How to Pronounce Latin (Scanning Prose: Cicero in Catiline) / De Latine Pronuntiando (Prosa)


Hello! I’m Luke and today I would like to show you how I apply the rules of rhythm in the reading of prose I’ve talked previously, here, about this method And today’s Ciceronian example I’ve read maybe once before in my life so I’d say this is an ideal exercise not only for Latinists but also for students all right! here’s our example Marcus Tullius Cicero’s First Oration Against Catiline which I have taken from the Ørberg version the link for which has been put in the description of this video okay! how do we do this? we have to first of all write the long vowels with “macrons” – this is a macron which means “long” (μακρόν) in Greek but in this version the long vowels, as you see, are already all written right! but we have to know the length of the *syllables* okay “quō” has a long vowel thus it’s a long syllable there are two syllables in this word “ūs” is a long syllable for two reasons “ū” is a long-U, a long vowel also “S” is the end of the syllable so “ūs” is long “que” is not a long syllable because it doesn’t end in a consonant nor does it have a long vowel, so and this is the sign of shortness okay a syllable that ends in -M in a final letter -M is always a long syllable always then but it’s not “ab” – the syllable here is “a” then “bū” long vowel : long syllable long vowel : long syllable a short vowel, and no consonant “ca” is short a short vowel short a long syllable because it has a long vowel short short short this is “en” because we don’t have a vowel; we have another consonant a long syllable short long two syllables great but this isn’t the rhythm this isn’t the rhythm that we want because we need elisions here we have a vowel and then a vowel thus it gets blended that is, it gets mixed between vowels so these vowels make *one* syllable how can we write it? we can write it like this this is an “elision” that is “ēlīdere” (“to kick out”) to cut out the vowel we can do it like this so the new syllable is oh, not “quū” but “quūs” yeah, there we go! a vowel! so, what do we do? what does it matter? we have a final -M which is not, as I have previously described and I’ll add it as a card to the video about letter M final -M is not a consonant it’s the sign of nasalization anyway M, because it’s not a consonant here we can, for example rewrite it like this, this way it’s more like the International Phonetic Alphabet [IPA] we can write it like this this is [ẽ:] a sound we have in Japanese Portuguese even French it’s not [tandem] it’s [tandẽ:] because E and final -M is a vowel because it’s a vowel it elides with this vowel we can elide the syllable so here it’s not a long syllable not any longer we have just “d + a” and this is short even though the line is long it’s a curved line but which I am indicating here then we have good! we don’t have any elisions in this part it needs to be pronounced like this can we add caesuras of course we can! a caesura is to cut that is to interrupt ourselves while we are speaking to break the line up to interrupt our voice we always can anywhere we want do we always have to say “qu’ūsque” ? no, we can say “quō | ūsque” but it’s less natural we don’t talk that way in Spanish we don’t talk that way in Italian we don’t talk that way even in English even though we Anglophones [=English speakers] don’t know about these things we know better in Italian we know better in other languages all right that’s the rhythm our Cicero how did he say it? we don’t know – but let’s see but hey! a vowel thus we can elide them or mix them it’s not long, even though there’s a consonant there’s a vowel there’s a link long or short because here is the end of the sentence maybe it’s long or short; we can’t hear it unless immediately we drive on to the next sentence and we can thus it would be a long syllable here okay ‘kay, I’m gonna do this [tapping on leg] this is the rhythm that Cicero used (I believe!) right, let’s continue a final -M; it’s a vowel then a consonant one syllable a consonant, okay an elision I always write this in I write i-consonant which we call J in English it’s easier for me to know the beginnings and ends of syllables short because “t” joins with “a” long, a diphthong that’s the rhythm of Cicero now I’ll read everything here and I went “aaaaaah” I probably shouldn’t say “aaaaah” since it’s not ablative maybe I was too moved by the emotion better, that’s better all right! what’s Cicero doing? because, my friends, this is a struggle not with fists, but words and Cicero [punching sounds] wow! it’s like a machine gun, guys! it’s incredible what Cicero wrote certainly not I this is just my interpretation of his rhythm let’s go on a bit further all right I did this part on my own, but let’s have a look we can say “nihil” as “nīl” that is, with one long syllable without the H you can pronounce it as you like either “nīlne” or “nihilne” that is we have -um with o- : elision H is not a consonant in Latin it is audible! but it’s not a consonant it’s just the sign of aspiration so the L is with the vowel here which is why it’s short may we add a caesura? sure we can! but not all the time we can’t always it’s not a natural thing in Latin oh hey, guys why is the O here long? why? what’s up with that? because there’s an N before an S S is a fricative S and F make an N that comes before it a nasal sound that is not just a consonant it’s not a strong consonant and this macron is so that we know this here we have “jam” I of course write my i-consonant like this we can elide “jam” with “hōrum” we can for sure we can but as we may cultivate our style maybe we put a caesura here maybe! if we want it I’m doing it like this today I’m not putting a caesura here right, now all of it we have a comma we have this thing but we don’t have to pause we modern folk add these symbols to help us better understand the line but it’s not required perhaps Cicero used these caesuras or not let’s not do them today maybe or maybe caesuras maybe – we can we can understand caesuras here and maybe not here I write an accent it’s genitive case but the accent’s location more or less this is an orthographic convention we do *not* say “consil | ī” that’s lousy Latin there’s no difference then we have the famous lines this is what I did there I didn’t make a caesura there we always here: maybe we don’t know, but if if we speak quickly I would speak that way with friends this is, as I well know, a speech it’s not how we would speak among friends but we have the rhythms I’m going to read it like this today I didn’t do a caesura why not? we can do that I didn’t do this we can say either as we like I’m going to read the whole thing again I added here the English letter W because the U is not totally gone I think maybe it’s still a bit audible so not “di-e” but “di-we” I added a caesura why not! because I want one or not I just added a caesura I don’t want a caesura here So that’s how I always practice reading prose in order to improve my conversational ability with a more natural rhythm and as for my many mistakes please forgive me for all those I made in this video nevertheless I hope it’ll be useful even if it’s a super long video thank you for watching! (all of it!) if you like please subscribe to this channel I’m Luke, a.k.a. ScorpiōMārtiānus and have a very rhythmic day!

