How do you pronounce Latin?

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We do not know exactly how the ancient Romans pronounced Latin. But thanks to reconstructive linguistics, it is thought that:

- the letter c was always a hard c (like k). Likewise g's were always hard as in good, never as in giant or gist.
- the t was always a hard t even in words ending in -tia or -tio (not -sia or -sio).
- the letter h was pronounced, unlike in modern Romance languages.
- the letter v was a 'oo' (as in wood) of 'w' sound, not a v.
- the gn was pronounced as g + n like in English, not ny like in French and Italian.
- ae was a diphthong sounded like the word 'eye' in English.

So Caesar was pronounced "Kaizar" and via would have been "wia" (closer to the English 'way').

There is a full guide on WikiHow. Church Latin (ie Medieval Latin) is a bit different and also explained in that guide.

I learned a bit of Latin in secondary school., and even though we learned classical texts the pronunciation we were taught was the ecclesiastical one, which is completely different from the classical one and much more similar to modern Romance languages. I never understood the point of learning Cicero in ecclesiastical/medieval Latin.


However I have a hard time to believe that v as a consonant was always a w sound. Imagine veni, vidi, vici sounding like weni, widi, wiki. That's just odd. How about Ave? Was it pronounced something like ah-way? I think it may have depended on the word. It would be much to hard to pronounce words like Patavium if the v was a w.
 
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To my ear the classical pronunciation is uglier, and even ecclesiastical Latin is uglier than Italian, but I suppose my tastes have been molded by having Italian as my natal language.

I only studied Latin here; it's a big deal still in the many Catholic high schools, but it was the classical Latin pronunciation which was taught, despite the fact that it was nuns teaching it. :)

A neighbor's son majored in Latin and Classical Studies at university and gave the commencement address in Latin. I can't find it on youtube for some reason, but this one is good too. (For practicality's sake he minored in math, landing a job at a hedge fund. He broke the hearts of his Latin professor's however, who wanted him to pursue an academic career.) For some reason, all the Latin scholars and Classics scholars, for that matter, have been male, so it was nice to see this girl.

 
We do not know exactly how the ancient Romans pronounced Latin. But thanks to reconstructive linguistics, it is thought that:

- the letter c was always a hard c (like k). Likewise g's were always hard as in good, never as in giant or gist.
- the t was always a hard t even in words ending in -tia or -tio (not -sia or -sio).
- the letter h was pronounced, unlike in modern Romance languages.
- the letter v was a 'oo' (as in wood) of 'w' sound, not a v.
- the gn was pronounced as g + n like in English, not ny like in French and Italian.
- ae was a diphthong sounded like the word 'eye' in English.

So Caesar was pronounced "Kaizar" and via would have been "wia" (closer to the English 'way').

There is a full guide on WikiHow. Church Latin (ie Medieval Latin) is a bit different and also explained in that guide.

I learned a bit of Latin in secondary school., and even though we learned classical texts the pronunciation we were taught was the ecclesiastical one, which is completely different from the classical one and much more similar to modern Romance languages. I never understood the point of learning Cicero in ecclesiastical/medieval Latin.


However I have a hard time to believe that v as a consonant was always a w sound. Imagine veni, vidi, vici sounding like weni, widi, wiki. That's just odd. How about Ave? Was it pronounced something like ah-way? I think it may have depended on the word. It would be much to hard to pronounce words like Patavium if the v was a w.

Wasn't "Caesar" supposed to be originally [kaj'sar]? The readings about the original Classical Latin pronunciation I have seen tend to assume that "s" was really , and "ss" was a geminate [s:] exactly as the writing indicates. [z] would've been a much rarer sound usually coming from Greek borrowings.

Another important change compared to later Medieval Latin and Church Latin is that Classical Latin had final nasal vowels, so that "am", "em", "um" were probably not vowel+consonant, but a nasal consonant similar to those found in Portuguese, but almost exclusively used in the endings of declensions.

