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La Divina Commedia - a new musical edition

This web page on the pronunciation of Italian contains the first of three texts that will introduce you in a little more detail to the linguistic foundation of the Divina Commedia. The other two articles on metrics and accents can be found under the menu items of the same name. Together, these three pages form a didactic unit, that is, a continuous commentary that will provide you with everything you need to read our edition with profit.

If you are looking for something more compact at first, I can recommend my introduction. It contains the most important things in advance, is kept pragmatic and offers you, besides a number of examples, a summary of the characters I use.

If, on the other hand, you want to know more about the pronunciation itself and are not afraid of a methodical look at science or literature, then this is the place for you. You will learn about the two main phonetic variants of contemporary Italian as well as the problem of modern dictionaries. You will deepen your understanding of the correct rendering of critical vowels and consonants, receive tips on an easy-to-understand pronunciation of Latin, and become acquainted with the Old Occitan. You will be able to correctly pronounce the individual words of the Divina Commedia and will have cleared the first hurdle of authentic reading.


The Divina commedia is one of the most important poems in world literature. With its power of language, which results from a complex verse and rhyme structure - the Endecasillabo and the Terza Rima - it has drawn people under its spell for centuries. Anyone who gets involved with this work enters a world of poetry all their own. He is captured by its beauty, integrated into the pulsating power of its sounds.

This special magic does not reveal itself in purely silent contemplation, but in speaking, in reading aloud or in recitation. Only here does the substance of the work decipher itself, unfolds the poem its suggestive effect.

To a native speaker or a reader versed in metrics, the parameters of this recitation arise implicitly, as it were. He knows, when he reads, how to read: he masters the pronunciation and knows the structural linguistic conditions of the verse. To the layman, this knowledge is initially closed. He must advance in laborious study, discover, before he can speak properly.

An edition that can facilitate this process, that allows the reader to dive into the poem immediately, can motivate, fascinate, activate the joy of discovering and speaking.

Three linguistic parameters must be developed to achieve this: the pronunciation, the metrics and the accents. Let's take a closer look at how this is to be accomplished in the new practical edition.

I. Pronunciation

1. The Italian pronunciation

A. The neutral Italian (Italiano neutro)

Our edition is not concerned with the historical pronunciation of Italian or a reconstruction of the sound reality in the Middle Ages. It therefore does not seek to fathom how Dante himself or his contemporaries pronounced the "Volgare" of the Divina Commedia, that transcription of Tuscan.[1]

Its purpose is rather to show how today one should read the text before us correctly and without dialect, basing this project on the still unsurpassed edition by Giorgio Petrocchi (2003) in the relevant third edition. I am deeply indebted to the publisher (Casa Editrice Le Lettere) and to the sponsor (Società Dantesca Italiana) for the corresponding permission.

We thus base ourselves on the Italian spoken today, the so-called neutral Italian (Italiano neutro).[2] It is that idiom which developed as a cultural heritage and political commitment of the Risorgimento[3] out of the need to give a united Italy a united language. We find it, with the moderate adaptations that have become necessary, in modern dictionaries and in the reference work on pronunciation, the DOP.

B. Classical and Modern Neutral Italian

A finer consideration reveals that neutral Italian can be further subdivided into a classical and modern variant (cf. Canepari 2018). The classical variant is the one that has been handed down in writing. It lives on in most lexicons of today and represents the original standard as established in the first major dictionaries since the mid to late 19th century. These books are still valid for the vast majority of the vocabulary.

In addition to this traditional written Italian, however, an oral variant has developed, the so-called "modern" Italian. It takes into account real pronunciation shifts of the present, i.e. it uses the idiom that has become established in current usage.

The most important difference between the two varieties of neutral Italian can be seen in the intervocalic s and in a certain flexibility in the pronunciation of the accented e and o. We will return to this in more detail later. Suffice it to note here that on the way from classical to modern, the s between two vowels is now almost universally voiced, i.e., the once partially provided voiceless variant has been dropped. In the pronunciation of the e and o, too, the rigid norm based on the dominant Tuscan has given way to a regional freedom, which means that for many words both modes of articulation, the closed and the open one, are possible.[4]

Our edition follows this modern usage and, as we shall see shortly, provides the reader with both pronunciation variants as an option.

