signifier

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Johanna65

Senior Member
Sweden Swedish
Hi!

The book I'm translating, which takes place in Alaska, includes a drawing of a fish, with the caption:

Thymallus signifier, Arctic Grayling Fish

I would be very grateful if someone could explain to me what the word "signifier" means in this context.

Thanks in advance,

Johanna
 
  • Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think "Thymallus signifier" is the biological name for that particular fish. These are often in Latin. "Arctic Grayling" is the common name.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    My first guess is that it's not the word 'signifier', but a spelling error for signifer, Latin for "sign bearer", and it's just the species name: the fish has some kind of mark on it. There is such a species name in an entirely different genus of fish (and it's clearly intended there because there's a related species called signatus "signed"). But a list of species of Thymallus doesn't include that name.

    A remote possibility is that 'signifier' is used for an unknown species name, what is normally written Thymallus sp., but I think the spelling error is much more likely.

    cross-posted
     

    Johanna65

    Senior Member
    Sweden Swedish
    Thank you. Yes, it must be a typo - that's why I didn't find it. The strange thing is that Arctic Grayling Fish is, according to Wikipedia, called Thymallus arcticus in Latin. While Thymallus signifer seems to be Alaska grayling. But I suppose it could be the same fish.
     
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