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Medical Terminology. Lecture 2:. Pronunciation. Pronunciation. Pronunciations may vary from country to country, even in different regions of the same country . The general rule is to include the most common pronunciation.

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Medical Terminology

Lecture 2:


  • Pronunciations may vary from country to country, even in different regions of the same country.
  • The general rule is to include the most common pronunciation.

A vowel (a, e, i, o, u) gets a short pronunciation if it has no pronunciation mark over it, such as:

      • a as in hat
      • e as in met
      • i as in bin
      • o as in some
      • u as in run

short line over the vowel gives it a long pronunciation:

      • Ǡ as in say
      • Ē as in tea
      • Ī as in lie
      • Ō as in horse
      • Ū as in sue
soft and hard c and g
Soft and Hard c and g
  • A soft c, as in racer, will be written as s (RĀ-ser).
  • A hard c, as in candy, will be written as k (KAN-d ē)
  • A soft g, as in page, will be written as j (pāj).
  • A hard g, as in grow, will be written as g (grō)
silent letters
silent letters
  • A silent letter or unusual pronunciation can be a problem, especially if it appears at the start of a word that you are trying to look up in the dictionary.
  • The combinations in may be pronounced differently when they appear within a word, as in
    • apnea(AP-nē-a), meaning cessation of breathing;
    • nephroptosis (nef-rop-TŌsis), meaning dropping of the kidney;
    • prognosis (prog-NŌ-sis), meaning prediction of the outcome of disease.
  • Symbols are commonly used in case histories as a form of shorthand.
  • Some examples are L and R for
  • left and right; ↑ and ↓ for increase and decrease.
  • Like symbols, abbreviations can save time, but they can also cause confusion if they are not universally understood.
  • Usage varies in different institutions, and the same abbreviation may have different meanings in different fields.
  • An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the first letter of each word in a phrase
words ending in x
Words Ending In x
  • When a word ending in x has a suffix added, the x is changed to a g or a c.
  • For example,
    • pharynx(throat) becomes pharyngeal (fa-RIN-jē-al), to mean “pertaining to the throat”
    • coccyx (terminal portion of the vertebral column) becomes coccygeal (kok-SIJ-ē-al), to mean “pertaining to the coccyx”
    • thorax(chest) becomes thoracotomy(thor-a-KOT-ō-mē) to mean “an incision into the chest.”
suffixes beginning with rh
Suffixes Beginning With rh
  • When a suffix beginning with rh is added to a root, the r is doubled:
    • hem/o (blood) + -rhage (bursting forth) = hemorrhage (a bursting forth of blood)
    • men/o (menses) + -rhea (flow, discharge) = menorrhea (menstrual flow)
  • Pronounce the following words:
    • Dysfunction dis-FUNK-shun
    • Rheumatoid RŪ-ma-toyd
    • Chronologic krōn-o-LOJ-ik
    • Pharynx FAR-inks
pronounce the following phonetic forms
Pronounce the following phonetic forms
  • NĪ-trō-jennitrogen
  • SūR-fassurface
  • VAS-ku-larvascular
  • thō-RAS-ikthoracic
    • nar-KOT-iknarcotic


Write the suffix in each of the following words that means “study of,”“medical specialty,” or “specialist in a field of study”