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Wiktionary:Information desk/2014/July


Are there any languages, besides Icelandic, that have a feminine equivalent to -son or -sen? --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:53, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Irish: Nic
Azeri: qızı
Russian: -овна (-ovna)
Ungoliant (falai) 15:04, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
But it is only Icelandic, as far as I know, that uses the feminine as the standard, and where the masculine form is rare. For example, Russian: -овна (-ovna) is only for women, never for men. Icelandic -dóttir makes surnames for both women and for men. —Stephen (Talk) 05:46, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
One needs to be clear that Russian -овна (-ovna)/-евна (-evna) is a feminine patronymic suffix (masculine: -ович (-ovič)/-евич (-evič)), not a surname forming suffix, like -son or -sen. Equivalent surname forming suffixes in Russian are -ов (-ov)/-ев (-ev), -ин (-in)/-ын (-yn), which receive a "-а" in the feminine form (many, not all surnames have masculine and feminine forms). E.g. surnames: Петро́в (Petróv) m, Петро́ва (Petróva) f, patronymics: Петро́вич (Petróvič) m, Петро́вна (Petróvna) f. There are also surnames with -ович (-ovič)/-евич (-evič), which don't have feminine forms in Russian. (Note: all these rules don't automatically coincide with various other Slavic languages.)--Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 06:06, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
And if I recall correctly, -dóttir also forms patronymics rather than family names. (I can add -ówna and -anka, which are attached to surnames, forming surname forms; both are falling out of use.) Keφr 10:31, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Stephen, -dóttir is never used to form men's names, only -son is and there's nothing rare about it. And as stated above names formed using -son and -dóttir are patronymics, not surnames. For example, the son of Bjarni Jónsson might be called Sigurður Bjarnason, but his daughter would be Sóley Bjarnadóttir. BigDom (tc) 08:10, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I once knew an Icelander who considered his father's name too ordinary, so he changed his "last name" to Mother's-name-son instead of Father's-name-son. Do transsexual Icelanders change their -son to -dóttir and vice versa? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:28, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, while matronymics are fairly uncommon they do exist (e.g. if the father is unknown or absent, or his name is too common [never heard that one before, gave me a chuckle]) but they still follow the rules of "-son" for males and "-dóttir" for females. The (brief) Icelandic WP article on transgenderism (w:is:Transfólk) says that trans people often change their names but it doesn't go into any more detail. BigDom (tc) 18:57, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I like the term transfolk. I was about to say we need to adopt that in English, but I see it's already a blue link. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:35, 10 July 2014 (UTC)


Please let me know how to terminate my account. Thank you —This unsigned comment was added by Angelucci (talkcontribs).

Just stop logging in. Keφr 17:23, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Thank you —This unsigned comment was added by Angelucci (talkcontribs).

Just to be clear, your contributions will stay here. Not sure if anyone here would serve an w:WP:RTV request. Why such a sudden decision, though? Keφr 17:27, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

I am fed up with you patronizing and talking down to me. If I upload bogus stuff as said by Renard Migrant on his request for cleanup, I do better find another way to exercise my brain and mind!Angelucci (talk) 18:10, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

I am sorry that you have had a bad experience. We recently lost the services of a veteran patroller, who was very appreciative of Italian-language contributions and contributors. If I understand the situation correctly, I may be able to explain why some Italian entries you made were deemed problematic
Not every entry that it a good translation of a single English word and should be in a translation table should necessarily be an entry in its language. Specifically, those multi-word expressions whose meaning is obvious from the meanings of their arts are in principle excluded. Thus con tono di condiscendenza looks to me to be a perfectly good translation of condescendingly, at which entry it appears, as it should. It should not be linked as a unit however. Rather each individual word should be linked.
The matter of what is and what is not an includable multiword expression in a given language requires lot of discussion, most of which is on Wiktionary:Requests for deletion and its archives. Though some disagree, the existence of a one-word translation is not considered by itself to be sufficient reason to include a multiword expression. DCDuring TALK 19:26, 2 July 2014 (UTC)



For the page integrity, I was interested in requesting that the definition (specified on Wikipedia, wording modified) be incorporated:

Of operating based upon an internally consistent framework of principles

Is this acceptable as a definition?

