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User talk:Nbarth/Archive 2008

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Archive This is an archive of past discussions. Please do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.
Archive 2008



Hello, and welcome to Wiktionary. Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are a few good links for newcomers:

I hope you enjoy editing here and being a Wiktionarian! By the way, you can sign your name on Talk (discussion) and vote pages using four tildes, like this: ~~~~, which automatically produces your name and the current date. If you have any questions, see the help pages, add a question to one of the discussion rooms or ask me on my Talk page. Again, welcome! --Connel MacKenzie 17:42, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


Posted on WP, when I had not been reading WT much


Thanks for visiting Wiktionary. Having no idea what level of newcomer you were, I simply deleted your talk page when that spambot posted a little nonsense there (and elsewhere, e.g. my talk page.) In hindsight, I should have put {{subst:welcome}} after deleting, but was busy chasing down other pages affected, at the time.

--Connel MacKenzie - wikt 17:46, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


"Chinese" is a broad group of languages. Please be more specific when creating Wiktionary entries to say which language they belong to (e.g. Mandarin, Min nan, Wu). --EncycloPetey 00:50, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Template:R:Urban Dictionary

Can we consider Urban Dictionary to be a reliable reference, given that it is based on unreviewed user contributions (much like the wiki's)? Conrad.Irwin 23:49, 12 February 2008 (UTC)


Blocked (15 minutes): modifying policy page WT:ELE out of process. Do not do this, comment on the talk page.

Failing to respond here or re-blanking this page is cause for a longer block! Robert Ullmann 00:39, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry about that; I thought it was an innocuous change. I'll stick to the talk pages of policy pages.
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:59, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


You added the "This is a policy" heading to this page; as far as I am aware, it is not a policy. If there is a vote to make it so that I have missed, please correct me and re-revert. Yours Conrad.Irwin 21:42, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry. I am sure I am used to seeing a different template on "not-policy" like pages, but I can't remember what it is. Your idea sounds excellent, I do not wish to make that mistake again. Yours Conrad.Irwin 21:55, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
On second thoughts, would {{Policy-DP}} be a better solution, as there is no-one actually working on that page? Your choice. Conrad.Irwin 21:58, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for fixing that. Conrad.Irwin 23:53, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Welcome template

Sorry, you never seem to have received one of these - it might makes things clearer for you:

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Wiktionary is run in a very different manner from Wikipedia and you will have a better experience if you do not assume the two are similar in culture. Please remember that despite your experience on Wikipedia, that experience may not always be applicable here. While you do not need to be an expert, or anything close to one, to contribute, please be as respectful of local policies and community practices as you can. Be aware that well-meaning Wikipedians have unfortunately found themselves blocked in the past for perceived disruption due to misunderstandings. To prevent a similar outcome, remember the maxim: be bold, but don't be reckless!
Having said that, we welcome Wikipedians, who have useful skills and experience to offer. The following are a couple of the most jarring differences between our projects that Wikipedians may want to learn up front, so things go smoothly for everyone. Changing policy pages on Wiktionary is very strongly discouraged. If you think something needs changing, please discuss it at the beer parlour, after which we may formally vote on the issue. You should also note that Wiktionary has very different user-space policies, we are here to build a dictionary and your user-page exists only to facilitate that. In particular we have voted to explicitly ban all userboxes with the exception of {{Babel}}; please do not create or use them.

We hope you enjoy editing Wiktionary and being a Wiktionarian. Conrad.Irwin 21:46, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Namespace Balance

Hi Nbarth, I don't want to be seen to be scaring you off - it is useful to have someone who writes down the rules; however I would strongly advise you to edit more in the main namespace before writing all of these policy-esque pages. Some of what you said on the Wiktionary:Idioms page is useful, some of it is nearly right - but other bits are obviously wrong, or misleading at best. By spending a bit more time in the main namespace you can get to know what common practice actually is, and it takes a long time - as mentioned in the template above. Wiktionary has great difficulty in writing down "rules" about language, it is almost impossible to find a rule with no exceptions, and thus there is not much point in writing the rule down - it only confuses people, or makes them try to force exceptions to fit in. I hope to see you around more, but please - until you have acclimatised a bit more - could you refrain from laying down the laws. Yours Conrad.Irwin 23:30, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

