Language for taxonomic names

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Sep 23 16:00:50 CEST 2008

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> I agree with Peter Constable that this doesn't meet the requirements for 
> a true "language."  You can't express arbitrary content, or even 
> particularly diverse content, in this system.  It is usable for short 
> phrases within a limited scope.  At best, it's a profile of Latin.

That last, at least, it is not.  A system that includes genus names
Batman, Chinchilla, Drinker, Iron, Tuxedo, Hunkydora, Leprechaunus,
Gollum,  Nazgulia, Waddlia, Kaniwhaniwhanus, and Zyzzyzus, and species
names Gecko gekko, Heerz lukenatcha, Reissa roni, Dziwneono etcetera,
and Roberthoffstetteria nationalgeographica (no, not the longest) would
have left the Romans completely baffled.

Lots more at .

As we all know, civil libertarians are not      John Cowan
the friskiest group around --comes from        cowan at
forever being on the qui vive for the sound
of jack-booted fascism coming down the pike.           --Molly Ivins

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