Language for taxonomic names, redux

Arthur Reutenauer arthur.reutenauer at
Thu Feb 23 23:45:08 CET 2017

>>   This page does not argue that binomial names should be pronounced the
>> same way in every language
> "Latin biological names in English speech are usually pronounced with
> English letter sounds. [...] An Anglo-Latin pronunciation has been in
> use for centuries... "

  I don’t understand why you quote that when it disproves your point so
effectively.  The first sentence states precisely that it is about the
pronunciation of binomial names in English, and says nothing of other

> The references it cites include:
>    Chandler, C.
>    1889
>    Pronunciation of Latin and Quasi-latin Scientific terms.
>    Bulletin of the Scientific Laboratories of Denison University 4:161-176.

  That article is even more insistent that the pronunciation it
describes applies to English only, to an almost nauseating point (I
stopped reading after a few pages).  The paragraph that takes most of
the second page is clearest about that.  I quote it in full, because it
is both informative and entertaining: 

	As for the so-called Continental (i. e. German) way of
	pronouncing Latin, which about 1860–’75 was epidemic in many
	parts of this country, especially in the West, I judge that
	there is not one word which may be justly said in favor of its
	use by an English speaking student.  Like the English method, it
	is not and does not pretend to be the ancient way ; it is to the
	German exactly what the English method is to the English-
	speaker, a conventional manner of pronouncing Latin words, so
	nearly as may be, according to the analogies of his own tongue.
	It is used, I believe, in all German schools.  To the German it
	has very much to commend it,—to the American or Englishman,
	nothing whatever.  That so many American colleges and schools
	should hastily abandon a method of pronouncing Latin which was
	indeed not the ancient way, but was at least natural to the
	learner and helped him to understand and to pronounce correctly
	thousands of English words, and that they should adopt in its
	place a method which also made no pretence of being the ancient
	way, and which had the very great disadvantage of being utterly
	unnatural to the student and of tempting him to mispronounce
	thousands of English words,—that this should be done, the true
	ancient pronunciation being all the while approximately known,
	seems to me to have been one of the strangest of all the
	vagaries of American pedagogy.  It was perhaps the most curious
	phase of that undiscriminating Germanomania which has so often
	snatched at the form while entirely missing the spirit of German
	scholarship.  The American student was naively supposed to be
	taking a long step toward German patience and thoroughness, when
	he learned to mispronounce Latin according to the German method.

  This seems like a nice illustration of what several members of this
list have been trying to tell you, that tagging binomial names
separately will in many cases not help screen readers, quite the



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