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Author Topic: English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.  (Read 4262 times)

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Offline Automan

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English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« on: February 13, 2004, 10:57:47 am »
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

Offline Automan

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2004, 11:01:03 am »
Here's another one:

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

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Offline curtislclay

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2004, 11:11:55 am »
      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.
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Offline Robert_Brenchley

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2004, 12:09:44 pm »
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.
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Offline Jochen

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2004, 03:50:36 pm »
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  
 

Offline Jochen

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2005, 07:23:06 pm »
Looking at this thread again I see that the questions of Automan are still unanswered. So I will try:

- 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...
  I would say Lah-oh-dee-SSAY-ah
- Cotiaeum (ko-ti-a-EH-um?) I would say Koh-tee-AEH-um.
- Amasia (a-MEY-sia or Ah-mah-SEE-ah?)
- Calchedon (KAL-ke-don or KAL-che-don? I would say Kal-che-DOHN.
- Nicaea (nai-SEE-ah or nih-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)
   I would say Seh-loi-KEI-ah
- Side (SAI-di or SIH-deh?)
- Caracalla (ca-RAH-calla or cah-rah-CAL-lah) (CAL is long by position: the two L's make it fit for stress!)
- Antoninus (an-to-NAI-nus or an-toh-NIH-nus or perhaps an-TO-
  ni-nus? (the I is long by nature!)

I see it is not so easy to write it down for correct English pronounciation!

Regards

Offline Steve Minnoch

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2005, 07:43:44 pm »
In Greek inscriptions the spelling of Laodiceia has a K so Laodikeia is the more phonetic transliteration into English.  Most English-speakers would probably pronounce it with an "S" sound if untutored, but then most English-speakers would have no idea what the word is!

Steve

Offline slokind

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2005, 04:34:57 am »
But the English, the schooled English, since Colet at least have systematically Latinized the Greek and Englished the pronunciation of the Latin.  Doing so does require knowing Greek and Latin, but those interested in Laodicea tended to know them.  See Head's HN for these spellings.  That Spring chicken David Sear still uses them naturally.  Even I was taught to, but I'm 70.  They make word searches by computer easier--when everyone uses them.  But why should anyone but schooled Anglophones use them?  I can assure you that my students can't, and refuse to try.  I daresay that the patrons of beautiful launderettes in London sympathize with my students, not to mention the denizens of Daniel Pennac's Belleville.
Pat L.

Offline Numerianus

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2005, 05:10:30 am »
The problem is very  complicated.  Englsh is now an international language: one billion English speakers
in India, one and half in China and a half billion in continental Europe.  So British English, Australian
English or American English are just by local dialects, rather uncomprehensive, but luckily spoken by minorities.
My colleague in Australia was recommended in a drugstore to visit  a physician ``todie". He was scared but his case  was
not so serious:  the common  meaning  there is  "today".  Of course, this is a joke  but  for people who was
 taught in various countries the pronounciation of  Latin and Greek words in  languages of international communications
(currently, the dominating one is English but a few decades ago it was German and French) may pose problems.    
 

Offline Robert_Brenchley

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Re:English pronounciation of names, denominations etc.
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2005, 03:12:01 pm »
English is essentially a mass of regional dialects all round the world; my wife used to teach it in Africa, but when we got together we soon found that we were virtually speaking different languages, and had constant confusion because we used the same word to mean totally different things! So 'plenty' meant 'enough' to me, and 'far too much' to her, for instance. It took some time to get the differences ironed out.
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