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@Angela, the girl in the video is very communicative and articulate in her Latin speech, but unfortunately it seems to be an almost impossible task for native English speakers to get totally rid of the aspirated quality of the consonants [k], [t] and [p], which immediately reveal their foreign accent. There is also a bit (fortunately not much, as she is an advanced speaker) of that tendency to diphthongize vowels that is so common in English. That said, I commend her for speaking nice flap "r" (not the English approximant) in the coda of syllables, and she got the stress and entonation of Latin really really well. Personally, I find it so enjoyable that I can actually understand some of her sentences (short ones, of course) even without any Latin class at all. :-D
 
Yes, I commend her as well, but as I said, I find the classical pronunciation much uglier than that of ecclesiastical Latin and her American accent is very strong. They butcher Italian, too. At the moment I can't think of any American who speaks Italian with a passable accent. When you learn a language in your late teens or in adulthood it's almost impossible to get rid of your native accent.

I, of course, for obvious reasons, prefer ecclesiastical Latin, and as pronounced by Italians. :)

@Wheal,
I've been in choirs most of my life, so I'm still singing in Latin a good amount of the time, but ecclesiastical Latin, of course.

Every marriage and burial in my extended family, for as far back as I can remember, includes Schubert's Ave Maria sung in Latin. It still makes the hair stand up on my arms if done well, as does Gregorian chant, which I listen to if I'm particularly anxious about something. I just find it very relaxing. As I'm sure you know, various friars and nuns record sacred music in Latin. Lately, I like Frate Alessandro from Assisi.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uws77FkgbkE
 
Yes, I commend her as well, but as I said, I find the classical pronunciation much uglier than that of ecclesiastical Latin and her American accent is very strong. They butcher Italian, too. At the moment I can't think of any American who speaks Italian with a passable accent. When you learn a language in your late teens or in adulthood it's almost impossible to get rid of your native accent.

I, of course, for obvious reasons, prefer ecclesiastical Latin, and as pronounced by Italians. :)

@Wheal,
I've been in choirs most of my life, so I'm still singing in Latin a good amount of the time, but ecclesiastical Latin, of course.

Every marriage and burial in my extended family, for as far back as I can remember, includes Schubert's Ave Maria sung in Latin. It still makes the hair stand up on my arms if done well, as does Gregorian chant, which I listen to if I'm particularly anxious about something. I just find it very relaxing. As I'm sure you know, various friars and nuns record sacred music in Latin. Lately, I like Frate Alessandro from Assisi.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uws77FkgbkE

Ed. I take that back. The Indian American writer Jhumpa Lahiri speaks very good Italian, imo, but she's sort of dedicated her life to it for the last decade or more. She's even writing in it now, sort of a Joseph Conrad thing, but in Italian, not English. She says she arrived at Italian through a love of Latin.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w_xnNZTpu4
 
However I have a hard time to believe that v as a consonant was always a w sound. Imagine veni, vidi, vici sounding like weni, widi, wiki. That's just odd. How about Ave? Was it pronounced something like ah-way? I think it may have depended on the word. It would be much to hard to pronounce words like Patavium if the v was a w.

Well, usually those who write about it aren't very specific about the exact sound they are talking about.

Maybe it was a labiodental approximant, like Swiss German 'w'. (?)

I don't believe any real difficulty exists though. Originally it should have been even closer to an /u/ sound.
 

I agree with Ygorcs that her English accent is quite obvious, and not just the k, t and p sounds, but also the vowels (especially o). Her accent is charming though.

In this video the guy playing Octavian has an obvious French accent: the intonation, the vowels and the [r] (voiced uvular fricative).


It's hard to find a satisfactory example of spoken Classical Latin online.
 
I've heard somewhere that the Romance languages of the Balkans are closest living thing to the Latin language spoken in the Roman Empire!

Some say, only grammatically the Romance languages of the Balkans are closest, but even so, the grammar is the foundation and the most important thing of a language, while the vocabulary is changing more often and is not a measurement!

