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Wiktionary:Information desk/Archive 2013/July-December


July 2013Edit

Synonyms of ‘fatphobia.’Edit

I am looking for a synonym for this word, because the word itself is amateurish & barbaric. Does anyone know of any better alternatives, popular or not? --Æ&Œ (talk) 00:23, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Are we talking about fear of the substance, or fear of obesity? Fear of obesity is obesophobia (see w:obesophobia). Chuck Entz (talk) 00:29, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
It’s about obesity.
That’s not a terrible synonym, but I was hoping for a purer term (since ‘obese’ is Latin, not Greek). --Æ&Œ (talk) 00:41, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
There's also lipophobia, which seems to be divided in usage between fear of obesity and fear of consuming fat (see w:lipophobia). It actually may be more common than obesiphobia for that sense. The Wikipedia article on obesiphobia also mentions pocrescophobia (the fear of gaining weight, or of becoming fat), which we have in Appendix:English unattested phobias. It does seem to be a dictionary-only term. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:57, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

That annoying popup after you successfully save an editEdit

How do I disable it? After I came back, I noticed it plaguing me. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:08, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Become a developer, then quietly uninstall it when nobody's looking. (Why do they do such annoying things?) SemperBlotto (talk) 16:13, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Bloody Human-computer interaction. I took it in college, and the premise is basically: “people are not smart enough to use computers, let’s remove useful features from the software and add irritating ones instead. That should solve it.” — Ungoliant (Falai) 17:31, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
It's conceivable that a new contributor might find it comforting and that it should be part of the default, but I'd sure like to know how to turn it off. DCDuring TALK 20:47, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
That thing is annoying. Perhaps in the long term we should move towards a Linux-style model where the underlying functionality is divorced from the choice of interface (desktop). Heh. Equinox 20:50, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Express your feelings at Bugzilla here 40307 and 41240. DCDuring TALK 21:06, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
    It's a sad day when one gets a quicker response from Bugzilla that from GP.
    "just add
  • :::.postedit {
    display: none
    to your personal common.css file." DCDuring TALK 21:41, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks! Never would've guessed that the thing would be called "postedit". I don't really think we need it at en.wikt for anyone; how do people feel about adding this line to sitewide CSS? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:27, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Apparently there was a missing semicolon:
    .postedit {
    display: none;
  • -- DCDuring TALK 22:57, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
  • @Metaknowledge: The folks at MediaWiki did take the trouble to do a little user testing and found good results for newbies. As we who find it annoying can turn it off, it would seem that we should have some contrary evidence about the effect on newbies before killing the feature by default. DCDuring TALK 23:13, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
    That is an amazingly detailed link, thank you. Still, it might be good to autodisable it for users above a certain edit count or add it to WT:PREFS to ease the annoyance for longterm users, who don't appreciate this feature but may not always have easy access to this discussion. Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that, so I suspect it may not be reasonably possible, or that it will take more work. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:03, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
    I agree. It should be a "gadget" in user preferences (or per-browser preferences). Let user play around or ask around to discover it. DCDuring TALK 04:30, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Speedy deletion candidate queryEdit


I submitted two entries only to have them deleted almost immediately - how may I validate my reasons for submission ?

many thanks

Find three citations from durable sources (books, magazines, usenet) spanning at least one year. The citations must be using the word, not just mentioning it. If you do that I can restore the entries for you. — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:18, 4 July 2013 (UTC)
The fact that you put a copyright notice in these shows the problem: Wiktionary is based on usage, and only includes terms that have been actually used in a language, not ones that people have made up and want them to use. As long as you keep adding made-up words, they're going to be deleted as soon as an admin sees them and determines they're made up. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:37, 4 July 2013 (UTC)


My URL suggestions box is no longer showing "user contributions for Pass a Mthod". Why has this suggestion disappeared? Other wiktionary suggestions remain. I just thought this was strange. Pass a Method (talk) 06:41, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

What do you mean URL suggestions box? — Ungoliant (Falai) 15:02, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Shakespearean meaning of "sack"Edit

Shakespeare said that Falstaff had developed gout from too much "sack". I find in Wictionary no definition of the word "sack" that seems to clearly explain what Shakespeare was referring to. Maybe the Wictionary definition needs to be expanded or clarified.

Sack is a corruption of sec, vin sec or dry wine. Earlier spelled seck, sekke, sacke. Originally referred to a dry Spanish wine, but it eventually included also sweet white wines. —Stephen (Talk) 19:50, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

listen I know something about this and your way off:-- 14:08, 2 December 2013 (UTC) the shakespearian meaning of sack is/was one of the very first props that was used to reuse for all to see time and time again. FIRST OF ITS KIND back then which got the wrong attention even that was the first of its kind -- 14:08, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

I guess you should register and help us improve our entries to your standard. DCDuring TALK 14:14, 2 December 2013 (UTC)


It would be most helpful if you could include a pronunciation guide with your entries

For many entries we do. If you come across one without one, you can add {{rfp}} to the page and maybe someday someone will come along and add one. —Angr 18:43, 10 July 2013 (UTC)


See also Wiktionary:Information_desk#Combining_overline_vs_macron.

The entry glep contains this character (or pair of characters), what is it? It looks like an o with a macron but the diacritic is longer than a macron. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:29, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

A macromacron? :) —CodeCat 17:36, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
It's a pair of characters, a normal Latin lower-case o followed by Unicode's COMBINING OVERLINE (U+0305). I doubt that was intentional; we should probably just replace it with the precomposed ō character. —Angr 18:02, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Ber, na, nip, nani, nes, ther, mbesë, blerë, lëmë, këthap and gjesh also contain o̅. - -sche (discuss) 07:09, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
I've cleaned up several of them, and several entries that used other vowels with overlines... but many remain, including na and nani where the overline is combined with a breve (it would be straightforward to replace the overline with a macron, but is it correct to have a macron/overlie + breve at all?), and several entries with use ̊. - -sche (discuss) 01:14, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
A lot of entries which use overlines also use parentheses inside {{recons}}. Is that OK? - -sche (discuss) 01:15, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

Type of mnemonicEdit

I am looking for the word that helps us rember a group of statements. example: job enlargement without job enrichment leads to job discontempment. —This comment was unsigned.

Memory aids in general are mnemonics. See   Mnemonics on Wikipedia.Wikipedia , especially the "See also" links for types and examples. DCDuring TALK 13:07, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
And it's discontentment. DCDuring TALK 13:08, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Agent nouns of phrasal verbsEdit

What is the correct, non-colloquial way of forming agent nouns from phrasal verbs? I.e. for throw up: up thrower? throw upper? thrower upper? Does it take hyphens? — Ungoliant (Falai) 01:31, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

From a historical point it should be "up(-)thrower". That is the same formation that is found in all the other Germanic languages. —CodeCat 01:36, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Traditionally, agent nouns are formed as CodeCat describes, with some exceptions (pass bypasserby; a bypasser is, in contrast, one who bypasses) and notably with a lot of lacunae (no-one says *up-maker). Colloquially, it is possibly to form a lot more agent nouns using the "double -er" format (including the barely attested maker-upper and thrower-upper, which you'll note is pluralised thrower-uppers, never *throwers-upper)... but that is definitely colloquial. "Throw-upper" sounds totally wrong. - -sche (discuss) 02:30, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
This very issue was brought up by a linguist I know who was interested in "ineffability", meaning the phenemenon where a certain productive morphological process simply fails in certain cases, such as {throw up}+{-er} > nothing. He wasn't a native speaker, though, and didn't know about the colloquial "V-er Adv-er" construction familiar to Americans at least from the old ads for Bounty paper towels, which used the slogal "The Quicker Picker-Upper". Nothing else except that construction is productive. (I told him about it, so he had to look elsewhere for cases of ineffability. I suggested that for speakers who use dove as the past tense of dive, dive has no past participle.) —Angr 11:21, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
A picker-upper, at least in the UK, is a device used by the elderly to pick up things they have dropped (see Google images for examples). Also used by people whose job is to pick up litter. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:31, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Hmm, what's wrong with picker-up? Sounds okay to me, and a search found "a picker-up of unconsidered trifles". Equinox 12:23, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
A picker-up is one who picks up (something). The joke term picker-upper refers to the device. Dbfirs 08:04, 16 August 2013 (UTC)
Original poster asked about the correct way of forming such terms. Here's another: "Had I been the finder-out of this secret" (Shakespeare). Equinox 18:39, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Fairly common is hangers-on, also finders-out, onlookers. I wonder how many of those that exist in the singular actually have plurals. If they don't, even the singular formation must not seem entirely right to most speakers. Clearly there is no universal formation rule. I doubt that it would be easy to discern any class of phrasal verbs for which there was a regular process. DCDuring TALK 21:47, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Sanskrit Inflection TablesEdit

Hello. I wanted to know whether it is possible to add a conjugation template for Sanskrit verbs and how.

It looks like we currently don't have any tables for Sanskrit verbs. I can help make them, but I don't know anything about Sanskrit so maybe someone else should do it instead. —CodeCat 15:28, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
Do we have automatic transliteration of Sanskrit? I made {{sa-decl-noun-n-n}} and could also help make templates for Sanskrit verbs, but including the transliterations in the template is a lot of work and seems to exclude the possiblity of the templates including links (or at least makes that option so extremely much work that I can't be arsed to figure out how to do it). If translits could be generated automagically, that would be très cool. —Angr 18:36, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Language-specific translations of international terms (such as species names)Edit

The practice in Dutch is to use native Dutch names in taxonomy, while English uses the international Latin-based terms much more often. In most cases, there is no English entry on such pages. For example, Felidae has only a Translingual section, no English section. I asked DCDuring about what to do in cases like these, and he mentioned that there is no agreement on whether to allow translations on translingual entries. But if there shouldn't, then where should a translation into katachtigen (the Dutch translation of "Felidae") be placed? —CodeCat 19:13, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Also, there are cases where there are as many as ten English vernacular names used for a given genus or even species. They do not belong under a Synonyms header as they are not translingual synonyms. Of course they are not readily found in all cases by a "what links here" search, which is, in any event not something I'd expect normal users to take advantage of. And there are many taxa that do not have an English equivalent, so that one cannot assume that there is always an English entry that corresponds to a Translingual taxon. DCDuring TALK 19:41, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that the Dutch word is a translation of the English word feline, not the Translingual word Felidae. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:57, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
In singular it's a translation of "felid" or of "feline" but in plural it translates "Felidae". See w:Felidae and look at the Dutch interwiki. —CodeCat 10:12, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I’m not sure I’m understanding this correctly, but I oppose including translation tables in Translingual entries when an English word with unambiguously the same meaning exists. {{trans-see}} could be used in these cases. For example, I think Felidae’s translation table should be at felid, with singular translations. — Ungoliant (Falai) 10:33, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
@Ungoliant: re: "when an English word with unambiguously the same meaning exists". Clearly the Translingual terms and their English near-equivalents have a semantic relationship to each other. But what about differences in usage context? What about differences in precision? What about differences in grammar?
The word-pairs Felidae-felids and Felinae-felines provide some illustration of the problem. The singulars *Felida and *Felina are virtually non-existent as Translingual terms. "The felids" and "a felid" coexist in the same document. The English natural-language terms are ambiguous as to whether they refer to individuals or to groupings both in the singular and the plural and are defined in a way that reflects that ambiguity (or flexibility). Though some works distinguish between felines and felids the usage of these two terms is not invariably precise. Though fields like veterinary medicine and paleontology may use felines and felids, most biological writing shuns the words.
What about informal English terms that sometimes refer to a given taxon - but also may refer to others, often based on unexplored regional and context differences ? They aren't translingual synonyms. Should those terms each have translation tables for each of the various taxa they may refer to? DCDuring TALK 12:32, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
  • “The English natural-language terms are ambiguous as to whether they refer to individuals or to groupings both in the singular and the plural and are defined in a way that reflects that ambiguity (or flexibility).”: sorry, I don’t follow. Can you give an example?
  • “most biological writing shuns the words”: really? I never studied biology heavily, but I do see English names being used in biological works.
  • “differences in usage context”: if a FL term can’t be used in the same context as the English word, it shouldn’t be listed as a translation.
  • “differences in precision”: as I said, it has to unambiguously be the same meaning. In cases where there isn’t an English word that means exactly the same as the Translingual word, then I support the inclusion of translations in the Translingual entry.
  • “differences in grammar”: these should be treated as any other case where there is grammatical difference between the English word and the FL equivalent. For example, the Portuguese translation given for back (noun) is costas, a plural even though it translates a singular.
Ungoliant (Falai) 13:00, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
In Dutch, at least, it's the norm to use the Dutch language term in scientific writing, the international names are only used when any ambiguity or uncertainty in the meaning might arise. See w:nl:Katachtigen for an example, particularly the lede and the infobox on the right. The usage context for these terms is not the same as in English, because English has a preference for the international names in this context. English-language articles rarely if ever talk about "the felids" as a family, yet in Dutch "de katachtigen" is usual. —CodeCat 16:43, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

See also Escherichia coli, where the Translingual has a pronunciation. Wyang (talk) 12:56, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

DCDuring, you're missing the mark in my opinion, and I speak as someone who spends way too much of my time reading scientific papers. I mean, seriously, I just tried this Google Scholar search and tons of stuff comes up. It's just as appropriate as Felidae IME, and I support a trans-see pointing to the English entry. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:43, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
I think the difference is in the plural, not the singular. Can you find articles that use "felids" as a plurale tantum to refer to the taxonomic family, and not merely as a regular plural meaning "multiple felid individuals"? —CodeCat 16:46, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
Not different than men or people. — Ungoliant (Falai) 17:01, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Category:English obsolete termsEdit

This category currently has only 11 members. It seems to be populated by {{obsolete term}} in spite of that template's nonexistence. Uh... this is just a general advisory that it exists and should probably be populated with a whole lot more entries (or possibly deleted in favour of other categories). - -sche (discuss) 20:57, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

It's populated by Module:labels, the templates are being phased out gradually. —CodeCat 12:28, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
I've found it in Module:labels/data. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:02, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Principal parts of Icelandic/Old Norse nouns and adjectives?Edit

The principal parts of a word are those forms that allow you to easily predict the remaining forms. For is/non verbs they are the infinitive, past singular, past plural (for strong verbs) and past participle. But what are they for nouns and adjectives? Are there even any, or is the inflection complex enough that only learning all the forms together will work? —CodeCat 12:27, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

For nouns, it's the genitive singular and nominative plural that are given and this combination allows you to work out the noun class: e.g. (-s, -ar) = masc. str. 1, (-u, -ur) = fem. wk. 2, etc. Nine times out of ten, this is good enough to help you work out the remaining inflected forms; Icelandic nouns in general fit into well-defined groups and there are only a few exceptions (e.g. maður, fingur). There are still a number of peculiarities though. For example, some strong masculine class 1 nouns take -i in the singular dative, while some may only do so in either the definite or indefinite form, and some may not do so at all (e.g. refur). Other nouns also have irregular vowel shifts (e.g. sonur (mas.str.3) → sonsynisonar) but these just have to be learnt. Note that the endings for the plural dative and genitive are (almost) always -um and -a (some feminine nouns have kept the old -na ending in the genitive).
For the adjectives, just the comparative (which itself is just declined like a weak adjective) and superlative (which has both strong and weak declensions) masculine nominative forms should be enough to predict the remaining forms, though I usually use {{is-adj-01}}, which also shows the feminine and neuter nominative forms, in the head line.
As for verbs, strong verbs in particular, the things you mention wouldn't always make it much easier to conjugate the remaining forms unless you already have a pretty strong grasp of Icelandic. One example that sticks out for me is the difference between finna (to find) and vinna (to win): they're both strong class 3 but finna goes (að finnafannfundu) while vinna goes (að vinnavannunnu). And all the while, neither tells you anything about the subjunctive tense. BigDom (tc) 13:57, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Creating a Reference TemplateEdit

I'm having a hard time gleaning instruction from the Help:Creating a Template page, and I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to create a Reference template specifically, especially one for a particular language category? —This comment was unsigned.

See Category:Reference templates for some examples. DCDuring TALK 09:05, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

HTML garble shows up in QuickwikiEdit

I extensively use the Firefox browser add-on Quickwiki in Wikisource and sometimes the reference shows up as garbled HTML. Is this a Wiktionary issue or is it a Quickwiki problem? Ineuw (talk) 01:09, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

  • If you're using it in Wikisource, why would it be a Wiktionary issue? —Angr 21:20, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with the add-on, but if it's the kind that shows a preview of the content pointed to by a link, it would be relevant if it acted up when applied to a link to en:Wiktionary within Wikisource. Given all the massive changes we've made to the templates in the past 6 months, it wouldn't surprise me if coding using obsolete assumptions based on the previous Wiktionary environment were now causing the add-on to malfunction. To tell what's really going on, we would have to have examples of where the malfunction happens in order to trouble-shoot this, and it may not be strictly our fault or the add-on's fault, but the interaction between the two. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:55, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Copying from other ‘Wiki’ projectsEdit

There seems to be another new ‘rule’ that implicitly claims that copying information from other ‘Wiktionaries’ or ‘Wikipedias’ is unwelcomed. Specifically, if the ‘authors’ are separate people, then copying is unwanted. However, there are a few problems with this:

1. Nobody owns the work,

2. The copier need not explicitly claim that it is her or his work, especially considering that the original was likely derivative anyway and,

3. More than likely, the author does not care if somebody takes credit for the work that the author did, which is contrary to the presumed motivation of this rule.

