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Talk:ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

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RFV 2007Edit

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Doesn't seem to be English to me. And what is its significance? SemperBlotto 22:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Already cited; I can cite more books as well if need be. Relates to the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Was originally an invented phrase but continues to see use. sewnmouthsecret 23:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Added 3 more cites. sewnmouthsecret 00:12, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

If we're keeping this, we should explain with Usage notes that the phrase appears in English fiction, and so is technically English, but is intended to represent an ancient (fictitious) language as conceived by H. P. Lovecraft. --EncycloPetey 00:38, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd call it interlingual (as it is not translated when the surrounding text is). However, I doubt we should have this entry at all - maybe Cthulhu fhtagn! bd2412 T 00:47, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I'd agree with the interlingual, except I have found a few cites where it bears no translation at all. I didn't expect to place this entry, but when researching it on b.g.c. I found it was easily citable, without direct translations in some cases, and worth having its own entry. Anyone reading a book with this without a translation may want to see what it means; I have also seen this phrase by itself on a commercial t-shirt website. sewnmouthsecret 14:33, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Added usage notes. sewnmouthsecret 18:21, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

With the number of cites, well-formatted layout, and meeting every instance of CFI (there are google scholar hits too), I will mark this RFVpassed, unless anyone objects.

Just wait for the coming burst of Harry Potter scholarship. DCDuring 12:13, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
There is already a body of serious scholarship literature on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, so I've no doubt a similar corpus will materialize for HP. --EncycloPetey 23:11, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
DC- I had already agreed to only do a concordance. If terms are in use- they belong here. If not, they don't. I'm not trying to be a boundary pusher- just looking to include terms that are in use. If you object to anything I do, please let me know. sewnmouthsecret 00:53, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


RFD 2013Edit

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Sum of parts. SpinningSpark 19:42, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Delete. Not dictionary material. bd2412 T 19:43, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Not sure about the SoP rationale. I believe this should be deleted, though, because I can't see a sound argument for its being English. Even Lovecraft, who coined it, did not treat it as English in his story. Equinox 19:46, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Keep. Lovecraftian horror is a literary sub-genre of its own, and this phrase is widely used in it.
Compare mithril, also a term in a fictional language that has found English usage in a specific context. — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:54, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
So would you have us list (say) "imzadi" as English, because many Star Trek novels use it as a word for lover (approximately) in the Betazoid language? Equinox 20:01, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I’m not familiar with Star Trek, so I don’t have an answer for that. — Ungoliant (Falai) 20:52, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
How does Lovecraftian horror being a sub-genre justify this in terms of the CFI? It is not used in English as a phrase with any meaning. It is only ever used as Lovecraftian chant. Show me a cite where it is actually used with some semantic significance. This is equivalent to having the full text of lorem ipsum as an entry as if it actually means something. Or Sinatra's "do be do be do". SpinningSpark 21:55, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
People might think this is an in-universe term (thus would need cites outside Lovecraftian horror,) but it’s not, because the universe of Lovecraft’s novels has spawned a literary genre. It has as much semantic significance as Allahu akbar or Sieg Heil. — Ungoliant (Falai) 22:23, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Does it, really? bd2412 T 19:35, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
So being less common means it has less semantic significance? — Ungoliant (Falai) 20:45, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, to the extent that if I walked up to the average person on the street and said "Allahu akbar" or "Sieg Heil", they would assign meaning to my statement and respond accordingly; but, if I walked up to that person and said, "ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn", they would probably respond no differently than if I said, "frzibble blopgr clamadamadoo bzoink". bd2412 T 23:50, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Or achlorophyllaceous, or spheniscan or any of the of words in Category:English terms with rare senses whose morphemes can’t readily identified.
Lovecraftian horror is not as well known as Nazism or Islam. Not even close. Don’t get me wrong; I totally understand why this entry is being RFDed, and I can see it’s borderline at best, but I’m not too happy with the reasons being given. Being used in a context that’s not popular with the average person is no reason to delete anything, and it’s certainly not SOP. What is it a SOP of anyway? Of 6 entries I’m going to create if this is deleted as SOP, that’s what! — Ungoliant (Falai) 00:12, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
But being used in an unpopular context is not the RFD reason: it's the fact that it isn't English, but a fictional other language. Equinox 00:17, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
In the TR discussion SpinningSpark said “ [] can demonstrably be shown to be widely used in English sentences. The same cannot be said of ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.” and above BD said “if I walked up to that person and said, "ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn", they would probably respond no differently than if I said, "frzibble blopgr clamadamadoo bzoink".” In both cases, as far as I can tell (sorry in advance if I’m understanding you wrong!), they have a problem with the term not being widely used in English sentences, and with it not being known by the average person respectively.
I dispute that this is not English. If I publish a novel and one of its fictional-language words gets uses in three English works independent from it, then it’s a word that should be listed by us under the ==English== heading, even though deep down it’s a fictional-language word. This is what happened to mithril and Qaplah' and to much smaller widespreadness, ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. — Ungoliant (Falai) 00:35, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

