[Taxacom] ICZN - gender of genus-group name ending in -oops
stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri May 20 17:12:17 CDT 2016
Some taxonomists (old school, which is not a put down, and I include myself here) want meaningful, euphonious and grammatical names for taxa. Others just want identifiers, and in between are a growing group who don't care as long as it looks and sounds enough like Latin/Greek and they can get away with it. There are generic names like Bob and Do, names like Ostreacryptus clarkae ("Helen Clark's Hidden Oyster Beetle"!) named for the author's favourite food (oysters) and the then N.Z. Prime Minister (Helen Clark), etc., etc. Journals like Zootaxa are far too interested in pushing out as many papers as possible to worry too much about quality control. Everybody has their own ideas on which way of doing things is best. Some taxonomists do very well by publishing lots of padded out nothingness, others get little recognition for taking the time to get things right. It's a jungle out there ...
On Sat, 21/5/16, David Redei <david.redei at gmail.com> wrote:
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] ICZN - gender of genus-group name ending in -oops
To: "TAXACOM" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Received: Saturday, 21 May, 2016, 6:05 AM
The idea of dropping
gender agreement turns up time to time, and usually
arguments like "*poor Asians (particularly
Chinese), their language does
genders, it is so difficult for them to deal with the
taxon names*" are mentioned
as well. Interestingly, I have never heard any
Chinese colleague to complain against and call
for dropping gender
agreement. Further, as
far as I am aware, English nouns do not have gender
either, still I have never heard anybody to
claim that gender agreement
dropped because it is too confusing for British,
Canadian or Australian zoologists.
The major issue is not the mother tongue
the authors but rather their awareness or ignorance. They
and ignorant zoologists among
Asians, Europeans and Americans too, the
careful ones will look after or ask help if
they are unsure, the ignorant
ones will not
care anyway. Modifying the system because there are
authors seems a bit weird to me.
The best would be if at least
editors of journals would be familiar with
the basic rules, call the author's
attention and request corrections of bad
names in the manuscript phase. Apparently it
does not happen, I can see
dozens of very
badly created Greek-Latin names published in several
journals, many in Zootaxa. One of the most
bizarre monstrosity I have seen
the genus *Shortcrowna* Li & Li, 2014 (Hemiptera),
etymology as follows: "The name of
the new genus is derived from the Latin
words short (short) and crown (crown),
indicating the shape of its crown"
(Zootaxa 3764: 468). It is difficult to believe
that it could pass review
and editing. The
problem here certainly was not that the authors'
language does not have genders, the
problem was that the authors did not
have a glimpse of the basic rules of forming names.
On 21 May 2016 at 01:07, Adam
Cotton <adamcot at cscoms.com>
original descriptions certainly isn't a waste of time, I
> do it a lot in my research.
However, checking very carefully to see whether
> there is a disclaimer on the apparent
adjectival epithet included somewhere
in the description does add to the time spent, and more
importantly it is
> rather difficult for
a computer to perform this task.
> In fact, even very old names need
checking. The example I mentioned
yesterday that the Chinese had garbled was described in 1852
> replacement name for a junior
homonym, and the original description makes
> it clear that the name is not an adjective
even though it ends in -a.
gender agreement scientists don't need to worry about
> semantics and can spend their time
on productive research.
> Living in Thailand for as long as I have
(since 1981) I can actually
how confusing gender agreement must be for Asians. In the
> language not only is there no
gender agreement, words don't even have
> endings to indicate plurals, a word is a
word whether it be a noun,
> adjective or
verb, and the expression of meaning is present in the
> arrangement of the words to form a
context. In fact the same words may
sometimes be used as verbs, nouns and adjectives.
> The major problems
with incorrect gender agreement by the Chinese is
> because the epithets that were changed are
actually not adjectives; but
they end with an -us or an -a they look as though they are
> taxonomist who is taught that
words with these endings need to agree with
> the genus name, without really
understanding when/why these rules do and do
> not apply.
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