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The Roman pronunciation of Latin

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Pages: 48

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Frances Ellen Lord

Excerpt from book: PART II. HOW TO USE IT. The directions now to be given may be fittingly introduced by a few paragraphs from Professor Munro's pamphlet on the pronunciation of Latin, already more than once quoted from. He says — and part of this has been cited before : " We know exactly how Cicero or Quintilian did or could spell: we know the syllable on which they placed the accent of almost every word : and in almost every case we already follow them in this. I have the conviction that in their best days philological people took vast pains to make the writing exactly reproduce the sounding: and that if Quintilian or Tacitus spelt a word differently from Cicero or Livy, he also spoke it so far differently. With the same amount of evidence, direct and indirect, we have for Latin, it would not, I think, be worth anybody's while to try to recover the pronunciation of French or English: it might, I think, be worth his while to try to recover that of German or Italian, in which sound and spelling accord more nearly, and accent obeys more determinable laws." " I am convinced," he says in another place, " that the mainstay of an efficient reform is the adoption essentially of the Italian vowel system : it combines beauty, firmness and precision in a degree not equalled by any other system of which I have any knowledge. The little ragged boys in the streets of Rome and Florence enunciate their vowels in a style of which princes might be proud." And again : " I do not propose that every one should learn Italian in order to learn Latin. What I would suggest is, that those who know Italian should make use of their knowledge and should in many points take Italian sounds for the model to be followed: that those who do not know it should try to learn from others the sounds required, or such a...  

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