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Guide to Pronouncing Taxonomic Terms

This guide presents a list of terms (in alphabetical order) that are used in Soil Taxonomy along with other terms used to describe soils. The list is not comprehensive but does include many commonly used terms. Included with each term are its origin, a respelling of the word for the purpose of pronunciation followed by the phonetic spelling in parentheses, an alternate pronunciation (if one exists), and an audio file of a narrator pronouncing the term.

The terms included in the list are: all of the soil orders, soil moisture regimes, and temperature regime names; most terms used at the soil family level of classification; the names of most diagnostic horizons and features; and selected other terms commonly found in soil survey information. Definitions of the terms are not included in this guide.

  • Guide to Pronouncing Taxonomic Terms (PDF; 19.7 MB)
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  • Phonetics Key (PDF; 47 KB)

Recommended citation: Soil Survey Staff. 2015. Guide to Pronouncing Terms Used in Soil Taxonomy and Soil Survey. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, Nebraska. Online at: