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Information desk archives edit

May 2020

Wiktionary:Main PageEdit

I want it to be cascade protected because the main page is easy to break. Denimalt (talk) 00:18, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

How so? E.g.? —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:55, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
Like Vandalism. Denimalt (talk) 01:15, 3 May 2020 (UTC)
Cascading protection on Wiktionary:Main Page was disabled because it prevented many templates and modules that were used there from being edited. Instead, the templates or modules that are used on the Main Page that need protection are protected. See the history up to September 2016 and this discussion and others around the same time for more information. — Eru·tuon 01:41, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

What does this Chinese text say, if anything?Edit

Top of this screenshot: [1]. (I don't think anyone looks at Translation Requests any more, and it's only one "sentence".) Equinox 22:21, 3 May 2020 (UTC)

嚴重急性呼吸系統綜合徵冠状病毒冠状病毒科 [MSC, trad.]
严重急性呼吸系统综合征冠状病毒冠状病毒科 [MSC, simp.]
yánzhòng jíxìng hūxīxìtǒng zōnghézhēng guànzhuàngbìngdú shì guànzhuàngbìngdúkē yǐ-xíng-dú [Pinyin]
severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus is a type-b sickness of coronavirology Coronaviridae
Fascinating design choices made in the character shapes. I wonder if the person who drew them knows Chinese. —Suzukaze-c 07:22, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
Nah, he got it from zh.wikipedia, I realise now. It's a satirical/parody game entered into a competition for poor-quality games! Equinox 20:32, 4 May 2020 (UTC)
死亡  ―  sǐwáng  ―  death
perhaps a reference to Hong Kong 97 (video game)? —Suzukaze-c 07:26, 4 May 2020 (UTC)

Words with the biggest number of meaningsEdit

Hello, is there a list, perhaps automatically created, containing the words with the biggest number of English meanings, according to Wiktionary? Jack who built the house (talk) 09:44, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

In case there is no such and anybody would like to write a script, here's rough jQuery code that extracts the number of English meanings on a page, including nested ones (i.e., it doesn't count prototypical meanings). It works in the browser console, but could also work in a Node.js bot (you would need the cheerio npm module to make jQuery work there):
var posSelector = ['Adjective', 'Adverb', 'Ambiposition', 'Article', 'Circumposition', 'Classifier', 'Conjunction', 'Contraction', 'Counter', 'Determiner', 'Ideophone', 'Interjection', 'Noun', 'Numeral', 'Participle', 'Particle', 'Postposition', 'Preposition', 'Pronoun', 'Proper_noun', 'Verb']
  .map((pos) => `[id^="${pos}"]`)
  .join(', ');
  .nextUntil('h2, :last-child')
  .filter(function () {
    return $(this).is('h3, h4') && $(this).has(posSelector).length;
  .map((i, el) => $(el).nextUntil('h3, h4, h5, h6, :last-child').get())
  .filter(function () {
    return $(this).parent().is('ol');
Jack who built the house (talk) 10:56, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

What's that word: a phonological settingEdit

There's a word in phonology etc. for the (place, environment, setting, context?) in which a particular sound occurs. What is that word? Equinox 08:23, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

@Equinox: place of articulationΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:27, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
phonetic environment? It seems to be the term of art. That's not the same thing as the place of articulation though. PUC – 17:31, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
Or do you mean things like “Northern Appalachians, 1880s”? The term locale is used by some researchers in that sense.  --Lambiam 20:12, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
Oh, I meant the place between other vowels etc., not the physical point of articulation of a sound. Maybe "locale". Not sure. Equinox 03:10, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
I still have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe an example would help, but it sounds like "locale" is definitely not it. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:18, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: I mean the kind of situation that it occurs in. For example, in grammar, a word might occur immediately before a conjunction; in phonology, a vowel might occur immediately after a nasal. This is its "setting" or whatever. Equinox 05:58, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
I think what you're looking for is environment. For example, in many languages, voiceless consonants become voiced in an intervocalic environment. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:21, 11 May 2020 (UTC)
I think the term environment is used in that context because the consonant is surrounded by vowels. Otherwise, it is more common to use “prevocalic/postvocalic position”. And that term can also be used in combination with intervocalic: [2], [3], [4].  --Lambiam 06:55, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

racial classificationsEdit

We have a bunch of them, like mulatto (where, for lack of any better way to do this, I've been centralizing the lot of 'em), mustee, quadroon, marabou, etc. Do we want to put these in a category? A few are haphazardly placed into the "racism" category. - -sche (discuss) 08:45, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

I'm not sure. And if there were a category for dated racial terms, should it include mongoloid and the like as well? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:26, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
These are not racial classifications, but English nouns for people with (various degrees of) multiracial ancestry. This is a bit of a mouthful for a category name, but better a long then a misleading name.  --Lambiam 20:02, 10 May 2020 (UTC)
Nouns which presuppose a conceptual classification, so the same thing. Just that some are less official than others. We have Category:Taxonomy; but since these terms only apply to one species there needs to have a special category – but here you have at least the supercategory; in principle special treatment of man here is not surprising, it is like the split between veterinary medicine and human medicine. Fay Freak (talk) 18:09, 11 May 2020 (UTC)

A weird red link, ⁠Charles...?????Edit

Yup, you saw that right. A red link for Charles, which should most definitely be an entry here. What I did was include "%E2%81%A0" in the link. How do I know this?

Well, I was using a Python script to generate links to words from excerpts, that I copy into User:PseudoSkull/Words from my Atom text editor, and for some reason that particular word included that "%E2%81%A0" line before it after I copied it (it doesn't seem to be there in the text editor). So how could I have picked this up from my text editor?

According to Charbase, this is called "U+2060: WORD JOINER". The other thing I know is that the particular text this instance of "Charles" came from was wikisource:Oliver_Twist_(1922_film), and the original text for that "Charles" was in a cursive font.

...I am still genuinely confused. \o/ PseudoSkull (talk) 06:02, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

@PseudoSkull: Did a little detective work. That word joiner occurs on s:Page:Oliver Twist (1922).webm/7 and it comes from s:Template:Gap. Not sure what the purpose is though. — Eru·tuon 06:21, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
Gap just offsets text. —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:34, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Yeah, but then why the word joiner? I thought maybe it would allow Arabic words to be joined across the gap (why that would be needed, I don't know), but that doesn't seem to be the case. — Eru·tuon 16:19, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
@Erutuon: Reckon it's to keep from line breaks before the text that has a gap. If you have Line A ends with "...text text text [gap]" and then Line B starting "Text text text...", then it's not clear that there ever was some reason why a gap was inserted for the initial print edition of the work. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:36, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Sorry, I'm confused by your wording, like "keep from line breaks"... do you mean that the word joiner is to try to make the word before the gap and the word after the gap both appear on the same line? — Eru·tuon 18:58, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
@Erutuon: Wow, I tried to be as clear as I could but I guess I'm just having an off day when it comes to communicating with intelligent adults. :/ Per my example above, you want the whitespace gap on the same line as the text that immediately follows it, so that it's clear that there even is a gap. From what I'm seeing, the joiner makes the gap and the following word on the same line but not the word preceding the gap. (I hope that's more clear--I just got bad sleep this past day.) —Justin (koavf)TCM 19:02, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Ah, thanks, I've got it now. Yeah, I have some days with the same malady. — Eru·tuon 19:06, 21 May 2020 (UTC)
I used to get invisi-junk somewhat similar to this when copy-pasting material from Google Books search results, but I think they changed whatever was causing it. (Almost related: this week I had a stupid bug where some SQL in a Web script got no results, despite being obviously correct when I printed the SQL to investigate. After spending ages checking if I was actually connected to the correct db, I realised I was looking at output in a browser, and yes, there was a whole HTML tag lurking in there. duh) Equinox 18:55, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

It is about role of round brackets in words transcription.Edit

I've noticed that in transcriptions of some words there is round brackets, for example: letter, intellectual and government have transcriptions /ˈlɛtə(ɹ)/(RP)(https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/letter), /ˌɪntəˈlɛk(t)ʃʊəl/(https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/intellectual) and /ˈɡʌvə(n)mənt/(RP)(https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/government), respectively; what role is given to these brackets? I apologize if a similar question has already been asked before, but I will be very grateful if I get an answer to it. Thanks in advance.

They're called parentheses, and they mark that something is optional. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:22, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

Thank you very much!^_^

Question: Shortcut to Search Wiktionary box when typing in Arabic?Edit

I use the shortcut alt-shift-f to jump to 'Search Wiktionary'.
However, when I'm looking up Arabic words I am typing in Arabic. alt-shift-f (which is actually alt-shift-ب when typing in Arabic) does not work.
Question: is there an equivalent shortcut when using Arabic? Or should I change a setting?
Thanks in advance for any help.

No. It is the usual bad software design to connect software actions with the strings returned from pressing keys, instead of binding the actions to the positions of keys (the keycodes). Fay Freak (talk) 12:45, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
@Fay Freak: I don't understand the distinction. Can you clarify what this means? —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:08, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Easy example: Y and Z are reversed on the German keyboard layouts by reason of the frequency in the language. An US programmer makes a jump'n'run game where Z is the key to jump and X to shoot. But the way he has implemented it a German user needs to press a totally different key, stretching his hand to reach for both the jump and the shoot key. And with an Arabic layout one cannot do anything at all, because there is no Z or X. The application could have been programmed to listen to the position of the key only. Software development libraries designed to provide hardware abstraction layers (to provide a libre example, SDL2) offer easy methods for both ways for application developers. Fay Freak (talk) 18:29, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
@Fay Freak: Got it. So instead of "Alt+Shift+F", it should be "Alt+Shift+[the home row left pointer finger key]". —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:44, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

Thing and ObjectEdit

Both Thing and Object are basal/fundamental terms in English. Thing also has the derivations: something, anything, everything, nothing; which are used a lot. Unfortunately, fundamental things are hard to define, particularly in meaningful ways (i.e. other than just using a synonym) and without circular definitions. Thing and Object currently show the following circular definitions: A thing is an object; an object is a thing. The same problem shows in Wikipedia for Object (philosophy) and Thing (disambiguation). --Rwilkin (talk) 13:21, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

