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ScienceHideout
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biggrin.gif posted on 7-1-2014 at 10:50
Pronouncing Chemistry Vocab


I am pretty sure we have all been there. Many of us are self-taught chemists, and when we have an opportunity to speak with a professional we say stupid stuff that makes us seem unintelligent. Off the top of my head, I remember two really embarrassing instances. Once, I was presenting some personal research and I was talking about some different sugars I was using... long story short, I said di-ass-tree-o-mer instead of die-uh-stereo-mer. Another time I said hemee-ACEE-duhl instead of hemi-ASS-uh-TAHL.

I was wondering if there is any way to be certain of how to pronounce something correctly when talking about chemistry. I have tried typing it into google translate, but it sounds like it is getting read by Stephen Hawking and it lacks infliction. Most dictionaries don't include such technical words.

Any advice?

Thanks!
-SciHide




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DraconicAcid
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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 10:54


In my first year of college, I was taught organic chemistry by a Scotsman who pronounced carbonyl as "car-BON'l". It took me many years to join the rest of the world in saying "Car-bon-NEEL", even when I found out that even other Scottish chemists didn't use the former (I was always stubborn).



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essbee
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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 11:01


I always chuckle when I hear Americans talking about algae....so your problems with more dubious words are nothing to really worry about.
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cyanureeves
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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 18:23


americans saying algae?texans pronounce it ayl-jee.if it is pronounced all-jee or uhl-jee then there is no way i will call it that.i say algae pretty close to the way google translator says it.i thought the greek word cyanus was pronounced keeanus so i named myself cyanureeves.
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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 18:39


toluene
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 18:53


Toluene for sure, molybdenum, antimony, eutectric, lots of words have come up where I only realize after I botch the pronunciation that I have never actually spoken them before, only read them in a book.



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Metacelsus
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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 19:25


Same here (with carbonyl, in fact). I read organic chemistry related books for years before I took a formal course, and had always pronounced it as Draconic's Scottish professor.



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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 20:05


Erythritol I have said a million different ways, mostly with only three or two syllables. I'd read it so often, but when it came to saying it out loud, I had no idea how to say it
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Zyklon-A
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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 20:09


Antimony, like 5 different ways.



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[*] posted on 7-1-2014 at 20:33


racemic and racemate

used to say race-mic..
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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 06:53


I remember I used to pronounce "homogeneous" as "homogenous" because of the word "homogenized". There's probably a bunch of other words I'm mispronouncing just because I've never heard them said.
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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 08:24


My organic chemistry professor is a squeeky little asian woman and she pronounces nothing right so I don't feel bad for murdering the pronunciations myself.



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Mailinmypocket
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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 08:45


Toluene seems common, how are you guys pronouncing it? Maybe I'm pronouncing it wrong. I call it "tol-you-eene"

I had a teacher who called nitric acid "nit-trick acid"
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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 09:05


Aluminium is the worst....I hear the Collins dictionary are even going to drop the unpronounced 'i' soon...... Oh the poor 'English' language, ruined, ruined...or is it simply evolving like it has for the last 1500 years??
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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 10:11


I used to have a friend who kept saying "tol-you-lane".

Night-rick, Nit-trick...doesn't matter, we all know what you mean...

Molybdenum is actually very easy to pronounce, as long as you mentally add the "nu nu, nu nu-nu" afterwards.

Just don't say "cation" to rhyme with "location", "ketone" as if it ended with a number, or "anion" as if it were "onion".




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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 10:20


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbdctW5DEGE
Nitrid acid:P!
(I'm not even going to comment on how bad of a video it was it was one of those videos that just makes you cringe ex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aZ1lBzmxE4 )




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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 11:34


After many years of pronouncing 'reagent' with the 'ea' as in 'reason' someone finally made me aware (mid-presentation) it should be pronounced "re-agent".

Can a native speaker tell me how English-speakers pronounce 'eigenvalues' and 'b├╝chner filter'.

[Edited on 8-1-2014 by phlogiston]




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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 11:38


I-gun-values and book-ner (or byook-ner) filter.



Please remember: "Filtrate" is not a verb.
Write up your lab reports the way your instructor wants them, not the way your ex-instructor wants them.
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[*] posted on 8-1-2014 at 12:43


Merriam-Webster's online dictionary provides audio for its words, although there is a not-quite-human quality to them.

Here is diastereomer. Here is toluene. Here is molybenum.

This might not be foolproof, but perhaps it is better than mere guesswork.

[Edited on 1/8/2014 by FlashDelirium]




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[*] posted on 10-1-2014 at 03:36


Merriam-Webster's audio for nucleic acid sounds like 'nu-clee-ic'. Am I currently incorrectly pronouncing it as 'nu-clay-ic'?

Thanks draconic.

[Edited on 10-1-2014 by phlogiston]




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confused
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[*] posted on 10-1-2014 at 04:37


I and some of my lecturers pronounce it as "nu-clay-ic" acids, since no one seems to be correcting me, i'll stick with it untill someone does :D
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[*] posted on 10-1-2014 at 04:47


Even that link has the alternate pronunciation. "nu-clay-ic or nu-clee-ic" either one.
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[*] posted on 10-1-2014 at 07:07


Fluorine, chlorine, bromine are pronounced as fluoreene chlorreene.

Iodine has 2 pronunciations for some reason. Iod-ine and iod-eene.

I have no idea about astatine.

Then there is dysprosium. I use to say dees-prosium.
Then I heard Carl Sagan say dye-sprosium.
The same for neodymium.
I thought it was neodeemium.
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[*] posted on 10-1-2014 at 07:37


I have trouble with amines.

Is it Ay-meen?, like the ay in "hay"
It is Ah-meen?, like the a in "and"
Is it uhmEEN?

What about "terephthalate"?

Is it "ta-rep-tha-late"?
It is "tear-ee-thall-ate"? (tere-phthalate, like tere- is describing the type of phthalate?)

And for the record it drives me nuts when people say "toluene" like "tolulene." Where did the extra L come from??




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confused
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[*] posted on 10-1-2014 at 07:39


i pronouce it as
Ass-ta-teen
dis-pro-si-um
neo-dee-nium

well, as long as you get the point across, theres not much need to get overly concerned about how it's pronounced

i pronounce toluene as tolulene...dont know why, picked it up from somewhere :P

[Edited on 10-1-2014 by confused]
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