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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  For the New Ancient Coin Collector (Moderators: wolfgang336, cscoppa, Gavignano, Lucas H)  |  Topic: Pronounceation 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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andrew_apostle
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« on: August 17, 2005, 11:16:19 am »

How is the word "tetradrachm" pronounced? tet-ra-dram? I've been having an arguement with a friend and can talk about nothing else until this is resolved. Thanks a bunch.
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Jochen
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2005, 11:58:19 am »

Hi!

Here is a site I use sometimes to learn Englisch pronunciation. The first one is for 'tetra':
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=tetra
and here for 'drachmhttp://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=drachm
It sounds like 'dram'

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andrew_apostle
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2005, 12:11:34 pm »

Thank you much!
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2005, 05:29:22 pm »

Jochen, the link you posted for "drachm" is for an English word, the root for our modern "dram". 

I'm very weak in Greek, but since "tetradrachm" is an amalagamation of "tetra drachmae", would not the Greek pronunciation of "drachma" , drak-mah", transfer over?
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2005, 05:38:13 pm »

Hi Varangian!

In German this coin is called 'Tetradrachme' and spelled like the Greek 'TETPAGreek_DeltaPAXMH' but with a short E at the end, not the long eta. You can hear the Chi (X). But I know that in English many Greek and Latin words are not pronounced like the original words. I think that a scholar will pronounce these words more like the original word in the ancient language.

I am interested in hearing other opinions!

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peterpil19
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2005, 12:08:17 am »

Quote from: Jochen link=topic=21286.msg141910#msg141910 But I know that in English many Greek and Latin words are not pronounced like the original words.
Best regards
[quote

You can sure say that again! I'm greek and find it amazing that the English language can bastardize easily pronounceable greek words. Why is it even called Drachm, rather than Drachma which is what the modern Greeks called it right up to the switch to the Euro? I always think of it as Tetra-drach-ma. (pronounced Tetra-vrach-ma) Makes a hell of a lot more sense than "tetra-dram" which sounds like a high-tech building complex.

Same goes for latin. Law lecturers at uni don't hesitate to "correct" my pronounciation of Latin phrases: "No Peter, it's not 'prima facie', it's 'Pry-ma Facey".

Thank God for the internet, where everyone can read, and pronouciation is irrelevant!

--Peter
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2005, 03:34:00 am »

Whilst we are on the subject........I've always been too embarrassed to ask how one is meant to pronounce 'Boeotia'. Can anyone enlighten me?
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« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2005, 04:03:46 am »

Hi Xenophon!

In Greek it is spelled BOI Greek_OmegaTIA with the stress on the last I. The OI is pronounced like OI in 'coin'.

In Latin it is BOEOTIA, with the break BOE - OTIA and the stress on the second O because it comes from the Greek Omega. OE is pronounced like Ö in German 'Öl', Danish 'Öre' or Turkish 'Döner'. I think in English there is no identical sound. 'Learn' is a bit similar, but too open. It is pronounced too deep in the throat!

The O from OTIA should be pronounced long like the Omega in the Greek word. TIA is pronounced so that your can hear each letter T-I-A, I like 'beer', A like 'bar'.

I hope that I could make it clear. BTW Do you know the anecdote which is told about G.B.Shaw, where he proofed the simplicity of the English pronunciation?
English is easy to learn, he should have said: So GHOTI is pronounced like FISH!
GH = F as in 'enough',
O   = I as in 'women', and
TI  = SH as in 'nation'. Easy language, isn't it?

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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2005, 09:53:49 am »

Thanks Jochen, that's very comprehensive!

My French teacher made the same point about English, using these examples:

enough
plough
through
thought

and several more, all of which are pronounced differently  Grin
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2005, 11:36:58 am »

And what is the "correct" pronunciation? American and English pronunciations of the same "English" word are often very different as are American and English pronunciations of many Latin words. Admittedly some American pronunciations of Latin grate on my ears (only because they sound unfamiliar to me) but, that said, no one has the God given right to say "their" pronunciation is correct. No one anywhere knows exactly how Latin (or any other ancient language for that matter) was pronounced, they only know what they were taught, and unless their tutors were such as Homer or Ovid  Grin I will have none of it. It is all "scholarly" affectation from those who would say different.

