Language for taxonomic names, redux

Kent Karlsson kent.karlsson14 at
Fri Feb 24 03:02:09 CET 2017

Den 2017-02-23 05:39, skrev "Peter Constable" <petercon at>:

> - having a way to select spans or other elements for applying particular
> styling (a CSS class will do)
> - having a way to keep words not supported in English spelling dictionaries
> from being marked as false-positive mis-spellings (lang="zxx" or lang="und"
> would do)

Needing to have both a class (for styling) and a language tagging (avoiding
false spell error indications) seems excessive. Fortunately, CSS allows
styling based on language tag.

As for styling (to, say, italic), styling directly is not the best way.
It is better to have a "semantic" marking of some kind, and then style
on that "semantic" (whether the "semantic" type is indicated by a class
(in HTML), language tagging or something else).

Taken together, using a language tag for this "semantic type"
(scientific species names) seems appropriate. However, using 'zxx' (no
linguistic content) or 'und' (undetermined language) for this seem

So even though scientific species names don't really constitute a language,
nor is really a dialect or orthographic variety of a language (Latin),
a tagging like 'la-linne' (from Carl von Linné; easier to spell than
'la-linnaeus') or similar seems to be a pragmatic solution. Admittedly, that
may be taken as a precedent for (say) 'la-medicus' and others. But I don't
think there will be a flood. Any reason to think there will be a flood?

Yes, there is the issue of getting this widespread in relevant publications
(including Wikipedia); but without a standard language tagging, any
"solutions" (for "semantic" marking of scientific species names) will be
more ad hoc and indeed more varied. Not a good idea either.

/Kent K

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