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iantresman
2009-Oct-18, 03:23 PM
Say-fid? See-fid?
Say-fee-id? See-fee-id?

Same in America and Europe?

StupendousMan
2009-Oct-18, 04:22 PM
Most astronomers I know pronounce it "seh-fee-id."

The first syllable is a short e, like the sound of "sedge"
or "seven".

There are a few who say "see-fee-id".

grant hutchison
2009-Oct-18, 04:48 PM
The Oxford English Dictionary allows for both ˈsɛfɪɪd and ˈsiːfɪɪd (IPA characters may be invisible in some browsers, sorry).
That is, it acknowledges either a short "eh" or a long "ee" in the first, stressed vowel. But it gives two short "ih" vowels in succession later in the word. The British pronunciation is therefore "SEH-fih-id" or "SEE-fih-id", to be contrasted with what seems to be the more common American pronunciation, "SEH-fee-id" or "SEE-fee-id".

Grant Hutchison

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-18, 09:02 PM
The Greek stem in question has an eta, so the pronunciation with long 'ee' would be more classically correct. :)

Tobin Dax
2009-Oct-18, 10:59 PM
The Greek stem in question has an eta, so the pronunciation with long 'ee' would be more classically correct. :)
Woohoo! I'm pronouncing it correctly.

Now if only I could say Betel- er, Beetle- er, nevermind. I don't want Michael Keaton showing up in my living room.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Oct-18, 11:59 PM
The Greek stem in question has an eta, so the pronunciation with long 'ee' would be more classically correct. :)

How was eta pronounced in classical Greek? It seems strange that modern Greek has three letters (and at least two diphthongs) with the same pronunciation as iota, so I presume that they were pronounced differently in classical times.

Anyway, it also began with a kappa, so we've already mangled it before we even get to the vowels.

Nick

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-19, 06:45 AM
How was eta pronounced in classical Greek?
A long open 'e' sound (IPA [ɛː] - hit Wikipedia if you don't know how IPA works). The English long 'ee' sound is quite off qualitatively, but perserves the prosodic length of the syllable. However, by "classically correct" I wasn't so much refering to the ancient pronunciation as to the usual rules for how such words have come to be pronounced in English after being introduced via Latin.

It seems strange that modern Greek has three letters (and at least two diphthongs) with the same pronunciation as iota, so I presume that they were pronounced differently in classical times.

They were indeed all originally different. (And there's at least three digraphs that's pronounced that way: ei, oi, ui, plus the various forms with iota subscriptum, who also were originally diphthongs.) I believe all the sordid details are typed up in the WP pages on Greek.

dhd40
2009-Oct-19, 01:15 PM
How was eta pronounced in classical Greek?
Nick

In Homer“s Ilias it says that the sheep on the pasture mumbled to oneself µeta (µ=m, I don“t know how to type the eta in Greek)


Do you think they sounded different from today“s sheep?

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-19, 02:28 PM
In Homer“s Ilias it says that the sheep on the pasture mumbled to oneself µeta (µ=m, I don“t know how to type the eta in Greek)


Do you think they sounded different from today“s sheep?

Sheep don't "say" the same thing in modern English and modern Swedish, so I don't see why they should be expected to in ancient Greek.

grant hutchison
2009-Oct-19, 03:19 PM
The Ancient Greeks also parsed the visible spectrum in a way that's very difficult to understand in modern terms.
The past is indeed another country, and we don't have anyone with dual citizenship who can explain how things work there. :(

Grant Hutchison

Jens
2009-Oct-20, 01:31 AM
Sheep don't "say" the same thing in modern English and modern Swedish, so I don't see why they should be expected to in ancient Greek.

That's because the sheep in Sweden learn Swedish Sheepish, while those in England learn English Sheepish.

Seriously, though, in Japan they "speak" differently from English too. I think in English they day "bah," right? In Japanese they say "may". So you're very right, we can't assume that the ancient Greeks heard the same sound.

dhd40
2009-Oct-20, 11:12 AM
Sheep don't "say" the same thing in modern English and modern Swedish, so I don't see why they should be expected to in ancient Greek.

Ah, yes, I forgot äwolljoohshn!

Glom
2009-Oct-21, 06:53 AM
Surely it's keh-fee-id. Why does the C always have to be soft?

Jens
2009-Oct-21, 07:06 AM
It's kind of interesting, but all the languages I saw on Wikipedia used the /s/ sound rather than the /k/ sound, but it seems (from my nearly nil knowledge) that in Greek it is indeed /k/. It's funny that in Japanese (where the pronunciation is clear from the writing), cepheid is prounced with an /s/, but Cepheus is pronounced with a /k/.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Oct-21, 12:10 PM
It's kind of interesting, but all the languages I saw on Wikipedia used the /s/ sound rather than the /k/ sound, but it seems (from my nearly nil knowledge) that in Greek it is indeed /k/. It's funny that in Japanese (where the pronunciation is clear from the writing), cepheid is prounced with an /s/, but Cepheus is pronounced with a /k/.

Other examples are words that use the "cephalo-" root, which also has a kappa in Greek. Andreas alluded to it earlier, but I think it has to do with the way that Greek words find their way into English if they first pass through Latin.

