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A note[edit]

This should probably be a disamb page. 02:49, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Human Nomenclature[edit]

Not even a glancing mention of the nomenclature of human beings anywhere on wikipedia? The origin of given and familial names? Come on! --The reverend 06:16, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Good point. Also, the origin of name orders. Eg, family name first in Hungarian language, last in most other European languages. Some deep linguisic roots there. --Una Smith (talk)

Deleted links[edit]

Before I deleted the following, I added links to the appropriate articles and made sure they already referred to the websites: 02:47, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I wasn't aware there was a Latin etymology for this one; what I've known so far is that "nomenclature" stems from the Greek ονοματοκλήτωρ, which means "name caller". Etz Haim 20:25, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Regnum vegetabile is translated as 'Kingdom of plants', not as 'Kingdom of vegetables'. The latter sounds more like a television program on cooking. Wikiklaas 23:36, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Whereas I thought it refered to the GOP  :DBasket Feudalist 14:30, 15 January 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by You Can Act Like A Man (talkcontribs)


A binomial consists of a genus name and a specific epithet, not a descriptor. The specific epithet is essence doesn't describe anything. There's even a specific epithet for a mollusc constructed of the vowels: iouae. - Wikiklaas 13:24, 26 March 2006 (UTC)


It seems to me that this page focuses too much on biologial nomenclature, and adds all the others as an afterthought. I believe it would be more reasonable to have an article about biological nomenclature (of which binomial is only one example), and make this page more of a disambiguation page. (I'm a plant taxonomist by training, btw, so this isn't any kind of anti-biology rant.)--Curtis Clark 18:28, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Additions by User:Tuganax[edit]

As well-written as these additions are, I am reluctantly reverting them, since they pertain to a subset of biological nomenclature only, and so in the context of this article are POV. If any of the information is missing in Scientific classification or Binomial nomenclature, it should be added there.--Curtis Clark 14:42, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

how do u pronouce this[edit]

yea the subject says it-- 00:14, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Section Titles[edit]

Should they be blue linked? If they should, then all disambig pages should not have headlines except ==See also==. (talk) 06:41, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Nomenclature is not classification[edit]

The article confuses nomenclature and classification. A nomenclature is a system of naming; a classification is an arrangement of those names. --Una Smith (talk) 16:40, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Inasmuch as it is a dab page, could you please give an example of the confusion?--Curtis Clark (talk) 03:34, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
For starters, this example: "Biological nomenclature (see Biological classification)". I suppose the intent is to refer to the scope of application, but to someone not familiar with the topic, it looks more like a synonym. --Una Smith (talk) 06:51, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Fixed.--Curtis Clark (talk) 13:25, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I also have problems with the lead sentence, specifically "set"; "system of names" also confuses the issue. Call it "set of rules for naming" or "system of naming"? --Una Smith (talk) 06:52, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I took a stab at this; I hope I haven't diverged too much from the reference. I think nomenclature is arguably a system of names as well as a system of naming, but I see your point on the rest.--Curtis Clark (talk) 13:25, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Curtis, can you give me a clear example of nomenclature as a system of names, not a system of naming? --Una Smith (talk) 14:58, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Okay, one example is that the ICBN has a list of nomina conservanda, which are an intrinsic part of the nomenclature. Another example, iiuc, is the bacterial code, which has as an intrinsic part a list of accepted names. In theory, a system of naming could exist without there being any names, but in practice, most of them are more or less inseparable from their names. That doesn't make a classification, though, except in the most trivial sense.--Curtis Clark (talk) 02:58, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I see ICBN as a set of rules, with examples of their application. The rules include rules for exceptions to the rules: conserved names are exceptions. I see the list of conserved names as a convenience for readers of the rules; it is a mere list for convenience, not a system of names, because inclusion in or exclusion from the list has no standing. The bacterial code is much younger than ICBN and ICZN, and is changing. It began life as a pure classification but rapidly taxonomy and then nomenclature began to emerge. I imagine 100 years from now the nomenclature will have been distilled. There is a small nomenclature for HIV strains, that is gradually evolving in the same way, from classification to taxonomy to nomenclature. --Una Smith (talk) 17:00, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Replaced the Lead[edit]

