pronouncing names (ae endings)

Roger Burks rogerburks at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Jun 24 01:49:50 CDT 2002

Yes, this is the reason I would like to see a standard set of rules for 
scientific name pronounciation. It seems to somehow violate the entire 
foundation of science to have such an arbitrary set of rules governing the 
very terms that are used to conduct science. The problem is that the 
consequences of this violation are relatively limited in that they don't 
cause any disastrous harm and only harm a minority of scientists. 
Establishing a standardized system of pronounciation is certainly something 
I would be in favor of, but I won't try to instigate it because I know how 
unrewarding such initiatives are. Scientists, especially those in 
comfortable positions, are in general very much against innovation that 
does not carry some reward for them. That is human nature. Asking them to 
change for the sake of a few (usually not powerful) people remote to them 
is just too much, and leads to negative results and a bad reputation (for 
the innovator) that would prevent further, sometimes more beneficial, 
innovations from occurring later on.

I would be very much against, however, the establishment of sets of 
competing arbitrary rules of pronounciation, which would not be an 
improvement over the current "system." That is why I suggested some 
standardized systems of pronounciation. Linguistics is a field where 
correct pronounciation is critical, and I don't see any problem with 
following their lead in the matter, using their rules for pronouncing Latin 
as a guide.

Roger Burks

At 12:21 AM 6/24/02 -0500, you wrote:
>>It's a moot point anyway, as I think for most people it
>>would be just as
>>easy to try to speak through their noses as it would to
>>learn a whole new
>>way of pronouncing these names, so it isn't worth the
>>trouble of correcting
>>people as long as you know what they are saying.
>That, of course, is the problem. People who do not speak
>English as their first language often have serious
>problems knowing what is said. I don't think my English is
>all that bad, but I often don't understand what my
>anglo-saxon collegues are talking about, even have to ask
>them to spell the word, and I have a real hard time
>finding a pronunciation for scientific names that they
>will understand.
>Asi es la vida.
>Dra. Heike Vibrans L.
>Laboratorio de Etnobotánica
>Especialidad de Botánica
>Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agrícolas
>km 35.5 carr. México-Texcoco
>53230 Montecillo
>Estado de México, Mexico
>Tel. +52 (595) 95 20 200 Ext. 1335 (directo), 1331
>(secretaria), 1330 (dirección)
>Fax. +52 (595) 95 20 247
>Correo electrónico: heike at (trabajo)
>heikev at (casa)

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