First, I'd like to commend you on wanting to get the pronunciation right. Latin is a beautiful language, all the moreso when pronounced properly.
Sesquipedalian wrote:(except it doesnâ€™t mention how to pronounce the vowel Y)
Y (the Greek letter upsilon, which was borrowed to write Greek loanwords) was pronounced like a French "u", which is simply an English long "i" pronounced with the lips rounded. The typical instructions are to round your lips like you're saying "oo", but say "ee" instead, which should get you the sound of upsilon.
1) â€˜n before c, qu, or g is like ng in sing (compare the sound of n in anchor)â€™
This is correct.
2) â€˜qu, gu, and sometimes su before a vowel have the sound of qw, gw, and swâ€™
Technically, "qu" and "gu" are pronounced like "k" and "g" with the lips rounded, which is called "labialized" in linguistic jargon. If you say a "k", but round your lips at the same time, you'll get something close to the right sound.
While those three statements are not contradictory with each other, it just seemed odd to me that there mentioned in one and not the other. Any reasons for this would be great.
There are bound to be a few aspects in every reconstructed pronunciation which not every author agrees with. Fortunately, nowadays we have most of the details worked out. I recommend Vox Latina: The Pronunciation of Classical Latin
if you're interested in these things.
Secondly, I think I did find one piece of information that is contradictory. In Dooge it saysâ€¦
â€˜ch, ph, and th are like c, p, t,â€™
but Wheelock says that â€˜châ€™ should be pronounced like chk in blockhead, â€˜phâ€™ like in uphill and â€˜thâ€™ as hothouse??
"Ph", "th", and "ch" are called aspirated
consonants, which means that they're pronounced with a puff of air after the consonant. (The unaspirated versions of these consonants are plain "p", "t", and "c".) These are Latin transcriptions of the Greek sounds phi, theta, and chi, which were aspirated at that point in time in the Greek language. The Romans naturally wrote p+h (or "ph") to represent the sound of a "p" with a puff of air after it.
Normally in English, "p", "t", and "k" are aspirated at the beginning of words, while they're unaspirated after "s", as darthanakin notes. The unaspirated sounds of these letters are the proper sounds of Latin "p", "t", and "c", while the aspirated versions are the ones to use for "ph", "th", and "ch".
One final question; in Wheelock is says â€˜Between two vowels within a word i served in double capacity: as the vowel i forming a diphthong with the preceding vowel, and as the consonant like English yâ€™.
As an example the website gives two words, reiectus ( = rei yectus) and maior ( = mai yor). If Latin only has the six diphthongs, how does this work with â€˜maiorâ€™? I understand how it works with â€˜reiectusâ€™, as ei was a Latin diphthong. Does this mean, whenever â€˜Iâ€™ was used between any two vowels it can then form different diphthongs to the original six?
Yes, basically. "Ae" and oe" used to be the diphtongs "ai" and "oi" (as in English "bye" and "boy"), but a pronunciation shift before classical times changed the "i" vowel to "e".
In certain places, however, the original diphthong was still formed by the i which functioned as the consonant "y" between vowels. This consonant was doubled in this position, with the former "y" blending into the preceding vowel as an "i" sound.
I'm admittedly not as knowledgable about thse things as some people here, however, so I'd appreciate any corrections anyone might have to offer.