Questions tagged [pronunciation]

Questions regarding the pronunciation of Latin words or syllables, or the history of Latin pronunciation.

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30 views

A good source for macrons et apices?

I try to learn Latin vocabulary with macrons. But online dictionaries, either don't give the diacritic, or give them only for the nominative, have some errors, or give only macrons, and no apices. ...
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52 views

Why does “urgueo” exist as a variant of “urgeo”?

The rule I learned for the pronunciation of the digram "gu" before a vowel in Latin was /gw/ after "n", vs. g + vocalic u anywhere else. But I just discovered the exception urgueo /urgweoː/. This is a ...
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40 views

How were vowels u and i discerned from consonants v and j?

If in original texts there were no means of distinguishing whether u and i were consonants or vowels, how then do we now know which ones were which? The easy ruleset I learned in high school is that ...
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77 views

On vowel lengths in Latin

This question originates from this thread upon suggestion of Joonas Ilmavirta. Q. How do we know all the vowel lengths in Latin? It would be of interest to me if we manage to collect a list with ...
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260 views

Doubt on pronunciation of verbs (stressing)

I have recently heard somebody (quoting Virgil) saying "Timèo Danaos...". This sounds awkward to me, but I confess I have not studied Latin for ages. I remember that timeo is a verb like moneo, II ...
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111 views

Pronunciation of “Formulæ”

What is the pronunciation of Formulæ in Latin ? Is there any difference (in pronunciation) between classical and vulgar Latin ? The answer can be in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) format.
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34 views

What evidence is there of a short vowel in the first syllable of “vallum”?

Two sources that I've come across indicate a long vowel /aː/ in the first syllable of the word vallum 'palisade wall' (that is, vāllum). This form is given in The Latin Language, by Charles E. ...
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158 views

Thematic, genred concepts in Ancient Greek?

Trying to come up with magical 'schools' for a game, and my goal is to: Use Ancient Greek, Koine if absolutely necessary Have words of generally the same length and number of syllables (not like, ...
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359 views

Pronunciation style used in Hans Ørberg's Lingua Latina

In his book, Hans Ørberg uses macrons to show longer vowel sounds, but it's not clear to me if this is reconstructed, ecclesiastical, something else, or if there are even differences between those ...
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117 views

What is the evidence for a long vowel in χριστός “anointed” and Latin Christus?

The Greek word χριστός, used as a translation of Hebrew משיח "messiah", and meaning something like "anointed" (Liddell and Scott), apparently has a long vowel in the first syllable. The quantity of ...
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62 views

How is the word “Eboracum” stressed in Latin?

John Walker in his work A Key to the Classical Pronunciation of Greek, Latin, and Scripture Proper Names suggests pronouncing it as "Ebóracum": Are there any other sources of this word's ...
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337 views

What evidence points to a long ō in the first syllable of nōscō's present-tense form?

I've read in various sources that the verb nosco 'know' had a long vowel in the first syllable in Classical Latin pronunciation: nōscō [noːskoː]. I'm wondering what the linguistic evidence is for the ...
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819 views

Was there ever a difference between 'volo' and 'volo'?

The words "I want" and "I fly" are both volō. Was there ever any difference in pronunciation in the classical era or later? I expect such differences to be more likely in vulgar Latin. The rest ...
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3answers
165 views

How was “gnosco” pronounced?

I've heard it said before that Classical Latin /gn/ between vowels (as in magnus) was probably realized as [ŋn] (as in "hangnail"). This is supported by Romance descendants and the spelling of certain ...
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101 views

What do we know about Homer's pronunciation?

Nowadays, most classicists seem to teach a reconstructed Ancient Greek pronunciation, imitating how an Athenian would have spoken in the fifth century BCE. On top of that, there's solid evidence for ...
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108 views

Are there minimal pairs between the acute and circumflex accent?

Ancient Greek had two (*) different types of accent on long vowels: the "circumflex" accent indicates high tone on the first mora, and the "acute" accent indicates high tone on the second. (Short ...
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385 views

Were initial voiced stops voiceless in early Latin?

