How to represent the sounds "sh" and "ch" in Latin spelling

By Pacifica, in 'Pronunciation, Spelling and Listen to Latin', Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    These sounds were unkown in Latin, as far as I know. For my Latin translation of Vathek, there are some Arabic (or Arabic-looking) proper names that contain those sounds (e.g. Edris Al Shafei, Gulchenrouz, Shaddukian) and I'm unsure what to do with them. Thus far I've kept them all as they are and just stuck Latin endings at the end of most of them, but this may not be the best way to go.

    In one 19th-century book on Google Books I've found the adjective Casmirensis which presumably means "of Kashmir" (which was a word I needed at some point in my translation).

    Previously, I had seen "chocolate" rendered in Neo-Latin as socolata. Here, admittedly, I can't tell with certainty whether this "s" was meant to stand for the "sh" sound that we've got there in French or for the "ch" sound we've got in English and certainly some other languages (even Romance ones; I've just had a listen to the Spanish word and it sounds like English "ch" in the beginning). Personally, however, a slightly more logical representation of the "ch" sound would seem to me to be ts — but was it done this way in, say, medieval or Renaissance Latin? I generally like to base my choices on older attestations when possible. So does anyone know whether there was any customary way of representing those sounds in Latin at some point?
  2. Iohannes Aurum Technicus Auxiliarius

    • Technicus Auxiliarius
    The original Nahuatl word for chocolate begins with a "sh" sound, though transcribed as "x" as Nahuatl orthography is based on Spanish.
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  3. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    In the Latin chronicles of Bohemia (almost one thousand years old), the "sh" sound is represented (in proper names) as "Sz" quite often.
    Last edited by Godmy, Aug 4, 2017
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  4. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    Also the famous Holy Roman Emperor (and the Czech king in the same time, who built the biggest portion of today's historical Prague) Charles IV who wrote his own *biography accessible on thelatinlibrary.com (Vita Caroli IV) uses "cz" for "ch" (as in "chalk") when talking about his wife which he latinizes as Blancza.
    Last edited by Godmy, Aug 4, 2017
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  5. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Interesting, thanks! I wonder if that was a generalized practice or if it was proper to Czech-speaking Latin writers (and possibly speakers of related languages with the same orthography). I'm saying this because it would seem, from the word "Czech" itself, that that's how you do it in Czech.

    Edit: Looking up the word "Czech", it turns out that it's apparently a Polish spelling, whereas in Czech you've got a special character for the "ch" sound. I guess it's possible that medieval Czech used "cz", though.
  6. Bestiola Caepa Cirrata

    • Praetor
    • Praeco
    We used ch for "č" and sh/sc for "š" sounds in our Latin writings, and all the other writings before we stole most of the diacritics from the Chechs.

    So for example Ruđer Josip Bošković was Rogerius Josephus Boscovich, Matija Petar Katančić was Matthias Petrus Katanchich etc.
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  7. Iáson Cívis Illústris

    • Civis Illustris
    I guess there's also a question over whether you want to represent (a) what a speaker of Latin would have said if asked to repeat a word with [ʃ] or [tʃ] in it, or (b) what a speaker of Latin would have used to try and represent a foreign phoneme. I've tried to look for loanwords with such phonemes, but without much luck, especially as I know little about Hebrew, Phoenician, Etruscan etc. I think Etruscan had [ʃ], however, represented by the derivative of san (), a letter which was not adopted into the Roman version of the alphabet; it seems very unlikely that a Roman would have used this for [ʃ], unless perhaps they knew Etruscan. I can't find a good list of loanwords into Latin, however, let alone an example of how this phoneme was transmitted.
  8. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    I would be interested in both, but initially mainly in the latter, I guess.
  9. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    That's like in Old English ("ch", on the other hand, was represented by "c" alone).

    It also corresponds to how "sc" sounds in ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation, at least before e/i (in ecclesiastical Latin discere sounds about like "dishere", and scit like "shit", lol) so perhaps that's where they got the idea from.

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