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A Tongue Twister’s Guide to Mastering Anatomy Pronunciation | Winter Shorts | TAPP 145

A Tongue Twister’s Guide to Mastering Anatomy Pronunciation

Winter Shorts
TAPP Radio Episode 145


Episode | Quick Take

Episode 145 of The A&P Professor podcast is one of our winter shorts, where I replay interesting segments from previous episodes. In this one, you’ll hear about the trials and tribulations of teaching and learning pronunciations of anatomy and physiology terminology. Including why the instructor is ALWAYS correct!

  • 00:00 | Introduction
  • 01:07 | Variations in Anatomy & Physiology Pronunciations
  • 10:24 | Say Anatomy & Physiology Terms Out Loud
  • 20:30  | Staying Connected


Episode | Listen Now

Episode | Notes

Guess what? this is one of our winter shorts! Yep, that’s right, it’s a shorter-than-usual episode in which I present one or two, or maybe three or four, classic, evergreen segments from previous episodes that are remastered, reconstituted, and recycled for your listening and learning pleasure. But mainly it’s to give me a break for self-care over the holiday season. We’ll be back to our regular programming in late January.


Variations in Anatomy & Physiology Pronunciations

9.5 minutes

Pronunciations in any language differ for a variety of reasons. This happens in A&P terminology, too. This segment was first heard in Episode 16.

★ How Do YOU Pronounce It? | Episode 16 (the original broadcast of this episode)

★ How do you pronounce it? (Kevin’s blog post on this topic) AandP.info/g1a★ Dorland’s Medical Dictionary (a respected standard) geni.us/HO3H

★ 4 ways to correctly pronounce anatomy terms (brief article with video from Kenhub) AandP.info/jj7

★ Brief Atlas of the Human Body and Quick Guide to the Language of Science and Medicine for Anatomy & Physiology (packaged with the Patton Anatomy & Physiology text, but available separately, includes pronunciation guidance) geni.us/qN4E

★ Kenneth S. Saladin (I mention Ken’s workshops on pronunciation) geni.us/ZJBk

Flashcards: Hidden Powers | Episode 58 and More Flashcards: Hidden Powers Unleashed | Episode 59 (using flashcards to learn pronunciation)

Please rate & review The A&P Professor—it helps others decide whether to give us a try! 😁



Introducing Mike Pascoe

10 minutes

It sounds wacky, for sure, but students reading complex terms out loud before reading the textbook can helps speed up reading and improve comprehension. This segment was first heard in Episode 20.

★ Reading A&P Terms Out Loud Helps Reading Comprehension | Episode 20 (the original broadcast of this segment)

★ Reading Information Aloud to Yourself Improves Memory (article from Neuroscience News) AandP.info/hln

★ This time it’s personal: the memory benefit of hearing oneself (journal article in Memory) AandP.info/gg9

★ Reading Terms in A&P (post in The A&P Professor blog; has additional links to resources)AandP.info/qr8

★ Reading Scientific Terms (post in The A&P Student blog; you can provide this link to students) AandP.info/q5v

★ Word Lists Help Students Build Their Mental Lexicon (post in the Patton Anatomy & Physiology blog) AandP.info/1rq

★ Say It Out Loud 18 Times (post in o-log-y blog)AandP.info/eaq



Production: Aileen Park (announcer),  Andrés Rodriguez (theme composer,  recording artist),  Karen Turner (Executive Editor), Kevin Patton (writer, editor, producer, host).

Not People

Robotic (AI) audio leveling/processing and transcription is done by Auphonic.com and Rev.com and the content, spelling, grammar, style, etc., of these episode notes are assisted by various bots, such as Grammarly and QuillBot.

Need help accessing resources locked behind a paywall?
Check out this advice from Episode 32 to get what you need!

