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The object of Simplification of the Nomenclature of the Brain is to render the knowledge of the structure and functions of that most complex organ more easy to advance, to record, to teach, and to disseminate among the laity.
The leading ideas of this paper were stated in an address, “Paronymy versus Heteronymy as Neuronymic Principles," read by me, as President, before the American Neurological Association twenty years ago. It was published in the Transactions of the Association, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, vol. XII, No. 3, July, 1885, and reprints were somewhat generally distributed among contemporary neurologists and anatomists. In some respects it would have been read more appropriately before this Association. However, several members of this Association have already directly assisted me. An early colleague, Isaac Flagg, suggested paronymy in 1885. A later colleague, now President Benjamin Ide Wheeler, for nearly twenty years, often at the cost of interrupting his own studies, has promptly and helpfully responded to my etymologic queries. It is therefore fitting that from Dr. Wheeler should have come the proposal that I be invited to read this paper.
Simplification of anatomic language in general was advocated by me in 1871, and in 1880 attention was called to the special need with respect to the brain. The magnitude and difficulties of the task were not fully realized until 1884, in dealing with the neurologic portion of Foster's Encyclopaedic Medical Dictionary. From works and periodicals in all languages there was compiled an alphabetic list of about 10,500 names for the (at the most) 500 known parts and features of the brain.1
The need of some sort of classification of this host of terms was literally forced upon me, and there was gradually evolved a dichotomous arrangement substantially identic with the subjoined Table.
Recognition of the labors of predecessors, and acknowledgment of the coöperation of contemporaries, here and abroad, are recorded in the following papers : “ Paronymy versus Heteronymy” (mentioned above); “Neural Terms, International and National,” Journal of Comparative Neurology, vol. VI, pp. 216– 352, Dec., 1896 ; “Some Misapprehensions as to the Simplified Nomenclature of Anatomy"; address, as President, before the Association of American Anatomists, Dec. 28, 1898; Proceedings of the Association, eleventh session, pp. 1539 ; also Science, n.s., vol. IX, April 21, 1899, pp. 563-581. The paper last named discusses the objections and adverse criticisms that have been offered. Of these the most accessible in this country is a “Review” in Science, n.s., vol. VII, May 20, 1898, pp. 715-16; the printer's blunder ("chippocamp” for hippocamp), involving injustice to both parties concerned, was corrected by the reviewer at the end of Science for June 3.
1 of these more than 3000 (an average of at least six for each part) were Latin and thus ostensibly international. Many, however, were more or less completely restricted to certain countries, institutions, or writers. The Report (embodied in the B. N. A) of the “Nomenclatur-Commis. sion," adopted in 1895 by the Anatomische Gesellschaft, while defective in many respects and practically ignoring the previous labors of English-speaking anatomists as individuals and as committees, " buried” a large number of "dead or dying" terms; those who aim at still further improvement of neuronymy may now confine their attacks to a smaller number of names, exchanging, so to speak, the shot-gun for the rifle.
DICHOTOMOUS CLASSIFICATION OF ANATOMIC TERMS
Toponyms : Terms of Description with respect to Form (eg.
circular), Constitution (e.g. hollow), Location (eg. mesal) Direction (eg. dorsad).
Since 1888 I have coöperated in formulating Reports of Nomenclature Committees of the Association of the American Anatomists, the American Neurological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1892, a committee of the last-named body adopted unanimously the report of a committee? (of which I was not a member) which is so clear, concise, and comprehensive that it is here reproduced with some explanatory interpolations in brackets :
a. “Terms relating to position and direction [toponyms) should be intrinsic rather than extrinsic; that is, should refer to the organism itself rather than to the external world."
b. “So far as possible terms (of designation) should be single, designatory words (mononyms] rather than descriptive phrases.”
c. “Terms derived from the names of persons [eponyms] should be avoided." d. “Each term should have a Latin [international] form.”
“ Each term should have also a [national] form in accordance with the genius of each modern language, c.g., a paronym of the [actual or constructive] original Latin form.”
The Advantages of Mononyms are (1) Brevity (caeteris paribus) ; (2) Free1 Of course Paronyms and Heteronyms are also either Mononyms or Polyonyms.
2 The committee consisted of G. L. Goodale, chairman, J M. Coulter, Theodore Gill, C. S. Minot, and S. H. Gage, secretary. The report was entitled “Preliminary Contribution of the American Branch of the International Committee on Biological Nomenclature of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.” It gave due credit to other committees and to individuals.
dom from permutation ; (3) Less liability to diversity of abridgment and abbreviation ; (4) Capacity for simple inflection, composition and paronymization.
