In other words what changes from Classical Latin definitely were mainstream by that time: vowels, consonants, regional divergences? I'm aware of certain changes, but not exactly timewise when these changes became popular and widespread, if earlier or later than the 600s CE.

EDIT: I say specifically in the 600s CE, because around that time was when the Roman (Byzantine) Empire supposedly made Greek it's main official language instead of Latin, and when the school systems in the former Western Roman Empire were deterioating due to the Lombard invasion in Italy, Moors in Spain, and the Merovingian Dynasty domination in France. It was also around this time period where the last classical scholars were writing (Isidor of Seville, Gregory of Tours, Pope Gregory the First).

  • 2
    in what location? By this point, Latin had significant regional diversity
    – Tristan
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 15:30
  • Spain personally. Commented Jul 30, 2023 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


This is not a complete picture, but here are some changes that I'm confident were well advanced if not complete by that time:

  • the change of the consonant v from [w] to a fricative, likely [β]. See When did the consonant U (i.e., V) begin to be pronounced as the fricative [v] instead of [w]?

  • the change of ae from a phonetic diphthong to a phonetic monophthong. See When did "ae" become [e]?

  • The affrication of -ti- and -di- before a vowel. Per Leonhard Tafel, the 5th-century grammarian Pompeius describes this pronunciation as normative. This sound change is commonly viewed as implying the following change, whereby

  • unstressed -i- before a vowel was not pronounced as a syllabic vowel, but as a non-syllabic glide /j/, or as a feature of palatalization [ʲ] on the preceding consonant. Unstressed -e- before a vowel seems to have undergone the same evolution, judging from Romance and from confusion in spelling between e and i in this position (which however goes back to a certain degree to antiquity, and can be explained alternatively by a qualitative similarity of these vowels in this position).

  • The loss of h was undoubtably well established in popular speech (as we have evidence that it had already made significant progress in Classical times), but this one is a bit tricky because there is also evidence of elite resistance to this sound change. So there is a countervailing tendency of "h-restoration" that we would need to account for. I'm not sure what date we can say that it became "mainstream".


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