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Wiktionary talk:Phrasebook

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Phrase bookEdit

Hi fellow wiktionarians.

What do you think about starting a phrase book section? The idea occurred to me since a Spanish speaker asked me to help her to learn English. She was thinking about doing it by e-mail. But why not do it through Wiktionary? It would be nice that the phrases can also be listened to spoken by a native speaker. For English that would probably mean storing at least two sound files (US and UK), although Australian, Scottish, Irish etc could also be interesting, but not essential.

Would it fit in Wiktionary? I would think it does. Can we upload sound files? I don't think we need to have a separate section or anything. It can simply be among the other entries.

What do you think? I'll try to start by putting some example entries.Polyglot 22:38, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I like the idea and I'm curious what structure will evolve. Actually I would like to see every word used in a "sample phrase" in text at first, but it would also be fun to listen to it. Henryk911 20:32, 21 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I like the idea as well, but I wonder who is going to record the sound files? Webkid 08:39, 23 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Everybody who feels like doing the effort and who can connect a microphone to his/her computer. Uploading them is not hard. It's the same procedure as for uploading image files. There is an explanation of how to link to them once they are uploaded. Let your voice be heard! :-) Polyglot 11:21, 23 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Wikibooks already has quite a few language textbooks - see Wikibooks:Languages bookshelf for a list. However I think a dictionary is also a good learning tool (I like browsing my dictionary rather than attending class). That's the idea behind Meta:Wiki Language School and Learners Wiktionary. See also Wiktionary talk:Phrasebook. Flammifer 22:06, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Hi, I'd like to mention Occleve - the Open Content Learning Environment here, which is both a language learning system and a phrasebook, includes sound clips... and has a custom front end which runs on your mobile phone, so you can learn on the move. It downloads the tests directly from its wiki. So I think it's fair to say it does quite a lot of what was being discussed above. However, it uses XML not wikitext. So far it just contains English-Chinese tests, however I'm hoping that will change! --Joe Gittings 12:33, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
There is also List of phrasebooks - Wikitravel that gives some useful phrases for a traveler. --Thomas was here  14:34, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm interested also. I was about to start a similar project :) My idea was to create a database of the most common/useful words or expressions in any language and combine text, images/animations and audio to help the learning process. My idea is that the more images or audio samples for a given word we have, the better.

There's many reasons for this:

  • Compare accents.
  • Sometimes you encounter a sound you don't have in your own language, and it's good to know how different people pronounce it, as it helps see the possible variations and teachs the learner that there's no such thing as a "perfect pronunciation". eg. the way german or swiss pronounce "ich bin".

What I also wanted is use this (I hope vast) collection of information to build my own language courses, games, etc, as I want to do my own research about the most effective ways to teach/learn a language. Multilang 08:54, 05 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, this would be a great idea, but do you propose simply putting the sound files on the already existing pages or in a separate "Phrasebook" section?--Bakutaro 14:50, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • Hold on people. While a phrasebook is a useful thing, that doesn't mean Wiktionary is the place for it. In fact it's pretty much specifically excluded in the Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion. What this amounts to is including a bunch of phrases that aren't worthy of inclusion as entries of their own under the reasoning they are useful in a phrase book. And it makes them look like any other word entry, which is not good in my opinion. Wikibooks is the better place for this I think. - Taxman 15:40, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
  • I think this is a great idea; but not on Wiktionary. How about starting a WikiPhrase site, specially made for learning other languages?

--Liplop 23:49, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

"how much does it cost"Edit

I have removed the following sentence : "Only one - the most generic variant should be included to avoid duplications (no need to add "how much does it cost?" if how much is it? already exists)."

