The table below gives the IPA equivalents for Latin vowels. Vowel duration varies for "short" vowels according to the number of following consonants.
|Phonemic notation||Phonetic notation|
|a||in all cases||/a/||[a]|
|ā||in all cases||/aː/||[aː]|
|e||in most cases||/e/||[ɛ]|
|before a vowel||[e] or [i]?|
|ē||in all cases||/eː/||[eː]|
|i||in most cases||/i/||[ɪ]|
|before a vowel||[i]|
|ī||in all cases||/iː/||[iː]|
|o||in all cases||/o/||[ɔ]|
|ō||in all cases||/oː/||[oː]|
|u||in all cases||/u/||[ʊ]|
|ū||in all cases||/uː/||[uː]|
|y||in all cases||/y/||[y] or [ʏ]?|
|ȳ||in all cases||/yː/||[yː]|
I and J
In Latin, the letter written as I in ancient times was either a vowel or a consonant, depending on position and the word, the vowel being most common. The two forms had different pronunciation and different metrical treatment in poetry.
A modern typographical convention (originating in medieval scripts) is to write J for the consonant form and leave I for the vowel. This is applied both to ordinary words and proper nouns. A similar modern convention exists in writing the vowel V as U (see U and V for more). But while U is very commonly written, the use of J is more variable.
Generally speaking, modern Latin-English dictionaries always write J; for example, the substantial 1879 dictionary of Lewis and Short. Reprints of classical works on the other hand sometimes write J and sometimes write I, with the use of I being in a sense deliberately classical (though adherence to classical conventions rarely extends say to all-capitals and no spaces between words, as actually found in originals).
As a vowel,
- (Classical): IPA: short /i/, long /iː/
As a consonant,
- (Classical): /j/, but doubled /jj/ when between vowels
U and V
In Latin, the letter written as V in ancient times represented either a vowel or a consonant depending on its position and the word. These two forms had distinct pronunciations and different metrical treatment in poetry.
A modern typographical convention is to write U for the vowel and leave V as the consonant. Generally speaking dictionaries write U this way and the majority of reprints of classical texts adapt them and show U too. The use of V for the vowel in new works is usually a deliberately classical style or appearance, and that includes for example in inscriptions on new monuments and the like.
- (Classical): IPA: /w/
- (Classical): IPA: short /u/, long /uː/
- Consonants: b (ps, pt) k d f g (ŋ) h j k l m n p kw r s t w ks z kʰ pʰ tʰ
Some example entries for Latin pronunciation given in IPA.
- IPA(key): /hyˈper.bo.leː/ (for hyperbolē)
- IPA(key): /ˈnoː.men/ (for nōmen)
- IPA(key): /ˈnoː.mi.nis/ (for nōminis)
- Other: ˈ ˌ ː .