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he pronunciation of the learned languages is much more casily acquired than that of our own. Whatever might have been the variety of the different dialects among the Greeks, and the different provinces of the Romans, their languages now being dead, are generally pronounced according to the respective analogies of the several languages of Europe, where those languages are cultivated, without partaking of those anomalies to which the living languages are liable.
Whether one general uniform pronunciation of the ancient languages be an object of sufficient importance to induce the learned to depart from the analogy of their own language, and to study the ancient Latin and Greek pronunciation, as they do the etymology, syntax, and prosody of those languages, is a question not very easy to be decided. The question becomes still more difficult when we consider the uncertainty we are in respecting the ancient pronunciation of the Greeks and Romans, and how much the learned are divided among themselves about it.* Till these points are settled, the English may well be al
Middleton contends that the initial c before e and i ought to be pronounced as the Italians now pronounce it; and that Cicero is neither Sisero, as the French and English pronounce it; nor Kikero, as Dr. Bentley asserts; but Tchitchero, as the Italians pronounce it at this day. This pronunciation, however, is derided by Lipsius, who affirms that the c among the Romans had always the sound of k. Lipsius says too, that of all the European nations, the British alone pronounce the i properly; but Middleton asserts, that of all nations they pronounce it the worst. Middleton De Lat. Liter. Pronun. Dissert.
Lipsius, speaking of the different pronunciation of the letter G in different countries, says:
Nos hodiè (de literâ G loquente) quàm peccamus? Italorum enim plerique ut Z exprimunt, Galli et Belgiæ ut J consonantem. Itaque illorum est Lezere, Fuzere ; nostrum, Leiere, Fuiere (Lejere, Fujere). Omnia imperitè, ineptè. Germanos saltem audite, quorum sonus hic germanus, Legere, Tegere ; ut in Lego, Tego, nec unquam variant: at nos ante 1, E, Æ, Y, semper dicimusquo Jemmam, Jætulos, Jinjiram, Jyrum; pro istis, Gemmam, Gætulos, Gingivam, Gyrum. Mutemus aut vapulemus.--Lipsius. De Rect. Pron, Ling. Lat. page 71.
lowed to follow their own pronunciation of Greek and Latin, as well as other nations, even though it should be confessed that it seems to depart. more from what we can gather of the ancient pronunciation, than either the Italian, French, or German. For why the English should pay a compliment to the learned
Hinc factum est ut tanta in pronunciando varietas extiteret ut pauei inter se in literarum sonis consentiant. Quod quidem mirum non esset, si indocti tantùm à doctis in eo, ac non ipsi etiam alioqni eruditi inter se magna contentione dissiderent.-Adolp. Meker. De Lin. Græc. vet. Pronun. cap. ii. page 15.
* Monsieur Launcelot, the learned author of the Port-Royal Greek Grammar, in order to convey the sound of the long Greek vowel », tells us, it is a sound between the e and the a, and that Eustathius, who lived towards the close of the twelfth century, says, that Bi, B?, is a sound made in imitation of the bleating of a sheep; and quotes to this purpose this verse of an ancient writer called Cratinus :
ο δ ηλίθιος ώσπερ προβάτον, βη, βη, λέγων βαδίζει.
He, like a silly sheep, goes crying baa. Caninius has remarked the same, Hellen. p. 26. E longum, cujus sonus ir ovium balatu sentitur, ut Cratinus et Varro tradiderunt. The sound of the e long may be perceived in the bleating of sheep, as Cratinus and Varro have handed down to us.
Eustathius likewise remarks upon the 499 v. of Iliad I. that the word Βλόν έστιν και της κλεψύδρας ήχος μιμήλικώς κατά τες παλαίες και βή έχει μίμησιν προβάτων φωνής. Κράτινος. Βλοψ est Clepsydre sonus, ex imitatione secundum veteres ; et Bš imitatur vocum ovium.
Blops, according to the ancients, is a sound in imitation of the Clepsydra, as baa is expressive of the voice of sheep. It were to be wished that the sound of every Greek vowel had been conveyed to us by as faithfuil a testimony as the
Nta ; should certainly have had a better idea of that harmony for which the Greek language was so famous, and is which respect Quintilian candidly yields it the preference to the Latin.
