Language of description

Ken J. Harrison KHarrison at FCMR.FORESTRY.CA
Thu Oct 26 04:22:36 CDT 1995

>"I know no interesting zoologist who can write eloquently in Latin ..."
Mike Ivie.
Dear Taxacom:
As someone with a background in mycology and a very limited knowledge of
Latin, I have followed this thread and debate with interest.

Since 1935, mycology has been subject to the International Code of Botanical
Nomenclature article which insists that any new taxon have a Latin diagnosis
(Latin description) for it to be considered "validly published". This is a
real help for me since if an article is published in a language I can't read
(i.e. most of the world's languages, except English), I can pick out the
Latin description immediately and use it.

After this preamble, my point is: If the Latin diagnosis works for one group
of taxonomists for the past sixty years, perhaps it isn't such a bad way to
bridge linguistic barriers in other fields? Eloquence in the language isn't
required! :-)


Ken Harrison
Forest Insect and Disease Survey
Canadian Forest Service - Maritimes Region
P.O. Box 4000, Regent Street South
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Canada    E3B 5P7

Tel: 506-452-3513       FAX: 506-452-3078       E-Mail:
KHarrison at

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