1. As a lifelong Latin student and occasional user, I’ve never been totally sure of how classical Latin really sounded. This is a helpful synopsis.

  2. I would like a clarification please regarding how you and most classicists say M at the end of a word. When you say in your blog, “do not pronounce the nasal vowels”, do you mean “do not pronounce the vowels nasalized”? I presume that you say the vowel un-nasalized with no following M. Is that correct? If so, is the vowel short or long? In English a word or syllable never ends with a short vowel.
    I was also reminded of French vowels, which I think are nasalized before M or N and the M or N is not sounded, but if the M or N is followed by a vowel in the next syllable or word, the vowel and consonant are pronounced normally. Any parallels?

    1. Hi Peter, yes, I do mean that we don’t usually pronounce the vowels nasalized! Instead, we pronounce the vowel (short) AND the M. Vowels automatically shorten before M at the end of a word.

      I’m not an expert on French, but I believe you are right about the rules of nasalization. In Latin the combination of vowel + M is only nasalized at the END of a word. So, for example, in the words *memoria* and *semper* the Ms are pronounced normally, without nasalization. I suspect that French inherited some of its nasalization process from Latin.

      With regard to Latin words ending with short vowels: it is possible – and common- for the vowels A and E to be short at the end of a word. I, O, and U will always be long at the end of a word, and Y can’t appear in word-final position.

      I hope this helps! 🙂

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