What Latin Sounded Like - and how we know

  Views 8,100,814


4 years ago

Classical Latin went extinct, yet we still know how to pronounce it. Proof!
Subscribe for language: usshow.info
Become a direct supporter:
Take a trip with me back to Catholic school, then back even further to old Rome. We'll see what Latin pronunciation did - and did NOT - sound like in the mouths of the Romans. Thanks to ancient authors and modern Romance languages, we'll even glimpse a range of evidence for the speech of Caesar and pauper alike!
~ Credits ~
Art and animation by Josh from NativLang
Music by me: closing piece, soundtrack bits from Thoth's Pill, Hispania guitar.
Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com):
Path of the Goblin King v2, Sneaky Snooper, Chee Zee Jungle, Virtutes Instrumenti, The Show Must Be Go
General image, font, sfx and sources credits:

Vaipercoatl Ilhuicamina
Vaipercoatl Ilhuicamina 5 hours ago
Let's make this simple for you: Latin changed over time and so did its sounds. Most important thing to remember? The letter "C" sounded like a "K" and the letter "V" sounded like a "W" until late antiquity and forward, when the "C" became a "CH" and the "V" became a "V." The only other one that maybe matters is that "AE" was pronounced as both and then became "E". You're welcome.
Mephisto Faustus
Mephisto Faustus 6 hours ago
For me the essential question was not answered: How did romans speak in daily communication. I guess they didn't use the Latin we used to learn at school, this would be to complicated?! I'd rather compare it with "Church Latin" of nowadays?
zubbworks 18 hours ago
So Ceasar talked like the bishop dude in all of Mel Brooks movies because the common man can't be bothered to prounce things right?
Hrodebert M.
Hrodebert M. Day ago
Ancient Roman public education is as bad as it is today?
Carlos Sierra
Carlos Sierra Day ago
gotta check the facts out in VICIPEDIA
YourMoraleBoosterTV Day ago
but veni vidi vici sounds much better than weeeni weedi wiikki
JAG 0937 EB
JAG 0937 EB 3 days ago
caeser was pronounced with k sound
Joey Productions
Joey Productions 3 days ago
C we should get rid of c
Juraj Vrkljan
Juraj Vrkljan 5 days ago
In high school, where I live, the first two years we have mandatory latin. One of the first things we learned was so-called "traditional and classical" pronounciation. For example, in classical Latin "c" is always pronounced as a "k", while in traditional Latin it is "k" except when it's before i, y, e, ae, oe, and two more diphtongs. Diphtongs are also pronounced differently...
TheTaralovesmakeup 6 days ago
Dude, I didn't want a history lesson, I wanted to know what Latin ACTUALLY sounded like. You know, like the name of your video might suggest.
Bron Bron
Bron Bron 6 days ago
fucking anus is the word for old lady lmao rip
ANDRES MORA 7 days ago
Mihi Nomen Est Maximus Decimus Meridius, praeceptorem septentrionalis exercitibus, generalis Felix legiones, fidelis servus et verum Caesar Marcus Aurelius. Pater occisi filium, virum ad uxoris occisae, Et iuro ego ultus ipse in hac vita, vel in altera. 🇮🇹 Mi chiamo Máximo Décimo Meridio, comandante degli eserciti del nord, generale delle Legioni della Fenice, fedele servitore dell'unico imperatore Marco Aurelio. Padre di un figlio assassinato, marito di una moglie assassinata e giuro che mi vendicherò, in questa vita o nella prossima. 🇲🇽 Mi nombre es Máximo Décimo Meridio, comandante de los ejércitos del norte, general de las Legiones Fénix, leal sirviente del unico emperador Marco Aurelio. Padre de un hijo asesinado, esposo de una esposa asesinada y juro que me vengaré, en esta vida o en la otra. 🇧🇷 Meu nome é Máximo Décimo Meridio, comandante dos exércitos do norte, general das Legiões da Fênix, servidor leal do único imperador Marco Aurélio. Pai de um filho assassinado, marido de uma esposa assassinada e eu juro que me vingarei, nesta vida ou na próxima. 🇨🇵 Je m'appelle Maximus Decimus Meridius, commandant des armées du Nord, général des légions de Phénix, fidèle serviteur du seulement empereur Marc Aurèle. Père d'un fils assassiné, mari d'une femme assassinée et je jure que je vais me venger, dans cette vie ou dans la suivante. 🇷🇴 Numele meu este Maximus Decimus Meridius, comandantul armatelor nordice, general al Legiunilor Phoenix, servitor loial al singurului împărat Marcus Aurelius. Tatăl unui fiu ucis, soțul unei soții ucise și jur că mă voi răzbuna, în această viață sau în cealaltă.
