“O that’s the latin word”
Love’s Labor’s Lost III, 1, 129
In an attempt at consistency, the pronunciations in the Shakespeare audio dictionary app are rendered into what is commonly referred to as “restored” or classical Latin. Many Latin words and phrases have entered the English language. Clearly, it is best to pronounce these in the manner with which the audience is most familiar. Thus, while the letter c is always hard in classical Latin pronunciation, names such as Caesar and Cicero should be pronounced as they are commonly sounded in English with the soft c. These pronunciations reflect what is called “Anglicized” Latin, which was the form of Latin pronunciation prevalent in Britain until the end of the 19th century, when a movement arose to “restore” or codify Latin pronunciation. To complicate matters further, there is another form of pronunciation, church Latin, which is Italianate in style, and which some may find to be appropriate for ecclesiastical references or greetings. The greatest problem with the classical pronunciation is the use of the w for the v, producing WAY-nee, WEE-dee, WEE-kee for Caesar’s famous quote “Veni, vidi, vici.” In this case, we have provided a pronunciation more common for American ears, VAY-nee, VEE-dee, VEE-chee, which is church Latin. Readers should feel free, if they prefer, to use the v sound whenever the w sound appears. If a pronunciation is other than classical, we have indicated such in parentheses. We have included blunders and those instances where a character’s incorrect use of Latin suggests a pronunciation. Finally, it might be good to remember that, in the words of A Dictionary of Latin Words and Phrases, “anything goes” in the pronunciation of Latin.