Given that "how much does it cost" is actually a very common phrase, the existence of "how much is it" should make no difference to the inclusion of "how much does it cost". The phrase is also used in the form "How much does it cost to do a thing", a form that does not appear with "how much is it" AFAIK. --Dan Polansky 07:31, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

CFIEdit

This keeps coming up as if it's never been discussed at all before, but no one seems to actually take part in forming a CFI for phrasebook entries so let's have at it, shall we? I think the following are reasonable, and simple and can be made more specific as needed:

  1. Relative simplicity. Sentences with relative clauses and whatnot will be too complex, while I'm blind, I need a dictionary and I'm allergic to penicillin are simple and potentially useful.
  2. Usefulness is completely subjective, so please for the love of god don't bring it up as a talking point.
  3. Demonstrable by quotations (I think 3 is fine, isn't that what our normal CFI requires?) from books, films or whatever. Chances are if a phrase can't be found on the internet already, it probably won't be looked for here.
    Do not try to use google book searches with "intitle:phrasebook" as a reason to delete, as not all phrasebooks label themselves in their titles as phrasebooks.

More ideas? — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 18:23, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

On the contrary, I think utility should be the primary criterion for inclusion into a phrasebook. A phrasebook is a book of utile phrases. Utile to whom, and how we decide whether a term is utile, are, I agree, tough questions. The first will need to be fully answered before we can address the second.​—msh210 (talk) 18:32, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm in complete agreement with msh, utility should be the primary criterion - listing translations of useful phrases into the target language is the entire point of a phrasebook. I think we should define "useful" as meaning "useful for a member of the target audience". Who are our target audience, well I think that non-fluent speakers in the following groups are people would be at the very list a good starter for 10:
  • Tourists / leisure travellers (example useful phrase: "Where is the beach?")
  • Business travellers (example phrase "I have a meeting with the chief executive")
  • Beginner and intermediate language learners (e.g. "How do you say 'thank you' in French?")
There may be others, but I think that should cover the major groups. I have purposefully excluded advanced language learners because I feel that they shouldn't need a phrasebook, just individual bits of vocabulary that a dictionary can provide better. Once we have got basic agreement on our target audience, we can decide how we determine objectively what is and is not useful - imo inclusion in a paper phrasebook should normally mean it gets included here, but non-inclusion in the same should not be used as a reason to exclude it here. Thryduulf (talk) 18:53, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
We can't just favor one group over another. We've never had a specific target audience, and neither should we... that completely defeats the point of a wiki project. If we favored X over Y we wouldn't allow minority languages at all. Utility is important, but arguably everything is or will be useful to someone somewhere. But when we try to define what is useful, then we end up shitting on someone somewhere. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 19:04, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, we do — or should — certainly have a target audience for the phrasebook: people who have use for something traditionally called a phrasebook (and so would look to ours).​—msh210 (talk) 19:38, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Re: "relative clauses and whatnot will be too complex"
Many polite formulations of requests require indirect clauses. Perhaps we could have generalized reminders of politeness considerations on every page or include more polite indirect formulations under a direct headword.
"Where is the nearest petrol/gas station?" is a bit cruder than "Could you tell me where the nearest petrol/gas station is?"
Re: "Usefulness"
Usefulness seems a goal that is hard to convert into operational criteria. If we could, it would be exactly what we want. But, "If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a trolley car." I think our best hope is to bootstrap our way into phrasebook CFI by:
  1. collecting situation sets that other phrasebooks use to group their phrases;
  2. populating only them initially, preferably only with expressions that are in at least one (two, three ?) of the phrasebooks;
  3. inferring rules based on our judgment of the merits and demerits of what other phrasebooks do.
Re: References. Perhaps we could construct some lists of good phrasebooks for comparison. Is there an equivalent to Onelook for phrasebooks? BTW, it would be particularly useful to find some usable ones that were compatible with our license practices. I stumbled across one reprinted by Dover that was originally from the US War Department (ie, predating its renaming as "w:Department of Defense" in 1947). DCDuring TALK 19:06, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
There are a lot of phrasebooks, and I feel the problem with picking a few will just invite more of the same bias we've been seeing. As I've pointed out elsewhere, there are phrasebooks dedicated to slang and colloquialisms, and still others that are dedicated to crudeness and vulgarities. Not everyone here wants to accept that, but we're a wiki - not etiquette instructors. So while getting phrases from phrasebooks is useful, I don't think we should put too much emphasis on that. I've never seen are you allergic to any medications in a phrasebook, but I'd argue that it's one of the most useful (and potentially lifesaving, if you get a careless doctor) that we have. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 19:12, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, I have expressed my opinions about the phrasebook and that I think we don't have the infrastructure to support it as well as it deserves to be supported here. However, if we are to have a phrasebook here then these are my thoughts regarding it.
  1. It should be segregated by namespace. This is the best mechanism for organization that we have at our disposal and it would be a pity not to use it.
  2. It should be divided by situation, but it should also be trivial to limit the number of languages displayed. I should be able to define my "situation" (i.e. I speak English but am in China so I would like to see English phrases with Mandarin and Cantonese translations, preferably with transliterations for those phrases.
  3. I should cohabitate with the main dictionary. There should be all kinds of links from the phrasebook to the main entries for as many words and collocations as possible.
  4. We should "advertise" the existence of the phrasebook on the main page as well as in the nav bar. Wikisaurus is pretty hard to find, and that is linked to by many, many pages. Phrasebook has the potential to be harder to find.
  5. Whatever layout we end up with should be machine readable in such a way that it could provide content for any number of frameworks which may wish to use it. If I could throw together an iPhone app based on the data and make a lot of money from it that would be ideal.
All of those are for the phrasebook as a whole, as for the content I am not as clear. I am sure about a few things, one is that I am never going to need to describe the relative size of my genitalia to any non-English speaker. It is entirely reasonable that someone will need to find out where the airport is and where the nearest restroom is. They will probably need to ask about the cost of things. Let's, at least for a start, restrict ourselves to a set of circumstances which are obviously solid phrasebook territory. Once we have that established let's discuss whether there is a giant market for a sex tourism phrasebook which we ought to target. I understand that as contributors we all have our different designs on how things should be, but this project isn't primarily about us, it is about everyone else. We ought to consider that when we generate content. - TheDaveRoss 20:19, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with all that, fwiw, including the bit about Wikibooks, except that I care little about making sure it's machine-readable. In particular, I don't think that that should be at another ideal's expense.​—msh210 (talk) 20:26, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
I too am firmly of the opinion that the phrasebook does not belong in the main namespace. This does present issues of how to find it. The easiest solution is to make sure that by default searches display results from the phrasebook namespace and display them with equal prominence to main namespace pages. There should also be prominent links from as many pages as is reasonable and I think nouns for things phrasebook users are likely to want to interact with in some way are key. For example, if am in country where I don't speak the language and need to know how to get to the airport then I would start by looking up "airport" so a prominent link at the airport entry to the phrasebook entry for "where is the airport?" and the section that includes phrases likely to be useful at an airport would be very useful. Off the top of my head other words like this would be "toilet", "ferry", "embassy", "beach", "museum", "hospital", "dentist" and "hotel". Equally useful would be links from question words that occur commonly in phrasebook phrases, e.g. "where", "how", "what". If someone comes up to you and asks "Where airport?" you know what they want even if it isn't grammatical. The links should be both prominently graphical for those with graphical devices but also textual for those who do not. Thryduulf (talk) 21:57, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

I live in...+ city name (phrasebook entry)Edit

Hi,

I'd like to add an entry demonstrating the usage of I live in + (city name), as the answer to where do you live? Not sure if I should choose a real city name, like I live in Melbourne or put dots I live in .... Any thoughts? When I created I'm English, not everyone was happy (I am not English, just chose this word). --Anatoli 23:52, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

The phrasebook is surprisingly controversial. My first thought is that there are too many cities to include them all, so I would say maybe just capital cities or the most populous cities in the world. Maybe the top 20 or something. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 00:29, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I was thinking to limit this example even further - down to one, one city would suffice but which one? Do we really need 20? Even taking into account that e.g. in Russian cities can conjugate differently, Москва в Москве, Мельбурн - в Мельбурне, as a demo one example would suffice, IMHO. As the author I'll create I live in Melbourne but I'm worried this could spawn thousand similar entries. Ok, I suggest one example, you suggest 20. Please confirm and explain why you think we need more than one. Any other opinions? --Anatoli 00:48, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I originally only wanted I don't speak English and do you speak English, but you're never going to get everyone to agree on the one city we should use. I personally don't see what makes Melbourne so special. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 01:22, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't make Melbourne special. It's the dictionary translation that matters. Do you suggest London or New York or your city? I'm happy to replace Melbourne if there is a consensus on what city should be chosen or no city at all. --Anatoli 01:32, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Eg. "tôi sống ở" is not a complete phrase in Vietnamese, need a city name as used in phrasebooks. --Anatoli 01:36, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I guess you're not willing to accept that you're never going to get any majority consensus on any one city to use. Bring this up on with Yair rand (talkcontribs) on his talk page and see what he says. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 03:18, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
No, I'm not that stubborn :) Perhaps, bring it up in BP as well?

