Latin replaced??

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Fri Feb 26 16:40:08 CST 1999

Those interested in the debate on the requirement for a Latin diagnosis
or description for valid publication of names of new taxa under the
Botanical Code (equiv. to "available" in zoospeak) may find the
appended list of references (see foot of e-mail) to the topic of
interest.  (Also sent separately as a WordPerfect attachment)

My own 1997 paper gives the rationale for the suggestion in the Draft
BioCode that diagnoses or descriptions be in English or Latin (no other
language) for the establishment of names of new taxa.

So far as Botany is concerned, my personal view has changed but little
from that expressed in my 1990 paper, namely that, after the
overwhelming rejection in Yokohama in 1987 of the proposal to permit
English as an ALTERNATIVE to Latin, any new initiative in this
direction, to be successful, and to gain support of anglophones such as
myself, must come from persons whose first language is NOT English.  The
proposal along these lines by one such botanist (Chaudhri, 1992) was
also heavily defeated in Berlin in 1993.  The preliminary mail ballot
open to all members of IAPT will give some guidance as to whether
Craven's (1997) more extreme proposal will garner support.

Perhaps one of Llamas's (1999) suggestions in the most recent published
contribution to the debate -- that "to publish a new name under the BioCode, it
should be compulsory to provide a description, not merely a diagnosis, of
the taxon in two different major modern languages" Llamas goes on:
"optionally, Latin could be a substitute for one of the modern
languages. Although Llamas does not suggest it (indeed wants to maintain
the _status quo_), this might be the solution for the Botanical Code as

John McNeill

      John McNeill, Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum,
      100 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6, Canada.
      Telephone and fax number:  416-586-5744
      e-mail: johnm at

________________________ Reply Separator

Subject: Re: Latin replaced??
Author:  redeuilh <redeuilh at CLUB-INTERNET.FR> at Internet
Date:    26/02/99 2:49 PM

Encore un frangais...
> A : Multiple recipients of list TAXACOM <TAXACOM at CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU>
> Objet : Latin replaced??
> Date : vendredi 26 fivrier 1999 16:26

>    Please explain the proposal to which you refer
> concerning the conference in St. Louis. I am not
> informed as to what is on the agenda there

See:  Proposal 06-09 by L.A. Craven in Taxon Nov. 1997 46(4):808-809

               Latin requirement _ a bibliography
                (in reverse chronological order)

Llamas, F. 1999. Why English? Taxon 48: 41-44

J_rgensen, P. M. 1998. Botanical Latin, quo vadis? Taxon 47: 431-

Craven, L.A. 1997. (06-09) Proposals to substitute English in place
     of Latin descriptions or diagnosis as a requirement for valid
     publication. Taxon 46: 809-810.

McNeill, J. 1997. Latin, the Renaissance lingua franca, and
 English, the 20th century language of science: their role in
     biotaxonomy. Taxon 46: 751-757.

Filgueiras, T. S. 1997. In defense of Latin for describing new
     taxa. Taxon 46: 747-749.

Chaudhri, M. N. 1992. Proposal to add English to the Latin
 requirement for validating names. Taxon 41: 785.

Chaudhri, M. N. 1991. The sacred cow and the plight of taxonomy in
     the Third World countries. Taxon 40: 92.

Bayer, F. M. 1990. Comments upon killing the holy cow. Taxon 39:

Steyskal, G. C. 1990. A note on hagiobouctony. Taxon 39: 243.

Traverse, A. 1990. Anyone for Hittite? Taxon 39: 242.

Barneby, R. C. 1990. Commentary upon killing the holy cow. Taxon
     39: 241.

Kabuye, C.H.S. 1990. Comments on Latin descriptions. Taxon 39: 240.

Voss, E. G. 1990. The practicality of Latin. Taxon 39: 239.

McNeill, J. 1990. A. J. G. H. Kostermans: "Plea to kill a holy cow"
     _ Comment. Taxon 39: 236_238.

Kostermans, A. J. G. H. 1990. Plea to kill a holy cow. Taxon 39:

Stearn, W. T. 1987. Retention of botanical Latin for description of
     new taxa. Taxon 36: 434-435.

McNeill, Korf, R.P., Stirton, C.H., Traverse, A. and Wu Chi-Sheng.
     1986. Provision for the use of English, as an alternative to
     Latin, for the valid publication of the names of new taxa.
     Taxon 35: 880-883.

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