Mon, 26 Jul 2010 10:59:31 PDT
On 26 Jul 2010, at 12:05, Adam Fikso wrote:

> Aah!.  But Ben, When a person's proper name is botanized,  e.g.,The iris 
> gatesii after the Rev.Gates naming the oncocylus iris ...  Isn't the name 
> preserved as originally pronounced in the original language and only the 
> ending added as evidence of the botanization/latinization? .  The name 
> "Gates" is originally pronounced as one syllable to memorialize him--No?  Is the
> rule for pronunciation written down somewhere?.

Bear with me if I garble the following information; it's been a long time since 
my three years of high school Latin.

My understandings are

(A) that scholars have been able to figure out a good approximation to 
classical Latin prosody (i.e. stress and intonation) from the rather scanty 
evidence left by classical poets, grammarians, and suchlike.

And (B), that there are two schools of thought regarding Latin pronunciation. 
One we can call the weenie-wiki-weedy school, the other the veeny-vicky-veedee 
school. [Those speaking German need to note that the English pronunciations of 
w and v are meant, not the German.] For the life of me, however, I cannot 
recall the words of wisdom of my high school Latin teachers regarding the 
relative validity of these! IIRC, one is Latin as spoken in the RC church, the 
other is a reconstruction of classical pronunciation. But don't quote me!

As a general rule, once a botanist has bestowed appropriate epithets on a 
taxon, the rules of Latin pronunciation and prosody take over. In particular, 
"gatesii" would have all four vowels clearly sounded, roughly gah-tea-see-eye. 
Of course, epithets based on Pinyin (romanized Chinese) present letter 
combinations unknown to the ancients, hence all bets are off. For that matter, 
even such epithets as "winogradowii" and "mlokosewitschii" are significantly 

I think Stearn's "Botanical Latin" discusses these issues, btw.

"Wingradowii" is an interesting case. It is a Latinized version of the German 
transcription of the Russian name written in the Cyrillic alphabet. We would 
pronounce the Russian as Vinogradov (with the final v unvoiced, i.e. f, 
according to an astute remark made on this list within the last six months or 
so by Jim McKenney.

The Roman alphabet did not distinguish I and J; J was pronounced as Y is in 
English; nor did it have W; and U and V were not distinguished. J, W, and V are 
much later additions to the alphabet in order to express differences in 

There will be a pop quiz on these matters next week. In the meantime, please 
memorize the first 12 lines/sentences of the Aeneid, Cicero's first oration 
against Catiline, and Caesar's De bello Gallico.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island…

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