Publishing taxa in Latin and in print: ave atque vale

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 10:57:13 PDT
One must speak cautiously here. Botanical Latin is not Latin. It has its own
syntax, grammar and word usage. So, re your statement "No one bothers to
learn the correct way to use Latin anymore." That is strictly not correct.
People still study Latin, whether for literature studies or ecclesiasticical
uses, etc. But, that is not our issue here. Botanists use botanical Latin,
something related to and grounded upon Latin, but quite distinct. Cicero
would not understand it. The diagnoses that are attached to each species
must follow the rules of botanical Latin. I do read diagnoses now and again
(pretty rarely) and that requires me going back to books to check the
spelling, syntax, adjectival gender etc. A botanist, wishing to describe a
new species will generally find somebody to prepare his (Botanical Latin)
diagnosis. It is a tedious process, but the people writing those diagnoses
generally follow those rules.

As to whether people should do this, that's another matter. 

San Diego       

There are some good things to be said about the Latin description but if you
were to speak to any Latin scholar, they will tell you that most Latin
description of plants past the 1800's are full of spelling, grammatical, and
usage errors. No one bothers to learn the correct way to use Latin anymore.
It is accessible to westerners but it is not the same case for easterners.
This is only an impediment to biodiversity discovery.

In the modern world, there is only need for internet access and Google
Translate will take any language into the other 62 languages. It even
provides alternate translations, something that vastly improves machine
translation. Let's not hold on to the age old usage of a language that has
been used wrongly all this time.

Berkeley, CA

On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 9:01 AM, Alberto Castillo <
> wrote:

> Absolutely yes. On countless occasions THE formal reference is the 
> Latin description. Let's not panic tho: it needs to be ratified. I can 
> not imagine ourselves having to learn a dozen different languages for 
> the interpretation of the species descriptions.
> --

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