A Guide to
Liturgical Latin Pronunciation
A is pronounced as in the word father.
E is pronounced as in red, men, met; never with the suspicion of a second sound (diphthong) as in Ray.
I is pronounced as ee in feet, never as i in milk or tin.
O is pronounced as in for, never as in go
U is pronounced as oo in moon, never as u in custom.
Y is pronounced and treated as a Latin I.
As a general rule when two vowels come together each keeps its own sound and constitutes a separate syllable. e.g. filii is fi-li-i; eorum is e-o-rum.
Note however: AE and OE are pronounced as one syllable, like E above. e.g. caelum.
U preceded by Q or NG and followed by another vowel as in words like qui and sanguis, keeps its normal sound and is uttered as one syllable with the vowel which follows: qui, quae, quod, quam, sanguis.
C coming before e, ae, oe, i , y is pronounced like ch in Church.
e.g. caelum = che-loom; Cecilia = che-chee-lee-a.
CC before the same vowels is pronounced T-ch. (not a crisp T, more a stopped d)
e.g. ecce = et-che; siccitas = seet-chee-tas. saccis = saht-chees
SC before the same vowels is pronounced like Sh in shed.
e.g. Descendit = de-shen-deet
C Except for the cases mentioned above C is always pronounced like the English K.
e.g. caritas = kah-ree-tas.
CH is always like K (even before E or I)
e.g. Cham = Kam, machini = ma-kee-na
G before e, ae, oe, i, y, is soft as in generous.
e.g. Magi, genitor, Regina.
G is hard as in Government. e.g. Gubernator, Vigor, Ego, Agatur
GN has the softened sound given to these letters in French and Italian.
e.g. Agneau, Signor, Monsignor. Nearest English equivalent is N followed by Y.
e.g. magnificat = mah-nyee-fee-caht. Or the word onion.
H is mute. Exception is the word mihi where it is pronounced mee-kee. This word sometimes appears spelled michi. Also, the word nihil (nee-keel)
J often written as I, is treated a Y, forming one sound with the following vowel.
Jam = Yam; alleluia = allelooya; major = ma-yor
R flipped is preferred.
e.g. Caritas; Kyrie = Kee-ree-e
S is hard as in the English word sea but is slightly softened when coming between two vowels.
TI standing before a vowel and following any letter (except S, X T) is pronounced tsee.
e.g. Patientia = pa-tsee-en-tsee-a; Gratia = Gra-tsee-a; Laetitia = lae-tee-tsee-a
the T is the the English T.
TH always simply T.
X is pronounced ks, slightly softened when coming between two vowels.
XC before e, ae, oe, I, y = KSH.
e.g. Excelsis = ek-shel-sees
All the rest of the consonants
B, D, F, K, L , M, N, P, Q, V are pronounced as in English.