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"How To Pronouce Gallic Names" Topic

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Gone Fishing14 Oct 2017 7:56 a.m. PST

…and a few German.

I'm currently getting the blood up for my next great project, Caesar's Gallic campaign (in 54mm!), feasting on roast boar and drinking large quantities of undiluted wine; but a challenge has arisen that I hope you can help me with.

As I've only read and never heard most of these names the pronunciation of Gaulish names has proved something of a poser. For example, all my life I've said 'versing-GET-orix' but now learn it is actually 'VER-sing-GET-orix. It is such revelations as these that try the nerdic soul. So, with that in mind, I'm hoping some of you might step forward to help.

The main problems seem to revolve around stress and the sound of 'ae', 'er' and 'ii' in Gallic names. I'm also confused on how to pronounce 'i' in Gallic and German: is it prounouced 'eye' or 'ee'? With that said, help would be greatly appreciated with the following (and if you could sound them out as you would for a half-witted schoolboy it would help immensely):

1.) Aedui AY-doo-ee (?)

2.) Nervii NURV-ee-ee; NAYRV-eye-eye (?); also Boii, etc.

3.) Arverni arr-VUR-nee (?)

4.) Allobroges ahlo-BRO-jees (?)

5.) Ariovistus AH-rio-VIS-tus (?)

6.) Suebi SWAY-bee; SWAY-bai (?); also Chatti

Help with any or all of these would help me be the pedant I've always desired to be. Thank you for any help!

EDIT: Reposted in an attempt to have this appear on front page (Grrrr!!!)

And it didn't.

gbowen14 Oct 2017 8:33 a.m. PST

These are all Latin word forms not Gallic

Gone Fishing14 Oct 2017 9:22 a.m. PST

Thank you!

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian14 Oct 2017 9:50 a.m. PST

you don't

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2017 10:28 a.m. PST

I've heard a couple said by proper history professors. I assume they know what they are talking about!

2. Nervii – nur-vee-eye

6. Suebi – sue-ay-bee

Gone Fishing14 Oct 2017 10:46 a.m. PST

One does come across disagreements. I've heard professors of Greek vary quite widely in pronouncing Homeric names. Thanks all the same for the input.

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2017 2:25 p.m. PST

All the Latin "v"s should be pronounced as an English "w". Also, by the time Caesar fought the Nervii, the geminate i was elided, so Nur-wee.


Gone Fishing14 Oct 2017 4:21 p.m. PST

Much appreciated, Rick, thank you! I'm feeling much more confident now.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member14 Oct 2017 9:35 p.m. PST

An issue with names like these is that they have been filtered through a series of language perspectives. Original Gallic names have long since been transliterated and established in Latinized forms. You have to decide if you will use classical Latin pronunciations or later, Vulgate Latin pronunciations (i.e., "Church" Latin familiar to some from Catholic schooling). On top of this, we get the common "anglicization" of Latin words. Hence the disparities heard even in schools and on TV documentaries. In the long run, it's probably best to get some familiarity with these various forms, understand where and why they are coming from, and then choose the form you prefer, remembering that, as Emerson said, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

PS: we see the same forces at play with Greek. Ancient Greek was pronounced differently from modern Greek, which is more similar to medieval Greek. And Latin influences on Greek, as inherited by English-speakers, are strong, and then there's the general English overlay. Sigh.

Note that even a classical, Patrician figure like Caesar himself was accused of using "common" (i.e. "Vulgate") Latin in his writings, to appeal to the Plebians.

bsrlee15 Oct 2017 12:56 a.m. PST

Terminal 'ii' is spoken as 'ee-eye', so Ner-wee-eye.

Gone Fishing15 Oct 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

Bsrlee, thanks very much! That's a helpful formula I'll try to remember.

Piper, your response is extremely informative – thank you. If you wouldn't mind popping over to the other thread (sorry!), you'll see a response over there.

Thank you all again!

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member15 Oct 2017 7:52 a.m. PST

Oops, I missed up above that the classical Latin "c" was always hard. So, "Wer-kin-GET-eh-ricks"

It's church Latin and modern Italian that softens both "g" and "c" when followed by "e" or "i" Common English pronunciation of Latin tends to follow those norms.

I'm not a linguistic know-it-all by any stretch, but I am fascinated by these things and have tried to learn about them in an amateur way. I did take some school courses in Latin, Italian, and French and get some awareness through that.

Dagwood15 Oct 2017 9:51 a.m. PST

@ brslee Terminal 'ii' is spoken as 'ee-eye', so Ner-wee-eye

Shouldn't that be Ner-weye-ee ?

Remember, eye before ee …….

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member15 Oct 2017 8:28 p.m. PST

FWIW, Church Latin will voice two "ees" when a word ends in "ii".

E.g., "filii" = "feel-ee-ee." At least that's what I hear from the old priests.

Gone Fishing16 Oct 2017 6:07 a.m. PST

Thank you, Piper. Like you, most of my Latin has come from priests and the Latin mass, which is, I think, part of my struggle with that 'w' sound! Really appreciate your help!

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member16 Oct 2017 7:48 p.m. PST

Gratia tibi!

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