Things I hate (pronunciation and spelling)

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I'm trying to put together a list of commonly made mistakes by the people around me that really annoy me ... this is to be updated when I can think of more things ... or come across something new.

I'll put the mistakes in red and offer a correct version in green next to them. Would be curious to hear what annoys you, too.

  • qu[i-long:3b0p4zlj][/i-long:3b0p4zlj]bus
    • qu[i-short:3b0p4zlj][/i-short:3b0p4zlj]bus (short!)
  • [o-long:3b0p4zlj][/o-long:3b0p4zlj]pus :angry: :angry: :angry:
    • [o-short:3b0p4zlj][/o-short:3b0p4zlj]pus (short!)
  • n[o-short:3b0p4zlj][/o-short:3b0p4zlj]n
    • n[o-long:3b0p4zlj][/o-long:3b0p4zlj]n (long!!)
  • laudáv[e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]runt
    • laud[a-long:3b0p4zlj][/a-long:3b0p4zlj]vérunt (the e is long ... so stress it!!)
  • m[e-short:3b0p4zlj][/e-short:3b0p4zlj]nsa (and all other short vowels before ns/nf
    • m[e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]nsa
  • magnus [maknus]
    • [maŋnus]
  • t[o-long:3b0p4zlj][/o-long:3b0p4zlj]t
    • t[o-short:3b0p4zlj][/o-short:3b0p4zlj]t
  • v[o-short:3b0p4zlj][/o-short:3b0p4zlj]x
    • v[o-long:3b0p4zlj][/o-long:3b0p4zlj]x
  • r[e-short:3b0p4zlj][/e-short:3b0p4zlj]x
    • r[e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]x
  • [e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]st (for he is)
    • [e-short:3b0p4zlj][/e-short:3b0p4zlj]st (it's not about eating!!)
  • aggr[e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]di
    • ággr[e-short:3b0p4zlj][/e-short:3b0p4zlj]di (short!)
  • -[i-short:3b0p4zlj][/i-short:3b0p4zlj]s in the ablative plural
  • V[e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]nus
    an example I came across recently: talibus aggr[e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]ditur V[e-long:3b0p4zlj][/e-long:3b0p4zlj]nerem Saturnia dict[i-short:3b0p4zlj][/i-short:3b0p4zlj]s :brickwall2:
    tálibus ággr[e-short:3b0p4zlj][/e-short:3b0p4zlj]ditúr V[e-short:3b0p4zlj][/e-short:3b0p4zlj]nerém Satúrnia díct[i-long:3b0p4zlj][/i-long:3b0p4zlj]s
  • [a-long:3b0p4zlj][/a-long:3b0p4zlj]m[o-long:3b0p4zlj][/o-long:3b0p4zlj]r
    • [a-short:3b0p4zlj][/a-short:3b0p4zlj]m[o-short:3b0p4zlj][/o-short:3b0p4zlj]r (short!!!)
  • t[a-long:3b0p4zlj][/a-long:3b0p4zlj]men
    • t[a-short:3b0p4zlj][/a-short:3b0p4zlj]men
  • qu[o-long:3b0p4zlj][/o-long:3b0p4zlj]que :angry: :angry: :angry: (the encliticon meaning also)
    • it's qu[o-short:3b0p4zlj][/o-short:3b0p4zlj]que with a short o !!111
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
Re: Things I hate

There, there. It'll all work out :p
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Re: Things I hate

A few more:

  • etjam
    • etĭam (trisyllable!)
  • quīdem
    • quĭdem (don't confuse with pronoun quīdam)
  • quōmōdo
    • quōmŏdo (ultima has common quantity, not the penult!)
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Re: Things I hate

Imber Ranae dixit:
  • quōmōdo
    • quōmŏdo (ultima has common quantity, not the penult!)
Oh yes!

A recent Christmas example:

  • Adeste fidel[e-short:ziw8fmwn][/e-short:ziw8fmwn]s, laeti triumphant[e-short:ziw8fmwn][/e-short:ziw8fmwn]s ... gloria in excels[i-short:ziw8fmwn][/i-short:ziw8fmwn]s Deo
    • fidel[e-long:ziw8fmwn][/e-long:ziw8fmwn]s, triumphant[e-long:ziw8fmwn][/e-long:ziw8fmwn]s, excels[i-long:ziw8fmwn][/i-long:ziw8fmwn]s of course :roll:
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
Re: Things I hate

Should we make this a sticky, as a list of commonly mispronounced words? I find it quite difficult to remember if I am not hearing people say it, and I must confess that I am guilty of a few of these errors ;)
 

Akela

sum
Staff member
Re: Things I hate

Cinefactus dixit:
Should we make this a sticky...)
Good idea. Done.

Bitmap, I altered the title too.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Re: Things I hate

Akela dixit:
Good idea. Done.