Methods of obtaining Mononyms. — 1. Selection from among existing mononyms ; e.g., of gyrus rather than convolutio.
2. Adoption of words not previously used in those senses; e.g., porta for foramen interventriculare (Monroi).
3. Dropping superfluous qualifiers, especially eponymic genitives; eg, pons Varolii = pons; thalamus opticus = thalamus.
4. Dropping nouns of more or less general application and employing adjectives as substantives ; e.g., corpus callosum = callosum ; dura mater = dura.
5. Replacing locative adjectives by prefixes of like force ; eogi, cornu posterius = postcornu.
Some preëxisting mononyms were undesirably and needlessly long; simile names, e.g., trapezoides, olivare, and restiforme, were reduced to the corresponding troponyms trapezium, oliva, and restis. Metaphoric diminutives were reduced to the base, since absolute size has no significance ; e.g., vallicula = vallis.
Paronyms and Heteronyms. — The designation of all vernacular names not resembling or related to the technic Latin terms which they translated by heteronym, Gr. erepvų,dos, soon occurred to me. But the correlative was less easily found. The natural correlative of heteronym is homonym; homosynonym also suggested itself. But the former had been used exclusively for words having different meanings, while synonym was restricted to equivalents in the same language. The German Fremdwort and its English equivalent, loan-word, would strictly include only such borrowed words as are wholly unchanged in the transfer; furthermore, as words, they do not lend themselves to the formation of derivatives. When it seemed almost inevitable that a new word must be coined Professor Isaac Flagg suggested paronym, the base of paronymy, from mapúrðuos, the formation of one word from another by inflection or slight change. After it was adopted and published, another colleague, C. C. Shackford, proposed isonym.
The Object of Paronymy is to confer upon technic terms an acceptable national aspect without obscuring their essential international character. Besides the papers named above, this subject is discussed in “Some Neural Terms,” Biological Lectures, 1896–97.
Principal Established Methods of Anglo-paronymy. — 1. Change of pronunciation only; 6.8., Cicero, thalamus. This is also exemplified in the English pronunciation of Paris.
2. Slight change of the ultima ; (g., fibra = fiber.
5. The ultima is dropped from the nominative, leaving the stem; e.g., organum = organ; myelon = myel.
6. The ultima is dropped from the nominative, leaving less than the stem ; 6.g., programma = program, not programmat.
7. The ultima (inflective ending) is dropped from the genitive, leaving the stem, which is longer than the nominative ; e.g., positio (positionis) = position.
8. Elision of the penultimate vowel and replacement of the ultima by a silent e; e.g., musculus = muscle.
9. Dropping the inflected ending and replacing the antepenultimate i by y ; 18, ovarium
= ovary. 10. Replacement of the ending tia by ce ; 6.g., eminentia = eminence.
11. Replacement of the triliteral, rum, by the biliteral, er (French re); 4.8., metr um = meter.
12. Replacement of the diphthongs æ and ce by e; log, cæcum = cecum ; fælus = fetus (this form seems to have been used by the ancients quite as often as the other, which is apparently affected by some moderns).
13. Extreme elision and replacement; e.g, élenuosúvn = eleemosynu = alms, a scanty relic of the original,” constituting a paronymic curiosity.
Limitations to Paronymy. — Certain parts, so exposed or so vital as to have gained early and popular attention, have received in most languages vernacles or heteronyms that are brief and generally understood by other nations; such in English, are head, hand, foot, heart, and brain. Indeed, the use of the Latin equivalents for these impresses most persons as pedantic; encephalon, for example, seems altogether needless excepting as a basis for derivatives and compounds, in which latter, furthermore, it is regularly reducible to encephal.
