latin versus common names
Fri, 12 Dec 2008 14:29:07 PST
In response to Carlo Balistrieri's urging that so called "common names" be advanced instead of Latin is I assume just being provocative to stir things up a bit for a bit of festive season amusement. Anyone who cares to stop and think for a mille-second as to how hopelessly unrealistic = daft such a suggestion is might like to first ask the questions; [a] whose common name should be used? [b] in which common language should these be preferred? and [c] if in English should this be standard English used in the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, Swedish --- remember that famous man Linnaeus whose bi-nomal system in Latin is the world wide standard for every plant on the planet [including New York and Italy] as well as South Africa, French, Spanish, and by many in Canada and amongst most users of Standard English elsewhere in the world where it is not their first language, e.g. the European Union; or should it be in the still evolving American English where in some regions either Spanish or French influences abound, or how about Caribbean English?

Carlo I think your proposal is a duck which can't and never will fly just like all domestic ducks, dialects and languages. Consider....... the Russians, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic as well as Hebrew, Persian, Turkic, Hindi, Pashtu and all the other minor [relatively] speakers all use and accept the dead language of Latin. Why, because it carries no political or colonial hangover baggage and it is used universally by everyone with even the remotest interest in plants, as in this sites case, birds amongst ornithologists, etc, etc, etc.

Within the mainland USA there are numerous so called common names for the same species, don't even ask how many exist in the old world. Which one would you insist is the preferred option and do imagine that everyone will agree with you? The legion of common name synonyms would be a nightmare and only the gods alone know how much trouble Latin synonyms can be for just one genus such as Lilium.

I think you are on your own on this one Carlo but the best of luck however as someone from Italy originally take pleasure in knowing your ancestral country's language is the universal one for and in science, all science.  Quite how your website  would survive in the absence of Botanical Latin is I would suggest something of an oxymoron.   


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