Fwd: how to write the plural of latin and greek words in english ...

Shueyi at aol.com Shueyi at aol.com
Sun Oct 25 19:07:35 EST 1998

In an amazing coincidence of timing, this post was just sent out on the
taxacon list server.  It seems to have a fair amount of relevance for the
antennas thread.

John Shuey


In a message dated 10/25/98 4:19:30 PM Central Standard Time,
dochterland at VILLAGE.UUNET.BE writes:

<< Thomas Schlemmermeyer wrote:
 >   Folks, I have a small problem:
 >   In the english language the plural is formed, most commonly, by appending
 >   a "s", in greek and latin the equivalent transformations are different.
 >   So, "taxon" gets "taxons" in english, but "taxa" in greek.
 >       "imago" gets "imagos" in english, but "imagines" in latin.
 >       "tibia" gets "tibias" in english, but "tibiae"in latin.
 >           And so on!
 >   Intuitively, I would always use the latin or greek version, but, in fact,
 >   I know that they often use the english versions in publications.
 >   What are the general recommendations on this topic?
 Dear taxacomers,
 In my view, for all questions regarding latin and greek, there is only
 one address: Howard Don Cameron, Professor of latin and greek at
 Michigan University and keen amateur arachnologist. I propounded the
 question to him and this was his reply:
 "Jan, good to hear from you again, even when you present me with
 controversial problems. The taxonomic and morphological terms originated
 (for the most part) in the dear old days when everybody wrote in Latin
 from Aldrovandus to the 20th century (Simon's keys), and the tradition
 been to use the proper Latin and (latinized) Greek plurals. It is only
 very recently that this convention has been shaken. It seems to me that
 the use of the proper Latin and Greek plurals is always unquestionably
 correct, but the use of neologistic English plurals is always doubtful
 questionable. International terminology will usually be traditional and
 grammatically correct; the innovation of English plurals will always be
 parochial and peculiar to English publications (and then only some of
 them). The Latin and Greek plurals contribute to stability and
 universality. Besides, as you observe "taxons" is unsupportably ugly.
 If you think my opinion is useful, do pass it on.
 H.D. Cameron"
 Best regards,
 Jan >>

-------------- next part --------------
An embedded message was scrubbed...
From: Jan Bosselaers <dochterland at VILLAGE.UUNET.BE>
Subject: Re: how to write the plural of latin and greek words in english
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 00:20:35 +0100
Size: 4313
Url: http://mailman.yale.edu/mailman/private/leps-l/attachments/19981025/24348515/attachment.mht 

More information about the Leps-l mailing list