Thanks — 2602:304:59B8:1D39:B4CF:5D0:49D7:4516 03:00, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

It's not worded as a noun. It should be something like "The characteristic or state of having or operating under an internally consistent system of principles." Is it supposed to apply to people, organizations, systems? How do you know that the WP definition is actually in demonstrable use? Can you give some examples? DCDuring TALK 03:16, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
On the Wikipedia page, it mentions "a person", however, the overall article appears to imply that it applies to the broad concept of ethics and therefore could apply to a person, persons, or organization(s). To give an example based on the Wikipedia article, I could say (however you would reword it) that one would not steal unless one would want to live in a world which everyone was a thief. For more, please refer to w:Integrity#In ethics.
Thanks — 2602:304:59B8:1D39:B4CF:5D0:49D7:4516 03:59, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
You have to bear in mind that we're a dictionary, not an encyclopedia, so we deal in usage and meanings, not in the concepts behind them. To put it another way, Wikipedia tries to answer the question: "What is integrity, and what other interesting or useful information is there about the subject?", while Wiktionary tries to answer the question: "What do people mean when they say 'integrity', and what other interesting or useful information is there about the term itself?". Your proposed edit hinges on explaining integrity as a concept, while our interest is in defining it as a term. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:35, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

How about these two citations? They seem to support the given sense. It seems rather hard to separate from the general "morally righteous" sense we already have listed, though.

  • 1993, Gerald Cushing MacCallum, Legislative Intent and Other Essays on Law, Politics, and Morality, Univ of Wisconsin Press →ISBN, page 152
    His integrity is damaged or destroyed when things within this domain of his 'self' become disorganized, incoherent, or unsystematic. His integrity is violated when the domain is intruded upon and changes are produced within it that interfere with and counter or 'overcome' the effects of his own inertia or principle of operation.
  • 2011, Krishna Pillai, Essence of a Manager, Springer Science & Business Media →ISBN, page 163
    Integrity comes in two parts; there is the inner sense of integrity which is personal to an individual, and there is his integrity as observed by an external party or by the surrounding society. Being consistent with his own set of values is what preserves his inner personal integrity, his sense of wholeness and even his identity. It is independent of what is observed. Being lawful in his actions and following the direction of the integrated ethical code determines the external judgment of his integrity.

Keφr 06:41, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Ultimately in listing this definition, it was my intention to write something that was less up for dispute than "morally righteous", given the different value systems held. However, what is not up for dispute, and what is clearly definable is the internal consistency, ultimately meaning that integrity is testable against a definition and testable against the very belief system itself, ultimately meaning that a crook, at the end of the day, is forced to confess given that his own value system becomes inconsistent and breaks down.
Thanks. 2602:304:59B8:1D39:B4CF:5D0:49D7:4516 19:52, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
This is not how it works. We will not change definitions just to make them "less up for dispute"; we enter a definition only if people use the word in a way which agrees with the definition. If people use it to mean "moral righteousness", regardless of what they consider moral or not, then so be it, this will be our definition. The best way to convince us to include a definition is to demonstrate that this is how the word is used. Keφr 20:30, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Are the above citations sufficient to attest, as the guideline states, or do we need more? Thanks. — 2602:304:59B8:1D39:D43E:1CE2:B553:9220 20:37, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

sans commentaire = sans commentaires?Edit

Are these good synonyms of each other? --Æ&Œ (talk) 16:49, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm told that in French zero of something is always treated as singular (with respect to grammatical agreement). So you say « j'ai zéro orange » and not « j'ai zéro oranges ». in English, we only use the verb singular form when there is exactly one of something. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:53, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
I didn't answer the question. I think textbook grammar says it should be sans commentaire but since they're homophones I wouldn't be surprised if both were attested. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:55, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, synonyms. —Stephen (Talk) 03:56, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Google Books has sans commentaire as slightly more common than sans commentaires by a ratio of 76 600 to 67 700. That's very close. Renard Migrant (talk) 15:39, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, judging by ngrams, the singlar only recently overtook the plural. I've created the plural as an alternative form of the singular. - -sche (discuss) 15:46, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Getting coding problems fixedEdit

Earlier this month I put up a request (in the Grease Pit) for someone with appropriate skills to fix a problem that was preventing me from adding structure to senses to clarify complex usages. While I got some relevant comments promptly from someone who pinged two editors (one of whom seems to have quit as an editor) who might be able to actually fix the problem, the problem remains. Is there some way to more formally ask for bugs to be fixed? If there isn't, might I suggest that a table of requests be set up alongside the Grease Pit whose columns would show who has volunteered to fix each formal request, whether it has been fixed, and so on. Such tables were found very useful in programming shops of the '50s. — ReidAA (talk) 01:36, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

I think the Grease Pit already does most of what you suggest in your second paragraph, albeit in the form of threads rather than a table: someone posts a bug in a thread, someone else posts "I'll see what I can do" if they're going to try to fix it (if they expect it to take a while — otherwise they fix it straight away), and then they post again when it's fixed. The problem, in my experience, is not that users don't know who's working on a bug, it's that no-one is working on the bug, because Wiktionary is maintained by an unfortunately small number of volunteers who have unfortunately not as much time to spend here as might be hoped. :/ - -sche (discuss) 02:10, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Is Mongolian script/Cyrillic transliteration automatable?Edit

(This question probably doesn't completely belong here, but...)

