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Re: Bistahieversor sealeyi, NM tyrannosaurid

On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:19 PM, Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com> wrote:
> No; but that's only because I have got used to my wrong pronunciation.
> ÂIf I'd learned it right in the first place, there wouldn't be an
> issue.

The problem's bigger than that -- the fact is that different languages
have different phonologies. It's hard for someone who speaks English
to learn things like the Greek "y", the Chinese "b", the Japanese "f",
or initial clusters like "pt", "phth", "cn", "pn", etc. (to say
nothing of such "exotic" sounds as Xhosa "nq"). And things that seem
easy to us, like an initial "st", are hard for speakers of other
languages (in this case, Japanese and Spanish come to mind -- although
they approximate it in different ways "sut-" and "est", respectively).
It can be done with effort, but then you're basically speaking those
words with an accent that's not your own. Switching your accent
mid-sentence is not only difficult, but jarring to the audience.

I'm reminded of a talk I saw by an Argentinian paleontologist, where
he said what sounded to me like "fey-moor", and it took me a moment to
realize he was saying "femur". Then I realized his pronunciation is
actually "correct" (by Latin standards) and mine is the bastardization
("fiymrr"). (You probably say it "fiymaa", which is even worse. ;) )
However, he also said "berrabra" which is at least as bad as my
"vrrdabra" (for "vertebra").

Be careful what you wish for, or next time I see you I'll start asking
about mÇmÃnÊÊÊisowrid vairtebrigh and their prayzewgappohfewseyss.
T. Michael Keesey
Technical Consultant and Developer, Internet Technologies
Glendale, California