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Re: REF: Pronounce Species Correctly


As our rather learned group has demonstrated there are several approaches to botanical pronunciation. When I was a graduate student in Botany my major professor insisted that I take two foreign languages. Latin was one he preferred, but I talked him out of it and took the computer language Fortran instead, since at the time I was calling myself a eco-systems analyst. (The then current buzz word for plant ecologist), so I am not the one to lay down any rules about Latin pronunciation. As I emphasized before, the current trend is to not insist on rules anyway, and to be very tolerant of pronunciations that reflect the region. I also believe the rules are somewhat different for those who trained at different institutions and at different times. One rule was that the accent should always be on the penultimate syllable. In that sense pseud AK corus  would be preferred over pseuda COR us. But I firmly believe that both are so prominently used that the rule in this case is meaningless.
 When usage becomes so common, the rules are trumped and either is acceptable. I do think it more elegant to try to pronounce names honoring people in such a way that they would recognize their name. Iris timofejewii was named after a general in the Russian Army. So I would assume that a Slavic pronunciation would be appropriate with the J more like a Y and the W more like a V for us. I am not sure that the ii is consistently applied but I would always say ee-eye for that ending. Zoological Latin has different rules than Botanical Latin. One huge difference is that botanical names never repeat the genus in the specific name, whereas you can have the North American mammal, Mephitus mephitus, but botanists think that stinks. In that case, so do zoologists. Stearns Botanical Latin is still the most prized reference in this field but pronunciation is local, temporal, and fickle. I dont believe it is ever really discussed at say the international convention of Botanists, although I know
 that there was a move by a group of botanists to abandon Latin and go to the language most people speak. Fortunately the Chinese lost the motion.

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