[Taxacom] Help sought - re. spelling of Rhamnoides.

S.R.Edwards sean.r.edwards at btinternet.com
Thu Dec 27 19:03:59 CST 2007

For once, in such matters, nobody has (yet) quoted from Stearn (WT. 1992. 
Botanical Latin (edn 4). David & Charles). Stearn is quite specific, pp. 
257-258, and to summarise he says that '-oides' consists of two parts: the 
'-o-' which belongs to the stem, and '-ides' meaning resembling (i.e. 
Rhamno-ides). He says: "The -oi- of -oides should accordingly be pronounced 
as 40 and not as a dipthong (i.e. not as in English 'adenoid')". In this 
quotation by Stearn, the '40' (this is 'oi' in case the symbols get garbled 
by email) each have little cup-marks over them, indicating distinct SHORT 
vowels (NOT 'oh-eye'), and that they should be pronounced separately. This, 
I understand, makes them a diaeresis, and means that the diaeresis mark over 
the second vowel is appropriate, at least in English, and indeed useful for 
indicating pronunciation, and at least 'permissible' in the Code.

Now, try saying Rhamnoides with the -oi- as two distinct short vowels, and I 
find it virtually impossible for it not to come out as in adnenoid, at least 
with it not sounding like a glitch. For my whole (English) botanical life, I 
cannot remember ever having heard  -oides ever pronounced other than in 
adenoid. And as Jacques Merlot points out, the diacritic sign is used 0.3% 
of the time.

So it seems to me that despite the first paragraph here, we should pronounce 
it as in adenoid and not use the little dots, although if we wish we may 
follow para 1and raise the odd eyebrow.



Sean Edwards, Vine Cottage, The Street, Thursley, Surrey GU8 6QF, UK
sean.r.edwards at btinternet.com
tel: 01252-702-890 cell: 07768-706-295 

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