I have re-written the lead, taking account of the criticisms that have been raised on this talk page and some other concerns of my own. I hope you like the new attempt which is much more inclusive and, I hope, user-friendly. Please comment on any further changes you think could be made. Granitethighs (talk) 08:54, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

Although I agree that the one you replaced has its faults (which is why I didn't revert), yours is all over the map. I think it confuses rather than clarifies, and much of it probably doesn't belong in the lead.--Curtis Clark (talk) 12:50, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
OK. What about we work together as a couple of "Renaissance botanists" in trying to come up with something satisfactory . I have made a "good faith" attempt at a start. A good next step would be for you to be specific in your comments and for you to also make positive suggestions for improvement. I look forward to a long and productive editing collaboration. We met before for a chat on the Common names talk page when you offered to help me out - much appreciated. I am thinking that Nomenclature is a broader topic than Common names so that some of the material in Common names is more appropriate here. However, that is down the track. Let's do one thing at a time - since the Lead is meant to be a summary of what is to follow then the Lead is a good place to start. My only comment at this stage is that "Nomenclature" is about a lot more than biological science and Linnaeus. At present the Lead moves from definition and explanation - to the business of naming in general - then to naming in biological science - and finally to areas that are frequently confused with nomenclature. Over to you. Granitethighs (talk) 23:04, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Alas, between my day job and some other issues in my life, I have precious little editing time. But here are my thoughts on what you've done:
  1. First, I agree that the article tends to over-focus on biological nomenclature, probably the result of a biologist starting it.
  2. Your second paragraph seems to define the subject by examples of subfields, but the list is not exhaustive, and I find the transition to the third paragraph to be jarring ("let's get this other stuff out of the way so we can get to the important bits"). I'm sure there's a much more complete context, and perhaps even some anthropological evidence about the relationships between naming individuals and naming classes; if that were fleshed out, it would better be a separate section, perhaps something like "Naming as a cultural activity".
  3. The third paragraph jumps the gun. I see the point of mentioning organisms in the lead, but it gets rather specific (pun intended).
  4. The fourth paragraph is a tease: "In what important ways do they differ? Are you going to make me click through to the articles and hope that they explain?" Better might be a section on "Nomenclature in context".
My own philosophy is that the introduction of a paper is written last, or if not, that it is revised last, since it "leads" to the rest of the article, and it's important to lead to the actual article, rather than the article never written. The fact that the headings are Biology, Astronomy, Geography, Chemistry, and Metallurgy is to me indicative that there are some higher-level considerations missing. I'm out of time now, but I'll certainly give it more thought.--Curtis Clark (talk) 13:45, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
That is really helpful, thanks. And I agree. I would like to extend the article considerably and broaden out its content. The current main content is really "scientific nomenclature" which could be a separate section. Here is a possible hierarchy of headings - which will no doubt change a lot - but it is something to start with - just to get the ball rolling - then, as you say, get back to the lead when it all shakes out. I know there are good articles on many of these topics - I see this particular article as a "Summary" high level article leading to the others. It would be a help if you could add and subtract where you think it has gone off the rails ... and make any comments at all.
  • Definition
  • History
  • Onomastics - naming as a cultural activity
    • Formation of names
    • Names and mind - structuring a mental world
  • Language and linguistics
    • Difference between nouns and the rest of language
    • Classifying different kinds of names
    • Nouns defined by language
    • Nouns defined by meaning
  • Etymology
    • Social and geographic distributions (relation to heredity, human migration)
  • Human names - anthroponymy
    • Different systems - international standards and usage
    • Derivation
  • Place names - toponymy
  • Scientific nomenclature
    • Codes of nomenclature
    • Astronomy
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Geography
    • Metallurgy

