Cicero and Burkholderia cepacia: what's in a name? (Another Dimension).Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth Shibboleth (shĭb`ōlĕth), in the Bible, test word that the Gileadites made the Ephraimites pronounce. As Ephraimites could not say sh but only s : and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him and slew him, at the passes of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.
In Old Testament times, mispronunciation mis·pro·nounce
v. mis·pro·nounced, mis·pro·nounc·ing, mis·pro·nounc·es
To pronounce badly or incorrectly.
To make a poor pronunciation. bore a price. The Gileadites (circa 1143 B.C.) used pronunciation to differentiate their own from the Ephraimites, and the consequences of mispronunciation were severe. Today, mispronunciation, though not a matter of life and death
"Matter of Life and Death" was the second episode of the first series of . , presents problems when it interferes with communication. In scientific nomenclature, Greek or Latin bionomials of infectious disease microorganisms are often mispronounced, sometimes causing confusion among healthcare professionals (e.g., infectious disease physicians, epidemiologists, and even microbiologists). Unlike horticulturalists, who have masterfully developed a large repertoire of common names for botanical species thereby avoiding the need for and potential mispronunciation of classical Greek and Latin, infectious disease specialists still rely on Greek and Latin bionomials.
How important is a standard pronunciation of bionomials? Language is about communication. Provided the parties in a discussion can understand each other, variations in pronunciation of individual words can be tolerated or disregarded. Everyday modern English is filled with examples of variant pronunciations that cause no communication problems (e.g., either, tomato, laboratory, fertile). These variant pronunciations have many causes. Regional practice is probably the single most important variant, but educational and social backgrounds also play a part, as do personal preferences and even etymologic theories. It would be futile and (some believe) undesirable to impose uniformity by prescribing approved pronunciations when communication is not compromised. Moreover, in all languages, pronunciation changes constantly.
Burkholderia cepacia, an important gram-negative bacterial pathogen in patients with cystic fibrosis, may cause premature death in these patients. Since its first description in 1950 by Walter Burkholder (1), the pathogen has undergone several taxonomic reclassifications (2) in accordance with the Bacteriologic bac·te·ri·ol·o·gy
The study of bacteria, especially in relation to medicine and agriculture.
bac·te Code (1990 revision). However, uncertainty still surrounds the clinical relevance of its evolving taxonomy, particularly in regards to the nine described genomovars of the B. cepacia complex (BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) The field in an e-mail header that names additional recipients for the message. It is similar to carbon copy (cc), but the names do not appear in the recipient's message. Not all e-mail systems support the bcc feature. See fcc. ). The species name cepa'cia comes from L. fem. N. caepa or cepa (onion). Most confusion surrounding this species name was initially due to its transfer from the genus Pseudomonas to the newly described genus Burkholderia by Yabuuchi et al. in 1992 (3). The practice of renaming individual BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. genomovars with species names when phenotypic differentiation becomes available has heightened the confusion, as in the renaming of B. cepacia genomovar II to B. multivorans, where problems arise both with physicians (in infection control) and with patients (psychological acceptance of the disease).
Even though in B. cepacia, taxonomic issues rather than pronunciation are at the root of confusion, the pathogen neatly encapsulates several aspects of the linguistic conundrum involving "correct" pronunciation of Latin binomials. The correct pronunciation of both the genus Burkholderia and the species cepacia is still debated. The debate is mainly about the correct pronunciation of cepacia, but the genus name, Burkholderia, also deserves some consideration. The genus name is formed from the surname Burkholder, on which a Latin suffix -ia has been grafted. How should this synthetic word be pronounced? With the original pronunciation of the name retained as far as possible (long o and stress on second syllable) or with a more Latinized effect (short o and stress on third syllable, possibly lengthening its vowel)? Or is this in fact a nonexistent non·ex·is·tence
1. The condition of not existing.
2. Something that does not exist.
non problem because the word is normally encountered in print so variations in pronunciation present no confusion?
The scientific and infectious disease communities would benefit from the adoption of a standard pronunciation of Latin binomials that would obviate confusion and ambiguities. The Linnaean binomial binomial (bī'nō`mēəl), polynomial expression (see polynomial) containing two terms, for example, x+y. The binomial theorem, or binomial formula, gives the expansion of the nth power of a binomial (x+ system uses Latin morphology and grammar in forming its names, and they are equally respected in China and Peru. Why not adopt a standard pronunciation? An immediate practical objection is that there is hardly a "standard Latin pronunciation." Throughout history, Latin pronunciation has developed in accordance to the vernacular language of its users. Even as long ago as the 16th century, when Latin was of necessity the common language of such multinational organizations as the Roman Empire and the Catholic Church, speakers of Latin from different nations could not understand each other. This linguistic situation was satirized in 1528 by Erasmus, who proposed to standardize a reconstructed version of classical Latin pronunciation, i.e., the practice (as far as it could be deduced) of 1,500 years earlier. His efforts had only limited success. Two and a half centuries later, Samuel Johnson, in his Life of Milton, condemned those who, like Milton, sought to replace the "English" pronunciation with the "Italian." A remnant of Johnson's "English" system still persists in the Latin-derived jargon used by British lawyers. Toward the end of the 19th century, schoolmasters and classics scholars began adopting a restored pronunciation (reconstructed from heterogeneous evidence) that aimed to reproduce Latin pronunciation in the time of Cicero or Virgil (i.e., the first centuries B.C. and A.D.). This reform was supported in 1923 by a committee appointed by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is, in practice, the political leader of the United Kingdom. He or she acts as the head of Her Majesty's Government and like other Prime Ministers in Westminster Systems is (along with his or her , but the "new way" was not universally accepted.