C. Methodology

The Zingarelli occupies an exceptional position among today’s dictionaries in that it attempts to include the modern modifications of classical pronunciation just presented. Thus, it not only marks those critical intervocalic s consonants, but also designates ambivalently accented o and e vowels. It limits himself to pointing out this possibility and refrains from breaking down the differences even further by dialects.[5]

We have used this dictionary in first preference. In addition, we have used the Dizionario Garzanti, the Gabrielli (the Grande Dizionario Italiano HOEPLI), and the Vocabolario Treccani. In critical cases, we consulted the DOP or the DiPI, the former mainly for proper names or geographical terms that cannot be found elsewhere. Lastly, we should not forget the all-encompassing, legendary dictionary of Italian: the Grande Dizionario della Lingua Italiana (Battaglia). It has proven useful in rare exceptional cases.

With regard to the classical conflict cases mentioned above, we have a real pronunciation ambivalence in front of us, i.e. the non-judgeable possibility to pronounce a word both closed and open, if at least one other dictionary besides Zingarelli also confirms it. If all other dictionaries opt for a certain variant for the open and closed e and o, we speak of a tendential vowel alignment. Here both pronunciation options are also available in principle, but one = the dominant one would be preferred.

We are now ready to get acquainted with the graphic signs of our edition. They are all entered in red color in the text, in order to stand out from Petrocchi's original text.

D. The vowels

a. Open and closed e and o

These vowels do not cause any difficulties by themselves, since their pronunciation is unambiguous and is also judged the same by all dictionaries. One distinguishes the open e and o from the closed e and o. The former two vowels are marked with a so-called accento acuto, the latter two with the accento grave. The difference is only apparent with stressed vowels. Unstressed e and o are always pronounced closed.

In most cases, pronunciation follows fixed rules, which are presented in varying detail in the relevant standard works. It is also possible in many cases to derive the pronunciation etymologically from Latin. Basically, however, regardless of these rules, exceptions are possible, so that, strictly speaking, one should only assume a pronunciation tendency. Thus, there remains the uncertainty of the individual word and the need to look it up in the dictionary.

However, the learner cannot be expected to have this knowledge, or only to a limited extent. The explicit indication of the stress variant saves laborious leafing through the pages and enables immediate correct reading. In our edition, therefore, all accented e and o are therefore explicitly indicated in red as Accento acuto or Accento grave, even in the case of a prosodically clearly determined pronunciation.

b. Ambivalent e and o

As we have seen above, there are words that can be pronounced both open and closed, with no preference for one or the other variant. The ambivalence is thus substantially rooted in the Italian language and not due to lexical idiosyncrasy. The background of this double option can be regional differences, which in the process of language standardization are not resolved unambiguously in favor of a certain dialect or a certain pronunciation direction. The majority of dictionaries usually show both the open and the closed option in this case.[6]

In our edition, the ambivalent words are denoted with a colon under the e and o without accent.

c. Tendential e and o

Another interesting group of words, while also preserving the principal possibility of open or closed pronunciation, prefers a particular direction.

Now, it would certainly be desirable to assume that in the case of these words the dominant Tuscan would have given the tendency of pronunciation as found in the classical dictionaries, but that modern Italian would have later dissolved it in regional variations. The latter would have finally established themselves in the educated standard language and would no longer be discredited as expressions of local dialects.

However, reality turns out to be different here, too. We also find predominantly ambivalent solutions in this word group in today's modern Tuscan, which is the only one available to us. It is true that the regional variants of central Italy, which also claim normative relevance of pronunciation, bring the desired variety, i.e., in addition to ambivalent instances also those who decide on a pronunciation option, but this does not always go in the desired direction. The tendency fixed in the large, classical dictionaries can by no means be explained by this.