Bitmap, I altered the title too.
Cool! I didn't actually intend this to be about spelling, though, as I can't think of any spelling mistake people would usually make.

Another thing I often hear is people shortening the 3rd declension ending -es, e.g.
  • laudate omn[e-short:1ryyg6df][/e-short:1ryyg6df]s gent[e-short:1ryyg6df][/e-short:1ryyg6df]s
  • Recently, I heard a cardinal talk about the "p[a-long:1ryyg6df][/a-long:1ryyg6df]tr[e-short:1ryyg6df][/e-short:1ryyg6df]s" in the Catholic church ... this is as wrong is it can get :roll:
    • It has to be omn[e-long:1ryyg6df][/e-long:1ryyg6df]s gent[e-long:1ryyg6df][/e-long:1ryyg6df]s and p[a-short:1ryyg6df][/a-short:1ryyg6df]tr[e-long:1ryyg6df][/e-long:1ryyg6df]s of course (the a in p[a-short:1ryyg6df][/a-short:1ryyg6df]ter is short!)
 

Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
Could anyone please tell me why is "a" in păter short, while "a" in frāter and māter is long?

Since all three are parysillaba of the 3rd declension ending with the same syllable, have the same "um" instead of "ium" in genitive plural, by analogy, shouldn't that "a" have the same vowel length? :noclue:
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Brunhilda dixit:
Could anyone please tell me why is "a" in păter short, while "a" in frāter and māter is long?

Since all three are parysillaba of the 3rd declension ending with the same syllable, have the same "um" instead of "ium" in genitive plural, by analogy, shouldn't that "a" have the same vowel length? :noclue:
Whatever reason there may be, if we can expect any reason at all, lies in the Indo-European parent speech. Though a few of the daughter languages have levelled the vowel distinction between "father" and "mother/brother", most have withstood any such force of analogy. In Latin the distinction is of vowel quantity only, but in many other Indo-European languages, including English and Greek (Attic-Ionic dialects and their descendants), there's a distinction of vowel quality as well.
 

khananel

New Member
This is my first post. I started Latin when I was 9 then gave it up at 13 for Russian, which made sense in the '60s. Grew up speaking Modern Greek through mother, then learned French with Latin from nine. Was good at both, but Russian was more exciting in the 60s...

Later on I became familiar with Italian and Spanish as a translator/teacher. I've travelled in the Mediterranean from Spain to Israel, and I heard languages all around me. I'm 55 now.

To me these arguments about Latin pronunciation are pointless. Latin began in Italy. However, all over the Mediterranean vowel values are 'more or less' constant. A Greek speaker sounds very like a Spanish speaker to the ear; the vowels and diphthongs sound similar. I can read or pronounce Spanish and Italian easily because their vowel sounds resemble Greek. Even German vowels are similar though less so with the umlaut. The most dis-similar sounds are in English. Vowels are generally 'longer' or 'flatter' or tend to disappear to 'uh'.

Latin had essentially Mediterranean vowels, so a Modern Greek or Italian native speaker reading Latin aloud sounds about 'right'. Even Germans and Scandinavians are 'close'. But poor old English and Americans have huge vowel problems. Even the Welsh and Gaelic speakers have closer vowels.

I should imagine in the Roman Empire there were as many varieties of Latin as there were of 'Englishes' in the British Empire. A professor of English pronunciation at Oxford would probably have been as shocked by the English spoken in Aberdeen as by that spoken in Bangalore, India. Yet he would have insisted that Oxford English was 'correct'.

Now the Roman Empire was essentially a Mediterranean Empire with one offshoot in Gaul and Britain, where they may have spoken something akin to Welsh, and another offshoot in the ME towards Persia. Vowel values similar to the Mediterranean again. So Romans from Welsh speaking Britain or from the Persian/Aramaic speaking ME may have sounded a bit different, but the vowels would have been recognisable.

In my experience it’s only English speaking scholars who seem to feel the need to 'reinvent' Latin because their vowels are so different... I anticipate being 'shot down in flames' for saying all this. These are merely my observations...
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
khananel dixit:
I started Latin when I was 9 then gave it up at 13 for Russian, which made sense in the '60s.
I choked at this part - when people talk about something "making sense in the '60s", I think of LSD. Sorry, that's American culture for you.

To me these arguments about Latin pronunciation are pointless.
I personally believe that it is important to preserve (or rather, revive) classical pronunciation. You make an effort to pronounce the languages you speak correctly, right? Why should Latin be any different?

In my experience it’s only English speaking scholars who seem to feel the need to 'reinvent' Latin because their vowels are so different...
The topic starter, Bitmap, is German.

Sent via Tapatalk
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
khananel dixit:
This is my first post.
Добро пожаловать!

