Classical vs. Ecclesiastical Latin
#11
Reform of Latin and Greek pronunciation happened about the same time - early 20th century. This pamphlet outlines the changes. Typically, one way to tell how certain consonants were pronounced is by seeing how other languages spelled words when it borrowed them. This is easier in Greek since several non-Indo-European languages borrowed Greek words, notably Coptic and Syriac. But Greek itself took over several Latin words. For instance, we know that the word Caesar was at some early period definitely pronounced with an initial /k/ sound and the diphtong ae was probably pronounced like the /i/ in wine because the Greeks borrowed this title as καῖσαρ <kaisar>. It also found its way into Syriac as <qsr>, which means that when the Syriac speakers encountered the word, the first consonant was perceived as a very hard /k/; otherwise they could have spelled it <ksr>, but they never did. If you can determine when Greek borrowed a particular word, then you have a point in time when you know how it was pronounced in Latin. One of my Greek professors produced a painstaking study of Greek papyri and could tell you within 10-20 years of every consonant change in the Greek language in the period before Christ.

In the process of becoming Italian (and Spanish and French...), Latin underwent changes, and these Italianate pronunciations were how the Italians, and thus the Vatican, continued to pronounce the old language. Likewise, the /s/ sound English speakers use in phrases like et cetera reflect changes in the English language, and is how Latin was pronounced by English speakers until the 20th century.
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