[MSA-talk] Mineralanguage

Anton Chakhmouradian Anton.Chakhmouradian at umanitoba.ca
Thu May 1 12:01:02 EDT 2014


Hello All,

This has been a very interesting discussion (I have been trying to get my students say WOL-las-ton-ite for ages, albeit to little avail because just about everyone else seems partial to Wuh-LAS-ton-ITE), but I do not think our frustration at the lack of consistency in the "Mineralanguage" will lead anywhere because:

   (1) The phonetic plasticity (or ambiguity?) of English leaves too much room for interpretation when it comes to long multisyllabic mineral names. For example, there are two "official" versions of PYROXENE in Merriam-Webster and I have heard the name XENOTIME pronounced in four different ways by native speakers!
   (2) There are global and regional variations in the English language that cannot be simply reconciled with a decree from the IMA.
   (3) Many, if not most, names based on foreign words cannot be pronounced "correctly" (i.e. in accord with the original) by English speakers because of phonetic differences - often quite significant - among different languages (try getting BYELLORUSSITE, TSAREGORODSTEVITE or SCHERBAKOVITE right, for example). In the same fashion, most mineral names rooted in English are butchered by everyone else; William Wollaston would probably never recognize that the Russian vəl-las-tah-NEET is actually named after him.

I think having so much variation is actually a good thing because, in a way, it teaches our students to be open-minded and flexible (isn't that what geology is about?). Let's just agree to disagree!..

Anton Chakhmouradian
University of Manitoba

 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: msa-talk-bounces at minlists.org [mailto:msa-talk-bounces at minlists.org] On Behalf Of Lewis, Dewi
Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2014 9:06 AM
To: MSA public List serve
Subject: Re: [MSA-talk] Mineralanguage

Clinoptilolite
Clionop-tilolite is what I usually hear said. But surely it should be clino-ptilolite and the p should be silent(ish) as someone I suspect a member of this list once told me (Guy?).
Discuss......!

____________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Dewi W. Lewis
Senior Lecturer and Admissions Tutor
Department of Chemistry                        Email: d.w.lewis at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:d.w.lewis at ucl.ac.uk>
University College London                       Phone: +44 020-7679-4779
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London WC1H 0AJ, UK
WWW: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/academic_pages/dewi_lewis


