Patrick Leary

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  • Profile picture of tony rebelo who took this action.

    tony rebelo commented on "EOL Curators":

    @Andrew Brower: @Andrew - is it not weird that you claim not be be prescriptive but then criticism the use of Steller Jay or Mourning Cloak - is that not being prescriptive in demanding a collective noun approach where people use Proper Nouns? In many field guides the use of one approach or the other is often determined by the copy editor either deciding for or against apostrophes, and then rigorously applying it across the board. Thus what enters print is often not what is in use, but once in print, becomes what is used. The insistence of transferring genitive in the Latin name to the Proper Noun is not what is often in use, no matter how logical, or how certain people insist on one convention or the other. So if I call your tree the Osage Orange or the Bodark am I incorrect - will you still say that it is OK because it is supposed to be "unregulated." In which case we can have Greater Crested Grebe or Great Crested Grebe or Great Crest Grebe or Great-crest Grebe, and clutter indexes with a myriad of similar alternatives used by difference cliques. Is that desirable. Might the above not easiest be summarized Great Crest Grebe and allow users to meld the terms into whatever way they desire. It is amazing how many terms that sound wrong in one context are in use in another (and ruthlessly standardized by copy editors).

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Katja Schulz who took this action.
    Katja Schulz added "Dictyonema" to the collection "Homonyms on EOL".

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Deniz Martinez who took this action.

    Deniz Martinez commented on "EOL Curators":

    Lexicographers differentiate between "prescriptive" and "descriptive"--the former aims to dictate how words SHOULD be used, the latter to document how they ARE being used. I personally think of scientific names as the prescriptive, a standardized nomenclature, while common names are descriptive, the usage on the ground. EOL would be most useful if it would aim to be prescriptive with the scientific names and descriptive with the common names--that is, work to make sure all records have the correct scientific nomenclature identified and verified, and also to have as many common names documented as possible--and documented as they are used, whether or not they are perceived as "correct" scientifically. The idea of marking a "preferred" common name for a given language is certainly useful for noting what the most common common name currently is in order to aid with searching and communicating with the public and promoting conservation activities such, but should not necessarily be taken to be permanently prescriptive, as those preferences could and often do change over time as language itself changes. (One of my favorite illustrated plates is an 1880 print of an echidna and platypus, labeled "spiny ant-eater" and "duck mole"...LOL) Anyway...just my two cents, from an amateur linguist :)

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Andrew Brower who took this action.

    Andrew Brower commented on "EOL Curators":

    The whole point of "common names" is that they are not regulated like Nomenclature is regulated, and people can call things whatever they want. We have a tree in Tennessee called the Osage orange and also the bodark. There is a butterfly called the mourning cloak here, and the Camberwell beauty in England (and lots of other things in other countries). Fine, great. That's why we have scientific nomenclature with rules of priority and synonymy. The discussion about apostrophes seems wrong to me. If you have Steller's jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), the specific epithet is in the genitive case, meaning that the jay is of, from or belonging to Steller. That's what the Latin means. Calling it Stellers jay is incorrect, just like when you see the mailbox with "the Johnson's"on it (unless somebody lives there called "the Johnson" - let's hope not). Calling it the Steller jay just confuses people because they think it is from outer space. Last, if one desires that there be only a single non-Latin name for every organism, then plainly all common names will be in Urdu, because Urdu is the most widely-spoken human language. Greatest good for the greatest number, right? cheers, AB

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Laurence Livermore who took this action.

    Laurence Livermore commented on "EOL Curators":

    At Scratchpads we've been discussing how we handle vernacular names and their associated metadata. Which language codes to use is an issue as the DwCA extension standard uses ISO 639-1 which is fairly incomplete. We are thinking about ISO 639-2. For us associating languages is also important for taxon descriptions and will hopefully link us with a user's choice of interface language. Some links: ISO 639-1 list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ISO_639-1_codes ISO 639-2 list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ISO_639-2_codes DwCA Vernacular Name extension: http://rs.gbif.org/extension/gbif/1.0/vernacularname.xml

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Leo Shapiro who took this action.
    Leo Shapiro added "Contarinia" to the collection "Homonyms on EOL".

