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Re: Re: phonetic pronunciation


At the risk of beating the subject to death by terminal pedantry---

Anner, you are quite right--the "Classical Latin" even in the Rome of Augustus
was an artificial construction based on what the scholars of the time thought
Latin "ought" to be.  Many teachers of Latin decades ago were teaching from
the foundation of that same synthesized construct.

Dave's observation about European Romance languages, to which Anner also
briefly referred, was what influenced me.  I'm only a second generation
speaker of English, and grew up sufficiently isolated that I absorbed not only
linguistic conventions but a lot of cultural elements as well from my
immigrant grandparents.

The Scandinavian languages were put into written form by Roman-taught
ecclesiatical pioneers, most of whom paid for their various efforts by
eventual temination of this life at the hands of my ancestors.

Those sounds unique to Germanic languages didn't fit easily into the Latin
alphabet.  Those monks and missionaries invented ways to record what they
heard.  Some of the phonemes were written using adaptations of the Latin
vowels and consonants, others by distortions or substitutions using such
strategies as a crossed "d" for the voiced "th," and the runic "thorn" which
resembles a Latin "p" somewhat for the unvoiced form (in modern English, those
two sounds are the "th" in "THose and THin).

None the less,  the alphabet retained the Latin *vernacular* usage, not the
Classical construct for most sounds.

After I learned both German and Spanish I found great delight in the
differences and the obvious common ground.  In a rather fun post-graduate
course on "The History and Development of the English Language" I heard
explanations for the drift and change of continental vowels to what we now
use--which is still in transition, I might add.  I've forgotten the reasons
for the change, but the systematic pattern struck me as significant.

The study of comparative linguistics is rather like the study of evolutionary
developments in Biology.  There are certain elements and patterns of change
that can be stated as theoretical propositions and fit the observed data.  The
reconstruction of both vernacular and "Classical" Latin of the first century
AD seems to me to have a high probability of accuracy and thus utility.

Neil Mogensen

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