[Taxacom] Language tags for scientific names

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Sat Jun 28 17:30:42 CDT 2008

> I don't think we are talking about meaning. I repeat the question in my
> previous post: in what language is "Passer domesticus" written? And, by
> implication, how should it be pronounced? What language-rules apply?

I am not convinced this actually matters all that much.  To me
communication, scientific or otherwise, is *all* about meaning.  If it
is all about what is essentially style, while I will try to dress and
speak proper so as not to offend anyone, I really couldn't care
less...  :)

In some respects, this is very similar to the early conceptual
discussions of HTML where we had to convince people to think of a
major heading of level X, not a lump of text in Y point bold.  The
style that is applied after the event does not alter the fundamental
meaning or intent.

The pronunciation thing is interesting by probably unimportant and as
Curtis and others have pointed out this should probably follow the
convention of the language block in which the name appears.  Every
time a Dutchman and and Australian have an English conversation about
botany we end up laughing at each other over pronunciation of the
scientific names but this in no way hinders communication (so we can
quickly get down to the real business of fighting with each other over
the taxonomy).  Heck, every time an Aussie and a Yank talk to each
other about *anything*, we end up laughing at each other.

As to your last question, the 'rules' that apply to scientific names
are not really those of language - they just look as though they are.
They are the rules of the nomenclatural codes.


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