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Re: pronunciation of saurus by a spanish speaker who also knows some greek
Mike, what I think is definitively wrong is....
(silence in the tribune) "SOR-us".
A few random thoughts on the matter:
- When English speakers discuss on how to pronounce a scientific name, that
usually means how to pronounce it IN ENGLISH. That concept is apparently
natural to e. g. French speakers, but totally alien to e. g. German
- We can be quite sure that "au" (alpha ypsilon) was never pronounced like
any sort of "o" in Greek. In modern Greek it's pronounced "av", so it seems
to have drifted in the opposite direction. In Latin, a tendence to merge
"au" into "o" seems to have started early on, as seen in spelling
ambiguities like Claudius/Clodius, but it didn't get very far -- today
French pronounces "au" the same as "o", but Spanish, Portuguese, and most
kinds of Italian don't.
- Consistency within a language would certainly be a good thing, but the
English orthography is an outright obstacle to this... (French has the
* That doesn't mean we get it right. But we tend to _believe_ we get the
pronunciation in the original languages right. :-} That is to say, we don't
consciously pronounce foreign words as if they were German.