{    Cnytr   }

{Wednesday, October 26, 2005  }


Wow, I happen to be up translating Prudentius at 7:30am Rome time, and I turned on Vatican Radio to hear the BEST PRONUNCIATION OF (modern/ecclesiastical) LATIN.

Unfortunately whilst I was in Rome, I never made it to a Latin mass, so I never heard the Italian pronunciation of Latin. The worst adjective Fr. Reggie could come up with is "milky", which is hardly anything.

For those up late, check out the 105 Live schedule and tune into the morning mass if you can.

Note how Latin is pronounced clearly and with continental vowels. Very much based on the pronunciation of modern Italian. But it renders the Latin itself very clear. Even when English-speakers speak Latin after the manner of the Italians, it isn't nearly so understandable because of our awful short vowels (the short "u" and "a" are most tragic) and curved r's (an American phenomenon and a disgrace to language everywhere).

posted by Lauren, 1:35 AM


I like the Sarum-English pronunciation myself, with the exception that Ah-men comes out Aaaimen in a fashion which is almost modern American. But I realize the way they pronounced it then is entirely too odd for today, for example:
Deus= Dee-us (approximately)
Oremus= Orii-mus
saecula saeculorum=siecula sieculorum
Que tollis peccata munda= quay tollis paykeytta munday


Even odder, in some respects, is the one used in 16th century Spain. It's almost perfectly Italianate except the 's' comes out as a lisp. Ego sum ressurecthio et vita, etc.
~Matthew of the Holy Whapping
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 10:37 AM  
Ah yes, the lisp, the way in which Spanish is still pronounced around the regions of, what, Barcelona? Or is it Madrid? Anyway, it still survives in a dialect of Spanish.
commented by Blogger Lauren, 2:31 PM  
Aaaaah! Spanish Latin. It's really distracting trying to chant the office with a Spaniard lisping beside you.

Regarding English Latin, there are one or two Fathers of the Brompton Oratory who pronouce it in a manner seemingly unique to themselves - it's a queer mix of Church Latin in a very posh English accent with occasional lapses into classical pronounciation.
commented by Blogger Zadok the Roman, 4:08 PM  
Hi Lauren: I just came across your blog. Very cool! I know a few Dominicans up here in my theological college. A very nice group of people. Anyway, just wanted to say hi and keep posting!
commented by Blogger T.O., 12:06 PM  
Hmph! The ceceo is not a "lisp"! That's an unfortunate description.

It's pronunciation is like that of the Greek theta. And it preserves an important distinction between the "ce/ci/za/zo/zu" consonant and the "s" consonant, which every Italian speaker also knows are not identical. In American Spanish they are all jumbled together.

Anyway, it's used all over much of Spain (particularly the South), and it still part of the "Official Language" in the European form. You will hear it in all manner of Spanish communications media.

I'm proud to use it when speaking Spanish. I still tend to pronounce Latin in a Italianate way, however, since that's how I usually hear it.

Ok, that's my rant.
commented by Blogger Dev Thakur, 2:46 PM  
It's problematic to describe that as "like the Greek theta", as there is no one pronunciation of the Greek theta. I can't remember if in modern Greek it's voiced or not, but in Ancient Greek it was aspirated such that it was like an aspirated "t" -- which is like the normal English pronunciation of "t", as we evidently can't help but aspirate it.

The theta was dumbed down in the Byzantine (errr... actually probably sooner, but everything got invented int he Byzantine area) to the general "th" sound that we give it. Some people voice it, some don't (it shouldn't be voiced).

There are a number of dimensions of pronunciation of this one letter that I know I'm forgetting, but ... in short, I have no idea what you mean when you say "it's pronounced like the Greek theta". When? Where?
commented by Blogger Lauren, 3:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
commented by Blogger Dev Thakur, 12:13 AM  
I should have been more precise!

The ceceo is pronounced like the theta of modern Greek (as I heard it in Athens).

It's also pronounced like the "th" of thin, thimble, Athens, and otolith.

When English-speakers pronounce those words, I don't think of them as "lisping."
commented by Blogger Dev Thakur, 12:15 AM  

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