Deletion debateEdit

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for deletion.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, though feel free to discuss its conclusions.


the entire Phrasebook.

So, this is a dictionary. A phrasebook is a somewhat related concept, but in terms of execution it is not what we are about here. There is this whole other project which is set up to publish books in a Wiki format, it is called Wikibooks. We should export all of the current content into a number of nascent Wikibooks phrasebooks and delete them here. They don't make sense here, they aren't particularly useful the way we have them designed, they are not central or relevant to our primary mission. Think about how phrasebooks are actually used. An electronic phrasebook, one which is accessible from a smartphone, say, would be an incredibly useful tool. Any incarnation of a phrasebook within the confines of Wiktionary would be severely limited in its usefulness. Why not nip this whole thing in the bud and put the effort into a phrasebook which can grow and evolve to suit need rather than trying to make it fit here, where it doesn't and wont ever properly fit? Get rid of it and let's get back to writing a dictionary. - TheDaveRoss 19:53, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

The problem is that it's literally turned into a joke, with entries like you wouldn't find this in a normal phrasebook. When people started creating things with zero Google hits, it basically turned to shit. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:58, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
The "joke" entries were added by Wonderfool, in case you've forgotten. Some jokes being added doesn't mean we should take down the whole project. --Yair rand (talk) 20:02, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Erghhh...
  1. The phrasebook has basically the same goal as Wiktionary, which is to help people understand languages.
  2. The phrasebook relies the same contributor base as the rest of Wiktionary.
  3. The phrasebook works quite well here, relying on tools that were built for regular Wiktionary entries but also work well for the phrasebook. (WT:EDIT)
  4. Wiktionary is not exclusively a dictionary. Read the main page: "Wiktionary has grown beyond a standard dictionary and now includes a thesaurus, a rhyme guide, phrase books, language statistics and extensive appendices." and that's barely half of the huge amount of language-related content that Wiktionary has grown to hold. The phrasebook is a perfect fit.
  5. This doesn't belong on RFD.
  6. Is this a joke?
--Yair rand (talk) 20:01, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Delete all the entries. They do nothing but frustrate anyone who is trying to look up a given phrase in a given language. I'd be happy to have this as an appendix, if someone can think of a format. Yair's points are mainly valid, but all irrelevant. Conrad.Irwin 20:03, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with moving it out of the dictionary namespace. An appendix could work. WikiBooks could work. Equinox 20:12, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Though I thought that the language skills of contributors here would allow us to make a big contribution, the lack of maturity and discipline among some (or the desire to sabotage ?) seems likely to make this an impossible project. I think we should give the effort a little more time to determine whether those willing to contribute can avoid making the phrasebook an embarrassment to the rest of the project. DCDuring TALK 20:05, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Yair, you confuse deliberate joke with joke. I think Daniel. and Atitarev have had more joke entries than me, Wonderfool and Vag, who've been making deliberate jokes, which sadly are no sillier than the serious entries. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:07, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Which of my entries did you find amusing or not useful? Let's move the discussion to BP. We should keep the phrasebook. --Anatoli 20:37, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

