1074093_10151552031287683_1515421453_oOreille-de-Géant is better than Greater Burdock, but neither measures up to the mesmerizing musicality of Arctium lappa. Eastern Milksnake is better than Couleuvre Tachetée, but neither measures up to the evocative elegance of Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum. Ouaouaron is better than American Bullfrog, but neither measures up to the capacious cadence of Lithobates catesbeianus.

Silver Spotted Skipper is better than Hespérie à Taches Argentées, but neither measures up to the simple splendor of Epargyreus clarus. Vulcain is better than Red Admiral, but neither measures up to the delicate delights of Vanessa atalanta. Spring Azure vs. Azur Printanier, Summer Azure vs. Azur Estival—alas, sometimes it’s hard to choose—but clearly neither measures up to the etymological chutzpah of Celestrina ladon and Celestrina neglecta.

Growing up here in Québec, where the politics of language can be so divisive, learning the Latin names of the plants and animals around me—when I was 12-years-old—was like finding a passport to a country without borders, a country without language police, neighborhood bullies, and the Office Québécois de la Langue Française, a country where I was no longer one of those maudits anglais, a country where I was free to be fully human, fully Homo sapiens sapiens.

—John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2016)