Questions tagged [pronunciation]

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

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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 ...
2
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1answer
127 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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2answers
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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 ...
2
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1answer
131 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.
2
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0answers
52 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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4answers
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Latin phonetic dictionary

I'm starting to learn Latin on my own and I have trouble with pronouncing words correctly very often. Does anyone know of a Latin dictionary with the IPA transcriptions of Latin words, preferably with ...
5
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1answer
176 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, ...
8
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2answers
149 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 ...
6
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1answer
570 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 ...
5
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1answer
166 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....
6
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3answers
256 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 ...
2
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1answer
77 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 ...
7
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2answers
383 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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3answers
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How to pronounce the sequence “ti” when reading Latin

As Latin is a dead language, I imagine, people note pronounce it differently depending on in which county they are learning it. That said, I would like to know what IPA phoneme is commonly used to ...
4
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2answers
877 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 ...
24
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1answer
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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?
5
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0answers
123 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 ...
9
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5answers
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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?
5
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2answers
423 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, ...
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 ...
4
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1answer
160 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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0answers
102 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 ...
4
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1answer
376 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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1answer
981 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 ...
10
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1answer
251 views

When did equus regain its first U?

I learned from this question about sequundus > secundus that -quus was in fact pronounced as if it was -cus. However, words like equus were not spelled as ecus, since most oblique cases would still ...
8
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1answer
450 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 ...
15
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2answers
387 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 ...
8
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
4
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1answer
373 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 ...
3
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2answers
86 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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3answers
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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 ...
6
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3answers
645 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 ...
4
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1answer
124 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, ...
8
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1answer
633 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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3answers
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Did an internal m nasalize the preceding vowel?

We know that the final m was not a full consonant in classical Latin, but denoted nasalization and elongation of the preceding vowel. See this or this old question for more details. Was this effect ...
7
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2answers
278 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 ...
3
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0answers
86 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 ...
9
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2answers
424 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 '...
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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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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]. ...
3
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1answer
333 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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1answer
201 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 "...
8
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1answer
210 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 ...
3
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1answer
268 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 ...
4
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1answer
843 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 ...
10
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1answer
352 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 ...
6
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2answers
209 views

Mons Mensae pronunciation

How to pronounce Mons Mensae? Could you write it in international phonetic alphabet? I think that will be [Mʌns Mensæ]... Is that right? P.S. I intended the constellation known as Mons Mensae.
6
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1answer
298 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 (...
10
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1answer
298 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 ...