In a message dated 1/10/2002 5:05:25 PM Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
I once asked Dr. Michael Madison if I should say ra-PHID-a-phora....
or raf-o- DOPH-ra...(yes, I know the spelling is Rhapidophora)
Dr. Madison smiled... and said "Yes."...
Dewey et al.,
I wrote the following from a tropical fish keeper's aspect but the classical rules are standard to all disciplines. This might help some list-members standardize their pronunciations to some degree.
A Little Help on the Pronunciation of Scientific Names
By James K. Langhammer
Pronunciation of Latin-based names has no internationally agreed-upon rules. Few users actually rely on the ancient Latin rules which include "that no vowel takes its own long sound" - e.g., "e" is never "eeee"; "i" is never "eye"; etc. Nationalistic preferences tend to supercede rules otherwise - often the British and Americans can scarcely understand one another while speaking essentially the same language!
The one fairly consistent rule regards the emphasis placed upon the syllables. This at least provides a quasi-uniform verbal sound to the name when it is pronounced. The rules normally followed are:
1. In two syllables - the first is emphasized: Bet' - ta; pic' - ta; mag' - na.
2. In three syllables - the next to last (= penultimate) is emphasized: Li - mi' - a.
3. In three or more syllables - the next to next to last (= antepenultimate) is emphasized:
Xiph - o'- pho - rus; Gir - ar' - di - nus; Pseu - do - xiph - o' - phor -us.
It should come as "no surprise" that many references disagree on "where" the
syllables are separated!