pronouncing names (ae endings)

Robin Leech releech at TELUSPLANET.NET
Mon Jun 24 05:44:37 CDT 2002

You jest, sir!
Now, which Latin pronunciation rules are you to follow?  There are at least
3 to my knowledge.  OK, so we skip Latin.  There is no uniform pronunciation
within any one language that will "fill the bill".  This is the reason for
Mandarin Chinese - so that those of one part of the country can understand
UK English?  Don't make me laugh.  US or Canadian English?  Unless you are a
"military brat", I can tell what part of the country you come from by your
accent.  And accent is the key here!
You cannot guess my pronunciation by my written word of an animal or plant
family's scientific name, but you know the word when you see it.  If you are
in a group with me, and you do not understand my pronunciation of a family
or other name, you can ask me or others in the group.
"Comfortable scientists" in Mexico, USA and Canada might each (one and all)
pronounce the same scientific name in three or more ways.  I might be
pronouncing a scientific name according to a set of international rules, but
because of my accent, you cannot pick up on the name when you hear me speak
Robin Leech

----- Original Message -----
From: "Roger Burks" <rogerburks at EARTHLINK.NET>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 2:49 AM
Subject: Re: pronouncing names (ae endings)

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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