Vernacular concepts

Curtis Clark jcclark-lists at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Feb 25 21:00:07 CST 2005

on 2005-02-25 14:28 David Remsen wrote:
> It seems to me that while there are some groups and
> attempts to regulate or create "official" lists of vernacular names for
> a given purpose that this is really a subjective process independent of
> a more broadly defined objective vernacular concept.

There are cultural and sociological dimensions as well: to many
indigenous groups, "official vernacular names" would be the equivalent
of cultural genocide.

In fact, I started using the term "vernacular name" instead of "common
name" because in plants (at least in the United States), there are many
attempts to regulate "common names", especially of listed species (for
which common names are invented when they don't already exist).

I certainly understand that vernacular names can be studied, as well as
their often complex relationships to binomials and the complex taxonomic
concepts that underlie them. Regulating them directly works against
these studies.

Curtis Clark        
Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona                 +1 909 979 6371
Professor, Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4062

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