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Wiktionary:Information desk/2016/January

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← December 2015 · January 2016 · February 2016 → · (current)

Obsolete spelling?Edit

I'm trying to make a page for an old form of a word that was accepted for a long time until 1996, but is not allowed anymore. Should I label it as an obsolete spelling or archaic, or something completely different?
Some people still erroneously use it (mostly old people).
I'm talking about the Dutch actie/aktie, with aktie being the form no longer accepted. Here's some more information.

The term we use for German spellings that were valid until 1996 and are still widely used by people who don't care for or care about the reformed spelling is "superseded". We have the template {{superseded spelling of}} for that. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:51, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Alright, thanks. Also noticed I forgot my signature, woops. NINTENPUG (talk) 16:36, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Sounds good. I object to 'erroneously' as it happens, nobody has the authority to change the rules of a language. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:01, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
I get where you're coming from, but I was kind of referring to the government sanctioned spelling instead of the Dutch language as a whole, I guess 'erroneously' was not completely the correct word to use in this case. NINTENPUG (talk) 16:36, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
I find "erroneously" fine in reference to spelling, since spelling has nothing to do with language, and is very much regulated by authorities. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:37, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Template:U:nl:obsolete spelling exists and accepts parameters as described on the talk page, although we've been phasing the corresponding German usage-note template out in favour of a definition-line template, and it may be desirable to do the same thing for Dutch. - -sche (discuss) 02:51, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Inflections in adjective translationsEdit

Do we include different inflections in adjective translations? When I first started adding translations a couple of years ago, this was quite common, not so much now. I personally think it's counterproductive to include all the inflections in translations. I just want to know if we have an official policy. The reason I ask is that recent Romanian translations I'm monitoring, for instance stingy, perpendicular and tangential, all have feminine forms. --Robbie SWE (talk) 15:56, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Well, I don't know if it is policy, but for French and Italian, I only include the masculine singular. The other three forms are only one click away. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:02, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your input SemperBlotto! That's what I suspected. I'll make sure only the masculine forms are included from now on. --Robbie SWE (talk) 16:10, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
While I found nothing of relevance in Wiktionary:Translations, I find it's pretty customary to only include the lemma form, and the entry itself includes all the inflections. Wiktionary:Translations isn't too bad but these pages rarely get updated as knowledgeable editors rarely read them. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:48, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
For Romanian, only the masculine singular indefinite adjective gets a full treatment. The other forms get a page like this Spanish buenas. —Stephen (Talk) 00:26, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

Plurality of one bookEdit

Which is proper to say when you have multiple books of one name? i.e. Books of Mormon or Book of Mormons

Three copies of the Book of Mormon. Colloquially, you can also say three Books of Mormon, but not three Book of Mormons. --WikiTiki89 23:16, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Just to clarify, this is because the Book of Mormon actually refers to the content and not to the physical representation of the content. For the Book of Kings, you can say the two Books of Kings to refer to the first and second parts of the book (and thus, you can say: I have three copies of the two Books of Kings). --WikiTiki89 15:18, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
The first one. In grammatical terms, "book" is the head of the noun phrase, so that's where the plural marker goes. Equinox 00:39, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Just to be difficult, this is also the name of a musical. If one were talking about different versions of the musical, I suppose one might say something about "The Book of Mormon"s, because the title would be treated grammatically as a unit, rather than being analyzed into its component parts. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:54, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Right, and if you had a book with a title like To Kill A Mockingbird, you'd pluralize it as "the store had three To Kill A Mockingbirds" if you were going for a short plural, although as Wikitiki notes the more formal (more common?) phrasing would be "three copies of To Kill A Mockingbird". - -sche (discuss) 02:47, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
As in The Redneck Manifesto (1998) "You'll see plenty of To Kill a Mockingbirds, but fewer and fewer On the Waterfronts." and Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread (2015) "[... sprayed] gravy all over a bookcase full of nothing except a hundred To Kill a Mockingbirds." On Google Books, "two Books of Mormon" is more common than "two Book of Mormons", although the latter does also exist. - -sche (discuss) 03:37, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

"on demand" and "on-demand"Edit

It seems like the on demand entry could be improved with regard to the alternative spelling on-demand that redirects there. There are examples for both spellings, but no note about the alternative spelling or difference in usage (if any). 01:43, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I believe that the hyphenated form is an adjective, and needs its own entry. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:22, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Proto‐Indo‐European vulgaritiesEdit

Did any protolanguages have any vulgarities? --Romanophile (contributions) 01:24, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Only very rarely. Bear in mind that protolanguages are reconstructions, and vulgarities are rarely reconstructible because of the irregular sound changes and semantic shifts they tend to undergo. Those that are, like PGmc. *skītaz (if memory serves) may not have even been particularly vulgar, hence being preserved. The actual ancestral languages spoken may have differed a great deal from what the reconstruction looks like, and almost certainly had vulgarities, since essentially all languages used in daily life do. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:27, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Has anybody ever reconstructed the Proto‐Germanic equivalent to fuck? It seems like it should have one by now. --Romanophile (contributions) 01:37, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm not aware of a Proto-Germanic one, but Proto-Indo-European had *h₃yebʰ-. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:14, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


Imambara, is used in the description of your picture of the day but I cannot find the word on wiki.

