Latin, Consonants

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Latin (; Latin: , ; the noun lingua, "tongue" and "language", and the adjective latinus, latina and latinum in its three genders, "Latin") is an


The consonant phonemes of classical Latin are shown in the following table.

The period graphemes representing these phonemes are only a partial match to today's English alphabet, which, except for the capital letters, dates to the Middle Ages. Latin texts are nevertheless printed in it. The inscription from the Colosseum shown at the top of the article is a good example of the appearance of native Roman graphemes. Some notes concerning the mapping of Latin phonemes to English graphemes are given below.

Geminate (long) consonants are represented by doubled spelling: puella = ("girl"; similar to Italian nella), littera = ("letter", "character"; as in Italian petto), accidere = ("to happen"; stress on the second syllable; as in Italian ecco), addere = ("to add"), pessime = ("very/most badly") and the like.

It is also notable that consonants at the end of syllables close these syllables clearly; that means the latter are pronounced longer: e.g. amare = ("to love") has the quantitative structure short-long-short, whereas armare = ("to arm") shows long-long-short. This feature of classical Latin is crucial to the understanding and retracing of Latin poetical rhythms of classical and ensuing times, which are mainly based on syllable lengths, less on the word stresses.

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