[Taxacom] ICZN - gender of genus-group name ending in -oops

David Redei david.redei at gmail.com
Sat May 21 20:05:26 CDT 2016


your question is, "how successful is gender agreement in zoological
nomenclature". I cannot fully get your point, how can gender agreement be
"successful" or "unsuccessful"? Does "successful" mean that all or most
authors apply gender agreement rules correctly?

According to your experience, gender agreement is "partly successful,
partly unsuccessful" (in Mollusca). What does this mean? Does it mean that
some authors apply gender agreement rules correctly, and some fail to do
so? If yes, I would say that this would be the result if examining any
other aspects of zoological nomenclature: type species designation, type
specimen designation, correct Latinization, correct formation of stems etc.
Many people apply the rules correctly, many fail to do so, I have seen
wrong family group names containing a wrongly formed stem, failed or
missing type species and holotype designations, failed neotype designations
etc., so one might say that all Articles of the Code are "partly
successful, partly unsuccessful". But I have the impression that in most
cases the main problem is not that the rules are overly complex, the main
problem is that many people publish who should not publish (as I told, poor
Latin grammar usually correlates with poor descriptions and poor taxonomy).
You can modify the Code in any way, a significant portion of people simply
will not read it. I do not think that the best policy is to modify the Code
in that way that the ignorant authors' acts will also become
Code-compliant, and claim that this new Code is better than the previous
one, because it is "more successful".

I agree with your notion that the cases where many authors fail should be
examined, and changes in the provisions of the Code regarding gender
agreement should be considered accordingly; perhaps some Articles could be
modified in a way which will result in less violations of provisions. The
problem is, I have never read any concrete proposal for emending,
modifying, simplifying, extending some particular, concrete articles.
People troubled by gender agreement usually claim that all the gender
agreement is "nonsense" (this particular word was used in this conversation
two days ago) and should be dropped as it is, and all epithet should be
used with their original ending, with no regard for the actual combination.
My comments were intended to reply their claims, not yours, your proposal
is perfectly reasonable for me.

Best regards,


On 22 May 2016 at 07:32, Welter-Schultes, Francisco <fwelter at gwdg.de> wrote:

> Being a scientist I tend to prefer arguments being based on scientific
> studies with falsifiable results.
> Based the results of such studies I would like to make up my mind on the
> question whether gender agreement should be maintained in the future, and
> to which extent.
> Such studies would have to analyse the experience we actually have. The
> question is: how successful is gender agreement in zoological nomenclature?
> If something is totally unsuccessful I tend to regard it as an obstacle,
> rather than as a thing that is useful.
> My own preliminary results of a few thousand molluscan names would
> suggest, gender agreement is partly successful, partly not.
> The next step involves a closer look. Where exactly is gender agreement
> unsuccessful?
> Is it possible to deliminate those situations?
> If yes, then could we eventually add some provisions to the Code, well
> deliminated provisions that could help to make the situation more
> successful?
> What I have often read here is that people (authors, journal editors, name
> users) should improve their skills in Latin grammar. For me this is not a
> good argument because those people already had enough time to do that, and
> the experience we all complain about is, they have not improved their
> skills. To me this suggests, they won't do that in the future.
> So we have to find other solutions.
> Cheers
> Francisco
> Francisco Welter-Schultes
> Zoologisches Institut
> Berliner Str. 28, 37073 Goettingen
> Phone +49 551 395536
> ________________________________________
> Von: Taxacom [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]" im Auftrag von
> "Scott Thomson [scott.thomson321 at gmail.com]
> Gesendet: Samstag, 21. Mai 2016 19:43
> An: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Betreff: Re: [Taxacom] ICZN - gender of genus-group name ending in -oops

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