Carmine Colacino colacino at UNIBAS.IT
Mon Jul 16 17:53:29 CDT 2001

I am always surprised (quite naively, at this point) to find out that any
discussion about 'common names' in the TAXACOM list always refers to English
common names (I mean, in the English language).

Even though these names could get somehow "stabilized" they still remains
just English language names, often quite different from the common names
used elsewhere in the word. More importantly even if we translate them -
somehow - often their 'circumscription' (that is, what is included in the
name) is not coincident with the use elsewhere.

In Italian we have different names for different oaks, that is Quercus, or,
in Italian, Quercia [plural: Querce] (i.e. they are coincident - most of the
times - with the Taxonomic nomenclature, leaving apart the specific problems
of that genus), Quercus ilex is Leccio, Q. suber is Sughera, Q. cerris is
Cerro, Q. petraea is Rovere, Q. pubescens is Roverella, for example, are
these names consistent with English common names? and with the French ones?
with the Spanish ones? with the Arabic ones? with the
Greek/Albanian/Croat/Macedon/Portuguese/Catalan ones (just to remain in
Countries/Regions where you might find at least some of these species) etc.
etc. I have no idea, but if I say I saw a Quercus cerris everybody will
understand me, everywhere.

Dr Carmine Colacino - colacino at unibas.it
Herbarium Lucanum [HLUC] & Dept. of Biology
University of Basilicata - Campus C/da Macchia Romana
85100 Potenza, southern Italy
Tel. +39 0971205743; Lab +39 0971205732; Fax +39 0971205742

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