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Ungoliant, I find so much disgreeablle in what you have said, especially what you have read into my comments, that it is hard to know where to start. So lets try the order you raised them in.

  • Allahu akbar and Sieg Heil. These words are actually used in English sentences, if only to throw a negative aspersion on the cultures from which they came. Ph. mg. Cth. is never used in an English sentence with a meaning. Only ever as a quoatation.
  • The words achlorophyllaceous and spheniscan both have morphemes that clearly could be English. I correctly guessed the meaning of both despite never having heard either before. Admittedly, the latter was only due to having met w:User:Sphenisciform in hte past. Ph. mg. Cth. has no such morphemes.
  • The argument that the phrase is not English has nothing to do with the phrase not being popular. It has everything to do with ph. mg. Cth. never being used in an English sentence where a meaning can be assigned. A translation of a foreign phrase does not count.
  • A phrase that is not SOP cannot have its components substituted without destroying its meaning. If ph. mg. Cth. could not be substituted then we could not have ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthugha Fomalhaut n'gha-ghaa naf'l thagn! or ph'nglui mglw'nafh Bob- Sothoth wgha-nagl fhtaga!.
  • There is already an entry for Cthulhu. It will be interesting to see what definitions you will give for the entries you intend to create for the other five components of ph. mg. Cth. and how you intend to cite them in English after the inevitable RFV. SpinningSpark 07:10, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Except it’s not only used as a quotation.
  • If someone walked to me and said ph'nglui [] I would also know its meaning. I bet more people would know it than achloriphyllaceous, but this is no reason to delete either.
  • Here’s the meaning: it’s an evocation of Cthulhu, just like Sieg Heil is an evocation of the Third Reich and Allahu Akbar of Allah.
  • For something to be a sum of parts, there must be parts. Annus horribilis is SOP in Latin, because it is just annus + horribilis. Annus and horribilis aren’t English words, so the English expression annus horribilis can’t possibly be SOP.
Ungoliant (Falai) 11:53, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
However, the components are words. Are we going to have individual entries on ph'nglui, mglw'nafh, R'lyeh, wgah'nagl, and fhtagn? This raises the SoP objection of the nominator. If each of these individually are words to be included in our corpus (presumably as English words, since they belong to no other language), the the sentence structured from them is indeed SoP. I grant that we do have some slogans and other multi-word expressions, but isn't it odd that we would have this sentence which basically describes how Cthulhu lies dreaming, when the community has already expressed a consensus was to delete the phrase, I have a dream? bd2412 T 21:18, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
It still needs to meet the criteria of Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion/Fictional universes - which mithril does. If this phrase is not found in three works independent of the Lovecraftian universe, then the appropriate solution is to create an appendix of Lovecraftian terms. bd2412 T 20:23, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep, perhaps as Translingual. This is among our most-viewed pages, so clearly this is widely considered to be useful content. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:27, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Redirecting to an appendix (of Lovecraft?) is also an option. Equinox 20:47, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I can live with a Lovecraftian appendix, or even translingual, but not English. SpinningSpark 23:31, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete out of mainspace at least. Appendix if you really want to keep it - but how is this different from an ordinary English meme-like expression such as One ring to rule them all, which is also widespread? It appears (to me) that the only reason that this entry exists is because it isn't English and people want to know what it means. I would argue that all of the citations presented for this word are merely quotations of the original phrase in Lovecraft's book - just like if I were to quote One ring to rule them all in connection with the Large Hadron Collider [1]. But neither of these terms has aquired any meaning other than pure quotation in English or any other real language. An appendix might be a mutually acceptable solution, because then it can be treated as a phrase in its own language (whatever that language is called - I don't know), and so the requirement for attestation in English/Translingual is no longer relevant. This appendix would satisfy the people want to know what it means. Hyarmendacil (talk) 08:46, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
    Then we'd best use {{only in}} if we delete it (which I still oppose) so people can find it. Actually, it might be best to hard redirect to the appendix. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:36, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
    Or we could just make a soft redirect to this page. bd2412 T 01:56, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
