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Pronounciation of Giganotosaurus
Nick Pharris wrote (01/07/96; 6:48p):
>On Sun, 7 Jan 1996, Amado Narvaez wrote:
>> I'm still not entirely certain about the cadence to the pronunciation
>> Giganotosaurus. Of course, it may be like Parasaurolophus, which seems
>> be pronounced two different ways depending on the paleontologist
>> speaking. If I'm way off base, someone let me know and I'll go back to
>> the drawing board/rhyming dictionary.
>My preference is for GI-ga-NOH-toh-SAWR-us KAR-oh-LIN-ee-eye, to
>preserve the flavor of the Greek and to emphasize the presence of two
>at the end. of the species name. (Note: the first sound is /g/ as in
For what it's worth, as someone who almost daily tries to communicate
this stuff to a bewildered public, I like Nick's version of pronouncing
_Giganotosaurus carolinii_, but with one exception. I suggest that the
g's in the "gigano" part be pronounced as in our word "gigantic"--soft
initial g and hard second g, at least for English-speakers (read that
"Americans")--see next paragraph. I think Nick's version is carolinii is
correct--both i's at the end should be pronounced ("ee-eye").
Most people have difficulty with these taxonomic names. They're like a
foreign language. When I first started teaching my dinosaurs class, I
thought "so what--it's like a foreign language; big deal." (After all, I
had three years of Latin, and one each of Spanish, French, and German.)
Well, it is a big deal, because only about half of the students in my
classes have ever studied a foreign language! Yes, that's right!! Yes,
this is a university! But they've never had to learn a foreign
vocabulary, or pronounce it. Furthermore, they can graduate from at
least THIS university without having to take a foreign language here.
This is the situation that exists in our public and that we (I) have to
These names are more readily accepted by the public if their
pronounciation is intuitive (and this may be an important name!). Two
hard g's in _Giganotosaurus_ is not intuitive. People are likely not to
want to say it that way out loud, for fear of a) sounding stupid, b)
sounding nerdy, or c) being immediately corrected by someone like me.
Like I said before, pronounce such names any way you want, but perhaps
this can be a consideration. These five-dollar anatomical and taxonomic
words do not endear us to our public, and make paleontology essentially
inaccessible to many people who might otherwise be very interested.
Norman R. King tel: (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences fax: (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712 e-mail: email@example.com