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Oct 20, 2020 12:40 PM CST
UK
Houseplants
How do you pronounce the "ae" at the end of a family name? (eg: Asparagaceae, Araceae, Marantaceae)

From what Google and YouTube tell me, the "ae" can be pronounced two ways?

It apparently used to be pronounced like "ee eye" but I thought that was how "ii" was pronounced? (eg trollii, wallii)

It's apparently more commonly pronounced like "ee ee" (like the phone company EE... but I think that's a little *can't think of the word* awkward/uncomfortable/strange to say? Aspara-gace-ee-ee? Are-ace-ee-ee? Marant-ace-ee-ee?)

Which one is it? 🤔 Is there a preference? Are either of them right? Or am I waaay off?

I'm doing a Horticulture Diploma online and I'm currently learning about botanical latin, nomenclature, taxonomic kingdoms & phyla- which is quite hard when you're clueless, working off a text document and have no tutor to help 😅

To be honest, pronunciation probably isn't that important for what I'm doing. The tests are multiple choices and as long as I can follow the letters in my head and tick the right boxes, I'll be okay... HOWEVER I'm finding this super interesting and I genuinely would like to know how to say all these new words I'm learning out loud.

Any and all help is grately appreciated!

Thank you for your time! xxx
Last edited by PhyllisDendron Oct 20, 2020 1:40 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 20, 2020 12:53 PM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Region: Ukraine Region: Florida Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Shrug! I've always prounounced the word Araceae as, Ah-race-e-e ... probably because that's the first way I ever heard it pronounced Green Grin!

edited to add: Like Bill said: Ah-ray-see-"E"
~ I'm an old gal who still loves playing in the dirt!
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot!


Last edited by plantladylin Oct 20, 2020 3:44 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 20, 2020 3:14 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
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Ah-spara-gay-see-"E".
Ah-ray-see-"E".

Wallii would be wahl-"E"-eye.

In my world, orchids, it is Orchidacea.
Oar-kid-day-see-"E".
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Last edited by BigBill Oct 20, 2020 3:16 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 20, 2020 6:37 PM CST
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
Garden Photography The WITWIT Badge Seed Starter Wild Plant Hunter Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Technically, Botanical Latin is a written language, not a spoken one. Technically, there is no right or wrong, but we need to understand each other, so it is good to try to have norms. These norms can differ in different parts of the world, too. Different norms have their roots in four (or more) rivaling speech patterns: ancient Roman, Church Latin, Latin spoken in northern continental Europe (think Linnaeus), English method (kind of more Anglicized form). You will hear things like: there is no soft "c" in Latin, a "v" is pronounced like an English "w" or there is no "w" sound in Latin. These and many more stem from the different Latin speech patterns. In addition, throw in the fact that much of Botanical Latin comes from the Greek language, and other languages, too, that are "latinized". It's on wonder that learners are confused.

Don't fret about it, but there does tend to be some more universal acceptances. The dipthong "ae" was actually pronounce like the "ai" in aisle in ancient Roman, but now it is most common pronounce as a long "e" as in bee. The seemingly uncomfortable way of saying Araceae (a-ray-see-ee) is from your own speech pattern that is foreign to Latin speech. Araceae is not an English word. Why does it need to sound like one? It doesn't. Again, don't fret. Self-centric linguistics is a natural tendency for all of us. It's really quite interesting to learn that there are a lot more sounds and patterns that are not represented in your native tongue. Force yourself to use these "weird" ways of speaking and eventually it will become normal to you. (And when the words just roll off your tongue, you'll impress your friends, too. Smiling )

I don't think Bill is capitalizing the "e" to mean it is accented. I'm not sure what he is doing there, or what distinguishes his use of "ee" as opposed to "E". (Is it supposed to be a schwa "e" (ə)?) I am baffled. To be clear, there are no Latin variations to my knowledge that ever accents the last syllable. Except for when latinizing non-latin words (like someone's name), the major accent falls on the second or third to the last syllable.
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
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Oct 20, 2020 7:18 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
Just using the E because that is the pronunciation. When I wanted it to be pronounced E, I used it.
An ii ending is pronounced ee, eye.
As in Oncidium williamsonii. The Williamson is straight forward with an ee-eye on the end.
Williamsohn-ee-eye.

How would everyone pronounce Cattleya?
It is not Cattle-lay-ah.
It is properly prounced Cat-lee-ah. The genus is named after William Cattley.
He was an avid collector of plants from the new world, very rich and very British!
He sent his collectors to the New World looking for exotics to grow in his "greenhouses". Well they sent back trunk loads of botanicals from the New World. He marveled upon their arrival in England. They were securely packed and protected by other 'bulbous plant material'. He was very intrigued by these plants.
He decided to try and grow some of these plants. He was pleasantly surprised to find that when they bloomed, they had such beautiful flowers. They were Cattleya Orchids!!! Eventually the new genus of plants were named in his honor.

Kind of the first packing material. Instead of styrofoam peanuts, or bubble wrap, it was orchids. Wow!
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Oct 20, 2020 7:24 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
I just thought of another.
Pronounce Stanhopea!

It is not Stan-hope-ee-ah.
It is properly Stan-hope-ah. When it is a person's name, in this case Mr. Stanhope, the 'rule' is that you clearly pronounce his name Stanhope, and then add the ah.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Oct 21, 2020 12:40 AM CST
UK
Houseplants
I am so blow away with how helpful you've all been!

I honestly can't thank you enough for your help and insight! x
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Oct 21, 2020 3:28 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
Your quite welcome!

I have been dealing with all of these since college. I majored in Zoology/Wildlife Management and minored in Botany. So family, genus and species are things I always dealt with.
Then working in the field for 38 years as a Wildlife Biologist kind of kept these names in front of me often. And then add 47 years of orchids, holy cow!!! I hear this stuff in my 😴 💤.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Oct 21, 2020 4:02 AM CST
UK
Houseplants
BigBill said:Your quite welcome!

I have been dealing with all of these since college. I majored in Zoology/Wildlife Management and minored in Botany. So family, genus and species are things I always dealt with.
Then working in the field for 38 years as a Wildlife Biologist kind of kept these names in front of me often. And then add 47 years of orchids, holy cow!!! I hear this stuff in my 😴 💤.


Thats amazing! You may find me creeping back to you for extra help understanding bits for my diploma. But only if that's okay with you though? 😊

The work I'm doing does make me laugh sometimes... there will be a note that says "ask your tutor for additional help" and I'm just sat around in my home office by my self going "whelp, I'm screwed" 🙃
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Oct 21, 2020 4:20 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
Absolutely! Anytime.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Oct 21, 2020 2:38 PM CST
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
Garden Photography The WITWIT Badge Seed Starter Wild Plant Hunter Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Again, Bill, what distinguishes your "ee" sound from your "E" sound?
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
Last edited by Leftwood Oct 21, 2020 2:39 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 21, 2020 2:44 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
E as in saying the letter.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Oct 21, 2020 5:24 PM CST
Name: Steve
Port Orchard, WA (Zone 8b)
PhyllisDendron , the easiest way I find how to pronounce words is look it up on Google, sometimes asking it "how to pronounce xxx". When I googled araceae I choose the one with how to pronounce atop, and hit the audio button (had to turn up my audio on iPad.. It was just as BigBill stated.
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Oct 21, 2020 5:34 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Frogs and Toads Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
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Let's talk genus Heuchera
Another named for a person. Smiling .

And Clivia
Plant it and they will come.
Last edited by sallyg Oct 21, 2020 5:35 PM Icon for preview
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