How to Learn to Speak Latin for Free
If you want to learn to speak Latin, you should first know that you will encounter two main versions of Latin pronunciation: Classical and Ecclesiastical. Knowing this will save you a lot of confusion as you attempt to learn the language. Classical Latin, for instance, treats the letter "v" as a "w" sound. Ecclesiastical Latin pronounces "v" the same as it is pronounced in English. Because of the pronunciation differences in Latin, it is a good idea to listen to both Classical and Ecclesiastical Latin--the latter is the Latin still used today in some Catholic Masses. Since Latin is no longer spoken as a country's national language, it is not always easy to find a conversation partner to help you with correct pronunciation. Despite this, you still can learn to speak Latin--and you can do so for free.
Visit a library. Many libraries not only have Latin grammar guides, but also have compact discs of Latin pronunciation. If your local library does not carry audio guides to Latin pronunciation, free audio downloads can be found online.
Attend several Latin Masses at Catholic Churches. This will give you the chance to hear Ecclesiastical Latin. The more you hear Latin, the faster you will pick up on the nuances of the ancient language. Read more about attending a Latin Mass and how to dress for a Latin Mass on this website.
Practice rolling your "r" daily. The Latin "r" is nearly always rolled and this should become second nature if you want to speak Latin properly.
Post a flier at your local university for a Latin language conversation partner or study group. You don't have to be a student to network with Latin language lovers.
Practice Latin phrases daily and record yourself speaking the phrases. When you play back the recording, you will be able to detect how close you are to the correct pronunciation.
- Vowel length can be important for some words. How long a vowel sound is pronounced can change the meaning of a word.
- Try not to be upset if someone tells you are pronouncing a word wrong. Scholars of the language can get stuck on what their professor taught them as the "right" pronunciation. While there are guidelines to standard Latin pronunciation, pronouncing "veni" like "wenni" may sound right to some and wrong to others—both are right.
- Practice speaking phrases slowly at first until you can pronounce each word correctly.
- To hear more Ecclesiastical Latin, check out a compact disc of Gregorian Chants from your local library.
- Carl Orff’s "Carmina Burana" is an interesting source of songs sung in Latin (with the exception of a few songs, which are sung in medieval German).
- Compact disc player and/or computer with speakers