amino acids

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Fri Dec 15 11:07:33 CST 1995

At 12:31 PM 12/14/95 -0700, Joe Laferriere wrote:
>> And I still remember the first time I heard the British pronunciation
>> "a-MINE-oh" for amino acid (most Americans say "a-MEAN-oh").  In terms of
>> pronunciation rules, the British pronounce Latin-derived words in English
>> better than we do.
>Boy, did you ever contradict yourself. English is the only language in
>the galaxy in which the letter "I" is pronounced as a diphthong (ah + ee
>in one syllable). The standard in Latin as well as every other language
>is for it to be as in the English word "machine." Thus, for once, we
>americans are right: a-meen-oh.

Well, no, we pronounce it as if it were Latin, and the British pronounce it
as if it were English.

>   As far as there being multiple correct ways of pronouncing Latin:
>there are only two methods with any legiticamy: Classical Latin and
>Medieval Latin.

But also:

>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

Since we are scientists (in this regard) rather than classicists, I vote for
practicality over legitimacy.

Curtis Clark
Biological Sciences Department                     Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona    FAX:   (909) 869-4396
Pomona CA 91768-4032                               jcclark at

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