Episode | Captioned Audiogram

Episode | Transcript

The A&P Professor podcast (TAPP radio) episodes are made for listening, not reading. This transcript is provided for your convenience, but hey, it’s just not possible to capture the emphasis and dramatic delivery of the audio version. Or the cool theme music.  Or laughs and snorts. And because it’s generated by a combo of AI robot and human transcription, it may not be exactly right. So I strongly recommend listening by clicking the audio player provided or the captioned audiogram.
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Kevin Patton [0:00] Guess what? This is one of our winter shorts.
Yep, that’s right. It’s a shorter than usual episode in which I present one or two or maybe three or four classic evergreen segments from previous episodes that is remastered, reconstituted, and recycled for your listening and learning pleasure.
But mainly it’s to give me a break for self-care over the holiday season.
We’ll be back back to our regular programming in late January.

Aileen Park: Welcome to the A&P Professor, a few minutes to focus on teaching human anatomy and physiology with a veteran educator and teaching mentor, your host, Kevin Patton.

[0:43] Music.

Variations in Anatomy & Physiology Pronunciations

Kevin Patton [0:49] In this Winter Shorts episode, I discuss pronunciations of anatomy and physiology.

[0:55] Music.

[1:07] It’s my belief that most students are learning a whole new language when they’re in our A&P course.

Variations in Anatomy & Physiology Pronunciations

[1:12] And when we acknowledge that and support that, our students are in a better frame of mind, better able to succeed. Now, one of the trickiest parts of using the scientific terminology of A&P is getting the pronunciation down.
I think there’s at least two reasons why pronunciation is important.

[1:31] One is, we all want to be understood, right? Right?

[1:35] Using a recognizable pronunciation makes it more likely that our professional communications, our communications with the students, students’ communication with us, students’ communication with each other, and with their other colleagues once they get into a clinical situation.
And in clinical settings, accuracy can be a matter of life and death.
Another reason why pronunciation is important is that you really do have to be able to pronounce it in your head.
Even if we don’t speak a term out loud, we sort of pronounce it, you know, in our minds as we read or as we write a term.
We really need some kind of a pronunciation for a term for it to become part of our brain’s operating word list.
Actually, what reading scientists call that is our lexicon.
And physiologists have even mapped out where at least parts of that lexicon con are stored in our brain.
So it really is the thing that we have this word list and that when we’re reading, we kind of pull out this pronunciation.
I mean, that makes sense, right? I mean, there’s that sort of inner voice that is going on in our head, even if it’s not really an out loud kind of voice.
When you’re reading a term, you are forming some kind of pronunciation in there.
So, okay, how does one figure out how to pronounce a term correctly?
That’s the next step, right?
Okay, we know we need to pronounce it correctly, but what is the correct one?

[3:02] The regional HAPS meeting that we held in St. Louis, some of us were sitting around chatting about the differences in pronunciation.
For example, why do some people say troponin and other people say troponin?

[3:15] And we talked about how upset some people get when you say apoptosis instead of apoptosis.
That is when you pronounce the P instead of keeping it silenced like it quote is supposed to be pronounced. out.
Well, some of us remembered participating in a really great workshop that my friend Ken Saladin does.
You may know Ken from HAPS or from the A&P textbook he publishes with McGraw-Hill.
Well, anyway, in his HAPS workshops, Ken would post a term and give five alternate pronunciations and then asked us to either use clickers or raise our hands to identify which pronunciation was was correct.
The group would literally buzz when we realized the wide range of pronunciations that we all used.
There would sometimes be even shouting and guffawing when Ken revealed the pronunciation published in one or another respected medical dictionary.
People would be saying, no, that’s not right. That can’t be right.
Then there’d be even more vocalization as he sometimes showed us a different respected dictionary that had yet another way to pronounce that very same term.
The point is that there are indeed differences in pronunciation.

