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RE: Why pronunciations are so confused

  • To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
  • Subject: RE: Why pronunciations are so confused
  • From: "Wilbert Hetterscheid" <hetter@worldonline.nl>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 12:49:46 -0600 (CST)

I have to agree that this explanation is very useful. I had no idea that
there were reliable sources on this matter. After having read all this, I do
appreciate the original choice for latinisation of taxonomic names because
it provides a world-wide possibility of understanding what we're "talking"
(= reading) about because Latin is DEAD and doesn't change anymore. How do
english-speaking people pronounce Kniphofia? Nyyyy-foo-feee-ya........ Go
figure. Where are the Romans when you need them!!!!!!!!!!!


> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: aroid-l@mobot.org [mailto:aroid-l@mobot.org]Namens Inez and Len
> Dolatowski
> Verzonden: woensdag 16 januari 2002 16:15
> Aan: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L
> Onderwerp: RE: Why pronunciations are so confused
> This is the best thing I have read on this list too date.
> In a message dated 1/11/2 7:21:35 PM, hetter@worldonline.nl writes:
> << After all this discussion on pronunciation of Latin, doesn't anyone
> remember
> that the Romans are DEAD?????? Then where did all these
> "authorities" got
> their information???
> Wilbertus Amorphophallophilus Tertius Magnus Blah-us,
> blah-us, blah-us (no
> offensus to anyonus) >>
> Offensum non taken. Sorry about the slow electrons, but I did
> not think your
> question was merely rhetorical, so here's the answer (and
> even if it was
> rhetorical, here it is anyway!)...
> :-)
> There are 2 different sets of Latin pronunciations.
> a) The ancient/classical pronunciation set is indeed not
> certain, but it is
> pretty well known because there's tons of information on how
> they talked.
> There are poems, which were written according to stricter
> rules than English
> verse ever used. And there are descriptions of how foreigners
> spoke with
> accents, or how people in different regions spoke. A guy
> named Varro wrote a
> lot on this topic, about 2000 years ago.
> b) The medieval/modern pronunciation set is known because it
> is still used;
> it's very much like Italian. Also, there are parts of Europe
> that still have
> a lot of people who study Latin and keep inventing words for
> modern things
> (I
> seem to recall that Finland is one such place) and even do
> radio shows in
> Latin. Additionally, Latin is still one of the languages of the Roman
> Catholic Church. Even into the late 1970s in some RC
> universities, there
> were
> still some American graduate students who =chose= to defend
> their doctoral
> dissertations in Latin.
> c) And there are descriptions of how these things changed over time.
> So, there's your answer. That's also why there are usually at
> least 2 sets
> of
> correct pronunciations.
> The word could be pronounced "ah-ree-SIGH-mah," and that
> could be correct by
> the standards of classical Latin.
> HOWEVER, there are often 4 sets of correct pronunciations.
> Dewey's example of "raphidophora" brings up another issue,
> which is whether
> a
> word in question is pronounced in the Greek or Latin way.
> "ra-phi-DOPH-o-ra" is Latin. "ra-phi-do-PHO-ra" is Greek.
> That's why both are correct, because "raphidophora" is really
> a Greek word
> written in Latin letters.
> And then, there's modern Greek versus ancient Greek.
> "ahg-lah-oh-NEHH-mah" is ancient Greek. "ahg-lah-oh-NEEE-mah"
> is modern
> Greek.
> Of course, no American pronounces "uh-glay-oh-NEEE-muh" either way!
> Literally, as the saying goes, "it's academic." Species
> naming is sort of
> like classical Chinese. It can be pronounced many different
> ways, but it
> unites people by allowing them to correspond.
> Thank you all for your forbearance!

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