Language for taxonomic names, redux

Andy Mabbett andy at
Wed Feb 22 20:56:07 CET 2017

On 22 February 2017 at 19:07, Michael Everson <everson at> wrote:
> On 22 Feb 2017, at 17:32, Andy Mabbett <andy at> wrote:

>> Taxonomic names /should/ be styled using italics. But an individual publisher (or an individual reader, using a local CSS) might choose to have them in, say red text on a yellow background.
> That sounds a little bit far-fetched. But see Peter Constable’s reply.

Far from it; see my reply to Peter.

>> My examples were intended to be illustrate, not quantitative.
> No, but if the problem to be avoided is automatic translation, something somewhat more quantitative would be more indicative that there is a problem. I see your 350 names with “minor” in them, fair enough, but that’s very far away from 1.4 million.

Where did "1.4 miliion" come from? I repeat:: I was addresisng a claim
that "so very few of these names would be found in an ordinary

>>> I doubt that English, French, German, or Japanese users pronounce “Eurema desjardinsii” in the same way.
>> Perhaps not; but they arguably should.
> Um, no way. According to what standard?

>> I (a monolingual Englishman) have been able to indicate birds and plants to a monolingual German, and vice versa, using taxonomic names.
> Splendid, but this does not answer the question. There are surely different
> pronunciations common for these, differing from country to country and language
> to language. What prefix or prefixes would you intend this subtag to be used with?

I refer you to my earlier question to you - not yet answered - which
was: "Which language are taxonomic names "divisions or variations
within"? As I noted all those years ago, they're not Latin, and not

Andy Mabbett

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