Where Do I Start With Pronouncing Scientific Names?

I always assumed the CH was pronounced as K for names derived from Greek (unless it’s Latin). As in the word chelate. I pronounce the turtle genus Chelydra with a K sound although I’ve heard some pronounce it with a CH sound. And I’ve always heard Chenopodium pronounced with a K sound but then I’ve not heard it said that often.

In the case of chinense I’d pronounce it with a CH sound since it is derived from the name China.

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KEEN-Oh-Poe-DEE-Um ?

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I think that’s the way I’ve most often heard it.

Added: Even if you’re not sure of the origin of the scientific name, I almost always pronounce the CH as a K as it usually is pronounced in most scientific terms: chemistry, chordate, notochord, chelate, Chlamydia, etc.

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So, you’re telling that English speakers pronounce chlamydia with “k” and not “h”?

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Yes. “Klam”

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Given how some well known public figures pronounce China, I’m surprised nobody has suggested proununcing it as:

  • JEN-OH-PO-DEE-UM

However, I think the approach of pronouncing it based on naming origin makes sense.

Being German, I’m going with the pronunciation example posted here.

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Well, it means goosefoot, named after the goose genus Chen (as in Chen caerulescens, the snow goose).

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Chen with the Ch like kennel or charcoal?

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Ha, I thought that example would come up. I admit I’d say it Chen and not Ken.

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On the rare times when I say it, I pronounce it “chen” also.

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Absolutely, CH was used for the Greek Χ, not for the Greek Κ.

And it was used for neo-latin so there is much better case for the velar fricative rather than the aspirated K from classical Greek, but I do admit there is some case for those who would go for the aspirated K as in the English word “cat”. Definitely not the normal K as in the English “dark”.

And most definitely not the [t͡ʃ] sound as in the English word China. Although I can see why one would want to pronounce it that way for chinensis. But only there please.