Terminology

There is a problem of terminological scope. Should a scientific term be common to all languages within one discipline, or common to all disciplines within one language?

For example, Greek and Latin (i.e., dead language) terms can be understood internationally by scientists of all languages within one discipline, such as botany. But these terms are usually incomprehensible to scientists of other disciplines within a single language, such as English. Alternatively, living language terms can normally be understood by people of all disciplines within that language. But such a term is likely to be incomprehensible to scientists functioning within other languages.

In a tradition that goes back to Linnaeus, and beyond, scientists have found it more important to talk internationally within one discipline, than to talk nationally between disciplines. In the present book, however, this tradition is reversed. The present text involves both insect and fungal parasites of plants. Each of the disciplines of entomology and mycology uses international, dead language terms that are largely incomprehensible to members of the other discipline, to say nothing of other biologists, and of scientists in general.

For the purposes of this book, therefore, these esoteric, dead language terms have been discarded, and they have been replaced with English terms that are readily comprehended by English-speaking members of all disciplines. For example, entomologists are likely to be as perplexed by the term 'aeciospores' as mycologists are by 'alate fundatrigeniae'. But English-speaking members of both disciplines will have little difficulty with 'spring alternators', which are the parasite individuals that are obliged to migrate from the winter host to the summer host. A set of these English terms has been compiled, and it is to be hoped that they are equally intelligible to all English-speaking scientists within the life sciences. Should this book ever be translated into another language, these English terms can also be translated, along with the rest of the text. These English terms, with their entomological and plant pathological equivalents, are summarised in Table 8.1.

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