Publishing conventions re-bird names

Subject: Publishing conventions re-bird names
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 12:04:17 +1100

I do admit it was a bit of a cheap shot at the media, but then the temptation is often too great to resist when they set them self up.

The style your news paper re. bird names has adopted is interesting, but to me it sets the stage for a deal of confusion. For example is a black-and white tody-tyrant a tody-tyrant that is coloured black and white or does it refer to the bird species Poecilotricus capitalis, is a Fiordland penguin any penguin found in Fiordland, New Zealand or does it refer to Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, is macaroni penguin a pasta dish or species of penguin and is a limpkin relative that has fainted?. I could go on but posts are supposed to be limited to 250 words.

What I am on about is that Proper Nouns should be capitalised and bird common names are proper nouns. If you are going to come up with your own way of using Proper Nouns at least be consistent and use the style for all, e.g. prime minister, great Dane, john smith and so on.

I sympathise with your Father re. txt, but he should be prepared to accept it. There are a growing number of High Schools in the United Sewers of America which now accept work from students written in txt, on the grounds that it is the "Democratic Right" of a student to use the language structure they wish.

On the subject of email being an informal method of communication and so you do not have to worry too much about punctuation, etc., remember, any email you write could end up in Court. Having been on the receiving end of a Barrister going at my emails like a Rottweiler with a baby, construing all kinds of meanings because of sloppy punctuation, I can tell you it is not a pleasant experience.

As to why Quail, Albatross etc. for plurals? I do not know, but it is probably a similar reason to why people do not capitalise the common names of birds:)

All the best for the New Year and good bording


On 02/01/2008, at 8:47 PM,  wrote:

the house style at the newspaper i work for is not to capitalise animal names except where derived form people or places, so Gould's petrel for instance would stay up. re your earlier assertion that the breakdown in punctuation and grammar "probably has originated in the media as a cost saving exercise, as it saves on ink ..." you may have been being facetious but i think you'll find it originated in informal forms of communication such as this and txt messages. there is no doubt it is encroaching elsewhere. my father, who is a university lecturer, is occasionally horrified to mark essays and assignments from students written in txt! (they fail.) as a member of the much maligned print media, most of us do our level best to uphold the rules of grammar and punctuation and stem the tide of americanisms. the latter is a losing battle and one that has been going on in english (australian and the queen's) much longer than many realise.

re this topic, a more pertinent question is: why do many birders refer to birds in the singular: ie i saw 10 quail, 5 albatross etc? there seems to be no rhyme or reason for it. they're not sheep, or fish.

happy new year
shane b
ascot q

More new features than ever. Check out the new AOL Mail!


To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message: unsubscribe (in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU