General Rules for Latin Accentuation
1. Accent the second-to-last syllable, unless that syllable is short:
|for- TÛ-na a-MÂ-mus Ro-MÂ-ni.|
2. Accent the third-to-last syllable if the second-to-last syllable is short:
|phi-lo-SO-phi-a pe-CÛ-ni-a HO-mi-nis|
Remember the phrase mystérium treméndum. The -ri-is not a long syllable, so the accent falls back to the third-to-last syllable. The -en- is long by the rules below, so it takes the accent.
General rules for Syllable Length
1. Syllables are long if they contain a long vowel (often indicated by a punctuation mark): ser-vâ-re.
2. Syllables are long if they contain a "double-vowel sound" (diphthong): sae-pe; lau-das.
3. Syllables are long if their vowel sound is placed before two consonant-sounds (including doubled consonants):
pu-el-la ter-ra a-du-les-cen-ti-a sum-ma
But see the exceptions below.
Exceptions to the Syllable-length Rules
1. Double-sounds like the letter X count as two consonant-sounds.
2. Single-sounds even if written with two letters, count as one sound (ch, ph, th).
3. A stop (p, b, t, d, c, g) plus a liquid (l, r) can
count as one consonant: te-nebra.
Hint: Learn the rules in the first section above before
you go on to learn those of the second; learn rules of the third section
last. But you will need to know all these rules to accentuate Latin correctly.