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questionnaire: Greek and Latin in zoological nomenclature (fwd)

The following message was rejected by the listprocessor because its
author is not subscribed.  I am forwarding it on his behalf merely as
a courtesy because I don't think he ought to subscribe just to get
answers to these questions.  If you feel inclined to answer them,
please send your responses directly to Mark (msc39@columbia.edu).

Mickey Rowe     (rowe@psych.ucsb.edu)

------- Start of forwarded message -------
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 18:43:16 -0500 (EST)
From: Mark Stephen Caponigro <msc39@columbia.edu>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: questionnaire: Greek and Latin in zoological nomenclature (fwd)

        [ Some unnecessary contact information removed -- MPR ]
        November 27, 2000

Dear Paleontologist,
        I am a graduate student in the Classics department at Columbia
University, currently studying the use of the Greek and Latin languages in
zoological nomenclature.  At the next annual meeting of the American
Philological Association (to take place the first week of January, in San
Diego), I intend to present a paper on this subject, concentrating
especially on the names of taxa in vertebrate paleontology.  One of my
interests in this connexion is in the attitudes of workers in this field
toward the classical languages and the position those languages have in
zoological nomenclature, as well as the ways in which scientists apply
those languages in the course of their own work.  Therefore, in the hope
of learning something about these attitudes directly, I have composed the
following questionnaire, and am inviting vertebrate paleontologists to
share with me their thoughts and experiences regarding these matters.

It would please me very much if you could kindly allow a few minutes to
answer at least a few of these questions.  Please feel free to answer as
briefly as you wish, and to answer only those questions that you are
disposed to answer.  I know that your time is limited, and I have no wish
to impose on you; anything you choose to send me will be of interest to me
and helpful in my researches.

Also, if you think any of your colleagues might be interested in
participating in this survey, please feel free to forward the
questionnaire to them, or else let me know their names and addresses.

Thank you very much for your attention to this request.  I hope it will
please you at least a little to know that someone is showing interest in a
not often visited corner of your field.

        Yours sincerely,
        Mark Stephen Caponigro.

1. Have you ever studied Ancient Greek?

        a. If so, at what point in your education?

        b. Why did you choose to study Greek?

        c. How far in the study of Greek did you get?

2. Have you ever studied Latin?

        a. If so, at what point in your education?

        b. Why did you choose to study Latin?

        c. How far in the study of Latin did you get?

3. Have you ever studied other foreign languages?

        a. If so, which ones?

        b. At what point in your education did you study them?

        c. Why did you choose to study them?

        d. How far in the study of them did you get?

4. Do you personally own reference works about either the Greek or the
Latin language, e.g. a dictionary or a grammar?

        a. If so, what works do you own?

5. Does the library of the institution to which you belong own reference
works of that sort?

6. Have you often had occasion to consult reference works of that sort in
connexion with matters related to zoological nomenclature, for example to 
look up the meaning of Greek or Latin elements in the formal names of

7. Are there any formal names of taxa that you admire for linguistic

        a. If so, which?

        b. And what is it that you admire about them?

8. Are there any formal names of taxa that you deplore for linguistic

        a. If so, which?

        b. And what is that you deplore about them?

9. In general, do you prefer names of taxa that conform to established
patterns, or names that are linguistically innovative?

10. The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, in its several
editions, has included "requirements" and "recommendations" concerning the
use of Latin and latinized Greek in creating the names of new taxa.  Do
you consider these requirements and recommendations normative in any way?

        a. Why?; or, Why not?

        b. Do most of your colleagues agree with you on this?

11. Do you consider the guidance that the ICZN offers on linguistic
matters helpful?

        a. Is it easy to understand and to apply?

        b. Has it remained consistent over the course of the Code's

12. Do you believe that Latin remains the best choice for an international
language of zoological nomenclature?

        a. Why?; or, Why not?

        b. Do most of your colleagues agree with you on this?

13. Have you ever had the responsibility of formally naming new taxa?

If so:

14. When you introduced the new taxa in print, was the part of your labors
that was invested in creating Latin names for those taxa--[pick as many as

        - enjoyable?

        - interesting?

        - unpleasant?

        - difficult?

        - too time-consuming?

        - a distraction of your attention from matters that interested you

        - an interruption of labors that you considered more important?

15. How much time has creating a Latin name typically taken you?

16. When you create a Latin name, do you consult reference books?

        a. If so, which ones?

17. When you create a Latin name, do you ever consult anyone whose
knowledge of Greek and Latin you respect?

        a. If so, what do you understand the qualifications to be of the
        persons whom you consult?

18. Are you satisfied with the Latin names that you have created, with
respect to linguistic criteria?

19. Have the Latin names that you created ever received comments, either
laudatory or critical, for linguistic reasons?

        a. If so, what kinds of comments were they?

        b. Do you consider those comments at all valuable or interesting,
        whether to yourself personally or to other scientists?

Even if your answer to Question 13 was No:

20. Would it be desirable for new names of taxa to be more formally
evaluated, and either approved or recommended for correction, with respect
to linguistic criteria, at some point between tentative proposal and
definitive publication?

        a. Why?; or, Why not?

Thanks again for your kind cooperation.  I am most grateful for anything
you have been willing to contribute.

------- End of forwarded message -------