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A Primer of Botanical Latin with Vocabulary

By: Emma Short(Author), Alex S George(Author)

292 pages, no illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Mar 2013 | #199705 | ISBN-13: 9781107693753
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £32.99 $43/€37 approx

About this book

Latin is one of two acceptable languages for describing new plants, and taxonomists must be able to translate earlier texts in Latin. Providing a simple explanation of Latin grammar along with an in-depth vocabulary, this is an indispensable guide for systematic botanists worldwide. All relevant parts of speech are discussed, with accompanying examples as well as worked exercises for translating diagnoses and descriptions to and from Latin. Guidelines for forming specific epithets are also included. The authors cross-reference their grammar to Stearn's Botanical Latin and to articles in the International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi and Plants. The comprehensive vocabulary is enhanced with terms from recent glossaries for non-flowering plants – lichens, mosses, algae, fungi and ferns – making this an ideal resource for anyone looking to hone their understanding of Latin grammar and to translate botanical texts from the past 300 years.

"The classical work Botanical Latin by W. T. Stearn has been a standard reference work for nearly 50 years, but it is not a starting point for those without prior knowledge of Latin. The new book by Emma Short and Alex George is derived from classes given separately by both authors, and the informal style is reflected in the very readable text. As one reads it, one can almost hear the careful explanations being given to the classes. The past experience of the authors – one in working on major taxonomic databases at Kew and the other as a leading figure in Australian botany including being editor of the Flora of Australia – ensures a very high pedigree for the book. It will stand alongside Stearn's work as an essential tool for many botanists for years to come."
- R. K. Brummitt, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

"[...] provides very accessible and concise information for systematic botanists in translating a description or diagnosis into Latin or English."
- Joan Richards, Chicago Botanic Garden

"An indispensable reference for botanists, this primer offers a simplified approach to understanding plant descriptions. The writing style is simple, clear, and direct. Highly recommended."
- T. Johnson, Choice



Part I. Grammar
1. The noun
2. The adjective and the participle
3. The adverb
4. The preposition
5. The conjunction
6. The pronoun
7. The verb
8. Numerals, measurements
9. Prefixes and suffixes
10. Miscellany

Part II. Exercises in Translation
11. Exercises
12. Answers to the exercises

Part III. Translating
13. Translating into Latin
14. Translating from Latin into English

Part IV. Vocabulary

Further reading

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Emma Short worked for five years at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK, on the Index Kewensis database, before co-editing the Authors of Plant Names database with R. K. Brummitt. She has regularly checked Latin for Australian Systematic Botany and has recently taught courses in Botanical Latin.

Alex George is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, Perth. He was a botanist with the Western Australian Herbarium for 21 years, then Editor of the Flora of Australia for 12 years. He studied Latin to Tertiary level and has used it in describing some 400 new taxa, translating for others and editing.

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