The pronunciation of the stops b, d, g / p, t, k is—it seems—unstable. In German, the voiced stops are unvoiced at the end of words, such as in lieb mir, das Lied, Guten Tag (/liːp mi:r, das liːt, ...
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338 views

How would Marcus Aurelius have pronounced his Latin?

It is my understanding that Julius Caesar, Cicero, Octavian (Augustus) would have pronounced Latin in a manner that is decidedly Classical, characterised by: "v" as /w/ "c" and "g" always hard (i.e., ...
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94 views

In ancient Attic Greek, how (un)stable were “ΝΣ”/“ΝΖ” and preceding vowels?

In Latin, it is thought (as far as I know) that within a single word, /ns/ and /nf/ were always preceded by a long vowel. This is a somewhat complicated result of a hypothesized sound change in words ...
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67 views

Are there specific exceptions to the rule of lengthening a vowel before “ns” or “nf”?

A while ago, I wrote an answer summarizing my understanding of the rule that a vowel is long in Classical Latin before ns or nf. As far as I know, this rule applied very regularly. But I'm not sure ...
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413 views

What is Plautus’s pun about frustum and frustrum?

The word frustum is often mispronounced as frustrum. Wikipedia states that this mispronunciation goes back a long time and a pun about them is included in the works of Plautus. Can anyone direct me ...
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187 views

Pronunciation of numbers with respect to years

I understand that when dates are written, the years are expressed in Roman numerals (e.g.: 2019 is written MMXIX), but it has been years since I heard the numbers actually pronounced. How were the ...
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2answers
72 views

Is long vowel feature completely lost in deviated languages?

In Latin, some vowels are marked by a macron, they are long vowels. However, I found that in French and Spanish there's no macron in their writing. Is the long vowel feature completely lost in the ...
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628 views

How to read αἱμύλιος or when to aspirate

I've tought myself to read the Greek alphabet, and it is still confusing to read and identify "h" sound in the ancient Greek. For example, Athena talks about Calypso that she has "αἱμύλιοι λόγοι" in ...
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215 views

Quality of final ĕ ĭ ŏ

Evidence from the Romance languages provides fairly good evidence for distinct qualities, [ɛ] vs. [eː], for ĕ and ē in stressed syllables when followed by a consonant. Likewise for ŏ and ō as [ɔ] vs. [...
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How do we know how -iī and -iit perfects were stressed?

The question Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules? has an answer by Joel Derfner saying that the first-person singular perfect forms dormiī, audiī, veniī (for dormīvī, audīvī, venīvī) have ...
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2k views

When is “ei” a diphthong?

Many introductory Latin books will explain that Classical Latin has four diphthongs: ae and au are common, while oe and ei are rarer. (Eu and ui also show up, but if I understand right that's a Greek ...
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252 views

What do we know about Vulgar Latin pronunciation?

Nowadays, most Latinists learn the "reconstructed classical" pronunciation: an attempt at reconstructing the way Cicero, Caesar, or Vergil might have spoken in formal settings. However, it seems ...
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271 views

How do you pronounce “Aeclepiadae”?

Just as the title says. Or should it really be "Asclepiadae", since it comes from "Asclepius"?
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How to pronounce 'que' and 'angeli'?

I came along these in a Latin song our choir is singing. How to pronounce them? I guess I can absorb an international phonetic alphabet transcription. Update after reading some answers: I should ...
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1answer
652 views

“Ae” pronounciation

In accordance to Wikipedia ae diphtong should be pronounce like /ae̯/. So should I pronounce Graecae (Greek, f., pl.) as /ˈgrae̯kae̯/? EDIT: In accordance to Rafael's comment please see the ...
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128 views

Were enclitics considered part of a word for stress purposes?

One rule of Latin stress is that it can never go farther back than the antepenult: the third syllable from the end. For example, we have cár-men "song", cár-mi-ne "with a song", and car-mí-ni-bus "...
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110 views

Why is it thought that T resisted assibilation after another T?

