Reviving Unique Words: The Niche of Scientific Names
By David Nash
The concept of ‘endangered word’ is defined. The possibility of a word being ‘the sameword’ across more than one language allows for recognition of degrees of endangerment of aword. The rarer a word is cross-linguistically, the more it is at risk of fading away. A minor wayto continue an endangered word, and thereby reduce its endangerment, is to incorporate it intoscientific terminology, in particular into a standard biological (Linnæan) name. Some examplesare given of how scientific borrowing has popularised words from severely disused languages,and of recent adoption of terms from currently endangered languages.