Does anyone happen to know if automatic transliteration from Mongolian in Cyrillic to Mongolian script is possible? (At least, to the same extent that automatic Traditional/Simplified Chinese transliteration is possible?) --Yair rand (talk) 16:09, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Short answer - no. Mongolian script is not fully phonetic. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:01, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
I am interested in having utility tools for editors for languages, which can't be transliterated 100%, such as Hebrew, Hindi, unvocalised Arabic, Mongolian in Mongolian script, etc. Vocalised Arabic actually is 100% phonetic and Module:ar-translit could use some improvement. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:35, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Vocalized Arabic is not quite 100% phonetic. You run into strange exceptions that usually have to do with prefixes/proclitics. What kind of utilities do you have in mind? --WikiTiki89 13:59, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Something that transliterates what it can, letting the editor add missing or remove extra letters, fix inaccuracies. Strange exceptions could be handled manually. For example, तोड़ना (toṛnā) has currently a non-standard transliteration "toɽnā", the standard transliteration is "toṛnā" and the tool would produce "toṛanā" where I would could copy and remove the silent adherent "a" in the middle to get "toṛnā". A not 100% accurate tool would reduce time to add transliteration to long words, phrases like عَاصِفَة رَعْدِيَّة(ʿāṣifa(t) raʿdiyya). Module:ar-translit, etc. are not currently used at all. It can be useful when mass-editing, adding/fixing transliterations on entries for languages, which normally can't be transliterated automatically, in longer usage examples, translation requests. -Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 14:19, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I suppose what we want is a JavaScript tool that would take you to the edit screen and automatically fill in the preliminary transliteration, which can then be edited. --WikiTiki89 14:46, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, a JavaScript. I sometimes use User:ZxxZxxZ/arTranslit.js and User:ZxxZxxZ/faTranslit.js, which transliterate EVERYTHING in the edit window, it's not based on the modules and "عَاصِفَة رَعْدِيَّة" becomes "ʿaʾṣifaa(t) raʿdiyaaa(t)". --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:25, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Is it phonetic enough that it would be possible to cover most cases with a giant pile of rules, if the rest were taken care of manually? (My understanding is that Traditional/Simplified Chinese don't match up perfectly either, but mostly-automated transliteration between them seems to be working on certain Wikipedias...) --Yair rand (talk) 13:12, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Vowels o/u, yo/yu and ö/ü, final a/e, consonants ts/č, ž/z, k/g, d/t are all rendered with the same letter for each pair. There seem to be other problems. The traditional Mongolian orthography is similar to English in its irregularity. All depends on the context and one must know how to pronounce this or that word. Conversion problems between traditional and simplified Chinese (which is also used here) are not comparable. It should be noted that phonologies of Inner and Outer Mongolia differs and they don't match 100% if both are romanised. Inner Mongolia has some sounds Outer Mongolia doesn't. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:52, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I see. Thank you for your help. --Yair rand (talk) 15:28, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Retroes is an organizationEdit

Retroes is not the plural of retro. Retros is the plural of retro. Retroes is an organization. Jsmish30 (talk) 15:15, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

google books:"retroes" gets two relevant hits, all the others seem to be not English or ambiguous. There's a chess one here where it seems to be the plural of retro, but the meaning is very uncertain. Renard Migrant (talk) 15:30, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
If you try google books:retroes without the quotation marks, it 'helpfully' included a load of citations for 'retro'. Renard Migrant (talk)

Old Indo-AryanEdit

A number of entries, e.g. بیچ, پیار, डील, बार, प्यार, and बीच have etymology sections saying they're from "Old Indo Aryan" or "Old Indo-Aryan vāra" or the like. How should this be templatized? "Old {{etyl|inc|hi}} {{m|und|vāra}}"? - -sche (discuss) 18:28, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I imagine it's just another name for Sanskrit. —CodeCat 19:01, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I think so too. I've certainly seen altindisch (Old Indian) as a now old-fashioned German name for Sanskrit, and I suspect these etymologies were taken from older dictionaries that use "Old Indo-Aryan" as a name for Sanskrit. However, anything unattested can be said to be Proto-Indo-Aryan (language code inc-pro). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:38, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Template:plural ofEdit

Is there any way to get the Template:plural of at comae to link to coma#Noun_2, rather than coma#English? It Is Me Here t / c 21:57, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

No. You cannot link to section headers other than L2 languages. DTLHS (talk) 22:00, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Whenever a template fails to do the right thing, feel free to hard code the right thing. DCDuring TALK 22:24, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Linking to "Noun 2" is never the right thing. DTLHS (talk) 22:34, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Nor is linking to "Etymology 2" for that matter. The proper way to link to specific senses is to use {{senseid}} and the id= parameter on the linking template. —CodeCat 22:38, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
But it is the entire Etymology (all senses) that has (or at least sometimes has) comae as a plural, unless the inflection line is wrong too. I don't know how to write a gloss for the entire Etymology section. This is a situation which print dictionaries cover by referring the reader to a numbered homonym and online dictionaries by a link to a numbered homonym.
OTOH, we have plenty of cases where only one sense has a given plural, for which {{senseid}} is the right solution. It occurs to me that if there were, say an Adjective PoS preceding a multi-definition noun PoS, that neither the Etymology n header nor {{senseid}} would offer the right link target. Something like {{senseid}} that didn't have the highlighting and could be inserted on a section-header line or just before it would do the job for the few cases of this type that might need it and might be useful for other situations where neither {{senseid}}, nor an L2 header, nor an Etymology n header, nor an expedient PoS header worked. Otherwise you can expect folks to hard-code things to link to. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Don't feel bad. It probably isn't worth the overhead to cover all the cases in the template. OTOH, it might be a good idea to put all the non-conforming entries into a category so that it would be possible to determine which cases were most worth the overhead. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Print dictionaries tend to have editors whose job it is to make sure numbers point to the correct definitions before the dictionary is published, a luxury we cannot afford. DTLHS (talk) 23:33, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I disagree with DCDuring's undoing of my edit which restored {{plural of}}. There is not enough of a reason not to use it. Compared to the very minor benefit of linking somewhat closer to the intended section, section links like this cause problems, and so do entries which do not use templates. They're both a maintenance hazard. With a section link, it essentially becomes impossible for us to rearrange the sections if we ever decide to. Furthermore, from my own experience in working with many entries, entries that do not use templates (there are unfortunately lots of them in Italian) are an absolute pain to deal with. It's fine if DCDuring doesn't have to deal with that kind of thing, but that doesn't give him free reign to make it harder for those who do. Not without a very good reason, which I certainly do not see here. —CodeCat 23:49, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
If there were something like {{senseid}} with respect to linking that also:
  1. could be placed on any line of an entry (excluding headers, only at the beginning of a line, or only on an empty line, if necessary),
  2. did not introduce any ugly, confusing, or misleading side-effects in formatting (See coma.), and
  3. had a name that reflected the range of possible use,
there would be no need for the template-free expedients that seem to make Wiktionary a living hell for CodeCat. Until such a template is forthcoming, I don't see why good user-oriented linking behavior achieved by other means should be outlawed. I would be perfectly happy to mark any sections that use template-free expedients so that the expedient could be replaced with some template that addressed the underlying need.
English L2 sections in particular can be extremely difficult to navigate as they have much more content than is typical for an FL entry (multiple and often elaborate etymologies, multiple definitions, usage examples, citations, derived terms, synonyms, other semantic relations, and of course, translation tables). Getting a user to the relevant section (etymology n, PoS, or other section header, or to specific content thereunder) from another page is important to make English L2 sections more conveniently usable as they grow ever more complex. {{senseid}}, as useful as it is, does not fully meet the need. DCDuring TALK 15:17, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

tête carrée, blokeEdit

Do you lot know any derogatory or pejorative terms for Anglophones in other languages? -- 01:44, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Russian пиндос (pindos), Spanish gringo. —Stephen (Talk) 01:51, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Definition - origin of slang for statement 'Lady Jane'Edit

I am seeking the origin and meaning of a saying that has been used throuout my family for generations.

The term being Lady Jane. It is used to berate someone, for example catching a child doing something wrong we would ask 'what to you think your doing Lady Jane'.

I'm thinking perhaps this is back times of lord and gents and mylady. Perhaps there was a lady/royalty name Jane that was always trying to fool or get away with something.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Possibly a reference to Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen? --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:15, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I hope nobody minds that I moved this discussion here from Translation Requests. LalalalaSta (talk) 22:28, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

English genitive cases problem.Edit

Could someone help me word this sentence?

"Principal Shawbly hid Flopsy in St. Faith's Elementary, the school at which he works, (where do I put the 's or ') basement."

I'm trying to say St. Faith's Elementary's basement, except there's a clause after this, so could someone please help me word this sentence? Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 22:17, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

You can't do it that way. Try " the basement of St. Faith's Elementary, the school..." Equinox 22:18, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the quick and good response. That answers my question well. Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 22:27, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
The above is best, but you could also have said: "..., the school where he works'/works's basement." --this is extremely colloquial, and though sometmes heard in actual speech, it might be viewed as odd in writing. But it does follow your original train of thought concept a little more closely though ;) Leasnam (talk) 12:56, 25 July 2014 (UTC)