This is a subject for Beer parlour rather than RFD, which is for individual entries. A decision about a whole class of entries should not be made through the RFD process. --Dan Polansky 20:29, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Well, yes, in theory, but we don't have enough editors for it to matter. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:33, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't see what the number of editors has to do with anything. RFD is a wrong process for a whole class of entries. --Dan Polansky 20:58, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
In reality, it's the same people who are going to be commenting. All that will change is bit after Wiktionary
That RFD is accessible to the same editors for comments as Beer parlour has no bearing on RFD being an inappropriate place for requesting the removal of the whole phrasebook from the main namespace. By that argument, you could merge all the discussion pages into one, arguing that "it's the same people who are going to be commenting". Beer parlour is watched by more people than RFD, I estimate. Beer parlour is the place where policies are made and changed. --Dan Polansky 08:35, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
The serious entries are quite nice and I find them helpful. The silly entries are vandalism. Regarding frustration, I personally have tried to look up a given phrase in a given language and I was not frustrated, so it is not accurate to say that it does nothing but frustrate anyone who is trying to look up a phrase. I have not been able to find anyone who was frustrated, except in the cases where a phrase or language is still absent.
If the silly entries are going to continue, we may as well delete all of it. Moving it to another namespace will make the entries invisible and inaccessible, and it would be better to just delete them rather than move them. If they are moved, all work on them will cease and the existing phrases will be made useless.
Anyone who has made joke entries does not appreciate or value the phrasebook and they should stop making phrasebook edits altogether. If phrasebook is edited only by editors who see the value in it, it will remain useful and we should keep it where it is. —Stephen 21:00, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
The idea of an internet phrasebook has lots of merit. We don't have the capacity to execute it with any reasonable success here. Why are we putting forth the effort? The technical end of what an internet phrasebook should be able to do is not and should not be supported by the Mediawiki implementation here. The Mediawiki implementation at Wikibooks is intended for just such projects. How about the people who are passionate about phrasebooks start up a Wikibook or two and we can use this particular wiki for a dictionary. - TheDaveRoss 21:50, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Yeah transwiki to Wikibooks. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:11, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Wikibooks sucks. They have a few random good things that I've seen, but mostly... not good. Also our formatting is way more accessible, with the entry in English and the translations section... I don't know how well that would go over on wikibooks without making separate books for every language, which those of us who are into multiple language would just find irritating.... — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 01:33, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I spent a lot of time and effort translating phrasebook entries, I admit I enjoyed the work. Would be sad to see them go. I think we do have the capacity to create a good online phrasebook but it will probably have a limit. We have too many silly, repetitive or useless entries, which make the idea less attractive. The worst thing is adding obscenities, which has already upset a few editors (it seems it has attracted some too). Can anyone write a CFI proposal? --Anatoli 23:41, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the phrasebook does belong on Wiktionary, as a phrasebook is just a specialised kind of dictionary - a dictionary of phrases rather than a dictionary of words. I would move them to a new (pseudo-) namespace, and make that namespace searchable by default. That way we get the benefit of separation while making the entries in it as easy to find as they currently are - if not slightly easier, as you could search the phrasebook for e.g. love to find e.g. "I love you" and "I love her" without being taken straight to love. Thryduulf (talk) 11:36, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Delete the whole shebang per TheDaveRoss. In its current form the Phrasebook threatens to make the entire project a joke. Keep proverbs, though. --Hekaheka 17:26, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Move the whole shebang to appendix space, and redirect entries to appendices grouping phrases by broader areas of utility (looking for food, looking for shelter, looking for medical assistance). Wikibooks is not a developed enough project to effectively host this kind of material, and it surely belongs somewhere. bd2412 T 17:39, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep for now. Stephen is, I think, quite right that Appendix-space has been where many good ideas have gone to die. I don't think that has to be the case this time, but I think those of us who think the Appendix will work better need to put that appendix/namespace into full, demonstrably-superior working order before there are any bulk deletions or moves. -- Visviva 13:02, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
    • I disagree. I do a lot of work on appendices, and I think they will be an excellent resource once we come around to a good system of indexing them. bd2412 T 20:02, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree with Hekaheka, bd2412, Visviva, etc. I think a phrasebook belongs here, but not in its current form (note that set phrases such as good bye belong to the phrasebook, but should also be kept as normal pages). Redirects are a very good idea to make everybody happy. But the format has to designed, we should not hurry, let's take all the time required. Lmaltier 05:42, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Here is what an internet phrasebook should be able to do:
  1. Provide the means to select a language set and display only phrases and translations relevant to that language set.
  2. Not display phrases for which translations into the target language do not exist.
  3. Provide intuitive and quick navigation options.
  4. Be down-loaded into an easy, readily available framework for offline use.
  5. Be accessed with smart phones and other similar devices.
  6. Be free.
  7. Provide comprehensive, useful phrases for each supported language.
I think we can excel at numbers 6 and 7 but have absolutely no means to provide 1 through 5. If you have to be online and in a web browser which supports Mediawiki then you limit severely where you can use the phrasebook. If you have to hunt through two hundred translations to get the language you want then the phrasebook will be less useful. The only thing which Wiktionary has which makes it a reasonable place for the phrasebook is the community, and I say that the community can work together on Wikibooks as easily as it can here, or on phrasebook.wiktionary.org or whatever. - TheDaveRoss 19:01, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Those are excellent points. This suggests that Wiktionary can't really be an Internet phrasebook. However, it may still be possible for Wiktionary to provide the content for external Internet phrasebooks (thinking here of something like Ninjawords), if we want to do that. In that case a separate namespace seems more than warranted. —RuakhTALK 14:50, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't know why you say it can't be accessed through smartphones? I regularly access and sometimes edit Wiktionary using Internet Explorer on my ~5-year-old Windows Mobile-based smartphone. If I'm just reading I usually do so through Wapedia.mobi (as it loads the pages quicker) but it works directly too. The only problems I have are incomplete UTF8 support, and very long pages not always loading properly (this only affects big discussion pages like the tea room, beer parlour, etc. I've not had problems even with large entries). These issues are not insurmountable and probably don't exist on more modern devices.
Also, regarding your point about offline reference, I'd have thought the database dumps and/or book creator that Wikipedia links to in its sidebar would be perfectly adequate for this job. Thryduulf (talk) 00:50, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I'm working on something which can give users language specific translations at a glance. See User:Atelaes/Customization/Translations. This is still in development, and is not yet ready for prime-time, but I hope to see it there within a few months. Just to note. Also, support for smartphones is, while existent, rather shabby at present. However, Wikipedia has made some enormous strides in that area, and there is no reason to expect that we can't do the same. In short, let's not confuse current format with eternal format. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:58, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
How workable would your script be on a page like Appendix:I don't speak/full - it strikes me that it might just be pretty nift-tastic. Conrad.Irwin 01:06, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Just tested it and it does work, at least for me (try setting your language for Russian, which seems to be the most common language there). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:53, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

