Language for taxonomic names, redux

Andy Mabbett andy at
Wed Feb 22 12:18:40 CET 2017

On 21 February 2017 at 23:04, Michael Everson <everson at> wrote:

> if a case could be made for this


> So far the one thing this might argue for would be preventing automatic translation

I've set out several additional use-cases previously, including:

   * Pronunciation by aural browsers/ assistive technologies
   * Selection for styling by CSS

> but the thing is so very few of these names would be found in an ordinary dictionary in any language that I don’t know how likely it is that this error occurs

The number of identified species was estimated, in or before 2011, as
"between 1.4 and 1.8 million". The full number may be 100 million or
higher. That's a lot of words, many of which (such as the genus
"Circus" or the epithets "bicolor", "major" and "minor") have
(another) meaning in one or more languages.


Please don't be hung up on the amusing examples given by those pages;
they represent a small fraction of the whole set.

Andy Mabbett

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