Does anyone know how people schooled in the Italian style of pronunciation would pronounce diphthongi, the plural of diphthongus?

I have seen some examples of books printed circa 1700 where diphthongi is the usual spelling but occasionally an h is added to give diphthonghi. This ties in with modern Italian pronunciation dittongo s. - dittonghi pl. so maybe is a slip showing that they pronounced it with a hard g even though an i follows. Is there a specific rule for -ngi-, -nge-?

So to sum up, would diphthongi be pronunced [dif'toŋgi:] or [dif'toŋdʒi:]?

Vobis gratias ago.


1 Answer 1


I've never heard of any special rule for ngi and nge versus gi and ge. The pronunciation of gi and ge with [dʒ] in Ecclesiastical Latin has no major exceptions that I know of. I remember reading about marginal exceptions with [g] for certain words from languages like Hebrew, e.g. Gehenna.

But diphthongi is from Greek, and as far as I know [dʒ] is generally used in words from Greek. However, I can't say for sure that Italian speakers have never used [g] in words like this.

When [dʒ] is used, the preceding nasal consonant is not realized as [ŋ]. It's more like [ndʒ], nʲdʒ] or [ɲdʒ]. Also, I think word-final [i] is not pronounced as a phonetically long vowel in an Italian style pronunciation. So I would expect to hear diphthongi as [dif'tɔndʒi].

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