Date: 6/24/19 10:04 pm
From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...>
Subject: [obol] Re: 2019 AOS Supplement
Hi -

The actual 60th supplement is now available at

I am still waiting for the committee comments, as those help understand decisions made.

I spent a little time going through a bird list looking for names that would lose or change meaning, or be less recognizably patronymic through apostrophectomy.

I found a few:  Say Phoebe, ( or Saaay, Phoebe?)

Bell Vireo, Bell Sparrow, (named for vocalizations?)

Cooper Hawk  (does barrel rolls?)

Virginia Warbler (found where???)

Nutting Flycatcher (verb has multiple meanings?)

I also found several birds with names without apostrophes that have apparent patronyms, but turn out to be Patronyms once removed: named for places that had been named for people:  Gunnison, (Lord) Baltimore, Queen Elizabeth I (via her alleged chastity).  Princess Caroline has a whole flock of non-apostrophic followers: Chickadee, Wren, Parakeet (RIP).  

I am not sure where Lord Sandwich's Tern lost possession. 

Interestingly, some birds named for more metaphysical beings lack apostrophes:  Zenaida Dove, Lucifer Hummingbird, Guadaloupe Murrelet.


On 6/24/2019 5:13:45 PM, Jeffrey Tufts <jctufts33...> wrote:
And then there's Lewis's Glottal Stop. 

On Mon, Jun 24, 2019 at 12:56 PM Lars Norgren <larspernorgren...> [mailto:<larspernorgren...>]> wrote:

Thank God the AOS kept apostrophes. Try saying aloud "Hutton Vireo", Bewick Wren, Townsend Warbler...There is a glottal stop between each word. It sounds like the speaker is stumbling. We are not proposing names for a German list. English does not require glottal stops between every word." Hutton's "and "Vireo" are glued together by a sibilant consonant that is also lubricant. 
        I know we say Roosevelt Elk, no apostrophe s there. But l note that B.J.Verts in "Land Mammals of Oregon" has an entry for Townsend's Vole, apostrophe and all. I know that it is now "Down" syndrome, because the syndrome's describer didn't have the condition himself. But l think "Crohn's disease " was suffered by its epynom and thus rates a wave of the pinky. But ornithology is not mammology. Ornithology is not pathology. It is a big space in the English language and is free to craft it's own conventions. There are no rules in English. The Oxford English Dictionary observes the beast in its  natural habitat to set precedent. We have been calling our snipe "Wilson's" for two hundred years. I imagine other birds had that little pinky waving in the air to honor other dead white men long before that. So precedent is set thousands of times over. 
       Wilson Snipe. Who can deny that the speaker starts to trip between descriptor and noun in that pairing? Wilson's Snipe. There's a nice ramp from street level up to the sidewalk. Try going through Sibley, saying every name with an apostrophe without its "s". Add those glottal stops up over the coming decades and the lost time is staggering, not to mention collateral damage to listeners. I believe "Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow" became "Nelson's Sparrow" because even the AOS had to admit the former was too long and clunky. There is hope for the æsthetics of the AOS. When they take away the apostrophes to conform with the protocols of the pathologist the next step will be ordering arcane robes and donning funny caps before deliberating in a professional capacity.

On Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 12:04 PM Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...> [mailto:<whoffman...>]> wrote:

Hi - 

Thanks for the heads-up.  The link in the first paragraph unfortunately brings up last year's supplement.  The summary in your link, prepared for Birding magazine does not discuss several of the proposals under consideration, so I imagine they were not accepted.  I did not expect Harlan's Hawk to be split off, but I was hopeful about the proposal for apostrophe-free names.  The NACC committee members' comments should be posted before long (anonymous, likely) on the AOS website and so we can get some insight into their thinking.

On 6/24/2019 10:25:21 AM, Bob Archer <rabican1...> [mailto:<rabican1...>]> wrote:
Hi: []

Northern Fulmar is still one species.   AOS agrees that there are three White-winged Scoter species, look for Stejneger's now as a species not a subspecies.  Bummer that they left 's at the end of bird names.  Harlan's (Harlan) Hawk is still a Red-tailed. 

Bob Archer
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