Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (6): 627-635.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018047

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Discussion and recommendation regarding the spelling of Chinese names of plant taxonomists

Lingli Deng1,2, Cheng Du2, Shuai Liao3, Jinshuang Ma2,*()   

  1. 1 College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234
    2 Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Chenshan Botanical Garden, Shanghai 201602
    3 School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241
  • Received:2018-02-09 Accepted:2018-03-27 Online:2018-06-20 Published:2018-09-11
  • Contact: Ma Jinshuang
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors


Before the Chinese phonetic alphabet of Hanyu Pinyin was officially adopted, Chinese plant taxonomists recorded in early literature were mainly based on the Wade-Giles system, but also contained a variety of historical phonetic systems. In addition, scholars were accustomed to abbreviating when recording names in the literature, caused various problems in the spelling of author’s names used from history to modern times, particularly when querying Chinese scholar’s work in databases. This paper briefly reviews the phonetic systems used in the early times of Chinese plant taxonomy and summarizes the transformation rules of Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin. Based on related records of all Chinese botanical literature and authors indices, combined with international websites and databases of plant taxonomy, we integrate a more complete information table on Chinese plant taxonomists by spellings. Based on statistical analysis of related information, we fully discuss encountered problems. From past to now, the problems in the spelling author’s names are: (1) Phenomenon of non-standardization in historical records; (2) Phenomenon of confusion in recognition and use of different phonetic systems; (3) Inconsistency in the ordering, capitalization, connection symbols of double names and abbreviations in modern spelling. Finally, we propose recommendations that apply to the Chinese spelling of authors names and their citations.

Key words: plant taxonomists, name spelling, Wade-Giles system, Hanyu Pinyin