Pronunciation of Gnaeus

Anbrutal Russicus dixit:
also by the fact that Russian had historically inherited no /nK/ clusters (all were nasalised) and as a result no velar assimilation rule.
I'd wager a pound of poods that you're right. :hat:
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
Ah, правильно, правильно. My mistake.
Actually now that I listen to that wiktionary recording, I do clearly hear an alveolar articulation of [n] (in Russian it would be dental). Here on Forvo two out of three speakers pronounce it same as a Russian would; the speaker with an [ŋ] also has both the /a/s weirdly raised to what sounds to be the German /ɐ/, and to my ears sounds like a German xP
 
to my ears sounds like a German
I thought so too! And I'm not just saying that. In fact, it sounds like precisely the same gent who does some of the German readings on wiktionary.
 
Oh, I s'pose you meant the bloke on Forvo (which I'd never heard of). But still, my opinion stands.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
Oh, I s'pose you meant the bloke on Forvo (which I'd never heard of). But still, my opinion stands.
The wiktionary bloke sounds typically Czech, but I think I know why you hear some Germanness there too - Czech has borrowed that typical German "guttural"... I suppose pharyngealisation? that Danish also shares; it seems to be absent in the Alps and transitions in Dutch into some kind of breathiness, perfectly exemplified by the wiktionary Dutch speaker. Getting a grasp on all these fun phonation types (that's the technical term) is definitely on my list!

edit: here's a nice compilation with on-click recordings.
 
God almighty. I reckon if I were to try to sound like a native Dutch speaker, it would only to be possible in the throes of anaphylaxis. Much like Rio Portuguese.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
I have no idea how our normally well-informed Godmy came up with the pronunciation above, which is [ɲ].
What you're saying might not be an exact [ɲ], but it's certainly palatal and not a [ŋ]. Your language has no /ŋ/ as a phoneme so you cannot claim any native language advantage in producing it. What you produce is not Allen's [ŋn] - it's one sound, and there's no tongue-teeth contact required to make an [n]. That one sound is not [ŋ] either because, again, it's clearly palatal (as a Russian I know palatal when I hear it), so [ɲ] is as good a description as any. Palatalised velar nasal? I don't think there's an IPA for that - in fact linguists struggle to pinpoint the articulation of Romance palatals, especially of the lateral (Italian gli).

Here's how a single initial [ŋ] sounds (make sure to check several languages). It's plain to hear that these lack the palatal articulation in your recording.

I've already mentioned an example word where a word-initial [ɲ] can be heard - Italian gnocchi. Here's an example before /a/: Lombard & Venetian gnaro. And here it is in Polish. Will anybody claim that Godmy's recording is not closer to that than to the Southeast Asian/Amerindian sound?
Yes. I hear [ˈŋaeʊs], closer to that Asian [ŋa]; I wouldn't call it "certainly palatal". Which I find a strange choice too anyway, sure, for the good reasons you say (not to mention Allen p. 24 in the 2nd ed., which basically suggests initial [n-]). I just wouldn't call it [ɲ]. n.b.: my L1 is Spanish.

What you're saying makes no sense to me. Vowels have no release, consonants do. What can be initial about a dipthong I don't have a clue either. You seem to be talking about the vowels -ae- and the consonants gn- in the same sentence at the same time and I can't tell where one starts and the other begins. Any way, your pronunciation very obviously has no dipthong, the first syllable is light/open and ends in /a/.
I'm surprised you find this "obvious", as I can hardly syllabify his pronunciation with any clarity. You could convince me it's a trisyllabic [ˈŋa.e.ʊs] said quickly, or, [ˈŋae.ʊs] (likely what he intended).

Also, don't you think you could've replied to him with some nicety? You're coming off as overconfident and arrogant.
 
