Hymenocallis / Ismene

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Mon, 05 Jul 2010 09:59:45 PDT
Lee wrote: " Since every unaccented vowel (except for 'u' after 'q' and
between 'g' 

and 'e' or 'i') is always pronounced in Spanish, it seems there is no 

need to put an accent mark over the 'e' to indicate that it should be 

pronounced separately."



Thank you Lee. However, your statement is valid only for someone writing in


For someone writing in Latin the dieresis is necessary to preserve the
original syllabification because ae in Latin is pronounced as one sound, not


Other names which typically get pruned of a syllable or two in the English
speaking world: Danaë, Aloë, Kalenchoë, Leucothoë and all of those words
ending in –oides (the o and the i are to be pronounced separately). 


If you are following this discussion, perhaps you are wondering why, if the
dieresis is necessary in the words cited, it is not shown in the words
ending in –oides. The reason is similar to the rule Lee cited for Spanish:
just as a native speaker of Spanish does not have to be told to pronounce
the a and e in amancaes separately, someone trained in Latin knows that oi
is not a diphthong in Latin (the corresponding “look alike” combination in
Greek, omicron-iota, is a diphthong pronounced oi) – and so the dieresis in
Latin words ending in –oides is redundant (just as it would be redundant to
write amancaës in a Spanish text).  



Jim McKenney


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