A phrasebook is not a dictionary. It's something very different. No dictionary has phrases such as I'm eighteen years old among its entries. Nonetheless, publishers are often the same, because the general objectives of a phrasebook and of a bilingual dictionary are about the same. This is why I think that the phrasebook may belong to the Wiktionary, but organized differently, as a phrasebook, not as a dictionary. But keeping it only in Wikibooks might be a good solution too. Lmaltier 16:35, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Delete or Move to the Appendix namespace. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:19, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Not keen on the Appendix: thing unless it's temporary. I would consider eventually moving all entries to a Phrasebook: namespace, for now just a pseudo-namespace. The only problem with the latter is that we have very strong groupthink on the titles of pages here. People have argued thesaurus entries for each word instead of a categorical scheme, and what's the point if that can just as easily be done with synonyms on the actual dictionary entry? I tried to make titles like Wikisaurus:fat (obese) showing the most common word and an unambiguous gloss, but the response I got was we don't do things that way here, as if there's a way we did things on a subproject as young! Not to mention that someone with power decided the name would not be Thesaurus: after all despite what was possibly stronger support for that option. The Citations: space as I had envisioned it would be case insensitive and combine various hyphenations for very good reason. Aside from the obvious benefit of comparing use for different spellings like color and colour on the same page, there's unavoidable ambiguity in that the case and hyphenation cannot always be determined due to sentence capitalization and end-of-line splits, respectively. But then without maturation of the new space, the citations page got attached to each entry which steamrolled right over that idea. So yeah, move all phrases to appendices if that will help us determine what the content should be, but in the end this should really be its own sub-project. DAVilla 08:39, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


Pawley on idiomatic constructionsEdit

I came across the following on reading Pawley's classic article.

