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Re: Details on Protopteryx
I'm afraid I'm not a linguist, so I don't know if there are any hard
and fast rules for us to follow. But I can offer some analogies, and I
would compare "proto-" words with "photo-" words and "geo-" words:
In most words which begin with geo-, those two syllables are
pronounced separately from the rest of the word: geo-physics, geo-physical,
geo-graphic, geo-political, geo-metric, geo-logical, geo-detic,
geo-centric. But there are exceptions: ge-OG-raphy (even though the
adjective is geo-graphic) and ge-OL-ogy (even though the adjective is
geo-logic) and ge-OM-etry (even though the adjective is geo-metric).
Your example of proto- seems to have a few exceptions: Pro-toc-tist,
Pro-tog-en-es, and I assume pro-to-gy-ny (I think that is correct).
Likewise we say pho-TOG-raphy, although the adjective is photo-graphic.
Pho-TOM-etry, as opposed to photo-metric.
I don't know if there are any rules in there (with discernible
exceptions that have any pattern at all). It's a big linguistic mess as far
as I can see. Formation of words and their pronunciation don't seem to
always go hand in hand.
*HOWEVER*, when it comes to the "opt" combination, the "t" pretty much
always goes with the following syllable (at least I can't think of any
exceptions): op-tion, op-ti-cal, op-ti-mis-tic. op-tom-et-ry, op-ti-mal,
col-e-op-tera, le-pi-dop-te-ra, archae-op-te-ryx------thus pro-top-te-ryx.
You can even stick a couple of "h"s in there and the "p" is still pronounced
with the the "o", as in oph-thal-mol-o-gist.
And if that isn't convincing enough, I think the same is true of
"apt", "ept", "ipt", and "upt": ap-ti-tude, Ap-te-ryg-i-formes, Ap-tian,
Ap-tan-dra-ceae, cap-tion, Ep-tes-icus, Ep-ta-tret-idae, in-ep-ti-tude,
sub-scrip-tion, up-ton. A few one-syllable exceptions like apt, opt, script
(although you could argue whether the "t" is really pronounced somewhat
separately or not).
No matter where you place the emphasis, the syllablification (is that a
word?) almost has to be: pro-top-te-ryx. And the Latin emphasis would be on
the "TOP" syllable.
I always hated English class, so why do I care about this? I haven't
From: Stephen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Details on Protopteryx
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 19:35:15 -0500
Ken Kinman wrote:
> I agree completely. The second "p" is not only to be pronounced,
> is the syllable that is emphasized: pro-TOP-ter-yx. Names like
> and Coleoptera would sound very peculiar if this "p" were silent.
> The only silent "p" words I can think of are those which begin with
> "p", like pterosaur, pneumonia, psychologist, etc.
I have heard enough to convince me on the non-silent "p", but I am still
not sure about the stress. Your argument emphasises a syllable that is
made up of the linking part of the first half of the name, plus part of
the initial consonant of the second. For your insects the distinction
_ought_ to be between the Sheath-wings = COLeo-ptera and the Scale-wings
= LEPido-ptera. I know that it is to late to change the common
pronunciation of these two, but given that pretty much every other word
staring with "proto-" is pronounced "PROto-" (eg protoplasm, which is
not pro-TOP-lasm) shouldn't we encourage the same for new dinosaurs? As
I said before, if we are concerned to get the formation right, should we
not make a little bit of an effort on the pronunciation - or is
nomenclature just too eclectic for that?
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