Wednesday, December 26, 2007

John Blakeman on Pronunciation

Buteo jamaicensis, female, aka Lola
John Blakeman, the prairie and hawk expert in Ohio, not only contributes his expertise to the hawk blogs of New York City, but has been a wonderful biological educator in other contexts for many years as well. Therefore upon reading yesterday's post, he knew there was yet another bugaboo for people beginning their adventure into science. Here's what he had to say--


The biologically unskilled or untrained are legitimately perturbed with two biological conventions. The first is, taxonomic nomenclature, which you have accurately listed for the Red-tailed Hawk.

But the second, often more frustrating, even for those who deal with them, are the accepted pronunciations of the taxa.

As a biological educator, I always try to spell out the pronunciations of the Latin taxa that I present, when dealing with popular audiences.

Here are the pronunciations for the taxa of the Red-tailed Hawk:

Kingdom Animalia ("ann-eh-MALE-ee-ah")

Phylum Chordata ("cor-DAHT-ah")

Class Aves ("AH-veez")

Order Falconiformes ("fal-CON-eh-FORM-eez")

Family Accipitridae ("ack-SIP-eh-trid-ee")

Genus Buteo ("BEUT-ee-oh")

Species Buteo jamaicensis ("BEUT-ee-oh jamma-eh-SEN-siss")

Notice that the genus and specific epithet (the second species name) are always italicized, as you properly did.


John A. Blakeman
Many thanks, John
Donegal Browne

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