standardized common names

Joseph E. Laferriere josephl at CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Fri Jul 19 07:54:29 CDT 1996

> From:    Michael Apel <MAPEL at SNG.UNI-FRANKFURT.DE>
>  So, why should that system of naming animals internationally using
> latinized names not be sufficient ourdays? Do you really think,
> that students who are not willing to learn latin names for organisms
> would rather learn a japanese, serbo-kroatian, arabic or german name
> for the same species because this name is the official standardized
> common name?? Or is the idea behind the whole story that latinized
> names should be replaced by anglicized ones for international use?

Nobody on Taxacom has suggested this, nor have I ever seen anyone anywhere
else suggest it. The proposal was made by Americans that a system of
standardized common names be created within the US, for use within the US,
providing an official English equivalent of the internationally recognized
scientific name. Theoretically, one could also propose a standardized set
of German common names for use in the BRD, which would probably be
different from the standardized set of names used in Austria or
   I am merely restating the proposal as I understand it; I am not saying
I agree with it. Any attempt to impose common names from the academic
community onto the general public is doomed to failure. Farmers in
Tennesse, Bavaria, Rajasthan, or any other part of the world will refer
to the weeds in their fields by whatever name they want, ignoring what
some university professor says. I remember one professor proclaiming that
the "proper" common name for Lycopodium obscurum was "prince's pine,"
although he had heard it erroneously called "princess pine" many times.
If people are calling it "princess pine," then the common name is by
definition "princess pine" regardless of what the book says.

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