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Pronunciation of the word "Celt"/"Celtic"

Discussion in 'Celtic Mythology' started by EyeofOdin, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. EyeofOdin

    EyeofOdin Active Member

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    There was a girl in Highschool who was very proud of her Irish heritage, and she insisted that the word "Celtic" is pronounced "Seltic". I asked her why, and she say that was how it was originally pronounced. Interesting... but to satisfy this reason it's wrong. Not to be arrogant, but it is.

    Caesar writes "tertia qui ipsorum lingua celtae, nostra galli appelantur" which means "the third [part of Gaul] by the language of themselves the celts, by ours they are called the gauls"

    The letter C in Latin is pronounced as a hard C, as in cat, and not soft as in acid. We know this because we know that words in Latin like Caesar or Celtae translated into Greek were written as Kaisar or Keltoi.

    The reason we pronounce it this way, and it is the first pronunciation IN ENGLISH, is because we derive that particular word from the French word "Celtique" pronounced "Seltic", but if you're trying to pronounce it as ancient Celts would, use a hard C.
     
  2. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    I took Classical Latin for three years in high school*. Each student
    had a Latin/Roman name. Mine was Celer**.​
    At University, I cringe inside when basketball fans pronounce
    the Celtics as Seltics. Perhaps it's a little too picky, but I truly don't
    believe it is that much to ask. :p

    What's more interesting, or I should say ironic, is when an ethnic
    Irish gentleman argued with me for almost an hour on how the
    correct pronunciation was with an "s" sound, rather than a "k", or
    as you said, a hard "c" sound. However, it was an intriguing
    digression from the mind-boggling, difficult, Econ lecture we were
    sitting through. :p
    _______________
    * Don't really remember that much, sadly. :sad:

    ** speedy; hasty; quick
     
  3. Jaskaran Singh

    Jaskaran Singh Divosūnupriyaḥ

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    Both you (EyeofOdin and Poeticus) and the Irish people correcting you are wrong to an extent. In Gaeilge, the word would be spelled as Ceilteach (pronounced kind of like "Celt-ukh") in which the "C" isn't a hard sound nor an "s" sound, although I agree that it's closer overall to the hard sound. When followed by an "e" the consonant becomes a slender rather than broad consonant. Hence, it's not as hard; it would sound more like the "c" in cap than the "c" in corn or cold; in Gàidhlig (not Gaeilge), it changes even more and would be pronounced as a slender "ky" and not as a slender "k."
     
    #3 Jaskaran Singh, Mar 16, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  4. EyeofOdin

    EyeofOdin Active Member

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    I'm not familiar with irish pronunciation, but I'm pretty sure that in the word you've given, it makes a K sound.


    It's really difficult to tell how to pronounce modern celtic languages like Irish or Scottish Gaelic because the English oppressed and essentially killed the language down to a handful of native speakers. Now in some regions it thrives as a form of cultural identity.

    However it's pronounced in contemporary Irish or Scottish, I'm talking about classical Celtic. The same Celtic language that Roman Traders and Soldiers, Germanic Tribes and the Gauls had come and saw, learned and interacted with. And in this Celtic, it's very unlikely that it was pronounced with a soft C, considering that the Soft C pronunciation mostly originated in medieval Romantic languages, and the majority of soft C words in other languages are actually just lone words from languages like French or Spanish. So it's a very new thing and something that Ancient Romans, Greeks or Celts wouldn't have been familiar with.
     
  5. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    Between you and me, you are correct. Trust me, I almost
    got detention in high school when I wouldn't pronounce
    "Celer" as "Keler", the "k" sound that is found in Hellen
    Keller's name, for example. The "c" consonant before
    "e" is pronounced like "k" in Reconstructed Ancient
    Roman (as well as in Classical). Don't worry, University
    of Georgia is with us on this, :D. Click Me Please

    If one needs the ultimate RF confirmation, one can be
    willing, if he/she is, to send a PM to RF's Legion; he's
    pretty much fluent in Classical Latin, having written many
    papers in this wondrous and noble tongue. ;)
     
  6. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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  7. Jaskaran Singh

    Jaskaran Singh Divosūnupriyaḥ

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    Yeah, and that sounds like a slender consonant and not a broad (hard) consonant, or like I said, "more like the "c" in cap than the "c" in corn or cold."
    What exactly are you talking about again? The slender-broad distinction is also present in Welsh, Breton, Noric (probably), etc. (i.e. other Celtic languages) and not in English, so I don't see how the slender sound could be adopted FROM English, when we don't have even that distinction between "c" sounds (the cap, corn example is the closest approximation I can think of). In order to adopt a particular sound-distinction from another language, the other language must have that distinction already; that's pretty much common sense. That is not the case, no Germanic or Romanic language has a slender-broad distinction, that is unique to Celtic languages (so it likely originated in proto-Celtic). Also, a slender "c" is not the same as a soft "c," from a palatal perspective, just as much as the word cap (the thing you put on your head) is different from the word sap. Is there something you're not understand here?
     
