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A rational system of vernacular animal names, as exemplified by Hebrew amphibian and reptile names

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image of Applied Herpetology

The reviving Hebrew language requires an artificially enriched vocabulary for animals. This is created advisedly by the Academy of the Hebrew Language and its Committee for Zoological Terms, who hold that, (a) vernacular names serve in communication and should be educational; (b) therefore they should be generally accepted, unambiguous, stable, instructive, and of reasonable scope; each name should be meaningful, simple, convenient, and preferably pretty. The Committee has defined the scope of the required vocabulary and decided that the Hebrew system should reflect the scientific nomenclature, with three main modifications: (a) The Hebrew genus is a practical one, comprising species related in the eyes of amateurs; taxonomic and nomenclatural changes need not affect the Hebrew terms. (b) Famous species may carry single-word names. (c) A family name may derive from the name of a genus prominent in Israel. Names are recruited from the following sources: (a) Biblical and later scripture. (b) Modern common usage. (c) Scientific or foreign vernacular names. (d) New, coined by the Committee. After adequate discussion, involving the public, the names are decided by the Academy and published. The process may serve as model for similar enterprises.


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