Ian.Price at JCU.EDU.AU
Fri Feb 23 12:14:22 CST 1996
It may be an historical accident, but it seems to be a fact of modern life
that English has become the language of at least international commerce,
diplomacy and science. In international science, results are now most
often reported in English, regardless of the place of origin of the
subject, scientist, journal or conference. A command of English is
essential to keep up with scientific progress in most fields, and
certainly to reach an international audience. In Germany, for example,
when I lived and studied there some 30 years ago, German scientists
already recognized that publishing in English rather than German created
much greater opportunities for them.
It might perhaps have been German, Russian, Japanese or Chinese, but
that's not the way it happened.
With regard to Latin, specifically Botanical Latin, a great advantage is
that it is a language that developed specifically for plant description.
It is based on a "dead" language, and has not undergone the progressive
changes in usage and meaning which occur in all living languages. For
example, how many well-educated, native English speakers today can easily
read and completely understand Shakespeare as originally written?
It is and will remain an imperfect world, Ian Price
Assoc. Prof. Ian R. Price
Department of Botany and Tropical Agriculture
James Cook University
Townsville, Qld 4811
Phone: National (077) 81 4133/4427
International 61 77 81 4133
Fax: (077) 25 1570
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