I do not care if anyone copies any of my work anywhere. I don’t even care if they take credit for it; it is frivolous to take such things seriously. But instead of having a specific choice in the matter, I must accept this as a condition of editing here. --Æ&Œ (talk) 23:18, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't know the whole context, so this may not be what you're talking about, however: everything any editor contributes is, by default, copyrighted. If you look at the fine print under the edit window, we get to have and give away that content because editors agree to release their copyrighted contributions using the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL. As I understand it, these don't ask for much, but attribution is required by both. If you copy from another project, the edit history is lost, and attribution becomes impossible. That puts us in violation of the licenses. It may be a technicality, but it's one that's important to the Wikimedia Foundation, and we're using their servers. I hope this gives you an idea as to why we do things this way. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:31, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I suspect this discussion is to do with Razorflame's translations into languages he doesn't speak (on his talk page) but for which there are interwiki links and other sources. Single word translations do not require any copy-right info, especially if they are correct. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 01:57, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Now that you've pointed it out- probably. At any rate, I stand by what I said, but if we're just talking about single-word translations, any violation (if it could even be called that) would be too unclear/trivial to to make an issue of. I would be more concerned about Razorflame's apparently returning to some of the impulsive and combative behavior that he showed before he was blocked. I'm not talking about his interactions with Dan Polansky, which are mostly just the business of those two, but some of the other things that can be seen on his talk page. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:40, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
He was blocked for at least a year for repeatedly agreeing not to work in languages he didn't know, then coming back and doing it again and again. Has he come back to do it yet again now? Double the block again. Equinox 12:27, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I don’t give a shit if he does not ‘know’ the language. What matters is if the translations are accurate. --Æ&Œ (talk) 12:49, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
It became an issue precisely because he wasn't being very accurate. We all venture into areas we don't know very well, but it requires caution, and checking things carefully. Razorflame was anything but cautious. Also, he tends to get defensive and combative when anyone brings up the subject. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:34, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
No, that’s bullshit. A native (children especially) can make a mistake and a freshman can be correct. Assuming that he’s wrong because he has less experience in the language in the subject is stereotyping. Also, I have a soupçon that you lot aren’t being very gentle when you bring these problems up with him. Outright accusing somebody of making shit up is never a nice thing to do. ‘Excuse me, could you provide some verification for this, if it pleases you?’ should suffice. --Æ&Œ (talk) 16:12, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Chuck Entz, I do not understand how the edit history would be lost, unless the entry in question were deleted. If I could be attributed for copying, why couldn’t the other authors be attributed? --Æ&Œ (talk) 04:19, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Æ&Œ, if an editor writes something on one wiki (for example, if User:XYZ makes a table of high and low temperatures on March 1, 2004), the edit history will show who made the table and when. Then if you copy the table and insert it into a different wiki, that edit history will not show any reference to the original edit on the original wiki, and there will be no mention of User:XYZ. That’s what Chuck means by the edit history being lost. —Stephen (Talk) 09:50, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
That sounds like something that a robot would do, which seems acceptable for them.
I do comprehend you, but still, the issue seems easily capable of being avoided. I could, for example, insert a brief disclaimer on the edit claiming that it was imported from another Wiki, or more tediously, list all of the edits crediting the original authors somewhere. I actually already have a credit on my user page. If you lot have any better ideas, you are welcomed to suggest them. I just want you nerds to refrain from annoying the shit out of me. --Æ&Œ (talk) 10:14, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
There is a way to transwiki a page between wikis (although I have not done it myself, so I don’t know how). For example, our Transwiki:List of terms used for Germans was transwikied in Oct. 2007 from a Wikipedia page named w:List of terms used for Germans. If you look back at the early editing history of Transwiki:List of terms used for Germans (prior to Oct. 2007), you’ll see that all of the original editing history has been retained intact. —Stephen (Talk) 10:33, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the issue is easily avoided by mentioning the source, even in an edit summary. That provides the missing link to the place where the edit history is. The problem is copying without attribution. There's no limitation on use of such material, as long as it's properly attributed. Oh, and as far as "nerds"... "annoying the shit out of" you: 1) Look in the mirror- you're just as much a nerd as the rest of us, and that's not a bad thing. 2) I firmly believe that, on some days, the interaction of the earth's magnetic and gravitational fields is sufficient to annoy the shit out of you. We don't go out of our way to annoy you- really, we don't... ;-) Chuck Entz (talk) 14:34, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
So there we go, just a little misunderstanding. I think that Razorflame is responsible enough to accept that condition assuming that he wants to continue editing here. Also, being a nerd is bad because nerdery breaks common practice eye are el; most humans are not nerds. That’s why bullies exist: to make sure that everybody conforms to common practice. And if you lot don’t go outta your way to annoy me, why is it that most of the rules here happen to be unwritten when I learn about ’em? --Æ&Œ (talk) 16:12, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
See Talk:adik for what I did when I copied something from Wikipedia in a language I don't know. —Angr 13:36, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Future subjunctiveEdit

Is this acceptable in modern English:

“It will be over when I be killed”
“He will be making a lot of money when he be a teacher”

Or should am/is be used? — Ungoliant (Falai) 10:38, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Future subjunctive would be (I think) "It would be over if I were to be killed" and "He would be making a lot of money were he to be a teacher" - but we don't normally use that tense. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:44, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
What tense would the examples I gave be? I’m trying to find a good equivalent of the Portuguese future subjunctive (which is the subjunctive used following the preposition quando (when).) Normally it is translated by rewording the sentence in a way another verbal construct can be used. — Ungoliant (Falai) 10:52, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
"It will be over when I am killed" and "He will be making a lot of money when he is a teacher" - but these don't use the subjunctive. p.s. Teachers don't make a lot of money in the UK (but they have long holidays). SemperBlotto (talk) 10:56, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I doubt teachers make much money anywhere anyway, but it’s a noble profession. — Ungoliant (Falai) 10:59, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

August 2013Edit

BSL online dictionaryEdit

I've learned a few words of BSL (British Sign Language) but I'd like to learn more. So far I haven't found a good online dictionary - video is pretty much essential for BSL - and searching through Google hits is tedious. Anyone know of one? Mglovesfun (talk) 19:36, 5 August 2013 (UTC)


Hi, I recently dug through the history of the Wikipedia article Gertcha and someone had dumped a definition of the word there. I've dumped it there, but I was wondering what the correct way to format it is?--Launchballer (talk) 21:28, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

  • SB deleted it within minutes of your creating it (at gertcha, not Gertcha—our page titles are case-sensitive, unlike Wikipedia), so I recreated it for you in your userspace at User:Launchballer/gertcha. It should have three citations spanning more than a year, taken from durably archived sources, before being moved back to main space. As for formatting, see WT:ELE or just copy the formatting from an existing article like gotcha. —Angr 21:48, 7 August 2013 (UTC)


oneiro- has a "derived words" section for "English words prefixed with oneiro-". There should be plenty - oneironaut, oneirology (?), oneirophobia for instance. But none are listed. (I get the feeling oneiric and should be listed as derived forms for oneir-, come to think of it perhaps oneirology should be here rather than under oneiro-.) I understand that such categories are automatically generated using templates in the appropriate articles. Is this something that needs doing but just hasn't been done yet, or is it something that isn't meant to be done? The documentation for Template:confix suggests that neurogenic should be templated in such a way that it does not appear under the "Derived terms" for neuro- which seems a bit odd to an outsider, since neurogeneticist and neurogeography fit in just fine and I'm pretty sure neurogenic is derived from neuro- too? TheGrappler (talk) 22:40, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Oneiro- is definitely an element that tends to appear at the beginning of words, but that doesn't make it a prefix. A prefix is something that modifies what it's attached to, but everything I see it attached to seems to be modifying it rather than the other way around. If neither part is significantly more basic to the meaning of the word than the other, then you probably have a compound, in which case neither should be in such a category. Sometimes it's a judgment call, so it's not set in stone, but that's the basic idea. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:48, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
As to oneirology, the historical etymology (that it comes directly from Latin oneirologia) is certainly plausible and much more likely than the morphological one, which implies that folks who didn't know the word could and do manufacture it as needed from the components. DCDuring TALK 23:15, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
I think that we should show both synchronic and diachronic etymology. So oneirology should appear in Category:English words prefixed with oneiro- as well. —CodeCat 23:18, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Chuck's explanation of the use of the prefix category makes sense to me now, I am not a linguist so didn't know the technical definition. But then, the majority of users aren't either. And the article for oneiro- is rather pointless without any examples! Can't you at least give us "Category:English compound words containing the element oneiro-" or "Category:English compound words beginning with oneiro-"? I mean, it's fairly clear that there is a link between oneironaut, oneirology, oneirophobia and so on but at the moment it is not clear how the reader is meant to stumble across this link. Similarly for "neurogenic" - while I can accept that the "neuro-" there isn't a prefix that should result in "neurogenic" being categorized together with "neurogeography", surely some two-way link to "neuro-" should be being made? At the moment, neurogenic is linked to neuro- but neuro is not linked to neurogenic. From a reader's point of view, if you are interested in the relationships between words, that can't be right. It's not a symmetric relationship, but in itself that's no reason for the relationship to only be visible "from one end"? It looks more peculiar given that words with a technically slightly different relationship, do get the two-way relationship indicated. TheGrappler (talk) 00:38, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I replaced the category link with a list of derived terms, which solves that part of the problem. I think we should have a place in the category structure for morphemes that are used in word formation without being prefixes, suffixes or infixes- I'm just not sure what to call them. Roots? Stems? Whosits?Chuck Entz (talk) 01:34, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree with TheGrappler (talkcontribs) and CodeCat (talkcontribs). [[oneirology#Etymology]] should have {{confix|oneiro|logy|lang=en}}. —RuakhTALK 05:29, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Admin needed to enable source linksEdit

Hello, I added to citations to help support the lonely burned, with source links from NY Times and SF Chronicles. The software asked me to fill a captcha so I filled the captcha, but then the software refused my edit because there are links and only admins can add links, antispam I guess. So I just commented-out the two sources links and posted my update. Now if some admin can tweak it to enable the two source links, that would be better referenced. 21:29, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

I've formatted the links in [[drinked]]. For future reference, only users with fewer than two edits are blocked from adding links. - -sche (discuss) 21:47, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
That's of course kind of a pain. When that filter was added people (including me) thought that external links weren't needed at all on Wiktionary, but we seem to have forgotten about citations. Hmm. -- Liliana 22:00, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
We could restrict the filter to the user namespace, which is the only one that's being vandalized so far. We could also write a filter to block links added along with certain keywords, but I'm not sure I know enough about abuse filter markup to do that. - -sche (discuss) 23:04, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Or we could allow external links in properly formatted citations lines. Any exception can be exploited, but I'm guessing citations are not commonly clicked on, so the reward for such spamming is negligible. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Clicks are completely beside the point for most bot-generated spam: it's there to be seen by search engines, which give a higher page ranking based on sites being linked to from high-traffic sites like ours. The spambots that are giving us the most trouble are designed to hide the links by making them look like either part of a large block of text on a user page, or like a simple link in an ordinary user's page ("User:MaryLou- There's not much to say about me. I'm a 15-year-old boy. I live in Geneva. I like animé and gardening. Here's a link to my favorite web page:"). We haven't gotten that many spambots in mainspace lately, so I think restricting the filter to user and user talk pages would be ok. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:40, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Rollback use policyEdit

Which policy governs the use of the rollback feature here? In Wikipedia the editor can be admonished after only a couple of such wanton rollbacks as diff, whereas the editor in question evidently produces tens of these, including its use in edit wars. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 15:11, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

The edit summary says, "If you think this rollback is in error, please leave a message on my talkpage." Try that first before investigating possible sanctions. —Angr 15:32, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay, after I found how another IP was blocked after so named “vandalism”, I have no further question about policies of Wiktionary. The situation is clear: here is not Wikipedia. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 16:17, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Wiktionary has far fewer admins than Wikipedia, so we make much more use of the rollback tool, and have fewer restrictions on its use. The reverted edit looks incorrect to me, unless concourse is pronounced differently outside of the US: our rhyme pages don't count words with the accent on a different syllable as rhymes in English. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:54, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
This is reverting of an arbitrarily picked edit I have no relation to. I came here because of diff and my habit to gather some intelligence about a person before contacting it. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 16:17, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Apparently you are a Wikipedia editor. If so, you might gain from reading Wiktionary for Wikipedians. Or, of course, you could simply follow the recommendation in the edit summary as Angr suggested. If this is about me, as you are making it seem, this is an unusually rude way to respond to an edit you disagree with. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:40, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Why is &c. disused?Edit

Was the ampersand excluded from typewriters, too? --Æ&Œ (talk) 21:01, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

I think many folks read &c. as "and c". Etc. is easier to read as etc(etera). DCDuring TALK 23:57, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Latin isn't widely taught to children any more and many people would not understand the equivalence between et and ampersand. Relatedly, I see the misspelling ect. a lot; people seem to hear the word as ek-setera. Equinox 00:25, 20 August 2013 (UTC)


Can somebody please give me a list of all wiktionary entries with prefixes before the word "organ"? Thanks in advance. Pass a Method (talk) 12:12, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Enter *organ in the "Search" box. SemperBlotto (talk) 14:54, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

tentative meaningEdit

Word tentative means "approximate". Please guide.

It doesn't mean "approximate". Equinox 13:24, 20 August 2013 (UTC)


What is the correct term for contradictions in the English language, like ; "to cut a tree down and then cut it up"


This term is used in theatre to refer to stage right. However, I'm not sure how it should be added to the entry. It's short for "opposite prompt" or "off prompt" (both of which are presumably SoP), yet I think the term "OP" is a term in its own right, and should have the two expansions mentioned as an "etymology". What is the usual practice here? This, that and the other (talk) 07:37, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure of the best format either, but I've added the sense to the OP entry, with the link to stage right. "Opposite prompt" seems to be much more common than "off prompt", but I agree that these are best regarded as SoP. Dbfirs 08:21, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Caught in tag filter...Edit

Hello, while attempting to transclude collaborate on collaborating I'm getting stuck with an edit filter: This action has been automatically identified as harmful, and therefore disallowed. If you believe your action was constructive, please inform an administrator of what you were trying to do. A brief description of the abuse rule which your action matched is: New user adding external link - I'm not actually adding an external link, but one is being transcluded from an existing page using {{:collaborate}} to transclude the page. I'm a "new user" with ~11K global WMF wiki contributions. Thanks, Technical 13 (talk) 14:15, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Why would you want to transclue collaborate on collaborating? I don't think we do that for any inflected form of a lemma. —Angr 14:50, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Now that I've turned on the "Navigation popups, page previews and editing functions popup when hovering over links" gadget (MediaWiki:Gadget-popups.js), I see no reason to transclude it; although, it leaves me wondering why this popup feature isn't on by default. This would reduce a lot of link creep. Less links to have to click to get to what the reader wants, the better. People want to get their information and be on their way, not have to sit there and click link after link to get their information. After the first or second link, I personally feel that I'm wasting my time and go someplace else to get the information. Angr, thanks for your quick reply though! :) Technical 13 (talk) 15:20, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree that it happens far too often that people have to keep clicking and clicking and clicking to get to an actual definition, but at collaborating you only have to click once to get to the meat of the definition at collaborate, which I don't think is unreasonable. —Angr 15:28, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't implying that it was unreasonable. :) I'm just really lazy, and since this is an actually problem on other pages, where is your "proposals/technical/whatever requests page" on this wiki. I would like to propose that MediaWiki:Gadget-popups.js be enabled by default in MediaWiki:Gadgets-definition (Navigation_popups|popups.jsNavigation_popups[default]|popups.js). Thanks! Technical 13 (talk) 15:39, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
The place to bring up general policy proposals is the Beer parlour. —Angr 17:55, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

WOTD nominationsEdit

Hi, I was trying to nominate one of my favourite words, budgie smugglers, at Wiktionary:Word of the day/Nominations, but all I get is a message:

This action has been automatically identified as harmful, and therefore disallowed. If you believe your action was constructive, please inform an administrator of what you were trying to do. A brief description of the abuse rule which your action matched is: New user adding external link

This is even though I was not trying to add an external link, merely a new nomination line in the documented format. What's up? 19:59, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Did you try to add it in exactly this form, just above the current nomination undern: * {{wotd-nom|budgie smugglers}} ~~~~  ? —Stephen (Talk) 20:22, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Yep, exactly that. 20:42, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I don’t know why you got that message. I nominated it for you. —Stephen (Talk) 20:37, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for doing that! Although it seems that in this case the message was issued in error, might I suggest that, even if issued correctly, the wording is unnecessarily hostile and dramatic. Words like "harmful" and "abuse" should be avoided for such a case; something like "Sorry, as a new user, you're not allowed to add external links ... blah blah" would be more suitable in my opinion. 00:39, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Who invented English?Edit

--Æ&Œ (talk) 00:45, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Those that spoke it first, I imagine. —CodeCat 00:48, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Good job they didn't patent it. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:59, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
But my uncle told me that three drunk Germans invented it! WTF, why would he lie to me‽ --Æ&Œ (talk) 16:29, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
He's close; it was only two drunk Germans. They were brothers named Hengist and Horsa. —Angr 18:09, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Living languages aren't invented: they're an ongoing process of negotiation between speakers, writers, listeners and readers. If I say something while speaking English, and you understand it, it becomes part of the usage for the language. If I say something with too different a pronunciation or meaning, I won't be understood, so I have to base what I say and how I say it on what I've heard others say when talking about the same thing. That collective model of how one says things and what they mean is the real language, independent of any language academy or dictionary or what any teacher says. More often than not, language users will accept what the authorities say, and it thus becomes part of the real language, but the authorities don't directly control it.
This collective model varies as you move through social and/or geographical and/or temporal distance, because the community of language users is different, so the understandings between them are different. A language like English is made up of the totality of such collective models that are considered to be part of the same language. The boundaries of a language are often unclear or disputed: what some people consider Scottish regional English, others consider Scots, some consider 15th-century usage part of Modern English, others don't. We can only be approximate in describing what's really there- no one can really say with complete accuracy what English is, let alone be said to have "invented" it. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:05, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
This seems to be up there with when was the cow invented. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:43, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

September 2013Edit

Why are feminine agent nouns sexist?Edit


>This suffix tends to be regarded as sexist and as such is starting to fall into disuse; a single, gender-neutral term is preferred by many[.]

