- January 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm #247419Would the work, Nihilo, be pronounced, “Nee-kee-loh”? by virtue of Mihi, being pronounced, “Mee-kee.”Dean M. EstabrookJanuary 9, 2010 at 7:16 pm #247427
Allen H SimonParticipantYes.January 10, 2010 at 3:42 am #247433
John HowellParticipantFrom the Liber:
H is pronounced K in the two words nihil (nee-keel) and mihi (mee-kee), and their compounds. In ancient books these words are often written nichil and michi. In all other cases H is mute.
So I assume that Nihilo would follow the same pronunciation as Nihil.
JohnJanuary 10, 2010 at 5:13 am #247443
Robert LaheyParticipantEcclesiastical Latin would be pronounced “Nee-hee-lo,” and classical Latin as “Nee-kee-lo.” If you’re singing a piece designed for church, use the ecclesiastical. If you’re doing something akin to “Carmina burana,” the classical is appropriate.January 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm #247494
John WexlerParticipantI know of no authority for “nee-keel” in classical Latin. It would sound very strange.As for ecclesiastical Latin, I can’t find any suggestion of “nee-keel” in the Liber Usualis. I can find it in the introduction to an English translation of the Liber Usualis, which says “H is pronounced K in the two words nihil (nee-keel) and mihi (mee-kee), and their compounds”, as John Howell quotes above. “…and their compounds” must be intended to include nihilo with nihil.The same introduction says “In all other cases H is mute.” So if you sing neekeelo, you will also presumably sing abent for habent, and ostias et preces, and so on.Not being a Roman Catholic, I have no idea how authoritative that is, or was, nor how widely it is, or was, observed. Perhaps somebody could let us know if they have listened carefully to recordings of (for example) Italian, French, Irish, German or Spanish RC singers from the days when Latin was in routine liturgical use.JWEdinburgh, ScotlandJanuary 10, 2010 at 7:47 pm #247508Thanks folks … it’s nice to be reinforced once in awhile … esp. at my age, when retrieving data from the old “punkin” is not what it once was. What brought up my question, was encountering the phrase, “Ex nihlo” many, many times in reading Karen Armstrong’s book (on the Kindle I gave my wife for Christmas, BTW), “The Case for God.” Very informative, I think … especially in the xenophobic era we experience at present.Pacem,DeanJanuary 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm #247519
Allen H SimonParticipantWell, now that’s a completely different kettle of fish. Latin phrases embedded in English sentences are pronounced in a completely different way. Think how we pronounce habeas corpus, or prima facie, or et cetera. Not according to Roman usage at all…I’d pronounce that “ex nee-hill-oh”, or “ex nee-ill-oh” if in a hurry.January 11, 2010 at 4:17 am #247539
The reference to ‘classical Latin’ is clearly off-beam. I
learnt classical Latin (in what I think would be called ‘reformed
pronunciation’ — that is, a careful reconstruction of how the
Romans actually pronounced it) from the age of 12 right through to
second-year university, and subsequently taught it, in British
public grammar schools and private schools, to A-Level and
university entrance level for another 20 years.
My acquaintance with the ‘k’ for ‘h’ pronunciation, however,
goes back only a couple of years, when the British Embassy Choir of
Tokyo sang a German piece in Latin and we had to learn some
completely new ideas, including ‘kvi’ for ‘qui’ as well as ‘miki’
for ‘mihi’. German it may be; classical, it ain’t.
Doreen, always open to new ideas, but always trying hard to
stick to the factsJanuary 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm #247572Allen is certainly correct inre the pronounciation of Latin embedded in English discourse. I’m sure, however, that I risk being thought of as elitist, when even at a dinner party, say, I will be found uttering, “A-beh-oos Coh(r)-poos.” Somehow, it just seems right to me … and I was raised a Protestant for crying out loud …Dean M. Estabrook
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