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Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
Yes. I hear [ˈŋaeʊs], closer to that Asian [ŋa]; I wouldn't call it "certainly palatal". Which I find a strange choice too anyway, sure, for the good reasons you say (not to mention Allen p. 24 in the 2nd ed., which basically suggests initial [n-]). I just wouldn't call it [ɲ]. n.b.: my L1 is Spanish.
If it wasn't palatal to any extent, it would have been strictly velar and identical to the Asian [ŋ], which I don't think it is - hence it must be palatal to some extent.
[ŋI'm surprised you find this "obvious", as I can hardly syllabify his pronunciation with any clarity. You could convince me it's a trisyllabic [ˈŋa.e.ʊs] said quickly, or, [ˈŋae.ʊs] (likely what he intended).
The reason might be our different familiarity with the syllabification of Latin (perhaps determining it is more conscious for you), or anything else related to our linguistic background or otherwise. If Godmy intended it differently from how I hear it, we can try and find out what's going on exactly. Unfortunately what he replied in relation to this made no sense to me, as I explained.
Also, don't you think you could've replied to him with some nicety? You're coming off as overconfident and arrogant.
If you mean my reply to the message where he straight up said that I had no training in phonetics and appended a (goddammit) to it, I believe I replied in the most appropriate manner. I intended the tone of my reply to remain well below the level of assertiveness that I've seen from Godmy himself on this very forum, and I believe I succeded in that.

In general, I would suggest that you take the level of confidence in my replies at its face value: as an indicator of my level of confidence in what I'm saying. This is how I intend it, at any rate, so that the reader would know how much salt to add to the dish they're being served.
 
If a child doesn't reproduce some feature of their parents' speech, this means they don't hear it, and this is an instance of language change.
A phoneme may remain widespread in a language generally, but be lost in certain positions. I was only suggesting that this were likely to be because it would have been more difficult to hear and notice in some positions than in others. A stop is at risk of going unnoticed when it is immediately followed by a continuant, especially at the beginning of a word.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
A phoneme may remain widespread in a language generally, but be lost in certain positions. I was only suggesting that this were likely to be because it would have been more difficult to hear and notice in some positions than in others. A stop is at risk of going unnoticed when it is immediately followed by a continuant, especially at the beginning of a word.
I assure you no stop is at risk of being unnoticed in that position in Russian or, say, German, and I can't think of one that has been so frequently unnoticed as to disappear in the last 1000 years - as opposed to unstressed vowels. Southern Italian varieties abound with word-initial geminate consonants; and then there's Georgian. So I don't think this is how this works - such purely perceptual explanations rarely stand because they predict that the same development should happen in every language.

What I think happened instead is that the /g/ [ŋ] was eventually identified as the last segment of the preposition cum and also perhaps in: cum gnātō /cuŋ.ŋnātō/; or perhaps it was identified as a placeless nasal like the one that ends cum, which takes on the place of articulation of the following consonant, so it became /nnātus/ and the word-initial geminate was regularly eliminated, since Latin allows none.
 

Michael Zwingli

Active Member
Someone more expert in phonetics than I am will probably answer your question, but my, did you make me chuckle.

What I do know is that a word like gnatus became natus, so it would seem to suggest that that gn sound in the beginning of a word could be problematic for native speakers as well. Now, was it always resolved to a simple n even where it went on being spelled as gn, or was a full g restored? Or did something else happen? I'm not sure.
Notascooby made me smile with his wording, as well. I note that by the classical period, annitor had been developed from adnitor, probably for similar phonetic reasons, the -dn- thereof being as toungue-twisty as the gn of Gnaeus. Plosives occurring immediately before nasal sonorants without any intervening vowel can but cause difficulty.
 
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Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I note that by the classical period, annitor had been developed from adnitor,
That word is not exceptional. Lots of assimilation took place in words with prefixes. Ecferre ---> efferre, inludere ---> illudere, adludere ---> alludere, adfirmare ---> affirmare, adplicare ---> applicare... and, well, a zillion others. Assimilation was the norm. It is believed that even when those words were still spelled etymologically (i.e. visually without assimilation) assimilation still happened when they were read aloud. Well, that's what I read, at any rate. I don't know that we can be sure that there weren't exceptions.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
It's different from the (as Pacifica rightly points out) regular assimilation because there's no such assimilation with /gn/ inside the word - only the initial g- falls off. Romanian even regularly turns the internal /g/ from velar into labial: lignum > lemn like factum > fapt. The stop > nasal thing had also happened in the prehistory of Latin itself: *op-nis (as in ops) > omnis.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
What I think happened instead is that the /g/ [ŋ] was eventually identified as the last segment of the preposition cum and also perhaps in
Actually, since this scenario holds for every m(/n)-final Latin word, it would apply every single time an accusative popped up and you'd get a geminate [ŋ:]. Now that's not something easy to hear and properly segment between the previous and the following word, not when another nasal follows! Therefore I imagine that the /g/ fell off very shortly after the final -M lost it place of articulation or the initial /g/ started being pronounced [ŋ], whichever happened last.
 
