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Hi Stephen,

what's the deal with all these соседкаs here? That's an entirely different word. It should be placed under ‘Related terms’ and nowhere else. Putting it into the same declension table with ‘сосед’ is misleading and wrong. ‘Cоседку’, ‘соседок’, ‘соседками’ etc. have nothing to do with the declension of ‘сосед’.

Cheers, --Schwallex 19:03, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it’s two separate declensions. However, it’s a word pair, at least in Russian-English-Russian dictionaries, and it is advisable to include them on the same page. Otherwise, many English-speakers will assume that сосед is okay to use for everybody. It doesn’t occur to many people that they must seek out a feminine form on some other page. —Stephen 19:11, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, yes, sure, but I'm not arguing against mentioning ‘соседка’ on this page — quite the opposite, in fact. I am only arguing against presenting forms of word Y as if they were forms of word X. Again, that's simply misleading and wrong.
This page is titled ‘сосед’. This page is all about the word ‘сосед’. The declension section on this page is dedicated to the declension of the word ‘сосед’. ‘Соседка’ is a different word and it has a page of its own. We might wish to place a prominent link to ‘соседка’ on this page, but we should not mix the declensions of two entirely different words. Ever. The declension of ‘соседка’ has got just as much to do with the declension of ‘сосед’ as the declension of ‘яблоко’ has got to do with the declension of ‘апельсин’.
Besides, I actually don’t quite buy the word-pair argument anyway. ‘Nachbar’ and ‘Nachbarin’ is a word pair, too. Yet, I don't see the word ‘Nachbarin’ being declined on the page ‘Nachbar’ or vice versa. And I am yet to meet an English-speaker who assumes that ‘Nachbarin’ is okay to use for everybody.
Anyway, here's what I actually suggest.
--Schwallex 20:43, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
But that’s my point: this is NOT just about the word сосед, it’s also about the word neighbor. If this were purely a Russian–Russian page, then, yes, it would be about the word сосед and nothing else. But in our case, it’s also about neighbor.
And yes, I know that соседка has a page of its own, because I created that page separately.
Nachbarin is a German–German page, and therefore it is treated separately from Nachbar, as it should be. However, in the case of English–German Nachbar/Nachbarin, the feminine form can have its own page, but the masculine form should share its space with the feminine, for the simple reason that it is not just about Nachbar, but also (and especially) about neighbor.
I should add that I used links to de: for the sole reason of en: not having one of the entries. Sorry for the confusion.
As I said, I agree that сосед and соседка are separate words with separate declensions, and not like an adjective.
My feeling on this is that it does not present a problem. I don’t believe anyone would be confused or misled by the current design. However, if it really bothers you, I can try to think of a way to separate the two tables. If I simply add a ===Related terms=== or ===See also=== link to соседка, I believe it will lead to errors and misunderstanding, due to the fact that the word neighbor is not gender-specific, and some people will be satisfied with what they find on this page. Then they will write "Анна мой сосед", or perhaps "Анна мая сосед".
Well, that'd be a whole 'nother story. ‘Моя сосед’ is incorrect for an entirely different reason. You just can't combine feminine and masculine words in such manner — no matter what they mean. Even if ‘сосед’ did mean ‘female neighbour’, the sentence ‘Анна — моя сосед’ would still be incorrect, since the noun ‘сосед’ itself is masculine.
If people don't get the difference between grammar and semantics — well, no declension tables are going to fix that kind of problem any time soon. As long as someone doesn't understand that, say, the word ‘пилот’ (‘pilot’) is always masculine, even when it refers to a woman, he's going to make all kind of weird mistakes; as long as people don't get that the German word for ‘girl’ (‘Mädchen’) is neuter, they are going to use it incorrectly no matter what — even if you explain to them in full detail how ‘Junge’ (‘boy’) is declined. (^_^) (In fact, that would probably make things even worse, since ‘Junge’ is declined like an adjective. As is the case with many Russian nouns, too. I don't think we should confuse people any more than necessary. It's already hard enough to learn the declension of one word.)
--Schwallex 16:51, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
But anyone who knows enough about Russian to be able to use a declension table will also realize that сосед and соседка are different words with different declensions.
I could change the order of the table to: 1 сосед, 2 соседи, 3 соседка, 4 соседки. Would that be suitable? I don’t know of any other way to do it and still have a page that is clear and useful for English-speakers. I could put two separate declension tables on the page, one above the other, but I think THAT would be confusing and misleading. —Stephen 21:29, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
I understand your point, but I do think that my draft addresses all these issues just as well. Don't you agree?
Plus, do we really want to effectively double our work by copying declension tables around? I mean, сосед-соседка is by no means the only word pair out there.
--Schwallex 23:07, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
I don’t think that’s a proper usage of "Antonym", it’s strange. I don’t know of any term or way to contrast сосед with соседка except by their gender, but ===Feminine form=== is not a good header. I don’t know what you mean by "copying declension tables around"...I certainly don’t see how this in any way increases anyone’s workload. We can do the page that way if you want, but I think the page is going to be less helpful as a result. —Stephen 23:39, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, putting the same information on two pages requires twice the amount of work needed to put that information on just one page. It's as simple as that.
One problem with copying pieces of information is that every copy can then be modified without all the other copies being modified accordingly. If someone fixes a typo on ‘соседка’, you can't guarantee that the same typo will also be fixed on ‘сосед’.
Plus, this kinda contradicts the entire idea of the Internet, which is all about putting a particular piece of information in just one place and then simply linking to that place from everywhere else. If people don't know about the concept of links, that's not your fault.
Secondly, I am absolutely sure that that is a proper usage of ‘Antonym’. An antonym is a word that is opposite in meaning by some criterion. In this case, the criterion is gender. If ‘female’ is a valid antonym of ‘male’, which it is, than ‘female neighbour’ is just as valid an antonym of ‘male neighbour’. Nevertheless, if you like ‘Feminine form’ better, that'd be completely fine with me. I don't think that would make a bad header at all. In fact, it would be really useful to introduce such a section on all pages about Russian (/German/French/Spanish…) nouns (adjectives/pronouns/…).
--Schwallex 16:51, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
I didn’t have the feeling that I was expending any extra labor when I created the separate page for соседка. However, removing it from the original page did seem like unnecessary extra work.
I didn’t copy any information from сосед to соседка, it was an original work. There was no copying of pieces of information. If there had been a typo соседка, it probably would not have been on сосед.
That is not my idea of the Internet at all. I’ve never even heard of that point of view before. When I look up a Russian verb in any dictionary, including on the Internet, I expect to be presented with the imperfective as well as the perfective, if such a pair exists. If I look up Tokelau, I expect to find the country name, the word for the people, the word for females, the language name. Pages that are dedicated to a single morpheme strike me as amateurish and almost worthless.
I removed the word соседка since it bothers you so much, but this has cut the value of the article in two. I cannot force myself to insert the heading ===Antonym=== because I don’t think it’s correct. —Stephen 05:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Now, back to the subject matter, I've been thinking about it last night only to realise that I actually didn't make myself clear at all. In fact, I totally failed to explicitly address some crucial issues. If you're willing to bear with me for three minutes, I'm going to change that right now.
First of all, let me assure you that I fully and completely understand your motivation. I just think that certain steps of your reasoning are wrong. Please let me explain.
  1. First and foremost, I strongly disagree that “in an English Wiktionary, this page is also about the English word ‘neighbour’”. It is not. The entire purpose of this article is to explain the Russian word ‘сосед’ in English. This article is not about translating the English word ‘neighbour’ into Russian. That's what the article ‘neighbour’ is there for.
    A translation is literally always a one-way street in some respect. Translating is never a fully bidirectional process, even for the most simple of words. ‘Я’ is not an exact counterpart of ‘I’. There is no such thing as the exact counterpart.
    If some people don't get that, it's not your fault. If some people use an A-B dictionary to translate back from B into A, they are doing something fundamentally wrong. And we should not encourage people to use dictionaries in such fundamentally crippled ways. We should not encourage them to translate the word ‘neighbour’ by using the page ‘сосед’.
    Luckily enough, that is probably not going to happen anyway, as I will explain immediately.
  2. Say, you want to translate the English word ‘we’ into Armenian. Where would you look it up — under ‘we’ or under ‘մենք’?
    Exactly. (^_^)
    You couldn't possibly look it up under ‘մենք’, because that would mean that you already know what ‘մենք’ means. In which case you wouldn't look it up at all to begin with.
    The same is true for ‘neighbour’. If someone wants to know the Russian word for ‘neighbour’, he would look it up under ‘neighbour’ and nowhere else. And that is where the explanation about ‘сосед’ vs ‘соседка’, ‘Nachbar’ vs ‘Nachbarin’, ‘vecino’ vs ‘vecina’ etc. should go.
  3. Actually, this should be point number one. The Russian word ‘сосед’ does not mean ‘neighbour’. It means specifically ‘male neighbour’. The article fails to mention that, and that's what makes the entire confusion possible in the first place. Once you fix the meaning, everything else comes for free. And I mean: everything. Every single problem we've been talking about will be fixed immediately.
--Schwallex 17:20, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
And I strongly disagree that this page is only about the Russian word сосед. It is also about neighbor. In most cases, people will find сосед by first looking in neighbor. In the article neighbor and almost all pages, the translation section lacks feminines and plurals. Indeed, there is somewhere a formatting page that strongly recommends against including anything in the translation sections other than the citation form, meaning the masculine singular of nouns and adjectives, and infinitive (in most languages) of the verb. So the feminine and the plural must be strongly in evidence on the сосед page. And since the definition of сосед is neighbor, which does duty for both sexes, the сосед also has the duty of making clear that Russian has a feminine, and cannot assume that anyone who finds the page from neighbor will also realize that he must look for a link to the feminine, so foreign to English. —Stephen 05:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I am a translator by profession and have owned and operated a translation agency for over 30 years, and I can assure you that the word сосед is virtually NEVER to be translated as "male neighbor". While сосед is a common word, male neighbor is virtually nonexistant. In fact, checking in a few of my many dictionaries, I see that none of them define сосед as "male neighbor". Furthermore, all of them list соседка under the entry for сосед. Checking some dictionaries for other languages such as Spanish, I find the same thing: the main entry for neighbor under vecino, and the feminine vecina within that entry. And the reason for all this is that, in bilingual dictionaries, it is NOT just about the head word, it is also, in fact mostly, about the English meaning: сосед as well as соседка. —Stephen 05:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Schwallex. If you put сосед and соседка side by side in this article, then you should also put businesswoman side by side with businessman in the corresponding article. I hope nobody will do that? So you shouldn't do it here either. Al Silonov 23:00, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
You always have to write with your audience in mind. A medical article for doctors will not be written the same way as the same article for the layman. businesswoman and businessman are English words and the audience has English as mother tongue. We do not need any help with businesswoman and businessman. With сосед, on the other hand, native English speakers will not naturally look any farther than this word when linked from neighbor. I remember a young man in a rather advanced Russian-language class at the University of Texas who stood up in front of the class one morning and announced, "я буду учительницей!" Native Russian speakers do not understand the way Americans and Britons see the semantics of language. To teach them about сосед and соседка, you have to hit them on the head with it. —Stephen 23:50, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Holy Jesus, Stephen, don't you see we're talking about two different concepts here? You're talking about translation. I am talking the meaning of the word.
Of course, when if comes to actual translation, your would virtually never translate "сосед" as "male neighbour". Neither would I. You don't have to tell me that, thank you very much. Even the dumbest of them morons would never, ever say "male neighbour" in English, unless he really, really wants to stress the male part.
But that doesn't mean that the word "сосед" means "neighbour". As we both agree, actually. Heck, that's why you introduced "соседка" in the first place. It may be translated as "neighbour", but what it actually means is "male neighbour". That's what is called "lost in translation".
And just by the way: you have very similar things in English too. "All men are created equal". That includes women, does it not? However, checking in a few of my many dictionaries, I see that none of them define "man" as "woman".
I understand that you may have operated a translation agency for 30 years, but all the more am I perplexed that you don't seem to understand that we have to address two fundamentally different issues here: a) translating a Russian word into English within a (English) context and b) explaining (in English) what the standalone Russian word actually means in Russian context.
There's a reason why "translation" and "meaning" are two different words.
  • When talking/writing in English, you will want to translate a word into English, i.e. find an English word that works best in English context, so as to be able to continue talking/writing proper English. In such case, what you'll need are some translation suggestions.
  • When talking/writing in Russian, you will want to know what the word means in Russian, so as to be able to continue talking/writing proper Russian. In such case, what you'll need the actual meaning of the word within Russian context.
Those are two fundamentally different situations. We may not mix them into one. The English Wiktionary's current article template/guidelines do not address that issue well, if at all. Whenever we explain a foreign-language word, it remains absolutely unclear what purpose that explanation is meant to serve: actually explaning the meaning or offering translation suggestions. Again, those are two fundamentally different things. We should not try and cram both meaning and translation under either "meaning" or "translation". That's what makes basically needless discussions such as this one possible in the first place.
The word "сосед" does not mean "neighbour". It means "male neighbour", period. It may be translated into English as "neighbour", but again, that's an entirely different situation, and heck, that should be perfectly clear to any native English speaking person anyway. I mean, come one, give me a break, noone would ever just stupidly say "male neighbour". You don't have to tell people they should leave out the male part when speaking English.
Here's a quick overview for your convenience:
Target language By leaving out the "male" part completely,.. By keeping the "male" part,..
English you don't help English-speaking people to speak English more properly than they already do. These people are happy. you wouldn't make these people speak improper English. They know when to leave out the male part all by themselves. These people are happy.
Russian you do fail to help people to properly speak Russian. These people are unhappy. And that's what you were so concerned about in the first place. Thus, you are unhappy, too. you greatly help people to speak proper Russian. These people are happy. And thus, you are happy, too.
As you can see, you only get unhappy people if you conceal the "male" part. Otherwise, everyone is happy. Including yourself. Though again, the final goal should be to draw a clear line between meaning and translation — either by putting them into two separate sections or at least by saying "this word means 'male neighbour', but just in case you don't know it, 'male neighbour' does not work in an English conversation. No, we don't think you're dumb. Only some of us thought you might be."
--Schwallex 00:17, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I know precisely what we’re talking about. You do not see the difference between a bilingual dictionary and a monolingual dictionary. Monolingual dictionaries use definitions; bilingual dictionaries use translations. The payload of businessman for an English native is a definition; the payload of сосед in a Russian-English dictionary is a translation. I have used thousands of dictionaries, both monolingual and bilingual, in my life, and I have written a few as well. I am getting tired of discussing this with you. I removed it because it bothers you so horribly, but it has made the page worse than worthless. Now it is misleading. If you want to keep running this into the ground, please discuss it with someone who can only see YOUR point of view, such as Al Silonov. I have had enough of this nonsense. —Stephen 01:06, 12 November 2006 (UTC)