aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,


The choir sang in Latin today. It was good. But I have this nagging question.

I was helping some of the high schoolers pronounce the Latin text -- then they corrected my pronunciation. We were singing the phrase, "Agnus Dei," which I pronounce ahg-noose day-ee (more or less); however, the pronunciation guide, which I hadn't even noticed, said to pronounce it ahn-yoos day-ee.

Now, I realize that singers do all kinds of things to Latin -- and have done, for centuries -- as a way of making difficult sounds come out better. So for all I know, the pronunciation ahn-yoos is more or less standard among church choirs. But I can't see Cicero pronouncing it that way. And, trained as I was in Classical Latin, it would comfort me to know that I'm doing it right.

So: what was the pronunciation of "agnus" in Classical Latin? And assuming that the ancient pronunciation would be ahg-noose, then did medieval choirs in the Catholic Church pronounce it ahn-yoos, or is that a modern attempt to make it sound prettier?
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.