In the absence of a convincing correspondence or satisfactory lexical alternative, we must therefore content ourselves with the information that for the group of tendential words in question here, there is in principle freedom of pronunciation, but that the classical direction still represents the norm to be preferred. In the new editions, the leading lexicons that have emerged from the classical period give a consensus from which one should not deviate without reason.

Thus, we have no choice but to follow the methodological principle introduced above, which consists in relying on the decision of the dictionaries and placing a tendential word precisely in that case where only one dictionary, the Zingarelli, assumes ambivalence, but none of the others. This is to express that with fundamental freedom of pronunciation, modern Italian prefers one direction. We encourage the reader to join this directed path.

Tendential syllables are marked in red in the text by a colon under the vowel and an accent above it. The former reminds us of the pronunciation freedom, the latter of the preferred pronunciation direction.

d. Strong, weak and optional accents

All of the above mentioned accents can appear in strong and weak versions. Alone or in combination with other accents or accent groups, they can also be omitted. They would then be optional or facultative. This is discussed in more detail below.

E. Consonants

In the case of consonants, we also encounter the possibility of pronunciation ambivalence in addition to the usual unambiguous pronunciation. Unlike vowels, here we do not distinguish between closed and open, but between voiceless and voiced utterances.

A tendential variant is omitted. It was difficult to accommodate graphically and has proven obsolete, since the critical evaluation of the intervocalic s as well as the z at the beginning of the word, to be described in more detail below, clearly contrasts the Zanichelli with the other classical dictionaries. Methodologically, we have proceeded here in such a way that an ambivalent articulation possibility is present if it appears in the Zanichelli. Otherwise, we have an unambiguous pronunciation before us.

With regard to the articulation of consonants, especially the unvoiced and voiced s and z cause difficulties for the learner, since borderline cases can occur here alongside clear rules. With the phenomenon of the intervocalic s as well as the initial z, we return to the opposition between tradition and modernity, which has already occupied us in detail with the vowels.

a. Unvoiced and voiced s

Let us first consider the letter s and here those words whose pronunciation is unambiguous, i.e., which can be assigned without doubt to the unvoiced or voiced group. For these simple cases, clear pronunciation rules exist.[7] They are listed in the relevant reference works of diction and leave no ambiguity in the lexicons either. Nevertheless, we want to assume that the reader does not always know these rules. Also, he wants to speak and not think or remember. After all, there should be a musical flow of words and not an advance word by word. In our edition, the simple s is always pronounced unvoiced without further marking. A single red dot under the letter marks the voiced s.

A look at history reveals that Classical Latin did not know a voiced s. It was not until the Middle Ages that an - albeit unsystematic - voicing appeared in Italy, the problem of which is particularly evident in the intervocalic s. We will now turn to this issue.

b. The problem of the intervocalic s

Already in the traditional section of neutral Italian, ambiguities arise in the pronunciation of the s placed between two vowels, which can no longer be resolved. To be sure, one may still follow rough rules here. However, there are unpredictable exceptions.[8] Thus, the reader has no choice but to consult a lexicon for each word or to memorize lists of vocabulary without the certainty of completeness.[9]

We circumvent this problem by making a clear, albeit differentiating, marking for this group of words as well. Words that are voiced in the classical version of Italian are always given a dot below the s. They are also voiced in the modern use of language.

On the other hand, words that are traditionally spoken voiceless but voiced in modern times are given two dots below the s, indicating that both pronunciation options exist. We will explain and justify this in a moment.

c. The ambivalent s of modernity

As described at the outset, the last half century has seen a gradual pronunciation shift of the intervocalic s from the voiceless variety of the classical period to the voiced one of the modern period. While some linguists considered this juxtaposition to be a purely Tuscan problem, it could not be overlooked that in other regions there was a clear tendency to use the voiced s common in northern Italy, a development that eventually took over all of Italy. Even in the public speech of such authoritative fields as drama or television, the modern pronunciation has now prevailed.

