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Re: Sauropodz r kewl WAS: silly conversation on 2012 US presidential race



My linguistic knowledge is rusty, to say the least, but isn't Latin as used in 
nomenclature an agglutinative language? I like the flowing, descriptive names 
that form in languages like that, much more so than Chinese and basic English 
with their unpleasant abruptness. Where do you think George Orwell got the idea 
for Newspeak? 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Keesey" <keesey@gmail.com>
To: "Dinosaur Mailing List" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Monday, April 16, 2012 7:49:07 PM
Subject: Re: Sauropodz r kewl WAS: silly conversation on 2012 US presidential 
race

On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM, Joe Gilvary <dinosaur@gilvary.net> wrote:
>
> But those languages are no more "complex" than this modern Germanic variant
> we're using on the list is. They just encode semantic values differently
> than this modern Germanic variant does. Look at what goes into teaching ESL,
> even to students speaking an IndoEuropean tongue. The strange things some
> people do with complex, mandatory word ordering rules instead of using
> simple, intuitive inflexions!

When it comes to names, at least, an isolating language like English
is simpler. With Latin binomials, the epithet has to change gender if
it's moved to a new genus. (E.g., if Sinosauropteryx prima were moved
to Compsognathus, it'd have to become Compsognathus primus.) English
has no gender for nouns (only some pronouns), so no such change would
be needed. (And if you think they're simple, try telling a computer
how to use them....)

It's true that word order matters more in isolating languages like
English than in inflectional languages like Latin. But order does
matter in binomials, so that's kind of a moot point. (Also, word order
is a lot easier to convey to a computer....)

-- 
T. Michael Keesey
http://tmkeesey.net/