Analogous situations are found in other European countries. In Italy, the church pronunciation still carries much prestige. In France, the reform movement encountered bitter opposition. However, the views of responsible classics scholars today seem to converge in both theoretical and practical terms. The most promising system is described by W. Sidney Allen (4) in which he uses symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
Set of symbols intended as a universal system for transcribing speech sounds. The promulgation and updating of the IPA has been a principal aim of the International Phonetic Association (Association Phonétique Internationale), . According to this system, both cs in cepacia would be pronounced hard (like English k); the first vowel, e, would be long (approximately as in Received Pronunciation of gate); the second, a, would also be long (approximately as in RP father); i (as in dip) and a would be short; and the stress would fall on the second syllable. There is some degree of artificiality in this system, since cepacia is not a classical word but a later scientific coinage, formed from the classical Latin caepa. Indeed, this scholarly pronunciation does not correspond with any current pronunciations in the scientific and infectious disease communities. Any attempt to introduce it as a standard might paradoxically cause further confusion.
The standard pronunciation of Latin that scholars have reconstructed implies the primacy (for literary purposes) of the so-called Golden Age of Caesar, Cicero, and the Augustan poets and historians. Infectious disease specialists in the 21st century should not adopt this pronunciation, unless it is a genuinely useful and acceptable solution to a real problem. Our times, unlike the era of the Gileadites, do not deem mispronunciation a capital offence. Classicists should be willing to help if they are asked but have no proprietary rights over the functional idiolect id·i·o·lect
The speech of an individual, considered as a linguistic pattern unique among speakers of his or her language or dialect.
[idio- + (dia)lect. of modern scientific Latin whose users can use whatever pronunciation they find conducive to communication.
(1.) Burkholder WH. Sour skin: a bacterial rot of onion bulbs. Phytopathology phytopathology /phy·to·pa·thol·o·gy/ (-pah-thol´ah-je) the pathology of plants. 1950;40:115-7.
(2.) Coenye T, Vandamme P, Govan JR, LiPuma JJ. Taxonomy and identification of the Burkholderia cepacia complex Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC), or simply Burkholderia cepacia is a group of catalase-producing, non-lactose-fermenting Gram-negative bacteria composed of at least nine different species, including B. cepacia, B. multivorans, B. . J Clin Microbiol 2001;39:3427-36.
(3.) Yabuuchi E, Kosako Y, Oyaizu H. Proposal of Burkholderia den. nov. and transfer of seven species of the genus Pseudomonas homology group II to the new genus with type species Burkholderia cepacia (Palleroni & Holmes 1981) comb. nov. Microbiol Immunol 1992;36:1251-75.
(4.) Allen WS. Vox Latina: a guide to the pronunciation of classical Latin. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). ; 1965.
Address for correspondence: John E. Moore John E. Moore, born in Charleston, West Virginia, is an American politician and a former Lieutenant Governor of Kansas. In 2002 he was elected on the Democratic Party ticket as the running mate of Governor Kathleen Sebelius; he assumed office on January 13, 2003. , Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Department of Bacteriology bacteriology
Study of bacteria. Modern understanding of bacterial forms dates from Ferdinand Cohn's classifications. Other researchers, such as Louis Pasteur, established the connection between bacteria and fermentation and disease. , Belfast City Hospital The Belfast City Hospital (Irish: Ospidéal Chathair Bhéal Feirste) located in Belfast, Northern Ireland, is a 900-bed modern university teaching hospital providing local acute services and key regional specialties. Its distinctive tower block dominates the Belfast skyline. , Belfast, BT9 7AD, Northern Ireland; fax: +44 (28) 2589 2887; email: email@example.com
John E. Moore * and Frederick Williams ([dagger])
* Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland; and ([dagger]) The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Dr. Moore, a member of the International Burkholderia cepacia Working Group, is principal clinical scientist in medical microbiology at the Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast City Hospital. His research interests include the development of molecular tools that characterize microbial microbial
pertaining to or emanating from a microbe.
the breakdown of organic material, especially feedstuffs, by microbial organisms. pathogens in infectious diseases to aid in patient management, particularly the use of ribosomal RNA detection and sequencing techniques to detect etiologic agents of culture-negative infections.
Prof. Williams teaches Greek at the Queen's University of Belfast. Much of his work has focused on Hellenistic poetry (especially that of Callimachus); he has also written on Babrius, Gregory of Nazianzus For this individual's father, see .
Saint Gregory of Nazianzus (329 – January 25, 389), also known as Saint Gregory the Theologian or Gregory Nazianzen, was a 4th century Christian bishop of Constantinople. , Ovid, Juvenal, and Colluthus and has investigated linguistic usage, theophany the·oph·a·ny
n. pl. the·oph·a·nies
An appearance of a god to a human; a divine manifestation.
[Medieval Latin theophania, from Late Greek theophaneia : Greek theo- , the relationship of the Cynics Cynics (sĭn`ĭks) [Gr.,=doglike, probably from their manners and their meeting place, the Cynosarges, an academy for Athenian youths], ancient school of philosophy founded c.440 B.C. by Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates. to early Christianity, polar bears in antiquity, and E.M. Forster's use of the Daphne story. He is now editing Cercidas of Megalopolis megalopolis (mĕgəlŏp`lĭs) [Gr.,=great city], a group of densely populated metropolitan areas that combine to form an urban complex. .