I don’t get it. How is this sexist? To me, it’s just more specific. --Æ&Œ (talk) 21:59, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

It's considered sexist because there is no specific word for male persons. The assumption, then, is that any gender-neutral term is inherently masculine, and that a feminine word has to be derived from the masculine word. —CodeCat 22:11, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
-ess isn't an agent suffix. It's a feminizing suffix. (A goddess is not one who gods.) -rix could be viewed as an agent suffix, though it could also be viewed as a combination of -or, a masculine agent suffix, and -ix, a feminizing suffix. Limiting oneself to a synchronic perspective, one couldn't tell which story better fit the facts, because the evolutionary facts which have a bearing are intrinsically diachronic. We tend to minimize diachronic analysis within a given language or even with its direct ancestors. DCDuring TALK 22:32, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Even diachronically, Indo-European agent nouns are almost all masculine, and require further suffixation to create a feminine noun. So really, IE is sexist as a whole. —CodeCat 22:35, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I blame Gaia. Few indeed are the species with no gender differentiation. DCDuring TALK 22:42, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
There are certainly languages that have no gender differentiation though. And even early IE had only animate and inanimate distinctions. I don't think linguists have quite figured out what motivated speakers to create distinct masculine and feminine animates, but it's clear that when they did, they used suffixation to create the feminines, leaving the original animate as masculine. —CodeCat 22:48, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
It's just the way people think: you start out with a type or a norm, which is unmarked (in the linguistics sense), and you categorize everything else by adding things to distinguish them from the norm: you have men, and wo men (though that's also due to the loss of wǣpenmann, the Old English male counterpart), and you have people vs. ethnic people. The same happens with languages: the standard is usually normal, and everything else is a dialectal or regional variant. I speak normally, and everyone from anywhere else has an accent... Chuck Entz (talk) 23:29, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
IE society was patriarchal, so that probably explains part of that. It's a shame we still haven't quite freed ourselves from that, though. —CodeCat 23:31, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
In Slavic languages, gender distinction for agents is not considered sexist at all, with very few exceptions (e.g. in Russian some poetesses prefer to be called "поэт", not "поэтесса" and some other ideas, often borrowed from the West). It's part of the languages, even if it was sexist at the beginning (I really don't know but I think it wasn't sexist, differing is not necessarily discriminating). Well, there are more distinction than just agents and he/she - adjectives, verb forms, which reveal the gender, surname endings. Even foreign surnames behave differently. Czech, Slovak add -ová to a feminine forms and in Russia, J.K. Rowlings wouldn't be able to hide behind an abbreviation if there were a longer article about her. Such names don't inflect, if they refer to a woman. There are some conventions about using the masculine form when gender is irrelevant and for some professions no feminine forms exists or is considered (too) colloquial. The movement such as to merge "policeman" and "policewoman" into genderless "police person" is unlikely to happen in Slavic and some other countries. Perhaps it's more fun to be different? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:31, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
An American woman knowing a bit of Russian told me "я устал" (ja ustál) ("I'm tired", male speaker). I told her she should say "я устала" (ja ustála) (same for a female speaker) since she was a woman. She said "so you discriminate women (in Russia)?". I didn't know what to say at first. It's just the grammar, verbs in the past tense have masculine, feminine, neuter genders (and plural). Does anyone else think that gender difference in a language is discriminating or languages with such differences are sexist?
There are some problems with Arabic I hear. An Arabic sexist said the agent nouns mean quite different things when you try to convert those words into a feminine form. I don't remember the exact words. I'm sure there's a way around it. Some Russian feminine forms also mean a different thing and should be avoided when referring to a person. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:42, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
It does come across as sexist when there is a distinction that doesn't really matter. English speakers don't think of the first person as being inherently gendered, so when speaking Russian it probably seems odd to them that men and women are required to use different words. —CodeCat 00:47, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Maybe we should ask Finnish speakers how they perceive the use of gendered pronouns in Swedish or English...? —CodeCat 00:49, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Women (at least in Russia) themselves call genderless agent words in English an excessive political correctness, women choose genderless words when it's awkward to make a feminine form or they sound too colloquial. E.g. кассирша/кассир, бухгалтерша/бухгалтер (teller, accountant (fem./masc)) can both be used to refer to women. You can't say a few phrases without revealing your gender. If that were a problem, women would stop talking LOL If you think I'm biased because I'm a man, then you'll have to look for a Russian woman for her opinion :) --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 01:24, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
In languages where everything, including rocks and tables, has gender, gender marking isn't as big a deal. English has no grammatical gender any more except in pronouns and possessive adjectives, so using suffixes to show gender distinctions is quite conspicuous. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:49, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Conspicuous and sexist is not the same. I guess it depends on the current moods. Are "actress" or "queen" sexist? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 03:13, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
"Actress" is considered sexist by some female actors. Some names for feminine occupations such as teacheress never caught on despite being recommended by Fowler. Queen is not sexist because there is the corresponding male noun king. Dbfirs 15:15, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
What's interesting to me is why in English it's considered sexist to use the feminine suffix, while in German it's considered sexist not to. The English-speaking PC crowd wants us to say actors and waiters and flight attendants and police officers rather than actors and actresses, waiters and waitresses, stewardesses and stewards, policemen and policewomen, and so forth; while the German-speaking PC crowd wants us to say Schauspielerinnen und Schauspieler, Kellner und Kellnerinnen, Flugbegleiterinnen und Flugbegleiter, Polizisten und Polizistinnen, and so forth, rather than using the masculine terms in a gender-neutral way. Some people find that unwieldy and so do use the masculine gender-neutrally (notably the German Pirate Party, which has had to issue a statement justifying their actions), but if they do so in writing they feel obliged to put a disclaimer in a footnote explaining that women are to be understood as included in these terms. One university recently announced that it was going to start using the feminine forms gender-neutrally in its official communications, so that all professors regardless of sex were going to be referred to as Professorinnen. —Angr 18:35, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
It's all about context: in English, there's no grammatical gender in nouns, so adding a suffix changes a noun from gender-unmarked to gender-marked. In German, there is grammatical gender in nouns, so everything already has an intrinsic gender (anomalies like diminutive suffixes notwithstanding), even if there's no explicit morphology to show it. Since unmarked gender is out of the question, it then becomes a matter of fairness as to which gender is marked. It's like the situation with third-person-singular pronouns in English, but with nothing like the use of third-person plural to avoid gender-marking. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:38, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

slurs against RomaniansEdit

Are there racial slurs (in English) against Romanians? -- 10:13, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

I've never heard of any. There hasn't been a lot of interaction between most English speakers and Romanians, so there hasn't been much occasion to come up with racial/ethnic anything. In the US about the only things about Romania that have entered mainstream awareness are athletes, Communist-era abuses, and vampire lore. Otherwise, Romanians get lumped in with all the other Eastern European nationalities in a vague sort of way. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:51, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Here's a supposed list. No references for any of them. DTLHS (talk) 23:00, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Lots of wrong or incorrectly spelled terms in that list. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:21, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Only two of those are from English-speaking countries. The gypsy one could apply to several countries in the general area (see bohemian, for instance), and I'm skeptical about the "you knows" one, though I suppose there might be areas with unusual concentrations of Romanian immigrants where such a phenomenon could take place. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:43, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I encountered horse-eater earlier this year, in reference to the horse meat fiasco. — Ungoliant (Falai) 23:13, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Americans who can't be bothered with fine distinctions between various Central and Eastern European ethnicities would probably group them in with Czechs and Hungarians and call them "bohunks". —Angr 08:36, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
[1] also has a few, though I don't know if any of them are actually used by English speakers. --BB12 (talk) 17:20, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Definition of the word "QUADRANGULATE"Edit

I could not find the word QUADRANGULATE in any of the English dictionaries at my disposal. I know the meaning of the word Triangulate. Can I use the word "Quadrangulate" to mean the same thing done by triangualte, but using quadrangles instead of triangles, i.e devide a plane polygonal area in to mutiple compartments having 4 sides?

p.s. Some use the word Quadrilateralize to describe the same process. Is that correct? —This unsigned comment was added by YoNeKn (talkcontribs).


Have met a woman called Safina, am trying to work out where her name comes from. I've come across Arabic سفينة(safīna) but maybe it's just a coincidence. Anyone? Mglovesfun (talk) 16:50, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

I would suspect a corruption of (something along the lines of) Sabina, Sofia, or Safona. Have you asked her? Keφr 17:09, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

anti‐Semitism in HebrewEdit

Are there any anti‐Semitic slurs in Hebrew? (I’d imagine that they would be necessary for translations.) --Æ&Œ (talk) 08:18, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

יְהוּדוֹן(yehudon, Jew-boy, kike, sheeny) is a good one. —Stephen (Talk) 09:05, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I would very much like to know the etymology of this term, as its existence is bizarre. I can only guess that it was either invented for purposes of translation, disgruntled (gentile) Israelis invented it, or it was a formerly neutral term abused. Ѯ&Π(talk) 09:37, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps it's used by the stereotypical self-hating Jew. —Angr 10:33, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
I'm not surprised. There are self-hating Russians who call themselves русаки (rusakí). There are obviously non-Russian Russian, non-Jewish Hebrew speakers, etc. who may have a grudge. Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 12:16, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Somebody should make an appendix of self‐racist slurs for all languages. The irony would be good for a laugh. —Æ&Œ (talk) 16:30, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
But they'd just be the same terms as used by outsiders, at least in most cases. —Angr 18:19, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Request for blockingEdit

I’ve been being a douchey jackass lately, and I’m not balancing it out with lots of useful contributions, so… yeah, if you wanna block me, go ahead. It can be indefinite for all I care. --Æ&Œ (talk) 06:34, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Why? Just because Dan Polansky says so? -- Liliana 08:27, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, his opinions are infallible. And he is annoying (UH OH, MORE PIRSUNAL ATAX!!!!1), so anything that keeps him quiet I support. --Æ&Œ (talk) 12:03, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Æ&Œ and Dan Polansky, stop being drama queens. This is not Wikipedia. Keφr 12:20, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
No! I can’t be dramaqueen! Now my life is ruined FOREVER!
>sobs on pillow for several hours. --Æ&Œ (talk) 12:47, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
As you can verify for yourself at User_talk:Æ&Œ#Making_trouble, I have not asked Pilcrow (talkcontribs) AKA user:Æ&Œ to get himself blocked. I asked him to stop making trouble on Equinox talk page. --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:52, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
Wouldn’t you rather that I be blocked here? Come on, be honest. --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:05, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Participles and adjectivesEdit

In English and many other Germanic languages, participles strongly overlap with adjectives and most of them can be used attributively like an adjective can. But they also have verb-like properties that adjectives don't, like being able to be used in the perfect tense. We have many entries that contain definitions for both the participle and the adjective. But many of those entries are like reflecting or its Dutch equivalent reflecterend, they don't really give any definitions in the adjective section that don't already apply to the participle itself. As a present participle, "reflecting" already means "that reflects". Any participle "Xing" means "that Xes", this is just inherent in what a present participle is. So an adjective section seems rather redundant in that case. So what exactly would be the point where a word really has a distinct adjectival sense that is not part of the participle? When is a participle more than just a participle? —CodeCat 13:28, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

AFAICT, the legitimate purposes of noun and adjective L3 sections in English are to record:
  1. Any new meanings that might have developed in noun and adjective use of the words and
  2. Any grammatical behavior that does not automatically occur with all participles, eg, plural noun, comparable adjective.
I'll try to find instances of 1. DCDuring TALK 13:52, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
I did consider your second point, but not all true adjectives have comparatives either. It seems almost more a matter of definition whether a participle can be comparable or not. Doesn't the comparative of a past participle normally mean "having Xed to a greater degree"? That does seem like a verbal sense to me. —CodeCat 20:22, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Now that I think of it, CGEL suggests additional tests for adjectivity in English that have more bearing on words that are participles: modification by very and too and use after forms of become and, I think, seem. Thus, for example, perplexed and perplexing clearly make the cut as adjectives, whereas reflected and reflecting might not. (They don't in my idiolect.) DCDuring TALK 22:32, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Do you know of any tests that might work for Dutch or German? Participles inflect as adjectives in those languages, so it seems even less clear cut. I have recently added inflection tables to Dutch participle entries and I came across some adjectives that had definitions that don't really seem distinguished from the participles themselves. So it makes me wonder which of those entries should go and which should stay. —CodeCat 22:43, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Some of the best grammarians and lexicographers in the world have been Dutch. They must have had some thoughts about this. DCDuring TALK 23:15, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

.ZIM files of the Wiktionaries?Edit

Is there a plan to convert the archives into .ZIM files to be used with Kiwix? 16:48, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Need an Adjective Meaning the One *After* the LastEdit

I'm looking for a word corresponding to "penultimate" but which refers to the first item in a larger series after the last one of interest.

I need a succinct word to use in a variable name where I'm describing pointers into a buffer, indicating the first character of interest and the first character *after* the last one of interest. I'm not free to change at what either variable points, but I can give the latter a meaningful description.

Web searches have turned up nothing, suggesting that I'm asking the wrong question.

I considered "antipenultimate" but that seems to just be a misspelling of "antepenultimate"; I tried postultimate, which could be correct by construction, but can't find any usages thereof.

The NYPL Reference desk correctly pointed out that "ultimate" means "the very last one", i.e., than-which-there-can-be-nothing-later, so the word I'm seeking has no referent. However, my intended use is not an unusual concept, so the problem must have been solved before. Perhaps I need to abandon "ultimate" as the root, but I don't know what I'd use in its place.

—This unsigned comment was added by Lrreiche (talkcontribs).

Perhaps it would be clearer to label the significant part of the buffer with the range 1..n and then talk about (n+1) as an index. Equinox 20:17, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Or with the range [0; n), like normal people do. Keφr 13:43, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the replies; I got a chuckle out of hypernext, but to me that seems to imply that we intend to visit the hypernext character in the foreseeable future.

If the documentation described Terminus as "a pointer to the transultimate character of the substring", would its meaning be clear to you as described above? Would you want further elaboration? Lance ==)-------- 2013Sep11 23:35 (UTC)

Since that's not a word, I would not understand it in documentation. Isn't the point of documentation to explain things clearly, rather than to invent new words for the sake of it? If you must use a made-up term, define it clearly where you first use it. Equinox 23:37, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Good point -- I was getting wrapped up in my own cleverness and completely lost sight of the goal. Thanks for reminding me I'm here to drain the swamp, not develop a line of gator-proof hip-waders. Lrreiche (talk) 00:16, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Next?” Michael Z. 2013-09-12 03:03 z

Are surnames really (proper) nouns?Edit

Aside from the question of whether proper nouns are really distinct from nouns, I am wondering about surnames. They can be used as substantives, like in "Jones wanted to see me". But generally, they are not used that way and typically modify some other name, and that makes them seem a bit like adjectives. This is also confirmed by the way surnames are used in other languages. In languages that have genders, surnames often tend to have no inherent gender, and even often lack anything that might give away a gender. In the Slavic languages that is even stronger, where surnames inflect for gender much like adjectives do, according to the gender of the first name bearing it. So how correct is it really, given these facts, to class them as proper nouns? Is it a case of "we don't have better ideas" or "we never thought about it", or is there a real motivation for it? —CodeCat 16:24, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

  • Probably not. They are not the names of an individual thing. The Italian Wiktionary entry shows examples that do not include any surnames, and their category "Nomi propri in italiano" does not include any (but the last is due to the fact that they haven't got any in their Wiki!). SemperBlotto (talk) 16:38, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
    • Do Italian surnames inflect for gender like they do in the Slavic languages? —CodeCat 16:40, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
      • No. —Angr 18:37, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Surnames are proper nouns, IMHO. They refer to concrete individuals in an arbitrary, case-to-case way, rather than via their characteristics. As for your other notes, Czech surnames do not really inflect for gender but rather show derivational morphology, as in e.g. Havránek and Havránková or Novák or Nováková. As for noun vs. adjective, admittedly, some Czech surnames show adjectival ending and inflection, as Skalský and Skalská. However, there are nouns of adjectival origin that inflect like adjectives yet take noun positions in sentences, as e.g. vrchní (waiter). In Czech, news reporting commonly refers to people by surname only, in an obviously noun way. Thus, many male surnames in Czech both inflect as nouns and take noun positions in sentences: Novák, Slepička, Meduna, Nečas, etc. In general, I cannot confirm that surnames are generally not used as nouns. As far as usage of English surnames in noun positions in sentences, I see the same thing: surnames are fairly often used alone on noun positions in news reporting. --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:53, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
    • True adjectives can be used in noun roles but that doesn't really make them nouns. This is less obvious in English because English lost most of its inflection. When you say "the old" then you get a plural noun that refers to all people who are old. In Dutch, though, "de oude" is singular, but it has the -e that is characteristic of the definite inflection of adjectives in Dutch. At the same time though, such substantive adjectives can be pluralised as if they were nouns, so they are kind of half way. Still though, it's not clear cut for many cases, not all noun-like uses of words are nouns as far as I can tell. As for Czech and the Slavic languages, I do think it's strange that the differences are derivational. But at the same time, -ov, -ský and Russian -in (not sure if Czech has it too) are all historically adjective suffixes, so there is at least some adjectiveness in their history. I suppose that they can be used as nouns, are historically sometimes adjectives, but when used as qualifier for a first name? I don't really know. They're kind of unique that way. —CodeCat 19:10, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
      • For the case of Skalský and Skalská, I can admit to you that it is superficially plausible to talk of inflection, as the adjectival appearance via adjectival endings is strong. But in the case of Havránek vs. Havránková, Havránek inflects like a noun, Havránková inflects like an adjective, and Havránková is derived from Havránek by adding suffix -ová, a bit like princess is derived from prince; the adjectival suffix -ová is also found in the likes of sírová (lemma sírový). --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:26, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

dobrý denEdit

cs or uk? πr2 (talk • changes) 23:50, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

Fixed a stupid edit by an IP. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 00:18, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Conservative English dialectEdit

Which English dialect is the most conservative? Ѯ&Π(talk) 14:16, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

All of them probably. Each dialect preserves features that others don't. American English preserves the pronunciation of r for example, while British English (in careful speech) preserves t between vowels. American English and Irish English also preserve the more original pronunciation of /oʊ/ which British English has diphthongised further. West Country English preserves an older pronunciation of /aɪ/. Irish English also preserves monophthongal pronunciations of some of the other vowels, although that may be Irish influence. —CodeCat 14:23, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
In Northern English we have retained the monophthong /a/ so "trap" and "bath" still rhyme, whereas they no longer do in Received Pronunciation, in which they are pronounced /æ/ and /ɑː/ respectively. Some accents have even retained the pronunciation /luːk/ rather than /lʊk/ for "look", and this split dates back all the way to the 17th century. So CodeCat is right, all accents have some degree of conservatism and there probably isn't one particular accent that's the most conservative. BigDom (tc) 06:34, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Adding a translationEdit

Hi, I wanted to add a translation to the ford entry, so I went to the Translations section, then crossing and I tried to add 'drif' (the Afrikaans translation), but when I checked the drif page the translation was not there. What did I do wrong?--Underlying lk (talk) 19:47, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Nothing? The target entry content needs to be written separately. We used to have a bot which would go through translation tables and create the boilerplate on the target page (with a disclaimer attached), but it is no longer running. Keφr 19:59, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the reply. Is there a tool I can use to add a new entry, or should I edit the source wikicode?--Underlying lk (talk) 21:00, 14 September 2013 (UTC)
No tool. You might read Wiktionary:About Dutch (we don’t have one about Afrikaans yet). Also see Category:Afrikaans language ... you can look for a word there that is similar to the one you want to add, and see how it was made. —Stephen (Talk) 08:21, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

habere in IberianEdit

I read somewhere that the descendants of this verb conserve their earlier senses (to possess) in idioms. What are some idioms that use the descendants of habere (in Iberian Romance)? Ѯ&Π(talk) 20:28, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

he aquí (I have here; behold).
heme aquí (I have myself here; here I am). —Stephen (Talk) 21:31, 14 September 2013 (UTC)


Hi there, my name is chris, and i'm doing some research into taijiquan.

I know that taiji translates into yin yang; does this mean that tai translates into yin, and that ji translates into yang? Or am i completely wrong?

Can someone feeling helpful give me some sort of clue into what the quan in taijiquan translates into in english? I know that these words can have more than one meaning, so if you could give several possibles, that would be of great benefit to my studies. The more the merrier. Much love, Chris.

太極拳, "supreme ultimate fist". yin-yang literally means female-male; taiji literally means great-exceedingly. So no, tai does not mean yin, and ji does not mean yang. See Taiji; also see . —Stephen (Talk) 02:42, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Foreign word of the day anniversaryEdit

I don’t think that today really is actually the anniversary of this feature. Only since it was re‐opened. I don’t know how to change the message, though. --Æ&Œ (talk) 04:33, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Re-opened? I'm pretty sure it never actually existed before, although someone who actually remembers the 2007 (or was it 2006?) main page redesign attempt can feel free to correct me. BTW, at some point the format can be converted to enWOTD-style so that last year's word can be used as a backup. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:10, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

‘who art in Heaven’Edit

Is this actually good English? --Æ&Œ (talk) 15:56, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Well, it's good Early Modern English, especially as a translation of “qui es in caelis”. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:02, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
I never really thought of who as being a first person or second person pronoun. Was I wrong all along? --Æ&Œ (talk) 16:17, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
"Thou who art" is fine (compare "woe to you who are rich" [Bible] and "I, who am so heartily your friend" [Henry Fielding]). "Our Father who art in heaven" does look odd to me because it seems to be addressing somebody, but in the third person instead of the second. I suppose that's okay(?). Equinox 16:22, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
The question "who art thou?" appears at least twenty times in the King James bible, and "who art" in several other sentences. The original was "which art in Heaven", of course (Matthew 6,9 ; Luke 2,11 and Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer) and I've always taken it to be distinguishing between fathers. Anglicans seem to have changed the wording in 1928. Most other denominations seem to have gradually adopted the change (but I haven't). The original wording sounded appropriate when it was written, but both versions sound strange in modern English. Why don't we just say "Heavenly Father" when we need to distinguish between fathers? Dbfirs 06:52, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Using a nonthird-person form after the interrogative who is perfectly normal even in modern English ("who are you?" "who am I"?), it's using a nonthird-person form after the relative who that sounds odd nowadays. Interestingly, there's no verb in the original Greek; it's Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, literally "Our father, the one in the heavens". It's the Latin translation Pater noster qui es in caelis that adds in a verb. The NRSV translates it simply "Our father in heaven", which is straightforward and idiomatic while still being more faithful to the source text than "Heavenly father" is. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:56, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Latin normally leaves out the pronouns though, so maybe that is what happened here too. And it was only when translated to English that things went wrong, because the translator also left out the pronoun in English, even though it doesn't work for English. The same thing also happened in Dutch, too. —CodeCat 19:24, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
But there's no room for a pronoun; qui is the subject of the verb, and its antecedent is pater. It's when you put a pronoun in (as German does with "Vater Unser, der du bist in Himmel") that it gets on syntactically shaky ground. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:52, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
For me, the most natural would be to say "you who are in heaven". So the same, but with "you" added. Why not say the same for Latin? "tu qui es in caelis"? —CodeCat 22:57, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Because "Pater noster" is already in the vocative, and the subject of the sentence is "nomen tuum", so there's no grammatical function left over for "tu" to have. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:47, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Why can't "(tu) qui" also be a vocative? If you say something like "all who are here, be welcome" then the first part has the function of a vocative and would be translated as a vocative in Latin I imagine. —CodeCat 18:02, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
But all isn't a noun like Pater noster is. You could have Omnes qui estis hic or Omnes vos qui estis hic, and with a noun you could have Amici qui estis hic, but Amici vos qui estis hic just isn't good Latin. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:29, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Where does "pater noster" appear in the text? So far nobody has given any texts at all, I'm a bit confused. —CodeCat 21:34, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
The Latin translation of the Greek original begins with the sentence "Pater noster qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:51, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Not quite literally: allowing for the difference in word order, the Biblical Greek would be "Our Father, the in the heavens". "One" is added to compensate for the difference of the details of the construction from the equivalent in English. The original has no pronoun as we would define it for English (perhaps the article is taking some of that role in this instance), nor a verb, so some filling-in of blanks is necessary to make it work in Latin or in English, which require one or the other. I agree that "Our Heavenly Father" is the most natural translation. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:37, 27 September 2013 (UTC)


Can someone remind how to use {{cattoc}} properly, and put it on Category:Hidden categories please. -WF

Category:Spanish terms needing attentionEdit

Apparently, most of the Spanish pages WF made ended up in the category Category:Spanish terms needing attention. This probably means that WF screwed up. What's the problem with them? -WF

Lack of {{es-verb}} parameters. — Ungoliant (Falai) 18:25, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

October 2013Edit

Help adding citations (because they are external links)Edit


I created the definition for In vitro diagnostic, but could not add the citations, because they are external links.

Could an admin give me the appropriate permission?


Ian Drianmcdonald (talk) 22:55, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Citations for almost all definitions don't need external links. Once the citations are in, a user with the appropriate permissions can add them if necessary. DCDuring TALK 23:35, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
It can't hurt to list the URLs in a nonlinking fashion (e.g. by stripping off the http(s):// part) on the talk page to make them easier for other people to find. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:47, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Abuse filter: no referencesEdit

I've just edited a section of toodeloo to add an alternative etymology, and, coming from Wikipedia, I naturally wanted to add a reference. I found that Template:cite web had been imported and used it.

I was rather startled then to be told that my contribution would not be accepted as it had been automatically detected as abuse. The "rule" it mentioned was the far from transparent "ref no references" (without a link to any explanation of this). Well, I had realised that there would be a problem, since there wasn't a references section in the article, and I was editing only a section (to check my reference, I had temporarily inserted <references/> into the section, but of course I had removed it before submitting the change.

Clearly what I was doing was momentarily problematic - I already knew I would need to insert a references tag afterward. But telling me that my edit was detected as "abuse", and giving me a cryptic reason is hardly welcoming! --ColinFine (talk) 11:41, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, that's happened to me too. It's really annoying. The only solution I know of is to write <references/> at the bottom of the section I'm editing; save; add it again in a proper References section at the bottom of the page; and then go back and delete it. Either that, or just edit the entire language entry at once so you can add the References section at the same time as the reference. But calling it "abuse" is really an exaggeration. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:55, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Finding an AppendixEdit

Throughout the entries for Russian verbs, there are references to "Class n", for n from 1 to 16. But it is stunningly hard to find out what this means. There are appendices, but it took a chain of searches to actually find one. I understand that a dictionary does not need an index for the headwords, but there should surely be more direct access to a list of appendices.

Specifically: the word Appendix has a link to Appendix:Contents -- but this is not in any normal sense the contents list for the appendices. It does contain a low-visibility link to ("this list"), which begins to look like a contents list. It also has two links under "List of Appendices", one of which is the actual list of all appendices, which you could search through, and Wiktionary:Index_to_appendices which is, finally, a sort of index.

But even when you have found Wiktionary:Index_to_appendices it doesn't include Appendix:Russian_verbs, at least under Russian.

I'm sure this could be improved by minor fiddling, but I suggest there really should be an entry in the main menu on the left, perhaps to Wiktionary:Index_to_appendices. Perhaps there already is, but in this case it could be easier to find...

Imaginatorium (talk) 17:30, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

I think they are probably all listed at Category:Russian appendices. Also see Category:Appendices by language —Stephen (Talk) 20:46, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
All of those should be included in the Index, which should in fact function as an index. bd2412 T 21:25, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Regarding Russian verbs only. Russian verb classes are only partially documented. It's a thing I have been planning but haven't done yet, sorry. Only three classes are documented 1, 2 and 3: Module:ru-verb/documentation (1 and 2 - they are large groups but very simple), type (class) 3 (a, b, c) - Template:ru-conj-3a/documentation, Template:ru-conj-3b/documentation, Template:ru-conj-3c/documentation. For someone familiar with the Russian verbs, Appendix:Russian verbs may serve as a very rough guide on which verb belongs where. The module followed Zaliznyak's classification and conventions but simplified - multiple subtypes were discarded and grouped by 16 classes and a, b and c subtypes (they represent stress patterns in the present tense). --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 04:12, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the responses. The specific problem with Russian verbs is not a big deal, it was just what sparked this question. But the more basic issue of *finding* the index, or any sort of contents strikes me as major. I see that Wikipedia has the same main menu position, starting with "Main Page", but its next entry is "Contents": I suggest that Wiktionary should have the same. After all, a "real" (paper) dictionary or encyclopedia has most of its content under headwords, so it obviously does not need an "Index" as such, but there is normally easily findable end matter, and accompanying Contents list. Imaginatorium (talk) 12:34, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

sensations from originsEdit

I have heard that etymologic origins alone convey sensations to the observers, like modern French words convey luxurious quality, if that makes sense. Are there more that I am unaware of? Ѯ&Π(talk) 18:16, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Many of these are probably from associations that we have with the speakers of a language. French was long a language of aristocracy, not just in England but also in the Netherlands, so it tends to have associations of poshness. I wouldn't be surprised if Danish has a similar connotation in Norway. And of course Chinese in Japan also fulfilled such a role. English has connotations of modernness and internationality in many places today. And let's not forget about the role of Latin in medieval Europe, and Greek among the Romans themselves. —CodeCat 18:57, 10 October 2013 (UTC)


A contributor decided this needed to have an English section. I can see their point, but this would seem to violate WT:ELE. How would we normally deal with such a non-word? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:50, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

That's why we have {{only used in}}. Fixed. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:55, 11 October 2013 (UTC)


Why do Romance languages have definite & indefinite articles? --Æ&Œ (talk) 21:50, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Initially Vulgar Latin began to employ articles because many Romans and the people to the east were bilingual in Latin and Greek. They were comfortable with the Greek articles and felt an urge to use them when speaking in Latin. —Stephen (Talk) 18:13, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
[citation needed]. Functional explanations for linguistic change almost never stand up to scrutiny. Some languages just develop articles over time, even without any identifiable external reason. In this case, bilingualism in Greek still doesn't explain the development of the indefinite article, since Greek didn't have one; and you could still push the question back and ask why Greek developed a definite article (in Homeric Greek, ὁ/ἡ/τό was a demonstrative, not an article). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:18, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
I would have said that it had something to do with the loss of inflectional endings, but that's also a hunch that probably wouldn't stand up to scrutiny. It's interesting that the Germanic and Greek definite articles seem to go back to the same Proto-Indo-European source (there are good semantic reasons for the indefinite articles). It would be also be interesting to look at the parallels between the development of the articles in Germanic and in Vulgar Latin to see whether they could have influenced each other or have been prompted by similar phenomena. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:55, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
My Italian teacher would never answer any question that started with "why". She said that it is not something you can sensibly ask about a language. SemperBlotto (talk) 21:23, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, I think that's usually true in historical linguistics, but there are sensible why-questions you can ask about language, as long as you don't try to take the why's back too far. For example, "Why is it gli italiani e gli spagnoli and not i italiani ed i spagnoli?" "Because you use gli rather than i before a word starting with a vowel and before a word starting with s followed by a consonant." (An answerable question.) "But why do you use gli rather than i before a word starting with a vowel and before a word starting with s followed by a consonant?" "Umm... just 'cuz. Because if you don't, it's wrong in Italian." (A non-answer to an unanswerable question, even AFAICT when you know something about historical linguistics and phonology.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 23:02, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I think the answer is a looser version of what Stephen said: Sprachraum. Romance languages were overlapping with the Sprachräume of Germanic and Hellenic languages, which by then had a dependence on articles. There are some really awkward pieces by mediaeval authors in Latin that overuse various demonstratives and adverbs to get the same effect of articles, which I think shows that they were composing it in lingua rustica and writing it in lingua romana. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:08, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Why don't users have their own sandboxes?Edit

Greetings. I've been here for a while, but I have a question: Why don't users on Wiktionary have their own user sandboxes? It seems to me that it's possible there's no real point to user sandboxes, because if one is experimenting, there's the main sandbox, and if one's saving data related to Wiktionary, there's sub-user pages (e.g. User:Username/content). However, if this is the case, I don't see why they would exist on Wikipedia. Thanks.TeragR/talk 21:52, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia has plenty of unnecessary junk :) e.g. political userboxes and the non-policy essays/rambles like Wikipedia:WikiWitch. Equinox 21:56, 13 October 2013 (UT)
Any user can create a sandbox. The only difference between this project and Wikipedia is that 'pedia will give you a link to your sandbox in your top link bar. Cheers! bd2412 T 02:05, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Category:English words derived from: TibetEdit

What the hell is this category for, and why isn't it being used? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:59, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

It's an artifact of the old {{derv}} experiment which created categories for terms derived from individual terms. Basically, this category was the equivalent to the Derived terms section of the Tibet entry. There was opposition, so it never really caught on- but the template itself wasn't deleted until a couple of months ago. There are quite a few of these ghost categories still out there ([4]) Chuck Entz (talk) 07:25, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
After looking at the template itself, I mischaracterized it a bit: it was actually designed for use in the etymology sections of the derived words. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:38, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
The experiment was designed to test a scheme to create categories which could be used to populate derived and related terms sections which would be kept up-to-date as contributors added etymologies. A large number of categories would have been required. But there are conceptual, inclusion, performance and maintenance questions: Would one or both diachronic and synchronic derivations be included? Would it be applicable across languages, ie, for Descendants? Would there be some kind of performance penalty for having derivation categories for all languages? (I never understood how maintenance could be any worse than the neglect Derived and Related terms sections are now in.)
I thought of the idea as within-language only and within English especially, as I mistakenly thought that English was the focus of our efforts and that more comprehensive derived and related terms sections would be desirable.
In retrospect, it IS highly likely that the technical infrastructure that would have been created would indeed have had undesirable consequences similar to those of other similarly comprehensive technical projects. DCDuring TALK 18:50, 14 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Can I bot-delete any category whose name starts with the string English words derived from:? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:10, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Probably better to run it by rfdo first, to be on the safe side- not that I would expect any "keep" votes. It wouldn't surprise me if there were also such categories for a couple of other languages, though a quick check didn't turn up any. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:01, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
    It's nice to observe the forms. DCDuring TALK 02:58, 15 October 2013 (UTC)


The definition of viper uses the word "poisonous" (A poisonous snake in the family Viperidae.). There are no poisonous snakes, only "venomous" snakes. In other words, one cannot contract illness by touching the snake; one must be bitten.

While venomous would be more precise, it's really a sub-category of poisonous: poison can be something eaten or touched, but only venom is introduced by the action of the organism itself- so all venomous snakes are poisonous, whether it's safe to eat them or not. It's true that venomous snakes aren't poisonous by the more technical sense of the word, but we include the general, more widely-used sense as well. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:24, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I changed the definition to 'venomous', which is more accurate, and also the wording in the first (real paper) dictionary to hand. I believe the distinction between venom and poison is that poison can hurt you through your alimentary canal, whereas venom must be injected into the bloodstream. So you could (theoretically) drink viper venom, but it would be unwise to rub it into a scratch. Imaginatorium (talk) 06:57, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Category:Japanese languageEdit

I don't understand how to edit the *text* of this category page... In particular, I think the wording "written in Japanese (Han, Hiragana and Katakana)" should be changed to "written in Japanese (kanji, hiragana and katakana)". There is an entry for 'kanji', which is an obvious advantage for a start, but I think it's more correct.

I also do not understand the claim in the separate entry for capitalised 'Hiragana' that it is a proper noun (even though I think the definition of "proper noun" is invariably fuzzy). But we would not call "italic" a proper noun, though, crumbs, "Cyrillic" is?? Anyway, there is a general tendency for English (Latin script) words written in Japan to have at least an initial capital, if not block capitals and quotation marks, and this is likely to be a symptom of this. (One interesting cause of this is that most Japanese input editors leave any string of Roman letters with an initial unconverted; so type 'Bake' and you get 'Bake', type 'bake' and you get '化け'.)

Imaginatorium (talk) 09:16, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Cite a TV show?Edit

How do you cite a TV Show? I tried quote-video citation template, but it doesn't seem to work right. I do

  1. 2008, Vince Gilligan, editor, Pilot (Breaking Bad) ((Please specify the language of the quote)), season 1:
    Nah. Come on Man! Some straight like you, giant stick up his ass… all a sudden at age, what, sixty, he's just gonna break bad?
    and only some of the fields show up. Timl (talk) 20:45, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Nevermind, I adapted an example I found from another entry:
    • 2008, Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, “Pilot”, in Breaking Bad ((Please specify the language of the quote)):
      Nah. Come on Man! Some straight like you, giant stick up his ass… all a sudden at age, what, sixty, he's just gonna break bad?
      Timl (talk) 21:14, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
It seems wrong to cite the actor or character as author. We don’t do that for printed fictional works. The screenwriter or director would make more sense. If it is important to understand the citation, then it could be followed by a note like “spoken by ...” Michael Z. 2013-10-18 17:11 z
For the record, the "author" in this case is Vince Gilligan. bd2412 T 19:12, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

oxford American dictionaryEdit

I am having trouble looking up words from the Oxford American dictionary. I need to check on 20 words using this sentence. I want the mamimum payout. The words I need are to come from this saying and only in the Oxford American version. Theletters can only be used 1 time and I need 20 words from this saying. Can you help me. My e-mail is <redacted email> Thank you so much.

No, I’m sorry but we have no connection with the Oxford dictionary or any other dictionary. —Stephen (Talk) 23:06, 20 October 2013 (UTC)


I just made a huge expansion to the ‘face’ entry on Wikcionario. It’s mostly Romance stuff. I’m posting this here because I want you lot to inspect it to make sure that I did not mess anything up again, if it pleases you. --Æ&Œ (talk) 05:17, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

This also needs inspection. --Æ&Œ (talk) 23:03, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

New contributor: help neededEdit

Hi all.

I've been using wiki-sites for years and especially appreciate having a resource like Wiktionary to turn to for quick definitions or conjugations in other languages. I created an account yesterday because I wanted to try and offer what skill I have to the project. (I was, promptly, blocked for trying to create a userpage, which I guess may have been out of line?) Anyway I was just wondering if someone could point me to a stylebook, or something, so I could learn what goes where, and what needs done; I'd like to add etymologies to English words, if I can, but I don't know the formatting, which seems rather complex. — E | talk 21:27, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

I've posted our standard welcome on your talk page. One or two people have a habit of deleting user pages if they are created prior to any dictionary contributions, as they can sometimes be spammy vanity pages; I don't personally agree with that unless the page is really obviously bad. Equinox 21:35, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Whoever blocked you was definitely out of line, there was nothing objectionable on your user page. I've issued a counter-block. Sorry about that. Welcome to Wiktionary and I hope you enjoy editing here. The formatting can be somewhat complex, the best thing would be to follow the format of existing entries. You can also see WT:ELE for general formatting practices, and for etymologies see WT:Etymology. —CodeCat 21:36, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry - I meant my creating a user-page had been out of line. I don't want to cause any problems! And thank you for the post, I'll definitely read over those pages. E | talk 21:41, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
No, your user page was fine. It was just an editor with a grudge against spammers that likes throwing the baby out with the bathwater. —CodeCat 21:45, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • re: Etymologies etc. It is a good idea to not copy any dictionary's content, especially not for English. Besides the COPYVIO potential, checking a few sources is useful, even though some individual online sources are excellent and may have clearly superior etymologies in individual cases. DCDuring TALK 22:08, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
    • Right, yeah, I would tend to check several before adding something. Do you tend to source etymologies, if you take (for example, a word or phrase whose etymology is disputed) them from one particular reference? How would one go about doing that? — E | talk 22:16, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
      We mostly follow the proud tradition of dictionaries everywhere of rarely sourcing anything in particular. We sporadically have footnotes, sometimes a references section without footnotes. I suppose that, when reporting conflicting views on an etymology, we should cite leading authorities on each side. DCDuring TALK 00:37, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
      Alright. Well, I guess I'll cross that bridge if I ever manage to get to it. — E | talk 00:45, 23 October 2013 (UTC)


Wiktionary, I demand that you stop censoring the truth! --Æ&Œ (talk) 20:56, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

<Hotel Mario> NO!? -- Liliana 20:58, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Is this from the same series as this? --Vahag (talk) 21:06, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
MAYBE --Æ&Œ (talk) 21:08, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
While I enjoyed that little joke, I think we should consider changing the given examples of capitalized words. --WikiTiki89 21:10, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Thank buttonEdit

What is this "thank" button on the top edit of history pages and what exactly does it do? --WikiTiki89 15:17, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Well, I just clicked it on your edit to this page, so it must have done something. — E | talk 15:31, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
It gave me a notification saying "Casicastiel thanked you for your edit on Wiktionary:Information desk". I just thanked you, btw. --WikiTiki89 15:38, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Likewise. (And, thanks for the thanks?) — E | talk 15:41, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't like it. Auto-thanks are as impersonal and silly as the auto birthday greetings that certain Wikipedia users do (or used to). All it seems to do is send a generic e-mail resembling a talk-page update. Equinox 01:00, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I've come to think of it as a sort of "like" button. --WikiTiki89 01:22, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Like in social media, as expected... --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 01:44, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Consequences of wrong definitionsEdit

What is the penalty for (accidentally) inserting an incorrect definition? --Æ&Œ (talk) 03:08, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

The electric chair. --WikiTiki89 03:17, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
None whatsoever if it is not detected. Little if it is discovered years later, but you still contribute. Curses on your memory if it is discovered after you are gone.
Repetitive bad contributions, even if claimed to be inadvertent, may lead to hostility and eventually blocking. DCDuring TALK 03:21, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Category:Undetermined languages needing undetermined scriptEdit

I can't figure out how to get [[kinoo]] into a category like the former Category:Requests for Devanagari script based on the documentation for {{rfscript}}, nor can I figure out how to make {{reqcatboiler}} work for this category (no documentation). DCDuring TALK 23:29, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

I see {{rfscript}} just isn't script-specific anymore, it's got to be language-specific. (Why?) I still don't know how to get the category header template to work so we have a home for the other items in that category. DCDuring TALK 23:33, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
The reason that it isn’t script-specific is that the script is not enough information. You can’t just ask for Devanagari, you have to specify Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi, etc., because knowing how to write in one language (such as Hindi) does not mean you can write in another language (such as Sanskrit). You would be better off asking for a language than a script. —Stephen (Talk) 02:43, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
There are many instances in taxonomic names and vernacular names of natural kinds where the general region for the native language leading to a specific epithet or vernacular name is known, but not a specific language. In those cases the script was sometimes a reasonable bet. As you may know I have sometimes taken a stab at it with Devanagari, which covers languages whose names I don't even know. The world is more complicated than our system.
I found the language for kinoo, but I still don't get how to use our category template system to make a category header. DCDuring TALK 03:13, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I don’t know that kinoo is even from a Devanagari language. I think it might be Urdu, کینو‎. —Stephen (Talk) 03:30, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
It's supposedly Punjabi, which the pedia article says can be written in three scripts, Devanagari being one. Whether it has roots in some other regional language I would not know. I always but an rfe in such entries in hopes that someone can give some depth to the language aspects of taxonomic entries, which are not allowed to have translation sections, for reasons I can't fathom. DCDuring TALK 03:59, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
It seems that kinnow (kinoo) was originally cultivated by H. B. Frost in 1915 at Riverside, California, by crossing "King" (Citrus nobilis) with "Willow Leaf" (Citrus deliciosa) mandarin. The name Kinnow was coined from the names of the two parent varieties, King (kin-) and Willow (-ow) and released as a commercial variety in 1935. —Stephen (Talk) 04:49, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Oh, the humiliation. That's what I get for making an inference based on our definition: "A hybrid mandarin citrus fruit grown mostly in the Punjab region." Cultivars are not a strong point of the sources that I usually use. I was looking at entries in Category:en:Fruits for the first time and found a variety of blends used to name hybrids and cultivars as well as native/local names from Latin America, Africa and Asia, some old, some new (especially in east Asia).
Thanks. DCDuring TALK 11:01, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

November 2013Edit

non-language indexEdit

I'm trying to scroll through an index of templates which should be alphabetically contiguous. I know that Wiktionary keeps an index of every page in every namespace, but I can't recall how to get there. Can anyone help me? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 03:37, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

There's Special:AllPages, which lets you select for namespace: set it for the namespace Template, and it will let you see the templates in alphabetical order. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:25, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much Chuck. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 04:36, 4 November 2013 (UTC)


I've come across the transliteration (into Yiddish) סיראוועטקע (siravetke) (or possibly סיראוועסקע (siraveske): the type is hard to read). From the context, it should mean "yogurt" or something like it. Does anyone know what word this is a transliteration of, in what language, and what it means, please?​—msh210 (talk) 09:07, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

סיראוועטקע (whey) from Ukrainian сироватка (cf. Russian сыворотка). —Stephen (Talk) 10:28, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Ukrainian, Czech and Upper Sorbian retained closer the Proto-Slavic "*syrovatъ", see translations of "whey" into Slavic languages. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 11:03, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks to you both.​—msh210 (talk) 18:47, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
We use pointed Yiddish for main entries here, so specifically it's סיראָוועטקע(sirovetke), which Beinfeld and Bochner give as a variant form of סראָוועטקע(srovetke). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:33, 4 November 2013 (UTC)


how come the page for dearth makes no mention of it being used in acts 11-28 kjv newbie and would like to know how to add this Information. You have no idea how many sites I had go through to find this info. When I was asked to find it for a friend.

This is a dictionary, not a bible concordance. — Ungoliant (Falai) 10:26, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

spendthrift / spendaccioneEdit

Please link spendthrift / French dépensier with the Italian Spendaccione

Adding translation templateEdit


Is there any possibility to add the translation template by clicking a link or something else (a gadgets perhaps)? It's annoying to copy the template manually. Have a nice day --08:53, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Months and days in Latin: capital letter?Edit

Hi. I'm wondering if months and days are written with an initial capital letter in Latin. Since they're adjectives, like in Spanish, I suppose they're not capitalized. But I'm not sure (the Frech and Latin Wiktionaries show them capitalized, the English Wikt does not). Thanks! --Edgefield (talk) 14:59, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

I did find this link to meta, but I do not see the reasoning there. I think originally Latin did not have upper-/lowere-case difference. I just wonder what the convention is today and why. --Edgefield (talk) 15:25, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
Looking at the documents in Latin Wikisource, they seem to be almost exclusively capitalised. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:47, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Spam filteredEdit

Hey, I'm trying to add external links for the new sense and quotations I added at MOT, but apparently I'm unworthy because I'm new. Any help? Neil P. Quinn (talk) 00:54, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Just post them here, I'll add them. You're not the first to complain about this, but the filter does stop a lot of spam. --WikiTiki89 01:02, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Or just add them yourself. I believe you've passed the minimum-edit threshold already. It's designed to stop bots that never make undeleted edits, not people. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:22, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I added them. Thanks for the heads up, Chuck. I had already tried adding them in a second edit, but apparently there's a time component to the approval as well. Wikitiki, it's not really the spam filter that bothered me; I don't begrudge you guys for trying to keep a lid on spam and still have time for actual editing. It's more that the actual error message told me to contact an admin but didn't have a link or even tell me where to do so. It ended up taking me more than five minutes to find this page (if it's even the right one); if I wasn't used to editing Wikipedia who knows how long it would have taken? Neil P. Quinn (talk) 02:00, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Suppressing conjugations?Edit

I recently created o'erleap (since we already have o'er and overleap), but, re. Template:en-verb, I'm only aware of it being used in two contexts (both from Macbeth), so I'm not sure it's appropriate to list present and past participles for it. What is the code syntax to get the template to only display "o'erleaps" and nothing else? Thanks, It Is Me Here t / c 15:53, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

See [[o'erleap]]. DCDuring TALK 16:20, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I redid your edit, because it's easy to find attestation of o'erleaping, o'erleaped and o'erleapt. Being unaware of any usage should lead one to check for such usage in Google Books or the like, not to assume that one's impression is fact. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:37, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I was just trying to empower the fellow, not second-guess and scold him. What about o'erlept, for that matter. DCDuring TALK 16:55, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

mondo bizarroEdit

I created an entry for mondo bizarro as an English noun and adjective and it is now gone with no trace nor discussion that I can find. Where did it go? If it was deleted, why wasn't there any discussion?

Here is the entry from the OED:

mondo bizarro, n. and adj.
[‘ The world of the bizarre or surreal.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌmɒndəʊ bᵻˈzɑːrəʊ/, U.S. /ˈˌmɑndoʊ bəˈzɑroʊ/
Etymology: < mondo n.3 + Italian bizzarro eccentric, weird (see bizarre adj. and n.), with spelling altered after bizarre adj. and n. or Spanish bizarro.
In early use after the title of the 1966 U.S. film Mondo Bizarro (see quot. 1966 at sense A.).
Some of the adjectival uses below may perhaps arise from interpretation of mondo as an intensifying adverb qualifying an adjective, but they may also be influenced by Spanish mondo pure, unadulterated: see mondo adv. and adj.2
A. n.
The world of the bizarre or surreal.
1966 (title of film) Mondo bizarro.
1980 Washington Post 19 Apr. c1/1 It was just part of a week in which the news..went further and further into the realm of Mondo Bizarro.
1995 World & I (Electronic ed.) Jan. 330 Like most of Goyen's fiction, the story is set in mondo bizarro and is an allegory of the kind of pinched, destructive moral code that hovers over East Texans like a poisonous fog.
B. adj.
Very bizarre; tastelessly bizarre.
1977 M. Katzen Moosewood Cookbk. 69 Mondo bizarro sauce—for your spaghetti.
1990 N.Y. Newsday 23 Oct. i. 11/1 He claims that when Jackson became best friends with ‘Webster’ star Emmanuel Lewis..,they had an innocent, although mondo bizarro relationship.
2000 Tampa (Florida) Tribune (Electronic ed.) 5 July 4 Decisions, decisions. If you are a fan of mondo-bizarro programs such as ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’, you have another choice.

Thanks. WilliamKF (talk) 03:06, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

It was deleted with the explanation of "delete - name of a film, and of a Ramones album" and "Not dictionary material: please see WT:CFI". If you believe it is dictionary material in accordance with WT:CFI, I think you should discuss it at WT:RFD. My opinion is that it certainly is dictionary material, and that the only problem with it was that it needed some formatting work. Specifically, the film reference belongs in the etymology, not in a definition line. —Stephen (Talk) 06:19, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
We have the problem of differing capitalisations, and hyphenation of the adjective, but it should be possible to find enough cites. Dbfirs 09:27, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Unable to tag user page spam for deletionEdit


I used to be able to tag user pages for speedy deletion (see here), but now a filter is disallowing me from doing that anymore. I was trying to tag the spambot page User:FrancescoSeifer for deletion. Please consider deleting that page and blocking its creator. Also, more importantly, please consider changing the filter back, because a lot of spambots use the user page namespace for spamming (e.g. m:NTSAMR).

Thanks, Mathonius (talk) 14:07, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

For now, tag the talk page with a note you're referring to the user page. We're in the process of rethinking our abuse filters, so it's going to be a bit ugly for a while. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:58, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
I personally think that preventing edits to userpages (even subpages!) goes against basic wiki principles. πr2 (talk • changes) 15:01, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Hello again,

Could an admin please take a look at this request? Mathonius (talk) 18:40, 23 November 2013 (UTC)


As has been pointed out on Wiktionary:Feedback, it would be nice if an admin could add "#Spanish" to the link in Template:es-verb-form. Currently, the link in (for example)


brings the user to liar rather than liar#Spanish. (By the way, I'm not sure what the right place to post requests like this is - if there's a more appropriate place than the Information Desk, please let me know.) Mr. Granger (talk) 22:16, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Done. The best place for this kind of stuff is the Grease Pit, by the way. --WikiTiki89 23:59, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
I think a better question is why we want that parameter in the first place. The definition then go on to repeat the infinitive at least once, sometimes four or five times. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:56, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

adapt layout to allow wiktionary having wordnet like features (synset /synonyms)Edit

In the case of synonyms, it would be useful to have them included in each definition attached to an entry, so you don't have to match the definition with the reported synonym (as an example see the case of car, in English. I was surprised to see that in Spanish, synonyms are included into the definition. Many thanks to all the wiktionary contributors, great job!


I would encourage you to consider a WiktionaryFlashcards Wiki for second language learning (also for advance first language learning). It would be an important tool and great for a collaborative project. An idea to implement it would be to have a link into a wiktionary Entry that directs to its flashcard collection. That is, an entry/word would have a number of flash cards associated with it that would serve to learn the different aspects of that entry. Then for Users, there would be an application to download cards in a format file to be used within a number of flashcard softwares.

As heading, there could be information about frequency, version, in order to support user's selection.

The cards would also have tags or categories.

I would also include a LanguageFriendly descriptor. For instance, an English Language Entry, explained in English would have English as LanguageFriendly descriptor, whereas an English Language Term, which card is targeted to Spanish speaker, would have a Spanish LanguageFriendly descriptor.

I would suggest as guideline the following typical cards:

A) Answer: Entry Name

Response: N definitions associated to that word (including its synonyms)

B) N Cards (one for each definition)

Answer: 1 to N definition

Response: Entry name (IPA, sound, image)


Answer: Image Response: Entry (IPA, sound)

D) Answer: Sentence (fill in blank style) Response: entry (Grammatical Rule / Tense, etc.)


Answer: Sentence Response: Entry (IPA, sound, Image, synonyms)

F) Tenses cards, to practice conjugation or regular/irregular verbs in different tenses.

G) Other topics related to that word

A new word.Edit

I am definitely a newbie here. I just heard a word I had not heard before and wanted to see if I was listed. The word was used on the ABC's THE CHEW. The word was questioning whether the world's sexiest man was smiling or smoldering in his facial expression. The word used was "smizing". Definition: to smile with your eyes.

What do you think? Is it worth adding?

Just a thought, Wanda

I don't think it's really the right question. Any word is worth adding as long as it's actually being used enough. We have certain criteria which say how much is "enough": WT:CFI. In this case, the requirements would be that you have to find at least three independent sources (meaning they're not all written by the same person or something like that) that are durably archived (this means they should be in print, or in Usenet) which use the word (as opposed to trying to define what it means), and the newest source has to be at least a year newer than the oldest. Once you provide these three sources along with citations of the place where the word is used, then it can be included. —CodeCat 18:04, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Here are some examples of sources that would do:

  • 2011, Sophia Lowell, Glee: Summer Break: An Original Novel:
    “Remember what I taught you about smizing.... It's just smiling with the eyes. Use it. Own it.”
  • 2012, Carolina Courtland, Sweet Savage Blood:
    Realizing that she's about to have her picture taken whether she likes it or not, Season immediately "smizes." She learned on TV from a famous model that smizing is an expression where you smile with your eyes while having your photo taken.
  • 2013, Waverly Curtis, Chihuahua Confidential, page 22:
    “That and smizing.” “What the hell is smizing?” “That is when you smile with your eyes,” Pepe said.
  • 2013, Liv Spencer, Taylor Swift, page 153:
    While that endorsement deal was close to home, Taylor's highest-profile gig was less cross-checks and offsides and more smizing and hair blowing in the wind.

Cheers! bd2412 T 18:31, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Splitting translation sensesEdit

Let me illustrate this with an example: substitute#Noun
The first sense in the definition is: A replacement or stand-in for something that achieves a similar result or purpose.
The first sense in the translations section is: A replacement or stand-in
In three different languages, qualifiers have been used to differentiate between substituting a person (e.g. sick colleague) or an object (e.g. sugar).
What would you advise me to do in cases like this?
1. Use a qualifier and let it be.
2. Scrap the original translation sense, create two new translation senses (e.g. a replacement for a person; a replacement for an object), and move all the translations already done to translations to be checked.
3. Make a request for a change. If so, where and how? Also, should I also request that the sense in the definition be changed? How do I do that?
What do you think the threshold should be for deciding whether option 1 should be used? In the case of substitute#Noun, qualifiers have been used for 3 out of 19 languages. This sounds very little of course, but most people never use qualifiers. In any case, thank you for any clarifications on the subject. —This comment was unsigned.

It's worth discussing. Maybe others will respond here. The Tea room is good for a particular case, such as substitute. From there it might move to the Beer parlor if it is to be considered a "policy" matter.
My personal reaction is that if there is no significant difference in wording the English definition (eg, in the case of substitute, I think), the splitting should take place solely in the Translation section. If many languages make a distinction, such as between animate and inanimate, the translation tables could be split, but the glosses in the translation tables should make clear which definition is being split and where translations belong if a given language does not make the distinction. If few languages make the distinction, then the qualifiers work adequately.
The case of end that arose today where some languages use a different word for a spatial sense (static?) than for a temporal (telic), where English does not make a strong distinction. In that case, we might split the definition because it might clarify or simplify the English definition. If English synonyms of substitute differed significantly for animate vs inanimate (or human vs. non-human), that might also justify a split of the English definition. DCDuring TALK 20:41, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
First of all, am I correct in saying that, if I decide that the translations must be split, the existing translations must now go to the "to be checked" section?
I am new here and I am trying to get an understanding of when it is appropriate for me to make changes of my own, and when the changes are significant enough that they must be discussed beforehand. So, I'd like to hear what more experienced editors would have done in these cases. Also, how you would have reacted if I had split the translations (not the definition) for both substitute and end on my own, without opening a discussion.
Personally, for substitute, I would not propose a change in the English definition, and I'm not really sure a splitting of the translations is necessary. But it is a good example, because the distinction between animate and inanimate is easy to explain, and also creates problems often in translation. Since I was the one who opened the end discussion, let me just repeat that in that case, I really felt the translations needed to be split. (P.S. I made a comment on the rfv thread for end about the spatial/temporal distinction, because I don't perceive it that way.) Jenniepet (talk) 22:38, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Your first option would be the best. It’s okay if a contributor does not add a qualifier...someone else may add one later on. The necessary explanations of the problem belong on the page of the foreign-language word. In many, many cases, for closely related languages and languages that have a good history of back-and-forth translation, there are very good translations that can be offered. For some other languages, there are frequently no good translations, and all you can do is add one or two possibilities, and then the difficulties and further choices are discussed on those pages. Navajo, for example, has no word that means to give...there are different words that must be used, depending on what is being given. To give some hay, the verb required is níłjool; níʼą́ = give a solid roundish object such as a bottle or ball; níyį́ = give a load/pack/burden, such as a backpack or a saddle; nílá = give a slender flexible object, such as rope or socks; nítįʼ = give a slender stiff object such as an arrow or a skillet; and there are quite a few more. All of this belongs on the Navajo pages, not on the English page give. All that is needed is one or two from the list of possibilities and the rest can be explained on those Navajo pages. —Stephen (Talk) 07:25, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Sotho (Sesotho) wiktionary is actually an Sesotho/English wiktionaryEdit

I've noticed that the Seotho wiktionary Sesotho Wiktionary is actually an Sesotho/English wiktionary and if my understanding is correct it should be part of the English wiktionary, probably at or

Which brings me onto my second point. There are two (or more) names for the language. In South Africa the language is generally known as "Sotho" whereas in Lesotho, the language is generally known as "Sesotho". (It can also be called "Southern Sotho".)

Finally there are two orthographies for Sotho, so in the South African orthography (as an example) the word for cattle is spelled "dikgomo", and in Lesotho is written "likhomo", although pronounced the same (and it's exactly the same word).

