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How do you pronounce "rex" and "gens"

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How do you pronounce "rex" and "gens"

Postby Jim Bryan » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:27 am

Rex has a macron, so does it rhyme with "rakes" (I have heard it sung that way) but you usually hear pronounced "wrecks".
The same applies to "gens" do you say "gains" or does it rhyme with "dens"?

Is the macron there because the vowel is long, or because of the double letters "ks"=x, "ns"?

I am trying for "restored classical pronunciation" but I think this would be the same in all pronunciations.

Thanks
Jim
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Re: How do you pronounce "rex" and "gens"

Postby Craig_Thomas » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:32 am

A macron always indicates that the vowel is long. In the case of "gēns", the cases other than the nominative (gentis, etc.) have a short "e" in the stem, and so no macra, even though the two consonants ("-nt-") mean that the first syllable of each is long.

A long "ē" shouldn't be pronounced "ay" (especially by Australians). It should have the same quality as a short "e", but be longer. W. S. Allen's recommendation is to pronounce it like the French "gai" or German "Beet", if that's any help. The closest equivalent in English (and it's not very close) that comes to my mind is the vowel in "Cairns", said carefully so as to be distinguishable from "cans". A crude transcription: "rehks" and "gehns".

Also, note that the "s" in Latin is never pronounced like the English "z".
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Re: How do you pronounce "rex" and "gens"

Postby calvinist » Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:32 am

A side note that is helpful in the long run is that 'ns' makes any preceding vowel long, and 'nt' makes any preceding vowel short. So, 'gens' has a long 'e' while the rest of the declension maintains the 'nt' of the stem 'gent' and has a short 'e'. As far as the pronunciation of long 'e', the vowel of "rakes" and "gains" is correct if pronounced as in Standard American English (IPA 'e'). As Craig said, English pronunciation voices the "s" in "gains" which becomes a "z", Latin does not do this, the "s" is always unvoiced.
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Re: How do you pronounce "rex" and "gens"

Postby Jim Bryan » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:03 am

thanks Craig and Calvanist

"ns" "nt" rule very helpful.
Even though I live in Australia, I've still got an An American accent.
(Can't do the "G'die Might" ="Good Day Mate" accent) so "rakes" it is.
Thanks heaps.

Jim
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