Our knowledge of the pronunciation of classical Latin is derived from a variety of sources. Most direct are the specific statements of Latin grammarians and other authors (though allowance must be made for the fact that the former tend to be of later date). Other sources are: puns, word‐play, contemporary etymologies, and onomatopoeia; the representation of Latin words in other ancient languages; later developments in the Romance languages; the spelling conventions of Latin, and esp. any deviations from these; the internal structure of Latin itself and of its metrical patterns (see etymology).
It is impossible to reconstruct the vocal totality of a dead language; but at least for the individual sounds it is feasible to reach an approximation which is probably as close as the average classical scholar comes to the sounds of a living foreign language.
Subjects: Classical Studies.