1. Latin words are divided into syllables. There is one vowel
per syllable, with the exception of diphthongs like ae, au,
ei, eu, oi and ui.
2. To determine where the accent falls in a word, you must divide
it into syllables. If there is a long vowel in the penult, (the
next to the last syllable), the penult gets the accent. (au-STRA-lus,
3. If the penult has a short vowel, the accent goes to the syllable
before the penult, the antepenult. (FLO-ri-dus, la-ti-FO-li-a)
4. Dipthongs are treated as long vowels.
5. In Latin, if two vowels that do not form a dipthong come
together, the first vowel is short: (CAR-ne-us, ME-di-us)
6. In words of Greek origin, the opposite holds: gi-gan-TE-us
7. Watch out for the -inus ending. The i is long in some cases,
like al-PIN-us, but short in others: se-RO-ti-nus. Words of
Greek derivation usually have the short i in an -inus ending.
8. Best way to find out where the accent belongs is to consult
a decent Latin dictionary, or a good flora like Gray's Manual.
If the stresses are indicated by a ` (grave), the syllable has
a short vowel. If the syllable is accented with a ' it has a
9. There are usually some minor accents earlier in the word
if it has a bunch of syllables: Put them in reasonable places,
usually every other syllable..... rosmariniflorus is rose'-mar-in'-i-FLOR-us.
10. You have your choice of pronounciations of letters. Stearn**
gives "reformed academic" ("classical") and "traditional English"
which is next door to my church Latin.
you're a true "church latinist", "cie" is "ch", not "s" or "k".
Now, as to pronouncing names that are stolen from other languages
or were once people's names, you're kinda on your own. Try to
get it to an approximation of the original language OR try to
come up with something that doesn't land with a dull thud on
can be rendered "var-she-vi-CHEL-la".
One other problem: -ii or -iae endings can be tricky, since
if you apply the penult/antepenult rule, you need to put the
accent on the last syllable of the latinized personal name,
which is usually where it doesn't belong. So people cut some
slack on that rule when dealing with -ii and -iae endings.
Finally, words of wisdom from Stearn:
Latin is essentially a written language, but the scientific
names of plants often occur in speech. How they are pronounced
really matters little provided they sound pleasant and are understood
by all concerned..."