I received this question:

Also, with the pronunciation, it seems a little random. In 2C you had iratus pronounced eye-ray-toos, rather than more like ee-rah-toos. Also Lie-toos for laetus, which at least makes sense from a classical pronunciation. My kids seem pretty alright with the pronunciation either way. They get a fair bit of practise sounding out Latin words. It’s great to have this course to explain the grammar.

Here is my reply:


This is Dwane Thomas.  I am happy to hear you are enjoying Visual Latin.

I agree with you.  I learned restored classical pronunciation when I was learning Latin.  I was also told that it was the correct pronunciation, which I now know is an absurd thing to say.  No one ever recorded a Roman speaking Latin.  So… it is nearly impossible to know how Latin was pronounced.

Later, I discovered the Catholic Church and the Italians had much to say about Latin pronunciation.  Given that both of those groups are based in Italy (home of the Romans), I decided to listen to what they had to say about the pronunciation of Latin.  Turns out, they had much to say.

Given that the people telling me to only use the restored classical pronunciation were from northern Europe and from American universities (not the home of the Romans), I decided to abandon the restored classical pronunciation. 

I defected to the Ecclesiastical pronunciation.  It is also known as “church pronunciation”, or “Italian pronunciation”.  Unlike the restored classical pronunciation, the Ecclesiastical pronunciation comes with a free, dramatized version of the New Testament.  You can listen to it and imitate the pronunciation.  Here it is: http://listen.bible.is/LTNNVV/Matt/1

Unfortunately, by the time I switched over (I wish I had never learned the restored classical pronunciation), the damage was done.  I still switch between the two accidentally from time to time.

The point of it all is this.  To get the pronunciation down, listen to this and imitate: http://listen.bible.is/LTNNVV/Matt/1

By the way, modern Italian is also close.  If you ever learn Italian, it will help you greatly with Latin pronunciation.  I started learning Italian a few years ago, and I am loving it. 

(By the way, I am now “teaching” Italian every day.  If you want to join the classes, just go here: https://dwanethomas.com/live-classes/.  If you are not a member yet, and would like to be, go here: https://dwanethomas.com/join/).