We don't have a picture of the day. —CodeCat 02:11, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
He must be referring to a different project. Commons has a picture of the day, but its description does not contain the word "imambara". --WikiTiki89 02:26, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh duh... It's Wikipedia's picture of the day! There's a Wikipedia article on "Imambara". --WikiTiki89 02:29, 12 January 2016 (UTC)


How do you pronounce Clodagh? Is it Irish or Scottish? Source for the inquiry is Renard Migrant (talk) 17:34, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

It's Irish and pronounced /ˈkloʊdə/ to rhyme with Rhoda. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:18, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

feed but for drink?Edit

Is there an equivalent to the English verb feed that refers to giving a person something to drink, rather than food? —CodeCat 01:20, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Don't think so - though a commenter here [1] mentions some specific cases (water a horse, feed a baby, wine and dine somebody). Equinox 01:25, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The counterpart to feed would have been drench, but it got diverted to a different meaning, except in a limited sense having to do with animals. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:49, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
There's the expression to "give drink to". --WikiTiki89 18:37, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

What to do when different sources contradict each other, or even themselves?Edit

I'm working on improving our coverage of Veps, which is a small language that doesn't have a whole lot of speakers left, mostly concentrated in a small community. Consequently, there hasn't been a huge amount of lexicographical interest for it either, and sources are not easy to find (and tend to be in Russian). Nevertheless, there are a few dictionaries, grammar and teaching books available, and I've been using those. However, standardisation of Veps is still recent and not entirely consistent, and sometimes different sources contradict each other. For example, {{R:vep:UVVV}} gives the form kitta, while {{R:vep:SVJa}} has kittä instead. This kind of fluctuation is not surprising, given that vowel harmony (the a-ä distinction in endings) is almost entirely gone from the language, so these are just relic forms that are subject to analogical changes. Of course, I don't have the knowledge to judge which is more common or more "standard". It's more confusing when I find the following, also in {{R:vep:SVJa}}:

ec|tä (-ib, -i) искать
искать ec|ta (-ib, -i)

The Veps-Russian translation differs from the Russian-Veps translation. {{R:vep:UVVV}} only has ecta. However, I don't find actual attestations of this form in Veps, but I do find ectä. Would anyone have suggestions on what to do in cases like this? —CodeCat 18:46, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Include what is attestable. If neither form is attestable, don't include either of them. --WikiTiki89 18:49, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Veps is an LDL. —CodeCat 19:10, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Attestable by LDL standards then. --WikiTiki89 19:25, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Editing Translated N-gramsEdit

I am trying to clear out a bunch of redlinks on the Wiktionary Israel page. I don't know how to unlink translated n-grams without untranslating them. Help?TheCensorFencer (talk) 06:19, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

(What's wrong with red links?) —suzukaze (tc) 06:29, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
This is a wiki- most of the millions of entries here at Wiktionary are the result of people clicking redlinks to start new articles. Removing redlinks or converting them to plain text defeats the purpose that the redlinks are designed for. Please don't. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:24, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
I see. My apologies, everyone, I didn't mean to undo anyone's work. I am new to wiki editing, and I've read a lot of help pages in the last month. I thought I had read that red links, when encountered, should be either deleted or validated. I reread that page, and I am permanently disabused of that notion. Thank you both for your time.TheCensorFencer (talk) 12:41, 27 January 2016 (UTC)


I have a friend with a sister called Chleona. I'm guessing this is an Irish name. What's its etymology? google books:"Chleona" looks to me like it's attested but very rare (search without quotes gets a lot of false positives for words ending in ch and Leona). Renard Migrant (talk) 23:46, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Sounds like her parents decided to merge the names Chloe, Cleo, and Fiona; perhaps with a nod to Cleona, Pennsylvania, into the mix. It's certainly not a traditional Gaelic name in Ireland, though that doesn't mean it's never used there. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:39, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
There were zero (0) people named Chleona in the 1911 UK census. I don't have online access to the Irish census, but this seems to indicate that it is not a traditional name. There was one person (Chleona Miller) in the 1940 US census. SemperBlotto (talk) 07:30, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I've discovered that there is a traditional Irish Gaelic name Clíona/Clíodhna (pronounced roughly KLEE-na, not klee-OH-na; see Clíodhna), so Chleona is probably an anglicized spelling of that. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:24, 3 February 2016 (UTC)