Rankless English orthography AND proper names

Gurcharan Singh singhg at SATYAM.NET.IN
Mon Mar 13 20:47:14 CST 2000

> Thomas Schlemmermeyer writes
>"Rosaceae" is a proper name and has therefore to be used without definite
>article. This has, so far, nothing to do with the question whether Rosaceae
>a clade, a monophyletic group, a taxon, or anything else. From a linguistic
>point of view it is simply a proper name.

We need not prefix an article when writing about Rosaceae because it is a
common name and we have only one Rosaceae. On the other hand when we are
writing about a family (or for that matter clade, lineage or group) there
could be many (Rosaceae, Brassicaceae, Malvaceae, etc.), and we have to
specify the particular family. Thus we write "The family Rosaceae".

>And that leads me to a problem: Why do those taxonomists always write
>scientific proper names with capital letters (Rosaceae), while the
>corresponding vernacular names (roses) are usually written without capital

There are not "those taxonomists". All taxonomists start  scienctific names
with capital letter because they are following ICBN, ICZN or ICNB as the
case may be. Also we are dealing with names which are constructed using
rules of Latin grammer.
Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Dr. Gurcharan Singh                      Res:
Department of Botany                        932 Anand Kunj
S. G. T. B. Khalsa College                  Vikas Puri
University of Delhi                               New Delhi-110018
Delhi-110007, India                             Phone: 91-011-5531534

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