Language for taxonomic names, redux

Andy Mabbett andy at
Wed Feb 22 15:28:31 CET 2017

On 22 February 2017 at 13:33, Mark Davis ☕️ <mark at> wrote:

> Michael is raising valid concerns about the actual application of the tag,
> which is very different from the number of instances of the words to which
> that tag could be applied in theory.

Michael's concern, which I addressed, and indeed refuted, was that "so
very few of these names would be found in an ordinary dictionary in
any language".

> What would the actual benefit be of having such a tag for biological
> taxonomics?

As I said in the email to which you are replying:

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

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

That's in addition to the do-not-translate use-case which we were discussing.

> Moreover, the odds that people would in fact tag for this purpose are
> vanishingly small.

Perhaps your ability to see the future is better than mine, but I see
no basis for such a statement.

Indeed, as soon as a tag is available, I shall see that it is used in
literally hundreds of thousands of English-language Wikipedia articles
about taxons, more again in other languages, as well as hundreds of
thousands more in Wikispecies, and a even larger number of taxonomic
items in Wikidata.

But then, I'm only a "hobbyist".

Andy Mabbett

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