Alex.
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2005, 12:48:16 pm »

First, in ancient Greek, Boiotia WAS like Boy-oh-TEE-ah, but today it IS Vee-oh-TEE-ah.  And at tea or cocktails among archaeologists you will hear Bee-OH-sha.  That's that.  As W. H. Fowler said, if you're going to use 'de luxe', you don't pronounce it in an ordinary English sentence as the French do in a French sentence.  The French say Bay-oh-tee, slightly emphasizing the -tee.
And, yes, English spelling is a wonderful phenomenon,  full of dinosaur bones and fragments of mitochondrial DNA, so to speak.
Pat L.
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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2005, 01:56:55 pm »

'Proper' pronunciation of a modern language is usually that of the dominant elite;when I was a kid it was 'the Queen's English', nowadays it's 'BBC English'. Not that it makes much difference; if I was five again I'd still be in trouble for dropping my H's! When it comes to dead (or recently revived) languages, it becomes a matter for endless debate; what's the 'correct' pronumciation of Hebrew or Cornish? And as for Latin, should I go by what one of my Latin teachers said and say 'Yoolius Kaiser' so that I sound learned and nobody understands me, or should I adopt modern pronumciation, say 'Jewleyus Seeser', and be understood?
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2005, 02:11:22 pm »

Hi Alex!

I think you are right only partially! Okay, nobody today is witness of the pronunciation of the ancient Romans. But it is possible for linguists to infer ancient pronunciations from other facts. I will give two examples:
It is an old question wether the Romans pronounce the C of Caesar as K or as Z. But if you see the legend of Greek coins KAICAP then it is clear they have said K! Otherwise the Greek would have used Z Zeta.
If you see the the Greek name of Nero written as NEPW, then you can infer the sound of the E. It was short not long! Otherwise the Greek would have written NHPW with Eta! (Sadly the Germans pronounce Nero with a long E!)
And equally you can proof that the I was pronounced like the Italian I and not the English I. And so on and so on.
Naturally there are problems which were unsolved until now, but the situation is not so bad that we must confess we don't know anything!

Best regards
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2005, 02:18:48 pm »

Hi Jochen,

The problem with looking for exact pronunciations for Latin is, that although it is a dead language now, at the time of the Romans it was an evolving language, like english it didn't remain static and unchanging for the hundreds of years that it was the lingua franca of the known world. This much can be construed from the writings and inscriptions which have come down to us. It is my opinion that the latin spoken in the 5th century probably bore the same relationship to 1st century latin as present day english bears to the english of Shakespeare, this is without considering differing provincial dialects and accents.
You mentioned the C of Caesar being pronounced K, as in Kaiser and yet the Italians pronounce it as CH as in Cheese. (Cesare = CHES-AH-RAY). I suspect that both pronunciations were current at different time periods and/or in different areas of the Empire.
And so I stick to my guns, there is no way that anyone can honestly and righteously stand up and say "this is how Latin was or should be pronounced." They are deluding themselves if they think that is so.

Alex. Grin
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2005, 02:35:10 pm »

I wonder whether the Latin spoke in Britain sounded anything like the Latin of Antioch? The army was mobile enough to have established a degree of uniformity, since I suspect that most provincials would habitually have used their own languages, but there must have been pretty wide regional differences, as there were in England until recent times.
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2005, 02:57:59 pm »

Hi Alex!

You wrote:
It is my opinion that the latin spoken in the 5th century probably bore the same relationship to 1st century latin as present day english bears to the english of Shakespeare, this is without considering differing provincial dialects and accents...
I suspect that both pronunciations were current at different time periods and/or in different areas of the Empire.
and I agree! You are right with that!

But I think your conclusion is not ok if you write:
And so I stick to my guns, there is no way that anyone can honestly and righteously stand up and say "this is how Latin was pronounced."
There is no reason 'die Flinte ins Korn zu werfen' (litterally: to throw the gun into the cornfield, meaning: to capitulate, German phrase)! Clear, you have to differentiate between different times, different regions and different social classes and so on. You have to consider the development of all of these different influences. And exactly that is the subject of linguists and language historians. But today you know why and when the pronunciation of Caesar changed from K to CH in cheese, and why and when the Britains pronounced the ae from Caesar like the Italian i, whereas the Germans pronounced ae as ä like the Britains the first A from Africa.

Or an exampel of more recent times: At the times of Goethe there were no voice recording. But if you look at his poems and you have the knowledge to do so you can recognize that he pronounced the words not in High German but in Hessian or even more precisely in the idiom of Frankfurt. Otherwise many of the rhymes in his poems wouldn't be explicable.

