Say ceeBMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7261.611 (Published 09 September 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:611
- Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist
First a simple exercise in pronunciation: centimetre, cerebellum, biceps, hydrocele. So far so good. Now how about encephalopathy. Come again? In all probability, if you are British, although you will have pronounced the letter c in each of the first four examples soft (like the letter s), in encephalopathy you will have pronounced it hard (like the letter k). Why that should be I don't know (and you're allowed to feel smug if you didn't). Perhaps the preceding n in encephalopathy makes you want to pronounce the c hard, but if so what about (say) concentric and cancer?
Now how about cephalosporin? Hard again in all probability, although there is no preceding letter of any sort this time. Here the habit of …
Log in using your username and password
Log in through your institution
Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial