Author Topic: Latin, anyone?  (Read 3044 times)

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Offline bossgard

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Latin, anyone?
« on: June 25, 2012, 02:53:06 PM »
In Ms. Valerie Easton’s CLIPPINGS column published in the Seattle Times Newspaper yesterday morning, was this startling news:

BOTANICAL LATIN HEADED FOR EXTINCTION

Ever since the Renaissance, botanists and taxonomists have used Latin to describe plants and differentiate global flora. But the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne, Australia, voted to relax the rules.

Starting this year, scientists are now allowed to name plants in English, freeing us from the tyranny of tongue-twisting trinomials. Not only can scientists skip the Latin names even in scientific papers, they can publish electronically in an attempt to speed up the process of getting newly discovered plant species on record.

(Valerie Easton is a Seattle freelance writer and author of “petal and twig”. Check out her blog at www.valeaston.com.)

(Seattle WA, USA)

Offline Palustris

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Re: Latin, anyone?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 03:48:26 PM »
The daftest thing is that less than 10 percent of the words used are Latin. Majority are Greek, with a good admixture of Arabic and other languages.
No matter what they do, the principal of having a unique name for a plant cannot be got rid of, the confusion would be horrendous.

Online ideasguy

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Re: Latin, anyone?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 07:25:07 PM »
Latin names are proven and reliable.

There are problems and there are difficulties.

The problem is when people relax/abbreviate or otherwise knowingly "adjust" the botanical names for a variety of reasons (e.g. to make plants sell better) or unknowingly do so out of ignorance.
The problem will continue in any alternative system.

The difficulty is that the research by botanists lead to the need for plants to be renamed.
This is a fact of life and has to be accepted (because corrections in those circumstances are necessary).
That will continue, no matter what naming system they use.

To summarise my thoughts: Introducing a new naming system will not help. In fact it will lead to even MORE confusion.


Offline Palustris

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Re: Latin, anyone?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 09:10:02 PM »
I assume they are just going to allow the plant description to be done in English rather than as at present in Latin. It may be easier for the Botanists not to have to learn Latin to write a description, but many of the words used are not going to change. There is no substitute for words which exactly describe the shape of a leaf etc.
The whole point of the Latin was that it was and still is a Universal language with no political overtones.

Offline Eric Hardy

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Re: Latin, anyone?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2012, 07:41:07 AM »
Is it not arrogant to adopt English as the language for botanical names? What about Russian, Chinese, to say nothing of all the modern “Latin” languages? I can’t say that I am very good at remembering present botanical names but at least they are universal.

Eric