Latin "c"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Apr 9 16:31:52 UTC 2004

>[OT:  does anyone have any evidence whether the Latin "soft C" was or was not
>pronounced /s/?  I have two lines of evidence that it was not, but I cannot
>identify what the true sound would have been.]

I think the conventional wisdom is that Classical Latin "c" was/is always
/k/ or so (never /s/). I don't recall seeing this disputed, and it's the
way it's always taught AFAIK. Roman Church Latin, Anglicized Medical Latin,
etc. are different, of course.

I suppose one way to know would be to see whether Classical Latin "ce"/"ci"
frequently appeared misspelled as "se"/"si" or vice versa. I'm sure this
question has a very firm answer and I think it's probably negative.

I defer to anyone who has the true facts.

[A young (<20 years old) person of my acquaintance routinely employs a
'Classical' pronunciation for Latin-in-English, e.g., "etc." = /etketera/,
"vice versa" = /wikewersa/. Rebellious youth, maybe? The new trend?]

-- Doug Wilson

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