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Re: Details on Protopteryx

In a message dated 12/14/00 6:51:31 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
stephenbowden@home.com writes:

> Is this chap going to be
>  "PRO-toe-teryx", or "Pro-TOP-teryx", with the emphasis on the middle
>  syllable?  Please say that it will be the former - what is the point in
>  the ICZN mandating properly formed Latinate names if they are then
>  mangled by non-Latinate pronunciation?

If this were a question of Latinate vs. non-Latinate pronunciation, I would 
probably agree; however, the dropping of "p" out of word-initial consonant 
clusters like "pt", "pn", and "ps" is purely an *English* idiosyncrasy (both 
letters were pronounced normally in Greek, which is the source of practically 
all such words).

When "pt", "pn", and "ps" come between vowels, the two members are 
distributed to different syllables, and it is no problem to pronounce them 
both, which I usually do, since it is closer to the original Greek 
pronunciation (though admittedly still not very close).

Accent placement is a matter of taste:

If you want to do it like Latin would, it's pro-TOP-te-ryx (the "e" in the 
-te- syllable is short, so the accent moves back to the third-from-the-last 

If you want to do it like Greek would, it's pro-top-TE-ryx (the -x at the end 
of the word counts as two consonants, which makes the last syllable long and 
pulls the accent onto the second-to-last syllable).

And if you want to be REALLY pedantic, the "p"s and "t"s are unaspirated, all 
the "r"s are flapped, the first "o" is pronounced sort of like "aw" in 
English, the "y" is pronounced like a German umlaut-u, and the accented 
syllable is pronounced about a musical fifth higher in pitch than the other 

As a side note (for those of you who haven't already heard mention this a 
thousand times), the Greek root pter-, as in "pteron" and "pteryx", which 
both mean "wing", comes from the same source as English "feather".

Nick Pharris