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Re: languages in PhyloCode



 
Why not do something like mandate that diagnoses be written in two of the six official languages of the UN: Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, English, and French; regardless of the language the paper's actually written in.  This would probably guarantee the highest possible readership; after all, there's a reason the UN chose those languages as official.  Latin could be retained as a seventh choice for its historical significance.

Pete Buchholz
Tetanurae@aol.com
I think this is a very good idea.
Using symbols for definitions is one, too; we could easily invent some for qualifying clauses, such as the mathematical "without" sign \ . What about Pinnipedia = {Otaria byronia de Blainville 1820 + Odobenus rosmarus L. 1758 + Phoca vitulina L. 1758 \ Ursus arctos L. 1758, Canis lupus L. 1758}? (Means, the most recent common ancestor of the first three and all its descendants, if the latter two do not belong to them.) This would restrict words to apomorphy-based qualifying clauses and definitions.
 
Just yesterday I've found the descriptions of 16 new species of, I think, Brazilian rainforest trees in the annals of 1999 of the Natural History Museum Vienna. They do contain "diagnoses" in Latin, but these are very short, barely longer than "5 -- 8 m high trees with long, narrow leaves and fruits that measure 2.5 cm in diameter". After these follow "descriptions" in English which repeat the diagnoses but add much more. I got the impression (just my personal impression) that the author regarded the Latin diagnoses as superfluous things required by bureaucracy and tried to keep them as short as possible. (The specific epithets are freely invented words designed to sound exotic and as far apart from Latin as possible.)