Friday, February 11, 2011

Mikepedia Fact #2- Language

Have you ever wondered why, when reading the newspaper for example, an organism's genus-species name is always in italics? For example, Homo Sapien, or Human. Homo is the genus name and Sapien is the species name. But why the italics?

The reason is, according to modern literary doctrine, that all text that is written in a different language than the main text must be in italics. Since the genus species name is Latin, it must be italicised.

If I wanted to include a French word, I would also have to write it in italics. For example, Bonjour!

Hopefully this will make reading these kinds of things a bit easier...they're not just 'special' and written in italics to look as such, they're just written in a different language than that of the main text.



  1. You have no idea how many times I've been reading a book and a word has been in italics! I would wonder why that word was "special" and did I have to "remember" that word for later in the book because it had a special meaning. I would reread the paragraph thinking I just wasn't getting the "hidden" meaning! Why did I not learn this in English class? Did I miss that class? I loved English, so I would always pay attention in that class. Well Mike, thanks for clearing that up for me and happy reading!

  2. So is it Notre Dame or "Notre' Dame" sic


  3. Haha that it so cool! Not that I read the news paper or anything, but now I know why for when I start. They actually do that in text books too, now that I think about it. . . Cause I HAVE to read those :(