:welcomedance:

khananel dixit:
In my experience it’s only English speaking scholars who seem to feel the need to 'reinvent' Latin because their vowels are so different
I think the main problem about vocalism is that twelve original vowels merged into five in medieval pronunciations, i. e. many phonemes were lost. Classic pronunciation requires more phonetic information and it is more difficult in this respect. Moreover, many languages do not distinguish between long and short vowels (at that lots of long Latin vowels are found in unstressed syllables), so classical pronunciation can collide with native speech habits. These (+ inertness, of course) must be the reasons why traditional pronunciation is totally predominant in Russia: nobody cares to make extra efforts. ‘After all, it’s a dead language, no tapes available, who cares…’
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
  • Hánnibal, Hannibális (and other Carthagian names)
    • Hanníbalis (the vowels are short!!)

Quasus dixit:
‘After all, it’s a dead language, no tapes available, who cares…’
I don't think you have to be absolutely perfect in your pronunciation of Latin. We don't know what Cicero's speech really sounded like and even if we did, it might still be very difficult to immitate exactly. I don't find it that important whether people pronounce ae and oe as a diphthong or a monophthong or whether they go /ratio/ or /ratsjo/ for ratio or whether they're able to roll an R or not. What annoys me (and after all, this thread is about things annoying me :p) is people who don't make an effort to get the vowel length and the stress right [and that's what most complaints made here are about] because that's something easy everyone can do, but hardly anyone cares about. Paying a bit of attention to this issue is the easiest way not to kill the language altogether.
 

Argeiaces

New Member
Bitmap dixit:
an example I came across recently: [...] tálibus ággrĕditúr Vĕnerém Satúrnia díctīs
I'm relatively new to Latin (I started last September), so I may be wrong about this, but I recall reading in a variety of sources that the last syllable never receives an accent unless it is a word like "illīc," which used to be spelled "illīce." (This particular example is from The New College 'Latin-English Dictionary' by John C. Traupman). Were final syllables sometimes accented in Latin, such as "Venerem" as you wrote above?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
no, that's just where the ictus falls. The accent regularly falls on the e in aggreditur and the first syllable in Venerem, of course
 

Argeiaces

New Member
This is a great thread, because I've got a complaint about Latin that I have as well.

Having lived in Italy for almost a year, and having grown up around a good amount of Spanish speakers, I've come to notice that speakers of Romance languages speak very quickly. (In fact, I've had 2 Romanians tell me Romanians speak faster than the other Romance speakers). Why is it, then, that most of the videos or soundfiles of spoken Latin that are out there on the internet have Latin being spoken very slowly? There are some exceptions, of course. But it seems the focus of spoken Latin is maintaining correct vowel length over rapidity of speech. After living in Rome for about 10 months, I can't stand but to get a little irritated at the slow pace at which Latin is read/spoken, because all of its surviving descendants' speakers speak fast as heck. Perhaps I'm just ranting a little bit, but does anyone agree?

This is what kinda set me off a little bit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehW7f2sg8ro. I can just imagine Ovid reading it like that with his eyes closed and opening them at the end to find all in his audience are sleeping like logs. It's true that we can't jump into a time machine and go find out how Latin was actually pronounced in everyday speech, or the way it was read at a poetry reading, but to ignore that all its descendants are spoken at a rapid pace is quite ridiculous.

Does anyone have any opinions about this?
 

C Crastinus

New Member
Argeiaces dixit:
This is what kinda set me off a little bit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehW7f2sg8ro. I can just imagine Ovid reading it like that with his eyes closed and opening them at the end to find all in his audience are sleeping like logs. It's true that we can't jump into a time machine and go find out how Latin was actually pronounced in everyday speech, or the way it was read at a poetry reading, but to ignore that all its descendants are spoken at a rapid pace is quite ridiculous.

Does anyone have any opinions about this?
I share your view. I can't stand that guy's recordings. He stretches everything out so much that the meter is indiscernible. It sounds to me like he's trying to be the narrator for some 1940's horror movie.

I don't claim to be a master of declamation, but I think Latin poetry should be recited at a natural, conversational pace. I read somewhere once (I don't recall the source offhand) that the Romans recited poetry at a bit slower tempo, but I think the guy in that video takes that advice way too far.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
Argeiaces dixit:
I can just imagine Ovid reading it like that with his eyes closed and opening them at the end to find all in his audience are sleeping like logs.
Reading with your eyes closed is an admirable talent :p

Japanese is a mora-based language, and is spoken quite quickly. I think that should be an example of how quantities can be preserved even in rapid speech.
 

Argeiaces

New Member
Yea, same with Dutch (I'm now in Holland). I've often wondered if there has been any comparative research into modern languages that distinguish vowel length so that Latinists can get somewhat of a better idea of what Latin sounded like when spoken.
 
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