Mineralogy Database

Name Pronunciation

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Name Pronunciations

There is no central authority on mineral name pronunciations.

Many people are surprised to learn that the correct way to say a mineral's name depends on the origin of that name (see Name Origins).

In fact, many knowledgeable mineral experts have never heard the pronunciation of a fair percentage of existing mineral names with another individual. The correct spelling of mineral names is the most important aspect in identifying an individual mineral; and, it is this familiarity with the printed name where most experts and knowledgeable amateurs communicate with each other.

The mineral name pronunciations provided on the species pages in this database is courtesy of The Photo-Atlas of Minerals. These pronunciations come from Forrest Curton and are subject to some interpretation (criticism) for some of those names.

Mineral Names are Pronounced Using these Rules:

  • Chinese, Japanese, and Korean mineral names are phonetically converted to the Latin alphabet and are best pronounced by a native speaker of that language.
  • Cyrillic mineral names are transliterated to the Latin alphabet and are best pronounced by a native speaker of that language.
  • Other non-Latin mineral names are transliterated and/or phonetically converted to the Latin alphabet and are best pronounced by a native speaker of that language.
  • Minerals named after foreign locations or other foreign words are best pronounced by a native speaker of that language.
  • Minerals named after people are best pronounced by that individual. However, audio recordings of a person pronouncing his namesake's mineral name are not common and were not possible prior to the invention of the phonograph in 1877.
  • Minerals named using Greek or Latin roots can be pronounced using grammar and pronunciation rules based on the speakers' country of origin.
  • Minerals named using nmonics or contractions can be pronounced using grammar and pronunciation rules based on the speakers' country of origin.

Minerals Pronounced by their Namesakes

The following list are those mineral pronunciations provided to webmineral.com by their namesakes:

Pronunciation Photo Remarks
Bideauxite Richard Bideaux, American mineralogist, coauthor of the Handbook of Mineralogy, Volumes I to V, mineral collector, and the person whom bideauxite is named after, kindly provided the mineral name pronunciation for bideauxite.  Tucson Convention Center, 50th Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, February 14, 2004.
Kampfite Anthony Kampf, Curator and Section Head of the Mineral Sciences Section at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and the person whom kampfite is named for, kindly provided the pronunciation of the mineral kampfite. Tucson Convention Center, 50th Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, February 12, 2004.
Nikischerite Tony Nikischer, Chairman of the Board of The Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, president of Excalibur Mineral Corporation, and the person whom nikischerite is named for, kindly provided the pronunciation of the mineral nikischerite. Executive Inn hotel, Room 128, Tucson, February 9, 2004.
Wendwilsonite

Minrecordite

Wendell Wilson, publisher, editor-in-chief of the Mineralogical Record, and the person whom wendwilsonite is named after, kindly provided the mineral name pronunciations for minrecordite and wendwilsonite.  Tucson Convention Center, 50th Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, February 14, 2004.

Other Sources of Mineral Pronunciations

Peter Whitehead from James Cook University sent me a recording of the proper pronunciation for wycheproofite after having spent 3 years living in that part of the Australian outback. For those of you interested, hear the original .wav file for wycheproofite. Thanks a bunch Peter.

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