Should the quote be on its obsolete spelling, or on the current one?Edit

Looking at savage, there's currently a Dryden quote, "savage berries of the wood". In the first edition, it's ſalvage; in more recent copies, it's savage. I see that salvage lists itself as an obsolete spelling. Do I put the Dryden quote with the obsolete spelling under savage, or under salvage? grendel|khan 18:31, 26 May 2020 (UTC)

The obsolete spelling is far more valuable, because it displays that this spelling actually was used. It's probably less urgent to show that the word "savage" actually exists in English but I was totally ignorant that "ſ/salvage" was ever a word. —Justin (koavf)TCM 20:21, 26 May 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: That sounds reasonable; done and done! grendel|khan 21:56, 26 May 2020 (UTC)
In general, it depends on the use for the quote: if it's for verifying that an alternative form exists/existed, definitely it should go on the alternative form page. If you're trying to show the range of usage, it should go on the main form page, or on the main form's Citations page if it would overload things. Of course, you can do both: have the verification quotes on the alternative-form page and also have a selection of the same quotes at the main-form entry or citations page.
The idea is to have enough at the main-form page to give a full picture, but to have at the alternative form only things that apply to the alternative form but not the main form, such as pronunciation, labels where the alternative form is limited in some way (e.g. it's regional or more formal/informal), and (rarely) etymology for cases where the main-form etymology is wrong when applied to the alternative form. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:22, 27 May 2020 (UTC)

Expressive originEdit

cuc#Catalan states under Etymology: "of expressive origin". What does that mean? 11:38, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

My guess would have been imitative (like the sound "woof") but I don't see how it applies here. Equinox 15:46, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
Got an answer here from Word dewd544 who originally added that etymology. 12:28, 2 June 2020 (UTC)


Can you inform us of any interviews with Wiktionarians? I remember there being an in-depth one a couple years ago. --Undurbjáni (talk) 23:35, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

incorrect translation of the ancient Greek word ῥώννυμιEdit

The translation of the ancient Greek word ῥώννυμι is incorrect. This word has absolutly nothing to do with health. It's like a circle. Everyone writes it wrong from the other.

So what is the correct translation, and on whose authority should we accept this as correct?  --Lambiam 20:48, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

June 2020

I just tried to swap to articles (µK and μK), and something went south. Help?Edit

µK is with U+00B5 : MICRO SIGN


Moving didn't work, so I tried swapping the content of both pages. The second act of that sequence was blocked by an "SLO" filter, and now I can't even undo the edit I did to the other article. Right now, they both redirect to each other ):

What can I do? —This unsigned comment was added by Theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything (talkcontribs).

@Theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything: This is confusing and I'm sometimes slow, so maybe help me understand:
What content should be at the page µK (micro sign/K)?
What content should be at the page μK (mu/K)?
While Wiktionary does have some redirects, they are far more rare than (e.g.) Wikipedia. —Justin (koavf)TCM 21:24, 3 June 2020 (UTC)
Originally, the mu page said that it was a symbol for microkelvin, and the other one redirected to that.
I thought that it should be the other way around, such that the micro sign page has the content and the mu page redirects to it.
I tried to move the mu page to the micro page, but I couldn't, since the micro page was there already. I couldn't find a delete button,
so I decided to try swapping both site's contents. The second edit of this was picked up by some editing filter,
and I tried undoing my change to the other page, thinking that this filter was to prevent swapping of content,
but the filter also blocked the undo.
Theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything (talk) 01:08, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
@Theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything: Thanks for explaining. Can you point me to any resources that use either <µK> or <μK>? That can help me understand if one form is used (and if so, which one) or if both forms are used. Note also that µ (micro) redirects to μ (mu).Justin (koavf)TCM 01:12, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: I'm not sure, but, my question is mostly concerned with: Why was my second edit stopped? What should I do instead, if I wanted to swap two pages? Should I ask an administrator? What does "SLO" mean? Theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything (talk) 01:31, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
@Theanswertolifetheuniverseandeverything: The term "SLO" refers to Special:AbuseFilter/83 (note that you won't be able to view the details of this as you aren't an administrator). Without going into too much detail, MediaWiki allows users to set up filters that block potentially unhelpful edits, e.g. if someone writes the same character repeating more than seven times or if more than 80% of an edit is in ALL CAPS or if someone adds a link that includes a string like "freeMP3s.biz", etc. The AbuseFilter isn't perfect, so there's always a balance between vandalism, accidents, and good edits. It seems like yours was in the second camp. In the future, if you see two pages that you think should be swapped, definitely do contact an admin, as just copying and pasting the content of one page into another page is not allowed (it breaks the edit history and makes it impossible to give proper attribution to the editors who made the page). Good questions and your instinct was understandable, even if you were off base this time. Let me know if you have any more questions. —Justin (koavf)TCM 02:10, 4 June 2020 (UTC)