Most beautiful ancient language

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What is the most beautiful ancient language?

Homeric Greek
2
11%
Attic Greek
0
No votes
Koinè Greek
0
No votes
Classical Latin
6
35%
Medieval Latin
2
11%
Another language
6
35%
None
1
5%
 
Total votes : 17

Most beautiful ancient language

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Dec 21, 2004 6:36 pm

Salvete!

What is, according to you, the most beautiful ancient language. Latin or ancient Greek? Tell me why.

Valete bene,
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Postby Q Valerius on Wed Dec 22, 2004 12:57 pm

Wow! What choices! I go with Hebrew, but Latin can be very beautiful too, although only later Latin (cf. Stabat Mater).

Eli! Eli! Lama Azavtani?
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:42 pm

I always remembered it as lama sabaktami? But then again it's been ages since I was in a mass.

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Postby Lucius Tyrrhenus Garrulus on Thu Dec 23, 2004 6:06 am

SALVETE OMNES. S.V.B.E.V.

Latin, of course. I opt for effeciency. What takes us 10 words in English requires 3 or 4 in Latin.

VALETE BENE.
NOX EST PERPETVA VNA DORMIENDA
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Thu Dec 23, 2004 1:05 pm

Salvete,

Classical latin for me. Greek is perhaps even richer in vocabulary and ways of expression, but sometimes, it sounds rather awkard to our ears.

Valete,

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:39 pm

Homeric Greek is a rather odd option. Especially since it's not really a spoken language, but an "art-language".

That didn't prevent me from picking it though, gotta love that flow when speaking it :wink:
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Postby Q Valerius on Thu Dec 23, 2004 11:42 pm

Gnæus Dionysius Draco wrote:I always remembered it as lama sabaktami? But then again it's been ages since I was in a mass.

Draco


The Hebrew for Psalm 22 is "Eli, Eli, Lama Azavtani." What Jesus said on the cross is a bastard form of the Aramaic "Shevaqtani" which of course means the same thing as it does in the original Hebrew "have forsaken."
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:34 pm

Salve Scerio,

Thank you for the clarification.

I chose Classical Latin, by the way. I think it sounds and feels not only efficient, but it also pleases me on an aesthetical level. Like Atticus said, I sometimes find ancient Greek to be a little awkward to my ears, although it certainly has its share of nice words as well.

Vale bene,
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:30 pm

Salvete omnes,

Just to match my own frustrations with the linguistic group, I'll go with the earliest form of Slavonic languages that we have.

Speaking from a position of no knowledge is...
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Postby Publius Dionysius Mus on Sun Dec 26, 2004 12:46 am

Salvete!

After taking a course this year about Babylonian, Sumerian and Akkadian religion, I would go for the beauty of these languages.

As an example, I give you the first lines of "Enuma Elish", also called "The History Of Creation", in a translation by L.W King (1902). The complete text can be found here.

1. When in the height heaven was not named,
2. And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
3. And the primeval Apsû, who begat them,
4. And chaos, Tiamat, the mother of them both,--
5. Their waters were mingled together,
6. And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
7. When of the gods none had been called into being,
8. And none bore a name, and no destinies [were ordained];
9. Then were created the gods in the midst of [heaven],
10. Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being [...].
11. Ages increased, [...],
12. Then Anshar and Kishar were created, and over them [...].
13. Long were the days, then there came forth [...]
14. Anu, their son, [...]
15. Anshar and Anu [...]
16. And the god Anu [...]
17. Nudimmud, whom his fathers [his] begetters [...]
18. Abounding in all wisdom, [...]
19. He was exceeding strong [...]
20. He had no rival [...]
21. (Thus) were established and [were ... the great gods (?)].


And, Garrulus said:

Latin, of course. I opt for effeciency. What takes us 10 words in English requires 3 or 4 in Latin.


Here I would like to note that these languages, like Latin, also don't need many words to say something. :) The Sumerian deity Nudimmud (epitheton for Enki) for example, whose name is composed of nu (a prefix to announce a profession), dim (meaning "to build, to make, to do") and mud (meaning "to grow, to make vegetation grow"), could be translated as "the god that creates and makes things grow".

This mythological world and its stories were almost completely new to me, and I came to appreciate them very much.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Wed Dec 29, 2004 5:11 pm

Salve Coruncani,

Actually for a moment I hesistated and thought of inlcuding Old English or Gothic as well, or other old Indo-Germanic languages. It's true that each language has a distinct character and beauty of its own. I agree that Greek can sound more poetic and song-like than Latin, but then again, like Garrulus, I enjoy Latin's structural brightness more than Greek's flow.

I recently heard someone speak Russian, by the way, and I must say it sounds quite beautiful, although I couldn't understand a word.

Vale bene,
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Postby Anonymous on Fri Dec 31, 2004 11:24 pm

Gnæus Dionysius Draco wrote:Salve Coruncani,

Actually for a moment I hesistated and thought of inlcuding Old English or Gothic as well, or other old Indo-Germanic languages. ..Vale bene,
Draco


I think you forgot some other important languages, Gaelic, Welsh , the celtic languages... and what about Esperanto :wink: also seems a beautifull language (however it's not a natural language)

:?: Any other comments :D
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Jan 01, 2005 9:52 pm

Salve Luculle,

We were talking about ancient languages, Esperanto, Gaelic and Welsh are not on that list 8). Some proto-form of Celtic languages, perhaps, but no one's been able to reconstruct those I think.

Vale bene!
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My pick.

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:52 am

I'll take Medieval Spanish, actually; we have large-ish samples of it (El Cantar de Mio Cid, among others), an idea what it sounded like, and like everything else that came out of Spain between 800 and 1200 CE, it strikes me as rustic, poetic, and beautiful.

I'm with Coruncanius, though, on the difficulty of assessing the "beauty" of a language that one has never heard spoken aloud. I know two ways of pronouncing Classical Latin, the god-awful way it is taught...and my own, which is probably scarcely better and must sound very Spanish indeed. People like my Latin, though a Roman of ancient Rome would be appalled. As far as the scholarship on pronunciation goes, however, my guess seems to be as good as anybody else's (and a bit less Elmer Fudd than some; way-nee, wee-dee, wee-kee indeed).

None of which changes the fact that I have never heard another living being besides myself (and my young disciples, when I had them) speak Latin. A space shuttle has a bigger crew than I do in my exploration of the language. Of course I like Latin, or I wouldn't take the trouble. But how do I know if I'm doing it wrong...or right, for that matter? Is it supposed to sound pleasant? >({|8-)

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Tue Jan 04, 2005 8:43 pm

salvete iterum, amici

I voted for another language... and I don't think there can be doubt about which one. Classical Chinese, indeed. Although there are texts which are horrible to read, the language itself is rich and varied. And, as one other positive point, it is one of the few classical languages to have still been in use in the twentieth century. How's that? Everything pre-1911 was written in Classical Chinese.

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:38 pm

Salve Menci,

A question for you: is classical Chinese still being used in literary works on Taiwan? I am asking because I know that Taiwan still uses traditional characters while the mainland uses simplified forms.

I'm afraid that I don't consider Chinese to be beautiful. As a non-speaker, all that I can comment on is the "sound" of the language, and it grates on my ear. But then many would disagree with me. I don't particularly like the sound of French, either (no offense intended to the French sodales and Francaphone Belgae); it sounds to me like someone trying to say "Help! Call an ambulance, get a doctor!" while choking on a truffle....

I do like the sound of Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Amharic, and Farsi. Even German and Turkish sound strong, but not rude, to me.

De gustibus....

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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:58 am

Primus Aurelius Tergestus wrote:I don't particularly like the sound of French, either (no offense intended to the French sodales and Francaphone Belgae); it sounds to me like someone trying to say "Help! Call an ambulance, get a doctor!" while choking on a truffle....


:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Q Valerius on Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:18 am

Heh, any real linguists hear? You know, the geeky ones? Well, I've been working on languages for years now, usually only to scrap them for a different project. My latest one is Valerian, being produced just for the sounds. (Before it was always for historicity or vulgarity). I will only release one phrase for now, although you need to hear it to appreciate it.

ana zhelo. I love you in Valerian. (ah-nah` zheh-loh; accent on nah)
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Wed Jan 05, 2005 3:41 am

Salve Scerio,

Why the 'h' after the 'z'? Is it pronounced like the second part of the first sound in 'journalist' then? Or something different altogether?

Vale!
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Another possibility?

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Jan 05, 2005 4:29 am

Avete iterum,

Is it too late to suggest Hawai'ian? --I like all of it I've ever heard, and that's after several albums of both spoken and sung recordings, some self-study, and one actual visit.

I also share Tergestus' admiration for Farsi Persian. I first heard it from a group of Iranian students at my college cafeteria, and was enchanted. This was a long time ago, and I perhaps misremember it as having a laughing quality, like tinkling bells...am I far off-base?


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