[4:29] I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing how we and our students learn pronunciation in the first place, and what might be a good approach to handling differences in pronunciation, and preparing our students for such differences themselves as they enter their clinical settings.
I think that there are several common patterns we each use to develop our pronunciation of a term.
First is that we learn it from someone else.
You might pick up our pronunciation from a peer, from a mentor, from a learning resource, or from the media.

[5:06] Another way that we develop our pronunciation of any particular term is by looking it up in the dictionary.
Written and audio pronunciation guides are available in the major medical dictionaries and comprehensive dictionaries and even in some textbooks and similar resources, some of which are freely available on the web.
We learn it from someone else, we can look it up in dictionary.
A third way that we develop a pronunciation of a term is by using common pronunciation patterns. patterns.
Each language has its own typical pronunciation guidelines, some of which may not even be written down.
For medical terminology, we often use Latin pronunciation pattern or the pattern of what our native language is.
That’s how we develop a pronunciation for a term. But here’s where it gets tricky.

[6:01] For some terms, there is no correct pronunciation, only several possible alternate pronunciations.
But you know, that’s the nature of human language. It’s variable and dynamic in usage, and in meaning, and in spelling, and yes, even in pronunciation, it’s variable and dynamic.

[6:25] Well, dictionaries are an attempt at standardizing the language, but dictionaries can’t be absolutely comprehensive.
Even if there was one universally accepted dictionary, it would still change over time as our languages change.
Besides the futility of an unchanging standard for pronunciation, there are regional differences related to dialect.
I speak a form of Midland Urban United States English spoken in South St.
Louis. And my wife, on the other hand, speaks a form of southern, rural US English that she picked up in Georgia and Mississippi and South Carolina.
Which of us is correct in our variations of pronunciation?

[7:09] Hmm, I suggest it’s best to call us both correct, as long as we can understand each other accurately.
And that’s the trick, isn’t it? Understand each other accurately.
Sometimes these regional differences can be very localized.
For example, I usually live in Missouri, but when I’m out visiting in parts away from the big city, I adopt the Missoura pronunciation that my grandfather and his siblings used growing up on the old Patton farm.
And yes, it’s still called the old Patton farm.
My understanding is that Missoura was the original pronunciation and that as waves of Easterners came in to settle in St.
Louis, they looked at the spelling and thought, well, wait a minute.
The correct pronunciation should be Missouri.

[7:59] But grandpa and his family knew that Missoura was correct, and so they stuck with it.
And so, well, you know, I’m thinking that maybe both pronunciations are okay.
Even in Latin and Greek, there are kinds of dialect differences that affect pronunciation.
I once had a colleague declare a particular pronunciation to be the correct Latin pronunciation of a term. term.
But that puzzles me because the earliest memory I have from my first Latin course was an explanation of the different systems of pronouncing Latin, and that included which one we were going to use in our course.
I don’t think the system we used is very common in scientific and medical circles though, because I occasionally find my pronunciations of Latin terms a bit out of the mainstream. mainstream.
Maybe that’s what prompted my colleague to declare his pronunciation as the correct Latin pronunciation.
I think we should make continuous strong efforts to use mainstream pronunciations when using professional terminology.
For the sake of accuracy and safety in our communications, that kind of effort is essential, I think.
But I also think we still need to understand that pronunciations may legitimately differ.
Differ, perhaps from regional variations, or perhaps from whom one learned their Latin, or maybe anatomy or physiology or whatever.

[9:27] I think we need to train our ears and our tongues to adapt to different pronunciations when we encounter them.
I usually advise my students to listen to the pronunciations of those around them, especially especially their clinical supervisors and teachers, and adapt to that.

[9:47] I think SKEL-et-ul muscle tissue is okay for me to say here in Missouri, or Missouri, but I think I’ll be better understood in Calgary or Liverpool if I use the UK pronunciation, which is skuh-LEE-tal muscle, because that’s a regional difference.
And, by the way, if you hear me say FOR-ah-men, I’m really talking about a foh-RAY-men.
Blame my Latin teacher, if you must lay blame somewhere.
Or maybe it’s just me. Okay, go ahead and blame me. I can take it.

