Talk:I need a postcard

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Deletion debate[edit]

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I need a postcard

WT:CFI says "Phrasebook entries are very common expressions that are considered useful to non-native speakers." This is neither very common or useful to non-native speakers. When was the last time you desperately needed a postcard? Mglovesfun (talk) 21:50, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

People often say "I need" when they mean "I would like (to buy)". —Angr 21:57, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
If that's the case, it should be renamed, lest translation-adders not pick up on that detail, and add literal translations that wouldn't work in shops. - -sche (discuss) 09:50, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
@Angr yes that may answer my last point, which wasn't a CFI point anyway, but the two CFI points I made remain (neither very common or useful). Mglovesfun (talk) 15:01, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Weak delete. --Æ&Œ (talk) 15:13, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Delete - nobody uses simple postcards these days. If you want to send a pictorial one home from your holidays, you select one from a rack outside a shop, take it inside, give it to the person behind the counter and ask if they sell stamps. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:17, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
In our descriptive mode, we would keep dated expressions.
Does the phrasebook need to have its own rules and principles? How are we supposed to implement "considered useful by non-native speakers"? I don't know of a corpus of useful, colloquial "very common expressions". In the absence of one, we could use out-of-copyright phrasebooks, but "Where is the telegraph office?" might not be useful anymore. Apply our contributors' judgement is not really consistent with our principle of being "descriptive". We also have trouble limiting destructive controversy in areas where we depart from the purely descriptive with relatively objective criteria.
For a phrasebook, is an expression adequately "useful" if it communicates? What if it also clearly marks the speaker as a non-native speaker or, in this case, a time traveler? What if it violates politeness norms? DCDuring TALK 16:02, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
Re: "marks the speaker as a non-native speaker": I've never seen a phrasebook that didn't. If we want to be in the phrasebook business, and for some reason we apparently do, then that's just how it works! (Also, I'm not sure that the best advice for phrasebook-dependent foreigners really is to say things the same way a native speaker would. I remember once, in college, being stopped by a group of four Japanese tourists trying to find the Cleveland Museum of Art. I really could barely understand them: only one of them had the confidence even to try to speak, and he could barely string two words together. An American asking the way might have asked something like, I don't know, maybe, "Hi, excuse me, sorry, but do you know how I can get to the art museum from here?" If this guy had attempted that, I doubt I would ever have figured out what he wanted. What did work, however, was repeating the phrase "museum of art" three or four times — incredibly rude if an American had done it, but very sensible given the situation. No offense was given or taken. Though sadly, the museum was closed for renovation at the time. I suppose that even the best phrasebook in the world would not have helped that.) —RuakhTALK 16:59, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I've been wondering whether we should simply forget about being a phrasebook that looks like a conventional one and just include the common collocations that our contributors seem to want to provide. A noticeable percentage have at least some justification on some Pawley grounds. Only MW and OED seem to hold on to the standard of purely 'lexical' entries, excluding proper nouns and encyclopedic content and being fairly strict about what are included as idioms. Our descriptivist and inclusionist principles and slogans would be honored and we could stop trying be what we cannot readily be. DCDuring TALK 17:34, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

delete. Rolling the dice, there is one single phrasebook in Google Books that has this phrase. This proves that there is no real need for it, and that this phrase is not common at all. -- Liliana 19:30, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

In some places (OK, at least one place) they don't have picture postcards in racks outside shops, you have to go into a bunch of different shops and ask if they sell postcards, then when you do find a shop that sells them they take them out of a drawer. 193.61.28.91 13:19, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

An "I would like to buy ________." phrasebook entry would be more generally useful. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 15:31, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

In British English "I need a postcard" seems too impolite to use a shop worker that one doesn't know, I'd be much more likely to say "I'm looking for" or "I'd like". Mglovesfun (talk) 17:49, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
It sounds rather peremptory in American English too, but I've definitely heard it. Standing in line at Burger King, for example, you might hear the person in front of you say "I need a Whopper, large fries, and a Coke". I heard it a lot when I lived in Texas, and I always had to bite my tongue not to say, "No you don't, you want that. But you don't need it." —Angr 18:30, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't mind if this particular entry gets deleted but please don't go and delete other phrasebook entries, including some "I need ..." phrases. The rules for them are different from word entries - CFI are yet to be defined and approved, so some entries are less than perfect. It is a separate subproject here, which has a number of contributors and enthusiasts. --Anatoli (обсудить) 23:23, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Deleted. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:00, 27 January 2013 (UTC)