Howdjuprounsthat -- Or, What's in a Name?
By Ken Armke (11-97)

          Some time back I heard some fishkeeper (a Texan, because only a Texan would be so pragmatic) explain why it is impossible to mispronounce the names of the fish we keep:
          “They have Latin names, and Latin is a dead language. And obviously you can’t mispronouce a word from a dead language.”
          Sounds good to me! I’ve since used this handy excuse on several occasions.
          From a practical standpoint, however, it does have a few flaws. For instance, it can confuse a conversation. On the phone a few days ago, the caller (a non-Texan, naturally!) was inquiring about a fish. Specifically, he wanted to know about our demon-sunny.
          With his “foreign” accent too, it took some time to decipher that he was inquiring about Pseudotropheus demasoni (dee-mason-eye).
          Why dee-mason-eye and not demon-sunny?
          Well, first understand that the i at the end of a species name is always a long i—pronounced like eye.
          Next, understand that species are commonly named for people—in this case, for Laif DeMason, the well-known fish importer.
          Then, it’s simple to come up with dee-mason-eye the first time you see the word.
          (Now, if the fish had been named after Mrs. DeMason, it would be Pseudotropheus demasonae, pronounced dee-mason-ee. If named for a male, the species name gets the i ending; if named for a female, it gets the ae ending, pronounced like ee.)
          Knowing these basics, we can refrain from calling a Tropheus duboisi as du-boys-ee, when it should be du-boys-eye. (That is, assuming Mr. DuBois pronounces his name du-boys.) If you want, you can even smirk when you hear someone refer to a lel-oop-ee instead of lel-oop-eye.
          Every once in a while one might encounter a species name like ansorgii—with two i’s on the end. Not to worry. Just follow the rule and you can correctly pronounce it an-sorg-ee-eye.
          Or encounter a name like tenuidentatus or afromastacemelus—and you can do what I’d do: say Latin is a dead language anyway, and who needs to pronounce it?
          

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