Scott Shumway Scott_Shumway at
Tue Nov 26 08:37:36 EST 1996

Thanks for the pronunciation lessons on Arecaceae and Ericaceae.    Here
are two of the best responses:

"Think of the genera from which the family names are derived:  Areca and

And from a colleague in our classics department:

"It's true that they would come out very much the same.  To explain myself
fully by e-mail, though, let's try the following:

A-re-ca-ce-ae (Palm family)
E-ri-ca-ce-ae (Heath family)

Numbering the syllables 1-5, the last three are the same, and the short
vowel in the second doesn't really generate any difference that you could
hear-they would be schwas, or unaccented short vowels that English runs

But it is in the first syllable that the difference lies, and this
shouldn't be too hard to achieve in practice.  Pronounce the first vowel +
r of the first word the same as you would the verb "are"; pronounce the
first vowel + r of the second the same as you would the noun "air".  Or, in
other words, the vowels are (open your mouth and say) aaaaah; and (what's
that you say?) eh."

Scott Shumway
Dept. of Biology
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766
"Scott_Shumway at"

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