Say Anatomy & Physiology Terms Out Loud

Kevin Patton [10:24] I recently ran across some neuroscience research published at the end of last
[10:28] year in a journal called Memory.
It showed that reading information out loud is remembered better than if the same information is read quietly to oneself.
And it’s remembered better than if it’s read out loud by a different individual.
I have a hard enough time convincing my A&P students that it’s a good idea to read their textbook in the first place.
So I’m not sure I can convince them to read out loud.
That seems to harken back to those endless hours of reading out loud from the textbook during class and grade school.
You might remember that when one student stands up and reads a section of the book and then and sits down and the next student stands up and reads a section and so on and so on until the entire chapter has been read aloud to the class.
That seems a bit too, I don’t know, old-fashioned, right? How could it work if it’s old?
And yikes, it doesn’t even involve technology.
Wait, wait, wait. If my students read aloud from an e-book or some other digital resource, then maybe it’ll be perceived as useful, right? Because it involves technology.

[11:46] Well, old-fashioned or not, paper or digital, the research shows that reading aloud helps one remember.
Thinking about whether I should ask my students to read their material out loud, that is in private, not in class like we did in the third grade, grade, reminded me of a blog post from a few years ago in the A&P Professor blog.
I had recently written to A&P students about new research that investigated how when we read the brain recognizes whole words rather than letter by letter.
I suggested that this could be used to help students read and learn A&P more accurately and more quickly.

[12:31] I did that in a post called Reading Scientific Terms at The A&P Student blog.
I have a link to that in the show notes and on the episode page at theAPprofessor.org.
Now, scientists had long suspected that the brain handles reading that way.
That is, word by word and not letter by letter.
But the new research I cited told us where in the brain this happens and helped us understand the mechanism behind the process. process.

[13:01] As we try to help our students learn A&P, it’s useful for us to know about this phenomenon also.
As I explained to students, a good strategy based on this mechanism, a strategy long promoted by college reading teachers, involves reading the new terms of a chapter out loud before starting a new topic.
Even if the student reads little, or yikes, none of the chapter, this strategy will help them when they encounter the terms in lecture, lab, or in handouts, or wherever.
So now you see why this newer research on reading out loud reminded me of that earlier discussion of how to best handle the huge number of complex terms encountered in the typical undergrad A&P course.
How does this out loud method of learning A&P terms work? Well, let’s break it down a little bit.

[14:01] Because when we’re reading efficiently, as the research demonstrates, the brain does best when it can recognize whole words rather than having to stop and read the word letter by letter or phoneme by phoneme.
A phoneme is a speech sound that a letter represents.
By reading and saying the words before reading a chapter, we allow our brains to recognize or own the terms.
Even if we don’t know what they mean, we recognize them and our brains no longer stop and analyze them to attempt a pronunciation inside our head.

[14:43] Practicing the pronunciation of previously unfamiliar terms aloud primes the brain so that reading will be faster and more efficient.
Comprehension of what is read increases because the flow of reading is uninterrupted, and because the content of the passages can be put into a framework of terms that already exist as units in the brain’s memory.

[15:08] Presumably, familiarity with word parts helps this process by making the initial reading of terms more efficient.
That’s because longer words, that is really long scientific terms, are usually made up of smaller words that we’re calling word parts.
It also helps that when a new term, not practiced previous to reading, is encountered in the reading, at least the word parts are recognized.
This should make it easier and faster and more accurate going than having to read a new term letter by letter by letter.
For example, take carbaminohemoglobin. Please, take it.
No, actually, I love that word. My students will tell you this.
I say it all the time just because I like saying it.
Carbaminohemoglobin there has been on the short list of possible baby names for all three of my children, and I’ve suggested it for several pets.
Someday, folks, someday, day. I’ll be introducing you to my pet sea monkey, Carby.

