Why the SACC will not get involved in producing a list of standardized Spanish names


The following is a message by F. Gary Stiles to the bulletin board NEOORN on this topic, which concisely summarizes the SACC position on this:


Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 15:21:27 -0400
From: Gary Stiles <stiles at ACNATSCI.ORG>
Reply-To: Bulletin Board for Ornithologists working with Neotropical Birds
<NEOORN-L at listserv.lsu.edu>
To: NEOORN-L at listserv.lsu.edu
Subject: Re: [NEOORN-L] FW: wren names

To Clem and others regarding common names-
Having had to teach ornithology in several Latin American countries over the last 30-odd years, I have often bumped up against the problem of Spanish common names. I see no simple solution to all this, which is not to say that the problem is insoluble! For what it's worth, let me repeat my 2 cents' worth-

a)   there is no single accepted set of Spanish names and given the diversity of traditions, avifaunas, origins, Indian languages and just plain idiosyncrasies among the many countries (or regions within countries) it seems unrealistic to expect one for the present.

b) It might be possible to assemble an eclectic set of Spanish names for use in international communications, publications, etc. Such a list would probably coexist with local names, - it seems hardly realistic or desirable to expect it to replace them, given the fact that the local people who live with the birds will not be connected to the internet or even, necessarily, literate - and it seems highly unwise to consign much local lore to nomenclatural oblivion!

c) my personal feeling is that IF there is general agreement among Neotropical ornithologists that such a list would be a good thing (not at all a unanimous opinion, to judge from some NEOORN postings as well as my previous experiences, not least with Billy Phelps), the proper organism to oversee the production of same would be the Sociedad de Ornitologia Neotropical, appointing a broad-based committee at the next Congress with a charge to produce a list for the following Congress (a tall order) to be evaluated/voted on there.

d) Obviously again, due to the aforementioned diversity everybody on the committee will have to enter the fray realizing that many, probably most of "their" favorite names will not end up on the list - and everyone else will have to agree to use the names the committee comes up with (once approved), otherwise the whole exercise will be a monumental waste of time!

e) For the present, I would say that the most useful thing we could do would be help to collect the various names out there, perhaps much as the NEOORN has winded up doing for wrens.. as a general rule I would suggest limiting things to published names and would discourage inventing new names where published ones exist, just to make the committee's final task no more difficult than it will surely be (all this assuming that there will eventually be one!).

For this reason (not because I necessarily dislike the name per se), I would advise against all the possible "cucaracheros de siesta" that we might be able to come up with!

Now back to my hammock.

Cheers, Gary