I am looking to try to be a polyglot. I am already okay on Danish, but I want to learn Romanian, French, and Spanish for now. I already have basic understandings of French and Spanish, but I am looking for suggestions, please, for learning multiple different languages at a time? Thanks. Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 06:13, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Think of all languages as dialects of each other. It makes everything easier. --WikiTiki89 13:40, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Does it? A spade is still a spade, however you call it. Keφr 20:27, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
It helps me (1) not have to remember as many words in closely related languages, (2) switch between languages and mixes of languages depending on who I am talking to, as if each language or mix were a sociolect, and (3) accidentally understand things I didn't think I knew in languages I don't know very well. --WikiTiki89 20:35, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
You need to learn grammatical terminology better and learn better how to use references, in order to save you time on trial and error, but the most important part is using languages to read, write, hear and speak (just remember to get feedback on your speaking and writing, so you don't learn it wrong). Even listening to recordings without understanding them is helpful, because it gets your ear used to patterns of sounds for a language. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:02, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Learn comparative linguistics. This helps if you want to learn languages of the same family. — Ungoliant (falai) 20:30, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Re: "I am looking to try to be a polyglot." Well, just do it. It's not recommended though, as it's addictive and bad for health. :) I've been doing it since I was 7 with various interruptions and only partial successes. It's not my profession any more in the last 17 years but it's my lifetime hobby. Not setting any particular goals, although I did before - finish that course, pass that test, just enjoying the process. Formal studies, apart from native Russian - German, English, French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese. Informal self-studies - Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, Arabic, Korean, Swedish, Norwegian Bokmål, Finnish, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Hindi, Persian (the last five were brief). Korean is going to be formal end of this month. --Anatoli T. (обсудить;/вклад) 00:57, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the input guys. But I've changed my mind. I'm not going to jump to Latin-based languages. I like Germanic languages the best, so I'm just going to stick with them. Right now, I've started Icelandic, and believe it or not, the words are so similar, so it's kind of not as hard as I thought it would be. I've found that is very good learning. I'm surprised I didn't use an online website to learn Danish. I'm also trying to find a good way to learn Faroese.

Well, and then I'm starting Afrikaans now too with . I'm trying to be as unique as possible here. Think I can take this on if I really try? Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 00:21, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

Afrikaans is probably the most similar to English out of all (currently significant) Germanic languages. --WikiTiki89 16:13, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

missing captionEdit

A uploaded a new image, and placed it into the counterfoil definition, but its caption is missing. I do not know why and was unable to fix it. Nwbeeson (talk) 14:46, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I fixed it. You forgot to add the "thumb" argument. --WikiTiki89 14:56, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the format is [ [ File:????.???|???px|right/left|thumb|caption ] ] . Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 20:27, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Meanings of a word and definitions in other languagesEdit

Tenses The English watermelon has two primary meanings (the plant and the fruit bore by said plant) but also has a third slang meaning: a socialist environmentalist. The Spanish sandía means the first two definitions but not the third. How would I explain this in Wiktionary? Presently, sandía#Spanish merely reads "watermelon" as its definition but that does not explain that the pejorative slang word is inaccurate. Thoughts? —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:35, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

We use glosses. Take another look. — Ungoliant (falai) 04:00, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
A word in one language does not perfectly match a word in a different language in definitions, usage, register, etc. Often, the word in one language commonly used for something only matches up to a word in another language in only one or two definitions, and the other senses are not shared. Apple, besides being a certain fruit, is also a computer, and also means a Native American who has lost his cultural identity and is "white"on the inside...but Spanish manzana means the fruit or a city block. So, apple and manzana only agree on one meaning. It’s the way languages are. —Stephen (Talk) 10:23, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
True. The question was, how to convey all that? Keφr 10:57, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
@Kephir @Stephen G. Brown Evidently, it's by rewriting the relevant definitions (which is probably the best way). —Justin (koavf)TCM 06:05, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

What is this called?Edit

Could someone please do me a huge favor and tell me what this household item is called? I'm really bad with English words for things like household items sometimes. The picture of the item at hand is: top bottom

From top to bottom I've shown you the household item. In this case it is used to hang a fishing hat. It has lots of hooks on top used for hanging, but on bottom is a desk-like thing.

Thanks for the time! Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 06:27, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

It’s a hall tree. —Stephen (Talk) 10:15, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks so much. Also, shouldn't we have an entry for this? It doesn't look to me like it's an SOP. Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 10:51, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
I'd call it a hatstand; never heard of a hall tree before. Is it an AmE term? BigDom 20:05, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
If it is, it's not a widely used one; I'm American and I'd never heard of a hall tree before this thread either. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:32, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
South-east England: also never heard of a "hall tree", but found it on Wikipedia (and created the entry). I think there is a difference, since apparently a hall tree can contain other components (mirrors, drawers) whereas to my knowledge a hat-stand is a simple upright thing for hanging objects on. Equinox 20:34, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, I think there is a difference between this and what you'd usually think of as a hatstand, but I would have just called it that for lack of a better name. If I'd read the term "hall tree" before seeing this thread, I would have imagined a type of plant some people keep in their hallways. BigDom 20:54, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Or even this. DCDuring TALK 21:03, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
A hall tree is different from a hatstand. Here are some hall trees. —Stephen (Talk) 05:52, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, it's definitely not a hatstand. --WikiTiki89 13:52, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Difference between "disputed terms" (proscribed) and "nonstandard terms"?Edit