[16:18] Anyway, carbaminohemoglobin is a load of fun to say out loud, which is why I worked it into this podcast episode.

[16:27] But alas, it’s also intimidating for students the first time they see it.
However, if they’ve already been practicing the use of terms with word parts like carb and amino and hemo and globin and possibly using combinations of those word parts already, like hemoglobin, then it’ll be easier for them when they encounter it for the first time.
But if they actually say it out loud, maybe several times, so it really rolls off the tongue, carbaminohemoglobin, carbaminohemoglobin, then they’ll really be ready for some efficient and useful reading.
When they get to that section of reading explaining how carbon dioxide is loaded into the blood and carried along, they won’t be stumbling all over that long complex term.
Wait for it. Carbaminohemoglobin. They’ll already own the word.
And once they own the word this way, That is, once they can recognize it on site and don’t stumble over the pronunciation, then they’re all set to effectively learn what the word does.
That is, what concept it represents.

[17:47] They won’t have the cognitive load of trying to wrestle with a convoluted term while at the same time trying to figure out the biochemical concepts of carbon dioxide linking up with hemoglobin and how that fits into the big picture of blood gas transport.

[18:06] I always provide a word list with new terms in each chapter.
In fact, I put them into my textbook so that any A&P student can use them.
My chapter word lists also provide pronunciation keys to help them with owning each term.
Each word list also includes word parts that reinforce the recognition of all those roots and suffixes and prefixes that we commonly encounter in the terminology of A&P.
To make reading newly encountered terms that much more efficient and to make comprehension more likely to occur.

[18:45] What if a student doesn’t have such a word list available? Well, that’s okay.
As I said before, they can skim the chapter before reading it, looking for bold-faced terms or any unfamiliar words that stand out for them.
At each one, they can pause and say it out loud a few times until they feel comfortable with the term, at least a little bit comfortable with it.
I know, I know. It seems like a lot more work than simply reading the chapter cold. But the thing is, reading a chapter cold may be wasted time and energy if the comprehension isn’t happening.

[19:22] Using this pre-reading strategy may actually save time in the long run because it’s going to make the reading meaningful.
And it’s going to ramp up what the student learns as they read.
It’s my belief that if we share these tips with students, it will help them get it far more easily than if they’re trying to read the textbook without a reading strategy.
Even students who are already good readers benefit from this approach.
Heck, even professors can benefit from this approach.
I use this approach sometimes when I’m encountering a journal article or something like that in And a topic that I’m unfamiliar with or that includes a lot of new terminology that I don’t typically use, I’ll skim through and try to pronounce out loud some of those terms and then go back and read that article for comprehension, that is for its content.

[20:21] If you want to know more about this, check out the links in the show notes or the episode page for this podcast.

Staying Connected

[20:30] If you don’t see links in your podcast player, go to the show notes at the episode

[20:35] page listed at theapprofessor.org slash podcast.
And while you’re there, you can claim your digital credential for listening to this episode. And you’re always encouraged to call in with your questions, comments, and ideas at the podcast hotline.
That’s 1-833-LION-DEN or 1-833-546-6336.
Or send a recording or written message to podcast at theapprofessor.org.
We’ll pivot back to fresh, full episodes in late January when I’ll be giving my predictions for next year. If you have a prediction for where A&P instruction is headed, please send it in.
I’ll see you down the road.

Aileen Park: The A&P Professor is hosted by Dr. Kevin Patton, an award-winning professor and textbook author in human anatomy and physiology.

[21:35] Music.

Kevin Patton[21:40] This episode has been reconstituted from concentrate using only 100% pure electrons from a natural spring.

[21:49] Music.

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Patton, K. (2024, January 2). A Tongue Twister’s Guide to Mastering Anatomy Pronunciation | Winter Shorts | TAPP 145. The A&P Professor. https://theapprofessor.org/podcast-episode-145.html

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