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Re: Re: phonetic pronunciation


Thirty years ago I can remember attending conferences on plant systematics where botanists from around the world were assembled. I can remember once listening to the expert on the Dipterocarpaceae speak and until I found my program and he started showing slides, I didnt have a clue as to the word he was pronouncing. Back then in the dark ages, when I was graduate student we were taught to pronounce Latin names as we thought they would be in Latin. But even then it was stressed that Botanical Latin was a different language than Classical Latin. Rules, such as putting the accent on the penultimate syllable, seemed sacrosanct. Today I picked up one of the leading Botany textbooks in the country and found that there is no recommendation as to pronunciation at all except that it should conform to the pronunciation of your native tongue. In other words you can pronounce Botanical Latin the way you would naturally pronounce the words in your native language. That does not mean
 pronunciations with extra syllables and letters that are not there would be acceptable. But it does mean that no one has the authority to say you are pronouncing a botanical name incorrectly, provided it is clear as to what you are saying. I have a tendency to bend the old rules when it makes sense to me. Far example Iris versicolor means many colored iris. If I pronounced it by the old rules it would sound like EYE RIS  VER SICK O LOR. But it makes more sense to me to pronounce it EYE RIS VERSI  COLOR. Today either way is considered acceptable. The most important consideration is whether communication is taking place.

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