Dernier Ergenekon
Dernier Ergenekon 7 days ago
Gareth Alford
Gareth Alford 7 days ago
Why people don’t speak Latin anymore they kept accidentally summoning Demons 👹
this is what it might have been like to speak latin today. i describe a modern situation with as many latin ( or simulated latin) words i can think of: a homo erectus(man), was driveing down to londinium(london) in his charrotus, mechanuus (car), when he realised that he was runing low on petrolatum spiritus (petrol/gas) so he pulled in at the petrolatum spiritus forum (petrol station) where he had to stub out his stylus ignitus (lit ciggarette) because of course petrolatum spiritus is maximus infernus (highly inflamable). when he went to pay his denarius (money) ,the atendant made a mistake & overcharged him , so the homo erectus called him an "idios anus"( stupid arsehole) , stuck up two digitus( fingers) at him & told him to "copulatum momentum"( f*** o**)
Jesse Silgero
Jesse Silgero 8 days ago
Sooooo...... Davinky isn't necessarily wrong??
ANDRES MORA 8 days ago
The Latin language of ancient Rome is not a dead language. Latin is the official language of the Vatican, Latin also evolved and gave rise to the Romance languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, these languages are a modern Latin.
castel de cristal
castel de cristal 4 days ago
occitan,catalan,asturian,venetian,neapolitan,friulian,romansh,sardinian,sicilian,corsican etc....
Nicholas Sudov
Nicholas Sudov 8 days ago
Like. They surely pronounced Victor as Viktor, so vici must be pronounced viki. What about Caesar? In German it is Kaiser, in Russian Church texts - Kesar (with soft "r").
Samuele Bigi
Samuele Bigi 9 days ago
2:18 😳
Mr5nan 9 days ago
Why don't you also care for yhe possibility that the 'v' might be pronounced just like when a german pronounce an english 'v'? I think it is supposed to be like that instead of a 'w'
Petru Pà
Petru Pà 9 days ago
Vous citez toutes les langues sauf le Corse , qui est pourtant la langue la plus proche du latin , plus proche encore que l'Italien . En Fait le Corse et le Roumain sont les deux langues les plus proches du latin ...............
Jennifer 10 days ago
"...the off the wall year of the four emperors..." HAHAHAHAHAAA :D
Jose Araujo
Jose Araujo 10 days ago
So why didn't they write ueni uidi uici? In all romance languages we pronounce V's has V's not U's
Harold L POTTS
Harold L POTTS 11 days ago
Dropping H sounds is common enough, but American speakers of English are bamboozled by the letter ' t ' causing strange results - like LAT'n [ Latin ] or POOT'n for [ President ] Putin. So when an American says RIDER we don't know whether it is ' rider ' or ' writer ' that is intended. English speakers of English [ as distinct from Scottish Welsh or many Irish ] speakers cannot pronounce the letter ' r ' unless it's at the beginning of a word [ my rhinoceros ]. Neither American nor English speakers seem able to pronounce the ' ch ' guttural sound as in Scottish LOCH. What is the significance of all this in this context ? Just as there exist these variations in English, so must there have been variations in the ancient dialects, especially as LaTIN was being adopted as the lingua franca of the day, just as English has become in our time. In which case how can assertions be made today with any certainty about how LaTIN sounded if it was being spoken possibly by more foreign speakers than native speakers, as is the case with English today ?
Andreas Klein
Andreas Klein 11 days ago
Very shallow arguments
not_a_bug_but_a_feature 12 days ago
sounded like ..latin. duh
X-MISMA-X 12 days ago
OMG! Just tell me what Latin sounded like
VerticNIKE 13 days ago
*(Eastern) Rome fell in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks.
Leslie Stoners
Leslie Stoners 14 days ago
Waste of time. I had hoped to hear people conversing in Latin.
