By Youngian
#7485
So Roman emperors sounded more like Italians than British Shakespearean actors bringing some gravitas to a tacky expensive epic. Gore Vidal, who script wrote one of those Hollywood Roman epics, noted the Brits likes to play Greeks to America’s imperial Rome in real life as well as on screen. ‘The British should know better than indulging in such foolishness,’ Vidal concluded.

On a similar line I heard that there was no association between pirates and West Country accents before Robert Newton played Long John Silver in the 1950s.
By MisterMuncher
#7543
I remember when Fallout New Vegas* came out, a few people got very irritable that the Caesar's Legion** faction in-game were pronouncing Caesar with a hard "c", and various other entirely historically correct but unusual pronunciations rather than the ones they were used to. Generally, the sort of people who like to tell you how very clever they are

*Post-apocalyptic video game, very retro-futuristic in aesthetic, with a good few hours of anyone's time.
**For a game that tended towards shares of grey for factional mortality, having no truly angelic or evil groups in-timeline (beyond random raiders, who were at best just canon fodder anyway), the Legion were a rare example of a genuinely evil faction with no real motivation beyond terror and dominance.
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By Malcolm Armsteen
#7565
It's complicated...

Off the top of my head:

There are modern evolutions of dead languages (eg Italian from Vulgar Latin). Using the patterns which have been established in that language (or group of languages) vowel and consonant shifts can be established (the Great Vowel Shift, Grimm's Law et al).

This is also relevant to the Champolleon's translation of the Rosetta Stone by comparison with modern Coptic which gave him the phonetic values of hieroglyphs, given the known IE shifts and Grimm.

By transcription into a known contemporary language (the translation of Cicero into Greek gives [kikero] so we know that in Classical Latin the 'c' was a hard consonant.

By comparison with the donor language in the case of loan words (though this is much more in evidence in Modern English (RP)).

Onomatopoeia. The sounds made by animals and things do not change over time, so even if the symbols for the phonemes of those words no longer match (for example, if transcribed from Ancient Greek cats go 'fif' not 'wow' we have a phonetic value for those words in antiquity.
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By Cyclist
#7616
Malcolm has the brief version.

It's *very* complicated... and utterly fascinating. Stephen Oppenheimer goes into the reconstruction of dead languages and the (as yet inaccurate, but improving) dating of language shifts and splits in some depth in his excellent book "The Origins of the British - a genetic detective story", which I am about 3/4 of the way through, and my mind is thoroughly boggled!

https://www.bradshawfoundation.com/brit ... ritish.php
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By Boiler
#7630
MisterMuncher wrote: Wed Aug 04, 2021 2:53 am I remember when Fallout New Vegas* came out, a few people got very irritable that the Caesar's Legion** faction in-game were pronouncing Caesar with a hard "c", and various other entirely historically correct but unusual pronunciations rather than the ones they were used to.
Certainly in modern Italian, c followed by a would render the 'C' hard: if followed by e or i it's pronounced as though there's an h between the two letters, but to harden it you write an h between them - see the Italian spelling of kilogramme, made necessary because the Italian alphabet doesn't have a k in it...
By MisterMuncher
#7639
Which is why my teeth itch when a few folk of my acquaintance talk about their "Bee-an-chee" bikes.

And yanks who shorten Campagnolo to "campy".
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