Therefore I think there is no reason to say: We will never know!

Best regards
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2005, 03:25:04 pm »

I agree with what you are saying Jochen.
Maybe it is wrong to say we will never know, but I for one will never be sure we know.  Grin Grin

Alex.
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2005, 04:15:44 pm »

Hi Alex!

I think to be never sure is one of the most important things we should learn!

Best regards
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« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2005, 09:24:07 pm »

I wonder whether the Latin spoke in Britain sounded anything like the Latin of Antioch?

A very good question. Has there been any studies done on this?

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« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2005, 10:33:12 pm »

Quote from: Vespasian70 on August 21, 2005, 09:24:07 pm
I wonder whether the Latin spoke in Britain sounded anything like the Latin of Antioch?

A very good question. Has there been any studies done on this?



Actually a difficult one as the majority of the ordinary population of Antioch I assume would have conversed in Greek, including possibly the soldiers stationed there. So maybe "proper" latin was spoken only by the governing bodies.

Alex.
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« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2005, 10:36:30 pm »

This is only a long-held opinion.  Since Latin was an international means of communication, I have always held that a 'correct' Latin was a pronunciation that most people could understand almost everywhere in the Empire and among its trading partners.  The same holds true for Spanish, English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, just to name five that brodcast widely, today.  It does not denigrate Yiddish, which has great literature, or Puerto Rican Spanish, which also has some, or Cairene Arabic (supposing it still is as distinctive as it was in Richard Burton's day--the translator, not the actor!), or Australian English to call the speech of the networks standard.  Somehow I think Latin had it, too, and, of course, as with the modern languages, it evolved gradually.  So when we teach children to pronounce Latin (and they are so grateful NOT to have to go to the Language Lab), we try to teach them something that might be widely understood.  Vespasian70 is dead right to think of the various regional Latinities.  I daresay, though, that they could have understood the equivalent of Peter Jenning or Aaron Brown or the others in English.  Pat L.
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« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2005, 04:06:57 am »

A short note to Richard Burton: He not only was a translator but he is known as one of the great discoverer of the Nile springs together with the more luckier John Hanning Speke. But whereas Speke was a typical Victorian, stiff and formal, Burton was a  fun-loving and excentric character. He was a great connoisseur and collector of Arabic literature. The Tales of 1001 Nights came to Eurpe by him. And he had gathered one of the greatest collection of erotic literature worldwide. It's a pity that his wife was one of the ladies with the greatest cant, bigot and saintly. When Robert Burton died she discovered the secret library of her husband and being horrified she burnt up his collection among it many unique works now unretrievably destroyed.

Yes, I love this horror stories, which show the foolishness of men!

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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2005, 04:23:35 am »

There must have been hybrid vernaculars all over the empire, which didn't leave any written record. In Sierra Leone, for instance, there are five million people (assuming virtually all the refugees have now returned; at one point it was down to around three million) and sixteen languages. Everyone speaks Krio, which is the language of ex-slaves dumped at Freetown, people rescued from slave ships, and locals, several generations down the road and all mixed up, and combined with English and bits of French taken over from the former colonial masters. There are equivalents all over the former empires, and there must surely have been something similar going on back then.
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« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2005, 09:50:41 am »

  I would like to add a few random thoughts. Lanuages do change over time, compare modern French with that spoken in Quebec, and it has been lees than two hunfred years since the split between the two cultures.
  I suspect that the spoken latin was far different from the formal "official" latin used for communications. Also , as it has been pointed out, the written form is the same, how it is pronounced locally is different, but would be intelligable to the locals at either end. 
  There have been odd "polglot" languages that have arisen, in the south Pacific, Pigin developed. It wasn't bad english, but and actual traders language, with full meaning and ablitiy to convey conplex thoughts, but across a wide range of cultures. It was noted that a medical aid [practical nurse] could be trained in Pigen in 1/3 the time, for someone that was familar with Pigen as a second language. So why not suppose that that a similar form existed in the ancient empires? Why not a mix of several languages, as outr languages are mixed today. Pronunciation is a local dialect, even within some countries with a common written language, can barely understand the same spoken forms.

Bruce
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« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2005, 01:50:02 pm »

Pidgins are certainly not bad English, French or anything else; you can express complex ideas in them perfectly well. I can see the need for nurses to be trained in both languages; you'd need one to read the books and the other to communicate with the patients. If you know both well, you hardly notice which you're using at any one time.
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