That sounds like a very good idea, thank you; Sorry for biting you. Yours Conrad.Irwin 23:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Thats fine, thanks again. (Incidentally, as you seem to be spending more time here you might want to change your (talk) link to this page, I keep getting sent to 'pedia by accident - though this is of course your choice ;) Conrad.Irwin 23:28, 20 February 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for working on this page. Most of your edits have been useful and consistent with Wiktionary practice. However, I have removed the section header "Neologisms", as the content put under the header was certainly not limited to neologisms. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:31, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi Atelaes,
Thanks for checking over my edits and the comments!
Any thoughts on proper umbrella terms for various word formation categories (instead of neologisms)? What I wanted to distinguish was cases where roots can be traced back a ways, versus various compounds and other formations.
Presumably there should be some category for "Regular formations" (additions of affixes, compounds, etc.); should there be an umbrella category for irregular formations like blends, idioms, coinages, etc.?
Nbarth (email) (talk) 23:36, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
To be honest, I don't know if such a division is desirable or useful. Many compounds go back quite a ways. Take the rather large word that I've been working on lately. It's a compound, created by a specific, known author, in a specific, known work, and yet I imagine you will agree that it would be quite absurd to call it a neologism.  :-) The simple fact is that many words fall into numerous categories, and I don't think it necessary to create umbrellas categories to divide the various methods of word creation/inheritance apart. To be honest, I rather think that the current organization is acceptable as it stands. However, that does not mean that it cannot be improved, nor does it mean that I think you should stop trying to institute such improvement. I apologize that I don't have any better alternative suggestions for you, but I feel very strongly that the information you put under "Neologisms" does not simply apply to neologisms. Additionally, I think it a bad idea to separate "regular" combinations from "irregular" ones, such as blends. In Ancient Greek for example, many prepositions are often combined with others to form compounds, and yet so are many nouns, verbs, and some pronouns. One would be hard-pressed to identify which words qualify as "regular" prefixes, and which are simply words which are sometimes combined. Admittedly, this distinction is a bit clearer in English. While I agree that it is a good idea to specify the mode of combination when appropriate, such as blends and calques, I think it less useful to distinguish between regular and irregular combination. Finally, feel free to respond here; I'll see it, and it's easier for others to follow, should anyone want to. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:59, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed about "neologism"—apologies for using the term loosely.
Good point about categories being slippery; perhaps best is simply to list various recommendations for various recognized kinds of word formation, without trying to subdivide these further. We clearly want all term + -ly words to have the same etymology format, but I don't think we're in the business of defining word formation categories (as far as I know =).
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:06, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Wiktionary:About Chinese characters

Oh, very good! This has been on my to-do list forever!

I think we can just drop any description of the "old template"; with the exception of a few remnant sections, they are all gone.

Thanks, Robert Ullmann 15:54, 8 June 2008 (UTC)



I don't suppose you could add a Babel template (see Template talk:Babel) to your user page? Doing so helps people see where your edits are coming from (especially useful for CJKV, if you're editing entries for Han characters; but even aside from that, it can be helpful to see whether a given edit was by a native speaker, a non-speaker, or something in between), and also adds you to categories that help people find editors who know specific languages.

Thanks in advance! :-)
20:43, 15 June 2008 (UTC)


Thanks for cleaning these entries up. However, please not that the lemma (in this case the singular for the noun) should have a complete etymology, and not refer the user to another page for the rest of the story. --EncycloPetey 23:52, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Constant archiving

The reason why Ruakh reverted your edit was because it is generally considered bad form to remove comments left on your talk page. Now, admittedly, you are archiving them, so it's not as if you are simply removing them from Wiktionary. However, I still think it a bad idea (and I am not alone in this opinion). Would you be willing to consider leaving comments left on your talk page, and then doing a single large archive every six months or so? This leaves the possibility for ongoing discussions, as well as simply giving a person a measure of your wikt character. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:54, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi Atelaes,
I archive completed threads aggressively to keep my talk page short and only containing active discussions – in addition to making it easier to parse, this ensures that I don’t miss comments on old threads (this has happened to me in the past).
I don’t archive ongoing discussions, or items for which I still have some follow-up, but if a discussion seems ended, I archive it.
Since I archive all comments, I don’t see any problem other than a messy edit history.
I don’t quite follow what you mean by “giving a person a measure of your wikt character”, but if you mean “having your previous comments visible”, those are certainly available in the archive, and a fortiori, in the User contributions.
Nbarth (email) (talk) 03:54, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Saint Éloigné des voies ferrées