Teresa Castagnola
Teresa Castagnola 14 days ago
You should have studied Latin in Italy (with a good teacher, of course) :D
Albe Belt
Albe Belt 14 days ago
Latin is still studied and spoken at Italian high schools, you ignorant people! And in all the places were you can find a traditional Latin Mass.
Bio Emiliano
Bio Emiliano 15 days ago
Hearing an anglo speaking like this gives me satisfaction
Dev Env
Dev Env 15 days ago
no time link to how latin sounded?
yunk9 15 days ago
Bloody Romans 😂
Anthropou Didymos
Anthropou Didymos 15 days ago
Terribly inaccurate.
English as a Second Story
English as a Second Story 16 days ago
Men talking linguistics
Pc Kal Taj 'רא S.
Pc Kal Taj 'רא S. 17 days ago
You are my friend.
Lemonade Juice
Lemonade Juice 18 days ago
2:17 Why do I hear the same wrong thing in all three versions?
rick spalding
rick spalding 18 days ago
Ehh, just take a latin class, useless video
Michael Sallai
Michael Sallai 19 days ago
johnny will come home
johnny will come home 19 days ago
i really wish that latin was still alive for some reason
Alexander Nattfodd
Alexander Nattfodd 19 days ago
You sounded a little Finnish when you spoke Latin.
Mountainous Port
Mountainous Port 19 days ago
I was expecting a latin dialogue.
Maranatha SOS
Maranatha SOS 19 days ago
Were the “h’s” dropped because they were silent? This problem with spelling words that start with “h” occurs in Spanish because “h” is silent.
Geoffrey Stevens
Geoffrey Stevens 20 days ago
This is why there is no letter "C" in the languages of the Philippines, except for words introduced by the Spaniards. The hard sound "K" was dominant here too. Despite the fact that my education in Latin began in a Catholic high school, I learned to pronounce "V" as "W" and "C" as "K" when reading Latin texts. Yes, it is the reason why we have wine!
tealwingz 20 days ago
was hoping to hear at least one sentence in actual Latin too
Hoyya Li
Hoyya Li 20 days ago
You buuuuuuuuu
Unknown Anonymous
Unknown Anonymous 20 days ago
Ah yes, the tutorial for summoning that one demon.
Fábio Pereira
Fábio Pereira 21 day ago
Some parts of the explanation remind me a bit of the pinyin, when I was learning chinese.
The Good Ole' Days
The Good Ole' Days 21 day ago
Will English die?
Dave W
Dave W 21 day ago
Who gives a shit?
Pein Gedō ペイン 外道
Pein Gedō ペイン 外道 21 day ago
What about medieval Latin ?
Dead Grandma
Dead Grandma 21 day ago
I'myay uentflay inyay igpay atinlay
Enacoid 1203
Enacoid 1203 21 day ago
Wait wasn’t Caesar quoting one of Menander’s plays and as such he said “ανερριπφο κύβος” not “Alea Iacta Est”?
Enacoid 1203
Enacoid 1203 20 days ago
Kodzel ok, first thing first: if you whoosh next you’re gay; second yes
Kodzel 20 days ago
Caesar spoke greek? Asking for a friend.
Szőke Ferenc
Szőke Ferenc 23 days ago
Iam Hungarian. My language was reformed and our alphabet rebuild by latin language and its seems like our hungarian language preserved those real latin pronaunceations. we still have the same sounds like oöüóóüúűáií
Lizy Cole
Lizy Cole 23 days ago
if we started using "correct" pronunciation for Latin, would we actually summon demons?
socraticgadfly 23 days ago
Another inaccuracy. Classical Latin didn't have diacritical marks.
socraticgadfly 23 days ago
Actually, we don't really know so much, especially given that Latin had many dialects after one got away from Senatorial-class Rome.
Pepper 23 days ago
oh wow
TauDudeBlobber 23 days ago
1:36 well he's also saying that a isn't a vowel...
Alex Cloke
Alex Cloke 24 days ago
and spanish stole latin wev leared that in school to
Alex Cloke
Alex Cloke 24 days ago
I almost forgot im learning Latin in school my Latin name is Lina !!
Alex Cloke
Alex Cloke 24 days ago
at school were doing the Trojan war play im sinon aeneos created rome!!!!!!
Berni Phillips
Berni Phillips 24 days ago
Thanks for this. I'm doing Latin on Duolingo and was wondering why they pronounce the V as a W.
