[b-hebrew] Masoretic transmission of pronuncation

Barry nebarry at verizon.net
Sat Jul 13 21:12:55 EDT 2013


On 7/13/2013 7:53 PM, Jerry Shepherd wrote:> (2) You rightly state, 
"Lacking a time machine we cannot be absolutely
 > sure, but we can
 > reconstruct this with a fair degree of confidence."Actually, I don't
 > have the same level of confidence you do in your reconstruction. What is
 > your actual evidence that a reader of a Latin text imposed a French
 > pronunciation on it?I agree with you that replacing a I sound with a J
 > sound would have been a "normal phonological development in the
 > evolution of Latin into Old French."But I would need to see greater
 > evidence that an 11^th century French speaker, when trying to read and
 > pronounce a Latin text, would have made that change.
 >
 > Perhaps one of the Latin experts on the list, Barry Hofstetter could
 > chime in and give us his take on this.

I can only address this in the most general terms. Phonological change 
was taking place during the entire period of Roman history.  We know 
this from graffiti and from whatever non-literary examples of the 
language which have survived. This process rapidly accelerated after 476 
A.D. with the collapse of the political system, which had the effect of 
isolating regions (and hence accelerating linguistic development), and 
the collapse of the educational system, which meant that any attempt at 
standardization was lost.

It is generally moderns who wish to reconstruct authentic pronunciation 
of ancient languages, and mostly, in my experience, in America. I had a 
professor in graduate school who did work at the Sorbonne. He stated 
that they laughed at his pronunciation, and simply pronounced the words 
as though they were French. Of course, everything sounds better in 
French -- ask any Frenchman (is that term still politically 
acceptable?). I have no doubt that an 11th century French speaker would 
have pronounced Latin filtered through medieval French.

-- 
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Semper melius Latine sonat
http://my.opera.com/barryhofstetter/blog

All opinions in this email are my own, and
reflect no institution with which I may be
associated

-- 
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Semper melius Latine sonat
http://my.opera.com/barryhofstetter/blog

All opinions in this email are my own, and
reflect no institution with which I may be
associated


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