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Re: "Ii" for plural "Iris"

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: "Ii" for plural "Iris"
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@erols.com>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 05:40:13 -0600 (MDT)

Tom Tadfor Little wrote:
>  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
> modern readers.
Tom -- I bow to your superior knowledge of taxonomic usage. To
paraphrase: De usu non disputandum est.

Griff Crump, along the Potomac, where the local TV stations say the
temperature is 29 degrees, but my thermometers, happily, say 33.

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