My thoughts on What’s In a (Bird) Name?

As some of you may know, we use a combined approach in educating our children here at Tranquilo Bay.  They are completing a dual curriculum through at least the sixth grade for both USA requirements and Panamanian requirements.  Our USA curriculum is based upon a classical model where the children complete their grammar work in first through fourth grade, logical work fifth grade through eighth grade and rhetoric in the high school years.  I mention this because I find that knowing the grammar of any subject makes it easier to succeed in said subject.

I thought I had the basics in place for how to capitalize, hyphenate, etc. for English bird names.  Each time Jim, Natalia, and Ramon give me something to post on our blog or the website about birds I try to make sure that I check as I post said photo, etc. to make sure I am listing it correctly.  Inevitably I get something wrong and I am corrected by one of our experts.  I am fortunate when it is a Tranquilo Bay employee who catches my error, but sometimes it happens to be one of our trip leaders or a former guest who kindly lets me know that I have made a mistake.

However, I learned recently that I am not alone in finding it difficult to understand the grammar behind English bird names.  Steve Howell completed a three-part series entitled What’s In a (Bird) Name? on Leica’s Traveling Trinovid Blog addressing this particular issue.  He does it in a tongue and cheek manner to help us understand the history, etc. behind how each of these bird names has come into being.  I found a class for the children called The Logic of English that we are using to make more sense of the English language.  Thus far, the bird names do not follow the same rules, I think this set of blog posts is as close as I am going to get in the true grammar associated with English bird names.  Thank goodness I have the Internet to help me along 🙂

Part One:  The Common American Problem

Part Two:  Embrace Hypocrisy and Promote Ambiguity

Part Three:  Grammartifices and What Part of “English” Names do I not Understand?

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