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RE: Correct latin&greek - was RE: New iguanodonts in PLoS ONE

On Sun, Nov 28th, 2010 at 12:01 AM, Mickey Mortimer 
<mickey_mortimer111@msn.com> wrote:

> I would indeed agree it's not a big deal.  It doesn't affect any area of 
> study, and language is
> so fluid that English is already full of numerous words which break rules or 
> have evolved from
> earlier forms which were more directly derived.  As with the Latin and Greek 
> examples, I agree
> it's ideal to form words correctly, if only because it will help a few people 
> remember more
> easily and because the knowledge is valuable for its own sake.  Yet my 
> reaction would probably 
> limited to a derisive "ha!", as opposed to lamenting that the paper didn't 
> get rejected for a
> spelling error from an unrelated field.

If the authors of a paper that appears in a peer-reviewed journal haven't shown 
enough care or 
attention to get the spelling of words correct, then how much trust can you 
place in their methods 
and conclusions? A lack of attention to detail in any facet of a paper can only 
plant a seed of doubt 
over the rest of the papers contents as far as I'm concerned.

I've seen the word 'therapod' mentioned in many otherwise respectable news 
articles on the 
internet, and I wouldn't be surprised if the misspelling has made it into print 
on occasions. Once 
any sort of reputable publishing medium has put such a misspelling out there, 
it is all too easy for 
others to follow suit and adopt that misspelling as well. I'd be willing to 
dismiss such sloppiness on 
the internet (it's par for the course), but I'd expect better from a respected 
peer-reviewed journal.

How many generic names can you think of that build on previous names? 
Micropachycephalosaurus, etc. An improperly formed Greek or Latin compound word 
can have 
knock-on effects if that name subsequently gets built upon to make new names. 

I for one don't want to see a return to the free-and-easy spelling conventions 
seen in Chaucer's 
day, regardless of the language involved. Variants such as 'spelt' (spelled) 
and 'smelt' (smelled) 
are generally accepted these days, despite the original meanings of the words 
having no bearing 
on their currently accepted definitions (spelt is a type of wheat, smelt is 
what you do to ore to 
extract metal). Once you open the floodgates and begin to accept such improper 
usages, it 
becomes increasingly harded to justify *any* sort of spelling or grammatical 


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj