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Thread: How do you pronounce -ae in genitives and plurals?

  1. #1
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    How do you pronounce -ae in genitives and plurals?

    For example, I pronounce "nova" as "no-vah" and "novae" as "no-vay". Am I wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
    For example, I pronounce "nova" as "no-vah" and "novae" as "no-vay". Am I wrong?
    While you are wrong in terms of Latin pronunciation, it really doesn't matter, since people these days will recognize your attempt to make it plural, and not think any less of you. IIRC, you should pronounce it no-vah-ee with those last two syllables coming so close together that most people would hear it as a long-i sound.
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    The standard UK (and German) Latin pronunciation for first declension plural nouns is an -ae rhyming with aisle. I understand this is otherwise in the USA. The UK has more of them too, things like formulae. The genitive is the same, as in curriculum vitae.

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    I believe the syntax is for audible consistency with singular nouns ending in '-a' and '-us'; ie, 'nebul-a' -> 'nebul-ae' as 'fung-us' -> 'fung-i'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
    The standard UK (and German) Latin pronunciation for first declension plural nouns is an -ae rhyming with aisle. I understand this is otherwise in the USA. The UK has more of them too, things like formulae. The genitive is the same, as in curriculum vitae.
    The confusion may stem from the old-english "ae", which is a combination (superposition...) of the a in "father" and the a in "that". The actual spelling of 'father' in old-english is 'faether', (th is it's own character, also ae) and it was pronounced similarly to the modern US pronunciation of 'father'. My guess its that the lack of interaction with romance languages in the USA leads the US English speaker to employ an 'a' sound instead of an 'i' sound for 'ae'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew D View Post
    I believe the syntax is for audible consistency with singular nouns ending in '-a' and '-us'; ie, 'nebul-a' -> 'nebul-ae' as 'fung-us' -> 'fung-i'.
    Yes, probably, but no logical consistency, because the nouns are different declensions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew D View Post
    The confusion may stem from the old-english "ae", which is a combination (superposition...) of the a in "father" and the a in "that". The actual spelling of 'father' in old-english is 'faether', (th is it's own character, also ae) and it was pronounced similarly to the modern US pronunciation of 'father'. My guess its that the lack of interaction with romance languages in the USA leads the US English speaker to employ an 'a' sound instead of an 'i' sound for 'ae'.
    That could indeed account for the difference.

  7. #7
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    Isn't the proper pronunciation supposed to be "ah-ay"? To make an "eye" or "I" sound, it would be "ai" rather than "ae".

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    What I've been taught, going on lessons in several languages, including Latin and ancient Greek, I pronounce it so it would rhyme with "bay". Not "eye". But my preference is for computer languages rather than human ones, an expert on greek or latin might disagree with me. And probably be right, too.
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    It think some of the difference stems from the use of so-called church latin, which has different pronounciation, such as making ae sound like "bay" as Slang does, rather than "eye". It wasn't until the latter half of the 20th century that this pronounciation was changed to a more correct pronounciation of classical latin. The current (and more closely resembling actual classical latin pronounciation) way to pronounce it would be like saying "I", as Perikles and IsaacKuo said. However many people were still (and are still being) taught church latin, such as my father, who would for example pronounce Caesar as "Say-sar" rather than "Kaisar", or Cicero as "Sisero" rather than "Kikero".

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    As caveman1917 stated, it's a matter of choice: you can say "super-know-why", if you wish to sound like Cicero, or you can say "super-know-vee" if you wish to sound like Abelard.

    They're both dead, so neither one will really care.

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    As caveman1917 stated, it's a matter of choice: you can say "super-know-why", if you wish to sound like Cicero, or you can say "super-know-vee" if you wish to sound like Abelard.

    They're both dead, so neither one will really care.

  12. #12
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    When I learned Latin in high-school in Germany, some oh, 30+ years ago we learned to pronounce -ae as the a-umlaut, which is itself often heard as "ay" in English but that's not correct. (ahem, how DO I get an umlaut character into the forum? Do I use one of those Microsoft Windows alt-keycodes that I've never been able to remember?)

    A-umlaut is lacking that "i-factor" of English "ay" and tends more towards a long "e" as in drawn-out "eh".

    This document is a pretty good guide on the various forms of Latin pronunciation including its original "classic" form. "ae" is covered as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StupendousMan View Post
    ...or you can say "super-know-vee" if you wish to sound like Abelard....
    That's how I thought it was, now you're the first of seven to even suggest it!

    Actually, I don't need to know how to say it in Latin. I need to know how to say it in English.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    When I learned Latin it was so long ago we had shellac records of Caesar making speeches in the senate but unfortunately we melted them to make lampshades, and then we forgot the rules, so much so that I thought formula was a plural of formulum!!! Thank goodness the Germans kept their shellacs more carefully so we can know the rules. (So its octopusses and not octopi.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    When I learned Latin .... (So its octopusses and not octopi.)
    This is an issue about Greek, not Latin. So it's octopusses and not octopodes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
    This is an issue about Greek, not Latin. So it's octopusses and not octopodes.
    yes I was guilty of making an assumption without stating it as well as changing the subject, so apologies I have trouble with the Latin pronounciation of Diesel too. If we has plural data sets could we have datae? That is a plural of a plural before someone points out my datum. And the plural of matrix?

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    And the plural of matrix?
    Matrices. That's how we knew them at school.

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