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Pronunciation

by Mike
(N.H.)

Dear Latin Teacher,


Why do we not know the correct Pronunciation for the Latin language? I mean it couldn't have just fallen off the map seconds after the fall of Rome? And doesn't The roman Catholic Church still use the language?

Thanks, Mike


Dear Mike,

The Latin language has been spoken continuously for 2600 years or more. Over that time, pronunciation and spelling fluctuated a bit.

Today there are two common systems of pronunciation. One, called restored classical, seeks to reproduce how Latin most likely sounded in Rome during the time of Cicero. The other, called ecclesiastical, seeks to continue the tradition developed in Medieval Europe and handed down by the Roman Catholic Church.

The book to read if you are intested in the details of the restored classical pronunciation is called Vox Latina.

If you are interested in learning to pronounce Ecclesiastical Latin, then try this Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin.

See an earlier post on Latin pronunciation.

Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.

Sincerely,

John

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