[Tweeters] Re: elaenia pronunciation

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Tue Feb 12 20:25:52 PST 2008

Bob Sundstrom (11 Feb 2008) wrote:

Mike and tweeters,

You asked about how "elaenia" is pronounced. I've always heard it
pronounced like the woman's name "Elaine" + "yuh". I'm not sure what
origin the name derives from. Elaenia is the genus of some, but not
all, of the New World tropics flycatchers with the common name Elaenia.

Good birding, Bob
Bob and other tweeters,

Just to further the tradition of broadly based topics that seem to be
grist for tweeters, as long as they bear some mention of birds, I'll
comment on this. I've always pronounced this name el-EE-neyuh (and I
have heard others pronounce it this way, as well as the way Bob
mentions). The diphthong "ae" is pronounced as a long "i" in Latin,
but in anglicized Latin, it's pronounced as a long "e," as in animal
family names. Corvidae is usually pronounced kor-vi-dee, not kor-vi-
day. Aesop of fable fame is usually pronounced "eesop." Etc.

I've always assumed Elaenia comes from the Greek 'elaineos,' meaning
olive-colored, from the Greek 'elaia,' an olive, also 'elaion,' olive
oil or an oily substance.

With tongue firmly in cheek, I'll add that Elaenia thus must be the
oily boid that catches the woim.
Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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