such purely perceptual explanations rarely stand because they predict that the same development should happen in every language.
No, because a phoneme which my be at a general risk of loss simply by positional factors may be better protected in one sister language than in another, depending on such other factors as differing patterns of cadence and accent.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
No, because a phoneme which my be at a general risk of loss simply by positional factors may be better protected in one sister language than in another, depending on such other factors as differing patterns of cadence and accent.
This is generally true of vowels, but not of consonants, and especially not of the present case - how much more prominent does it get than beginning the first, stressed syllable? Pre-literary Latin had fixed first-syllable stress to boot. I mean, I myself gave a perceptual explanation which I think is much more probable; but there's absolutely nothing inherently difficult to notice about a word-initial stop-nasal sequence. Any developments to it have much more involved explanations that are arrived at by analyzing the whole of the language's phonology and identifying common restrictions and processes.

Campidanese Sardinians, for example, call their language Sadru or even Sradu not because they're illiterate or have hearing problems, but because their language variety bans /R/ from ending a syllable - therefore they repair it on-line through metathesis, even across several syllables and jumping words, eg. arcu > su arcu ['srak:u] "the bow" (hope you don't know Russian xD), La. coopertūra > crobetura among like 15 other variants - man I love Sardinian!
 
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Pre-literary Latin had fixed first-syllable stress to boot.
Yes, and in words like '(g)nosco' the stress would have become stronger with the shift to penultimate stress accent, so I shall have have to give ground to you there.;)
(hope you don't know Russian xD),
No, but I was once fairly fluent in Polish, which, though in general more conservative, has been so ruthlessly unkind to unstressed vowels as to leave many words with unruly consonant clusters that make their Russian cognates look comparatively tame.'
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I find it very mysterious how languages develop phonetic rules that make it impossible for people to pronounce some things that not only are easily pronounced by speakers of some other languages but were easily pronounced in that very same language up until then.
 

Serenus

Civis Illustris
If you mean my reply to the message where he straight up said that I had no training in phonetics and appended a (goddammit) to it, I believe I replied in the most appropriate manner. I intended the tone of my reply to remain well below the level of assertiveness that I've seen from Godmy himself on this very forum, and I believe I succeded in that.
Well, to be fair to him, I talked to him elsewhere, and he didn't seem to have an idea of how much you know or don't know about phonetics. And to be fair to you, I also defended the value of your replies, which I agree he was dismissing unfairly.
 

Anbrutal Russicus

Active Member
Well, to be fair to him, I talked to him elsewhere, and he didn't seem to have an idea of how much you know or don't know about phonetics. And to be fair to you, I also defended the value of your replies, which I agree he was dismissing unfairly.
When you meet someone on the internet, as a rule you don't have an idea of how much they know. This is why you need to respect what they say as if they knew enough to say it - this is the principle of good faith. If what they say makes you believe they don't have all the necessary information to reach the correct conclusions, you must reply by supplying the necessary information and showing how it leads to different conclusions. It's absolutely unacceptable to dismiss another person's arguments by accusing them of ignorance instead of showing how and where what they said is incorrect - this is a discrediting tactic for those with nothing factual to say. If anything, doing this while having no idea about the other person's knowledge makes it doubly reprehensible because you act out of militant ignorance. Accordingly, this behaviour deserves to be reprehended, and this is what you should have done if you wanted to be fair to him. What I did was politely evade the attack while making it backfire on the attacker, and the only way I can explain the fact that you attacked me for it is that your goal was to be unfair to me.
 
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