Unfortunately, dictionaries have not kept pace with this development. The classic reference works still contain the old, traditional pronunciation norm, i.e. the voiceless s. Only the Zanichelli and the DiPI make a commendable exception. While the Zanichelli limits itself to marking the dual possibility in principle, the DiPI further differentiates it historically and/or regionally for certain words. For us, the accuracy of a Zanichelli is sufficient, as it can implement a specific reading recommendation, which we may take from the excellent manual by Carboni & Sorianello (2012: 86).

The authors recommend that in cases of an intervocalic s, the voiced pronunciation relevant in spoken Italian today should always be chosen. The only exceptions are compound words in which the intervocalic s begins a new half-word, such as semiserio or caposanto. Here, the voiceless pronunciation would be preferable.[10]

We agree with this recommendation. Since there are no such compound words in the Divina Commedia, the recommendation is reduced to the trivial fact that each intervocalic s is to be voiced. Should a reader choose the traditional version for stylistic reasons, he will find the candidates available here in our edition.

For while words that must be voiced in both Traditional and Modern have one marker dot below the letter, words in which the past prefers an unvoiced pronunciation, while the present prefers a voiced pronunciation, receive two dots.

d. Unvoiced and voiced z

Knowing that we have left the most complex pronunciation relations behind us, we now want to turn to a simpler group of words, the unvoiced and voiced z. Nevertheless, we cannot do without refinements here either, but as we will see, these are at least partially resolved.

The unvoiced z was originally formed from Latin, Germanic and Arabic roots and was found at the beginning or in the middle of the word. There it has retained its importance until today. In the transition from classical to modern times, however, there was also a shift. In spoken Italian, the voiceless z at the beginning of the word has practically disappeared and been replaced by the voiced one. We will follow this phenomenon further in the next section.

Suffice it to say here that the undisputed voiceless z in the middle of the word remains unmarked, which means that a z is always to be pronounced unvoiced without further marking.

The voiced z also has its own Latin, Greek, Arabic or Persian roots and therefore allows a certain historical derivation, not without exceptions, of course. The reader does not want to have to deal with either and appreciates that we have explicitly and safely marked the voiced z with a dot under the letter. Often this word occurs as a double consonant separating two syllables. Here, of course, both consonants are simply marked.

e. The ambivalent z of modernity

We cannot end the discussion of consonants without pointing out the ambivalent z of modernity, which we already encountered in the last section. While the traditional idiom certainly knew a voiceless variant at the beginning of the word, whose origin could be justified historically, and traditional lexicons also exclusively represent this pronunciation to this day, the reality of oral Italian is different. Throughout Italy, the voiceless pronunciation has practically disappeared, giving way to the voiced one. It therefore makes sense not to resist this development and - if stylistic interests do not oppose it - to pronounce the z at the beginning of the word voiced.

The DiPI contains the modern pronunciation as well as the old one separated according to regions. The Zanichelli is content to keep the past and the present apart, i.e. to mark the historical ambivalence with two points under the z. This means that the corresponding word was previously pronounced voiceless, but today it is voiced. In each case it is recognizable as an ambivalent z. Our edition adopts these two points and the pronunciation recommendation.

F. Mixed forms

These are, first of all, vowels in which an accent marking is added in addition to a dieresis made by Petrocchi in the original text. We observe this phenomenon with closed and open e as well as with the vowels a and i with dieresis.

The second group of mixed forms concerns vowels for which we have assumed a dieresis different from Petrocchi's, in which case accents may additionally appear. The pure, supplemented dieresis we have before us in the case of vowels i and u, the additional accent expansion in the case of closed and open e as well as in one case a closed o. Finally, in two cases it was necessary to resolve a dieresis on i present in the original text.

In all these mixed or special forms there are no ambivalent or tendential accents, so that the designation is unambiguous.

2. The Latin pronunciation

A. History

The pronunciation of Latin, which after the collapse of the Roman Empire dissolved via spoken vulgar Latin into educated Romance languages and later only survived as an artificial language of scholars or the official church, has undergone interesting transformations.

