[Taxacom] endings in -fer and -ger

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Wed Mar 5 03:05:14 CST 2008

From: "Christine Barker" <C.Barker at kew.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5:28 PM

> Dan Nicolson writes a very informative account of epithets and endings in Taxon 35(2): 323-328 (1986)
> http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0040-0262%28198605%2935%3A2%3C323%3ASEAGI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2

For those who are not a member of the IAPT, the relevant passage in the paper is: 
"3.1.1. Masculine in -er (-er, -(e)ra, -(e)rum): If you assume that glabra (f.) and glabrum (n.) or aspera (f.) and asperum (n.) are typical three-ending adjectives and form 'glabrus' or 'asperus' in masculine you are wrong, they are glaber or asper in masculine. By the same token, it is an error to assume that masculine glaber or asper become feminine 'glabera' or 'aspera' and neuter 'glaberum' or 'asperurn.' Some adjectives with masculine in -er retain the -e- in other genders (ending in -ifer or -iger, lacer) but most do not (integer, pulcher, ruber, scaber)."

The paper adresses the question of what is "good Latin". Here, for the purposes of correction, the question rather is if endings -ferus and -gerus are "acceptable Latin". Tradition appears to be clear that it is, and this is supported by the postings of Laurent Raty and Jacques Melot.

The ICBN codifies tradition, rather than setting out just rules. New rules going against tradition are adopted only rarely into the ICBN and it takes a long time to adjust to them: the rules on epithets based on personal names (Art 60.11 + Rec. 60C.1) were changed at Congresses from 1950 to 1975 and the world still has not adjusted to these, not completely. 


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