trying correct common names

To: JAP <>
Subject: trying correct common names
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 16:53:34 +1000
Aluminium is not that simple - see

Whenever Americans tell me their spelling is logical I ask about Arkansas!

On 8/16/05, JAP <> wrote:
> Hi Philip,
> "Red Tails in Love" is an absolutely fascinating book - for me, anyway!
> Perhaps a birdo imported it?
> And it is an ongoing saga - try Googling.
> I do like your story of the different biases - the American bias surely so
> much better in not adopting names of superficially similar species so thus
> they haven't lumbered people with so many misleading common names based on
> immediate perceptions of size and colour ; )  Another one is the way those
> who stayed behind (and perhaps even us in Oz) criticize those in the US for
> using 'z' in spellings - but, if you look back, that was the original
> spelling!  As for 'aluminum', look at the history of that name ...  Driving
> on the wrong side of the road is, of course, something else ...
> Judy (Oz born and bred of many generations)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  Behalf Of
> Philip Veerman
> Sent: Tuesday, 16 August 2005 3:31 PM
> To: Cas and LISA Liber (& family); Birding Aus
> Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] trying correct common names
> Cas,
> That is a good question. They should do so. I had correspondence with an
> American birdo about six months ago, on this very subject. This person
> explained to me that the difference is that whilst the early settlers to
> Australia tried to give the new animals even if they were not remotely
> related, names as close as possible to those back home in England, in
> contrast, the early settlers to America tried to give the new animals names
> as far as possible from those back home in England. So we have two opposite
> sets of biases, that both produce some odd problems. It is hardly surprising
> when you look at American spelling, as in the can't spell "cheque", can't
> say "aluminium" put dates back to front, etc. Therefore Americans call Buteo
> Buzzards "hawks" (which is sort of correct in that buzzards are a sub set of
> hawks) but they call vultures "buzzards" which is really weird, even though
> the new world vultures are quite likely not at all close to old world
> vultures and maybe should not be in the order Falconiformes at all.
> Is 'Red-Tails In Love' a good book? I have often seen that book in book
> shops and wonder why do we get that book in Australia. Seems very obscure to
> me.
>  Philip
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