    Actually, a Wikiquote soft redirect is a good suggestion. I don't know much about Lovecraft's legendarium, but an appendix is going to be worthwhile if someone can make the case that this is actually a valid fictional language (Klingon, Quenya), even if the corpus consists solely of this phrase. A good test would be to ask "does this phrase have any morphological structure"? I mean, I see a number of verb tenses in the translation; are they actually distinguishable in the original? If yes, then an appendix - explaining the morphology of the phrase - is probably worthwhile. If no, then wikiquote can 'host' this phrase much better than us; because they can include contextual information, wheras we must stick to purely linguistic information. Hyarmendacil (talk) 09:27, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete doesn't belong to any language → doesn't belong in the mainspace. Not dictionary-worthy, place it in an appendix if necessary. BigDom (tc) 19:27, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Redirect to an appendix or Wikipedia. It seems it's only ever used as a memic quotation of Lovecraft, as Hyarmendacil says. - -sche (discuss) 19:47, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
To clarify, I support redirecting ("deleting") this because (1) it's a quotation, and Wiktionary is not a repository of quotations (in addition to not being "words", quotations necessarily fail to have multiple independent uses), and (2) it doesn't fit into our dictionary: it can't readily be shown to belong to any particular language. "ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" is not SOP; for it to be SOP, it would have to have meaningful parts. - -sche (discuss) 08:00, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete or Move. Does this actually fulfill the "conveying meaning" requirement of CFI, considering that it conveys meaning only in a made-up language that nobody speaks? —CodeCat 21:03, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I added a few more quotations, where the phrase occurs in continuation of English text and outside quotation marks. — Ungoliant (Falai) 12:44, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
    But is it being used as English - or as a quotation in Lovecraft-Language? And I certainly don't think the topology textbook refence is any different to my One ring to rule them all - LHC reference above. Scientists always love quoting these kind of books. Hyarmendacil (talk)
    Lovecraft-Language. Apparently, the language is called R'lyehan. A few authors have given some of the words meaning by back-formation from the translation. I doubt that you will find any kind of consistent grammar between them though, and Lovecraft appears not to have constructed the phrase (in the way that Tolkien would have done). It is more or less randomly thrown together without any semantic structure. SpinningSpark 12:13, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
    English. Just like Sieg Heil used in English text is English, not German, and ad infinitum and absque impetitione vasti in English text are English, not Latin, and amen on English prayers is English, not Hebrew, &c. — Ungoliant (Falai) 15:58, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
    But those words actually mean something don't they? The only meaning we have for this phrase is the one given to it by Lovecraft, but do people actually use it (in a CFI-compatible way) with that meaning? Like, do people actually say "ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" when intending "In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming"? —CodeCat 16:10, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
    It’s a phrase used to praise Cthulhu in Lovecraftian Fiction, just like Sieg Heil is used to praise the Third Reich. It is used in this way in enough citations. The second 2007, the first 2008 and the 2013 citations are particularly damning. — Ungoliant (Falai) 16:17, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
For the record, the entry wasn’t tagged with {{RFD}} until now. — Ungoliant (Falai) 16:58, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Keep if it can be attested in use outside Lovecraft, the large body of fictional works which expand upon Lovecraft, or non-fiction works focusing on either of the former. If three cites can be found in which this used to mean something specific without reference being made to its origin, like may the Force be with you or live long and prosper, then it will be inclusion-worthy by my standards. I also disagree with many of the "delete" arguments being put forward here. It's being used in English — not being made up strictly of English components — that makes a phrase English. After all, we have carpe diem, c'est la vie, che sara sara, hic Rhodus, hic salta, plus ça change, all listed as English. -Cloudcuckoolander (formerly Astral) (talk) 18:50, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete or Move to an appendix. Any meaning assigned to this can only be assigned to the entirety -- none of the constituent "words" (with the exception of the proper nouns Cthulhu and R'lyeh) has any identifiable meaning. And what of pronunciation? AFAIK this is only ever conveyable in writing.
The fact that this term is so citable in the corpus of English writings that meet WT:CFI suggests that we should include this somewhere. However, the lack of any real meaning, the lack of pronunciation, and the hyper-specificity of this phrase, all strongly suggest that it should go in an appendix, and not in the main space. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:20, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

deleted -- Liliana 19:37, 12 September 2013 (UTC)