It's pretty obvious that the Romance people of the Balkans have clear connection with the old Roman Empire, the one which was still Roman and not Greek!

It's really pity that today, the Romance people of the Balkans and Romania as a country are hardly even mentioned when talking about the Roman and Latin legacy, while countries like Spain, Portugal and France get the fame most of the time, while in fact, in every point of view, they are more distant to the old Roman Empire than the Romance people of the Balkans are!

Well, at the end of the day, the Romance people of the Balkans were not really aristocrats and were not enlightened by the renescience, but were just poor herdsmen and merchants and on top of that they are a part of the Balkan, the very same Balkan which is satinised so much in the wealthy Europe, while the very same 'Europe' was the propagator of the crusader wars led by crusaders who were also hostile to the Balkan people because of their Orthodoxy and caused so much damage and pillage!

The very same Europe that didn't do nothing about the salvation of the Balkan people in the hands of the Ottomans and even sided with them on many occasions against the Balkan people...

I know I've been salty but I had to throw some politics in here, just for the sake of provocation of some different views!
 
I've heard somewhere that the Romance languages of the Balkans are closest living thing to the Latin language spoken in the Roman Empire!

Some say, only grammatically the Romance languages of the Balkans are closest, but even so, the grammar is the foundation and the most important thing of a language, while the vocabulary is changing more often and is not a measurement!

It's pretty obvious that the Romance people of the Balkans have clear connection with the old Roman Empire, the one which was still Roman and not Greek!

It's really pity that today, the Romance people of the Balkans and Romania as a country are hardly even mentioned when talking about the Roman and Latin legacy, while countries like Spain, Portugal and France get the fame most of the time, while in fact, in every point of view, they are more distant to the old Roman Empire than the Romance people of the Balkans are!

Well, at the end of the day, the Romance people of the Balkans were not really aristocrats and were not enlightened by the renescience, but were just poor herdsmen and merchants and on top of that they are a part of the Balkan, the very same Balkan which is satinised so much in the wealthy Europe, while the very same 'Europe' was the propagator of the crusader wars led by crusaders who were also hostile to the Balkan people because of their Orthodoxy and caused so much damage and pillage!

The very same Europe that didn't do nothing about the salvation of the Balkan people in the hands of the Ottomans and even sided with them on many occasions against the Balkan people...

I know I've been salty but I had to throw some politics in here, just for the sake of provocation of some different views!

Based on autosomal DNA it doesn't seem like Romanians or Balkanites have more ancient Roman ancestry than the French, Spanish or Portuguese. Look at this map. The Bulgars actually score higher 'Italian' admixture at 23andMe than the Romanians, although that could be Greek ancestry too, as 23andMe merged Aegean ancestry into their Italian component to increase the Italian percentage in southern Italy (where most Italian Americans have their ancestry). I haven't seen results from Vlachs, but I doubt it differs much from Romanians.

23andMe_Italian.png
 
I love that Pavarotti video. I've listened to it before.
 
Based on autosomal DNA it doesn't seem like Romanians or Balkanites have more ancient Roman ancestry than the French, Spanish or Portuguese. Look at this map. The Bulgars actually score higher 'Italian' admixture at 23andMe than the Romanians, although that could be Greek ancestry too, as 23andMe merged Aegean ancestry into their Italian component to increase the Italian percentage in southern Italy (where most Italian Americans have their ancestry). I haven't seen results from Vlachs, but I doubt it differs much from Romanians.

23andMe_Italian.png


I was talking about the similarities of the Eastern Romance languages with the Latin spoken in the Roman Empire and also the Balkan influence on the Roman Empire.

You can't compare the province of Iberia or Gaul with that of the Balkans(Illyricum, Macedonia, Moesia).

The hearth of the Roman Empire was Rome and it's Balkan provinces, not some rebellious Gaul...

There were far more Roman Emperors born in the Balkan provinces than on the territory of modern France!

But than again, if we talk about genetics, there is a variation everywhere!

I assume that the Italian component in 23andMe is created by samples of certain Italian groups, but who those groups are?

