Stop ! (was Re: Antennae vs. antennas)

Pierre Zagatti zagatti at
Thu Oct 22 04:39:17 EDT 1998

Please close this debate !
The problem comes from a large distance between common and
scientific terms IN ENGLISH. In latin-derived languages, we use
scientific terms in our own language, but they are very close to
their latin root. For example, to define the pollen baskets used
by Apoidea (some kind of hairy flies ?), we use in (scientific) French 
the word -corbeille- , translation of the latin -corbicula- , but this
means small basket in common sense, and everybody understands it, 
including kids.
Now the use and abuse of latin words in scientific english may 
appear as pedantic, or jargon at least, but it considerably helps
the understanding for non english readers of scientific papers
(German is totally different there, and you must have a good
dictionary to understand stuff like Fuhler -antennae- or Hufte -coxae-).

Entomology is a science where professional scientists and a large amount
of amateurs share the same passion. I guess that some scientists (a
minority ?)
like to stay apart from these laypersons and overuse jargon. You'll find
jargons every time when a professional 'elite' has to be distinguished
from the 'vulgum pecus'. Just have a look to medical terms to be

PS: Neither I nor my pet elephant drink with our nose. 

INRA Unite de Phytopharmacie et Mediateurs Chimiques
78026 Versailles Cedex
Tel: (33) 1 30 83 31 18
e-mail zagatti at

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