang that colours the sound of Terentius’ words from time to time. You hear this in Reginaldus Foster too. But Terentius’ actual pronunciation is dead-on. He always puts the accent in the right place, and makes long vowels longer than short ones. I agree that he doesn’t nazalize final –m. But almost no-one who can actually speak Latin fluently does that. I have heard the recordings of Prof. Sonkowski and the demonstrations of restored sounds of Latin by Prof. Daitz. But these gentlemen do a carefully prepared and rehearsed recitation – nether of them can actually speak Latin in a conversational environment. Nor is Milena’s ‘accent’ any 'better' than Terentius’. Actually in her intonation there is a slight middle European sound. She also does not nazalize final –m. Morever, she pronounces ‘v’ as ‘v’ (in the ecclesiastical way) and not ‘w’ (as the restored advocates persuade). But she is also a terrific speaker of Latin. She is very fluent and has total command of Latin grammar. All of these people offer summer seminars and workshops, which I would advise anyone interested in improving her or his Latin to attend.

Faye
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby Smythe » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:50 pm

Since we're resurrecting a dead thread, let me ask this: I am currently a beginning Latin student and so conversational Latin seems to be on my far horizon right now. I would try it now, as I'm learning the basics, but I have no one to speak it with and Evan Millner's chat board (Schola)seems beyond me in my current state. Any recommendations? Or should I just work on my pronunciation and grammar right now, and pick up conversations later?

Thanks,
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby thesaurus » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:35 pm

Smythe wrote:Since we're resurrecting a dead thread, let me ask this: I am currently a beginning Latin student and so conversational Latin seems to be on my far horizon right now. I would try it now, as I'm learning the basics, but I have no one to speak it with and Evan Millner's chat board (Schola)seems beyond me in my current state. Any recommendations? Or should I just work on my pronunciation and grammar right now, and pick up conversations later?

Thanks,
-smythe


Despite the vogue for spoken Latin, I don't think you can go wrong by studying your grammar and reading as normal. It depends on your goals: if you want to communicate with other Latin speakers colloquially, then you should keep practicing the pronunciation and oral stuff. If you want to read Latin... well, learn to read it. Of course there is overlap: learning to process the spoken language will help you read, and vice versa. However, I think the benefit of practicing orally is marginal when it comes to reading.

The vast majority of people only want to read the language, and they can accomplish this traditionally. I don't really see the point of obsessing over pronunciation and oral communication, unless this is what motivates you. Personally, I'm not a fan of debating small points of pronunciation, as this seems trivial and distracts me from actually understanding classical texts. Despite what others may lead you to think, there aren't any native speakers of Latin out there, so you have to take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. Pronunciations have ranged far and wide over the last few millenia, so it's not as if you need to master the dictates of restored classical to know the language.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby Hampie » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:58 pm

Smythe wrote:Since we're resurrecting a dead thread, let me ask this: I am currently a beginning Latin student and so conversational Latin seems to be on my far horizon right now. I would try it now, as I'm learning the basics, but I have no one to speak it with and Evan Millner's chat board (Schola)seems beyond me in my current state. Any recommendations? Or should I just work on my pronunciation and grammar right now, and pick up conversations later?

Thanks,
-smythe

As embarrassing as it might feel, but do speak to yourself, aloud. Describe what you do when you do something. It feels very awkward, but as long as you’re alone it shan’t really matter! When I was younger I used to pretend I had my own cooking show on telly and spoke to ”the audience” in English whilst preparing my food. That among other things, I believe, helped me to gain oral fluency in English (without actually speaking to an English native speaker before the age of 17!).

Reading aloud, a lot, cannot be hurting either. You could even do the exercised in the book that mr. Millner uses in his Latinum audio-course by reading them aloud to yourself. And, if I am not mistaken, there are a lot of lists and even books regarding the phrases you need to speak colloquial: there is even a list, divided in several posts, somewhere on this forum (however, I cannot, sadly, recall where).
Här kan jag i alla fall skriva på svenska, eller hur?
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby Smythe » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:41 pm

Thesaurus and Hampie,

Thanks for the advice. I read EVERYTHING in Latin aloud. It helps internalize the words and grammar, and also helps mnemonically lock in which vowels are long and which are short. As to my goals - right now, I just want to read it (and read it easily). I think it'd be a lot of fun to be able to speak it colloquially as well. It's just not that high on my priority list. However, as you mentioned, Thesaurus, there is some benefit to doing both (however marginal that it might be). I was just trying to decide if I should spend more time trying to gain oral proficiency as well.

