Latin spelling and pronunciation

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Latin spelling or orthography refers to the spelling of Latin words written in the scripts of all historical phases of Latin from Old Latin to the present. They all use some phase of the same alphabet even though conventional spellings may vary from phase to phase. The Roman alphabet, or Latin alphabet, was adapted from the Old Italic alphabet to represent the phonemes of the Latin language. The Old Italic alphabet had in turn been borrowed from the Greek alphabet, itself adapted from the Phoenician alphabet. A given phoneme may well be represented by different letters in different periods. Latin pronunciation continually evolved over the centuries, making it difficult for speakers in one era to know how Latin was actually spoken in prior eras. This article deals primarily with modern scholarship's best guess at classical Latin's phonemes (phonology) and their pronunciation and writing; that is, how Latin was spoken and spelled among educated people in the late Republic, and then touches upon later changes and other variants.


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