When I first came across the Byzantine Empire in books I assumed that it was pronounced as it was spelled (i.e. bih-zan-tin or baɪ zən tɪn in IPA). However I have since heard many people, including history academics, choosing to exclusively pronounce it quite differently: as biz-in-teen.

This doesn't make a huge amount of sense to me, as the capital (Constantinople) has often been referred to as Byzantium (such as in the famous WB Yeats Poem). How would this even be pronounced? biz-in-te-e-um?

Looking at the etymology of the word sheds little light for me: bȳzantīnus. I am assuming this is Geek (but I'm afraid Greek is Greek to me)

Any sources I could find which describe how to pronounce Byzantine list both methods (usually placing baɪ-zən-tɪn second).

Notwithstanding common contemporary parlance, which method is likely to be the most historically accurate reflection of how denizens of the Byzantine Empire would have referred to themselves (other than as Romans of course)?

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    Βυζάντιον, the Greek name for Byzantium, was pronounced in koiné Greek /byːdzán.ti.on/, the "υ" in the Greek being similar to the French "u" in "une", a sort of middle ground between a short "i" and an "u" and so rendered in IPA as "y". – Carlos Martin Jul 27 '19 at 10:24
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    Language isn't normative - on what basis would you choose the "correct" pronunciation? I think you're really asking how the Byzantines would have identified their country, but that's not the same as "correct". We don't refer to most countries by the sounds that they use to refer to themselves. - try telling a German that they are pronouncing "Deutschland" incorrectly. The word "America" is pronounced differently in different parts of the country. – Mark C. Wallace Jul 27 '19 at 10:46
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    It has been years since I studied German dialect, but my memory says that the Deutschland is pronounced differently in the North than in Bavaria. And "America" is pronounced differently in the North than the South. Language is formative, not normative. – Mark C. Wallace Jul 27 '19 at 11:00
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    To answer the question in the last sentence: they referred to themselves as "Romans". – Alex Jul 27 '19 at 15:37
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it might fit better on one of the English Language SEs? – LаngLаngС Jul 27 '19 at 18:40

I don't know if it is pronounced "Buy-zanteen" or "Biz-anteen".

It is also important to spell it correctly.

When writing about the ancient city state, it should be spelled Byzantine.

But when writing about the middle ages it should be spelled "Byzantine" with quotation marks, as in, for example, "the Eastern Roman or "Byzantine" Empire".

How did the natives of the medieval Empire pronounce Byzantium? They pronounced it "Romania". And I think they pronounced Byzantine "Romaikos".

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