Something similar happened with the suborder name for the baleen
whales - "mysticete." That name goes back to Aristotle, and is
generally translated as "moustached whale" referring to the rack of
baleen hanging from the upper jaw. In the 1800s it was pointed out
that "mysticete" came from a phrase in Aristotle's "History of
Animals" that literally translated as "the whale known as the mouse
(o mus to ketos)". A new name was created - "mystacocete" - to more
closely follow the Greek word for moustache, which I believe is
"moustaki" (Greek speakers please correct me if I got that wrong).
"Mystacocete" did not catch on, "mysticete" is the accepted form, and
nearly everyone translates it as "moustached whale" even though that
etymology is technically incorrect.
I'm going to use "anthropophony" because I actually care about these
things, but I wouldn't be surprised to see "anthrophony" stick
around, especially since it is similar to "geophony" and "biophony"
in having four syllables. They make a neat trio, however much
"anthrophony" might grate on the linguistic nerves of those who know
better. In future we may even have to live with a false etymology
having to do with the "sounds of cave dwellers." You may think I'm
kidding, but that's what came out of the mouth of a friend to whom I
was explaining this problem.
Let us live in harmony with Earth
And all creatures
That our lives may be a blessing
On Jun 27, 2014, at 10:26 PM,
> I like "anthropophony," and it may be an appropriate correction
> from "anthrophony," but I am wondering now, is it a little too
> late? - especially after years of your public promotions. In a way,
> it reminds me of the technical name change from "Pacific tree frog"
> to "Pacific chorus frog." Almost everyone still says "tree frog."
> You kind of have to allow what has become popular, even when
> another way has been shown to be technically better suited.
> John Hartog