The so-called classical pronunciation, as spoken by educated Romans in the time of Cicero or Caesar, is the result of a linguistic and philological reconstruction at the end of the 19th century.

In addition to this, however, the ecclesiastical pronunciation is historically of particular importance. It replaced vulgar Latin and dominated the international pronunciation of Latin, albeit in regional or national variations.

Finally, it would be possible to distinguish country-specific academic varieties of Latin, such as that taught at universities or schools.

The modern dictionaries all refer to Classical Latin and try to capture the pronunciation that applies here. We will first turn to it and later give the reader a possible recommendation of simplification.

B. Long and short vowels

As is well known, Latin does not distinguish accented from non-accented vowels, as Italian does, but long from short ones. In addition, there are ambivalent vowels (also called ancipite or bifronte), which can be pronounced long or short. The long vowels are marked with a solid overline, the short ones with a rounded overline in a U-shape. The ambivalent vowels receive both marks.

There are different binding rules for the length of a vowel within a word or at the end of a word. However, they are context-dependent, involve numerous exceptions, and are familiar only to the specialist.

The mode of articulation of the vowels, i.e. the question when they are to be pronounced open and when closed, is also subject to a differentiated regulation. Assuming that Latin knew five vowels, or six, if one adds the Y occurring in Greek foreign words, we may say that the short vowels were generally pronounced short and open (or half open), the long vowels long and closed (or half closed). Separate instructions apply to diphthongs. In addition, there are basic rules for consonants and assimilation effects between them.

Of course, it was not possible for our edition to accommodate the multitude of pronunciation rules of Latin. We have limited ourselves - similar to Italian - to the notation of vowels (and one consonant, the notorious intervocalic s). We have entered the word length above the vowel for each word, leaving it up to the reader to choose the appropriate open or closed pronunciation himself. All markings of Latin are in green color to stand out from Italian, but also from Old Occitan (see below).

C. Dictionaries

Five reference dictionaries from three countries have provided us with crucial services. First, the standard German work, the Menge-Güthling, then its modernized revision by Pertsch. The Castiglioni-Mariotti as Italian reference as well as two French lexicons, the Gaffiot (2016) and the Jeanneau (2017) based on it, both available online via the website Collatinus web, could not be missing.

Comparing the vocabularies yielded an astonishing divergence between these works. There are also often no length designations. In general, we have followed the majority principle, i.e. we have chosen the designation that is represented by the majority of dictionaries. In borderline cases, we have trusted the modern German lexicon of Pertsch, which has perhaps commented most extensively on the pronunciation.

The reader may wonder why we have not dispensed with the Latin-specific marking and instead, in view of the only vowel designation that comes into question, have opted for the one from Italian of open and closed vowels. We do not want to remain guilty of the answer. On the one hand, this approach offers the possibility of writing out short and long i, a and u, in addition to e and o. On the other hand, it preserves the freedom to choose a pronunciation other than the classical one.

D. The Academic Latin of Italian

Finally, however, we have the chance to propose a recommendation to the reader that can bring him close to Dante or to the native Italian reciters. For it turns out that all of these speakers conform to a simplified pronunciation scheme hidden in the academic variety of Italian Latin.

Here one distinguishes only five phonetic vowels[11] in the stressed position: the e and o are always pronounced open in the stressed case, always closed in the unstressed case. Otherwise, the pronunciation is also close to neutral Italian. We can therefore - if we disregard the deviation of the e and o - use the above presented principles of its correct pronunciation also here.

This is also the reason why we have chosen the academic rather than the perhaps historically more significant ecclesiastical version for our recommendation. According to Canepari, there is no notable difference between the two.[12] Also, we are less concerned with a historical pronunciation than with one close to present-day oral Italian.

If we assume that Dante may also have spoken an Italian or Tuscan variant of Latin, this simplification or national preference would not be to blame from the outset.