Granitethighs (talk) 04:43, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

I'd suggest changing the last major bullet, thusly:
  • Names of classes
    • Nomenclature and classification [draw the distinction, show the connection]
    • Folk taxonomies and nomenclature [main article Folk Taxonomy—Damn! A red link!]
    • Scientific nomenclature
      • Codes of nomenclature
      • Astronomy
      • Biology
      • Chemistry
      • Geography
      • Metallurgy

--Curtis Clark (talk) 12:56, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Curtis - that makes the last section run more smoothly - I will make a start and hope you and other editors will join in to help improve the quality of this article. Granitethighs (talk) 22:34, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the introduction is nicely written, although I agree with Prof Clark that the latter part on "subfields" may need a rewrite or perhaps even be moved further into the text. For future reference - just in case - I am adding a few extracts here to the talk page taken verbatim from the OED (2009), which provides the following definitions for nomenclature:

  • A name, a designation.
  • The (frequently systematic) assignation of names; (Biol.) the allocation of Latin names to species and other taxa. Also: the manner in which names are assigned. Freq. in binomial nomenclature.
  • a. The set of names or terms commonly employed by a person or society; a vocabulary. Also in extended use.
  • b. The system or set of technical terms used in a science or other discipline; a specific or specialist terminology.
  • c. The set of names given to places or features of a particular district, region, etc.
  • As a mass noun: names or terms collectively forming a system; terminology.
from The Oxford English Dictionary [draft revision], 2009. s.v. nomenclature n.

I think all of the above has been captured by the article. So far so good. Good work!

Ostracon (talk) 11:48, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Ostracon again, I am grateful for any feedback and these succinct definitions are very apt. I have tried to incorporate key words and ideas into the text where possible. Please keep me on my toes. Granitethighs (talk) 02:17, 5 September 2009 (UTC)


The article is now in the process of being re-vamped (see suggested outline above). All interested editors please join in to help improve the quality of the article but please be patient and discuss changes on this page as things evolve. There is still a lot of things to add - I have transferred some material from "Common name" and if this is approved I will remove it from the original article. Remember - still a lot to come. Granitethighs (talk) 05:48, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

I will continue to work on this from time to time but have now put in what I reckon are the bones. Since nobody wanted to join in, and I have done for a while, I have removed the "under construction" banner. Granitethighs (talk) 11:18, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Response to "Request for assistance"[edit]

Observation is theory-laden, meaning that each subject approaches perceived phenomena with a theory, based on what the subject knows - for example judging from the context the phenomenon is presented within (Hanson, 1953). Thus, naming an object depends on what we perceive it as (duck or rabbit). How we perceive things, may depend on our theory and the names that belong to the theory.

Hanson, N. R. (1953). Seeing and seeing as.

For example, when reading a book about the African savannah we would be more inclined toward seeing an illustration picturing antelopes rather than pelicans. ("Antelopes" are subsumed under the names of "animals of the savannah" in our theory about Africa, whereas "pelicans" do not belong to the theory.)

See illustration (pelicans/antelopes) @ Folse, H. The Theory-Ladeness of Observation

The consequence is that theory is prior to observation for any scientific method of inquiry. This conclusion was brought to you by the philosophy of science ;-)

Also of interest (perhaps) at the Stanford Encyclopaedia of philosophy:

