FW: Icecream in the Rain Forest

Joseph Laferriere joseph at BIO2.COM
Fri Jun 2 07:30:00 CDT 1995

In English, rules or at least guidelines do indeed exist on when a term
should be written as one word, a hyphenated term, or as two separate terms.
The trouble is that many people ignore the guidelines; hence terms like "ice
cream" which violate the guidelines become standard. The goal of these rules
are not for the convenience of the typist or the spell-check program but to
ensure clarity to the reader.
Joe Laferriere
joseph at bio2.com
From: bss166
To: Joseph Laferriere
Cc: Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM
Subject: Re: Icecream in the Rain Forest
Date: Thursday 01 June 1995 5:43PM

On Wed, 31 May 1995, Joseph Laferriere wrote:

[Interesting discussion about one-word and two-word spellings deleted]

The English language seems to be generally uncertain about whether such
compound words should be written with or without a space. In herpetology,
for instance, the term rattlesnake has been written as a single word for
decades. The term pitviper, on the other hand, was consistently written
as pit viper until the last 10 years, and is only now becoming the
standard spelling. On the other hand, coral snake is still normally
written with a space, with only one or two exceptions.

As a German, I am of course all in favour of wordunification of
compoundnouns into single words, even though it may be
untypistfriendly and confuse your spellchecker...   ;-)

Wolfgang Wuster
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, UK
e-mail: bss166 at bangor.ac.uk

Thought for the day: If you see a light at the end of the tunnel,
it is probably a train coming your way.

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