[Ads-l] Disease names and geography

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Mon May 3 07:02:55 UTC 2021

On Sat, May 1, 2021 at 12:02 PM Mark Mandel <markamandel at gmail.com> wrote:

> It's a good idea socially -- i.e., *Don't Encourage Prejudice and Hatred*
> -- but geographical names are a heck of a lot easier for most people to
> remember than arbitrary strings of letters and digits.

I think this is only part of the motivation. Another is that geographical
(or otherwise eponymous) naming schemes tend to become wrong with time,
that is, not stand up to later historical scrutiny.  (Cf. the quip about
mathematics: If a theorem is named after a mathematician this is an almost
certain sign that the theorem was not first proved by the mathematician.
The quip was a frequent joke when I studied physics back in the 90s, at
least in Germany but I'm sure we exchanged it in English as well.)

(I think short letter-number labels for a handful of variants to keep an
eye on at any given time isn't too hard, actually, as long as the labels
are reasonably distinct.)

Chris Waigl . chris.waigl at gmail.com . chris at lascribe.net
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net . http://chryss.eu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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