Ferraria/Spelling rules

Jane McGary
Fri, 12 Dec 2008 08:39:01 PST
Dylan wrote,

>Some languages are not "latinizable" and a scientific epithet based on
>a local name in such a language may appear in its original form as a
>specific or generic epipthet, e.g. Dypsis bejofo, Caryota no,
>Kaempferia galanga or Alpinia zerumbet.

Epithets such as this are considered (and often are in fact, being 
the native-language names of the plants) nouns rather than 
adjectives. We also see Latin and Greek nouns occasionally used as 
epithets, and this is usually why a species name does not exhibit 
gender agreement with the genus name.

And yes, I know English spelling is not phonemic (though it once 
was), but unlike Germans, we do not usually produce consonant 
clusters such as "schtsch" when transliterating a single alphabetic 
character from Russian. English-speaking linguists are, however, 
capable of even worse deeds when devising practical orthographies, as 
anyone who has ever read Siberian Yupik (Eskimo) can attest.

Jane McGary

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