By Cinefactus, in 'Pronunciation, Spelling and Listen to Latin', Jun 28, 2018.
What is the difference between the pronunciation renum and rhenum?
Words beginning in 'rho' that in Proto-Greek were preceded by either the sibilant (*srewo 'I flow') or the semi-vowel (*wregjo 'I do', cf. Eng 'work') became aspirated in Ionic, following the general pattern of /s/ and /w/ > /h/. This was generalized to all initial 'rho's.
I have only consulted Dawes, Sihler, and something translated from German I don't have with me, but they seem to agree that the pronunciation was essentially voiceless, as demonstrated here. Whether the Romans were conscious of it/tried to imitate it in orthography, I have no idea.
Alas I don't speak any of those languages
I mean were you asking in the context of Latin? 'Cause Godmy or Ser probably knows more.
To be fair, nobody speaks Latin and Ancient Greek.
Yes, I am just reading a bit of Caesar and wondering how to pronounce Rhenum. I was hoping it might be something like the French r...
In practice it's unlikely that a typical Roman would've bothered to make that sound in Rhenus instead of their native /r/.
Here it sounds like kind of hR. There are subtitles in Latin as well, you can switch the language of the subtitles in Settings.
Well, if one adds a true voiceless glottal fricative, the result [by assimilation] is pretty much having a voiceless trill on the beginning.
But indeed that seems as a better solution than to voice both "r" and "h" (although in Latin you may expect whatever, since the upper class Romans, if they bothered at all, could have said it almost arbitrarily, with a mixed phonology).
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