[Taxacom] Abbreviation of Latin genus names

Weakley, Alan weakley at bio.unc.edu
Fri Oct 11 16:53:11 CDT 2013

The issue of how to abbreviate these is kind of a fraught editorial issue.  In the olden days, when we were more literate and Latinate, no-one would have abbreviated Aegilops tauschii as A. tauschii; that is wrong!  The "Ae" letter combination is not separable (Wikipedia:  "Æ (minuscule: æ) is a grapheme formed from the letters a and e. Originally a ligature representing a Latin diphthong, it has been promoted to the full status of a letter in the alphabets of some languages, including Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese. As a letter of the Old English Latin alphabet, it was called æsc ("ash tree") after the Anglo-Saxon futhorc rune ᚫ (Runic letter ansuz.svg), which it transliterated; its traditional name in English is still ash /æʃ/") and would necessarily be abbreviated "Ae.", ideally with the "Ae" printed together.  But in the modern world, you get odd looks for trying to use abbreviations like "Ae." or "Ph.".  I'd advise just knuckling under to the prevailing computer-based world which does not deal well with such historical eccentricities ;-).

Proper names likewise.  There used to be rules about how one dealt with Scottish names Mac- and Mc- in alphabetization (Wikipedia:  "The prefixes M' and Mc in Irish and Scottish surnames are abbreviations for Mac, and sometimes alphabetized as if the spelling is Mac in full. Thus McKinley might be listed before Mackintosh (as it would be if it had been spelled out as "MacKinley"). Since the advent of computer-sorted lists, this type of alphabetization is less frequently encountered, though it is still used in British phone books." 

Similarly, state abbreviations used to be sorted by what they stood for:  NH, NY, NC, but now are sorted the way the computer sees it:  NC, NH, NY.  

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Péter Poczai
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 4:30 PM
Subject: [Taxacom] Abbreviation of Latin genus names

Dear Taxacomers,

How would you abbreviate Latin genus names starting with Ph /f/ or Ae /aj/ Oe /oj/ etc?
e.g. Phaeobotryosphaeria citrigena = Ph. citrigena or P. citrigena
      Aegilops tauschii = Ae. tauschii or A. tauschii

All the best,

Péter Poczai, PhD
Marie Curie Research Fellow
Department of Biosciences
University of Helsinki
PO Pox 65, FIN-00014, Helsinki
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