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Appius Claudius and the Letter Z

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 8:45 pm
by Quintus Servilius Priscus
I found this article while doing a search about the Censor's of Rome. It
tells how the letter Z came in use. here's the URL: ... a/zed.html

Also, a question on the name Gnaeus. How would it be pronounced?
"Ny us", Ga Nay us" or "Nay us". I have been using "Ny us"


PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:55 am
by Aldus Marius
Ave, O Gnae Corneli... [there, now you have an example of your forename in the vocative, if you didn't already]

"NY-us" is probably the closest you'll get, unless you're from one of those tribes that makes fascinating consonants in the backs of their throats. The 'true' pronunciation of the GN pair is probably closest to that in the middle of 'ringneck'...hard to put that at the beginning of a word, but the Romans did. AE was a recognized diphthong, merging the 'ah' sound of the A with the 'eh' of Latin E. Say it fast and you get 'ai' like in 'buy'. So...NY-us.

[The above edumacated guesses are courtesy of the book Vox Latina, by W. Sidney Allen. This modest, even slim book is the moral equivalent of a dictionary at a Scrabble game. Find it used. You won't regret it.]

In amicitia,

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 6:35 am
by Quintus Servilius Priscus
Ave Marius, I thought I was right but I thought I would ask for a second
opinon. I know when I was in High School I should have taken Latin(and
Spanish) but I said to myself "Heck, I'll never use either of them so why
take the classes". Little did I realize that both would handy in the future.
I work as a Security Officer at a plant that uses some Hispanic workers
that either don't speak or speak very little English, so Spanish would
have been nice to learn. And now I'm here and at the "OP" so Latin
would really been nice to have too.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:00 pm
by C.AeliusEricius
Sic. It's pronounced just likeit's spelled. =({[;-)


PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 6:04 pm
by Gnaeus Dionysius Draco
Salvete omnes!

Yes, generally Latin spelling is very transparent. Words are pronounced the way they are written (at least in classical Latin).

The consonantal cluster /gn/ is actually not that difficult to pronounce if you are already familiar with languages that employ these clusters. A possible way of learning the pronunciation is trying to pronounc the fictive word <dragnut>?

Oh and btw the vocative of Marius is Mari, if you adress him ;). I am known as the ├╝berpedantic Latin Inquisition here.


Languages to Learn

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:39 am
by Aldus Marius
Avete iterum, gentlemen...

Gnae, you can save yourself a lot of Romance-language classes and just take a good course in conversational Latin. (Church Latin will do in a pinch.) I have it on very good authority (Mario Pei, in one of his many linguistics books) that all you have to do when at a loss in a Romance country is speak Latin with the endings left off; you'll never sound fancy, but you'll make yourself understood. This has worked for me very nicely in California and in Texas, both of which have substantial Hispanic populations.

Latin--The Mother of All Languages!!! (only slight exaggeration!)

In amicitia et fide,