Although Latin uses the same alphabet as modern English, there were a few differences in pronunciation. While these are glazed over in Church Latin, the pronunciation previously used in Catholic masses before Vatican II, they are important in Classical Latin, the dialect learned by almost all Latin students. An accent over a letter denotes what would normally be a long mark: - . These are the letters that vary from their English pronunciations:


  • A - "a" as in "idea".
  • Â - "a" as in "father".
  • E - "e" as in "pet".
  • Ê - "ei" as in "state".
  • I - "i" as in "hit". Can also act as a "consonant" with a pronunciation similar to the "y" in "yes". It was replaced with a "j" by later scholars to distinguish it from the "i".
  • Î - "ee" as in "feed".
  • O - "o" as in "hot".
  • Ô - "o" as in "hope".
  • U - "u" as in "put".
  • Û - "oo" as in "food".
  • Y - "ee" as in "weed". It's actually closer to the French or German "u", but "ee" is the closest English equialent.


  • B - "b" as in "bat", except when before an "s" or "t". Then it's pronounced "p" as in "pat".
  • C - "k" as in "keep". Never pronounce it "c" as in "city", that's very, very bad! (Not really, but it's a common mistake).
  • Ch - Aspirated "ch", as in "pack-horse".
  • G - "g" as in "get". Never "g" as in "gee".
  • Ph- Aspirated "ph", as in "up hill".
  • Th - Aspirated "th", as in "pot-house".
  • V - Always, always, always pronounced "w" as in "wait". So, for example, the quote "Veni, viddi, vicci." is not pronounced as it looks. It's pronounced "Weni, widi, wiki".
  • X - "ks", as in "packs".

Information found at various sites, notably