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- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: Re: Celtic/Seltic
- From: Dorothy Africa <africa@LAW.HARVARD.EDU>
- Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 09:03:12 -0400
- In-Reply-To: <199805061929.PAA03764@law.harvard.edu>
- Message-Id: <199805121426.HAA14406@SUL-Server-2.Stanford.edu>
- Sender: "Book_Arts-L: On the web at http://www.dreamscape.com/pdverhey" <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
Colette, Susan, et al.
The division is the old hard c, soft c distintion produced by the
changes in classical pronunciation and medieval. The Greeks noted their
contact with northern peoples who called themselves something the Greeks
heard as "Keltoi", a designation then taken up by the Romans, but spelt
with their letter for the 'k' sound, 'c'. In the medieval period, Latin
pronunciation changed, broadly speaking (no pun intended), from the hard
c sound (kay) of classical Latin to two, a hard 'kay' with the vowels o,
u; soft (see) with the vowels i,e. There are other variants, too, with
vowel combinations, initials, etc. Hence classical pronunciations like
'Kaeser, Kikero, Kelti' became 'Saesar, Sisero, Selti' eventhough the
names continued to be spelt Caesar, Cicero, Celti. I for one, find the
distinction useful since I live in Boston and study medieval Ireland.
Of course, the medieval Irish had no idea they were Celts (they thought
they were Greeks, but that's another story) so the problem of
pronunciation is not one I worry about much.