Value of 'naming'

Jorge Soberon Mainero jsoberon at MIRANDA.ECOLOGIA.UNAM.MX
Thu Jul 18 17:00:05 CDT 1996

Peter Rauch wrote:
>If you were a grammar/high school biology teacher, would you spend any
>time teaching your students about the diversity of human culture and
>the variety of systems of naming things and variety of names for things?

Peter, thanks for clarifying my thoughts. I forgot that the discussion
began with a question about teaching teenagers.

You are right, probably the important thing for that group of students is
to inform them about the fact that there is one single system with some
(valid) pretensions of universality, in the sense that it applies to more
or less all living things and is practiced by people all over the world; a
lot of pretty sophisticated folk systems, some of which have an
astonishing degree of coherence with the scientific system but tend to be
local and tied to indigenous cultures, and zillions of variations about
names of conspicuous plants and animals. The later might be perfectly
valid and useful "back home", but lack structure, generality and rigor.

I agree as well with the idea that learning to pronounce should not be
that difficult for romance and teutonic languages. The rule breaks,
however, when other languages are involved. As an example try
Quetzalcoatlus, which is a word so  horrid  that even we
the proud descendents of the Aztecs  cannot pronounce comfortably.

Now I have consumed my quota of bandwidth of the month and will go back

Regards to all.

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