Jack Adams
Jack Adams 24 days ago
If v's sound like w's than what do w's sound like?
Project Mayhem
Project Mayhem 24 days ago
I learned this on Vicipedia.
Moi S
Moi S 25 days ago
My mother had 6 years of Latin and I've only had one course, but you are right with your c and v.
Elmar Helmet
Elmar Helmet 25 days ago
Very interesting video. I still don’t know what latin sounded like though.
Lindlelover Watterson
Lindlelover Watterson 25 days ago
can you cut the explanation and speak the language like the title eludes to????! what a crock
spartandud3 25 days ago
Rome fell on 476. But the empire didn't fall until 1453.
vince votan
vince votan 25 days ago
i think you're wrong on the pronounciation of the V. think about how the germans pronounce a W, its like the english V, not like an english W.
TauDudeBlobber 23 days ago
it started as an english w sound and changed.
Arctic Haze
Arctic Haze 25 days ago
I do not get the argument about the Germanic tribes and "w". All Germanic languages, except English, use the sound "v" saying Wall or Wein (or their counterpart in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or Dutch). I thing the way the English pronounce "w" is their own invention.
Arctic Haze
Arctic Haze 23 days ago
@TauDudeBlobber After reading a little on the matter I now see that u and v were the same letter because the sound was similar (that is English "w"-like) but I'm pretty sure it must have changed before the Germanic tribes borrowed Wall and Wein.
TauDudeBlobber 23 days ago
no, it started out as a w sound and most of them changed.
schrodingers cat
schrodingers cat 25 days ago
The main thing is that this all falls apart when you remember that Rome lasted for 1000 years. Even from Caesar to the fall of the western empire was almost 500 years. Just think about the difference between how we speak and Shakespeare and you have some indication on how shortsighted the idea of a single "what Latin sounded like" even just during the Empire. And that is leaving aside the inevitable regional variations given the size of the empire and the complete unknown of slang and probably class based accents. This is in many ways claiming that the Eaton accent is what English sounded like in the British Empire.
Ales Pretor
Ales Pretor 25 days ago
Those iiiis eees ooos etc are characteristics of Germanic Gaelic and similar languages. One of common mistakes is the pronounciation of C letter. It is TS not K if it comes before E or I as well as T before I. Latin pronunciation was crystal clear and not like you got hot potato in your mouth mumbling around.
Charlymaumushi 25 days ago
So lazy people fucked up the language with their slang and vvlgaris.
Steve Gergetz
Steve Gergetz 25 days ago
I had almost no idea what you were talking about through the entirety of this video, but it was interesting nonetheless. Glad there's smart people in the world to offset the dummies like me :)
A P 26 days ago
1:40 CUM SIT C
theFormidable1 26 days ago
Latin is the official languange of the 2000 year old Catholic Church. The ecclecsial pronunciation is the way Latin sounds, the classical or reconstructed pronunciation is made up. The Church has never stopped using Latin so they know continuously how it was spoken through 2 millenia. This guy is making it complicated, try and read the Latin Vulgate in both classical and ecclesial, the ecclesial pronunciation just works and flows, unlike the try hard pronunciation of the reconstructed classical.
whatsthisshit 26 days ago
I didn't understand any of that.
Italia Italia
Italia Italia 26 days ago
0:54 .. well.. Errare umanum est.. perseverare diabolicum
Martin Hülsemann
Martin Hülsemann 26 days ago
Listen to German. It's Latin with Germanic grammar and vocabulary. It's the same word based language as Latin, in contrast to the mostly syllable based other European languages. It's because the Latin of the monks was the common language in Germany in the middle ages, otherwise there were so many different dialects resulting from the numerous Germanic tribes in Germania/Germany, in the difference to other European countries, where only one Germanic tribe invaded the country when the West Roman Empire fell and influenced the local Romance language.
Remito 26 days ago
Watching this I can definitely see why Latin is dead. And here I was thinking french was bad enough to learn.
The 1 idiot
The 1 idiot 26 days ago
The 1 idiot
The 1 idiot 26 days ago
J 27 days ago
father F sounds weeeird...
amy hall
amy hall 27 days ago
Silly and not true. We cannot know how any historical language sounded because it's SOUND. Many languages cannot be interpreted by mere words.
