I received this question:
My daughter is having trouble with accents marks. Since these are used to determine the pronunciation of a letter/word, where do you suggest she review? Would a random YouTube video of Latin alphabet pronunciations suffice or is there something else you recommend?
Here is my reply:
Honestly, I would just recommend listening. There is much debate among scholars on Latin pronunciation.
There are two major ways to pronounce Latin. There is restored classical pronunciation. It was restored by scholars and is thought to best represent the pronunciation of Latin during the years of 50 BC to 50 AD… roughly. No one knows for sure how ancient Latin sounded, but the restored classical pronunciation is likely a good guess.
Then, there is ecclesiastical pronunciation. This is sometimes called the Italian pronunciation. I adopted this pronunciation years ago when I couldn’t find an restored classical Latin audiobook to imitate.
While looking for an audiobook in restored classical Latin (which I couldn’t find at the time), I found the entire New Testament read in ecclesiastical Latin. The day I found it, I switched to ecclesiastical pronunciation and have never looked back.
Here is what I imitate: http://listen.bible.is/LTNNVV/Matt/1. At the beginning of each book, monks sing for about four minutes. You can just skip ahead, or skip to chapter two. Don’t worry about what they are saying if you can’t read it, just follow along and imitate.
Or, you can listen to the same book in restored classical pronunciation: https://amzn.to/2Ihi8QH
By the way, Latin isn’t the only language with multiple confusing pronunciations. There’s also English. Of course, in English, people will say things like, “Ooooh. I love your accent.”
Pronounce Latin (which isn’t spoken anymore, by the way) “incorrectly” and you will find yourself in all kinds of trouble. That, my friends, is just dumb.
Now watch this funny video. It will distract you from what I wrote in the previous paragraph.
Also, not that it’s of any interest to you, Bicester was the first town I lived in. Don’t remember it, though. I didn’t pay much attention the first few years of my life.