Questions tagged [pronunciation]

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

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29
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3answers
2k views

Are there exceptions to the Latin stress rules?

Do the Latin stress rules (antepenultimate if penultimate is light, penultimate if heavy) have any known exceptions? If so, what are the exceptions, and what evidence is there in the grammatical ...
24
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1answer
3k views

What are the classical names of the letters of the Latin alphabet?

When I refer to letters in Latin, I (sadly) use the English names for them. If I knew the Latin names, I could apply Classical Latin pronunciation rules to say them properly. So, how was each ...
30
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4answers
873 views

When is an I not an I?

For whatever daft reason, the current trend in modern Latin orthography is to write consonantal 'i' (IPA /j/) as 'i' rather than as 'j'. How can we then tell whether a given 'i' is a vowel or a /j/, ...
22
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1answer
3k views

Why “ex nihilo” instead of “e nihilo”?

I was helping a friend earlier with an English-to-Latin translation and we started talking about the prepositions "a(b)" and "e(x)", which lose their consonant if the following word begins with one [...
17
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2answers
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When did 'ph' start to be pronounced like 'f'?

I learned from Nathaniel's answer to my previous question that 'ch', 'th' and 'ph' were aspirated voiceless stops in classical Latin. In my experience many contemporary speakers of Latin pronounce 'ph'...
12
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1answer
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Were 'th' and 'ch' aspirated in classical Latin?

I have been taught that 'th' and 'ch' were pronounced just like 't' and 'c' in classical Latin, with no aspiration. The answer to this earlier question confirms that 't' and 'c' had indeed little or ...
34
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3answers
7k views

How do we know how the Romans pronounced Latin?

A quick Google Search says plenty of things about Roman Latin pronunciation, and since it's an edu domain I'm inclined to believe it. However, the closest to citing a source it gets is saying "we know ...
23
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1answer
3k views

How do we know how gn was pronounced in Classical Latin?

As far as I am aware, the classical pronunciation of -gn- (as in magnus) is not [gn] but [ŋn]. How do we know that this is in fact how -gn- was pronounced?
15
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2answers
366 views

How to read mathematics out loud?

Reading symbolic mathematical expressions out loud in any language is mainly folklore: everyone in the field knows how to do it but finding explicit written instructions is surprisingly hard. I have ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Do we know how 'ng' was pronounced in classical Latin?

How was 'ng' pronounced in classical Latin and how do we know? I believe metric considerations strongly indicate that it was not a short consonant (/ŋ/ or other), but I can still think of two ...
14
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1answer
234 views

Greek pronunciation, invisible aspirations

Is there any evidence that aspirations that are as a result of composition no longer orthographically marked were still pronounced? Or to the contrary? I mean was προαίρησις pronounced proairesis or ...
9
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2answers
380 views

Are vowels long before “gn”?

Allen and Greenough, §10d, provide a general rule: A vowel before ns, nf, gn, is long: as in cōnstāns, īnferō, māgnus [emphasis modified] This seems to agree with Priscian: 'gnus' quoque vel '...
7
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1answer
570 views

How was “VV” pronounced?

Most instances of vv in Latin seem to fall into three categories: It's in the combination qvu or ngvu, as in eqvus, pronounced /u/ It's actually vu, a consonant followed by a vowel, as in parvus It's ...
9
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2answers
1k views

How is Latium pronounced?

The Merriam Webster definition gives the following pronunciation: \ˈlā-sh(ē-)əm\. But this doesn't sound right to me. I have never heard the consonant 't' pronounced this way in Latin. Which leads me ...
33
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4answers
3k views

What effect should a macron have on the sound of a letter and its word?

Latin makes use of macrons (small lines above letters) to indicate a different pronunciation for that letter. Exactly what should the macron indicate about the pronunciation of the letter? Does the ...
19
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3answers
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When did the consonant U (i.e., V) begin to be pronounced as the fricative [v] instead of [w]?

It's well established that the consonantal u (or v) was pronounced as [w] in Classical Latin (i.e., w as in wine). Of course, Romance languages developed voiced fricatives out of this u-consonant, ...
10
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1answer
317 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 ...
30
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2answers
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When did “c” before “e” or “i” start to be pronounced as [ts] (in contrast to classical [k])?

In Classical Latin, "c" was always pronounced as "k". Since Renaissance Latin grammar reform, the correct pronunciation of "c" before "e" or "i" was codified to [ts]. So in Renaissance the true ...
20
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2answers
1k views

Was the final “-m” a “full-featured” consonant?

Is there any solid evidence supporting or denying the hypothesis that in Classical Latin the syllable-final vowel -m (especially at the end of the word) was only an orthographic convention, but in ...
16
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3answers
2k views

Why does “ῤάρος” have a smooth breathing?

