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Re: tc-list Latin Vulgate Bible

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    ... Orthography and pronunciation are two separate issues, and I will address the latter first. A good source for classical Latin pronunication is W. Sidney
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 27, 1997
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      At 07:04 11/26/97 -0000, Vincent Broman wrote:
      >A question about Latin Vulgate orthography....
      >In the 4th/5th century of Jerome, did Latin distinguish U/V and I/J already?
      >I know that they are classically the same, and that later in the
      >middle ages V and B are confused, indicating V had become a consonant.
      >But when did these changes occur?

      Orthography and pronunciation are two separate issues, and I will address
      the latter first. A good source for classical Latin pronunication is W.
      Sidney Allen, VOX LATINA (Cambridge: U.P., 1965) (2d ed. 1978). On page
      41, Allen explains that the evidence in the 1st cen. B.C. clearly shows
      that Latin 'v' was pronounced as a [w]. However, starting the 1st cen.
      A.D., 'v' and 'b' were sporadically confused in inscriptions, and by the
      2d cen. A.D. Velius Longus clearly referred to friction in the sound,
      indicating a [v] or more probably a [B] sound ([B] as in Spanish 'lavar'
      [laBar]). The [w] sound for 'v' appears to have lasted in a few isolated
      quarters until the 5th cen. A.D.

      As for I/J, Allen, p.38, only says that the change from the semi-vowel "y"
      sound to an affricative "j" sound is "very late" and indeed has not yet
      occurred in all places, e.g. Spanish "yace" from Latin "iacet." I can only
      infer from this statement that Jerome probably said a "y" sound.

      According to Allen, the orthographic distinction between the consonants j, v
      and vowels i, u is relatively recent, i.e. no earlier than the 15th cen.,
      since the medievel usage was for j, v to be used in word-initial position
      and i, u in other places. The vowel/consonant orthographic distinction can
      be traced to a suggestion by Leonbattista Alberti in 1465 and adopted into
      Spanish in 1492 and Latin in 1559, followed shortly by the French. I am
      personally aware that 'j' in Italian is used variously for foreign words,
      certain dialectal words (e.g. Romanesque "ajo" ['y' sound] = Std.It. "aglio"
      garlic), and as a old-style abbreviation for a final '-ii'.

      In summary, for the Vulgate, I/J and U/V were not orthographically
      distinct, yet consonantal I/J was probably pronounced as a "y" and
      consonantal U/V as a (Spanish) "v".

      Stephen Carlson
      --
      Stephen C. Carlson : Poetry speaks of aspirations,
      scarlson@... : and songs chant the words.
      http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/ : -- Shujing 2.35
    • Vincent Broman
      ... Thanks, Stephen Carlson, for the fine summary. I could partially answer my own question this weekend when I found sample plates from Brixianus and
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 1, 1997
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        Thanks, Stephen Carlson, for the fine summary.
        I could partially answer my own question this weekend when
        I found sample plates from Brixianus and Fuldensis and I could
        not see any difference between I and J nor between U and V.

        Vincent Broman

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