Message 2001-02-0081: Re: The starting phase of the PhyloCode and other issues

Wed, 21 Feb 2001 13:19:56 +0100

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Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 13:19:56 +0100
From: David Marjanovic <>
To: PhyloCode mailing list <>
Subject: Re: The starting phase of the PhyloCode and other issues

> > Why is Article 17.1. so restrictive? I suggest to treat all
> > diacritical signs like diaereses in Note 17.1.1. Today, scientific
> > names come from languages around the globe, for most of which Latin
> > respectively English simply hasn't got enough letters. Why not allow
> > Chañaresuchus, Uñenlagia or Gracilisuchus stipanicicorum?
> > (Optimistically assuming that your mail reader programs can read
> > this... :-] )
> Mine doesn't, and I think that is a small part of the answer....

Interestingly, I have got the ñ back as such, but the c of *G.
stipanicicorum* have lost their diacritics...

> > Or tone marks on Chinese names?
> I doubt any of ours could read that.

> I meant to say "most of ours". Apologies to any Chinese systematists
> reading this. (I hope there are some!)

So do I, but I doubt it. Lots of people don't know the PhyloCode at all, it
seems. Let's get more publicity!]

Is relatively easy. There are 4 different ones, one pronounced relatively
high and constant (looks like a hyphen), one rising, pronounced like "?"
(the acute), one first falling and then rising ("?!?") (looks like a small
v, the same that I have put on the first c of *G. stipanicicorum*), and one
falling ("!") (grave).

> I think the article is a good one. Allowing diacritical marks could lead
> to confusion. (Suppose two names were identical except that one had a
> grave over an 'a'? Even worse, if one had a grave and another had an acute
> mark?)

I'd suggest to treat such cases in the spirit of Note 17.1.1., which states
that diaereses can be used, but do not constitute a part of the orthography,
so names that don't differ in the actual letters are synonymous:
"The use of the diaeresis, indicating that a vowel is to be pronounced
separately from the preceding vowel, is not part of the orthography of a
name, though it may be included in an established name as an optional
pronunciation guide."

BTW, not all pairs of dots on vowels are diaereses. ä, ö, and ü, at least 2
of which occur in languages like German, Swedish, Hungarian, Turkish,
Finnish, Estonian etc., are sounds different from a, o, u and rarely have a
vowel in front of them. Are these to be treated as diaereses? (One example
comes to mind -- Donald F. Glut: Dinosaurs. The Encyclopedia, McFarland 1997
uses *Velocipes guerichi*, *V. gurichi* and *V. gürichi* on the same page to
describe a dinosaur scrap from Germany.)

> Sticking to 26 distinct letters also allows for easier typesetting
> and, as we've seen here, electronic communication.

That's why I said "allow" and mentioned Note 17.1.1., which makes the use
optional. I'm well aware that most people's and publishing companies'
computers, printers etc. can't write most diacritics! I just think the Latin
alphabet has some serious disadvantages when applied to many languages,
because it doesn't have letters for plenty of sounds. Just think of the
various ways to write what is written sh in English... (sch in German, sk in
Scandinavian languages AFAIK, s in Hungarian where sz is "normal" s, sz in
Polish, with one sort of diacritic [the abovementioned "small v"] in nearly
all other Slav languages that don't use the cyrillic alphabet, with another
one [cedilla] in Romanian and Turkish...) and "zh"... and composites of
those (ch, j)...


Feedback to <> is welcome!