Pronunciation of numbers in plasmid names, etc.?

Peter Frank peter_frankde at
Fri Feb 4 10:46:13 EST 2005

Trond Erik Vee Aune wrote:
> What would also be interesting is knowing how to pronounce the latin
> names of organisms, like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Escherichia coli,
> Pseudomonas putida and Drosophila melonogaster ;)
> Any one want to give it a try?

I have heard them being pronounced like this:

Saccharomyces cerevisiae (1) = sackaro-my-sees sera-we-see-ay
Escherichia coli = eesha-reekee-ah cole-eye
Pseudomonas putida = psewdo-monas pjewtidah
Drosophila melanogaster = drosophilah melanogaster (not much out of the
ordinary here)

(1) The ending "ae" is pronounced differently from "ae" within a word.
For example, AFAIK "Haemophilus" is pronounced like "hee-moffy-ls".
Then again, I have also heard people pronouncing the ending "ae" as
"ee", which - according to the source given below - is not correct.

Even though Latin is a "dead" language, it is still spoken in certain
circles (e.g. the Church) and, of course, you can find it in scientific
terminology especially in the fields of medical anatomy and biological
Therefore, there are guides for Latin pronunciation (2) although I am
sure not everyone adheres to them. For example, listening to native
English speakers at meetings I have never heard them prounounce the
letter "i" at the end of a word as "ee" but always as "eye" (cf. the
above example "E. coli"). The below source, however, states that a
word-ending "i" should be pronounced "ee".

(2) excerpt from
"Today, there are two main ways of pronouncing Latin. The first of
these is the Classical Pronunciation, which is the way we think Latin
was spoken prior to around the third century or so. The second, and the
one this web site is really concerned with, is Ecclesiastical
Pronunciation, which is the way Latin has been spoken from somewhere in
the 3rd/4th centuries down to present day and is the way Latin is
spoken in the Church. The two methods are very, very close to one
another. Indeed if one is familiar with one method, only a little
effort is needed to be able to use the other."


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