Latin, Vowels

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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


  • = when short , and when long ,
  • = (as in pet) when short , and (somewhat as in English they) when long ,
  • = (as in pin) when short , and (as in machine) when long ,
  • = (as in British English law) when short , and (somewhat as in holy) when long ,
  • = (as in put) when short , and (as in true) when long , . Also .
  • = (as in French lune), used for Latinized Greek loanwords, is always long ,

In inscriptions, and in upper case in handwriting, the letter u, whether as a consonant or as a vowel, was invariably written as V.

Classical Latin distinguished between long and short vowels, and the use of the apex, which indicates long vowels, was quite widespread during classical and postclassical times (á, é, I, ó, ú). In modern texts, long vowels are often indicated by a macron , and short vowels are sometimes indicated by a breve . The vowel-length distinction began to fade by Late Latin.

A vowel followed by an or (maintained later by some Romance languages), either at the end of a word ( only) or before a fricative, is nasal, as in monstrum .

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