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Vowels in Latin had only two possible pronunciations,
long and short. Long vowels were generally held about twice
as long as short vowels, like half notes and quarter notes
in music. In this book and in most beginning textbooks (though
not in actual classical texts), long vowels are marked with
a "macron," or "long mark." Vowels typed without a macron
Students should regard macrons as part of
the spelling of a word, since the differences of pronunciation
they indicate are often crucial to meaning (just as the
"silent -e" at the end of the English word cape indicates
that the vowel -a- in that word is pronounced long and refers
to a very different garment than the word cap, which lacks
the -e and thus is pronounced with a short -a- sound).
||For example, liber is a noun meaning book,
while līber is an adjective meaning free.
The pronunciations are approximately as follows:
||Note the pairs of words above that are identical except
for vowel length (hic/hīc, os/ōs).