Also, why do they include samples from Aegeans in the Italian component for that matter?

Do we know, how did Roman genetics were like by the time they started invading lands outside Italian peninsula?

Do we have any samples from a native Roman?

I don't think this map of Italian admixture based on 23andMe will tell us much!

I haven't tested with 23andMe but I score 21% Italian on MyHeritage DNA although I don't have any Italian ancestors!

If for example, 23andMe gives me zero for Italian, who should I trust in that situation, 23andMe or MyHeritage DNA?

Also, for deep ancestry, I somehow don't trust autosomal genetics, especially when in question not so isolated group of people.

Deep haplogroup testing seems better option when looking for possible clues about certain deep ancestry!

But than again, we need more NGS tests because knowing just your general haplogroup won't tell much either!

Anyway, if we look at the PCA from Lazaridis et al. 2016, we can see that the Balkanites(Bulgarians, Romanians) are not that far off from the Italians of any group!



Even as a whole they(Bulgarians and Romanians) are more closer to Italians than the French are!

The French are close to some Northern Italian groups but not to Italians as whole!

For the Aromanians I don't think that you will ever find a pure Aromanian because they more or less are mixed with the respective Balkan host where they reside!

I am part Aromanian as well!
 
Sorry, double post.
 


She's very cute imo :grin:
I think so too. :) Pretty and also fresh and clean faced. Obviously smart too. A home run.

I still can't find my neighbors son. He was better technically.

Just generally, do I think the Romans of the Republic and the Empire pronounced their words differently from the way that Churchmen of the Middle Ages pronounced them? Yes, I do.

I don't believe, however, that we can know for certain how certain letters were pronounced. These are reconstructions, so there's always some element of doubt.

Even in terms of the reconstructions, the German school pronounces it differently from the English school, which is different again from the American school.

There's no verifiably "right" way, imo.

Also, during the actual period of the Republic and Empire I'm sure even the elites pronounced it differently as time went on depending on their region. Languages evolve, especially when there are other languages around.

Look at English as an example. It has been continually evolving. I had to read Beowulf and Chaucer in the original at university. Yes, it scanned better in the original, but it was almost like a foreign language.

By the 1800s, the pronounciation of English in the Americas was very different from what it was in England, even among elites. Australian English went its own way too.

I watch a lot of British film and tv. As time has passed, a lot of the actors use regional and class specific pronounciation rather than just "standard received" pronunciation. Sometimes I wish there were subtitles. :) I'm sure it was the same in Roman times.
 
Based on autosomal DNA it doesn't seem like Romanians or Balkanites have more ancient Roman ancestry than the French, Spanish or Portuguese. Look at this map. The Bulgars actually score higher 'Italian' admixture at 23andMe than the Romanians, although that could be Greek ancestry too, as 23andMe merged Aegean ancestry into their Italian component to increase the Italian percentage in southern Italy (where most Italian Americans have their ancestry). I haven't seen results from Vlachs, but I doubt it differs much from Romanians.
23andMe_Italian.png
this is due to the gallic north of italy and the non-gallic south of Italy....represented in the isogloss of division of many regional italian languages which came out of vulgar latin ( italian language is not part of vulgar latin branch )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Spezia–Rimini_Line
.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjD4pNQbXXQ
.
https://books.google.com.au/books?i...BAB#v=onepage&q=la spezia-rimini line&f=false
BTW ...this link above as an error....vacca is a north italian word for cow, while italian proper use mucca .......................seems like even linguists have their erred moments
 
this is due to the gallic north of italy and the non-gallic south of Italy....represented in the isogloss of division of many regional italian languages which came out of vulgar latin ( italian language is not part of vulgar latin branch )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Spezia–Rimini_Line
.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjD4pNQbXXQ

Where on earth did you get that? It's completely and utterly incorrect. Standard Italian is predominantly based on the Florentine "dialect", as well as influences from other "dialects", all of which are descendants of "vulgar" Latin.