We have both Category:English disputed terms and Category:English nonstandard terms. Entries are categorised into the former by the "proscribed" label. But what is the difference in practice? Aren't commonly proscribed terms also nonstandard, at least for English? —CodeCat 17:02, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

There is no standard English, therefore terms/spellings can only be proscribed, but not "nonstandard". --WikiTiki89 17:09, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Actual usage of {{nonstandard spelling of}} and of {{cx|nonstandard}} does not follow that notion at all. And indeed, our entry defines [[nonstandard]] in such a way that it is easy to see how it could apply to numerous terms and spellings: "not conforming to the language as used by the majority of its speakers". - -sche (discuss) 17:46, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
But isn't that what "rare" means already? —CodeCat 18:08, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Things that are considered nonstandard or proscribed are usually not rare. --WikiTiki89 18:18, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Then it seems the "as used by the majority" part doesn't apply here. —CodeCat 18:31, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be better if we could just specify where a usage is correct, in the way that we tag things with American English and Australian English? If a term is "nonstandard", where is the minority that uses it? bd2412 T 18:50, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
There doesn't necessarily have to be any particular place where it's used. It might just be rare in all places, with some people who use it scattered throughout. —CodeCat 18:52, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Or it might be common in all places. Take the example of ain't which probably epitomizes the common "nonstandard" word. --WikiTiki89 18:55, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Let's use that example then. If it's commonly used (it is), then it's not rare nor nonstandard (which seems to mean the same as rare, according to your definition). So by my reasoning we should be labelling it as "proscribed" instead. —CodeCat 19:00, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
No, I was the one who said that "Things that are considered nonstandard or proscribed are usually not rare." --WikiTiki89 19:03, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
@CodeCat re "then it seems the 'as used by the majority' part doesn't apply": If a sense is used by, say, 20 million Americans, but the other 290 million disuse and sometimes explicitly deprecate it, then it is {{cx|nonstandard}} (and/or potentially even {{cx|proscribed}}) in the US, but it is not {{cx|rare}} (though it might be {{cx|uncommon}}), especially if many of the 290 million recognize it — which is indeed a prerequisite to them proscribing it. For example, unless there are style guides which deprecate it, stealer (thief) seems to be {{cx|nonstandard}} but not {{cx|proscribed}}, nor all that {{cx|rare}} (it's about 1/30th as common as "thief"). - -sche (discuss) 19:17, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Going by how our entry defines "nonstandard", I'd say that if a term/sense/spelling is used by a majority of speakers, it's not "nonstandard" — yet it may still be proscribed by a minority of speakers. For example, "they" seems to have always been used by more people than proscribe it, yet a minority do still proscribe it, so it seems to be "proscribed" but not "nonstandard". For another example, "vulva" is probably the most common sense of "vagina", even though medical professionals might proscribe it. (We currently just call the sense "colloquial", which seems to be along the lines of what BD proposes — we're stating where / in what register it's correct.) But even this rule isn't always followed in practice, and I have seen "nonstandard" used to describe words that are common but not 'correct' according to some self-appointed authorities like dictionaries or style guides. - -sche (discuss) 19:17, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Umm... Who proscribes "they"? Unless you mean the gender-neutral singular sense? --WikiTiki89 19:21, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the singular sense; sorry I neglected to make that clear. - -sche (discuss) 19:23, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
In that case, I am fairly sure that a majority still proscribe it. That does not mean that those who proscribe it don't use it themselves. --WikiTiki89 19:27, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
All of this seems like hair splitting to me though. A term is still proscribed whether by a minority or a majority. So why label only one of them "proscribed" and use "nonstandard" for the other? I'd rather be consistent here. —CodeCat 20:02, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
"Proscribed" and "nonstandard" are not mutually exclusive. Anything that is proscribed — and IMO that means proscribed by specific authorities on usage like dictionaries or style guides, not just disliked by some random bloke(s) — should indeed be, and in my experience usually is, labelled "proscribed". (If the thing is proscribed by some authorities but allowed by others, the qualifier "sometimes" can be, and IME often is, added.) Things that are proscribed may or may not be nonstandard (e.g. using "vagina" to mean "vulva" may be proscribed, but is not nonstandard), and things that are nonstandard may or may not be proscribed (e.g. "stealer" is nonstandard, but it doesn't seem to have been proscribed by any style guides). Similarly, things that are either "proscribed" or "nonstandard" may or may not be "rare" (e.g. setting aside debate over whether or not it is nonstandard, and debate over how many authorities proscribe it, I think we can all agree that singular "they" is both (a) proscribed by some authorities and (b) not rare). And things that are "rare" may or may not be "nonstandard" or "proscribed". - -sche (discuss) 20:31, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I'm not saying that they are mutually exclusive. I actually mean to say that all nonstandard terms are proscribed against. So nonstandard is a subset of proscribed. Your example of "stealer" is apparently a counterargument, but this is where the ambiguity between "nonstandard" and "rare" comes in again. Why is it nonstandard rather than rare? Because it is rare, isn't it? —CodeCat 20:43, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Are prepositional phrases adverbs?Edit

