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Old 2021-09-14, 19:22   #37
xilman's Avatar
May 2003
Down not across

71·157 Posts

Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
Well, opinions still vary. We had this argument once. Latins pronounced c as k every time, except when followed by e or i, which were pronounced "tche", and "tchi", like in "check" and "chimp". That is why the alphabet is "aa, be, tche, de" and not "aa, be, ke, de" (and you have "abecedary" or "abecedarium" in English, and not "abekedary", etc). When they wanted to avoid pronouncing it so, they inserted and "a" in between. Words like "kaizer" were written "caesar", and not "cesar", and kerberos is a borrowed word from greek, therefore irrelevant (yes, they were pronouncing it "tcherberos"), as well as place names (see how most of the world used to call for decades "Pekin", "Beijing"). The "ae" group was always pronounced like open "e" (like in english "bet"), there are many plurals of feminine words (which ended in "a") formed like that, for example "silva/silvae" (forest, forests), pronounced "silve".
You describe a later form of Latin, Vulgar Latin, from perhaps the 4th century onwards.

Essentially all scholars now believe that Classical Latin was pronounced in the time of Brutus and Julius Caesar as I have describe it.

See for a comprehensive treatment. In particular

⟨c⟩, ⟨k⟩ [k] Always hard as k in sky, never soft as in cellar, cello, or social. ⟨k⟩ is a letter coming from Greek, but seldom used and generally replaced by c.
⟨ch⟩ [kʰ] As ch in chemistry, and aspirated; never as in challenge or change (mostly used in Greek loanwords). Transliteration of Greek ⟨χ⟩.

Compare English: "red" was pronounced the same as "read" not so long ago, and "enough" had an aspirated-g as still exists in modern Dutch "Van Gogh". There is absolutely no doubt that "Cerberos" was pronounced very similar to English Kerberos and Greek Κέρβερος. Many other bi-lingual examples exist, some from Latin paired with another ancient language and others from Latin and a modern language. I have already provided Caesar and Kaiser.

Pronounciation changes.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2021-09-14 at 19:29
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