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Latin Pronunciation Guide

 
Consonants

Consonants in Latin are basically pronounced in the same way as in English, bar the following exceptions.

c - This is always pronounced hard - like a 'k', not an 's'.
g - Also a hard sound in Latin, pronounced as in 'great'.
i - When before a vowel, it is a consonant and is pronounced like a 'y'.
r - Roll your 'r's.
t - Always pronounced hard in Latin, like 'time' not soft like 'lotion'
v - Pronounced like a 'w'

Vowels

Vowels can be pronounced either long or short. In English this affect isn't very noticeable, but in Latin, it's important to get right. Additionally, long vowels should audibly be held for longer. This is because Latin rhythm in poetry depends upon the length of syllables, instead of stresses.

Short

a - Like the English 'car'

e - Like the English 'met'
i - Like the English 'skip'
o - Like the English 'for'
u - Like the English 'put'

Long

a - Like the English 'ha!'
e - Like the English 'they'
i - Like the English 'pea'
o - Like the English 'low'
u - Like the English 'true'

Diphthongs

Latin has three diphthongs (two vowel sounds pronounced as one syllable), ae, au, and ei.

ae - Pronounced as the y in the English 'fly'.
au - Pronounced as the ow in the English 'cow'.
ei - Pronounced as the ay in the English 'day'.

Stress Accent

Just as in English and other languages, certain syllables were stressed. A general rule for working out where the stress should fall is the following:

If a word has only two syllables, the accent will fall on the first syllable eg, ámo, únus.

If a word has more than two syllables
The stress will fall on the second last syllable if that syllable contains a long or a short vowel followed by two consonants, eg amátis, deféssus;.

Otherwise the stress will fall on the third last syllable, eg celériter, sollícitus.

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