10 thoughts on “How to Pronounce Latin (Scanning Prose: Cicero in Catiline) / De Latine Pronuntiando (Prosa)

  1. Apud De Oratore librum tertium de hoc Cicero scripsisse videtur: "Conlocationis est componere et struere verba sic, ut neve asper eorum concursus neve hiulcus sit, sed quodam modo coagmentatus et levis. […] Sed est tamen haec conlocatio conservanda verborum, de qua loquor; quae vinctam orationem efficit, quae cohaerentem, quae levem, quae aequabiliter fluentem; id adsequemini, si verba extrema cum consequentibus primis ita iungentur, ut neve aspere concurrant neve vastius diducantur." (3.171 – 3.172)

  2. I'm only a beginner at Latin( so I unfortunately have to taint this comment section with English), but I must say your pronunciation is simply exquisite. This video is very well done. My pronunciation is pretty good for the most part, but since I'm self-taught, there's only so much I can get from a text book. I had no idea about the nasalized m and the elisio in Latin. Thanks again. Vales, amice!

  3. "quo usque" – nisi fallor etiam ita pronuntiare possumus, ut o vocalem, utpote alteri vocali antecedentem, corripiamus.

  4. salvus sis iterum!
    aliud quiddam abs te quaerere velim, amice doctissime: id quod mihi satis probabile videtur (varias ob causas), sed quod numquam adhuc apud homines doctos repperi – dicis in "tandem" propter m finalem "e" fieri longam. quod libenter credam. itaque pervelim scire, und hoc cognitum habeas 🙂
    vale!

  5. Hac in cantione usus sum eodem rhythmo naturali Latino! sic ut in pellicula supra sita commendavi. Spero vobis placituram esse. 🦀 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJa2yTyxBKo

  6. Perfect republican pronunciation. I loved the video. Just a thing: during Cicero's times everything was written in caps, without the macron. So, how do we know nowadays?

  7. Entra en gran detalle, hasta poniendo al descubierto la existencia de un sonido que yo no sabia existia en latin. Me asombra la agudeza del enfoque.

  8. Entra en gran detalle, hasta poniendo al descubierto la existencia de un sonido que yo no sabia existia en latin. Me asombra la agudeza del enfoque.

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