A good example of the former complex condition of encephalic nomenclature and of the methods of simplification advocated by me is supplied by three extensions of the cerebral cavity and by the elevations in the floor of two of them. For the three extensions locative mononyms were found by converting cornu anterius, c. posterius and c. medium into praecornu, postcornu, and medicornu. These are likewise idionyms and enable us to dispense with synonyms and with heteronyms in various languages. As to the elevations in the medicornu and postcornu, respectively, the conditions were much less simple. Both are curved, and the fancies of the older anatomists led to the application of various troponyms." That in the medicornu, the more "anterior," and (in man) the larger, was called hippocampus major; also cornu Ammonis; that in the postcornu (smaller in man, larger in some monkeys, and absent in most other mammals) was called hippocampus minor, posthippocampus, eminentia digitalis, and calcar avis. Each of these ental (“ internal ”) ridges is collocated with an ectal cerebral fissure, that of the h. major being commonly called dentata, and the other calcarina. The first question was as to the retention of hippocampus for either ridge. By ITTÓKajtos and intokduan the Greeks referred to some fabulous sea-monster with a head like a horse; so the French sometimes applied to the larger cheral marin, and the Germans, grosses Seepferd, even going so far as to designate a certain feature of it by Seepferdefuss. Like so many other heteronyms these vernacles were unacceptable and even repellent to anatomists of the opposite nationality, and neither suggests the Latin name. Few persons know the original meaning of hippocampus, and it is a somewhat lengthy word. Nevertheless, like some other long and more or less inappropriate names, it was apparently so fixed in anatomic literature that it seemed best to let it stand for the larger ridge. For the ridge in the postcornu posthippocampus would have been acceptable as a loca. tive mononym; but it was undesirably long; furthermore, the collocated fissure was almost universally known as calcarine. So the troponym, calcar avis, was relieved of the useless qualifier, and became at once a mononym and an idionym. This eliminated hippocampus minor altogether, and warranted dropping the now
1 This was suggested by Dr. B. I. Wheeler as a mononym for the phrase "metaphoric names."
needless adjective, major, leaving hippocampus likewise an idionymic, mononymic troponym. As a mononym it became subject to inflection and to conversion into an adjective, hippocampalis, English hippocampal, and this could then be applied without ambiguity to the collocated fissure. As a Latin and therefore international mononym, hippocampus lent itself readily to the regular methods of paronymization, and became hippocampe (French), hippocampo (Italian), Hippokamp (German), and hippocamp (English). Each of these is, as it were, a geographic variety of the common antecedent; by its dress it is acceptable to the anatomists of that particular nationality, while yet, by its essential identity with the common antecedent, it is recognized at once by the anatomists of other nations.
Correlated Names of Associated Parts. — The advantages of such verbal association are obvious. The most complete example is furnished by a series that has been not inappropriately denominated a “specimen of Wilder's Volapük.” A certain segment of the brain is called Metencephalon (Eng. melencephal) rather than “Myelencephalon”; its cavity, metacælia rather than “ fossa rhomboidea "; its membranous roof, metatela rather than “ lamina chorioidea epithelialis”; an orifice in this roof, metaporus rather than “ apertura medialis ventriculi quarti"; and a vascular invagination, metaplexus. “If this be [logic or etymologic] treason, make the most of it."
Space permits the statement of only a few of the numerous questions, general and special, that have arisen in connection with my efforts at terminologic simplification.
1. Should not this and similar associations reprobate the laissez-faire attitude embodied in the phrase, “there is no appeal against usage," and admit the responsibility and claim the authority for guidance of the less well-informed public in desirable directions?
2. With English adjectives from Greek in -ckos or Latin in -icus should not the ending be -ic rather than -ical ? e.g. chiasmatic, encephalic, myelic, terminologia I am not acquainted with any Latin adjectives in -icalis, the necessary antecedent; when, where, and with whom the -al habit commenced I know not; we say public rather than publical, and no longer say heroical with Thackeray, epidemical with St. John, or aristocratical and enthusiastical with Scott. Might not this Association set an example of titular curtailment to the other national literary and scientific bodies, and rechristen itself the American Philologic Association?
3. Does not the publication of any derivative, oblique case, or national paronym render the introducer practically responsible for the actual or potential Latin antecedent of such word in accordance with the accepted rules of derivation, inflection, and paronymy?
4. In such cases is it not incumbent upon the producer to either show the prior existence of such antecedent, or propose it as a new coinage according to etymologic precedents ?
1 As an Anglo-paronym hippocamp is strictly comparable with angel from angelus, pericart from pericarpium, and with scores of similar cases. Yet it was adduced as an example of “Word-mutilation" ascribed to me in a Review (Science, n s., vol. VII, May 28, 1898, p. 716) written by an accomplished anatomist who had already collaborated upon a medical dictionary. An almo-t comic flavor is imparted to the criticism by the fact that the review " itse's contains more than a dozen English words differing from their Latin antecedents by the selfsame dropping of the inflected syllable.