View Full Version : Latin names

30th November 2004, 22:32
I was trying to describe a species of newt to someone the other day and realized that, well, I really hesitate when saying latin names of things. I imagine there are many newbies out there like me who may have the same problem and haven't had decent conversational experience to correctly pronounce latin names of many of these species. What I'm getting at is maybe it would be nice to have a pronunciation guide/key in the caudata culture section or somewhere appropriate on the site. It'd be nice to be able to at least say things correctly when I'm trying to act smart around othershttp://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/biggrin.gif


1st December 2004, 10:00
heh, well its not easy...

'scientific names' is probably a better term than Latin names as many languages are used to make the binomials.

Also, different areas have differemt pronunciations,, EG one i get all the time is the word 'cephalopod'. The word is of Greek origin and in the UK we use 'hard greek' which means we would pronounce it 'Kef-a-lo-pod' but in the USA they would pronounce it 'sef-a-lo-pod' so the best answer is that sometimes there is no real one true pronunciation... best way is just to pick it up as you go along, it gets easier with time

cheers colin

1st December 2004, 10:33
Ah, but how would the greeks have pronounced it Colin? There's always a right and wrong! The world IS black and white!http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/biggrin.gif

1st December 2004, 10:34

1st December 2004, 10:54
Yeah first you have to define whether it is greek or latin. If you are trying to speak latin for example a c is always pronounced k. However since the romans never had c in their alphabet, it is probably a word of greek origin.....

When c is followed by ae, e, oe, i, or y it has the soft (s) sound; when it is followed by a, o, oi, or u, it has the hard (k) sound.

I've always pronounced according to this when it is a GREEK word, if it has got c:s I assume it is greek...

Thus Cephalopod would be 'sef-a-lo-pod' but
Copepod would be 'ko-pe-pod'

Of course if you choose to see the words as a latin word taken from greek and pronounced the latin way that is another story...

1st December 2004, 14:57
Do the scientific names of a lot of popular salamander and newt species tend to be changed often? I ask only because I've managed to make a total jerk of myself several times with scientific names for fish--particularly some of those genus names change about once a week, it seems!

1st December 2004, 21:12
<blockquote><hr size=0><!-quote-!><font size=1>Jesper Danielsson (Jesper) wrote on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 10:34 : (#POST40148)</font>

&quot;http://www.malawicichlidhomepage.com/aquainfo/greek_pronounce.html&quot;<!-/quote-!><hr size=0></blockquote>

ahh but who's to say that the author of that is right?


1st December 2004, 21:39
The article seems quite serious and the authors are greek...Kalliope Bechraki is claimed to be a Latin literature master. I guess you'll have to read and apply source criticism, then decide for yourself. I found it to be quite good.http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/smile.gif

1st December 2004, 22:19
perhaps different parts of old Greece pronounced words different ways?

Tongue even more firmly in cheek!


2nd December 2004, 01:13
What about common names too for example how do you pronounce "Turaco"? do you stress the "a" tur-A-co as in rAt or do you run it together tureco?

There are loads of other examples.....tomato tamata i guess http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/happy.gif

2nd December 2004, 08:25
Hehe Colin. Yeah I'm going for a spartan accent myself, the athenian accent is sooo upper-class. I'd prefer the the down to earth disciplined "warriorish" language use of the spartans anyday!http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/biggrin.gif

You got a point there, I wonder if the language was controlled centrallyhttp://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/talker.gif

(Message edited by Jesper on December 02, 2004)

2nd December 2004, 10:20
killian, do you mean the bird? i've always assumed it was tor-A-co, don't know about you.

3rd December 2004, 18:31
My major advisor says that Greek and Latin are dead languages, so pronounce them any way you like!

3rd December 2004, 22:57
okay dilisn kyyrrlr i vill

3rd December 2004, 23:40
Well, the spanish enthusiast have a big advantage, we just read latin names as they should be pronunced http://www.caudata.org/forum/clipart/rofl.gif
We had fun at Gersfeld, since it is very curious how different can be pronunciated the same latin name by different people from different nationalities.