E. Special characters

For the sake of completeness, we would like to add that in addition to the six long and short vowels, there are also accented as well as ambivalent vowels. Vowels with dieresis also occur in the original text. Our edition has carefully added these special characters in their own vertically superimposed markings.[13]

3. The pronunciation of Old Occitan (Lingua d'Oc).

The Divina Commedia contains eight verses in Old Occitan, the so-called Lingua d'Oc. They are put into the mouth of the great troubadour Daniel Arnaut and allow for significant speculations about Dante's appreciation of this poet and his language.[14] We have limited ourselves to marking the pronunciation here as well.

The standard work by William D. Paden (1998) was initially fundamental. The accompanying CD with the soprano Elizabeth Aubrey also helped with the pronunciation of certain words. In addition, the works of Smith & Bergin (1984) and Rourret (2006) were to be consulted as a second preference. Most recently, the Dictionnaire de l’occitan médiéval (DOM), sponsored by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and the Dizionario ItalianoOccitano-OccitanoItaliano also proved helpful.

Our edition includes precise marking of the open and closed e and o, the accented i, a, and u, and the y. The voiced s as well as hard and soft consonants are also entered in the text in purple. On the Internet we can find the audio clip of the Arnaut lines, spoken by a connoisseur of modern Occitan. We gladly refer to it.[15]

  1. [1]In fact, Italian has undergone only moderate changes from the Middle Ages to modern times, which can be read about in relevant treatises. For example, Vittorio Formentin, in the Enciclopedia Italiana (2010), states: … mentre per l’inglese, il francese e lo spagnolo le trasformazioni fonetiche intervenute tra medioevo ed età moderna sono rilevantissime, per l’italiano sono invece, tutto sommato, di entità modesta“. And: “Se si prende come punto di riferimento della norma odierna il cosiddetto italiano standard, non sono molti i cambiamenti da registrare rispetto al quadro del fiorentino medievale appena tracciato.” Interested readers are referred to the seminal work by Paolo Manni (2013): La lingua di Dante. It breaks down the language of our poet separately by works and deals explicitly with the phonology, morphology, vocabulary and style of the Divina Commedia.
  2. [2]See Carboni & Sorianello (2011) or Canepari (2018), and Canepàri & Giovannelli (2012).
  3. [3]As is well known, the Risorgimento refers to the period of Italian history in which the country, starting from revolutionary protest movements, finally found national unification in 1861 with the Proclamazione del Regno.
  4. [4]Cf. Canepari (2018): 243 and, in more detail, Canepàri & Giovannelli (2012): 29. The scrupulous researcher faces an apparent dilemma here. On the one hand, dictionaries based on the classical idiom often show the focus on a single, clear pronunciation of the e and o for those critical, potentially undecided words; on the other hand, as the special lexicon DiPI points out to us, modern Tuscan manifests an ambivalence for these very words. This discrepancy can be explained by the fact that traditional Tuscan has changed on the way to modernity and that, similar to the regional variants of central Italy, which claim relevance for today's pronunciation, it has experienced a turn towards ambivalence = towards possible open and closed pronunciation.
  5. [5]We also follow this usage. It is sufficient for the reader to know that he can pronounce a word both open and closed or - as we will show below - predominantly closed or open. He doesn't need to find out which of the many regional dialects follows which usage. The DiPI offers the interested one a more differentiated list, admittedly also not of all words, so that with view of completeness one is referred nevertheless to the DOP or those other large dictionaries, which belong however to the classical domain.
  6. [6]This cautious formulation points the reader to the real complexity of the matter. A list of the words and their different evaluation in the dictionaries shows that it is hardly possible to lay down general principles. When there is real ambivalence, there is almost always one in (modern) Tuscan, although there are few exceptions. At one point the dictionaries even go in an opposite direction. Methodologically, we have therefore sworn to the rule already presented above: If in addition to the Zanichelli another dictionary (mostly the Garzanti, occasionally the DOP ) denotes the ambivalence, then we have also accepted it. If only the Zanichelli denotes the ambivalence and no other dictionary, we assume a tendential accent (see below). Certainly, this is an arbitrary stipulation that can certainly be discussed, i.e., it could be replaced, for example, by a majority decision of the dictionaries involved. This would, of course, cancel the special status of Zanichelli, which is concerned with the freedom of pronunciation inherent in the double option. We were concerned to ensure, on the one hand, that a possible genuine ambivalence is not forgotten, but at the same time that a genuine tendency is also represented.
  7. [7]Carboni & Sorianello (2012): 84-86 provide a good overview. Dal Piai (2008) is also very detailed with specific word lists: § 146-162.
  8. [8]This is the case, for example, with vowels ending in -esi or -osi. Voiceless are verb forms of the passato remoto or the participio passato such as accesi, compresi, nascosi, or risposi, whereas voiced are erudite words such as teṣi, criṣi, or nevroṣi.
  9. [9]It does not help in this case that the voiced variant usually occurs only with vocabulary of non-Latin origin, since the study of a new language does not seem reasonable and absolute certainty cannot be gained here either.
  10. [10]Canepari (2018: 77) also comments accordingly: “as far as VsV [Vocal s Vocal] is concerned, modern neutral pronunciation resolves the problem of traditional pronunciation. Actually, every postvocalic intralexemic [= intervocalic] -s- (ie in simple words, not in compound) is voiced”. [Our square brackets].
  11. [11]This is purely about the sound realization of the vowels (= phonemes), i.e. about their articulation, which means that e.g. the stressed e and o in academic Latin can be pronounced in only one way. In classical Latin, also apart from the y, only five vowel letters (= graphemes) were known, but, for example, the stressed e and o could be pronounced open or closed, which yields two additional phonetic vowels. In fact, a complete consideration of all six stressed vowels of Classical Latin (including the y), since all can be pronounced closed or open, yields a total of 12 articulation possibilities (Canepari 2018: 497/498).
  12. [12]Church Latin or International Latin (Italic, IE) is similar to Italian Academic Latin, and in fact it should be pronounced exactly like it.” (Canepari 2018: 510).
  13. [13]The connoisseur will be surprised that also the voiced s, although rarely, is offered in our edition as an alternative, i.e. ambivalently to the voiceless s, since classical Latin - so it would seem - knows exclusively the voiceless s. In fact, however, the exact (historical) articulation of the s is disputed. At the beginning and end of a word or before a consonant it was always articulated voiceless. It is possible, though not proven, that it could also become voiced within the word between vowels. Therefore, we have placed an ambivalent s exclusively for this intervocalic case, but especially when the Italian counterpart is voiced.

