[b-hebrew] Masoretic transmission of pronuncation

Jerry Shepherd jshepherd53 at gmail.com
Sun Jul 14 20:08:35 EDT 2013


Hi Barry,

Thanks for this.  But allow me to press a distinction I'm thinking of in
asking the question.  In your last sentence you said, "I have no doubt that
an 11th century French speaker would  have pronounced Latin filtered
through medieval French."

I agree with this to a large extent, and understand that, for
example, Latin words would have been "Frenchized" in normal conversation,
sermons, and even liturgy.  But it also seems to me that this would have
been less true for the professional academics who were working with the
Latin texts, copying them, and doing hermeneutical and commentary work on
them.  So, going back to Will's example, a scholar may have well
"Frenchized an original Iulius to Julius in normal conversation, but would
still have recognized that the actual pronunciation was I rather than J,
and would have used the more accurate pronunciation in a more scholarly
context.  But maybe I'm out to lunch.

Thanks and blessings,

Jerry

Jerry Shepherd
Taylor Seminary
Edmonton, Alberta
jshepherd53 at gmail.com



On Sat, Jul 13, 2013 at 7:12 PM, Barry <nebarry at verizon.net> wrote:

> 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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> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
>
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