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Re: pronunciation of Camarasaurus (last one, I promise!)

Quoting "Kent A. Stevens" <kent@cs.uoregon.edu>:

Going back to the on-line Greek resources, such as looking up the root word "vault" at


Ack, you're right. It is originally Greek. I stand corrected.

and finding the second word "kamara", then looking up the Greek pronunciation at, e.g.,


it seems indeed to be kahm-ARE-a

The first and second "a" (Greek alpha) are pronounced the same,

As one would expect in a well-designed spelling system, since they're written with the same symbol :-)

as "ah" as in the letter "a" in father,

Probably just a bit farther front in the mouth than that, but that's a very minor phonetic detail.

but with the stress on the second alpha. Note further that the second alpha is stressed in the Greek root word, not the first, hence kahm-ARE-a rather than KAHM-are-a.

Yes; this is because Greek stress placement is sensitive to the length of the vowel in the *last* syllable (long, in this case, which pulls the stress onto the second-to-last syllable: ka-MA-ra:).

Latin stress placement cares about the length of the vowel in the *second-to-last* (or penultimate) syllable (in this instance, to simplify slightly, the vowel in the second-to-last syllable is short, so the stress goes on the third-to-last syllable: KA-ma-ra).

Note that the often heard kahm-MARE-a (with MARE as in female horse) is not consistent with the Greek pronunciation of this root.

Or any other language's, since the English reading of <a> as IPA /e/ or /eI/ is pretty darn near unique.

Kentrosaurus (KENT-tro-sau-roose, or KENT-tro-sore-us, but definitely not Kent-TROS-er-us.

In Greek, it actually would be ken-TRO-sau-ros. In Latin, ken-tro-SAU-rus.

Which reminds me, how about Parasaurolophus, which is often heard pronounced para-sore-ALL-OF-fus :)

In terms of stress placement, the stress would go on the third-to-last syllable in both Greek and Latin: pa-ra-sau-RO-lo-phos. I use PEAR-uh-SORE-uh-LOAF-us, though I can offer no justification for it :-)

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan

"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
    --Edwin H. Land