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Getting started on classical Latin
Getting started on classical Latin

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3 The pronunciation of Latin

Contrary to what many people think, we do know how classical Latin (the Latin spoken in the first century bcE and the first century CE) was pronounced. One of the main clues is provided by the spelling of Latin names in Greek: thus, since the Latin name Valeria, for instance, was spelled Oualeria in Greek, we can tell that Latin ‘v’ was pronounced as a ‘w’ sound. Alternative spellings and misspellings on inscriptions also help to show common pronunciations, as do the regular metres of Latin poetry; the remarks of ancient grammarians and other writers; and comparison of Latin with other languages.