For example evangelium, which in Greek, and hence in Classical, has an ambisyllabic1 [w:], giving [ɛw:a]. How are this and similar words pronounced in (preferrably sung) Roman Ecclesiastical? Is it as a singleton [ɛva], as a geminate [ɛv:a], as [ɛwva] or something else? Or if you have any info on the other traditional pronunciations, such as the German, French or even English one (yay, Lutiny love!), this is also appreciated. I've read a good amount on the topic but don't remember seeing any mention of this.

1 ambisyllabic: belonging to both the preceding and the following syllable


1 Answer 1


The Italian ecclesiastical pronunciation of "ev" is simply /ev/ (e. g. here). The same goes for the French pronunciation of ecclesiastical Latin (only the ending changes: /ɔm/).

Addendum Wikipédia provides a summary of all Latin pronunciations here.

  • Thank you for replying, but actually the priest is using the traditional German, not Roman pronunciation. As befits a proud German, he sounds eva as /efa/, and quid as /kfid/. But I did ask for the German one as well didn't I? ;-) And this is a nice example. Apr 21, 2021 at 0:23
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    No the pronouciation would be /ev/ as well with the German pronuncation (see the addendum). But here it's the Italian one, as it became the common one everywhere in the Catholic Church during the 20th century. What you ear can only be some accent here. Other pronunciations are still widely used in music however: youtube.com/watch?v=A-ciHR2etY4
    – Luc
    Apr 21, 2021 at 7:42
  • Luc, please, trust me when I tell you that this is the German pronunciation of Latin and not the Italian one; and when I tell you that the priest says [f] for v, and that this is extremely characteristic of the German pronunciation. Everything about his pronunciation is German: [ditsentes] for dicentes, [t] for d, [tʰ] for t, the lax short vowels. I (used to) speak German, and I understand Italian, and phonetics/phonology is my linguistic specialty. To sound more German he'd have to adopt a Bavarian accent :D Apr 21, 2021 at 13:25
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    (The comment discussion had escalated, so I deleted most of it. If there is nothing positive to say, better refrain from saying anything.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 21, 2021 at 18:01
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    As a German speaker, I can attest that the pronunciation of the gentleman in the linked video (who I believe is Peter Nickl, in his usual life Master of Ceremonies at the Cathedral of Regensburg) is almost painfully German, but „Efangelium“ is not the traditional German pronunciation of Latin. (It is the German pronunciation of „Evangelium“ to be sure.) Apr 21, 2021 at 20:41

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