eLatin eGreek eLearn

More wired than a Roman Internet café

Our endless pronunciation discussions are Lilliputian, Gulliverian, nay, verily, Blefuscian. With only - what - 500 people on the planet truly fluent in spoken Latin ad lib. we should have other concerns.
Those who carp overly much at other's pronunciation simply terrify, most responding by keeping their jaws clamped as though afflicted with the rictus, lest they be immolated upon the pyre of rectitude for proferring a misplaced stress, a poorly weighted syllable or - by Jupiter - an arcane quantity long by position - when it should be - as in all cases of doubt - indeed, short.
One may love a particular pronunciation - for its effects, its delights, or its history - but to go to war over it? To prescribe it ? Yes, I believe historical forces are pushing towards a world where most will use some form of the Restored Classical - but that does not mean that the multifarious pronunciations that have developed over time, whether promoted with muliebrous love from infancy, or learned under the preceptor's rule - should be cast aside, or denigrated.

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Comment by Laura Gibbs on February 13, 2009 at 6:45pm

I always think of poor dear Mr. Chips (in the Robert Donat 1939 version of Goodbye, Mr. Chips from ), being told he must now say Kikero, and give up all his bad puns based on the old 19th century British pronunciation of things Latin ... the best or worst pun being, depending on how you look at, the one about the Lex Canuleia.


"The Lex Canuleia is not, as Cawley Minor seems to think, a law regulating canals, but a law that permitted Roman patricians to marry plebeians. An easy way to remember it is to imagine a Miss Plebeian wishing to marry a Mr. Patrician, and Mr. Patrician saying he can't. She could then reply "Oh yes, you CAN, YOU LIAR."


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