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Author Topic: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.  (Read 1845 times)

Offline olicana

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Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« on: April 22, 2024, 11:27:26 AM »
Hi,

I've always thought that a 'c' was pronounced as a 'sss' sound, as in Crisis, or using a Latin word "Caesar".

Because of this I've always pronounced the word Principes with a 'sss' sound - as in the English word "principal" - prinsssipal.

Recently, I've heard someone (I know did Latin at school) pronounce the word "Principes" as "Prinkipes", as in crinkle.

I did query him and he insisted it was a soft 'k' sound in this context but, I'd like a second opinion.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2024, 11:28:57 AM by olicana »

Offline Westfalia Chris

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2024, 11:46:43 AM »
My German grammar school "Grand Latinum" is by now a thing of the 1990s' distant past, but the classic pronunciation of "c" was indeed an unaspirated "k", as in "kill" or your example "crinkle". It changed to a "z" from late antiquity onwards if preceeding an "e" or "i" vowel or the "ae" or "oe" diphtongs, hence "Zaesar".

Interestingly, my latin teacher insisted on the "k" pronunciation, whereas my father (who learned latin in the 1960s) was still very much in the "z" camp, and I tend to read it as "z" in my head, too.

It makes the etymology of German "Kaiser" (emperor) much more clear, though, as derived from the title "Caesar".

Honestly, in our context, I don't think anyone will hold it against you either way, and I'll be the first to agree that it may sound a little silly - especially in German, where pronouncing old Gaius Julius as "Käsar"* will make him sound homophonous to the German equivalent of "Cheese-arrh".  I'd prefer some good ol' imperial gravitas and auctoritas over mundane piratical milk products. ;)

*: I do know the correct pronunciation of the diphtong would be something like "aye", but it is commonly transliterated as an ä umlaut, and otherwise the following joke wouldn't work.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2024, 01:58:18 PM by Westfalia Chris »

Offline ithoriel

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2024, 01:04:07 PM »
My Latin lessons were back in the 1970's so things may have moved on a little but we were taught to pronounce c as k rather than s. So, pinkipes rather than prinsipes.

Certainly those people on Youtube, and the like, who seem to know what they are talking about also pronounce it as a k.

As a tangential point, we were taught to pronounce v as w. So, Welites not Velites, which also seems to be a thing online.

At school I was good at translating Latin into English but rubbish at English into Latin my defence when challenged on this by my teacher was that I was unlikely ever to have to converse with someone in Latin these days but I intended to read Roman military treatises in the original wherever I could.
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Offline Kourtchatovium104

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2024, 01:30:30 PM »
You're right, the latin letter C is pronounced like a K. The pronunciation like a S was the one of the Middle Age until the XXth century and remains in latin modern languages (french, spanish, italian...)

So you have prinkipes, welites... if you want to speak latin like a well-educated caesarian aristocrat...  :D :D :D

Offline summsi

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2024, 01:49:27 PM »
At my (Germany late 80s) school we were taught that written c is pronounced as k. But older people pronounce it like c.

Offline dadlamassu

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2024, 03:04:16 PM »
In school (1960s) and University (1970s) we were taught that "c" was hard as already stated but "v" was not "w" but "v" so "Veni, Vidi, Vici" was "Venee, veedee, veekee" not "Weni, Weedi,Weesi". 

But who actually knows?
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Offline Cat

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2024, 04:19:57 PM »
Classics Department at Harvard University teaches classical pronunciation as c = k and v = w.
 
Prinkipes, Kaesar, and Kikero!

Offline Red Orc

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2024, 08:11:11 PM »
In school (1960s) and University (1970s) we were taught that "c" was hard as already stated but "v" was not "w" but "v" so "Veni, Vidi, Vici" was "Venee, veedee, veekee" not "Weni, Weedi,Weesi". 

But who actually knows?

We do. There are plenty of texts where we can see latin names in other alphabets (eg Greek). And we know 'Victoria' was pronounced 'ouiktoria' not *'fistoria' or *'bistoria' or *'biktoria' or whatever.

Offline vodkafan

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2024, 11:03:46 PM »
It's called the Kentum and Satem split the pronunciation changed way back when.
Modern Ecclesial Latin is a soft S too so don't be fooled by that.
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Offline Cat

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2024, 12:22:05 AM »
Modern Ecclesial Latin is a soft S too so don't be fooled by that.

I'm pretty sure the German ecclesiastical Latin keeps the K, but the rest of Western Europe lost it.

Offline dadlamassu

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2024, 11:16:49 AM »
We do. There are plenty of texts where we can see latin names in other alphabets (eg Greek). And we know 'Victoria' was pronounced 'ouiktoria' not *'fistoria' or *'bistoria' or *'biktoria' or whatever.

From what I was told back then the Ancient Greeks (possibly others) did not have the "vee" sound of the Latin "V" and used the ou diphthong, or the consonant b instead.  So any "W" sound by Latin speakers is inferred not known as the Greeks did not use that sound so needed an equivalent.
Not worth dying in a ditch about as I'm unlikely to chat to an Ancient Roman any time soon.

Offline Red Orc

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2024, 12:45:28 PM »
But they don't use 'b'. Or 'f', or anything else, they use 'ou' consistently for 'v'.

What we're arguing about is whether latin had two values for 'v'. Because if you think the name Julius was pronounced 'Iv-livs' I can't help you. So your argument must be that sometimes 'v' was pronounced 'u' and sometimes 'v', but the difference only exists in spoken latin.

But because Greek consistently transliterates 'v' as 'ou', you'd have to posit that those transliterating the latin were doing so entirely on the basis of the written language and never the spoken language. That doesn't seem feasible, that Greek scribes never heard any spoken latin. That they would give placenames in a transliteration of the official spelling (so, Ouiktoria for Victoria and NEVER Biktoria or Fiktoria, even though you're positing that people called it Victoria-with-a-v and not Wictoria-with-a-u).

The only evidence we have for the sounds of spoken latin is by comparison with other languages. You're right that you're not going to chat to any Ancient Romans, neither are any of the rest of us; but then, it seems peculiar to invent a second pronunciation of 'v' for which we have literally no contemporary evidence - only the much later 'evidence' that later on, some 'v's were pronounced as 'v' and some as 'u'.

Ocham's razor suggests classical latin was not pronounced like modern Italian. Weni, wedi, wiki, not veni, vedi, vitchi.

Offline Kourtchatovium104

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2024, 02:19:44 PM »
Red Orc is right. I studied classical latin five years in the 1990s and we learned the classical pronunciation (first century before C.). The letter V is just the capital letter for the u which sound like the french "ou" or the english "w".

With the time and the places, the sound of letters changed.

So VENI VIDI VICI, ueni uidi uici = wenee, weedee, weekee !

I hope soon a battle report entirely in latin, with a video for the pronunciation  :D

Offline dadlamassu

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2024, 05:28:00 PM »
What we're arguing about is whether latin had two values for 'v'. Because if you think the name Julius was pronounced 'Iv-livs' I can't help you. So your argument must be that sometimes 'v' was pronounced 'u' and sometimes 'v', but the difference only exists in spoken latin.


Not my argument. No argument at all.  I repeated what I had been taught.  I'm not fussed one way or the other.

Offline olicana

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Re: Help with Latin pronunciation of the 'c' in Principes.
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2024, 11:43:15 AM »
For someone who did not do Latin at school (most kids in my class found basic English hard enough; most of the kids spoke a dialect best described here as Neo-Saxon), that's all very interesting: Everyday is a school day. Thanks.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2024, 11:45:14 AM by olicana »

 

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