pronouncing names (ae endings)

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 23 21:50:04 CDT 2002

Dear All,
     I agree that oral communication (and comprehension) is important, so I
shy away from some classical Latin pronunciation (e.g., Cicero pronounced
KICK-er-o; EGAD!!).  My philosophy is to look at the present variations in
pronunciation and pick a middle course (the safest way to be comprehended by
the most people).
     For example Pongidae, which could be pronounced:
    (1) PON-ji-DAY (classical)
    (2) PON-ji-DAYEE
or (3) PON-ji-DEE.
      I usually say the DAYEE (Australian-like diphthong) with more of the
-EE sound, so that it approaches -DEE (but not quite a pure long "e").
Interestingly, DAYEE also comes close to the long "i" pronunciation cited by
Lynn.  I guess that being an American mongrel of various northern European
ancestries (French, German, British, Irish, and a bit of Scandinavian and
Slavic), I tend to gravitate to a middle course of pronunciation when I have
a choice.
     Anyway, if you pay close attention to your mouth when saying "day" (or
better yet "pie"), many (most?) people will tend to slide the back of their
tongue up against their upper molars (thus eliding into a bit of a long "e"
sound).   The only difference with the Australian accent is that they tend
to hold onto that "e" sound longer (good "dayee").   If you think about it,
the long vowels "e" and "o" can be pronounced with a single pure sound, but
the long vowels "a" and "i" are more open-mouthed and tend to elide toward a
long "e" sound (as the mouth relaxes and begins to close).  That's why you
can say "pee" faster than you can say "pie".  Try it (your mouth muscles
have to work harder to say "pie").
     Just try to say the simple word "I" without the back of your tongue
moving up toward your molars.  Thus, it is not surprising that "I" has the
same pronunciation as "eye".  Think about it.
              ---- Ken Kinman

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