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Leo Shapiro who took this action.
    Leo Shapiro added "Contarinia Zanardini" to the collection "Homonyms on EOL".

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Leo Shapiro who took this action.
    Leo Shapiro added an unknown item to the collection "Homonyms on EOL".

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Leo Shapiro who took this action.
    Leo Shapiro added "Ceratocystis" to the collection "Homonyms on EOL".

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Cyndy Parr who took this action.

    Cyndy Parr commented on "EOL Curators":

    @tony rebelo: From a technical standpoint it looks like EOL searching is thrown off by presence/absence of apostrophes. I'll see if I can put in a ticket to make sure that South Africans who leave them off will still find the same pages that would be found by other English speakers who use apostrophes. And I had a heck of time making sure I didn't misuse any apostrophes in this comment.

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Cyndy Parr who took this action.

    Cyndy Parr commented on "EOL Curators":

    @John Tasirin: Personally I like the idea of establishing common names for organisms that don't have any. EOL could be a place to do that - if you add a common name, and if you set it as preferred, you are listed as the source. This doesn't sit well for curators who are adding common names established by organizations, but at least there is some accountability.

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Cyndy Parr who took this action.

    Cyndy Parr commented on "EOL Curators":

    @tony rebelo: This is a fascinating discussion and obviously some of these issues go beyond what we can do as EOL curators. EOL has had discussions about (and have changed over time) how we capitalize common names. We've also had requests to automatically prefer certain "official" lists. For some of the reasons cited here (not to mention the lack of programming time) we haven't gone that route. From the user perspective, please know that if the name appears on EOL's common name tab, searching on that name will allow a user to discover the page regardless of the capitalization and whether or not it is preferred by a curator. So for findability we want as many common names as possible. Also please be aware that we don't currently have the ability to store different common names as *preferred* for different regions or dialects of a language. So Americans will constantly be at war with the Brits (and maybe the Australians and English-speaking South Africans) over which bird name should go at the top of the page (loons or divers, anyone?). We might want to change that, but this is a slippery slope technically. We can't support a preference for each local community unless there's a distinct language code to associate that preference with. Tony, I would be interested to know if your 11 official languages all have language codes available to choose from on EOL. If they do, then yes, we could support preferred names for each of them. If they don't, then maybe we need to add more codes.

    over 1 year ago • edited: over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of tony rebelo who took this action.

    tony rebelo commented on "EOL Curators":

    It seems as if every society, publisher and journal has its own unique set of rules for common names. I love the AFS rule 5: that explicitly says that common names are not proper names. - What are they then? Descriptive nouns? Also having this issue for South Africa - do we want an Official List of Names (we have 11 official languages) for all organisms: we have lists for birds, mammals, trees, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies and odd charismatic groups, (as a rule local botanists have until recently refused to acknowledge common names, with some exceptions: trees, cycads, aloes, proteas), but each has their own sets of rules. Having been involved with threatened Red List plants the first step towards getting public buy-in is to create a common name. Clearly there is an issue here that needs attention. However, we immediately have a conflict in that (compounded with 11 languages) we want to retain the rich local culture of common names which an official list will effectively destroy. (we have ample example of this with the internationalization of the bird common name list). How does one proceed?

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Bruce Carlson who took this action.

    Bruce Carlson commented on "EOL Curators":

    Tried earlier to insert this comment on this thread but it went elsewhere I guess so trying again: FWIW: For fishes, the American Fisheries Society has formulated rules for the common names of all American fishes. Here are a few excerpts from those rules: 4. ...Hyphens, suffixes and apostrophes shall be omitted except where they are orthographically essential, e.g. three-eye flounder (etc.).... 5. Common names shall not be capitalized in text except for those elements that are proper names.... I have an older edition of the AFS's publication "Common and Scientific Names of Fishes" and in it they take up three pages to cover 18 rules regarding using common names. I don't know if they have made changes to these rules in more recent editions.

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of John Tasirin who took this action.

    John Tasirin commented on "EOL Curators":

    Thank you, Steve. I saw your comments in my email but they did not seem to appear here. I refreshed my browser twice, they did not come up. I wanted also to say that EOL is in a good capacity and position to standardize common names. It is nice to have a place to refer to. A common name for each living organism. I would like to establish one for Indonesia that has more than 400 working, tribal languages.

