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Re: Pronouncing scientific names
Robert H. wrote, regarding scinetific names:
"But there has to be a proper way to pronounce them! Latin is a spoken
language... ever been to a traditional latin catholic mass?..."
Errr, yes, I have been to a Latin Mass (I am Roman Catholic), but you did
not read my post carefully. Scientific names are NOT strict Classical Latin.
The are latinized. The roots or the names may be from Classical Latin or
Greek and the always have latinized endings, but they can also come from
other sources and have a latinized ending grafted onto them. This differs
from say, a formal description of a plant, which requires a true Latin
language description accompanying the proposed Scientific name. Caesar would
not be familiar with a number of the latinized words used in Botanical
Latin - many plants and animals are named in honor of a person, for example
the Cardinal Tetra, Paracheirodon axelrodi, named in honor of Dr. Herbert R.
You could always go read Botanical Latin : History, Grammar, Syntax,
Terminology and Vocabulary
by William T. Stearn, available from Amazon.com, but I warn you - it's heavy
sledding and not for the merely curious. Another, much more reasonable
resouce can be found online at "Pronouncing Botanical Latin Oh, Those
Names!" [http://www.telp.com/gardening/latin.htm]. There are several
"schools of thought" on how botanical Latin should be pronounced, so who is
to say (or worry) over which "shool" is right? This website will at least
give you a grasp of the basics.
I still maintain that anyone who worries overmuch about the pronunciation of
a dialect which was meant as a form of written (as opposed to verbal)
communication needs more roughage in their diet.