User talk:Elephantus

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Again, welcome! --Ivan Štambuk 17:59, 13 August 2009 (UTC)


I assume that asking you to format that entry as ==Serbo-Croatian==, since it means exactly the same thing, is pronounced exactly the same way, and has exactly the same etymology in as standard Bosnian and Serbian, wouldn't make much sense? :) --Ivan Štambuk 17:59, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

I am not "deleting" anything - I'm merging them per the proposed policy, absolutely nothing of value has been deleted in the process (except for the needlessly duplicated content). This has been ongoing for several months, thousands of entries have been merged, and I would really suggest that you follow the same practice. You just contribute exactly the same way as before, but simply using ==Serbo-Croatian== instead of ==Croatian==. --Ivan Štambuk 19:07, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Look, I know that you are uncomfortable with that term, and we are going to change it to B/C/S, BCS or whatever. I'm still preparing the text of the proposed changes that we will discuss on the WT:ASH talkpage (and this is one of the addressed points).
I mean, you are completely free to create the new entries with ==Croatian== in the meantime, we don't have problems with that. However it would really be bad for us if you would duplicate the existing B/C/S/SC headers with identical content to ==Croatian== sections, because it kind of invalidates the whole point of common treatment :) Some folks around here are more willing see this issue in light of "oh just let the people contribute whatever they like", but this is not about writing whatever people would like it, it's about writing a dictionary and doing it properly, with the target audience (English-speaking learners of BCS) in mind.
If you are one of those "ognjištari" type of Croats with whom I had the privilege to discuss in Kafić a few days ago (who cannot stand Cyrillic script, or e.g. imagine that nosilac is word in "different language" :), then this would require a bit of tolerance and open-mindedness from your part...
Also, for those prepositions - I haven't dealt with them thoroughly (you prob. saw in the "history" tab that I created some 95% of ==Croatian== entries), because they really require a lot of careful attention for complete treatment. Every SC prepositions can translate to some half-a-dozen English ones, and needs to be abundantly illustrated with example sentences, common constructs, notes on which cases it binds in what sense etc. They're really PITA to do properly. Ideally you'd simply want to copy the examples from some grammar book (preferably out of copyright :), rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.. --Ivan Štambuk 19:31, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
(I'm usually accustomed to continue the discussion where it is originally started, it becomes kind of hard-to-follow with this continuous exchange of messages on 2 talkpages simultaneously)
You wrote: I don't see much of a problem with duplication. - In theory, that would work, if all of our B/C/S contributors would focus only on B/C/S sections, respectively, and B/C/S learners would focus only on B/C/S sections. respectively. But in practice, they don't, and we (the contributors, either Bosniak, Croat, Serb by ethnicity) do all the three, and the English-language courses usually treat all the three in common (as "BCS", "S&Cr" etc.).
There is really no problem at all with such space wastage, but it's the editor's time, and user's time that's wasted too. If you created e.g. the abovequoted Croatian section on jer, what would've cost you to copy-paste it to јер, so that it can be looked up by learners of Serbian (and soon-coming Montenegrin) who read the Cyrillic script? It's really nothing, and if we optimized the editing process so that both-scripts pairs are created/maintained simultaneously (all of the varieties except Croatian can be also written in Cyrillic, at least in theory, so that's 15+ million speakers of the language that are non-Croats that could've looked up јер), we would greatly enhance our content, and content-creation process.
You seemed to be concerning with population that would only be focused on learning the "Croatian language" (the Croatian literary idiom) - as I said, these are really minority (IMHO, we have no real measures on that of course), and if they don't like the Cyrillic spelling, or meanings that are marked as (Bosnian) and (Serbian), they can simply ignore them. OTOH, for those that are intent to learning all the three idioms simultaneously (as I said, BCS are almost always taught "in package" on professional and uni-level courses, and we are not focused on tourists or casual surfers but intend to be as comprehensive as possible), they'd greatly benefit from the merger, but not otherwise, because they'd have to manually look up several sections and compare the meanings list, examples, etc. Often the standards differ in trivial spellings (e.g. muha : muva, sol : so, tačan : točan etc.), and it would be impossible for the person looking up up e.g. muha, seeing it in ==Croatian==, not knowing that there is also muva form, and figuring out whether it is also valid Bosnian and Serbian (as those sections are missing, either because it's not valid B&S, or because some did not add them yet).
You also mention: . I personally don't see much need for Serbo-Croatian (for almost all practical intents and purposes it's a dead language) - Strictly linguistically speaking the Neoštokavian (=Serbo-Croatian) is still very much alive :) What is "dead", however, is the usage of that term to denote a particular standard language, that is non-linguistic, political (=sociolinguistic) creation. These 2 usages are very much different. However, as I already explained you on the vote page itself, we are not using that term in the sense "standard language of SFRJ", but as a container for all 3 (4) modern standards. We are not describing the standard of SFRJ which had 2 varieties (Eastern and Western), but the modern 3 (or 4, if you will, with Motenegrin soon arriving). Also, it's hardly dead for "all practical intents and purposes", for you see it's still used e.g. as a macrolanguage identifier by SIL/ISO [1], and by a number of Slavists (dialectologists) when referring to Neoštokavian words (I can point you to PDFs if you're really interested).
You also wrote: You seem to think that all users of Wiktionary are linguists or linguistic buffs. - they are certainly not, but the extensiveness of content that we provide is very much linguistics-oriented. We provide detailed etymologies, pronunciation (in IPA/SAMPA transcription, and as sound files), inflection, notes on "proper usage", alternative spellings, many in-line examples, obsolete and archaic meanings and spellings. We're simultaneously every possibly type of dictionary - "normal", phrasal, etymological, onomastical, inflectional.. There is still lots of disagreement in the community on who exactly is the primary "target audience" - according to some it's the anonymous web surfer who just wants to get the definition of the word X and live the site for good, but I prefer to see it as serious language learners that would spend significant amount of time browsing the website because it contains so much awesome information that you cannot find anywhere else (e.g. inflection and pronunciation in case of foreign-languages).
Sorry if this is too long :) --Ivan Štambuk 21:13, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Norwegian Bokmal is stylised Danish dialect, and it's no secret. Linguistically it is one language, and a number of modern day publication explicitly treat it such, calling it ""Dano-Norwegian" or similar. I'll just cite one of my favorite linguists Snježana Kordić on this one[2]

