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Talk:nota bene

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

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nota beneEdit

All the non-English language sections need cleaning up; viz., the definitions need correcting, appropriate POS headers need to be used, and they need expansion and elaboration generally.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:46, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Fixed definitions. —Stephen 03:37, 13 April 2009 (UTC)


folks, 'whilst' is not good english - using it is like pronouncing 'often' as 'off-ten' - so i took it out

replaced 'by dint of its obscuring the inflexion' with the more accurate 'by dint of its ambiguous inflexion'

clarified logic of 'consequently ... is occasionally used' and following sentence

replaced 'the grammar of Latin' with 'Latin grammar', 'most pedantic of language users' with 'most pedantic language users', etc

JohnintheBronx 19:01, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

I would disagree with it not being good English. It's perfectly good English, but rather archaic, and a poor stylistic choice. The editor who added it is known for his fondness for archaisms, but has made many excellent contributions (he recently called it quits here). Not that I'm criticizing your edit- it was a huge improvement. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:37, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Hi Chuck, I figured the author was good - otherwise how would he know that second usage note. Still, some of the grammar and word usage is just wrong.
Consider his "when this interjectional phrase is used whilst addressing an audience of more than one person, the plural form ... is occasionally used." Both the plural and singular forms are mentioned in the previous sentence. If 'this interjectional phrase' refers to the singular, it says "when the singular is used, the plural is occasionally used" which is impossible, and if the plural is meant, it says "when the plural is used, the plural is occasionally used" which is trivially true but not what he wanted to say. Hence my change in its logic.
Saying n.b. is acceptable "by dint of its obscuring the inflexion" uses the wrong word. If your vision is obscured, say, by the windshield fogging up, you still might be able to make out the road. And you still might make out the meaning of a term even when its sense is obscured. But this is not the case for n.b. On the other hand, a term is ambiguous when it has several meanings and it is not clear which is meant in a particular case. And the meaning of n.b. is ambiguous, hence the change to "by dint of its ambiguous inflexion."
But I confess that most of the other (suggested) changes (it's not my page - I only mean them as suggestions) are fussiness on my part. And whether "whilst" is good English or on a par with pronouncing "often" as "off-ten" is probably just subjective, based on our different experiences of the language. JohnintheBronx 02:16, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Though whilst is archaic in American English, it is current and usual in British English. —Stephen (Talk) 05:10, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Stephen, that occurred to me later. Once, believing 'learnt' to be a lower class British term, I told a British scholar using it that I didn't think it was written English. He allowed his manuscript to be changed, but I later discovered, to my chagrin, that Bertrand Russell, who received a Nobel Prize for literature, used 'learnt' regularly.
I used to use Hart's Rules for Compositors to get a sense of British usage. E.g., I believe that from 1954 on they preferred 'a historical' to 'an historical'. But when arguing with a Briton about it, he claimed that Oxford "didn't count" and that most British publications used 'an historical'. I have no idea of what goes on in Britain, and could not argue back.
Now we have Google Ngrams. Comparing 'a historical' vs 'an historical' for the United States and Britain, it seems that maybe I should have won that argument. For 'whilst' alone, both for the United States and for Britain, I go back to 1750, then compare 'whilst' and 'while' for the United States and Britain. Looks like 'whilst' has had its day in the US. Not sure how to call Britain. JohnintheBronx 22:27, 25 June 2012 (UTC)
Some words that begin with an h that came into English from Latin via French may still be pronounced by many in the UK with the h silent, and those who prefer the silent-h pronunciation will use it with an, as in "an historic". Throughout the U.S., almost all of these words have the h pronounced normally, so we here we write "a historic". British English is more affected by French than American English is. Some cases are reversed: in the U.S., lots of people pronounce herb with a silent h, but I think the British usually sound the h in this word. —Stephen (Talk) 00:51, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
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