folk taxonomy

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Tue Nov 12 07:45:51 CST 1996

Jacques Melot, Reykjavik wrote:

>Si le nom a traiter est vraiment <<F. A. Wislizenus>>, on peut soutenir
>que ce nom latinise est <<already in [...] Latin>> et dans ce cas la
>forme de l'epithete est <<wislizeni>> (le passage <<wislizenus>> ->
><<wislizenii>> serait un peu choquant).


On what basis do you consider that the 19th century American of German
birth, Friedrich [changed to Frederick in the US] Adolph Wislizenus,
has a surname that is "already in Latin"?  It is true that the -us
ending is uncommon in English (and I suppose German) surnames (-ius is
commoner), but just because a German (or English) name ends in -us
that surely does not make it Latin.  There is no suggestion that
Wislizenus was a "latinization" of another name, analogous to, say,
Bauhinus from Bauhin.


From: John McNeill, Director, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park,
      Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6, Canada.
      Tel.: 416-586-5639      Fax: 416-586-8044
      e-mail: johnm at

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