Caesar Pronunciation?

pixi666

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
2,534
The Great Indoors
#41
I have a doubt about something you told before pixi666. You said:

Caesar = Kaisar

I've looked on this and there are two different opinions:

1. That an old author was wrong equalling ae=ai
2. That, according to Germanic prevalence, the pronunciation of that dyphthong was certainlly true.

However, vulgar latin was without doubt Kesar, from where Romance languages inherited the word.

Might the vulgar pronunciation in certain frontier areas was like that, or I'm wrong and ae=ai could be found in classical latin.
I meant 'ai' pronounced like 'eye'. I'm not talking about the 'ai' in 'paint'. Damn English with its multiple pronunciations!
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,004
Canary Islands-Spain
#42
I was talking about Latin! duccen understood me, if I'm correct, the link he provides goes for ae = ai

But I'm still in doubt.

By now I'll stay on official Spanish Academy recommendation on the subject, which tells that classical pronunciation is ae = ae, and that vulgar is ae = e
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,692
#43
"Kaiser" is the correct Roman Latin pronunciation of "Caesar".

However, if you are in any English speaking nation, "Seezer" is accepted as correct, and many people will not know what you mean if you say "Julius Kaiser".

Also, many English pronounce Cesare as "Sezar" with an emphasis on the second syllable; rather than the correct "Che-Ze-Rae"; but I have heard it pronounced both ways living in Canada.
 

Grimald

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
5,904
Hercynian Forest
#44
Similar to all languages including English, Latin pronunciation changed over the centuries. The sound written as "c" was pronounced as "k" (as in kettle) in classical times, but later on was pronounced differently when it preceded the bright vowels "e" and "i" (but not other vowels, such as "a", "o", "u"). This is evident from the Romance languages of today: In French, "c" is pronounced like "s" (as in sound) and in Italian like "ch" (as in choose) before "e" and "i", whereas in other cases, it is pronounced like "k" as in kettle.

There are actually interesting loan words in German which show the development of Latin pronunciation. For example, the Latin word cella was imported twice into German: The first time in classical times, resulting in the German word Keller, meaning cellar and pronounced with a "k" (as in kettle), and the second time in Zelle, meaning cell (e.g. a monk's cell) and pronounced with a "ts" (as in tsar). The name of Caesar also gave rise to two different words in German, that is: Kaiser (emperor) and Zar (tsar), again pronounced with a "k" and a "ts", although linguistically this import happened quite differently from the first one.

Just as a side note, I am again surprised and amazed by the fact how irregular the English pronunciation is. How difficult it is in contrast to almost all other languages to represent with certainty a specific sound, be it a consonant or a vowel! One has always to recur to an example. Really weird. :zany:
 
Nov 2010
1,681
Londinium
#45
I watched a Bettany Hughes program a while back and in the same program she pronounced Caesar as Seesar, but then Caesarea as Kaiserea. Made me think it didn't really matter. But, when I speak his name I say Seesar, when I read his name I read it Kaiser. :zany:
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,692
#46
I watched a Bettany Hughes program a while back and in the same program she pronounced Caesar as Seesar, but then Caesarea as Kaiserea. Made me think it didn't really matter. But, when I speak his name I say Seesar, when I read his name I read it Kaiser. :zany:
I have a similar experience with Constantine; when I say it, Constanteen; when I read it, Constantyne.
 
Mar 2011
5,047
Brazil
#48
Just as a side note, I am again surprised and amazed by the fact how irregular the English pronunciation is. How difficult it is in contrast to almost all other languages to represent with certainty a specific sound, be it a consonant or a vowel! One has always to recur to an example. Really weird. :zany:
The idea is that one that studies English diligently but doesn't live in an English speaking country will be quickly recognized as a foreigner in an english speaking country, due to his or her incorrect pronunciation.
 
Sep 2013
2
Florida, USA
#50
The idea is that one that studies English diligently but doesn't live in an English speaking country will be quickly recognized as a foreigner in an English speaking country, due to his or her incorrect pronunciation.
Although at first glance (especially to second language learners,) English pronunciation may seem ridiculously arbitrary, there actually is good reason for it. This is firstly because English has such a long written history, almost 1500 years, and while there are other languages with similar history (Chinese, Arabic, Latin(~1200BCE-400BCE), etc.,) they weren't conquered early and often into that history, England was taken over by the French in the 11th century, leading to a massive shift in the language into incorporating significant Latin and Norman French. This conquest is the main reason for English's relatively strange method for adding new words, we just steal them, pronunciation, spelling and all. the other effect this long status as essentially a secondary written language had on the English language is that while the spoken language continually evolved, the written remained relatively static. What I'm saying is that while English words may seem confusing(and they are) just remember that in one language, or at one point in history, every word was phonetic for someone.

What i'm trying to get at in a roundabout way is this: the 'language' doesn't matter, it's all arbitrary to some degree, so pronounce things however the hell you want. Just remember that when your speaking, you're using language as a communication device, so say [SEE.zar] if that's what the person you're communicating will understand, and say [KAI-sar] if they'll get that.

Finally, remember that for the most part, Latin was ONLY a written language, Romans invented this written language early in their history, then decided that their written language, and it's pronunciation, would remain static. This led to the rift between written High Latin, and the spoken, Vulgar Latin. So even then, the only people who would say [IU-lee-us KAI-sar] would just be trying to sound smart. (Or talking to the man himself I suppose, he was the king after all.)