pronouncing names (ae endings)

Jacques Melot jacques.melot at ISHOLF.IS
Sun Jun 23 15:41:43 CDT 2002

1. - Utiliser des noms de plante en latin dans une langue moderne, ce
n'est pas parler latin.

2. - Prononciation et compréhension (orale) sont deux choses différentes.

3. - Le latin étant une langue morte, nous sommes totalement libres
d'adopter une prononciation conventionnelle.

    On peut donc proposer une prononciation rigoureusement réglée sur
l'orthographe, où tout se prononce clairement et distinctement. Dans
ce cas, l'accent propre à chaque langue (ou dialecte) ne devrait pas
avoir une influence suffisante pour s'opposer à la compréhension par

    Pour Carl Linnaeus Nilsson, alias Carl von Linné (après
ennoblissement), la solution peut être d'écrire "Linnaeus" (comme
dans le Code) et d'utiliser "Linné" à l'oral (é prononcé comme la
première partie de la diphtongue de "day", "David", etc., ou comme la
voyelle de "day" en Ecosse).

    Jacques Melot

>     I'm no Latin scholar, so this is just my personal opinion.  I think the
>safest way (and perhaps the most proper way) is to pronounce -ae endings as
>a diphthong (since that's what it is, in my opinion anyway).
>     So Canidae would be CAN-i-DAY-ee (where AY is a long "A")  But the
>DAY-ee is sort of elided together into one and a half syllables (or even
>slurred together so fast it approaches just one syllable -DEE).  And I would
>pronounce Poaceae as po-AY-see-AY-ee.
>     After all, even the word "day" is usually pronounced as a diphthong
>(with some "E" sound following the long "A"), so pronouncing a family name
>(zoological or botanical) without at least some of that -EE sound on the end
>would actually take some special effort to avoid.  I personally like to
>pronounce family name endings with a little less emphasis on the "a" and a
>slightly more on the final "e" sound, but perhaps the safest way would be to
>pronounce the a and e equally in length and emphasis (sort of like an
>Australian might say "good DAYEE").
>     In other words, if you are anywhere between a pure long "A" and a pure
>long "E", you should be okay.  If some purist on either side wants to
>complain, that's their problem (not yours).   :-)
>           ----Cheers,    Ken
>P.S.  Likewise, I would pronounce Linnaeus as "lin-NAY-EE-us".
>>From: "Susan B. Farmer" <sfarmer at GOLDSWORD.COM>
>>Reply-To: "Susan B. Farmer" <sfarmer at GOLDSWORD.COM>
>>Subject: Re: Dialogue about the catalog (and pronouncing names)
>>Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 22:45:59 -0400
>>>At 07:07 2002-06-21, Freek Vrugtman wrote:
>>>>Around that time Philip Muntz of Flora of California fame visited the
>>>>herbarium; over coffee I asked him how he pronounced botanical names;
>>>>reply: "It all depends where I am."
>>>More than a decade ago, Armen Takhtajan of the Komarov Botanical
>>>visited Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and gave a seminar. Afterwards,
>>>asked that questioners pronounce scientific names in the European
>>>because, even though he was quite fluent in English, he could not
>>>the names pronounced in the English fashion. Several of us in the
>>>ended up "translating" the names for the rest.
>>Which is the English Fashion and which is the European?  A hundred years
>>ago when I was an undergrad, family names ended in -AY-SEA-AY; now (at
>>least my major professor) they seem to end in -AY-SEA-EE.  I still hear
>>both -- and I say both.
>>Inquiring Grad Students Want to Know!  :-)
>>Susan Farmer
>>sfarmer at
>>Botany Department, University of Tennessee

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