- as a side note, Hampie - my girlfriend's roommate was studying Russian and French, so every object in their apartment was labeled in both languages - I thought about doing that at my place, but in Latin. I decided, based on aesthetic reasons, to forgo it.

-smythe
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby thesaurus » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:57 am

Smythe wrote:However, as you mentioned, Thesaurus, there is some benefit to doing both (however marginal that it might be). I was just trying to decide if I should spend more time trying to gain oral proficiency as well.


Good advice from Hampie. I hope I didn't come off as too negative: it just comes down to how you allot your time and effort. Keep a goal in mind of what you want to accomplish with your Latin, and then direct your efforts to that end. Plus, you can always try out spoken Latin studies after you've got a grounding in the written language.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby Smythe » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:10 pm

thesaurus wrote:Good advice from Hampie. I hope I didn't come off as too negative: it just comes down to how you allot your time and effort. Keep a goal in mind of what you want to accomplish with your Latin, and then direct your efforts to that end. Plus, you can always try out spoken Latin studies after you've got a grounding in the written language.


Just a little negative. Heh. ;)

But, yeah, I have always leaned toward learning writing/reading first and then expanding toward spoken Latin once that groundwork had been laid.
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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby Impiger » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:00 pm

Some very interesting comments in this thread.

I agree with Faye on the teachers of spoken Latin. I have worked with all the people she mentions (Terentius, Reginaldus, Milena) - and quite a few others.


Learning to speak Latin is good in much the same way that composition is good. The advice to study the grammar and learn the basics of the language before trying to gain spoken ability seems right – and is supported by most proponents of spoken Latin themselves. All of the immersion seminars in spoken Latin known to me are designed for people who have already learned the basics of grammar and can read Latin texts, at least to some degree, and who want to add a new dimension to their knowledge of Latin. And getting a speaking ability should really, really be separated (as Faye pointed out) from simply trying to reproduce ‘restored’ pronunciation. Many people who speak Latin now (like Reginaldus and Miraglia) don’t even use the restored pronunciation, and don’t want to. The ecclesiastic pronunciation is very much still around (and it has the same rules for longs and shorts and accents as the restored does). And don’t forget that the educated people of Europe spoke and wrote Latin for centuries after it stopped being anyone’s native language, and, as someone in this thread rightly pointed out, they did it with many pronunciations. But actually there were many pronunciations in the Roman era itself.

The model of 'restored' pronunciation offered by W. Sidney Allen in his classic Vox Latina by no means represents a fully integrated and complete picture, in which all the details are established beyond doubt. Allen himself uses evidence of various degrees of reliability to reconstruct the details of pronunciation in the city of Rome in the first century BC. For a few of the features he outlines, there is not much earlier evidence than the words of grammarians who lived in the fourth or fifth centuries AD - i.e. three or four hundred years after the period with which Allen is primarily concerned! Newer research (Allen's book came out in the 1960s) points to immense variety of sounds over time and region, even within Italy and Rome itself. Even the famous nazalized -m was not universal. To get an idea of how uncertain or conjectural are some of the fine points of the 'restored' pronunciation, one could do worse than to study these newer books, all of which are works of meticulous scholarship:


Michael Weiss, Outline of the Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin (Ann Arbor, 2009)

J. N. Adams, The Regional Diversification of Latin 200 BC - AD 600 (Cambridge 2007)

Andrew L. Sihler, New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin . (New York, 1995).

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Re: Spoken Latin!

Postby thesaurus » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:49 am

Well said, impiger, and certainly impiger you reveal yourself to be!

I look forward to looking into the references you've cited. As you say, it's important to remember the diversity of the Latin language, which is one of its strengths. Cleaving too closely to any one methodology is rarely successful; instead, we ought to follow the golden mean in our studies.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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