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of John Tasirin who took this action.

    John Tasirin commented on "EOL Curators":

    I think, I will be happy with "Cape sugar bird", "white oaks", "Plettenberg Bay" and "Capetown".

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of tony rebelo who took this action.

    tony rebelo commented on "EOL Curators":

    I would argue that most people would write "The forester came over and cut down 3 big oak trees in my woods." If they wanted to be specific they would write "The forester came over and cut down 3 big White Oaks in my woods." And if they were really fussy they would write "The forester came over and cut down 3 big White Oaks (Quercus albus) in my woods." Having published a field guide my fight was with the copy editor who wanted to retain the publishers style. It was only by appealing to the director that the copy editor budged. A lot of what is published is house styles, rather than what makes sense. After all why should it be "Cape sugarbird"? why not cape sugarbird? (this is entirely unpalatable for some reason - Cape is a proper noun and cannot be lower case) Indeed why not Cape Sugarbird (after all it is a proper noun for the bird)? I dont think that this is an issue that we can follow precedence on. As stated below, it depends whether you follow the descriptive noun or Proper Noun route. The trend is certainly - in many popular writings - to go the descriptive route. I think in ignorance by people who dont know better than that there is a fly, and perhaps a green, maybe a blue and perhaps even a brown one. but for anyone who appreciates that there are many species and wants to communicate about these species then descriptive nouns are wholefully inadequate. One of Adam's first tasks was to give Proper Names to the animals and plants: not to merely describe them, but to name them Properly. (And that explains why Fungi are such a pain - they were forgotten and dont have original Proper Names!)

    over 1 year ago • edited: over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Steve Baskauf who took this action.

    Steve Baskauf commented on "EOL Curators":

    My point about common names is that in the absence of "official names", common names will be in whatever form they are commonly used. I checked a number of North American plant field guides and there are a number of them that capitalize the first letters of common names. However, there are also a number (maybe more?) that capitalize ALL of the letters of the common name in the entries for the taxa (a practice I wouldn't advocate). There are also some which do not capitalize the common names (e.g. Gleason and Cronquist Manual of Vascular Plants which is a pretty standard reference). So there doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern, although perhaps the newer guides do capitalize first letters. ITIS (which I use as a source of names both scientific and common on my website) does not capitalize most common names, although it does for bird species, which I think is a recognition of what is common practice for those taxa. I just don't think that in common usage, people write "The forester came over and cut down 3 big White Oak trees in my woods." They write "The forester came over and cut down 3 big white oak trees in my woods." We may not like that or think it's a good idea, but that is what people do. We are not in a position to legislate common usage.

    over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of tony rebelo who took this action.

    tony rebelo commented on "EOL Curators":

    The loss of the apostrophe is common as words become more commonplace. There are bird examples - I remember - but cannot call them to mind now. But around Cape Town (Cape's Town) we have Devils Peak, Lions Head, Sir Lowrys* Pass, Bettys* Bay, St Sebastian Bay, Jeffreys Bay, Gordons* Bay, Mitchells Plain, Simonstown (or Simons* Town) , Plettenberg Bay , Prince Alfred Hamlet (*on some/many maps still with apostrophe) and so on. So the loss of the apostrophe and the "s" is an ongoing process, although I will concede that the apostrophe is lost easier when the "s" is also dropped - where the "s" is retained many seem to think like you that it cannot just be an s as that implies plural and hence must be aspostrophed.

    over 1 year ago • edited: over 1 year ago

  • Profile picture of Donald Hobern who took this action.

    Donald Hobern commented on "EOL Curators":

    Hi Tony - I'm intrigued by your comment on Burchell(')s Coucal. The form without an apostrophe makes no sense at all to me in English. The only sense I can make of the name is that it is a Coucal that is associated with (not necessarily owned by) Burchell. English uses the possessive apostrophe-s to indicate this. The English s-without-an-apostrophe is good for plurals but not this case. I recognise that other languages (Afrikaans?) use s-without-an-apostrophe for the possessive, but I don't see how that would help you. So, in short, does "Burchells Coucal" mean something specific to you that is different from "Burchell's Coucal" and how? All the best, Donald

    over 1 year ago