Aristophanes has handed down to us the pronunciation of the Greek diphthong aŭ al by making it expressive of the barking of a dog. This pronunciation is exactly like that preserved by nurses and children among us to this day in bow
This is the sound of the same letters in the Latin 'tongue; not only in proper names derived from Greek, but in every other word where this diphthong occurs. Most nations in Europe, perhaps all but the English, -pronounce audio and laudo, as if written owdio and low:lo; the diphthony sounding like ou in loud. Agreeable to this rule, it is presumed that we formerly pronounced the apostle Paul nearer the original than at present. In Henry the Eighth's time it was written St. Poules, and sermons were preached at Peule's
languages, which is not done by any other nation in Europe, it is not easy to conceive; and as the colloquial communication of learned individuals of different nations so seldom happens, and is an object of so small importance when it does happen, it is not much to be regretted that when they meet they are scarcely intelligible to each other.*
But the English are accused not only of departing from the genuine sound of the Greek and Latin vowels, but of violating the quantity of these languages more than the people of any other nation in Europe. The author of the Essay upon the Harmony of Language gives us a detail of the particulars by which this accusation is proved : and this is so true a picture of the English pronunciation of Latin, that I shall quote it at length, as it may be of use to those who are obliged to learn this language without the aid of a teacher.
Cross. The vulgar, generally the last to alter, either for the better or worse, still have a jingling proverb with this pronunciation, when they say As old as Poules.
The sound of the letter u is no less sincerely preserved in Plautus, in Menäch. page 622, edit. Lambin. in making use of it to imitate the cry of an owl
66 'MEN. Egon' dedi? PEN. Tu, Tu, istic, inquam, vin' afferri noctuam, « Quæ tu, tu, usque dicat tibi? nam nos jam nos defessi sumus.”
“ It appears here,” says Mr. Forster, in his defence of the Greek accents, page 129, “ that an owl's cry was tu, tu, to a Roman ear, as it is too, too, to an English.” Lambin, who was a Frenchman, observes on the passage, 6 Alludit 6 ad noctuæ vocem seu cantun, tu, tu, seu tou, tou.” He here alludes to the voice or noise of an owl. It may be farther observed, that the English have totally departed from this sound of the u in their own language, as well as in their pronunciation of Latin.
* Erasmus se adfuisse olim commemorat cum die quodam solenni complures principum legati ad Maximilianum Imperatorem salutandi causâ advenissent; Singulosque Gallum, Germanum, Danum, Scotum, &c. orationein Latinam, ita barbarè ac vastè pronunciâsse, ut Italis quibusdam, nihil nisi risum moverint, qui eos non Latinè sed suâ quemque linguâ, locutos jurâssent.—Middleton, De Lat. Lit. Pronun.
The love of the marvellous prevails over truth : and I question if the greatest diversity in the pronunciation of Latin exceeds that of English at the capital and in some of the counties of Scotland, and yet the inhabitants of both have mo great difficulty in understanding each other.
“ The falsification of the harmony by English scholars in “ their pronunciation of Latin, with regard to essential points, " arises from two causes only: first, from a total inattention to “ the length of vowel sounds, making them long or short “ merely as chance directs; and secondly, from sounding “ double consonants as only one letter. The remedy of this “ last fault is obvious. With regard to the first, we have already “ observed, that each of our vowels hath its general long sound, “ and its general short sound totally different. Thus the short " sound of e lengthened is expressed by the letter a, and the "" short sound of i lengthened is expressed by the letter e: and “ with all these anomalies usual in the application of vowel
characters to the vowel sounds of our own language, we pro“ ceed to the application of vowel sounds to the vowel charac“ ters of the Latin. Thus in the first syllable of sidus and no“ men, which ought to be long; and of miser. and onus, which “ ought to be short; we equally use the common long sound of “ the vowels; but in the oblique cases, sideris, nominis, miseri, “ oneris, &c., we use quite another sound, and that a short one. “ These strange anomalies are not in common to us with our “ southern neighbours the French, Spaniards, and Italians. “ They pronounce sidus according to our orthography, seedus, “ and in the oblique cases preserve the same long sound of the “ i: nomen they pronounce as we do, and preserve in the oblique
the same long sound of the o. The Italians also, in their “ own language, pronounce doubled consonants as distinctly as “ the two most discordant mutes of their alphabet. Whatever, “ therefore, they may want of expressing the true harmony of “ the Latin language, they certainly avoid the most glaring and “ absurd faults in our manner of pronouncing it.
“ It is a matter of curiosity to observe with what regularity
we use these solecisms in the pronunciation of Latin. When “ the penultimate is accented, its vowel, if followed but by a “ single consonant, is always long, as in Dr. Forster's examples. “ When the antepenultimate is accented, its vowel is, without
any regard to the requisite quantity, pronounced short, as in