> -----Original Message-----
> From: msa-talk-bounces at minlists.org [mailto:msa-talk-
> bounces at minlists.org] On Behalf Of Robert Tracy
> Sent: 01 May 2014 14:53
> To: KEN Livi
> Cc: Matthew Kohn; MSA public List serve
> Subject: Re: [MSA-talk] Mineralanguage
> 
> That rule makes sense. But I would think that when a mineral name
> incorporates the proper name of a person, then the correct pronunciation of
> that person's name should be kept intact. So we should have WOL-las-ton-ite
> and SIL-li-man-ite.
> 
> Interesting that the Brits get the first one right and the second one wrong,
> and the Americans the reverse. Likely because of the nationalities of the
> honorees I assume. Two peoples divided by a common language and all that.
> 
> Dr. Robert Tracy
> Professor of Geosciences
> Associate Department Head
> Director, Museum of Geosciences
> Virginia Tech
> Blacksburg VA 24061-0420
> 540-231-5980
> 540-231-3386 (F)
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On May 1, 2014, at 9:20 AM, KEN Livi <klivi at jhu.edu> wrote:
> 
> > Found a rule to explain this. At the website
> > http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/ten-english-accent-rules/
> >
> > Rule #8 states: The primary accent is usually on the first syllable in three-
> syllable words, if that syllable is a root. For example, chár-ac-ter.
> >
> > and then…
> >
> > Rule #10: The primary accent is usually on the second  syllable in four-
> syllable words. For example, in-tél-li-gent.
> >
> > So when you take a three syllable word and make it four syllables, the
> accent will change from the first to the second syllable.
> >
> > It sounds right to change WOL-las-ton to owl-LAS-ton-ite. But is it right?
> >
> > Ken
> >
> > On May 1, 2014, at 9:07 AM, KEN Livi wrote:
> >
> >> Matt,
> >> This brings up one of the roots of a complication in the English language. I
> work with a MI-cro-scope every day, but I am a mi-CROS-co-pist and do mi-
> CROS-copy. There is a change in accent when a word is lengthened. I think
> this is coming into play when we make MIN-er-al names out of Min-er-AL-o-
> gists' names.
> >> Ken
> >>
> >> On May 1, 2014, at 4:01 AM, Matthew Kohn wrote:
> >>
> >>> I ran across this today, and couldn't remember if I already sent it to the
> list.
> >>>
> >>> Apologies if you've seen this before.
> >>>
> >>> Maybe apologies even if you haven't...
> >>>
> >>> Best,
> >>>
> >>> Matt
> >>>
> >>> Mineralanguage.
> >>>
> >>> A few years ago, I enjoyed a thorough review from Randy Parrish on the
> geochronology of monazite. At the end, no one offered any questions, so I
> semi-facetiously asked him to settle a question that I’ve wondered about
> since I first learned of the mineral c. 20 years ago: “Randy – is it monazite
> (MAHN-uh-zite) or monazite (MOHN-uh-zite)?” To which he replied “Well,
> it’s like potato (puh-TAY-toh) and potato (puh-TAH-toh)…or… baddeleyite
> (BAD-uh-lee-ite) and baddelyite (buh-DEHL-ee-ite). You know, there was a
> man named Baddeley (BAD-uh-lee).”
> >>>
> >>> Exactly. The mineral baddeleyite was named after a man called Joseph
> Baddeley (BAD-uh-lee), not some other guy who might have pronounced his
> name buh-DEHL-ee. Don’t you think that if Joseph knew his name was being
> mispronounced, he would correct us? I certainly do, because that’s what I do
> every time someone pronounces my name as if it were spelled Kahn. I
> pronounce it like “cone,” and, no, I have no connection with Madeline or a
> French film festival. Similarly, there are minerals named after Benjamin
> Silliman and William Wollaston. No one would think of pronouncing the
> names of those venerable gentlemen sill-IH-muhn, or wuh-LAS-tuhn. So why
> do we pronounce the minerals that way? Is it because the cadence is a little
> nicer? I admit Wuh-LAS-ton-ITE does trip a little more pleasurably off my
> tongue than WOOL-uh-stuhn-ITE (the technically correct pronunciation). But
> no one mispronounces cummingtonite (CUH-ming-tuhn-ITE). Is that only
> because it sounds like two common English words stuck together? You know:
> “Are you cummingtonite?” “Why yes, of quartz I am.” I certainly hope that if
> one of my scientific heroes, Jane Selverstone, ever has a mineral named
> after her, future mineralogists will pronounce it “SEL-ver-STOHN-ite” and not
> “sel-VEHR-stuhn-ITE.”
> >>>
> >>> Yes, I know there are real regional differences in possible
> pronunciations, for example EK-lo-gite or EK-lo-jite. I agree those minor and
> charming differences make mineralogical discourse more interesting, just as
> different accents embellish our language. But if we know or can figure out
> how to pronounce the name of the person or place after whom a mineral is
> named, or the source of the word if it’s not a name, then I think we should
> try to pronounce the mineral at least approximately correctly.
> >>>
> >>> So, is it MAHN-uh-zite or MOHN-uh-zite? Well, it turns out the root is the
> Greek word μοναζειν (“monazein” meaning “to be alone” because monazite
> occurs as isolated crystals), or more generally μόνος (“monos” meaning
> “single”). It’s the same root used in our modern English words
> "monochromatic," “monastery,” “mononucleosis,” “monocle,” "monocline,"
> etc. And if you’re thinking “Yeah, but what about Mono (Moh-Noh) Lake,”
> that name derives from a Native American source, not Greek. So, probably
> the preferred English pronunciation is MAHN-uh-zite. Not that I expect
> anyone to change. But the next time you’re teaching mineralogy or Earth
> materials, maybe you’ll think about how pronunciations get passed along to
> the next generation.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> MSA-talk mailing list
> >>> MSA-talk at minlists.org
> >>> http://lists.minlists.org/mailman/listinfo/msa-talk
> >>
> >> |_|"|_|"|_|_|"|_|"|_|"|_|_|"|_|"|_|_|"|_|"|_|"|_|_|
> >> Kenneth JT Livi, PhD
> >> Director, The High-Resolution Analytical Electron Microbeam Facility
> >> of the Integrated Imaging Center Departments of Earth and Planetary
> >> Sciences and Biology Olin Hall
> >> 3400 N Charles Street
> >> Johns Hopkins University
> >> Baltimore, Maryland 21218 USA
> >> |  |  | .|  | .|  | .|  | .|  |  | :|  |  | .|  | .|  | .|  | .|  |
> >> | | :|
> >>
> >
> > |_|"|_|"|_|_|"|_|"|_|"|_|_|"|_|"|_|_|"|_|"|_|"|_|_|
> > Kenneth JT Livi, PhD
> > Director, The High-Resolution Analytical Electron Microbeam Facility
> > of the Integrated Imaging Center Departments of Earth and Planetary
> > Sciences and Biology Olin Hall
> > 3400 N Charles Street
> > Johns Hopkins University
> > Baltimore, Maryland 21218 USA
> > |  |  | .|  | .|  | .|  | .|  |  | :|  |  | .|  | .|  | .|  | .|  |  |
> > | :|
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > MSA-talk mailing list
> > MSA-talk at minlists.org
> > http://lists.minlists.org/mailman/listinfo/msa-talk
> 
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