Talk:fucking

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in one book i read it was spelled fuk

Is the noun form really uncountable?

The affair ended badly, but he reflected that at least he got a few great fuckings out of it.

146.145.99.210 22:45, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

You have a point. I think it's one of these nouns that can go either way.--Oolong 23:05, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

RfD 2009[edit]

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Noun. Act of sexual intercourse. This seems to be a gerundive use of the participle-gerund/-ing form rather than a separate PoS. I have already borrowed the usage example and inserted it with two others under the participle. What should be done with the translations and synonyms if this is deleted? DCDuring TALK 16:58, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

My initial reaction before researching is keep and mark as countable - how attestable is fuckings? Mglovesfun (talk) 19:17, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Google Books gets 436 hits for fuckings in English, ergo keep. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:19, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Very many gerund-participles/-ing forms form plurals. It is not really a mark of anything distinctive, though we have taken it as such in the past. I would be perfectly happy if the gerund usage example under the verb had a plural to illustrate this. It is somewhat analogous to the situation with attributive use of nouns. Almost all (all?) nouns are sometimes used attributively. We only have an adjective sense if there is a change in meaning or it used predicatively, gradably, or with a change of meaning. In the case of participles, I think we serve users better by indicating that any of the verb meanings can be used as participial adjectives, as gerunds, or to form progressive verb constructions.
This is a departure from our past practice. This and remaining and #abandoning are test cases for the development of a new approach to -ing forms more consistent with the treatment in modern grammars.
My understanding is that each gerund is also a noun denoting an activity, hence a hyponym of "activity". Examples include "swimming" in "I like swimming" and "climbing" in "Climbing can be dangerous". What I like in "I like swimming" is an object, so "swimming" as occurring in this phrase is a noun.
Having a noun section in each gerund may seem redundant, but so may seem having an adjective section in each of the past participle entries, such as defiled. Formally, it seems correct to proceed in this way. The noun sections of gerunds are valid targets for translations, unlike the verb form sections for part participles. --Dan Polansky 20:54, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
It is unfortunately not quite as simple as that. In "The several royal fuckings we got were memorable", we have a noun as evidence by modification by determiner and adjective and the plural. In "their royally fucking us will long be remembered" it is more verbal, being modified by an adverb and having an objective complement. Both serve as subjects.
If every verb can also function as a noun, then why do we need a separate lexical entry? It is not different from the situation with attributive use of nouns. I see no reason to favor any one of these uses.
The translation target problem gets us into the problem of polysemy as well. In my experience most discussion about "fucking" was not about the sexual act, but rather some kind of adverse experience administered by someone or something. Would we need a translation table for each of the three uses of the participle-gerund form and the noun in each of the verb senses that existed? That would seem to be 4 times the number of base senses of the verb. Do all languages use fuck in ways that structurally parallel English to generate these four uses of ing forms? Do they have the same number of literal and figurative senses. DCDuring TALK 22:00, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
I am not saying that every verb ("swim") can function as a noun; I am saying that most gerund forms ("swimming") are also nouns. In "I have been swimming", "swimming" is a verb form, while in "I like swimming", "swimming" is a noun.
As regards the replication of verb senses in noun entries, we have it anyway with those terms for actions and activities that are not formed using "-ing", such as "replicate"-"replication", "donate"-"donation", "analyse"-"analysis", etc; duplication also arises in "analogy"-"analogous", "homology"-"homologous", and also in pairs resulting from the addition of "-able".
Consider swimming at OneLook Dictionary Search: most dictionaries feature "swimming" also as a noun.
I am here concerned not with "fucking" in particular but with the class of all gerunds, including "swimming" and "climbing".
Do I understand correctly that you propose that we remove noun senses from most gerunds? --Dan Polansky 08:22, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
After some research: from what I now hope to understand, "gerund" does not refer to any form ending in "-ing" but rather only to those occurrences in a sentence that act as a noun. So an occurrence of "swimming" that acts as a present participle is not a gerund. What distinguishes gerunds from pure nouns denoting activities such as "analysis" is the ability of gerunds to be modified using adverbs, as you have pointed out.
