Wikipedia:IPA for Latin
- Latin used geminated consonants, which were often written with a doubled letter: ānus /ˈaːnʊs/, ānnus /ˈaːnnʊs/. Geminated consonants can also be represented in IPA by doubling the consonant, or with the length marker ‹ː› : ānnus /ˈaːnːʊs/.
- The Latin alphabet was unicase until well after the Classical era. In inscriptions, square capitals, the ancestors of the modern upper case, were used. In keeping with this, this page uses small caps to display Latin.
- Over time, /k/ and /ɡ/ were palatalized to [tʃ] and [dʒ] before the front vowels ‹e›, ‹i›, ‹y›, ‹ae› and ‹oe›.
- The phoneme represented by ‹f› may have also represented a bilabial [ɸ] in Early Latin or perhaps in free variation with [f].
- The Latin letters ‹i› and ‹v› originally represented both vowels (/ɪ, iː/, /ʊ, uː/) and approximant consonants (/j/, /w/). In modern texts, the consonantal uses of ‹i› are sometimes changed to ‹j›, and the vowel uses of ‹v› are changed to ‹u›.
- /j/ appears at the beginning of words before a vowel, or, typically, in the middle of the words between two vowels; in the latter case, the sound is usually geminate, and is sometimes spelled accordingly (for instance in Cicero and Julius Caesar): iūs [juːs]; cuius [ˈkujjus]. Since a geminate in the middle of a word makes the preceding syllable heavy, the vowel in that syllable is traditionally marked with a macron in dictionaries, although the vowel is usually short. Compound words preserve the /j/ of the element that begins with it, within reason: adiectīvum /adjekˈtiːwum/. Note that intervocalic ‹i› can sometimes represent a separate syllabic vowel /ɪ, iː/, such as in the praenomen gaius [ˈɡaː.i.us].
- ‹c› and ‹k› both represent /k/. In archaic inscriptions of Early Latin, ‹c› was primarily used before ‹i› and ‹e›, while ‹k› was used before ‹a›. However, in classical times, ‹k› had been replaced by ‹c›, except in a very small number of words.
- /l/ is thought to have had two allophones in Latin, comparable to many varieties of modern English. According to Allen, it was velarized [ɫ] as in English full at the end of a word or before another consonant; in other positions it was a plain alveolar lateral approximant [l] as in English look.
- It is likely that, by the Classical period, /m/ at the end of words was pronounced weakly, either voiceless or simply by nasalizing the preceding vowel. For instance decem "ten" was probably pronounced [ˈdɛkɛ̃]. In addition to the metrical features of Latin poetry, the fact that all such endings in words of more than two syllables lost the final ‹m› in the descendant Romance languages strengthens this hypothesis. For simplicity, and because this is not known for certain, ‹m› is always represented as the phoneme /m/ here and in other references.
- Assimilated to velar [ŋ] before velar consonants /k, ɡ/.
- In the classical period, /kʷ/ became labio-palatalized [kᶣ] when followed by a front vowel /ɪ, iː, ɛ, eː/. Thus quī was realized as [kᶣiː].
- The Latin rhotic was either an alveolar trill [r], like Spanish or Italian ‹rr›, or maybe an alveolar tap [ɾ], with a tap of the tongue against the upper gums, as in Spanish ‹r›.
- In Late and Ecclesiastical Latin, intervocalically /s/ is often voiced to [z].
- ‹v› has remained /w/ when following ‹g›, ‹q› or ‹s›. In modern texts, /v/ is now distinguished from the other two sounds in writing (‹v›, as opposed to ‹u›)
- Classical Latin distinguished between long and short vowels, and the use of the apex, which indicates long vowels, was quite widespread during classical and postclassical times. In modern texts, long vowels are often indicated by a macron ‹ā, ē, ī, ō, ū›, and short vowels are sometimes indicated by a breve ‹ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, ŭ›. The length distinction began to fade by Late Latin.
- ‹y› was used in Greek loanwords with upsilon ‹ϒ››, representing /y/. Latin originally had no close front rounded vowel as a distinctive phoneme, and speakers tended to pronounce such loanwords with /u/ (in archaic Latin) or /i/ (in classical and late Latin) if they were unable to produce [y].
- A vowel followed by an m or n at the end of certain syllables represents a nasal vowel. Such vowels undergo the same elision process as oral vowels.
- In words of two syllables, the stress is on the first syllable. In words of three or more syllables, the stress is on the penultimate syllable if this is heavy, otherwise on the antepenultimate syllable.