The Alphabet and Pronunciation of Latin
The Latin alphabet is just like the English, except there is
no j or w.
Vowels in Latin, just like in English, are either long or
VOWEL Long - Sounds like: Short – Sounds like
a father idea
e obey bet
i machine h it
o note omit
u rule p ut
* u sounds like w when it folllows q, g and sometimes s
Diphthongs are combinations of two vowels that are
pronounced as one sound. There are six of these in Latin.
Diphthong Sounds like:
eu ay-oo pronounced together
Consonants are pronounced like English with the
c is always a hard sound and is pronounced like cat it
is never a soft sound like city. campus
g is always a hard sound and is pronounced like get it
is never a soft sound like gem. gaudium
ch is pronounced like character pulcher
i when it appears at the beginning of a word and is
followed by a vowel or when it appears in the middle of
two vowels within a word is considered a consonant
sound and is pronounced like y in youth Iulius
ph is pronounced like an f Polyphemus
s is always soft as in suave it never sounds
like a z persuadeo
v is pronounced like a w via
Syllabification (or how to divide a word into syllables)
Latin words have as many syllables as they have vowels
or diphthongs. There are no silent letters
ae di fi ci um = aedificium
vi a = via
A consonant between two vowels is pronounced with the
nu me rus
o cu lus
iu be o
Exception: the consonants x and z go with the preceding
aux i li um
In a group of two or more consonants, only the last
consonant is pronounced with the following syllable.
dif fi cul tas tem pes tas
There are some exceptions, but we will not go over them
1. A syllable which contains a long vowel or a diphthong
is said to be long by nature.
2. A short vowel in front of a consonantal i becomes a
diphthong and so is treated as long.
3. A syllable in which a vowel is followed by two
consonants is long by position.
4. All other syllables are short
1. A word of two syllables is accented on the first
2. A word of three or more syllables is accented on the
penult (second to the last syllable) if the penult is long.
3. If the penult is short the accident falls on the antepenult
(or syllable in front of the second to the last syllable).
ca la mi tas fa cul tas ge nus oc ci do
oc ci do