If we remove noun sections from "-ing" entries, gerunds remain unrepresented. Currently, gerunds are usually represented as nouns in Wiktionary. Gerunds should not be represeted as present particles; they are gramatically distinct from them. --Dan Polansky 09:17, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
A problem with placing them under Nouns headers is that they are arguably misrepresented there as they cannot be treated as normal nouns in some regards in many circumstances. The two leading modern English grammars don't seem to find the traditional Latinate grammatical categories satisfactory. I would be intrigued to find out how the most popular modern advanced ESL texts handle the divergence of traditional and modern grammatical treatment. If this is still somewhat in flux, as I suspect it is in ESL texts, then a good treatment might be to have a grammar appendix, a one- or two-sentence usage note, and/or a See also directing users to an "Appendix:English uses of of the participial form of verbs".
Other dictionaries have finessed this presentation issue by not having a full entry for inflected forms of English verbs. If they have a separate entry for a verb-derived noun ending in -ing, it is not a gerund or participle AFAICT. Our having separate entries for the participle has created the issue by tempting contributors to add -ing Noun sections where normal dictionaries (print or online) would not have a separate entry. We would need to actively discourage users from adding such sections by providing them with a rationale for not doing so. (The same sort of problem arises for common noun uses of Proper nouns and attributive-only adjective use of nouns.)
If we accept that a gerund is a verb form (and some Google books that I have seen do that), we can place a gerund line next to present participle line, to render in the "climbing" entry:
  1. Present participle of climb.
  2. Gerund of climb.
or
  1. Gerund and present participle of climb.
That should make gerund explicitly represented without the need of having a misleading noun section. I accept your point that a noun section is an imperfect represenation of a gerund.
As regards the tentative noun "fucking", I have no comment on that; I was only concerned with gerunds in general and with tentative verb-derived nouns ending in "-ing". --Dan Polansky 21:28, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
The general case is of more interest to me as well. Your suggestion is very constructive. It is not unlike what CGEL does. DCDuring TALK 23:31, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
And fuckings will quite easily meet CFI, so if we delete the noun fucking that's gonna cause a problem, isn't it? Mglovesfun (talk) 09:50, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this would need to be handled. But we already don't have plurals for a large number of gerundial uses of participle forms. (It is my belief that almost all participle forms have attestable gerunds ending in -s, though it may be tedious to separate the plural gerunds from the plurals of derived true nouns.) I can imagine some technical approaches that I cannot implement but could possibly specify, but I don't think we are deep enough in technical skills to count on that. DCDuring TALK 14:25, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I would feel happier about DCD's approach if we recognized "Participle" and/or "Gerund" as a PoS, but I don't see that as likely to happen for English (and that approach isn't without problems of its own). We've already agreed in previous discussion that participles can be given an Adjective section, under certain circumstances, so why not a Noun?
One big concern I have about the proposed solution is the handling of subsections like Quotations. Consider: If we define quoting as "gerund and present participle", then how do we sort the quotations when some will be a gerund use and some will be a participle use? Whatever we choose to do, we need to keep these two items separated for the sake of quotations, synonyms, translations, etc., because the grammar and meaning as a participle and as a gerund are distinct.
Also, what happens to gerunds like being that have become nouns to a higher degree? A being refers to a concrete noun, and is seldom used to mean an abstraction or action as most present participles do when they become gerunds. Likewise, some gerunds are regularly modified by adjectives, which is not possible for a verb. Consider racewalking, competitive eating, offset printing. Are we to have these listed as nouns, but have walking, eating, and printing merely as "verb forms"? This sets us up for inconsistent treatment and much confusion among our users.
The underlying problem is that a gerund is neither wholly a verb nor wholly a noun. I have the same (or a similar) problem in Latin with participles, gerundives, gerunds, and infinitives. Latin has the additional problem that such forms also have a set of inflected forms beyond the ones for the verb. English does not have the degree of inflection that Latin has, but the question of "plural" gerunds is similar. You can see how I've handled Latin participles at entries like amāns, amātus, and amandus. The relation to the verb is indicated in two ways: by the PoS Participle, and by the Etymology from the verb.
