CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

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DaveW
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Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by DaveW »

The problem with all languages, at least in the spoken form, is they change with time. There may be genuine experts on written Latin, but as we have no audio recordings as to how the Romans spoke Latin even Professors of Latin can now only guess based on how they were taught. Also as it has passed down by mouth to mouth for centauries, as with all spoken languages, how it is spoken it alters with time, rather like the game "Chinese Whispers". Also the Roman Empire was spread around the world, so just like English with its received pronunciation for the minority British aristocracy which few others Brits speak, the majority are using their countless local dialects, therefore it is extremely unlikely all in the Roman Empire pronounced Latin the same.

For instance in comparatively modern times, even since the first audio recordings were made, the present generations often do not pronounce both British or American English as out forefathers did. Not only living languages change their pronunciation with time but so do dead languages. Only the written form tends to be relatively stable. Though seemingly "text speak" may even change the written form of English eventually "U No"

W.T. Stearn in his "Botanical Latin" that Daiv mentions gives three different forms of Latin pronunciation for we Brits, "Traditional English", "Reformed Academic" and also says "Church Latin is based on modern Italian pronunciation". He also says "Botanical Latin is a written language never intended to be spoken, but we have to try in order to verbally communicate!". He also makes the point that as long as others understand you it really does not matter how you say it because it will vary around the world as to how other nations pronounce their words. He says that Botanical and Medical Latin have now diverged to become virtual languages of their own, therefore never get a classical Latin scholar to write a botanical species diagnosis since the botanists will never understand it!

As Daiv says, the best way is to pronounce the plant name as it is constructed = albispina = albi = white + spina = spines. However I have also known a botanist who claimed that when it becomes a plant name it therefore becomes a new entity, therefore does not matter how it is constructed regarding pronunciation. He pronounced a plant called Islaya maritima, meaning beside the sea, "mar-it-i-ma, where I would pronounce it mar-ee -tie-ma as the word maritime. meaning by the sea, is pronounced in English.

As it is, if you belong to a cactus club you eventually develop "group speak" just as with local dialects where most of the members pronounce plant names similarly. However go to another country and it often becomes a different language, even though still based on Latin originally. Anyway beginners should not get too hung up on how they say the names as long as they are understood and a common pronunciation develops between you and your fellow enthusiasts eventually.

The main advantage of Latin plant names is they are international and only relate to a particular genus and species, unlike popular or local names that may only apply to your country or even region. For instance around the world "bluebell" can apply to more than one species or genus. "English Bluebell = Hyacinthoides non-scripta, "Scottish Bluebell = Campanula rotundifolia, Spanish Bluebell = Hyacinthoides hispanica, Virginia Bluebells = Mertensia virginica. You therefore may know what you mean by "Bluebell" but unless you give the international Latin name the rest of the world will not.
Tomek B.
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:41 pm
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by Tomek B. »

Well, the pronunciation of Latin word... I learned Latin at the High School, and I have learned to pronounce it in the way we Poles found it correct. In my opinion that is very similar to the Italian pronunciation, but, of course, it does not mean, that ancient Romes did it the same way. However, the English pronunciation makes me laughing (no offends, please). So, concluding, we have to use written names as often as possible, and do not bother how they are pronounced, because it is always wrong pronunciation :-) (which, as I see it, is the conclusion from DaveW post :-) ).
Best regards :-)
Tomasz
DaveW
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Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by DaveW »

Just a couple of the many quotes from Stearn's book Tomasz on pronunciation of botanical names, which is often taken as the "Bible" for botanical Latin.

Reformed Academic "ae" as ai in aisle. Traditional English as ea in meat

Reformed Academic "au" as in house. Traditional English as aw as in brawl

Church Latin "c before i and e being accordingly pronounced as the English ch and not as s (the conventional English pronunciation) or k (the Reformed pronunciation)".

As Stearn says both Botanical Latin and Medical Latin have now become languages of their own used by botanists and doctors, even though originally based on academic Latin. As we don't know how Latin was spoken by the Roman majority because no audio recordings were available in those days nobody can claim their version of spoken Latin is the correct one.

I am sure if I came to Poland I would find many plant names pronounced differently to the English speaking world, or those in any other language. How do we know which is correct since no audio recordings of Romans speaking their language in the past exist, meaning that so called Professors or school teachers actually speak Roman Latin correctly themselves?
Tomek B.
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:41 pm
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by Tomek B. »

DaveW wrote: Sat Jan 08, 2022 9:35 pm

I am sure if I came to Poland I would find many plant names pronounced differently to the English speaking world,
Not to mention pronunciation of the English words :-).
How do we know which is correct since no audio recordings of Romans speaking their language in the past exist, meaning that so called Professors or school teachers actually speak Roman Latin correctly themselves?
We cannot. I fully agree with you.
Best regards :-)
Tomasz
Lithops11
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Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2022 9:57 pm
Location: Clinton Corners NY

Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by Lithops11 »

Hi I would appreciate a guide to hybrid cactus and how can I post photos if I do not belong to Facebook or any other social media?
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leland
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Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by leland »

Hybrid cactus have their fanciers. I can't think of any particular website but google things like 'Hybrid epiphyllum", "hybrid peanut cactus", etc. and you will find things. Big Picture project is more for species, your posts would probably go under General.
You can upload photos directly from your computer without any other site in between.
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nachtkrabb
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 7:07 pm
Location: Stuttgart, Germany

Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by nachtkrabb »

Those flowering cacti really are a treat. But when I look at the pictures in the lexicon, I usually want to compare my plant with other plants to find out its name. Usually I have some small little thingy, not such a fully grown beauty. With those pictures I am never able find out, if my ugly duckling will one day become such a swan.
Thus I propose to bring in also pictures of the "bare" plants without flowers, too.
As the forms of young, adult and senior cacti often greatly differ, I think all these forms are interesting, too.
Love and Revolution!
...and still more cacti.
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leland
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Re: CactiGuide.com Big Picture Project

Post by leland »

When I first started working on my personal webpage I concluded that each species needed multiple photos to identify it: juvenile, mature plant, hábitat plant, bud, flower, fruit, seed, etc.). This is doable online where cost is minimal but does take a lot of time and you may have to rely on cultivated specimens. Sometimes captive specimens will not flower or fruit. My 2 Weberocereus plants took 10 years to flower and only 1 has fruited so far, so the process can be quite slow.

https://cactusdenicaragua.shutterfly.com/pictures/1091

Having multiple photos for each species is usually not doable in a print book for cost reasons, so most editors will try to get a flower and part of a stem, the most bang for the buck that you can get.
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