Letters

Published on 01 February 1912 in Letters

SIRS,–The Editorial note appended to m y letter in your l a s t issue I am unable to regard either as satisfactory or logical. The very first sentence is open to objection, namely the statement t h a t ‘ ‘ the proper scientific names to be used can be decided b y following definite rules, t h e English names cannot.” W h y not ? We have only to turn to such works as those of Dr. R. G. L a t h a m , the R e v . Isaac Taylor, Professor Skeat and others, to find t h a t there is no lack of rules. Then w h y not apply t h e m ? The Editors remark : ‘ ‘ The English n a m e must, we think, be chosen (if there is a choice) on the authority of the majority of scientific writers.” The ” n a m e ” yes, b u t not necessarily the spelling of it, if it can be shown to be erroneous–which is m y point–as in t h e case of Redpole for Redpoll, Cole-tit for Coal-Tit, Shielddralce for Shelddrake, Shoveller for Shoveler, Widgeon for Wigeon, Buff el-head for Buffle-head, Pomarine for Pomatorhine and others. I n the use of scientific names such corrections of orthography have been frequently proposed and adopted, as, for example, spipoletta for spinoletta, hiaticola for hiaticula, podicipes for podieeps, and so forth. Other emendations mightbe made, as

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