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Old December 6th, 2012, 11:57 PM   #11

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The change in pronunciation is of course not limited to the name of Caesar. As a general rule in post-classical Latin, the pronunciation of the letter "c" depends on the vowel that follows. If followed by a "dark" vowel, such as [a, o, u] (or a consonant), the pronunciation was [k] like in "car"; if followed by a "bright" vowel [e, i] or a diphthong [ae, oe], the pronunciation was different. I am not sure whether the exact pronunciation is known; probably it differed dependent on the time period and the geographic location. The non-k pronunciation for [c] in Italian today is: [tch] like in "chicken", in French: [s] like in "cereal", in German [ts] like in "hats". Even in English, the rule is observed in the majority of cases, e.g. compare the different pronunciation of [c] in words like "circus", "celestial", or "control".

I don't know when exactly the pronunciation change occurred, but this should be pretty well known. There are a number of Latin words which have been imported into the German language twice and differ in their pronunciation, e.g. Latin cella - German Keller [k] (basement, cellar) and Zelle [ts] (cell), and also Latin Caesar - German Kaiser and Zar.

The pronunciation of [c], together with that of [g], still differs in today's Latin lessons at school. Even within Germany, there is a coexistence of the classical "k" pronunciation for [c] and a non-classical one [ts] (especially taught in Bavaria). Of course, the Italians see no reason why they should not stick to their [tch] pronunciation, to which they are used from their language. How is it taught in English, by the way?
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Old December 7th, 2012, 12:07 AM   #12
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Aside from the pronounciation, Caesar has to stand as one of the best examples of how strange etymology can be. The German and Russian words for 'king', or 'emperor', derive ultimately from the Latin for 'hairy'. No more need be said.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 01:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodoric View Post
So the C in Vulgar Latin had become a "TS"

So, is it then that the C in Caesar was pronounced as an "S" or "TS" even in his time?

If this were the case, that would explain why Kaiser the title and Caesar the proper name in German have two separate pronunciations. Seeing as how Caesar became an Imperial title, and likely would have had the "Kaisar" pronunciation from the classical Latin.

Correct me if I am wrong here.
In order to understand better, please read this short article: The Pronunciation of Classical Latin, especially "Later changes in Pronunciation".
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Old December 7th, 2012, 03:22 AM   #14

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So presumably Tsar and Csar are variations of the same word , how about Shah? are these all the same word ?
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Old December 7th, 2012, 03:28 AM   #15

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I realize this is a far bigger answer than just the name Caesar, that it is part of a huge phonological trend...

Just a note: "Kaiser" is the German word for Emperor, but it is not pronounced the same way. Julius Caesar or Julius Cser are how the name of the person is written in German, and it is pronounced with a sort of a sharp "S" sound rather than a "K".

This is why I hypothesize that perhaps the words were imported differently, but at the same time, because it is possible that at this time in the Roman Empire the title "Caesar" was pronounced differently than the name "Caesar" due to the Vulgar Latinization of his name. Just kind of like how upper class people pronounce things differently than the vulgar. The word Kaiser would be Senatorial and Imperial Court pronunciation, and passed into German as the term for Emperor, whereas Julius Caesar the name passed in as the vulgar "Sesar".
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Old December 7th, 2012, 04:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ib-issi View Post
So presumably Tsar and Csar are variations of the same word , how about Shah? are these all the same word ?
Tsar comes from Casear, but not Shah. That's shortened from the Old Persian word for king - 'kshayithiyah' - related to the world for a realm, 'kshathra', from which we get the Hellenised word we use for a Persian provincial governor, 'satrap'.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodoric View Post
I realize this is a far bigger answer than just the name Caesar, that it is part of a huge phonological trend...

Just a note: "Kaiser" is the German word for Emperor, but it is not pronounced the same way. Julius Caesar or Julius Cser are how the name of the person is written in German, and it is pronounced with a sort of a sharp "S" sound rather than a "K".

This is why I hypothesize that perhaps the words were imported differently, but at the same time, because it is possible that at this time in the Roman Empire the title "Caesar" was pronounced differently than the name "Caesar" due to the Vulgar Latinization of his name. Just kind of like how upper class people pronounce things differently than the vulgar. The word Kaiser would be Senatorial and Imperial Court pronunciation, and passed into German as the term for Emperor, whereas Julius Caesar the name passed in as the vulgar "Sesar".
In German, "Kaiser" seems to be an older word than "Csar", which AFAIK is pronounced with a kind of "ts", rather than with "s".
http://german.about.com/library/bllatein01.htm

Last edited by Ficino; December 7th, 2012 at 06:39 AM.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 07:05 AM   #18
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BTW, for speakers of certain languages it is very hard to pronounce "tche", "tchi", and they pronounce "tse" , "tsi" instead, like the Greeks who speak some Romanian .
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Old December 7th, 2012, 07:14 AM   #19

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Its has never been See-zar nor Kaisar, it was always "tsezar"
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Old December 7th, 2012, 07:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosquito View Post
Its has never been See-zar nor Kaisar, it was always "tsezar"
The evolution was perhaps: Ksar->Kezar->Tchezar or Tsezar
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