Bonjour, Hi,
On discute à Wiktionary:Requests for deletion de l'existence ou non de la locution Saint Éloigné des voies ferrées. C'est vous qui a créé cet article, donc je voudrais vous inviter à participer à cette discution, si vous voudriez. At Wiktionary:Requests for deletion, we're discussing whether the expression Saint Éloigné des voies ferrées exists. Since you added that entry, I'd like to invite you to participate in that discussion, if you'd like to.
Merci d'avance ! Thanks in advance!
RuakhTALK 16:52, 9 August 2008 (UTC) RuakhTALK 16:52, 9 August 2008 (UTC)


May I ask which source you're referencing on this etymology. All of my sources simply indicate it to be a participle of acuō. And while I can't seem to verify this for certain, acuō appears to be a native Latin word, perhaps from *h₂eḱ-. There are a number of features of this word which make me think it unlikely to have come from Greek. Many thanks. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 06:59, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

EP agrees with me and has changed the etymology on acutus (and I have made some changes to ὀξύς (oxús) and acute). If you feel strongly that this is the case, please feel free to contest. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 17:45, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Hi Atelaes,
Sorry about this – I messed up, and y’all are completely right. Thanks for the catch and fix!
I was copying a discussion of etymology from Wikipedia’s page on acute accent, from this revision, and misread it – they were saying that “acute accent” (the phrase) is derived from a Latin phrase, which is a calque of a Greek phrase.
I’ve put this discussion at acute accent, and removed it from w:acute accent, where it was incomplete and too prominent anyway, and linked that page to Wiktionary, for those who care about etymology.
BTW, you wouldn’t know the Ancient Greek term for acute accent, would you?
Nbarth (email) (talk) 23:15, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, a bit of looking reveals the proper etymology of acute accent, apparently:
From Latin accentus (accent) acūtus (sharp), a calque of Ancient Greek προσῳδία (prosōidía, accent) ὀξύς (oxús, sharp).
I’ve put that in, also adding etymologies for ode, aigu, written accentus (with etymology), and noted the striking cognacy accent/prosody; hope I haven’t made too much a hash of things.
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:06, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
What this means is that the entire word acute accent is a calque from Greek. Neither acutus nor accentus is a calque. --EncycloPetey 00:10, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Confusingly, it seems that acute accent is a calque from Greek, but also the term accentus is itself a calque of προσῳδία (prosōidía, accent), based on references below.
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:21, 26 June 2008 (UTC)


Two questions: (1) Where are you getting your Latin etymologies? Your etymology does not match my Latin references, which derived this word from accino. (2) How is prosodia (note that link forms should not use macrons) a related term? The two words don;t look or sound anything alike, and don;t come from the same root word. --EncycloPetey 00:03, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi EncycloPetey,
Several sources I checked list it as a calque from Ancient Greek, hence why they look quite different – from what I can gather, Romans wanted a precise translation of the term.
I’m not expert on this, but it seemed credible:
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:11, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Dictionaries of Latin disagree, as this is merely the participle of an existing Latin verb that fell out of use long after the participle became a word in its own right. Ety online may be oversimplified, since it is the verb accino that appears to be the calque. --EncycloPetey 00:29, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, so:
  • accentus is a form (participle) of accinō (sing to), though the verb fell out of use.
  • accinō was not originally a calque from Greek?
  • was the phonological meaning of accinō based on analogy/calquing from Greek?
That is:
  • is there any connection between accentus and προσῳδία (prosōidía)?
  • if there is, does it go via accinō?
  • if there isn’t, presumably the sources are wrong?
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:37, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
I've put back in (at least temporarily) the information as "also possibly a calque". Either my source is lacking information, or your source(s) are oversimplifying the situation. It will take a few more pairs of eyes to work this out. --EncycloPetey 00:40, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Agreed that this bears teasing out – thanks!
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:43, 26 June 2008 (UTC)


Also, please always identify the language of a descendant word, just as we do for Translations. --EncycloPetey 00:06, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Will do – could we add this to WT:ELE#Descendants?
“List terms in other languages that have borrowed or inherited the word.”
to read:
“List terms in other languages that have borrowed or inherited the word. As with translations, identify the language of descendant words.”
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:19, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
Odd.. I thought we had a start on a policy page for Descendants, but I can't find it. There must have been a conversation on a talk page that got lost. Unfortunately, changing anything on WT:ELE requires a vote, as it is our core policy document. So, that would take a while to get done. --EncycloPetey 00:27, 26 June 2008 (UTC)


