Publishing taxa in Latin and in print

J.E. Shields
Thu, 21 Jul 2011 16:32:57 PDT
I'm not a botanist, so I've never had to write a single sentence in Latin 
(well, not since high school Latin anyway).  But I am a scientist, and I've 
seen English become the de facto lingua franca (how do you like that 
Latin?) for the scientific world over the last 50 years.  Even the French 
now write their papers in English with just an abstract in French.

Making Latin optional with the alternate choice being English -- and not 
just any and every language on the face of the Earth --  is really a  most 
rational and 21st century step to take.  I hope the botanists do endorse 
the proposal.

Jim Shields

At 04:14 PM 7/21/2011 -0700, you wrote:
>My first reaction was "Alleluia". I have always hated writing those inane 
>Latin descriptions, which I kept as short as possible to avoid taxing my 
>linguistic abilities. I would often have to spend more time on the Latin 
>diagnoses than on all the rest of the writing.
>But then reality sinks in----now, there is apparently no lingua franca, so 
>if somebody in China publishes a description in a genus I work on, I have 
>to REALLY tax my linguistic abilities and learn to read and understand 
>Chinese, and every other language a botanist might use. Maybe the new code 
>makes a provision for a diagnosis in some other de facto standard 
>language? If not, this will indeed cause trouble.
>The lack of paper publication also seems like it can cause problems. You 
>can be sure pdf software will be dinosauric in the next century. 
>Descriptions from our era might be very difficult to locate then....

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA

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