Multilingual Phytonymy: Ecotranslation and Vernaculars

  • Rosanna Masiola
  • Renato Tomei


In the intricate linguistic archipelago of the Caribbean, there are impacting factors in the dynamics of descriptions and accounts related to flora as outlined in the sequential phases in the ‘Introduction’ and ‘Perspectives on the Caribbean Flora’ sections. One linguistic phenomenon is the use of loan words adapted from the native languages, especially in the growing interest for botanical exotica. This correlates to the increasing influx of terms from the colonial domains and the need for scientific systematization in phytonymy (see the ‘Tools for Translation: Caribbean Dictionaries’ subsection). A further process is the standardization of vernacular terms following exploitation in the plantation complex, medicine, and agriculture. One important issue is the medicinal and ritual use of plants (see ‘Plants of Poison and Medicine’ and ‘Plants of Paradise’ sections) and the need for exact identification. For an economy based on the plantation complex and product trade, phytonymy and multilingual lexicography are tantamount to the preservation of the Amerindian and Afro-Caribbean legacy with the intercolonial trade (ackee and guinep), and with some plants emblematic of slavery and empire (logwood, lignum vitae, and pineapple).


Description Caribbean phytonymy Multilingual lexicography Translatability Plants as symbols 


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosanna Masiola
    • 1
  • Renato Tomei
    • 1
  1. 1.University for ForeignersPerugiaItaly

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