I recently discovered that LSJ lists exactly two words beginning with ῤ (rho with a smooth breathing mark): ῤάρος and its diminutive ῤάριον. Most beginning Greek students are taught, of course, that ...
13
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1answer
917 views

Were voiceless stops (p, t, c, qu) aspirated in Classical Latin?

In English, the voiceless stops/plosives (p, t, k, "hard" c) are aspirated, particularly when beginning a word. That is, speakers release a burst of air when saying pop, tea, kaluha, or coffee (put ...
11
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2answers
442 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 ...
8
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4answers
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Is “s” between two vowels voiced or unvoiced?

I am phrasing the question as an absolute though I am well aware that the answer could be "we don't know" or "depends on your pronunciation." I often hear church choirs pronounce miserere with a ...
8
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1answer
186 views

Which mora of a stressed long vowel or diphthong bears the emphasis?

When a stress falls on a long vowel or a diphthong as in, for example: dīcō (IPA /ˈdiː.koː/) coepiō (IPA: /ˈkoe̯.pi.oː/) should I think that the emphasis: falls on the first mora, falls on the ...
7
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2answers
325 views

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, ...
10
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1answer
275 views

Interpretation of circumflex in a poem from 1621

A poem from 1621 contains one ô and one â. The ô is the interjection ô and the â is in the relative pronoun quâ. No circumflexes are used elsewhere in the poem. Does the circumflex (or caret or ...
9
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5answers
1k views

How did Latin sound?

Does anybody know how normal Latin dialog sounded — not the oratory or ecclesiastical versions? Are there any audio files that you recommend?
7
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1answer
320 views

What digraphs did the Romans use?

English uses a variety of digraphs to represent sounds which lack their own letters. Some of these (such as "th" and "sh") appear in native words; others (such as "kh") only appear in loanwords. I ...
6
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0answers
216 views

Why is pronunciation different in Turku than the rest of Finland?

In Finland ae and oe are both typically pronounced as /e:/ when they belong to the same syllable. In (and near) Turku the pronunciations are /ai/ and /oi/. (This excludes, for example, aer and poema; ...
6
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2answers
452 views

How did the Romans pronounce Niobe?

I finished re-reading the myth of Niobe and Latona, and it made me wonder, how did the Romans pronounce the name Niobe? Is it the same way we North American English speakers would pronounce it? ...
9
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1answer
163 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?
9
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3answers
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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 syllable ...
8
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1answer
169 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 "...
7
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2answers
227 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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5answers
691 views

Resources for pronouncing Latin

What resources are out there for learning to pronounce Latin? Latin was pronounced differently in different places and eras, so resources for any part of the spatiotemporal realm of Latin are welcome. ...
6
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1answer
460 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 ...
4
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2answers
249 views

Understanding Lewis and Short: Why sūbĭcĭo and not subjĭcĭo?

I just searched for Christmas questions on our site, and ended up reading this question and its answer. There was a mention of the Lewis and Short entry on the verb subicere, and I was puzzled by the ...
14
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2answers
594 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 ...
13
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2answers
354 views

In current teaching practice, what Latin pronunciation is most commonly taught in Europe?

I learned Latin in a US public school. Although pronunciation was admittedly never emphasized in the course, classical Latin pronunciation was always the ideal. I've met Latin students from across ...
12
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2answers
359 views

Did the Romans confuse a long vowel with two short ones?

Consider the words sūs and sŭŭs. The former has one long u, the latter has two short ones in two syllables. For another similar pair with a different vowel, consider īmus and ...
8
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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2answers
372 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 ...
6
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3answers
237 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 ...
5
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2answers
286 views

What would be the etymologically Greek spelling of 'misogynoir'?

I asked this at another language Stack Exchange but was directed to here instead. I wasn't too sure how best to phrase the title of this question, so hope I can better explain it in this body. For ...
3
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0answers
78 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
96 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 ...
11
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3answers
448 views

Why does singular “mons” become plural “montes”?

Some singular third declension nouns, ending in -s, have a t in their stem, so: singular mons → plural montes infans → infantes miles → milites I understand these to be examples of "lingual" ...
8
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2answers
370 views

DVCITIS, DUCITIS, DŪCITIS

Are all three of these valid spellings and have I listed them in the chronological order they would have been used? DVCITIS DUCITIS DŪCITIS Would the C have been pronounced with a hard 'K', or a 'CH'...
6
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1answer
343 views

Where can I hear the original pronunciation of the Latin alphabet?

Is there a difference between the pronunciation of c, k and q in classical Latin? If they are all the same, why have three different letters for the same sound? Also, if x is pronounced just like ks, ...
6
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3answers
2k views

How is “Et” pronounced?

How is "Et" prounouced. As in "Et tu Brute?" I've heard it pronounced "et to brutay?" and "ay to brutay".