Talk:native language

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Request for verification[edit]

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Defn given as "A language spoken by a native people, such as a tribe, mainly as opposed to the language of the dominant culture of a colonizer, empire etc." Seems off the mark to me. -- WikiPedant 03:39, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

I've added 2 less tendentious senses and converted rfv to rfv-sense. Does that help? DCDuring TALK 04:00, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
These all sound SoP to me
  1. native in the sense of by birth/inherited/innate, as in native skills, native habits.
  2. [not sure what “language of a community” is.]
  3. native in the sense of of or relating to Aboriginal/Native peoples (I would mark it as also capitalized Native language). Definition needs rejigging anyway: why should “a tribe” be assumed to be dominated or colonized?
 Michael Z. 2009-05-19 04:36 z
Delete. google books:"supplanted the native languages" has 29 hits, mostly all in this sense (at least, by my understanding of this sense); but I agree with Mzajac that these are all SOP (the more so because no one sense dominates: all SOP interpretations are available). —RuakhTALK 13:14, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Re: "no one sense dominates": Is this a quantitative issue? What if there were 2 dominant terms?
Re: "all SOP interpretations are available": Would the logic be that if any of the 18 possible combinations of the 3 nonspecialist senses of "native" and the 6 senses of language were not attestable, then we would need an entry? That would seem unworkable.
I keep hoping that there might be some rules that captured more of our individual subjective senses of what makes a multi-word entry "right". We have moved well beyond any ordinary sense of idiomaticity. It seems no longer to be a question of whether the meaning of a term can be inferred from the meanings of the components, but rather can easily be inferred by anyone without regard to prior knowledge or context. DCDuring TALK 15:09, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
What I mean is, there are a lot of fixed expressions that have more-specific meanings than you'd suspect from their parts. For example, "post" and "office" each have various meanings, and logically there are plenty of things a "post office" might be; but in fact, it means one specific thing, and any other sort of use is weird ("his new post comes with an office and a lab. the post lab is slightly cramped, but at least the post office has a gorgeous view"). This is subjective, in that "weird" and "attestable" are neither comprehensive nor mutually exclusive, but I hope that in most cases we can reach consensus via discussion. —RuakhTALK 15:56, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, post office needs an entry because it can refer to either a building or a public corporation (and also a kids' game, which we don't define).
But our CFI doesn't address some of these questions adequately, and even then I think there is a range where some judgment must be applied. But we've mostly coped okay. But, if we are to serve as a dictionary for language learners then the answers will probably be quite different than if we are only a dictionary for native speakers, and I suspect that we aren't accommodating these readers adequately. Michael Z. 2009-05-19 16:57 z
Re: a building or a public corporation: I think that's true of a lot of "offices". —RuakhTALK 20:18, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Maybe so, and I haven't compared other examples, but the difference is significant. Here in Canada, a post office (building) is often a counter at the back of a drugstore staffed by contract workers in uniform—no Canada Post employees in sight. A post office (building) may be no longer owned by the postal corporation, no longer serving as a postal outlet, converted into a private residence, or torn down. The post office (corporation) may have a billion dollar budget, and may be referred to as Canada Post or USPS. Each sense has a different set of synonyms. Michael Z. 2009-05-19 20:28 z
Fair enough — but even if not, I'd still say post office warranted an entry, for the reason I gave. We can have more than one reason to keep an entry. :-)   —RuakhTALK 20:33, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, certainly. But the more I discuss this, the more I confuse myself. Native language has two meanings, but both are plain applications of different senses of native/Native (adj.). Post office is not SoP in Canada, since “the post” is usually called mail here, and also we don't currently define an adjective sense of post. —This unsigned comment was added by Mzajac (talkcontribs) at 21:09, 19 May 2009 (UTC).
  • Comment This should presumably by at RFD since its existance is easily verifiable. I preferred it as one sense personally, I think it just makes it more complicated to split it into these different possible sub-uses, but anyway, it's a common idiomatic collocation and should be kept. Ƿidsiþ 20:45, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
    Senses 1 and 3 are very different. Native in no. 3 is the name of an ethnic group used attributively, and arguably may or should be capitalized in formal writing. Cree is a Native language; Ukrainian is my native language. One sense would be inadequate. But since both are plain applications of adjectives, I think zero senses may satisfy our current CFI. Michael Z. 2009-05-19 21:09 z
    Yeah, you're right about the senses. I still say keep. Ƿidsiþ 20:56, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Wordnet and Webster's New Millennium have this, but no other OneLook dictionaries. WNM has a computer sense. It is linked to here as a synonym by first language and mother tongue. It appears more common in the main senses than either of these in COCA. DCDuring TALK 14:26, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Six non-English entries link to it as a translation or defining term. But editors of 36 of our entries use the term without wikilinking it, perhaps suggesting that it seems SoP to them. DCDuring TALK 14:36, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Keep I've added cites for sense 3. I still think all three are SoP (although we don't distinctly define Native for sense 3, and now I see that my citation for 2 isn't great). But the subtle distinctions may not be obvious even to a native anglophone, so I vote keep. Michael Z. 2009-05-20 21:23 z
See also my additions to native, adj. & n. Michael Z. 2009-05-20 21:50 z

Striking. I've removed sense 3 ("The language of one's community or nation."), as it was tagged for RFV and never got cited. But judging from WikiPedant's initial comment, other stuff changed during the course of this RFV, so I'm not sure if the overall resolution was "failed", or what. —RuakhTALK 01:22, 13 December 2009 (UTC)