[Taxacom] while we're on the topic...
dyanega at ucr.edu
Fri Mar 27 15:57:27 CDT 2020
On 3/27/20 11:35 AM, Dennis During via Taxacom wrote:
> Not only Wikipedia and Wikispecies, but also Wiktionary would benefit from
> contributions of all kinds by taxonomy experts. Wiktionary is a good home
> for material on the etymology of taxonomic names and for vernacular names
> of taxa. It is also a great place for specialist vocabulary of all kinds
> in ALL languages.
I omitted Wiktionary from my suggestion for two primary reasons:
(1) the technicalities behind Wiktionary entries are far more daunting,
especially regarding formal statements of etymology and orthography.
Very few of us are in a position to provide the spellings *in Greek* of
name roots, for example. The creation of tables showing the various
forms of nouns and adjectives is also not a trivial matter. As such,
this resource really does not lend itself well to "casual" contributors.
(2) addition of *taxonomic names* to a dictionary runs a fairly serious
risk of circularity; there are MANY names coined by taxonomists that are
neither genuinely Latin nor properly Latinized, or which have been used
incorrectly (e.g., treated as adjectives when they are not). This is
already a serious problem in Wiktionary, as some contributors have done
just this, and done so incorrectly. An example is
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/melanocephalus which incorrectly claims
that "melanocephalus" is an adjective when it is instead a noun phrase
based on a latinized Greek noun; this is even in demonstrable conflict
with other corresponding entries in Wiktionary
both of which clearly state that "-cephalus" and its Greek root
"*κεφᾰλή*" are nouns.
A tertiary issue is that there are scads of taxonomic names which have
no explicit etymology, and it is inappropriate to add any such names on
the basis of conjecture.
To the extent that these pitfalls can be navigated, yes, there is merit
in having taxonomists contribute to Wiktionary, but these are rather
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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