Help:IPA for Latin

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Classical Latin and Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. See Latin spelling and pronunciation for a more thorough look at the sounds of Latin.

IPA Examples English approximation
Cl. Ecc.
b b bene bean
c k [3] centvm scar; change
k capvt scar
ch charta car; scar
d d decem deck
f f [4] familia fan
g ɡ [3] géns gear; giant
ɡ gvttvr gear
gn ŋn ɲ ignis song number; onion
h h [5] herba her; hour
i [6] j [7] iove yodel
k [8] k kalendae scar
l l [9] lactis lull
m m [10] male man
n n [11] nex next
p p pax span
ph f pharetra pan; fan
qv [12] kw qvattvor squash
r r [13] regió trilled or tapped r
s s [14] sex send
sc sk sk scala scarp
ʃ [3] scindó scarp; sharp
t t t tabvla stone
ts port stone; Botswana
th t thalamvs tone; stone
v [6] w v verbvm west; vest
w [15] svávis swift
x ks xiphiás six
z z dz zélvs zest; adze
IPA Examples English approximation
Cl. Ecc.
a a a charta bra (but shorter)
á fábvla father; bra
e ɛ est best
é e sé bay
i [6] ɪ i timida kin; keen
vta keen
o ɔ nova caught
ó o nón coal
v [6] ʊ u nvnc put; food
lna food
y [17] ʏ i cyclvs pure; keen
ý cýma cute; keen
ae, æ aj ɛ terrae sigh; sed
oe, œ oj e phoenicia boy; e in neighbor
av aw lavdat cow
ev ew evrópa eh-oo
vi uj cvi oo-ee
an, vm, etc.[18] ã, ʊ̃, etc. an, um, etc.
(as written)
monstrvm nasal vowels
IPA Examples
ˈ gáius
Stress (placed before the stressed syllable)[19]
. Syllable marker, generally used between vowels in hiatus


  1. ^ Latin distinguished geminated consonants, which were often written with a doubled letter: ánus /ˈaːnʊs/, ánnus /ˈaːnnʊs/.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ a b c Over time, /k/, /ɡ/ and /sk/ were palatalized to [], [] and [ʃ] before the front vowels e, i, y, ae and oe.
  4. ^ The phoneme represented by f may have also represented a bilabial [ɸ] in Early Latin or perhaps in free variation with [f].
  5. ^ Generally silent. Sometimes medial h was pronounced [k] in Ecclesiatical Latin (e.g. mihi), whereas it was silent in Classical Latin.
  6. ^ a b c d 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 to u.
  7. ^ /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): iv́s [juːs]; cvivs [ˈkujjʊs]. 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: adiectꟾvvm [adjekˈtiːwʊ̃]. Note that intervocalic i occasionally represented a separate syllabic vowel /ɪ, iː/, as in the praenomen gáivs [ˈɡaː.ɪ.ʊs].
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ /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.
  10. ^ 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 rendered as the phoneme /m/ here and in other references.
  11. ^ Assimilated to velar [ŋ] before velar consonants /k, ɡ/.
  12. ^ In the classical period, /kʷ/ became labio-palatalized [kᶣ] when followed by a front vowel /ɪ, iː, ɛ, eː/. Thus qvꟾ was realized as [kᶣiː].
  13. ^ The Latin rhotic was either an alveolar trill [r], like Italian r or Spanish rr, or maybe an alveolar tap [ɾ], with a tap of the tongue against the upper gums, as in Spanish r.
  14. ^ In Late and Ecclesiastical Latin, intervocalically /s/ is often voiced to [z].
  15. ^ v remained /w/ when following g, q or s. In modern texts, /v/ is distinguished from the other sounds in writing, as V rather than U.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ y was used in Greek loanwords with upsilon ϒ, representing /ʏ/ or /yː/. Latin originally had no close front rounded vowel as a distinctive phoneme, and speakers tended to pronounce such loanwords with /ʊ/ and /uː/ (in archaic Latin) or /ɪ/ and /iː/ (in classical and late Latin) if they were unable to produce [ʏ] and [].
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ 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.