Osvaldo Schilling
Osvaldo Schilling 27 days ago
Latin as far as I know has similar spelling as southeastern Brazilian Portuguese. The letter I always sounds like "ee" in English. The letter E as in "end" "u" as "oo". The letter "a" is spoken like o in "how", and so on.
wildan syauqi
wildan syauqi 27 days ago
i'm dead when he said 'anus'
Christian Habermann
Christian Habermann 27 days ago
No jokes about Ánus, Anus and Annus in the comment section? I'm disappoint, Internet!
echt114 3 days ago
Borat used this word several times.
Lily Liao
Lily Liao 5 days ago
Jose Canisales
Jose Canisales 6 days ago
Ignoramus, Christian Habermann.
Pete 8 days ago
@Project Mayhem Poor choice of words
tq 10 days ago
too easy
a lindley
a lindley 27 days ago
I thought that particular point of Latin pronunciation had been made clear in the book "1066 and All That". This famous spoof of school-aged Latin and history tells us that Caesar took one look at the Brits who showed up to resist his invasion, and promptly put them into three categories: "Weenie, Weedy, and Weakie!"
Ay Ay
Ay Ay 27 days ago
Lol anus
ShadeyBladey 27 days ago
Weenie, Widdy, Wiki? Get out of town! >:8o
ShadeyBladey 27 days ago
Julius Kaeser? Markus Tullius Kikero? >:8o
stan broniszewski
stan broniszewski 27 days ago
Almost makes me feel sorry for the people of the Middle Ages & up to the Reinassance period when they were at church, the priest said the mass in Latin (the Tridentine mass) and nobody could understand what was being said.
SpyengoEen 27 days ago
You tell us how Caesar really talked in Latin, but still pronounce his name wrong xD (It's more akin to Kaiser).
John Foster
John Foster 27 days ago
Caesar disrobed before a voluptuous woman, and she gasped at his sizeable manhood and exclaimed, " Oh my...it's so BIG......you must even have a NAME for it". Whereupon Caesar announced : " Of course.......I named it after MYSELF........ I call it 'CAESAR' ! " She said," I STILL can't believe how BIG it is! " That is when Caesar stated : " QUIET !!!........we have come to BURY Caesar, not to praise him ! "
Jan T.
Jan T. 28 days ago
So it should be "Keasar said..." at the and if I'm getting it right, right?
Вхламинго 27 days ago
Klaus-Peter Kubiak
Klaus-Peter Kubiak 28 days ago
Very good theory. But only theory. In Sweden the letter o is pronounced u. The letter a like o. In English the pronunciation is much more varied. For example: the letters ea are pronounced differently in words like heart, hearse, beat, bead, bear etc. The letter o is differently pronounced in words like woman, women, word, bored, bosom etc. If the English language ist to be forgotten in the course of centuries and millenia, nobody will know how the different words are pronounced. And with Latin it will be the same.
Austin O Keeffe
Austin O Keeffe 28 days ago
In Spanish the V is pronounced like a soft B so would this be closer to the V in Veni Vidi Vici not W?
Jeoffrey Istasse
Jeoffrey Istasse 28 days ago
Réal latin : is it the one of Quintilius or the one of Duns Scot ? Both, I suppose. Latin didn’t disappear at the fall of the (Western) Roman Empire but was the Linga Franca in Europe before Tuscan, Spanish, French and then English took the first place. For 14 centuries, it was the only educated language in Europe. Look at our languages now, and how the British and the American prononciations vary despite our recording and telecommunication means. You can bet that the pronunciation of Latin has varied very much over 19 centuries of lifespan, since it was still in use in 18th century for communication alongside the other aforementioned European langages. The obsession for the « real » or authentic pronunciation of Latin is indissociable of the Renaissance, when the immediately preceding period was disregarded as « Middle Age » (Intervallum). This has generated the most violent crisis in the European civilisation. Beware of the woke shit : it can even present itself in the form of a reevaluation of the ancient past.
Brain Serum
Brain Serum 28 days ago
Anus? really...lmao. "Even though she's an Anus she's getting married. Just look at that new big sparkly Ánus on her finger."
How Latin Works
Fire of Learning
Views 963K
The Hardest Language To Spell
13 Types of Among Us Players
JianHao Tan
Views 1.3M
[MV] 이달의 소녀 (LOONA) "Why Not?"
A Secret I've Been Hiding...
Christina Kayy
Views 254K