Another oddity (in English) is the "pter-" ("wing") word root, in which the "p" is silent if it begins the word (e.g., Pteranodon) but pronounced if preceded by a vowel ("helicopter").

Nick

jokergirl
2009-Oct-21, 12:41 PM
I think the original Greek would probably have used the hard K sound, just like Latin does. But hundreds of years of using the wrong pronunciation and we all say Caesar, not Kaesar. (Except the Germans, who have Kaiser.)

Sheep say "Mäh" in German, as well. Same Sheepish as Greek Sheepish then I suppose. I guess it's the continental Sheeplish versus those weird Northerners... :lol:

;)

grant hutchison
2009-Oct-21, 01:29 PM
Other examples are words that use the "cephalo-" root, which also has a kappa in Greek."Cephalo-" does get a /k/ in the UK, but a /s/ seems to be usual in the USA.

Grant Hutchison

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-21, 01:45 PM
I think the original Greek would probably have used the hard K sound, just like Latin does. But hundreds of years of using the wrong pronunciation and we all say Caesar, not Kaesar. (Except the Germans, who have Kaiser.)
The Latin pronunciation changed in late Antiquity - the later version cannot sensibly be called 'wrong' (it's rather like saying it's wrong to pronounce English "cheese" with a 'ch' sound is wrong because it used to be a 'k' sound).

German Kaiser retains the 'k' because it was borrowed early. Not very much later than Julius Caesar's day, in fact, or the ae would have monophthongized.

StupendousMan
2009-Oct-21, 04:44 PM
"Cephalo-" does get a /k/ in the UK, but a /s/ seems to be usual in the USA.

Grant Hutchison

Do English biologists say "Keph-a-lo-pods" when
talking about squid?

grant hutchison
2009-Oct-21, 04:52 PM
Do English biologists say "Keph-a-lo-pods" when
talking about squid?I'm not sure I've had the occasion to hear a bona fide biologist say "cephalopod"; I certainly couldn't say with any certainty.
But in British medical practice there's traditionally a /k/ sound in electroencephalogram, encephalitis, cephalad, and so on; the American /s/ therefore sounds a little odd to our ears.

Grant Hutchison

dhd40
2009-Oct-22, 02:03 PM
I think the original Greek would probably have used the hard K sound, just like Latin does. But hundreds of years of using the wrong pronunciation and we all say Caesar, not Kaesar. (Except the Germans, who have Kaiser.)

When I learned Latin at school the pronunciation of the c was k, always, obligatory (..ily?). When we asked why, the teacher told us that this was the way the Romans pronounced it. Basta.
But who really knows? You see, when I pronounce the word pronunciation, I always run into the problem to pronounce it like pronounciation.

In the year 4009 linguists will discuss about the correct pronunciation of these words (hopefully here on BAUT) :)

DonM435
2009-Oct-23, 02:06 PM
In Homer“s Ilias it says that the sheep on the pasture mumbled to oneself µeta (µ=m, I don“t know how to type the eta in Greek)


Do you think they sounded different from today“s sheep?

Wouldn't the young sheep say "lamb-da"?

dhd40
2009-Oct-23, 02:58 PM
Wouldn't the young sheet say "lamb-da"?

:clap:

Yes, but their de Broglie-wavelength is extremely short, only van Rijn“s elf can hear them

jokergirl
2009-Oct-23, 03:15 PM
When I learned Latin at school the pronunciation of the c was k, always, obligatory (..ily?). When we asked why, the teacher told us that this was the way the Romans pronounced it. Basta.
But who really knows? You see, when I pronounce the word pronunciation, I always run into the problem to pronounce it like pronounciation.

In the year 4009 linguists will discuss about the correct pronunciation of these words (hopefully here on BAUT) :)

IIRC they figured out their pronunciation rules by looking at poetry and other writing from the period.
Modern Italian has a soft "C" before some vowels, a hard one before others. So before people did much research into it, that's how they pronounced it.

;)

jokergirl
2009-Oct-23, 03:19 PM
The Latin pronunciation changed in late Antiquity - the later version cannot sensibly be called 'wrong' (it's rather like saying it's wrong to pronounce English "cheese" with a 'ch' sound is wrong because it used to be a 'k' sound).

German Kaiser retains the 'k' because it was borrowed early. Not very much later than Julius Caesar's day, in fact, or the ae would have monophthongized.

And we would have a Käser! :lol:

;)

EricFD
2009-Oct-27, 01:43 PM
I have noticed, having studied classical Latin with classical pronunciations in college that certain plural forms using the diphthong 'ae', which in classical Latin is pronounced 'i' or 'eye', such as in the words 'novae' or 'nebulae' are pronounced in astronomical nomenclature as an 'ee' sound, e.g 'novee' or 'nebulee'. It took me a long to time to overcome the uncomfortable feeling I got whenever I heard these words pronounced this way.

