CLEMatiS, cleMAHtis, cleMAYtis

Duane Campbell dcamp911 at JUNO.COM
Sun Apr 7 22:03:52 UTC 2002

On Sun, 7 Apr 2002 11:32:43 -0400 sagehen

> It could be that these instances of retarding the accent on plant
> common
> names that are closely derived from the Latin,

I studied classical Latin back when it was still a living language. It
was pretty stable because it was the venue of classicists, who tend to be
prescriptive by their very nature. Church Latin had some homogeneity in
its day because it was regularly used by a large group of people.

For the last thirty years or so I have been involved with botanical
Latin, and I can tell you that pronunciation is all over the lot. (See
how many pronunciations you get for kalanchoe.) That is partly because
some people come at it from a classical base and some from a church
background and some attack it with nothing but raw nerve.

But mostly it is so variable because (1) it is mostly written, not
spoken, and (2) there is really no identifiable group of experts to
standardize it through their use. Horticulturists are not noted for their
language background. So in spite of numerous flower room brawls, there
really is no right and wrong about it. I just give something like
Oenothera erythrosepala my best shot and dare anyone in the room to
correct me.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list