Numism > For the New Ancient Coin Collector

English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.

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Automan:
I am sure that I am not the only one who occasionally comes across a name of a city or individual that I do not know how to pronounce in English. In fact, I bet that many native English speakers also have this problem!

I know that several website offer pronouciation guides, but these are typically not sufficient, nor are English dictionaries which typically do not list city names that more or less went out of use 2000 years ago!

Here are a few examples:

- Laodiceia (I would pronounce this law-di-KEY-a, but that's more Greek than English, I think). Although the name is often spelled Laodicea...
- Cotiaeum (ko-ti-a-EH-um?)
- Amasia (a-MEY-sia or a-ma-SEE-a?)
- Calchedon (KAL-ke-don or KAL-che-don?)
- Nicaea (nai-SEE-ah or ni-KAI-ah?)
- Seleuceia (sel-yu-KEI-ah or sel-OOH-sia or sel-YOU-see-ah or sel-YOU-sei-ah or sel-e-YOU-sei-ah; the varieties are endless)
- Side (SAI-di or SI-deh?)
- Caracalla (ca-RAH-calla or ca-ra-CALLA)

I suggest that we make this a sticky topic, and that when people have questions they post them here.

Maybe this could even be developed into a site when enough posts warrant this.

Auto

Automan:
Here's another one:

Antoninus (an-to-NAI-nus or an-to-NII-nus or perhaps an-TO-ni-nus?)

Auto

curtislclay:
      There are differences between the preferred pronounciations in Britain and America, which it might be interesting to summarize.
      A great deal is arbitrary, however, varying from speaker to speaker.  Hardly worth discussing in my opinion, since there is no hope of ever achieving uniformity.

Robert_Brenchley:
It varies from person to person as  well; I would say 'Makkedon' where most English people would say 'Massedon'. Laodicea is simple, at least as far as the UK is concerned. Lay-ow-di-seea. The first 'a' is long, the second short, the 'i' is short, and the accent on the first syllable.

Jochen:
Here I have the rules for the stress from my schoolbooks. The stress is different in Latin and in Greek words, but he could be only on one of the last 3 syllables.

Definition:
last syllable                 - ultima
syllable before last      - paenultima
3. syllable from behind - antepaenultima

Now it goes!

1. Stress in Latin words (easy I think):
    a) In words with 2 syllables the stress is always on the paenultima.
         e.g. Roma, stress on 'o'
    b) In words longer than 2 syllables the stress is on the paenultima if the  
         paenultima is long.
         e.g. Romanus, stress on 'a'
         If the paenultima is short then the stress is on the antepaenultima!
         e.g. perfidus, stress on 'e'

Which vowels are long, which are short you have to learn, sorry!

2. Stress in Greek words is not so easy, for there are 3 different accents, and the
    duration of a syllable can be long  or short by nature or by position, and there
    are special rules for Composita and so on.

So I want to restrict me to the Latin stress only!

Regards,
Jochen  
 

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