Eric

grant hutchison
2009-Oct-28, 12:00 AM
I have noticed, having studied classical Latin with classical pronunciations in college that certain plural forms using the diphthong 'ae', which in classical Latin is pronounced 'i' or 'eye', such as in the words 'novae' or 'nebulae' are pronounced in astronomical nomenclature as an 'ee' sound, e.g 'novee' or 'nebulee'. It took me a long to time to overcome the uncomfortable feeling I got whenever I heard these words pronounced this way.It's part of the "English method" of Latin pronunciation, and it's pretty standard for the ę ligature in English: ęgis, Cęsar, novę. IIRC, it dates from long before the careful academic reconstruction of the true pronunciation of classical Latin: Latin letters were just assigned sound values corresponding to the spoken English of the day. (I think the classical Latin ae diphthong is supposed to have eroded into a single ę vowel even while Latin was still a living language, but I may be misremembering.)

Grant Hutchison

EricFD
2009-Oct-28, 03:22 AM
It's part of the "English method" of Latin pronunciation, and it's pretty standard for the ę ligature in English: ęgis, Cęsar, novę. IIRC, it dates from long before the careful academic reconstruction of the true pronunciation of classical Latin: Latin letters were just assigned sound values corresponding to the spoken English of the day. (I think the classical Latin ae diphthong is supposed to have eroded into a single ę vowel even while Latin was still a living language, but I may be misremembering.)

Grant Hutchison

I believe you are correct in that, Grant.

Eric

AndreasJ
2009-Oct-28, 04:09 PM
(I think the classical Latin ae diphthong is supposed to have eroded into a single ę vowel even while Latin was still a living language, but I may be misremembering.)
No, you're right - it changed to a single vowel (a monophthong) around Augustus' time, or even earlier in unstressed position as in "novae" or "nebulae". In the Latin of the Roman Empire, 'ae' is frequently confused with long 'e' because they had become pronounced identically.

('Ae' remained normally written as a diphthong, however, the 'ę' ligature arising only in the Middle Ages.)

EricFD
2009-Oct-28, 05:30 PM
No, you're right - it changed to a single vowel (a monophthong) around Augustus' time, or even earlier in unstressed position as in "novae" or "nebulae". In the Latin of the Roman Empire, 'ae' is frequently confused with long 'e' because they had become pronounced identically.

('Ae' remained normally written as a diphthong, however, the 'ę' ligature arising only in the Middle Ages.)

That's quite interesting, AndreasJ's. Thank you. :)

Eric

ngc3314
2009-Oct-29, 03:50 PM
It took me a long to time to overcome the uncomfortable feeling I got whenever I heard these words pronounced this way.


Or you could just put up with the look, the same one I get when walking into a cheese shop and asking for Gouda pronounced as the town is. Sort of Gouda win friends and influence people. (The same look I first got from real astronomers upon hearing how I had tried to work out some constellation names from the spellings alone, a sure sign of learning things from books before speech).

And this puts me in mind of a related issue (thread drift alert!) - once you listen for them, there are some pronunciations which have the side effect of labelling the speaker as part of an in group or not. There are radio talking heads who are quite careful about pronouncing the names of certain countries or groups in the news (albeit never referring to Espana or Deutschland or Rossiya). Closer to thread, when the Gemini Observatory was being planned, pretty much only high management used the trailing long I sound (one reason I make a point not to do so...). There was someone in our local college of communication who's made a long study of this kind of self-labeling.

EricFD
2009-Oct-29, 04:18 PM
Or you could just put up with the look, the same one I get when walking into a cheese shop and asking for Gouda pronounced as the town is. Sort of Gouda win friends and influence people. (The same look I first got from real astronomers upon hearing how I had tried to work out some constellation names from the spellings alone, a sure sign of learning things from books before speech).

And this puts me in mind of a related issue (thread drift alert!) - once you listen for them, there are some pronunciations which have the side effect of labelling the speaker as part of an in group or not. There are radio talking heads who are quite careful about pronouncing the names of certain countries or groups in the news (albeit never referring to Espana or Deutschland or Rossiya). Closer to thread, when the Gemini Observatory was being planned, pretty much only high management used the trailing long I sound (one reason I make a point not to do so...). There was someone in our local college of communication who's made a long study of this kind of self-labeling.

Well, Bill I've been involved in astronomy for so long (over 25 years) that the contemporary astronomical pronunciations have since become like second nature to me. It was only shortly after graduating from UIC and having taken two years of classical Latin, that I found it disconcerting while studying astronomy at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago. But, I'm feeling much better now. LOL ;)

Eric

Jens
2009-Oct-30, 01:22 AM
And this puts me in mind of a related issue (thread drift alert!) - once you listen for them, there are some pronunciations which have the side effect of labelling the speaker as part of an in group or not. There are radio talking heads who are quite careful about pronouncing the names of certain countries or groups in the news (albeit never referring to Espana or Deutschland or Rossiya).

I'm accepting the drift by writing this, but it's not just pronunciation. There is vocabulary that does that too. I've noticed on this board that people tend to use the word "bird" to refer to an artificial satellite or maybe also airplane? It's not a common usage, but puts you in the "in group" in terms of aeronautics I suppose. I do things like that myself, I suppose, using a term like "BB" with the assumption that the person will know it means "big bang."