See: Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Category:Wikisaurus

Actually, there is a need for the category. All Wii pages are expected to be categorized, or they clog up the list of uncategorized pages. It may seem superfluous, since there is a separate namespace, but it is technically required. --EncycloPetey 00:47, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Re-adding the category would be best. We categorize items in all namespaces. All Citations: pages are categorized in Category:Citations; all Appendix: pages are categorized in Category:Appendices or its subcategories; all Concordance: pages are categorized in Category:Concordances, etc. --EncycloPetey 00:58, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, will do and make a note.
Nbarth (email) (talk) 00:58, 29 June 2008 (UTC)
Note that we categorize things in some even-numbered namespaces (not Mediawiki, and I'm not sure what with Citations), the odd-numbered namespaces (talk pages) are not. But it isn't about Special:UncategorizedPages, which is only NS:0; there are others for other namespaces (Special:UncategorizedTemplates, Special:UncategorizedCategories, Special:UncategorizedImages). And there is no "Special:UncategorizedWikisaurus" (which would require writing or modifying a code module for the MW software). Having a category which replicates Special:AllPages/Wikisaurus: may be useful, or may not. Robert Ullmann 11:08, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

I’ve raised this discussion at Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Category:Wikisaurus, since it seems to be of broader interest.

Nbarth (email) (talk) 21:19, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

The reversion of Gigantic


I have to laugh at this reversion! The reason the page had problems is that I was in the middle of fixing them! LOL It takes me quite some time to complete one of these pages so quite often you'll find a page that is not quite up to snuff. I promise you, I'm working as fast as I can to get them going, but I do have other responsibilities.

Thanks for the vigilance, though. It's nice to know that people are right on top of what goes on here. But could you revert it back? I don't exactly know how to go about that. :)

Thanks Amina (sack36) 06:52, 30 June 2008 (UTC)


Another thing related to etymology, in this case of a peculiar Japanese word. You simply put forth as its etymology "助 (jo, “help”) +数 (sū, “number”) +詞 (shi, “word”)". The problem with this, of course, would be that this is no etymology in the sense of "history of a word", but just the explanation of the meaning usually attached to the kanji it consists of in modern Japanese orthography. This may be helpful for a learner, but an etymology would at least have to state when and where this word is first attested, if it was borrowed from Chinese or invented in Japanese, and of what parts it was made up: josū+shi or the other way round - it is almost impossible that it was immediately made up of three equal parts. It might be the case that this is not what you want to present. Then maybe a different heading(eg "explanation of kanjis") might do better. Best regards G Purevdorj 22:40, 6 July 2008 (UTC)


Thought you might want to see this. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:57, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

the pen is mightier than the sword : origin

See: User talk:Widsith#the pen is mightier than the sword : origin.3F


You write that “the pen is mightier than the sword” was first recorded in the sixteenth century.

Do you have a citation for this?

I ask, as the Wikipedia page attributes it, in this exact form, to Bulwer-Lytton (1839).

It also mentions various predecessors, dating back to Hebrews 4:12 (“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword,”), but no earlier versions of this form. The 16th century examples it cites are a Spanish work (translated to English), and a similar English work reading: "The dashe of a Pen, is more greeuous than the counterbuse of a Launce." – is this what you were referring to?

For the etymology, should we cite Bulwer-Lytton for this form, and mention some predecessors, referring to WP for a longer discussion?

Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 23:39, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Blimey, that was more than 2 years ago - Christ knows what I'd been reading back then! Looking at some of my sources now though, I think the situation is that the same IDEA goes back to the 16th century - the one I had in mind was the Whetstone quote you mention above. The exact form of words is from Bulwer-Lytton, no argument there. I have to say I think that to say he "coined" the phrase (as Wikipedia currently does) seems a bit much, given that people had been saying something similar for a long time, and the phrase was almost certainly already proverbial when he put it in Richelieu. By the way, I don't think the Bible quote you mention is quite the same thing. Ƿidsiþ 07:20, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

Chinese characters

Hi, I must apologize for not having the (personal) "bandwidth" (trip to Rwanda, etc ;-) to look at the page(s) on Chinese characters and the BP postings in July, all very good; and I mean to do some more work myself. Feel free to prod me. Thanks! Robert Ullmann 00:54, 14 September 2008 (UTC)



See: User talk:EncycloPetey#eschew

Your additions are not supported by style manuals or writers' guides. The linked WP article contains no citations except that the phrase "eschew obfuscation" appeared in a 1959 NASA internal memorandum. --EncycloPetey 20:17, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

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