April 25, 2002
From: tami

Dear Bill,
First, I must say, I love this site. I wish there were more pages about marine life that were as in depth and well organized as this site. I do, however, have a suggestion to make. Having no formal scientific training, my pronunciation of scientific names is terrible, which leaves me often using common names just so I don't feel so helpless when I talk about a species. I suspect that there are many people like me. So, what about including the pronunciation after the species name? I suspect many people are in the same boat I am, preferring to use the proper name, but unable to for the lack of knowing how. I think it would go a long way to eliminate the use of common names!
Just a quick thought.

Tami, 2002 (Apr 25) Pronunciation?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Tami,
Thanks for your comments. I can understand how unfamiliar looking words can be a bit daunting to start with. Have a look at the other two messages and comments on this page. I think my comments and Angel Valdes' reply summarise the situation. I can assure you that at international conferences there are often confusing conversations until someone finally gives up and asks the other what they are talking about. Inevitably we carry sounds from our own language, or version of it in the case of English, when we pronounce scientific names, but just as I understand an American saying 'toma[y]to' when I say 'toma[r]to' we learn to accept Kerata and serata etc etc.

The important point is to give it a go, after all, no one knows how the Romans actually pronounced Latin. The basic rule is not to think your pronunciation is inferior or superior to someone elses'.
Carpe Diem!
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Apr 25). Comment on Pronunciation? by tami. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

  1. Re: Pronunciation of scientific names
    From: Angel Valdes, August 3, 1999
  2. Pronunciation of scientific names
    From: Ed Lindquist, August 2, 1999

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