On Latin pronunciation versions

Chris Kirk

New Member

This is the beginning of an answer for visionhuixian:

Let's assume your question is *not* 'How do I pronounce this so as to actually control spirits?' If there is an answer to this, I do not want to know it :shock: ; if I knew, I wouldn't tell :-# !

There's no one way to pronounce Latin, and has not been since the (Western) Classical Era. By the Middle Ages there are regional pronunciations of Latin. Today, I know of Italian, German, French and English pronunciations. You're guessing well if you geuss that each version bends the 'classical' pronunciation to its own ear.

I don't know how interested you are: here is a quick guide to speaking it aloud, as a German or English man woul dfind most comfortable without sounding 'barbarous':

1. All vowels relatively pure;

2. What about long and short vowels? Well, by the Middle ages the old classical 'meter' - where the syllables and so the vowels were literally spoken in more or less time - had been replaced with the 'stressed' meter you find in almost all european and english poetry today. So, let your own ear be your guide, surprisingly. Looking up the original vowel-lengths will help clear up the exceptions.

3. Here are a few of the changes from 'classical' prununciation, that will get you started. This is for the 'english/ german' version:

c - Catholices principales = Katholises printsipales

g - Gallicae gentes = Gallise jentes

ph - Phosphorus = Fosforus (originally, it was p+h - which is the way most english speaker pronounce almost all of their beginning 'p' sounds without realizing it. I'ts 'phots and phans', not exactly 'pots and pans'.)

th - as in English (originally t+h; again, native speakers of English often say every beginning 't' + vowel as t+h: you buy t+hacks, not tacks, at the hardware store, and to get into the movie you buy a t+hicket.)

t - disputatio = disputatsio.

There's a beginning. I'm sure many other members have a lot to say about this topic.

You may or may not be a native Chinese speaker, but there is a Chinese version of Latin. I remember a biography of Matteo Ricci, one of the first Catholic missionaries to the Chinese court. One name comes to mind: Peterus = Bo-do-lo.

Ciao 8)


NB: When the Catholic Church went through a musical revival and re-organizaiton in the 19th-early 20th century, the Italian version became an artificial standard that many high-school and university choirs still insist today is 'Church Latin' pronunciation. (The irony is that the Catholic church itself never had an official version of pronunciation - the prevalence of the Italian version is a wholly cultural influence: the natural force of the original home of Latin and of the last center where Latin cold be heard daily until recently.)



  • Princeps Senatus

=D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

Thanks very much Chris.


New Member

Pronounciation of Latin Prayer

Althougth you would probably not find the pronounciation of the invocation in question, here is an example of what another sounds like. I hope that it is ok to link to other sites? Please forgive my ignorance if it is not. ;)




  • Princeps Senatus

Only to useful websites ;) This is a good link you posted.