For gerunds in Latin, I've had to use the PoS Gerund, because of grammatical complications (see laborāndum). These complications include the fact that the Latin gerund has a fixed gender (neuter) and lacks a nominative form. Neither of these points can be inferred from a verb, which lacks entirely both gender and case. That is, Latin gerunds have attributes not found in verbs, inflect like nouns and adjectives, and function grammatically like those nouns and adjectives. The only things that tie them to a verb are the stem and base meaning, but that is true of all nouns and adjectives in Latin that derive from verbs, and there are many such nouns and adjectives that are not gerunds but have been formed from verbs by means of a suffix. So, these nouns and adjectives share with their root verb a suffix and base meaning, even if they aren't gerunds. I can therefore find no internaly consistent justification in Latin for treating Gerund as a "verb form". --EncycloPetey 20:11, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Departure from the old PoS terms in English seems inadvisable to me because it drives a wedge between us and normal users. For languages approached more formally, like Latin, any terminology that is used in instruction seems acceptable by the same standard, though some monolingual English users who might be looking up a Latin word will be flummoxed by terms like gerund.
Just to clarify one point while I try to digest the rest: In English there definitely are cases where there is a pure adjective (gradable, etc) or a pure noun (usually a shift in meaning or derivation from a noun, possibly in ME or OE). These always need to treated separately.
The general question of what points should be not be handled lexically but rather by grammar notes summarizing descriptive rules of broad applicability (within the language) and how we should help users find such notes must exist in almost all languages whose grammars have been documented. DCDuring TALK 20:51, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with you about summarizing descriptive rules, etc. And, as you can see, I've phrased much of my preceding comments as questions, partly to stimulate discussion and raise points but partly because I have no solution that wouldn't retain significant problems. If I thought I had a solution that would work, and which would satisfy the various needs and concerns in this discussion, I'd present it. For now, the best I have are some issues and methods not previously mentioned.
Latin gerunds will flummox most users of Wiktionary no matter what we call them; they're advanced grammar in the language and have many oddities beyond the ones I've noted above. In addition to the other considerations, another reason I went with using Gerund as a Latin PoS (after mulling over the issue for years) was to highlight to the user that something really weird is going on, and that they might need to seek additional information. When I understand Latin gerunds a bit better myself (by that I mean their actual use, and not just the brief mention they usually get in textbooks), I intend to write an Appendix concerning them as a grammatical aid. --EncycloPetey 21:24, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I would like all -ing entries to have two sections. A verb section defined as "present participle of" and a noun section defined as "gerund of". But the grammar police won't let us talk about gerunds these days. SemperBlotto 21:39, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
  • You're nicked, sunshine. Ƿidsiþ 16:14, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I've created Appendix:English gerund, to be updated and renamed as we sees fit. --Dan Polansky 12:28, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think "fucking" in this sense is a gerund at all, I think it's a real run-of-the-mill noun. For example:
  • 1996, Joe Orton, John Lahr, The Orton Diaries, p. 204:
    • 'Oh I needed that,' he said, 'I needed a good fucking, you certainly know how to fuck.'
  • 2008, Bertrice Small, The Captive Heart, p. 365.
    • She'd pay for her boldness in a few minutes when he put her on her back and gave her a good fucking.
If we were talking about swimming or climbing here, we'd probably say "I need a good swim" or "they had a good climb", not "a good swimming" or "a good climbing". There's no question that a swim or a climb is a noun, and "fucking" is being used in the same way. bd2412 T 19:29, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Which attribute of the usage would you point to in order to establish a distinct noun nature not possessed by -ing forms of other verbs: modification by adjective, modification by a determiner, pluralization? Modification by "a" and pluralization are indications of countability, rather than nounhood per se. "There was much swimming and climbing" suggests that some determiners can modify the -ing forms you chose for contrast, but that they are like uncountable nouns. "There is good swimming and great climbing there, but only in the Summer." establishes adjectival modification.
Or is the criterion a semantic one? That there is a distinct "instance-of" sense?
The long-standing practice here of relying on pluralization to be the necessary and sufficient condition for the noun nature of -ing forms is defensible, but not quick as obviously correct as I had thought for these many months. DCDuring TALK 01:13, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Well then:
2007, Ray Gordon, Annette Declan, The Upskirt Exhibitionist, p. 181:
  • I was sure that I couldn't endure three fuckings in each hole, but there was no point in protesting.
Anyway, kept per discussion. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:39, 29 October 2009 (UTC)