2006/12/03

Latin fun facts

Following up discussion last night, and more importantly as a further means of procrastination, I offer the following:

1) In classical Latin (i.e. that written during the Roman empire), there were no lower-case letters.

2) In classical Latin there was no distinction between the consonant I ("y" as in "yes") and vowel I ("ee" as in "pee") or between the consonant V (the English "w") and the vowel V ("oo" as in "moo"). There was no consonant with the English "v" sound in classical Latin. The letters J (pronounced as the English consonant "y"), U, and W were added only in the Middle Ages, when lower case letters were also added.

3) The pronunciation of vowels, unlike the Anglicized pronunciation of Latin words, was consistent - O was always "o" as in "home", never "o" as in "hot".

4) The point of this is that BONO VOX should be pronounced "bo no wokes".

5) What about GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR? The Anglicized "Caesar" shares not a single sound with the original pronunciation: English "seezer" vs. Latin "kaisar" ("a" and "r" as in Spanish or Italian rather than English).

6) Latin still in use today is church Latin, which was only standardized in the late Middle Ages and has significant differences in pronunciation compared with classical Latin.

7) The Latin used in The Passion of the Christ is church Latin rather than classical Latin, making the entire exercise anachronistic.

6 comments:

Christopher said...

supposedly some (all?) of the characters who speak latin in this film should actually be speaking (ancient) greek, so there's a further problem. the anti-semitism is also of questionable vintage...

Patrick said...

At least it was boldly homoerotic!

RMS said...

I told you most of this when you were 20, Jake.

ariel said...

how could you have forgotten this, jake? it's so, um, fascinating.

i hope in your next posting you parse some sentences.

rms said...

Oh, Jake has probably purged years 20-24 from memory...and yet he's still rebelling.

By the by, "vini, vidi, vici" is pronounced WEENIE WEEDIE WEEKIE.

Latinerd said...

@ RMS:

Pretty sure you meant "Veni, vidi, vici," which would be pronounced way-knee weedy weakie.