Your you tube video is also full of incorrect information in terms of reasons for the differences.

You really should pick up a book on the evolution of the Italian language written by linguists.

Or at least read the following:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Italy
 
I've heard somewhere that the Romance languages of the Balkans are closest living thing to the Latin language spoken in the Roman Empire!

Some say, only grammatically the Romance languages of the Balkans are closest, but even so, the grammar is the foundation and the most important thing of a language, while the vocabulary is changing more often and is not a measurement!

It is not that East Romance/Balkanic languages have a grammar that is as a whole much closer to Latin, people say that mainly because, unlike Western Romance tongues, they preserved traces of the noun declension system, but still in a totally refurbished fashion that Classical Latin speakers wouldn't even recognize (nominative vs. oblique, instead of the many cases and the main nominative vs. accusative distinction of Latin). On ther other hand, for example, the formation of verbs and the use of postponed articles in Romanian is very unlike the grammatical structure of Classical Latin. Eastern Romance also departed a lot from Classical Latin just like the Western Romance languages because in fact much of that transformation happened still within the existence of the common Latin language (don't forget that Classical Latin was based on the Latin of nobles from the Late Republic, so by the end of the Western Roman Empire it was a bit like using Classical-based Modern Standard Arabic instead of the often much more diverged - or evolved - Arabic dialects, especially the Maghrebi Darija).

I don't know much about Balkanic politics, and it seems to be an incredibly convoluted and conflicted topic, but I'll just say that, from a strictly linguistic point of view, relating exclusively to the preservation of Eastern Romance languages and their connection with Latin, nothing that Western Europeans ever did could've been as transformative (or some would say "damaging", though I don't believe that, as languages simply evolve, come and go) as the demographic events that happened within and among the peoples of the greater Balkans themselves to the detriment of the former much larger Romance-speaking area; especially the expansion of and gradual assimilation by Slavic, Hellenic and later Magyar speakers. Most of that took place even before Western Europeans regained enough strength to have much direct influence on what happened in the Romance-speaking Balkans and elsewhere, from the Late Middle Ages onwards.
 
Yes, I commend her as well, but as I said, I find the classical pronun
ciation much uglier than that of ecclesiastical Latin and her American accent is very strong. They butcher Italian, too. At the moment I can't think of any American who speaks Italian with a passable accent. When you learn a language in your late teens or in adulthood it's almost impossible to get rid of your native accent.

Indeed, and that fact is even more noticeable when the two languages have a strikingly different phonology like English and Italian (even the consonants that are seemingly similar are in fact realized somewhat differently, as the already mentioned [t], [p], [k], but also the vowels, [l] and even [d]). English speakers have a really hard time speaking unaccented or lightly accented Romance languages.

Every marriage and burial in my extended family, for as far back as I can remember, includes Schubert's Ave Maria sung in Latin. It still makes the hair stand up on my arms if done well, as does Gregorian chant, which I listen to if I'm particularly anxious about something. I just find it very relaxing. As I'm sure you know, various friars and nuns record sacred music in Latin. Lately, I like Frate Alessandro from Assisi.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uws77FkgbkE

Curiously, my mother and grandmother say they find Schubert's "Ave Maria" very beautiful, but they can't help but feel an oddly sad feeling when they listen to it because that was the song that was played in funerals and especially in the radio stations from their little town to announce the death of someone. Despite the purely religious intent of the song, and its wonderfully soothing melody, they seem to have become "scarred" for ever with this association of the "Ave Maria" with some ominous negative news.

I live that performance by Pavarotti, but speaking of Italian, Americans and all of that... I must say that more than 80 years later I still have to find a more touching and beautiful "Ave Maria" than this one recorded in 1926 by Rosa Ponselle, the American soprano of Sicilian background who probably had one of the most "Italianate" voices of the last century. If you consider the considerable limitations of the audio recording technology of that time, this recording is truly a miraculous marvel! The voice flows seamlessly like the violin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtNEyJGG_wU
 

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