Are these always adverbs as far as their place in the sentence is concerned? —CodeCat 18:30, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

There are adverbial phrases and adjectival phrases. This is in fact what causes the ambiguity in "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas." "In my pajamas" could either be an adverbial phrase modifying "shot", or an adjectival phrase modifying "elephant". --WikiTiki89 19:50, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
But you can replace "in my pajamas" with "here". In a phrase like "this elephant here" the word seems to fulfill the same kind of adjective function; it's not modifying a verb in any case. —CodeCat 19:59, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
"this X here" is a set idiom (and is colloquial). The more "standard" interpretation would be that "here" is an adverb modifying "shot". --WikiTiki89 20:07, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Locatives can be adverbs (here), nouns (home), or prepositional phrases (to work), so they are not wonderful examples. The same can be said of temporal terms: later (adverb), November 16th (noun), in three hours (prepositional phrase). Having prepositional phrases as an L3 header was intended to eliminate the need for duplicating material with minor rewording between adjective and adverb PoS sections. DCDuring TALK 20:10, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
To me, the adjectival use of "in my pajamas" kind of feels like it is really an elided relative clause of some kind, like "who was in my pajamas". The other terms you mentioned are similar. English also allows privative phrases: "without my pajamas" has the same ambiguity. It just happens that there is no simple privative adverb corresponding to "without...". You can also use a present participle phrase: "I shot an elephant doing my laundry" again shows the same ambiguity as to who is doing the laundry. —CodeCat 20:18, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't understand your point about "without"; it works exactly the same way as "in". You're right that participle phrases function the same way as prepositional phrases. --WikiTiki89 20:24, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
What I mean is that it might not be correct to analyse them as "adjectives" but rather as elided relative/subordinate clauses. In Dutch, most of the examples above also work, as it allows the same kind of elision. But it doesn't work for participles, so you end up with an actual subordinate clause: "terwijl ik/hij de was deed" (while I/it did the laundry). I think that illustrates the subordinate clause analysis rather well. —CodeCat 20:29, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Please stay with surface analysis. Deep-structure analysis doesn't offer any less ambiguity.
BTW, re: participle phrases and prepositional phrases: Note the significant number of English prepositions ending in "ing", eg, during, that evolved from participles. DCDuring TALK 21:27, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
You're talking nonsense. During is quite clearly a proper noun. :) In any case, there are a few in Dutch too, like gedurende. But these must all be older as present participles are more restricted in usage in modern Dutch than they are in modern English. —CodeCat 21:39, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
Do you know how they are used in German, or other Germanic languages? --WikiTiki89 21:45, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
German has entsprechend (corresponding to) and während (during), but I don't understand what sort of answer you're looking for with "how they are used". They're used like prepositions; entsprechend takes the dative (as indeed the verb entsprechen (correspond to) does) and während takes the genitive (and is probably not synchronically felt to be derived from the verb währen (persist) anymore). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:13, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
I meant about using participle phrases directly as modifiers. --WikiTiki89 01:44, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I consider adverbs to be "pro-prepositions": just as a pronoun can stand in for a noun phrase and a pro-verb can stand in for a verb phrase, an adverb can stand in for a prepositional phrase. But I wouldn't say prepositional phrases are all adverbs any more than I would say noun phrases are all pronouns. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:33, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
That's actually an interesting analysis. :) —CodeCat 20:37, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Are names always proper nouns (or proper names)?Edit

Are there any cases where a name is not a proper noun/name? —CodeCat 18:05, 30 July 2014 (UTC)