    #7 Jaskaran Singh, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  8. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    Check your ears, mate.​

    He's talking about Latin! I wouldn't have joined this
    convo if EyeofOdin was talking about a pronunciation
    that is of non-Latin usage, since I have never even
    heard of "Gaeligh"-sldkfjkskkljsdfs*.
    _______________
    * In other words, uber difficult to
    pronounce it in "native", "Celtic" way.
     
    #8 Poeticus, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  9. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    Here's your "cap", bro:​



    "Basically, Classical Latin is pronounced the way it is written, with a few exceptions -- to our ears: consonantal v is pronounced as a w, i is sometimes pronounced as a y. As distinct from Church Latin (or modern Italian), g is always pronounced like the g in gap; and, like g, c is also hard and always sounds like the c in cap."

    source
    Have you been pronouncing "cap" with an Indian accent this whole
    time -- with a Sanskritic, "k-like" sound rather than that of a "kh-like"
    sound? Too funny, Jas. Plus, there is really no "slender" sound for the
    consonant "c" in Archaic or Classical Latin. Or, have you been saying
    it like the "ch" in chap stick? :p

    The only "slender"-like pronouncing of a Latin letter for both Archaic
    and Classical is for the letter, "Q", for instances wherein the vowel
    following it, is not stressed. How do I know this? Simply because my
    Latin teacher drilled it into my head that the "e" after the "c" in Celer
    was accented with a stress. In other words: hard "k".
     
  10. Jaskaran Singh

    Jaskaran Singh Divosūnupriyaḥ

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    You're also not understanding that slender-broad difference has to do with how long each consonant is, just like between the Mid-atlantic pronunciation of the English words "cap" and "corn," hence it was the best example I could use; watch the following, and see the difference between the "c" in A ceathair déag and A cúig déag
    [youtube]BT_oieNX3_8[/youtube]
     
    #10 Jaskaran Singh, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  11. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    No way Jose, bro. I only
    went after this part of
    the post, because it is
    what I am familiar with:​

    "The letter C in Latin is pronounced as a hard C..."​

    Since, I stayed on the word, "Celtic", which
    is from the Latin, celticus. So, that's
    why all the stuff about Recon & Clas. Latin. :p
     
    #11 Poeticus, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  12. Jaskaran Singh

    Jaskaran Singh Divosūnupriyaḥ

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    Still a comprehension failure, since he did also talk about the "pronunciation that is of non-Latin usage" and even mentioned that in his reply to my initial post. ;)
    Also, Gaeilge is Irish Gaelic, jsyk.
     
    #12 Jaskaran Singh, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  13. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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  14. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    I guess I can concede that I
    didn't initially comprehend that
    you were talking about it in
    the native, "Celtic" usage only.​
     
  15. EyeofOdin

    EyeofOdin Active Member

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    I never said that any words or pronunciation rules in modern Gaelic languages are adopted from English (although we do share a few words).

    Exactly what I said, and I'll rephrase to make it a bit clearer, what I'm saying is that the 'soft' C pronunciation originated with Romantic languages transitioning from Latin. The only words, with probably only a few exceptions, with a soft c pronunciation in European Languages are either Romantic ones or languages which adopted words from those Romantic languages.

    Going back to the original point, to the Gaulish and Celtic people during the time of Caesar, soft 'c' pronunciation what probably very foreign to them. Quite frankly I have yet found a Classical European word with a soft 'c' (or equivalent letter in a different script) pronunciation.
     
  16. The Sum of Awe

    The Sum of Awe Realitarian

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    I've heard multiple people pronounce it as (kelt-ic), but to me neither pronunciation bothered me.
     
  17. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
    Premium Member It's My Birthday!

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    I pronounce it with the 's', seltic.

    The reason being that all of my family from Scotland pronounce it that way.
     
  18. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
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    I use "keltic". "Seltic" just sounds weird to me.
     
  19. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    "Seltic" is a football team. Anything else is "keltic" — like me.
     
  20. Phil25

    Phil25 Active Member

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    I used to say "Seltic". Reason-I dont know why
     
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