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RE: Afrovenator pronunciation



From: Ben Creisler bh480@scn.org
Subject: RE: Afrovenator pronunciation

Usage versus Latin rules
I still argue that the ?preferred? way to pronounce 
Afrovenator would be AF-ro-vee-NAY-tor.  I?ll concede that 
English has modified the accents in the borrowed Latin 
words ?senator? and ?predator? (both of which were 
accented on the ?a? in Latin), but English also has 
Latin ?gladiator,? ?peregrinator,? etc., which are 
accented on the ?a? in English as they would be Latin.  
Making the ?e? and ?a? short in Afrovenator and shifting 
the accent to the antepenultimate is a purely arbitrary 
choice depending on whether you think the term is more 
analogous to ?senator? or to ?gladiator.? What should be 
avoided is the pronunciation a-FROH-ve-nay-tor, used by 
the narrator of the recent National Geographic Explorer 
program?I can?t think of a reason to accent the short 
connecting vowel ?o? in Afrovenator.  The natural accent 
pattern would be like ?peregrinator,? which has accents on 
the first and next-to-last syllables.  Note that the New 
Latin prefix ?afro-? actually should have a long ?a? given 
its Latin origin (Afer).  English usage has made the ?a? 
short, and who am I to argue.  

Paul Sereno was on Science Friday on NPR last week 
(11/12/99) and pronounced Nigersaurus nee-zhayr-SAWR-us, 
using the French pronunciation nee-ZHAYR for Niger rather 
than the anglicized NIE-juhr. In this case, I?ll use 
Paul?s version when I do a posting in the dinosaur-name 
pronunciation guide for Dinosauria On-line?many English 
speakers use the French version, which reflects the local 
pronunciation in the country itself (a former French 
territory). But NIE-juhr-SAWR-us would be OK as well.