Did we not have a discussion about this recently? Keφr 18:11, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I think it depends on your definition of "name". --WikiTiki89 18:22, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
That discussion was more about what a proper noun is. This is about whether names are a subset of proper nouns. More to the point, would it be valid to put Category:English names in Category:English proper nouns as a subcategory, or are there some names that are not proper nouns (which would make subcategorising inappropriate)? —CodeCat 18:30, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Barack Obama is a proper name, ergo also a name, and a noun phrase, that consists of two proper nouns. Therefore it is not itself a proper noun, as I read Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. DCDuring TALK 18:32, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Do we now or might we ever have any MWEs in Category:English names? DCDuring TALK 18:34, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
@CodeCat, In that case yes. @DCDuring, I don't think we should differentiate between "proper nouns" and "proper names"; it's a rather useless distinction. --WikiTiki89 18:39, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Using Wiktionary's current terminology, a proper noun consisting of multiple words is a "phrasal proper noun". So we consider them a subset of proper nouns in general. —CodeCat 18:44, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89 I don't think so. Barack and Obama are (almost?) always proper nouns but are only proper names in some contexts, ie, post 2004 Democratic convention for some, post 2008 primaries for others. Barack Obama is almost always so. Barack Hussein Obama II even more often. DCDuring TALK 18:52, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
@CodeCat What is in Category:English names now? Have we ever specified the context of that category or, for that matter, of Category:English proper nouns? DCDuring TALK 18:52, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't get it. When is Barack or Obama not a proper name? --WikiTiki89 19:06, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
This whole discussion reminds me of an anecdote: someone meeting Bill Murray asked "Are you the Bill Murray?" He reportedly answered "Well, I am a Bill Murray." And it all kind of tells me that the division between common and proper nouns is quite subjective and arbitrary. Keφr 20:21, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
I think we've established in previous discussions that pretty much any proper noun can be converted to a common noun (very similar to how any noun can be converted to a verb, among other things). Incidentally: "Hurrying his friend along would save him from the bother of Bill Murraying the ghost into the next life." --WikiTiki89 20:28, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
In the previous discussion, evidence was presented that all names are, at least some of the time, not proper nouns. In fact, all of the kinds of terms we label "proper nouns" fail some of the time to meet the criteria that allegedly separate proper nouns from common nouns. I.e., in a thorough treatment, they would all need to have ===Noun=== sections. For example, America (region, nation), Berlin (specific city), Taj Mahal (specific structure), Sarah (first name), Johnson (last name), and even Plato, JFK, Obama and even Barack Obama (specific historical individuals), can all take definite and indefinite articles, and also pluralize, some of the time. (From Google Books: "we have to have Taj Mahals at each of our big military bases", "it doesn't take a person with the charisma of a John F. Kennedy to make a memorable statement[; and] they believe the JFKs of the world to be the exception rather than the rule", "it was the Platos who disappeared before the Euclids", "he protested against Platos in petticoats", "as powerful as an Obama or a Martin Luther King", "[something] happened to the Barack Obama of 2008".) We should consider how de.Wikt handles things: multiple part-of-speech-like designations can be provided within one L3 header, e.g. de:Angela is labelled "Noun, name", de:Berlin is labelled "Noun, placename" (and separately "Noun, last name"), and de:Euklid is labelled "Noun, proper name/noun". - -sche (discuss) 20:24, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
[after e/c]
@Wikitiki89 When it doesn't refer to any specific person, just any old Barack.
@Kephir It's not arbitrary, it's contextual, having to do with the real use of the words. We can't really have proper names in Wiktionary, unless they have become part of the language at some time, like w:Cato the Younger, allusively referring the the paradigm of honor for many in the 18th century. DCDuring TALK 20:31, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
It never refers to "just any old Barack" unless it is turned into a common noun ("I met another Barack today."). The speaker always has a specific person in mind, even if it that person is not Mr. President. --WikiTiki89 20:33, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Every way a word functions need not put it in a different class. When Shakespeare had a character say "Uncle me no uncles" that did not make uncle a verb. Using a noun attributively does not make it an adjective. Screaming, "John!!!" does not make John an interjection. DCDuring TALK 21:33, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
And saying "I met a John today." does not make it a common noun. --WikiTiki89 22:49, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
Right. That is an example of a context in which the proper noun John is used as a proper name. I don't see the value of having a common noun section for every proper noun that can serve as or in a proper name. These secondary function are a characteristic of any of these proper nouns. DCDuring TALK 23:25, 30 July 2014 (UTC)
It's an example of it being a common noun, not a proper name. But I agree that we don't need separate common noun sections for proper nouns. --WikiTiki89 01:45, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Why don’t we list attested plural forms for proper nouns? “How many Irenes do you know?” “There are over 3600 San Juans in the world.” “All these would be statesmen think they are Churchills.” These plurals lack entries, and aren’t mentioned in Irene, San Juan, and ChurchillMichael Z. 2014-08-01 05:39 z

At one time, there may have been disagreement about whether or not it was desirable to list such plurals. At this point, the main reason particular entries don't show their plural forms seems to be that no-one's gotten around to editing those entries yet. I've added the attested plural forms to all the name entries I've edited (including at least a couple dozen this week), but it'll take a while to get to them all. (One might think of having a bot add them en masse, but there are enough quirks that that might be unadvisable, e.g. some names that end in -y pluralize by -s, some by -ies, some by both.) - -sche (discuss) 07:02, 1 August 2014 (UTC)