Talk:human being

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Discussion moved from RfD[edit]

Since it seems to be the way that we're going: no more than the sum of its parts: a being that is human. —Muke Tever 06:13, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Keep - online AHD, Collins, Encarta, and Merrian-Webster all find it to be more than the sum of its parts and so do I. Our policy is already to include any word found in any (reliable) print dictionary. — Hippietrail 16:12, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
The word human, at least formally, is only an adjective. The noun is human being. Some people do use human as a noun, but I consider that casual at best. Personally, I would never use human as a noun. —Stephen 12:36, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
At least the online AHD and Merriam-Webster disagree. The latter even has human being cross-reference to human. — Hippietrail 16:12, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
On the contrary, AHD, Collins, Encarta, and Merriam-Webster find it worthy of an entry, not [necessarily] more than the sum of its parts. AHD4 and M-W.com, at least, define human being with the part human all by itself. This shows that these (reliable) print dictionaries do not have any such nonsense about "being more than the sum of their parts" in their criteria for inclusion, and I don't think any such nonsense belongs in Wiktionary either. The print dictionaries include it because it is a set phrase, not because of being an idiom; it's true there are many they don't include, but that is mainly because 1) paper has its limits (but Wiki is not paper) and 2) their goal is not to write that kind of dictionary (but ours is to define all terms in all languages). —Muke Tever 17:26, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
My take on idiomaticity is that it's sufficient but not necessary. That is, if I can tell for sure that a phrase is idiomatic, it's definitely in. If not, there is still no great harm in letting it in. We seem to have no problem with regular inflections, which are not idiomatic, so why would we have a problem with set phrases? In such cases, we're saving someone the trouble of looking up "human" and "being" separately. Not a big deal, but not harmful. In other words, I'm much more concerned with keeping out unattested material than keeping out non-idiomatic material. If I see blarg defined as "thirty minutes before sunset", that's misleading (unless I've really missed something :-). If I see "orange fence" defined as "a fence that is orange", it's hard to see the harm. -dmh 14:56, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Keep, keep, keep. This is a set phrase, as Muke says, and can be found in any dictionary worthy of the name, so there is no reason for it not to be in Wiktionary. — Paul G 10:16, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
It really bugs me that the best argument that can be given for set phrases is that other dictionaries have them. If anything that should be taken as indication that we, collectively, haven't got a clue what constitutes a set phrase and what doesn't. Could we please establish some sort of criteria ourselves? Davilla 12:39, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me that everyone agrees human being should be included but disagrees as to why or what the policy is. Does that mean we can remove the rfd tag from the article and move this discussion to a policy section? Millie 15:20, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Keep - why would you delete it? - Παρατηρητής 11:46, 1 January 2006 (UTC)


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human being

[ human being and some translations thereof ]

SoP? Internoob 23:38, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Haha, even I wouldn't call SoP on human being. I'd say it's quite a "fossilised form"; you wouldn't talk about an "animal being" or a "mammal[ian] being" unless you were making some strange philosophical point, so I think these two words in this sense are indivisible. I have not looked at the translations, however. Equinox 23:46, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. I corrected the Czech translation. --Duncan 15:54, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
English not SoP, per Equinox. Hebrew translation is currently okay. Are you concerned about any languages in particular, Internoob?—msh210 16:45, 25 February 2009 (UTC) 15:36, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
It does not seem to me to be quite old enough (1751 per MWOnline, 1750 or earlier per me) to be fossilised. I'd rather that such a term be reserved for 500-year-old terms. In this particular case the individual words have their separate meanings in the multi-word term. I could not find before 1800 any use of "human" as a noun. So "being" was used as a synonym for "person" ("perfon").
So why do we want to include it? What test of idiomaticity does it meet? If it does not meet any such current test and we wish to keep it, there may be a gap in out criteria for inclusion.
I think it meets our tests for inclusion because "a living human being" does not mean exactly the same thing as "a living, human being" and still less "a human living being". An applicable test would seem to be the "In between test". Perhaps others at WT:IDIOM also apply. DCDuring TALK 18:19, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Would google books:"human or nonhuman|other|animal being" tend to argue against successful application of the in between test?—msh210 21:34, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't know. I guess there are at least three versions of such a test (as applied to two parts of a putative single entry:
  1. Ultra-strong version: Nothing can ever appear between the two parts in question (any sense).
  2. Strong version: Nothing can ever appear between the two parts without changing the sense.
  3. Weak version: conjunctions can introduce other parallel terms in between without changing the sense.
I think human being (person) meets the "strong" in-between test above. I think most of the instances in the search would be of the adjective use of human + "being", from which the "person" sense of the combined term has derived. A fallback position would be the weak version of the test. DCDuring TALK 21:58, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
I had in mind the translations that translate litterally as 'human being', like French, Dutch and Portuguese, for example. Internoob 02:51, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to be more specific.
Internoob 03:08, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I can't say anything about the other translations, but what Equinox and DCDuring said about human being applies to lidská bytost as well. --Duncan 15:36, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
And être humain. It's just the set phrase for this. When you hear human being, you don't (I think) parse it mentally as "oh, this is a being, and it's a being that happens to be human". It's practically a semantic unit. P.S. As I googled the French one, I coincidentally hit upon this: "Ce que l'on entend par la locution être humain me paraît également différent de être qui est humain." (What one understands by the phrase human being seems different to me from being that is human.) Equinox 20:40, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I think that google books:"être qui est humain" gives us examples of when "être qui est humain" is used synonymously with "être humain". I will agree that it seems like a set phrase, but one that means nothing more or less than the sum of its parts. Is this sufficient grounds for inclusion? Internoob 22:48, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Strong keep, you can't say that a human being is just a human that's being, and être humain is a very specific phrase as well, I'd strongly ask that it be kept. Mglovesfun 02:34, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Although I personally feel that human being should have an entry, our CFI (and WT:SURVIVOR) do not seem to warrant such inclusion. Delete.msh210 15:36, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Party seems to have died out. Kept. DAVilla 03:00, 28 March 2009 (UTC)