    Last, our choice concerns in many cases words like Miserere or Osanna, which do not belong to the classical Latin sphere, but later became part of Church Latin. Thus, they are likely to be closer to Italian in pronunciation as well. In fact, no one today pronounces the two words mentioned unvoiced. Whether it was different in earlier times, we want to leave open with the ambivalence.
  14. [14]The tireless lone fighter Maria Soresina sees in these few verses a proof of Dante's basic heretical conviction, more precisely: of his turn to Catharism. We leave the judgment to others, but we want to concede that the arguments put forward with commitment by the named author in meanwhile three books (2020, 2009, 2002) and various video sequences deserve a careful examination. Also, it can hardly be denied that Dante thoroughly distanced himself from an orthodox Catholic interpretation of Christianity and presumably developed his very own religion and world view, which culminates in the grandiose final image of the Paradiso: here man finally finds himself as the image of God. Thus, in addition to the many possible interpretations of the poem, it cannot be ruled out that the Divina Commedia is not exclusively a religious work, but a profoundly psychological one, which was not only here far ahead of its time, and which leads man through his own pathology (Inferno) and a recognition of it (Purgatorio) into spiritual freedom (Paradiso).
  15. [15]On the website of the Associazione Espaci Occitan: http://www.espaci-occitan.org/occitano-e-occitania/lingua-occitana/lingua-doc/

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