So that raises two questions. The one above already mentioned, as to whether it should be a "Sesotho" or a "Sotho" language within the English wiktionary. The first linked page (to Index:Sotho) does exist, although contains no entries, and the second (Index:Sesotho) did exist, but has been deleted as a "misspelling", which anyone from Lesotho wouldn't be too happy about, I should imagine, and contradicts what has been used here (scroll down to "1,000+").

The second, which is how to treat the two orthographies. To me, although pages such as may be correct and probably quite useful, they are also messy and confusing particularly if you are trying to learn one rather than the other orthography.

I'm aware that this problem exists in other languages, and that showing both orthographies on the same page seems to be the way things are usually done, so I should probably just give up on that point.

Winelight (talk) 10:33, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Yes, the entries from Sotho Wiktionary should be transferred here. Are there any pages actually in Sotho on that wiki? If not, it should probably be closed. -- Liliana 11:37, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
No, as far as I can see all the words there are in the Sesotho language. It is just that they do not have Sesotho definitions but, instead, have English translations. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:44, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Not quite; there was an entry on st:παρεχω until I deleted it a few hours ago.
The point of a Sotho Wiktionary is to have definitions in Sotho. If the definitions are all in English, the Wiktionary is truly pointless. -- Liliana 14:34, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
The contributor of almost all of the words on that wiki has not been active there since 2010. I don’t think there is anyone there who knows Sotho well enough to write it...the wiki appears to be moribund. —Stephen (Talk) 15:32, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Nevertheless, we could use it a way to get more Sotho words here. We could have a bot import them and tag them for checking. --WikiTiki89 16:31, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
We would need someone with import rights. As far as I know only stewards can grant this right. -- Liliana 17:03, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Who are our stewards? Also, why do we need rights, is it just because of the large quantity of material of unknown quality? --WikiTiki89 17:10, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Unless you want to import 1,000+ pages one at a time, we very much need rights so we can do an XML import. You'd need to ask on m:SRP. -- Liliana 17:35, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Ok, just wondering. --WikiTiki89 17:37, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for all the comments. Um, so, is somebody going to do that? Request admin rights and import to (and/or Category:Sesotho_language?) Incidentally the existing Sotho_language terms are pretty useless, as they only give the South African orthography, and omit important information like noun class. But I suppose that doesn't matter because they would be deleted and/or overwritten by the import?
I am against such mass imports. Each word should be added by a human being who knows the language (and can read it, even if he can't speak it) and can verify the meaning/translation given. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:36, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
The alternative would be deletion, and then the information is gone forever. Do you want that instead? -- Liliana 09:37, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes. No information is better that potentially wrong information. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:40, 27 November 2013 (UTC) (but you could put it in the Transwiki namespace for safekeeping)
That's what I was going to do anyway, but it sounded to me like you didn't want it even in the Transwiki namespace. -- Liliana 09:49, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
There are errors, but only in the same way that there are errors throughout every Wiktionary / Wikipedia etc. Nevertheless, the correct thing to do would be to manually add them. Winelight (talk) 09:51, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Headwords that contain (or even start with) punctuation symbolsEdit

Sorry for what is surely the first in a series of stupid beginner questions.

But, how does one handle headwords that contain punctuation symbols?

Or worse still, headwords that start with punctuation symbols?

For example, k'hoso is the Sesotho for a type of bead string, and 'nete is truth.

I have looked hard, honest, but can't see any examples in any other languages. (Which in itself should probably tell me something, but I'm not sure what.)

Winelight (talk) 15:50, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

  • To find examples, go to "Special pages" (link on the left, near the bottom), then select "All pages with prefix" (under "List of pages"), enter a quotation mark (or whatever) and press enter. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:55, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Brilliant, that answers all my questions (for now). Thanks. Winelight (talk) 16:00, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
If you need to add a word that contains a symbol that the software stops you from using, such as '#', let us know. Those can still be handled as "unsupported titles" à la Unsupported_titles/Ogham_space. - -sche (discuss) 17:23, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

December 2013Edit

Is there a "right" way to do Bantu headword templates?Edit

I've looked at the Tswana template and the Xhosa template and they are very different. I understand what they're doing and appreciate the differences, but just wondered there was any reason to prefer one over the other (or something else entirely). To my mind either is fine - whether people are prompted to put a plural in or not seems a good idea but not a big deal really. The point being, I am trying to write headword templates for Sotho. --Winelight (talk) 09:54, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Actually it now occurs to me that it might be possible to write a series of Bantu "super-templates" eg one would be for noun headwords, and invoked from the individual language noun headword templates. It would need to know the language, and lists of the class numbers for single, plural, uncountable and plurale tantum nouns. But I wouldn't have the first idea how to go about that. --Winelight (talk) 11:00, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
I've been thinking about this myself, actually, but I think the power of a good Bantu headword-line template is that it should be able to handle that language's specific needs. If you want to just copy a model that wouldn't be too much trouble to implement, {{xh-noun}} (Xhosa) or {{zu-noun}} (Zulu) would probably be good. But I'm personally rather proud of my work on {{sw-noun}} (Swahili), although I ended up needing help on it. I am not familiar with Sotho grammar, but I suspect that it is more complex than Swahili, in which case it may be safer to go the way of Xhosa. A template like the Swahili one only works if you really know all the variants and possibilities that exist and can code them in. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:02, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for that. For the time being I've modelled the Sotho one on the Xhosa one but with appropriate adjustments, and will correct if necessary and I discover more wrinkles (unless some other kind soul gets there first, of course). --Winelight (talk) 21:35, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Future subjunctive in ze FrenchEdit

How does one distinguish the future subjunctive tense from the present subjunctive tense in French? Are they always exactly the same? --Æ&Œ (talk) 10:20, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

No future subjunctive in French. Use the present subjunctive in its place. —Stephen (Talk) 10:45, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
O.K., but i’n’t there a way to tell them apart? Does one use ‘lorsque’ in lieu of ‘que?’ --Æ&Œ (talk) 21:40, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Context: Il est possible qu’il arrive demain. (It is possible that he will arrive tomorrow.) There actually is no future tense in the French sentence, so literally it says "it is possible that he arrive tomorrow"...but the meaning is clear, and anyone would agree that "will" needs to be inserted in the English. In the French, there is nothing to tell apart, since there is no future subjunctive. The fact that a future marker needs to be added to the English does not impact upon the French. French speakers feel no need for a future subjunctive. —Stephen (Talk) 23:01, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
That does make sense, though I do wonder why Iberians (occasionally) need a future subjunctive tense, but Francophones do not. Can you explain why, by any chance? --Æ&Œ (talk) 02:28, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
The future subj. evolved out of a fusion of the perfect subjunctive and the future perfect indicative, after which the perfect subj. was sacrificed in the shift to future subjunctive. The Latin spoken in the Iberian peninsula evolved a future subjunctive (and later also a future perfect subjunctive) from Latin paradigms that had other values, namely the perfect subjunctive (cantāverim) and the future perfect indicative (cantāverō). The crystal-clear phonology of the languages in Iberia made this easy, and a convenient hole in the existent verb paradigms made it logical. French phonology makes discerning these different forms much more difficult. I don’t think there was ever a "need" for the future subjunctive, but the phonologies and existing verb paradigms made it convenient. It added a new layer of erudition to a speaker’s language, and, contrary to the case of English, where simplicity and small Anglo-Saxon words are highly valued while ornate Latinate speech is considered flabby and bombastic, in the Romance languages such ornate speech is thoroughly appreciated and admired. However, since the actual need for a future subj. was very small, most of the Iberian Romance languages have left it behind. Spanish still uses it on rare occasions, because it is so easy to use and very pretty, but mostly it is no longer used or needed. Even Galician has mostly dropped it. —Stephen (Talk) 19:33, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Interesting. It seems that phonology dictated a lot more in Romance than I expected. Very interesting information about ornate speech, too. It supports my opinion that Romance languages are intellectual or intelligent languages. I am guessing that the common culture of Romance is a culture of intelligence. Sometimes I hear Anglophones comment (often negatively) on complicated terms, which are almost always Greco‐Latin with many syllables, in contrast to the Germanic vocabulary, which tends to sound plain or brief. --Æ&Œ (talk) 23:29, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
The tendency of technical, legal and intellectual terms in English has more to do with the history of England: after the Norman Conquest, French was the language of the elite and the government, while Latin was the international language and the language of scholars. English was the language of the peasants, who were mostly farmers/farmworkers. A lot of our attitudes about French- and Latin-based words trace their origin back to that environment Chuck Entz (talk) 03:55, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Those attitudes exist outside the English-speaking world as well. French was the language of the Dutch elite in past times, and it was the only official language of Belgium (alienating the majority of the population, which spoke Dutch) in the 19th century due to that status. —CodeCat 04:04, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
And regarding word and syllable structure, maybe w:Syllable timing is useful. It explains the relationship between how syllables are structured and the way people pronounce them. It turns out that the Romance languages are, inherently, better suited to having long words! —CodeCat 19:16, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Yet contrary to that, Russian, which is stress-timed just like English, also has long words. --WikiTiki89 19:28, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
But for how long? We've seen what stress timing has done to the Germanic languages, that may well be a sign of what's in the future for Russian too. —CodeCat 19:45, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Long words generally have one or two secondary stresses and so they are phonologically no different from several shorter words in a row. I don't think stress-timing is the reason that Germanic languages tend not to stack multiple affixes on top of each other. Russian still has very productive prefixes and suffixes that can be stacked until the word is unpronounceable :собака, собачка, собачечка, собачечечка, собачечечечка (the last two are much less common due to lack of euphony and not because they are long). Even English can can pile on tons of Latin- and Greek-derived affixes. --WikiTiki89 20:27, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

New entry created - please check :)Edit

Hello - I am an active editor at enwp, and edit mainly plant articles which often contain very technical terms. Naturally, I like to link these to Wiktionary which nine times out of ten contains an entry which is excellently formatted and written. Occasionally, I come across words which lack entries and so far I've ignored but them - but today I didn't, and tried to make a new one: castaneous. I'd be very grateful if someone could check it out and fix any problems or improve it, as I literally know nothing about this place! One question on top of this - do I add references to the entry, like on enwp? Thank you so much and keep up the great work you guys and gals are doing over here! Acather96 (click here to contact me) 19:47, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

It looks good. I added a citation from 1827. Generally I think it's more useful for us to have citations than references; you can check for them in Google Books etc. Equinox 19:49, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Italian HEdit

When did our Italian friends decide to purge almost all of the etymologic H’s from their language? (I’m guessing that it was sometime in the 18th century that they updated the orthography.) --Æ&Œ (talk) 06:52, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Apparently between 1700 and 1750: [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11]. — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:35, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Script directionEdit

Someone put it to me on Saturday that there are more languages that go from right-to-left than from left-to-right. The question is number of languages, not number of speakers or number of scripts. I'm pretty sure she's completely wrong on this. Do we have a tally of this anywhere? I think Category:Languages by script is the closest we have. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:03, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

w:Writing system#Directionality might be helpful? —CodeCat 13:17, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
If you just look at the amount of languages written in Latin script (which is LTR last time I checked) it easily outnumbers all the other writing systems together. -- Liliana 18:11, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Liliana is right. Maybe it would be more interesting to compare the number of scripts that go in each direction. --WikiTiki89 18:15, 9 December 2013 (UTC)


Questions: What is its derivation? When did it enter the English language, especially in its scientific sense?

Literally, "removing the foot", from Ancient Greek ἀ- (a-, alpha privative) + πούς (poús, foot) + -ize from Middle English -isen (-ize), from Old French -iser (-ize), from Latin -izāre (-ize), from Ancient Greek -ίζειν (-ízein), from Proto-Indo-European *-idyé- (verbal suffix). Probably coined around 1942...see On instrumental effects in spectral line synthesis observations. —Stephen (Talk) 21:07, 10 December 2013 (UTC)


I commented on this page, but seems not getting response. Where and who should I speak to? I mean, I wanna contribute, but really not sure if my way is the correct way... Is there any sheriff/boss/sir that leads the work about Wiktionary:Requested_entries_(Chinese)? {{reply}} me. Thank you! SzMithrandir (talk) 23:20, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Ultimately we would like real entries for the terms rather than merely a definition on the requested entries page. Have you looked at WT:AZH? Do you understand the format and the use of the templates used for Chinese entries? If you are not confident in your abilities - and even if you are - you might want to seek out a Chinese contributor who is active by selecting from Category:User cmn (levels N, 4, or 3, presumably) and checking to see if they are active by looking at their recent contributions. Someone else may provide some better assistance than I have, but at least you have a place to start. DCDuring TALK 23:54, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
There's no sheriff. Just create some entries. I will check the quality for you. Sorry, busy right now but please check existing entries, e.g. 摧毀/摧毁 or others where trad. and simpl. are the same, e.g. 促使. Usex and IPA are optional. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:55, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
OK... well I mean I'm Chinese, I'm just not sure about what to do; so I see, standardized entries, and there comes my question:
It should be advised that almost all Chinese words should be defined as "Chinese", not Mandarin or Cantonese alone. In my opinion and in the status quo of Chinese wiktionary, words, especially modern and formal ones, should not be labeled as "Mandarin", like these two examples that you give; only those Cantonese-only auxillary (phonetic-purpose) words like or very dialect words like , etc, should be labeled as Cantonese words. (see a list here)
Anyways, my point is, don't label Mandarin everywhere. However, I also just realize that the different pronunciation will be a problem, you want to list all pronunciations. In Chinese wiktionary we do it like, listing different pronunciations under the same language. Would it be feasible in here?
So much thoughts for today; I myself also need to look into the standard entry format. SzMithrandir (talk) 03:34, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not Chinese but I can help you with the structure of Mandarin entries. We have native editors Jamesjiao (talkcontribs), Wyang (talkcontribs) and a knowledgeable non-native Tooironic (talkcontribs).
The language label "Mandarin", the code "cmn" was decided by a vote, use "yue" and "Cantonese" for Cantonese. Translations into Mandarin are nested Chinese\Mandarin, Cantonese - Chinese\Cantonese. It can't be changed without agreements or re-votes. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 03:49, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

OK I see. Thank you for letting me acquaint the "sheriffs"; and I'll read more entries these few days.SzMithrandir (talk) 03:59, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

"Spellings" and "forms"Edit

We have two templates, {{alternative form of}} and {{alternative spelling of}}, and there are also other templates that distinguish between "form" and "spelling". But what is the difference between these, really? In the past, I always considered that "spelling" meant that the difference was only in writing, while "form" meant a differerence in both pronunciation and writing. That is, an "alternative form" would be distinguished in speech, while an "alternative spelling" would not. Does this agree at all with how others have used these templates? We haven't really codified it anywhere, but maybe we should.

There's also {{alternative name of}}. I don't really know what that's for, we usually indicate synonyms by putting the same definitions in the entry, don't we? —CodeCat 23:34, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

This is a good question. I used to distinguish between them (I can't even remember how), but long ago I got into a scuffle with someone over a spelling really being a form, and since then I've only ever used form. Hah. Equinox 23:36, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I still distinguish between them. Whenever I encounter "alternative form of" when the pronunciation is exactly the same, I fix it to "alternative spelling of". It is a useful distinction to make. --WikiTiki89 23:38, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
Does make sense, but there must be at least a handful of cases where the pronunciation is only the same in certain accents (rhoticity perhaps?), which makes things awkward. Equinox 23:40, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
This is what made me think about it. I wonder if maybe we should merge the two templates. The distinction can be useful, like Wikitiki said, but it can also be ambiguous, because our entries are spellings and not pronunciations. —CodeCat 23:43, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
I guess if there is a dispute, "form" is more general and should take precedence. I don't think we should merge them. --WikiTiki89 23:51, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
There's also the difference of more complex terms being made up of different morphemes or even lexemes, which shouldn't be described as a mere spelling difference no matter how it's pronounced. Then there are the cases where two different spellings are the standards to which a whole range of regional pronunciations are attached, and the distribution of variation among the pronunciations doesn't completely match the distribution of the standards. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:57, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
But in unambiguous cases such as "analyze" vs "analyse" or "program" vs "programme", it is indisputable that they are merely spelling variants. --WikiTiki89 01:01, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
I think I agree with you. However, the elephant in the corner is probably how we deal with that kind of pair in the first place. (There seems to be a strong sociocultural consensus against putting all the useful content in a single entry and making the other one an alt form, even though that makes sense computationally. [And there are a few cases where a sense of a word is only attested with one of the two spellings.]) Equinox 01:05, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Well those were just examples. Not all such examples are culturally loaded. --WikiTiki89 01:25, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, we have no problem putting plurals, conjugations, historical forms, and rare spellings in “form-of” pages. But we can’t lemmatize the most common words because our website pages are keyed to single spellings and capitalizations. We will never be as good as a paper dictionary until labor/labour/Labor/Labour is defined in one place. Michael Z. 2013-12-16 22:19 z
Most people would agree. The only issue being that it is impossible to choose which spelling should be the lemma. --WikiTiki89 22:29, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Why choose? If a plural can be “seraphs or seraphim,” why can’t a headword be “labor, labour,” like in many print dictionaries? The order can be strictly alphabetical, or random on page load, or according to the browser’s language preference.
We are only forced to choose because of our wiki format. Creating several redundant, overlapping entries for a single term is a very poor solution. We can make this better. Michael Z. 2013-12-17 00:33 z
The headword could be labor or labour, but firstly, one of them has to precede the other, secondly, it still has to be located on one of the pages. I agree that the wiki format is not ideal for a dictionary, but that is what we have to work with. Without the wiki format, this dictionary would never have been able to exist, and switching out of a wiki format will make it less accessible to those familiar with wikis. --WikiTiki89 00:39, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Are you against listing the lemma terms in one place, in alphabetical order? Why?
Secondly, an entry does not have to be located “on one of the pages.” Wikipedia’s article model isn’t the way the whole universe must work. We talk about lemmas, and then attach every entry to a spelling, by its title and URL. We ignore that the same page also defines labours, labouring, and laboured, then get all in a knot about the idea that the exact synonyms labor might belong there too.
There is no natural law that says a page’s URL must end with one term. It could be something else. Or it could be at both URLs, for example via transclusion, or a silent redirect. Michael Z. 2013-12-17 04:36 z
Like I said, it can be done, but it will make the system too complicated for the average editor (the average user probably doesn't know what a transclusion is). "Silent" redirects would have been the simplest solution, but are not an option due to the possibility of conflicting with another language, which is why we replace them with soft redirects. Either way, one of the pages needs to be chosen. If you are suggesting creating entries such as labor, labour, then I think that's just ridiculous. --WikiTiki89 13:03, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Having the entry for labo(u)r split up in four pages is not only ridiculous, it is unusable for editors and readers. Imagine if a print dictionary did something so stupid. We are not supposed to make a dictionary that is so much worse than print. Michael Z. 2013-12-17 15:49 z
I agree that ideally it should be on one page, but until you come up with a magic solution to the problems I've stated, that's the way it's gonna have to be. --WikiTiki89 15:51, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Funny, I have been doing all this arguing without having a close look at the entries in question. Turns out that labor has been a form-of entry for almost a year. Michael Z. 2013-12-18 03:10 z
I make the same distinction as Wikitiki. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:31, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Differences in capitalization, hyphenation, separating spaces, typography, diacritics, and even text encoding are not alternative spellings. Are schoolbus, school-bus and school bus spelled differently? Einstein-Rosen bridge a different spelling or form of Einstein–Rosen bridge? Instead of debating the difference and trying to decide when to use which label, for no useful distinction, we should just use the encompassing term “form.” Don’t we already do this in the subheading “Alternative forms?” Michael Z. 2013-12-15 18:19 z

That's why we have {{alternative capitalization of}} and other such templates. And I disagree that the distinction is not useful. --WikiTiki89 19:18, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
But the problem is that we don’t all agree on what is a difference in spelling and what is not. The distinction may be useful if it were defined, but it is not. So the set of things marked as alternative “spellings” will never be useful to anyone – particular instances based on definitions too broad for some and too narrow for others, the whole set not correct for anyone.
What is a spelling difference? Michael Z. 2013-12-15 19:53 z
The distinction between a language and a dialect is not always clear either, that doesn't mean that such a distinction is not useful. As I said, for things in the gray area, we can call it a "form", but for things that are clearly spelling differences, we should use "spelling". --WikiTiki89 20:09, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Okay, but we do define the specific set of what we consider to be languages. What would clearly constitute a spelling difference, and what would be in the grey area? Would everyone agree that the examples I gave above are clearly not alternative spellings? Michael Z. 2013-12-16 03:14 z
I can't answer that question generally (yet at least), you're gonna have to give some examples. I've already given some examples of what I consider to be purely a spelling difference. The examples you gave, I would classify as "alternative capitalization" and "alternative typesetting" (for the dash vs hyphen thing). For the schoolbus/school-bus/school bus example, I would have no problem calling it a "spelling" difference. --WikiTiki89 03:19, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, spelling is about “forming words with letters.” Any school kid knows that the word is spelled S-C-H-O-O-L-B-U-S. Spaces, hyphenation, diacritics and other orthographic details aren’t English spelling, necessarily.
Analyze is an alternative spelling of analyse. Hyphenated school-bus is a common attributive form, not an alternative spelling of the word. SCHOOL BUS is a capitalization used in titles, but we don’t even mention it because the distinction is stylistic and not lexical. We don’t have any agreed-upon guidelines or even a common terminology to handle all of these distinctions.
I am not sure that that identifying all of these distinctions in the dictionary is useful. But if we use it, we should define it, so editors don’t spend the rest of eternity changing these templates back and forth while they continue to carry no discernible meaning.  Michael Z. 2013-12-16 22:06 z
If you want to define it, go ahead. I will continue making the distinction, which I think is a useful one, whether it is formally defined or not. --WikiTiki89 22:09, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

full of beansEdit

I am a supervisor and editor on Answers.Com. Another super and I had a disagreement about the synonym for the idiom "full of beans". He is a Brit from Australia, and I am from the US. His meaning is "lively" and mine is "doesn't know a thing". He was sure that the word after the second synonym "incorrect" meant that the second was totally incorrect, not that the person was incorrect. Any way to make a change, so we are not confused again? 22:48, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

I suspect there are two different etymologies (coffee beans for the first sense?), but the second sense is obviously a euphemism for full of shit. That means the person is either very ignorant or very dishonest, but is wrong, either way. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:23, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
To clarify for the IP, it's "the person who is full of beans/shit is either very ignorant or very dishonest" and thus 'wrong'. (At first, I misread Chuck's sentence as saying that the other supervisor was dishonest, lol.) The suggestion that there are two senses with different etymologies is eminently plausible. - -sche (discuss) 01:05, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, V. S. Matyushenkov's 2010 Dictionary of Americanisms, Briticisms, Canadianisms and Australianisms defines full of beans as "full of nonsense [] chronically mistaken, wrong". Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernstein's 2007 Knickers in a Twist: A Dictionary of British Slang defines full of beans as "bursting with energy". I'll add some more citations to both senses. - -sche (discuss) 01:10, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The "full of energy" sense is sometimes used in the US, too. DCDuring TALK 02:11, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
My reading of the 30 instances of "full of beans" on COCA suggests that "the full of energy" sense is more common in the US than the other sense. With the diminished force of taboos against vulgarity, people have no problems saying "full of shit" or "full of crap" or "full of it", so something as euphemistic as "full of beans" may sound too dated. BNC doesn't show the "full of nonsense" sense at all. COHA shows the the full of nonsense sense is more recent than the "full of energy" sense, at least by my reading. DCDuring TALK 02:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
In Canada, I have only encountered the “full of energy” sense, a synonym for full of piss and vinegar or its euphemism full of spit and vinegar. But I have always interpreted the metaphor as farting unselfconsciously, and nothing to do with coffee beans. Michael Z. 2013-12-16 03:23 z

Why the confusion?Edit

Most of my friends and family keep referring to this website as Wikipedia. Even when I correct them, they eventually start calling it Wikipedia again. I know that both websites have stupid names, names with the same three letters at the start, but they should not be that difficult to differentiate; there are significant nuances. Wiktionary is a dictionary and you can tell by looking at the fucking logo at the top left corner of the website, if the general layout did not clue you in. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia (noticing a pattern here?) which can also be differentiated from the logo in the exact same position. It also says ‘dictionary’ in macro‐letters on the main‐page. Jesus Christ, are you people literally blind? Or is your attention span so atrocious that you miss the obvious? I really don’t get it. --Æ&Œ (talk) 01:24, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Are you expecting someone to answer this? --WikiTiki89 01:28, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I was expecting people to chew their monitors when they were displaying this question in hopes that the nasty message would go away. --Æ&Œ (talk) 01:37, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
We are not nearly as useful to most native English speakers as Wikipedia is.
We are much more popular worldwide than in US, UK, Canada, etc. That probably means with language learners and people trying to read English. DCDuring TALK 02:05, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't that include language learners in US, UK, Canada, etc? Or perhaps there are not so many language learners in these countries? Or the language coverage is not suitable for language learners in these countries? I'm not sure what the original question is, though. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 02:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I could pound my head against the keyboard and drool- would that work? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
My hunch is that people don't really think of Wiktionary as distinct from Wikipedia, and "Wikipedia" is the name they know. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:25, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Yeah. Consider how many people think Wikileaks is part of Wikipedia (enough that WP had to put a disclaimer in its article). Anything that starts with w-i-k- is a part of Wikipedia. - -sche (discuss) 20:23, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia has a much more visible public profile than any of the other Wikimedia sites. Our not-even-a-logo that we are using to prevent en.Wiktionary from being associated with other-language Wiktionaries is not helping any. Michael Z. 2013-12-16 03:27 z

I find it mildly annoying when people call Wikipedia "Wiki", as though no other wiki exists. (The first one wasn't even a Mediawiki one!) Equinox 16:33, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

superscript d in Manx IPAEdit

Superscript d () is used in the pronunciation transcriptions of several Manx and Cornish words, e.g. keayn. What does it signify? - -sche (discuss) 03:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Just a wild guess based on the one entry: delayed onset of nasalization? That would mean that the stop would start out as a d, but quickly resolve to an n. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:22, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, w:Preploded nasal. Wyang (talk) 04:26, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) After looking it up: see pre-occlusion under w:Manx language#Phonology. The difference from my guess is that the un-nasalized part is analyzed as a separate (half-)segment, which seems to be reflected in the shortening of preceding vowels. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:32, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Thank you both! - -sche (discuss) 05:06, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Where are categories saved and how are they edited?Edit

For example here

I can see plenty of categories in the bottom. However, in source code, even when exporting the page as xml, only one category exists (rm:Computing). Where are all the other categories? How can they be edited or exported? Spiros71 (talk) 13:51, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Several templates add categories automatically. For example, {{en-noun}} adds Category:English nouns. — Ungoliant (falai) 13:54, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
As for editing, the same as any other page with the sole (and very important) exception that you can't edit the list of pages in the category apart from removing the category. This is the primary function of a category, to automatically list pages, and for that reason categories should not have too much other information. 'Essays' in categories should probably be transferred to another namespace, such as an appendix. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:13, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Template queryEdit

Is there a way that I could see which values are being used as the first parameter of {{form of}}, how often it occurs, and in which entries? I think there was a tool for this but I can't remember. —CodeCat 00:08, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

I use TemplateTiger. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:53, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't really understand how to use it at all. It only shows me a list of all entries that use {{form of}}, but I don't know how to group them by the value of the first parameter. —CodeCat 02:22, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Plural noun lemmas that are also plural forms of singular nounsEdit

Should these be categorised as "plurals", as "nouns", both, or neither (something else)? For example ackers is currently in both Category:English nouns (because it's a noun lemma) and Category:English plurals (because it's the plural of acker). —CodeCat 03:41, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

I would say both. --WikiTiki89 13:06, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Question about given names and surnamesEdit

Is Category:English given names supposed to contain only names usually borne by English speakers, e.g. John, Nigel, Anna, or should it also contain foreign names, e.g. Krzysztof, Fabrizio, and even transliterations of foreign names, e.g. Vahagn, Pavel? The same for surnames. --Vahag (talk) 21:57, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

The problem is that this distinction is blurred by immigrants and descendants of immigrants in English-speaking countries. --WikiTiki89 22:11, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
In 2005 (latest year available online) 24 people named Krzysztof and 25 named Pavel were born in England & Wales. To me, that seems too few to call them English given names. (Between 1916 and 2005, only one "Vahag" was born (in 1979, in Leicester)). SemperBlotto (talk) 22:20, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
I've wondered this too. A name like "Krzysztof" doesn't intuitively seem English, but what's the criterium? Is a name "English" if it came from Middle English (even though many of those are Norman), or only if it came from Old English? Or is it English as soon as it's used by English speakers? —CodeCat 22:23, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Descent from Middle English may be a sufficient condition but is certainly not a necessary condition for a name to be English. For one thing, the conversion of words to (given) names is a productive process for name generation, one which does not seem to be restricted to words which entered English pre-1500. Karma, for example, seems to be attested as an English name, even though the word karma only entered English in the 1800s. Complete or partial assimilation of all or part of a non-English-speaking culture into an English-speaking culture is another route by which names which were not English before 1500 come to be English. It is the route by which many names which were originally only Irish came to be (also) English. Sometimes English speakers simply appropriate a name (with or without modifying its spelling); for example, there may well be more [European- and African-American] English monoglots named Winona/Wenona now than there are Sioux-speaking [Lakota and Dakota tribes-]people with that name. - -sche (discuss) 05:36, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I think a name does need to be borne by native English-speakers before it can be considered English. But by how many must it be borne? CFI requires three independent citations of English words; are three unrelated bearers sufficient to "cite" a name? What if the only bearers (especially of a surname) are related to one another? - -sche (discuss) 05:36, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

The context of my question was different. Suppose we have agreed what constitutes an English name and what a foreign name. Should Category:English given names contain foreign given names? Right now the definition of that category is "English proper nouns that indicate names given to individuals". So transliterations of foreign give names should be included? And if so, how should such entries be defined, what templates should be used?

Let's discuss concrete cases on the example of surnames.

  • Johnson, an English surname in English.
  • Putin, a Russian surname in English.
  • Путин (Putin), a Russian surname in Russian.
  • Джонсон (Džonson), an English surname in Russian.

I propose to categorize them into the following topical categories: Category:en:English surnames, Category:en:Russian surnames, Category:ru:Russian surnames, Category:ru:English surnames respectively. Some of these categories do exist, but the infrastructure behind them is incomplete and {{surname}} does not autozategorize. Category:English surnames and Category:Russian surnames would then be parent-only categories.

An advantage of topical categories is that we can have also non-language-specific categories, like Category:en:Jewish surnames. --Vahag (talk) 11:54, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

That seems like a good way of doing things. - -sche (discuss) 06:00, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Sounds confusing. Shall we also categorize café in Category:en:French nouns?
“English,” in categorizing lexicographical items, means a word in English. Certainly it doesn’t say what country the referent was born or baptized or resides in, or what language they speak. An English noun is a noun in English, whether inherited from Old English or borrowed three years ago. Shouldn’t English given name and English surname in our categories consistently follow the same logic? And whither Category:English surnames from FrenchMichael Z. 2013-12-22 20:31 z
And we come to the crux of the matter. Are names lexicographical items, like "nouns", or topical items, like "animals"? Right now we have a mix of two approaches. For example, Category:el:English surnames, a topical category, has Category:English surnames as its parent. --Vahag (talk) 21:35, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I thought they were being categorized by language, like all other terms with “English...” and by etymology with “...from French.” I am not clear on the nature of the “topical” category, but its naming should be clear, like “surnames originating in English,” “surnames from Britain”, “surnames from English-speaking countries,” or whatever the topic actually is.
I totally don’t understand this. What is the difference between Category:Russian surnames from English and Category:ru:English surnames? What are our readers supposed to infer from their existence? Is there a reason Фолкнер is in both categories but no other names are? Why is one of these categories applied using {{surname}} but the other manually? Michael Z. 2013-12-23 18:03 z
There is no logic behind those differences. Different users have different understanding of our category system and I cannot blame them. I started this discussion to finally set things straight, but this isn't going anywhere. People seem disinterested. --Vahag (talk) 13:42, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
In theory, Category:Russian surnames from English should be surnames that came from English but are given to Russian-speakers, and Category:ru:English surnames should be surnames of English-speaking people as referred to in Russian. In practice, there are a number of related concepts that are confused and used interchangeably: the original language of the name, the language spoken by those with the name, and the language in which the name is currently used.
I'll use my own surname as an example: in 1798 my great-great grandfather was born Johann Friedrich Enz in Appenzell, Switzerland. When he came to the US, he always referred himself as John Frederick Entz. Entz is an anglicized version of the original Swiss spelling, and every one of his descendants (going back 180 years) has been a native speaker of English, but it's definitely a Swiss name: I have distant relatives in Switzerland (whom I've never met) with the surname spelled as Enz, and it could be argued that we all share the same surname. I would categorize Entz in Category:en:Allemannic German surnames or something along those lines.
I think the safest approach would be to have two types of categories (using English as an example):
There are plenty of gray areas, but this would be the model that would make the most sense. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:34, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I support reorganizing our name categories basically along the lines of Vahag's suggestion of 11:54, 21 December 2013 and Chuck's suggestion of 04:34, 28 December 2013—though the details of when to use "en:" and when to use "English " will have to be ironed out.
My answer to Vahag's question "are names lexicographical items, like 'nouns', or topical items, like 'animals'?" is that the part of speech of Vahag, Peter, etc is "proper noun" (the sort of information we put into "Category:English..."-type categories), while the fact that they are "names" is the sort of information we put into "Category:en:..."-type categories.
I would put the surname Miller#English into "Category:en:Surnames" (not "Category:English surnames", for reasons that will become clear when we get to Vahag) and "Category:en:English surnames" and "Category:en:Surnames derived from Middle English". I would put Mueller#English, because it has been borne by many native-English-speakers, into "Category:en:Surnames", "Category:en:English surnames" and "Category:en:Surnames derived from German", while Mueller#German would go in "Category:de:Surnames" and "Category:de:Surnames derived from Middle High German". (Recognizing that many uses of Mueller in English texts refer to German-speaking Germans, in the same way that many uses of Vahag in English texts refer to Armenian-speaking Armenians, I might also put Mueller#English into "Category:en:German surnames".) I would put a name that had not been borne by native-English-speakers but which was attested in English texts, such as the given name Vahag, into "Category:en:Armenian given names".
I recognize that such an arrangement might be too complex to be workable, hence I am open to simpler proposals. - -sche (discuss) 05:17, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I've tried to explain the rules I use for name categorization and language statements in Wiktionary:About given names and surnames. I've never understood why categories must be divided into topics and parts of speech - names are something in between. Vahagn's system seems as good as mine (provided I don't have to create the new categories and clean up the old ones). Chuck Entz seems to describe my system, mostly. But "Entz" would be an English surname in my system, if the t was added for English-speakers to avoid mispronunciation, categorized in Category:English surnames from German. Would "Category:en:English surnames from German" exist in Vahagn's system? (Entz might not be common enough to meet the CFI though). It would be good to have clear rules that everybody obeys. But whatever the system is, many contributors will get it wrong. Names are complicated. There has never been a dictionary of all names in all languages before. --Makaokalani (talk) 11:47, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
CFI doesn't really address surnames very well. I haven't created an entry for my surname precisely because of its rarity, but John Frederick Entz wrote several articles in durably-archived publications, his grandson, w:Justus B. Entz, has his own durably-archived paper trail, and my uncle's fatal final trip as a flight engineer on w:Flying Tiger Line Flight 282, is well documented in durably-archived government reports. There are also unrelated Entz families of German origin that include a commercially-successful artist, a state senator in Colorado, an author of children's books, a published agronomist, and a TV producer, not to mention an unrelated Hungarian Botanist named Géza Entz. Surnames are different than other kinds of words, and require different standards of inclusion. After all, records of births, marriages, deaths, etc. are all durably archived in many countries- any competent genealogist could turn up enough evidence to meet CFI for most of the surnames in the US. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:23, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't know the etymology of Entz so it's up to you. We don't record family history, just linguistics. Here are some discussions I remember about using birth records or other documents as CFI: Talk:Blue and Talk:Mereon.--Makaokalani (talk) 17:48, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names calls Entz a "German" surname[12]. I would define it as "A German surname" and categorize into Category:en:German surnames. In the etymology section I would explain that -t- was inserted for pronunciation reasons. It is similar to how my surname is sometimes Anglicized as Petrosian and Petrossian. --Vahag (talk) 14:29, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

My system does not allow "Category:English surnames derived from German" or the like. Why do we need to create a derivation system that is independent of and duplicates the system created by {{etyl}} and the Etymology section? We don't have "Category:English nouns derived from German" or "Category:en:Animals derived from German". How are names different? If someone is interested in finding English surnames derived from German, let him analyze a Wiktionary dump by finding the intersection of Category:en:English surnames with Category:English terms derived from German.

Another argument in favour of ditching the etymology-based categorization: Wiktionary:About given names and surnames says Michael should be categorized into Category:English male given names from Hebrew. Why Hebrew? The name did not get into English directly from Hebrew. Why not Category:English male given names from Latin or Category:English male given names from Anciet Greek, the intermediate links? What if the name goes back to Proto-Semitic? We can avoid all of these problems by not categorizing based on etymology. Difficulties aside, I don't find such categories useful.

To summarize, I am in favor of Chuck's Usage-/Culture-based system, without the Etymology-based system. --Vahag (talk) 12:11, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

But the "from"-categories are culture-based. That's precisely why Michael is in "Category:English male given names from Hebrew". It originates in Hebrew, in Jewish tradition and literature, just like Anthony ("from Latin") derives from Rome and Alexander ("from Ancient Greek") from the history and culture of ancient Greece. You share my passion for names, so don't the name lists in these three categories tell you a story? The from-type categories are not exact in the etymological sense. Anthony might ultimately descend from Etruscan, etc. Etymology is another matter, to be explained in etymology sections, and categorized through the templates, but there wasn't a Proto-Semitic culture. Your etymologies are superior to anything I can do. There is also Category:English male given names from surnames or Category:Finnish surnames from landscape, culture-based, making no sense in another language. Surnames are a new idea in many countries, and have transparent meaning in the native language. It's often more meaningful to classify them as, for example, "from given names/occupations/place name/nicknames". How can you be sure that nobody wants to know which English surnames derive from German? We have much sillier categories. I doubt that a casual user would know how to analyze the Wiktionary dump. I certainly don't know how.
What's the harm in the "from"-type categories anyway? You don't have to use them if you don't want to. I'd say the "ru:English surnames" -type categories are usage-based, and "English surnames from German" -type categories are culture-based. You could change them all into topic categories, to allow e.g. for Jewish surnames that don't derive from Yiddish (Goldberg-Silberstein and such that have no category now). But a combination of the two, like "Category:ru:English surnames from German" should be forbidden in either system, that's getting insane.--Makaokalani (talk) 17:48, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
"From" is not necessarily culture-based. Not every named Michael is even aware that it came from Hebrew. Anyway, we already have categories such as Category:English terms derived from Hebrew, which would contain terms like Michael. There is no reason to add special etymological categories just for names. Now categories such as Category:English names are useful, once we determine what constitutes an "English" name. --WikiTiki89 18:33, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
Category:English male given names from surnames or Category:Finnish surnames from landscape are fine, but I am still unconvinced that Category:English male given names from Hebrew is necessary. In your system the names Michael from Hebrew, Bartholomew from Aramaic and Peter from Ancient Greek would be in different categories, while Michael and Ze'ev would be in the same category. To me the first three names have more in common culture/usage-wise (Christian names) than the last two. --Vahag (talk) 15:22, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

If Category:English nouns contains nouns in English, then Category:English surnames should be understood to contain surnames in English. Not ones “considered” something, or “characterizing” anything, or usage this or culture that. Using the same categorizing words to categorize different things differently is a sure way to make some readers and editors misunderstand them when they read and edit. And then it loses all meaning and generates 80,000 words of pointless discussion. Michael Z. 2013-12-31 00:36 z

Do you have a non-confusing alternative? I can't think of anything. --Vahag (talk) 15:22, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
(1) In my scheme ("put the surname Miller#English into 'Category:en:Surnames' [...] and 'Category:en:English surnames'"), is a top-level category containing only other categories, which makes it easy to find miscategorised entries. And because I envision categorisation being provided automatically from templates, miscategorisation of that sort would have to have been manual. (2) In my scheme, and I think in Vahag's and Chuck's also, "Category[en:]English surnames" does "contain surnames in English". It does not contain all surnames in English, but neither does "Category:English nouns" contain all nouns in English; plurals, for example, are split off into "Category:English plurals". "Category:English plurals" is a subcategory of "Category:English nouns", but the only time that's noticeable is when someone is on one of the two category pages. If the names categories' pages explain the names categorization system, people will be able to find their way around the names categories just as well as Category:English nouns vs Category:English plurals. (3) You say "Category:English surnames should be understood to contain surnames in English", but that proposal leaves just as much grey area as Vahag's, Chuck's and my proposals. Say I write einige Wörter: they're not italicized, and the rest of my sentence is in English, so are "einige Wörter" English words, or are they German words merely brought into the English sentence? Say I write a letter to Krzysztof in Poland: the rest of my sentence is in English, so is "Krzysztof" a "name in English", or is it a Polish name merely brought into the English sentence? What if I write a letter to the one Vahag who the statistics above show lived in the UK: is his name "in English"? Whatever you think the answer to that question is (whatever you think is considered a surname in English), this discussion shows that not everyone finds it intuitive or agrees; hence, there's just as much grey area and room for miscategorisation. - -sche (discuss) 17:54, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
We already have a well-exercised standard for what it means: three attested uses. If you thrice cite the phrase einige Wörter in English, then we can put it in the dictionary under an #English header and in Category:English whatevers. This applies equally to Krzysztof and its variations.
Re: Vahagn, alternative for what? Everyone is talking about some new definition of English names “considered part of the English language.” What does that mean if it is not three attestations? Why would we include names of French, Irish, and Welsh origin but not others, as Chuck Entz suggests? Are you suggesting that Vera is not an English given name because it is from Russian? If a French name brought into the anglosphere in 1066 is English, why is not an Indian or Japanese one imported in the 1800s? Are you suggesting a cutoff date, or official list of source languages?
The whole concept smells prescriptive. Michael Z. 2014-01-01 20:19 z
The reason I suggested French was because they have been part of Modern English since the transition from Middle English, and no one who hasn't researched their history would consider them to be at all foreign. I'm sure there are plenty of Welsh surnames that shouldn't qualify under my exception: Ap Rhys is quite different from Price, although they trace back to the same origins. In general, I was trying to convey that the languages I specified had surnames came into English by a process other than through borrowing into Modern English, and the names aren't perceived as belonging to any other language.
I don't claim to have the final answer- I'm still working things out in my mind. My point is that surnames should be treated differently than other types of nouns, and that we should develop rules regarding them for CFI. Part of the problem is that they don't convey meaning in the same way that most terms do- they simply designate people who have the surname. You might say that all the citations are just mentions. Are Schmidt and Herrero translations of Smith, or just equivalents in other languages? Is Sheen a synonym for Estévez because Martin Sheen and Charlie Sheen use it instead of their original surname?
Then there's the matter of the ambiguity of designations like "English surname". Is Ahmadinejad an English surname? It's certainly used a lot in English, but only as the romanization for a strictly Persian name (it's a blend of Mahmoud's and his wife's original surnames). It's certainly not an English name in the same way as Smith is. Perhaps Ahmedinejad merits an entry under an English header under CFI, but that doesn't mean it should be categorized as an English surname (i.e. Category:en:Persian surnames rather than Category:en:English surnames). Chuck Entz (talk) 22:09, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree that names have important qualitative differences from nouns.
But just as with other nouns, the nativeness of names in a language is a spectrum from long-established to newly-adopted and unnaturalized. There is no reason to make up some completely different criteria for inclusion than attested usage, or seek some arbitrary marker along this spectrum that makes us comfortable. The quality of being “English” that you are seeking to define is exactly the prescriptive notion that dictionaries including Wiktionary have completely abandoned. Michael Z. 2014-01-02 16:53 z
It's not prescriptive to describe how names are used. We don't say that an English speaker shouldn't name their kid "Vahagn", but that very few English speakers, if not none, actually do. --WikiTiki89 18:06, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
It is prescriptive to try to label names as properly, traditionally English-sounding, and then concocting some criteria designed to justify it.
“How names are used,” you say? Chuck Entz mentioned a number of ways to decide if a name is a properly “English” name, and the only one that has anything to do with how names are used supports Ahmadinejad as English. The rest have nothing to do with lexicography.
  1. “considered part of the English language”
  2. “would characterize people as English”
  3. “surnames from Norman French, Irish, Welsh, etc. that are thought of as English”
  4. “used in English to refer to those with non-English surnames”
  5. “often different in English than in their native languages”
  6. “came into English by a process other than through borrowing into Modern English”
  7. “aren't perceived as belonging to any other language”
  8. “Is Ahmadinejad an English surname? It's certainly used a lot in English”
  9. “not an English name in the same way as Smith is”
It is also ridiculous to try to make such rules based on the specific history of each of our hundreds of languages.
If you want to categorize names that were inherited from Old English or Middle English based on our etymologies, that is great. Let’s make sure our template infrastructure supports that. Michael Z. 2014-01-02 18:55 z
How about "given by native English speakers"? --WikiTiki89 18:59, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I’m not sure I understand. Do you mean categorize dictionary terms by the language skill of the parents of the referent? How are you going to attest that? What will the usage label look like in the entry? Michael Z. 2014-01-02 20:04 z
I never said that that would be easy, just that that would be the correct way to do it. If something is hard to tell, it doesn't mean that it's irrelevant. --WikiTiki89 20:25, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
So then Sinatra, Egoyan, Romanow, Mychajlyszyn, Trudeau, Kovacs, Suzuki, Cohen, Schwartz, Hsu would be examples of English surnames. I think Chuck Entz is looking for some very different results. Michael Z. 2014-01-02 20:59 z
You're not entirely right. Surnames are not "given", but "passed on". What I said in my previous post applies more to given names. It's much harder to think of a criterion for surnames. And anyway, I'm not here to please Chuck Entz, I'm here to do the right the thing. --WikiTiki89 21:31, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
We document all usage in the corpus, without privileging “native speakers” or any other group to determine what belongs to the language and what doesn’t. I don’t think introducing such a prescriptive formula for names is right. Michael Z. 2014-01-03 00:56 z
No we don't. If we find a word or alternate spelling that is only attested in illiterate or non-native text, it does not pass RFV. --WikiTiki89 00:59, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, you’d better hunt down and eliminate all of the English quotations of w:Joseph Conrad in Wiktionary, and file RFVs where appropriate, because this literary great was not a native English speaker. Oh yeah, and get on that RFD of ain't, because it is an illiterate expression. Michael Z. 2014-01-03 16:23 z
It would only make a difference if a quote from Joseph Conrad was the deciding factor in an RFV discussion. --WikiTiki89 20:05, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Right, so not only would we be privileging certain people’s language in determining what is part of a language, we would be complicating everything with a dual standard. What benefit would this achieve?
This is academic anyway, because determining who named whom according to what legal requirements, and who is a “native speaker”, and what that means, is impossible. Michael Z. 2014-01-04 03:06 z
What dual standard? We have rules for what qualifies as a good citation, for the purposes of RFV. I did not make them up. This discussion is for deciding how to distinguish an "English name" from a "foreign name used in English". You seem to have the idea that (1) this is impossible and (2) since it's impossible it's not useful. I'd like to say that it is useful whether it's possible or not and that we are having this discussion to determine how to do it, so jumping in in the middle saying "it's not possible, so it's useless" is not helping us to determine whether it is possible. --WikiTiki89 03:15, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I misunderstood. But then you are proposing that the English in “Category:English [X]’s” has different meanings in different categories. Sometimes it would mean “used in English,” and other times it would mean what you are proposing it would mean (that someone’s parents learned English from their parents and not in grade school, or something). I still don’t think that’s a good idea for several reasons. For one, we’d have to add a legend to all category pages to prevent readers from misinterpreting “English.”
Terms, and names, are naturalized to various degrees along a spectrum. This can be indicated in the dictionary by providing usage examples, by indicating the level of spelling standardization, and by indicating if a word is usually italicized. It is all based on usage, and we are not making or implying any judgments about what is properly English or who is considered an English speaker or writer. “English X” means “X as used in English.”
If you want to give the reader clues as to how naturalized a name is in English usage, then categorize by etymology, or by date of earliest attested use, or by giving examples of usage. If you want to indicate how long it has been used for naming in particular countries, then maybe cite local birth and death records. But I don’t think we should start making judgment calls about how English is English enough to be properly English (much less for 1,000 other languages). Michael Z. 2014-01-04 03:48 z
The earliest date of attestation does not solve any problems. You'd still have to determine whether the usage was a mention of a foreigner or of a native. Names are inherently different from words in that attestation does not mean use in a sentence, but that some has or had that name. Since there is no sentence, the only clue as to the language of the name is the language the people who gave the name spoke. "The Russian president Vladimir Putin said ..." is not evidence of an English name "Vladimir Putin", despite the fact that it's in an English sentence. Also, I do not see what "different meaning" the word "English" has in "Category:English nouns" and "Category:English given names". In both cases, English refers to the English language, rather than say Japanese. --WikiTiki89 03:53, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Also, I want to say that your criticism of trivial technicalities has killed the useful part of this discussion. I feel bad for Vahag, who really wanted this discussion to actually go somewhere. --WikiTiki89 03:56, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm in favour of Vahag's suggestion about the treatment of names. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 11:00, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

  • I oppose creation of Category:en:English surnames. Surname categories are not topical categories, since the category name identifies the terms rather than their referents ("cat names" vs. "cats"). Furthermore, Wiktionary:Information desk is absolutely the wrong venue for policy making and for making proposals to change practices. --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:07, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

I now think consensus cannot be reached. This issue is too complicated. --Vahag (talk) 13:49, 4 January 2014 (UTC)



In template:term/documentation, we can see the following example:

{{term|[[cor|Cor]] [[Carolī]]|Charles' heart|lang=la}}

that gives:

Cor Carolī

Is it an out of date example? The second parameter isn't useful, is it?

Thanks by advance, — Automatik (talk) 20:08, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

It should really be the third parameter, I fixed it now. —CodeCat 20:16, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks. — Automatik (talk) 20:21, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

E. PolynsianEdit

Discussion moved to WT:RFM.

Can I go vandalize?Edit

Hey, do you guys mind if I go vandalize a few entries? I’m bored. I can revert the vandalism later if you want. --Æ&Œ (talk) 20:22, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Don’t you know about Farmville? Michael Z. 2013-12-22 20:33 z
If you do vandalize, I hope you make lots of spaghetti! -- Liliana 20:34, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
If it would make WT:-). I keep hoping to find funny vandalism but it never comes. What is it with kids these days! Haplogy () 00:33, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Most striking thingEdit

What's the most striking thing about the English language? Pass a Method (talk) 15:09, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

The irregular spelling probably. —CodeCat 15:17, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
That I learnt it, as a child, without even trying. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:22, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
The rich repertoire of vowels. -- Liliana 15:49, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Its adoption as the world's second language. Ƿidsiþ 15:59, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
From a linguistic standpoint, it might be spelling, as CodeCat says. It's not typical for languages to have written forms that are divorced from their spoken forms by as many centuries and as many sound changes as English's, though Tibetan is another example of a language with similarly divorced written and spoken forms. Even in e.g. French or Irish, where many letters are silent, pronunciation is still predictable from the orthography to someone who knows the rules. Whereas, how do you pronounce sovereign? Some strange way. Pecan? Any of a dozen ways. Wind? Either of two ways, because the written form is a conflation of two unrelated words.
Alternatively, it may be English's love of loanwords. Whereas other languages are wary of loanwords, and some have outright banned them (e.g. Icelandic), English can't get enough. By some accounts, less than 20% of English's vocabulary is of native origin; the rest was taken from Old Norse, French, Latin, Greek, German, Low German, Dutch, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, every other European language, Yiddish, Arabic, half of the languages of North and South America, many African languages, many Asian languages, especially Chinese and Japanese... English has even borrowed words from constructed languages. As James Nicoll said, English doesn't "just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and [rifle through] their pockets for new vocabulary." Even such basic words as they, get and sister are loanwords.
Sociologically, it's its widespread adoption as a second language, as Widsith says. That, in turn, has been helped by its relatively simple structure...
- -sche (discuss) 19:04, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
But I think I read somewhere that the 180 most-used English words are of Anglo-Saxon origin, so the language is true to its roots as well. It has no academy or authority working to preserve it, but despite its greediness it is in no danger. Michael Z. 2013-12-23 22:28 z
Wikipedia has a list of the 100 words which Oxford Online found were most common in the Oxford English Corpus. They say that those 100 words accounted for 50% of the corpus. Of them, a tenth are loanwords, mostly from Old Norse but sometimes from French/Latin: 26 "they", 39 "their", 47 "get", 57 "just", 61 "people", 68 "them", 83 "use", 94 "because", and 97 "give". Still, you're right that the language is in no danger of losing touch with its roots. :) - -sche (discuss) 23:21, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Another striking thing is the number of words in modern English, compared to any other language. It can't describe ALL possible concepts but it's the first language that gets a concept created in another language, since everyone wants their cultural or regional phenomena to be known to the rest of the world. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:48, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

Much of the notion that Modern English has more words than any other language is due to the fact that, in the case of most languages (and especially most polysynthetic languages), no one has ever tried to list and define every term in these languages. English is the only language that I know of where there have been attempts to list every single term in the language. It would seem a little easier in a language such as Chinese, since there are a finite number of characters, but since most terms comprise multiple characters, I don’t believe that every Chinese word has ever been added to any all-inclusive dictionary. It may be impossible to list every single English term, and the estimates of the number of English words may be well short of the mark. It is probably impossible to list every word of any polysynthetic language, since for them, the number of words is theoretically infinite. There is only one OED, and the best attempts made for other languages (most of which are European languages; and all of which are major languages) pale in comparison to the OED in actual coverage of terms. —Stephen (Talk) 00:34, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
Hear, hear. Any language with a long literary tradition and more than a million speakers almost certainly has as many words as English or, as you point out, innumerably more if the language is agglutinative. - -sche (discuss) 05:23, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Category:cmn:Variant Pronunciations in simplified script, Category:cmn:Variant Pronunciations in traditional scriptEdit

What category should these go into? They're currently uncategorized. Also, shouldn't they be "moved", i.e. shouldn't someone run a little script to update all the entries to use categories with lowercase "p" instead: Category:cmn:Variant pronunciations in simplified script, Category:cmn:Variant pronunciations in traditional script? - -sche (discuss) 22:16, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

We had a mini-vote in BP to make all topical categories without traditional/simplified distinction. The exception is parts of speech, which are not topical. Yes, lower case would be better. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:43, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
Here's the mini-vote. Supported unanimously by Chinese-aware editors. I also requested to move all Mandarin topical categories without suffixes "in traditional script" and "in simplified script" and sort them by pint=, not rs=. Not sure where that request is now :) The latter part only affects traditional terms, it's supposed to sort entries by numbered pinyin, e.g. ni3hao3 rather than radicals, which is already the case for simplified terms. Admittedly, the latter part is more complicated for bot writers. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:39, 24 December 2013 (UTC)
As for the original question, it should be Category:cmn:Variant pronunciations and no other category, as above. This category should belong to Category:Mandarin language. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:53, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

help me translate! possibly celtic?Edit

hi, i bought an irish 'themed' angel for my grandma for xmas, she's 100% irish, and on the angel there are three words (assuming i spelled everything correctly): ceao coilie cailte. can anyone tell me what these words mean? very curious and so is my gma lol :) thanks!

Could it be céad míle fáilte? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:12, 28 December 2013 (UTC)


How does one know the difference between usenet and other services/communities on google groups? Pass a Method (talk) 17:47, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Usenet proper is organised under eight hierarchies: comp, humanities, misc, news, rec, sci, soc and talk. — Ungoliant (falai) 17:52, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm confused. For instance i looked up google books:"Universal Unitarian", google groups:"Universal Unitarian", Universal Unitarian at OneLook Dictionary Search but i'm not sure what to make of the results on google groups. Pass a Method (talk) 18:16, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
In the results page, it shows “Group: ___” after the post’s title. For example, “Universal Unitarian Church Group: soc.religion.christian” and “Re: Reasons to Teach Religion - Reprise Group:” are in Usenet, because these discussions are in the soc and misc hierarchies respectively. “Invitation from North Universal Unitarian Church Group: Sustainable Delaware Ohio” isn’t Usenet because the group Sustainable Delaware Ohio isn’t in any Usenet hierarchy. — Ungoliant (falai) 18:32, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Pass a Method (talk) 21:07, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Is there any way to search only Usenet? --WikiTiki89 21:20, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Probably not: they've dumbed down the search a lot recently. You can try including part of a likely newsgroup name as an additional search term, though. Equinox 18:41, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Google is really moving in the wrong direction. If it weren't for Google Search, it'd probably soon end up old and forgotten like Facebook. --WikiTiki89 18:54, 2 January 2014 (UTC)