I have to admit it surprises me this thing is still going after three years of near-daily posting. If I were simply talking to myself, I’d have given it up long ago; it’s the feedback that makes me want to continue, so let me repeat what I said in my first anniversary post:
People occasionally apologize for intruding on my time or say they don’t know enough to comment; I want to make it clear that I welcome everyone with an interest in the things I write about, whether they have any prior knowledge or not, and I love answering questions I get in e-mails—if your message comes at a busy time, I may take a while to get around to it, but I will answer it. And, of course, if you have an interesting link to pass along or a subject you’d like to hear about, let me know; I’m always on the lookout for new topics!
I thank all those I thanked there, and I note with pleasure that since the second anniversary the number of countries from which I’ve had visitors has grown from 120 to 150 (hello, Tonga and Ethiopia!). I quoted Pound (the end of Canto IV) in that first anniversary post; this time I’ll quote him (in Canto CIX) quoting Coke:
Si nomina nescis perit rerum cognitio.
[If you don’t know names the knowledge of things perishes.]
Well, actually, he’s slightly misquoting Coke, who said (in Coke upon Littleton 86) “nomina si nescis perit cognitio rerum.” (If you know not the names of things, the knowledge of things themselves perishes.) But if you googled that to try to find out who said it, you’d be convinced it was Linnaeus, because that’s what virtually every hit tells you; only the Bouvier Law Dictionary (1856) gives the proper attribution. (I imagine Linnaeus said it too, but he lived over a century after Coke.) So be careful out there on the internet, folks, and double-check everything you read, even if you read it here.
Addendum. I thank everyone for their kind (and frequently multilingual) comments, and an amusing one by MM reminded me that it might be a good idea to point out, for those who don’t know, that the family name Coke, as in the Sir Edward Coke quoted above, is pronounced like the word cook and not like the word coke. Amend your puns accordingly. Also, as long as I mentioned Linnaeus, I might as well debunk the myth that his real name was von Linné. His father’s name was Nils Linnaeus and he was born Carl Linnaeus; he took the name von Linné when he was admitted to the aristocracy. Amend your cocktail-party chatter accordingly. (What, they don’t talk about Linnaeus at the cocktail parties you attend? Pfft.)