Pronouncing Latin A letter in the Western Morning News 14.12.1937
Sir , That Latin is to be identified with English cannot possibly be so, if the vowels and consonants are to be said in a Continental way.
It is one of the main learned – I may say “fashionable” dead languages and to make it “foreign” would remove it from the lofty pedestal on which it stands, and will stand throughout the ages.
How can a man know how to spell half his English, let alone pronounce it, unless he knows Latin? How can he identify it with English, more especially as to its derivation? To reform such classical lore would be a mere sacrilege, a kind of profanation and degradation. That is why Latin is the one solitary subject (except Greek) which must not be tampered with by any modern cranks who teach “Latin without tears.” There is still a ROYAL LATIN SCHOOL. Classics, including Latin, was, and still is, the education of a gentleman Formerly, one thing alone counted in the education of the sons of the upper classes – Latin with Greek as subsidiary.
To tamper with its English Pronunciation would be at once to dethrone it, and make it come under the head of foreign language. Let us therefore leave Latin (English) pronunciation alone, and thus put the foreign languages in their proper place, which is not beside such a learned matter as Latin.
In reading a book, I see a master in a school objected to calling “Vicissem” “weekiss’em” and Cicero “Kikhero” and all that tomfoolery, thereby losing his post. All honour to such a man.
James L. Hodson, Wroath, Allhalland-street, Bideford.