"Ii" for plural "Iris"
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- Subject: "Ii" for plural "Iris"
- From: Tom Tadfor Little <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 10:32:28 -0600 (MDT)
I was going to keep low on this, having already posted on the subject long
ago. But a clarification is called for.
Griff Crump's Latin is absolutely correct. However, the practice of writing
"Ii." for the plural of "I." in species names is NOT derived presuming that
the Latin plural of "iris" ends in "-i". This is not a question of Latin
inflection; it is a question of medieval orthography. There was once an
established practice of indicating that an abbreviation was plural by
simply duplicating the last letter of the abbreviation. This survives today
in English only in a few relics, such as "pp." for "pages" (plural of "p.")
and "mss." for manuscripts (plural of "ms.").
The practice also survives in botanical writing, although it has become
considerably less common in recent decades. It works like this:
T. tarda and T. pulchella (tulips) => Tt. tarda and pulchella
S. spurium and S. album (sedums) => Ss. spurium and album
I. pumila and I. pallida (irises) => Ii. pumila and pallida
and so on.
In this case, I have to break ranks with my fellow editor and agree with
Clarence: "Ii." is perfectly acceptable and conventional. I suspect,
though, that "I. pumila and I. pallida" may be a preferable idiom for
Tom Tadfor Little telp@Rt66.com
Iris-L list owner * USDA zone 5/6 * AIS region 23
Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA)
Telperion Productions http://www.rt66.com/~telp/
Iris-L Web Site http://www.rt66.com/~telp/garden.htm