Plato Pronunciation
October 25, 2010 1:03 PM   Subscribe

What are the standard English pronunciations of the names of the characters in Plato's Republic?

I'm not looking for the pronunciation of the names in Greek (whether ancient or modern), but rather the traditional pronunciation of the names in the English-speaking world.

These are the names of the characters (aside from Socrates, which I know how to pronounce):
- Glaucon
- Adeimantus
- Cephalus
- Polemarchus
- Thrasymachus
- Cleitophon
- Charmantides
- Euthydemus
- Niceratus
posted by Paquda to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When we did Plato in college, my professors (who I assume knew at least something about what they were talking about) said:

(don't recall)
(don't recall)
posted by phunniemee at 1:18 PM on October 25, 2010

Thanks, phunniemee!
posted by Paquda at 1:21 PM on October 25, 2010

Glaucon: Glau- should rhyme with the pow- in power, not the grow- in grower.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:22 PM on October 25, 2010

"glaU.k@n (GLAO-kohn)
a.da."man.t@s (a-dah-MAN-tiss)
"sVf.@.l@s (SE-fuh-liss)
"poUl.@.%mar\.k@s (POLE-le-MAR-kiss)
" (THRAS-si-MAK-iss)
"klit.o.f@n (KLEET-oh-fuhn)
" (KAR-man-TIHD-eez)
"yoU.TI.d@.m@s (YOU-thih-de-miss)
"nis.@r\.%at.@s (NIS-er-AT-iss) or "nik.@r\.%at.@s (NIK-er-AT-iss)

On preview: phunniemee's guide is good too.
posted by Electrius at 1:22 PM on October 25, 2010

I'd make a few (minor) adjustments to phunniemee's pronunciations:


BTW, the Greek names that start with a "C" had a hard "K" sound in ancient Greece, but in anglophone Classical studies are traditionally pronounced with a soft "C" like an "S". People use both hard and soft "C"s now; it's sort of a matter of personal preference. I like the original hard K-sound, but you'll be understood either way.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:25 PM on October 25, 2010

Electrius, what do the at signs and percent signs you used in your answer mean?
posted by Paquda at 1:40 PM on October 25, 2010

As another approach to this if you go to : - lectures 3, 4 and 5 reference each of these characters and (I assume) the speaker, Prof Steven Smith, knows how to pronounce them so you can hear him say them as part of the lecture.
posted by southof40 at 1:42 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Electrius, what do the at signs and percent signs you used in your answer mean?

They're the more technical, X-SAMPA guide to pronunciation. You can ignore them if you want.
posted by Electrius at 1:55 PM on October 25, 2010

Agree mostly with oinopaponton and phunniemee. Some alternatives I'd suggest:

Polemarchus - Pol - eh - mar - cuss (since the "e" is an epsilon not an iota or eta it's not pronounced like eeee)
Thrasymachus- Thrah - sim - ah - cuss
Charmantides- Char - man - teh- dees
Euthydemus- Youth - id - eh - muss

If you're really concerned about it I'd suggest becoming familiar with the ancient Greek vowels, particularly the difference between iota, eta, and epsilon (hint: eta and iota are pretty much the "eeeeeee" sound, eta more like an "ehhhhh" sound). Learning the Greek alphabet is actually pretty easy if you're a native speaker, and you'll sound like a baller in class!

Of course it's true that no one really knows how ancient Greek was pronounced, but the common English pronunciations you're looking for do tend the get the vowels pretty close since they were traditionally coined by classicists who knew as much as possible about that pronunciation.
posted by libertypie at 5:55 PM on October 25, 2010

*Sorry, I of course meant to say that it's easy to pick up if you're a native speaker of ENGLISH. What academia wouldn't give for a native speaker of Ancient Greek!
posted by libertypie at 5:58 PM on October 25, 2010

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