Language for taxonomic names, redux

Peter Constable petercon at
Wed Mar 1 19:57:49 CET 2017

My comment isn't raising opposition to registering a subtag related to biologic, taxonomic terminology. My point is that it's not clear whether the subtag should always have a prefix of "la-", or can have other primary language subtags as prefixes.

How will content authors have any idea which terms to tag "en" versus "en-taxon" (assuming subtag "taxon" for sake of discussion) versus "la-taxon"?

Even in a context for a language like Dutch that has an authoritative body standardizing spelling, typical dictionaries that people buy may not be exhaustive, and the average content author doesn't have the review board of the language authority waiting in the next room to answer their questions. And so, they will also face the issue: which terms to tag "nl" versus "nl-taxon" versus "la-taxon"?

Evidently from your remarks (snipped out below), it seems you think this is not an issue. But the LSTR doesn't include a handbook of guidance for how to deal with different scenarios. So, in my mind, it remains as a concern.


-----Original Message-----
From: Luc Pardon [mailto:lucp at] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 9:01 AM


> I don't know of a clear basis for drawing a line between code
switching for technical terminology (switch to Latin for taxonomic
labels) or borrowings (these taxonomic labels have been in use in technical contexts for so long that they get taught without distinction from English-origin technical terms).

  I take it that the above is not meant as a "significant objection"
against the registration of a subtag for taxonomic names ?

  Because if it is, I'd have to ask - with Michael - how you propose to handle "Camellia sinensis" and the many thousands of other terms that I do not expect to be in any (non-specialized) dictionary of the English language?


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