amino acids

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Fri Dec 15 06:46:27 CST 1995

On December 14, Joe Laferriere <josephl at> wrote:

>    As far as there being multiple correct ways of pronouncing Latin:
> there are only two methods with any legiticamy: Classical Latin and
> Medieval Latin. Classical Latin would have all "C's" and "G's" hard,
> and "J" like a "Y." Thus Acer is "ah-ker" and Geum is "gee-um."
> Medieval Latin would soften this rule, but keep the original vowels.
> Years ago, I tried pronouncing names using Classical Latin rules to
> American botanists, but I got blank stares. I finally gave up when my
> pronunciation of Pinus got me a few chuckles. Anglicized or
> Hispanicized or Germanicized of any other pronunciation is justifiable
> only for practical reasons: i.e., because nobody will understand you
> if you do it right.

Yes, in my first summer in North America - as a Brit teaching the Local
Flora course at the University of Washington, Seattle, just before the
Botanical Congress of 1969 - I quickly learned that I had better change
my pronunciation of _Pinus_!!  But, even there, it was my 5 years of
High School Latin, rather than my "Britishness", that was the "problem".

John McNeill

From: John McNeill, Director, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park,
      Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6, Canada.
      Tel.: 416-586-5639      Fax: 416-586-8044
      e-mail: johnm at

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