Private language

I hope you can find something relevant in the above. Ostracon (talk) 12:43, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Or simply have a look at and try to identify the species... Regards Ostracon (talk) 11:26, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Ostracon. I accept that what we see is to some extent theory-laden although I am not totally convinced that this is demonstrated effectively by a picture that can be interpreted in two or more ways. You are suggesting, ar you not, that I will see what I want to see or what I expect to see according to the particular theory I have at the time. Perhaps some objects/diagrams etc just look like both rabbits and ducks? What is of more interest, it seems to me, is not so much that a theory might underlie my perception, but that we cannot see both a duck and a rabbit at the same time. This I'm inclined to think is more a matter of pattern-recognition and less a matter of my theories/assumptions. Also I am not sure of the import of suggesting that when I see a rabbit on the road I am seeing the rabbit because I have a theory that it is a rabbit. And also that I could be wrong about it being a rabbit: that my senses can be deceived in various ways is hardly a revelation, Aren't you just saying, effectively, all that we see is a theory. Is this close to some sort of idealism? I suppose that, related to this, and more along what I was thinking of, is the way that language can condition thinking (linguistic relativity) - I wish I had a snappy example. Would you call language a theory ... does it operate like a theory in the mind? And what is even more miraculous is that our brain "must" be confronted with just fields of colours, shades etc but it discriminates and interprates these into something meaningful. Are these meaningful discriminates theories of the external world - perhaps they are.;-]Granitethighs (talk) 02:03, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I think the point is that there is a difference between objects and the words used to refer to them, and the different individuals interpret something observed will vary as their beliefs and experiences vary. The name given something by an individual is dependent on the frame of reference including the individual's prior knowledge and beliefs. A better example than the bunny duck may be the sunrise. Most people today who watch a sunrise know that they are not actually seeing the sun physically rising up over the horizon. They know they are just watching the sun come into view as the earth spins on its axis. That was not the case hundreds of years ago, when even the most intelligent and rational people looked at the sunrise, and saw the sun physically coming up from below the earth, and rising above their heads. People today see the exact same thing those people saw, but we interpret our observation differently because of our beliefs and knowledge, our frame of reference.

Other great, related articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Names Reference Theory and Observation in Science Specifically heading 4 in that last one —Preceding unsigned comment added by AndersRoyce (talkcontribs) 22:31, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Reorganisation of categories[edit]

This is a highly mysterious category? [CubicFeet is refrring to the category "Nomenclature"]Why is it here? The present contents rather belong in specialised categories, which then could be included in other categories, which then possibly could be included in a category "nomenclature". However, such a encapsulating category already appears to exist (Category:Naming conventions), so on the face of it this category is superfluous? Anyway, its present use is internally inconsistent. - CubicFeet (talk) 05:46, 22 September 2009 (UTC) moved here by Granitethighs 04:38, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

There may need to be a reorganisation of the Category hierarchy to do with names - any ideas? Granitethighs 04:39, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Where are my edition trails of the "See also" section....???[edit]

I used to write many links for this topic and the edition trails are gone...
See the evidences of poor wiki traceability

-- (talk) 09:12, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Look at the following info to see how this site has been manipulated.....

-- (talk) 00:20, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

A red link of Museum catalogue... maybe associated with the following....[edit]

-- (talk) 06:27, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 06:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 06:46, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

The Chinese translations of the term are based on the following.....[edit]

-- (talk) 03:22, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

About the definition and criteria of the term......[edit]

-- (talk) 00:29, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 00:43, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 00:44, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Info about the legacy names[edit]

-- (talk) 00:50, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 00:55, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Of course whether the term of legacy name should be elaborated or not, it's depending on the definition and criteria of the concept discussed in this topic -- (talk) 00:53, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Further information: Wooden fish

- on it's discussion page

-- (talk) 01:02, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Religious and spiritual investigations about the topic....[edit]

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Welcome to add more, if one find other religions and their associates which have such infos -- (talk) 02:51, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Moving multiple items to a "List" article[edit]

All sorts of disciplines and activities will have their own specialist "Nomenclature" and these are likely to eventually clutter the main article here. For some reason scientific and especially biological nomenclature seem to require special coverage in the article but I think many of the other "nomenclatures" could be hived off into a separate List article. What do people think?Granitethighs 02:38, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Good point. I made a start by deleting the sections that have been sitting empty. I was going to create a seperate article from the "taxation" section, but one on that subject (Harmonized System) already existed...and it's much better written.WQUlrich (talk) 19:43, 18 January 2013 (UTC)