Anna Morpurgo Davies
R. H. Robins
W. Sidney Allen and Jonathan G. F. Powell
Our knowledge of the pronunciation of classical Latin is derived from a variety of sources. Most direct are the specific statements of Latin grammarians and other authors (though allowance must be made for the fact that the former tend to be of later date). Other sources are: puns, word-play, contemporary etymologies, and onomatopoeia; the representation of Latin words in other ancient languages; later developments in the Romance languages; the spelling conventions of Latin, and especially any deviations from these; the internal structure of Latin itself and of its metrical patterns (see
It is impossible to reconstruct the vocal totality of a language spoken before the invention of sound-recording; but we can make a reasonably good approximation to the sounds of standard urban Latin as spoken around the turn of the era. It should be remembered that the pronunciation of Latin must have varied chronologically, socially, and geographically. In particular, the relatively static nature of the written medium in later antiquity may well have concealed significant changes in pronunciation.