It's well known that past a certain point, Latin "t" developed an assibilated pronunciation when followed by "i" and then a vowel, as in the word grātia. Sources agree that there are some exceptions, ...
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987 views

the pronunciation of _excelsis_ in Ecclesiastical Latin

In another post about the de-facto standard use of Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation in singing, I included a postscript querying whether excelsis should be pronounced [ɛksʧɛlsis] or [ɛkʃɛlsis]. ...
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what is the rationale for modern pronunciation of Latin in music

Fellow followers of Latin stackexchange! I hope you have all had a happy Christmas (or, if you do not celebrate Christmas, a happy holiday time). I'm not particularly versed in musical tradition, ...
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1answer
178 views

Issues with the lyrics of the UEFA Nations League anthem

Recently, a new international football competition was inaugurated, namely the UEFA Nations League. Being this a European-wide cup, the organisers decided to have the anthem in ... Latin! Certainly a ...
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1answer
755 views

How to better distinguish words in Gregorian Chant?

When listening to Gregorian Chant (in Latin), I find very hard to distinguish the words being sung, beyond some trivial regular words or phrases. It might well be said that Gregorian Chant is ...
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310 views

What would a 5th-6th century learned Latin pronunciation have sounded like?

Is there any information on the status of learned pronunciations from the late imperial period up to 1000 CE? I am wondering because the Classical Latin reconstruction seems to make clear that by the ...
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563 views

What was the sibilant in θάλασσα?

The word θάλασσα thálassa "sea" is spelled in various different ways, with different letters replacing the sigmas: some dialects had a tau, for example, while others had a theta. Do we know (through ...
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255 views

Is the palatalization of “d” between “a”, “i” or “o” and “ie” or “iu” only a Medieval Latin phenomenon?

In Italian and the other Romance languages, the palatalization especially concerns "c" and "g" before "e" or "i". But some words in Italian (or early Italian in the case of meriggio) show the same for ...
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233 views

Is there support for claiming -gn- was pronounced as /ŋ/ in classical Latin?

According to what I have learned, -gn- was commonly pronounced /ŋn/, e.g. [ˈmaŋ.nʊs] (magnus). However, this excerpt from Encyclopædia Britannica had me wondering: The sound represented by ng (...
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2k views

What makes a syllable “heavy” or “light”?

The rules for positioning of syllable stress in Latin are relatively simple; they are as follows: In two-syllable words, the stress always falls on the first syllable. In three or more ...
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193 views

How was iī pronounced?

Most of the time, Latin doesn't allow two instances of the same vowel next to each other: forms like *mee (from meus) are replaced with alternatives like mī. However, in I-stem second nouns, the ...
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Is there a difference between prose stress and metric stress?

According to an earlier question, we do not know how stress was realized on classical Latin. It may have been dynamic (stressed syllables are louder), tonal (stress changes pitch), or a combination, ...
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70 views

Is 'hoc' ever pronounced short?

I have learned that the neuter nominative and accusative hoc is actually pronounced as if it were hocc. But was it exclusively hocc? Was it ever pronounced as the hoc that it looks like in the ...
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3answers
301 views

How many syllables are there in 'mortuus'?

I asked yesterday why the participle mortuus has two us. When Rafael asked whether one of the us were consonantal, I had no other evidence than being taught that they are both vocalic. Arguing by ...
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1answer
262 views

Why were the pronunciation of ae and oe special cases in Classical Latin?

In Classical Latin, the diphthongs ae and oe were pronounced as /ai̯/ and /oi̯/, respectively. Why was the letter e in these cases pronounced as /i/ instead of with an /e/ or /ɛ/?
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153 views

Accents in compound words and words with enclitics

I've been learning Latin on my own for the last 4 months or so using Wheelock and Moreland & Fleischer. I've not been able to find answers to the following accentuation questions in either of ...
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123 views

How is stress realized in Latin phonetically?

I have heard that Latin does not lengthen stressed syllables. If so, are they pronounced louder or with altered articulation, maybe a higher pitch?
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146 views

Origin of the reconstructed pronunciation

I know that a common source for the reconstructed pronunciation of latin is Vox Latina by William Sidney Allen, but I've read somewhere that a critical analysis of latin texts and the pronunciation ...