The pronunciation of classical words in English 1. Assimilated and unassimilated • Two types of classical words and phrases: • Those that have been fully assimilated into English, and have simply become English words (all the early borrowings, also most borrowings during and before the Renaissance), and • True classical words that are either recognizably recent borrowings, or words and phrases fossilized in legal or scientific language. 2. Consonants in unassimilated words • Generally accepted that the consonants of classical words in English should be pronounced in accord with the standard values associated with those letters in English orthography. In most cases, those in Latin and in English have remained the same. Some examples • prima facie • Ancient Rome: [pri ma ’fa ki ei] • Modern English: [’prai mə ’fei ʃi i] • ex officio • Ancient Rome: [ɛks o ’fɪ ki o] • Modern English: [ɛks o ’fɪ ʃi o] • ceteris paribus • Ancient Rome: [’kei tei ris ’pa ri bus] • Modern English: [’sei tei ris ’pa ri bus] • sui generis • Ancient Rome: [su i ’gei nei ris] • Modern English: [swi ’dʒei nei rəs] • • • • <v> was pronounced [w] in classical Latin. volenti (to a consenting person) Ancient Rome: [wo lein ti] Modern English: [vo ’lein ti] • in vino veritas (wine will loose your tongue) • Ancient Rome: [in ’wino ’wei ri tas] • Modern English: [in ’vino ’vei ri tas] Summary of consonants Letter Classical Anglicized Sound Sound c [k] always [s] before i, e Example pace, et cetera t [g] always [dʒ] before i, e ab origine, genius [t] always [ʃ] before iV, e ab initio, ratio v [w] always [v] g verbatim, (modus) vivendi 3. Vowels in unassimilated words • Vowels can be pronounced in accord with two quite different systems: • UK: as normally pronounced in English in that position in the word. • USA: as normally pronounced in other European languages such as Spanish, German, or French. • In either case, not the way pronounced in classical times, though the European-USA tradition is closer. European values • <a> or <au> as in father, nausea, represented as [α]. • <e> as in fiancé, represented as [ei]. • <i> or <y> as in machine, represented as [i]. • <o> as in hope, represented as [o]. • <u> as either in boot or cute, represented as [u] or [ju]. • <oe> like <i> if long, but [ɛ] if short (eg Oedipus). Anglicized (UK) • • • • • <a> not consistent: [æ, ei,α] Should usually be pronounced as [α]. tabula rasa [’tα bu lα ’rα sə] pater familias [’pα tə fa ’mi li əs] alma mater [’αl mə ’mα tə] Fossilized pronunciations • Many Latin words and phrases have a well-established and widespread pronunciation that deviated from the general principles formulated above. • The British pronunciation for prima facie [’prai mə …] is so well known that we think it is perfectly acceptable. • <-i> at the end of a borrowed word is very likely to be [-ai], as in alumni, a priori, loci, gemini, magi, nuclei, but in phrases like advocatus diaboli, anno Domini, memento mori, modus vivendi, and vox populi, both [-ai] and [-i] are freely used, • while in lapis lazuli the most common is with [-i]. 4. Fully assimilated classical words • Words are treated exactly like English words. • The pronunciation of consonants spelled <ch>, <g>, <x> varies depending on whether the source of the word is Greek or Latin. Latin Greek <ch> [tʃ] [k] <g> [dʒ] [g] <x> [ks] [z] <ch> • Latin: channel, chart, chapel, chisel • Via French: <ch>=[ʃ], chamois, chute, cliché, douche, machine, moustache. But there is a tendency to replace [ʃ] by [tʃ] in words like avalanche and niche. • Greek: <ch>=[k] • archangel, Achilles, chi, stomach, chaos, chronology, character, echo, chimera, technology, charisma • Some roots of Greek origin: chem ‘alloy’, chir ‘hand’, chlor ‘green’, chrom ‘color’, mechan ‘device’, tachy ‘speed’, machy ‘battle’. <g> • When followed by a front vowel, i, y, or e, it is normally pronounced as [dʒ], as in gem, gin, gym. This is generally true of both Latin and Greek words, though there are exceptions to the rule in the native vocabulary: gear, geek, geezer, gold, get, gill, gimmick, giggle. • One Greek root, gyn ‘woman’ has an interesting story: • [g-] in gynecology, gynecocracy, gynecoid, gynogenesis; in some dictionaries both [g] and [dʒ] are allowed. • [-dʒ-] in androgynous, heterogynous, protogynous <x> • Normally pronounced [ks]: cortex, dexterous, expert, sextet. • In some cases [k]+[s] can be reconstructed: flec + s + ible inflexible, para + dog + s paradox, seg + s sex. • In some cases the spelling has not been agreed on: connection (US) / connexion (UK), inflection (US) / inflexion (UK). However both have complexion and crucifixion. • Yiddish laks ‘salmon’, German Lachs has now been re-spelled as lox, and Americans are familiar with spellings such as thanx, sox, and truxtop. • Generally, if the initial <x> in a word is not capitalized, or hyphenated as in X-rated, x-ray, the word is Greek and its first consonant is [z]. • In transcriptions from non-classical alphabets <x> is usually [ʃ] as in the place names Xian [ʃian], Xinxiang [ʃin ʃiang], except in the transcription of Xosa, or Xhosa, in which X stands for [kh].