  • 1983, Andre Pawley; Frances Hodgetts Syder, “Two puzzles for linguistic theory: nativelike selection and nativelike fluency”: 
    It has been suggested here that complex lexical items are much more numerous than has generally been conceded and that semi-productive grammatical patterns play and important part in the creation of new linguistic forms.
It may be convenient to posit a separate component in the description to handle the large body of institutionalized complex lexicla forms, and the semi-productive rules for generating new, nativelike sequences by inflecting, expanding or transforming these forms. This 'phrase book with grammatical notes' would occupy an intermediate position between the general grammatical patterns (described in terms of productive rules applying to category symbols) and the list of unitary lexical items (described in terms of their phonological form and meaning and their priveleges of occurrence in basic structures defined by the general, productive rules).

Should individual phrasebook items refer to entries in a distinct space of "constructions"? DCDuring TALK 16:12, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Modifying CFI for phrasebook entriesEdit

Many points were raised already in the CFI discussion above, but it doesn't seem like any conclusion was reached. I think the primary change needed to CFI to reflect how we treat phrasebooks is this:

  • Phrasebook entries are exempt from the idiomaticity requirement.
    • I believe this also exempts them, indirectly, from the "conveying meaning" requirement, because a nonidiomatic phrase has an evident meaning by virtue of being SoP. I don't know if this means that mentions are permitted as attestations, but it would allow us to say "these 3 phrasebooks have it, therefore we can have it too".
  • To counterbalance that, they are required to be typical and/or useful phrases.
    • What is considered to be useful is subject to debate, and was discussed to some degree above. I don't have a clear answer to this, but it should include an idea of what audience we are targeting and what situations the phrases will be useful to them in.
  • They should have the {{phrasebook}} template to indicate that the entry is subject to this exemption and extra requirement.

I don't believe that phrasebook entries should go in a different namespace. While it is a good idea in principle, not all entries that are useful or eligible for a phrasebook are necessarily only for the phrasebook. A phrasebook would include common greetings like hello for example, but we would not want to put them in another namespace, nor would it be desirable to duplicate them. —CodeCat 01:24, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Can we attempt "Basic English" in the glosses?Edit

I miss you, phrase. Indicates that the speaker has spent more time than is emotionally comfortable away from the interlocutor.

Apart from the problem of this being more of a commentary than a definition, I'm not sure how this gloss is helping anyone. If you can't understand "I miss you" then you're not going to understand the definition. For ordinary words, it makes sense to have precise and technical definitions, but for SOP phrasebook entries it's counter-productive. Should we add as a guideline that phrasebook definitions should attempt to use Basic English or something similar? Pengo (talk) 22:44, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

This why phraseologists, discourse analysts, and indeed most students of linguistics make poor lexicographers until they take on board the meaning of lexicography as a practical enterprise. If you are naive enough to believe that our contributors care much about users other than folks just like themselves, then you might also believe that an exhortation might change contributor behavior. The main purpose I think it might serve would be to get someone to write some Python or Perl to identify definitions that used words outside some restricted vocabulary and then for various folks to make many lists of defining vocabulary for different classes of words. I'm not familiar with all the well-established possibilities that are in the public domain, but am aware that there are some. This could lead a substantial and overdue review of some of our entries that would greatly benefit from such a review. DCDuring TALK 03:36, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any point in having definitions at phrasebook entries, since they would already be deleted as SoP if not for the phrasebook exemption. They should not have sense lines, only translations. Equinox 03:54, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Excellent points, DCDuring and Equinox. Not sure where to go from here. DCDuring - Methods I know of for measuring readability tend to be very simple, using simple vocabulary lists, word length, or sentence length. I guess it could be interesting to judge glosses based on some of these metric or measures to find the worst offenders though. —Pengo (talk) 04:50, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
My skepticism is just as to whether we have contributors who are willing to even attempt to write in simple English. It doesn't seem to be a challenge people get much enjoyment from overcoming. I somewhat enjoyed for a few times and found it tedious and unappreciated. I think the best thing we can do given our tools and skills is to focus attention on definitions that use words that are not even in a dictionary like Longmans DCE. Obviously if the context of the word is specialized or newish (eg, Internet), then the defining words may need to include some terms not in a basic English dictionary. Another approach is to rework any definition that uses obsolete, archaic or dated terms or terms with digraphs. Perl is reasonably well suited to making such lists. DCDuring TALK 15:44, 23 March 2014 (UTC)