Latin pronunciation 101

by Jun 16, 2016Choirmasters Corner0 comments


There is no ‘correct’ way of pronouncing Latin. Latin pronunciation has varied considerably through time and place. What is important for choral singing, however, is consistency. If all singers adopt the same pronunciation, the resulting sound is far brighter and clearer. The beauty of singing in Latin as opposed to English is that it is ‘accent-neutral’: it is far easier to take on pronunciation for a language of which we are not already used to speaking in our own individual ways.

As such, adopting Italianate pronunciation, which has become prevalent in choral singing, works well for this general purpose. The sounds of Italianate Latin are similar to those of modern Italian, which has famously pure and open vowels (with no dipthongs) that are easy to sing, and easy to read phonetically.


diphthong ˈdɪfθɒŋ,ˈdɪp-/noun plural noun: diphthongs a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves towards another (as in coin, loud, and side ). a digraph representing the sound of a diphthong or single vowel (as in feat ). a compound vowel character; a ligature (such as æ ).

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