Imenovanje jezika je područje na kojem se Pranjković želi pokazati upućenim, ali ne raspolaže ni osnovnim znanjima. Tako npr. želeći dokazati neprimjerenost oznake srpskohrvatski kaže (187-188) da je »opravdanije hrvatsko-srpsku jezičnu situaciju uspoređivati npr. sa skandinavskom, gdje, između ostaloga, imamo slučaj da jedan narod (norveški) ima dva standardna jezika, od kojih je jedan i genetski i strukturno vrlo blizak danskome, a ipak nikom ne pada na pamet da ga zove npr. danskonorveškim, dansko-norveškim«. Kako »nikom ne pada na pamet« kad čak i u leksikonu jezika svijeta (Klose22001, 153) piše da se taj jezik na engleskom naziva Dano-Norwegian, na njemačkom Dänisch-Norwegisch ili Danonorwegisch, pa i na samom norveškom Dansk-Norsk? A kad Pranjković već želi usporedbu s dansko-norveškim primjerom, onda može vidjeti da je taj primjer identičan s našim jer se i srpskohrvatski na engleskom naziva Serbo-Croatian, a na njemačkom Serbisch-Kroatisch ili Serbokroatisch.

Norwegian Nynorsk OTOH is based on different dialect than Danish, and strictly linguistically it's a different language. However, since both the Bokmal and Nynorsk are "proper Norwegian", and the concept of "Norwegian language" itself is a kind of supralanguage encompassing both if its standards, Norwegian and Danish are indeed different languages.

The analogy with Serbo-Croatian would be proper if e.g. Croats decided to standardize Čakavian or Kajkavian literary language (which is now impossible, but the history could have taken that course). There would be much more credibility in defining the "Croatian language", if it also encompassed literary standard that is exclusive Croatian. In the history, both the Croats and the Serbs used literary languages that were exclusive only to them (quite a few more than average person would think of), but today both of them, as well as Bosniaks and Montenegrins, use only one dialect as literary, and that dialect is one and the same: Neoštokavian = Serbo-Croatian.

Another point of interest, regarding the comparative Bokmal/Danish text you've pasted on my talkpage. I've taken the time to study the Wikipedia article on the differences between Norwegian Bokmål and Standard Danish. As it turns out, the actual differences are much more than the orthographical similarity would suggest. Take a look at the differences in the vowel system - they're quite extensive. There are also quite a few differences in the pronunciation of otherwise identically spelled consonants and consonant clusters. Their prosodical systems are also almost completely different.

Compare this to the situation in Serbo-Croatian varieties: All of the varieties have exactly the same phonemic inventory, exactly the same phonological orthography ("write as you speak, speak as you write"), and exactly the same Neoštokavian accentual system, with 2-way opposition between the rising and falling tone, short or long, plus the optional post-tonic lengths. They have 5 basic vowels /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/, which, with tones in mind, have actually 6 phonetic manifestations each, e.g. for /a/: [a], [aː], [â], [âː], [ǎ], [ǎː]. With the syllabic /r/ in mind, that's the possibility of 36 different syllable nuclei, all spelled the same and pronounced the same.

Bokmal and Danish also appear to have significant differences in morphology, including the very basic stuff such as pronouns and numerals. No such thing at all in Serbo-Croatian varieties, where the numerals and pronouns are equal: jedan, dva, tri, četiri, pet, šest, sedam, osam, devet, deset... what language is that? :) ja, ti, on, ona, ono, mi, vi, oni/e/a...all the same. Not to mention inflected forms!

Actually, the comparison in morphology the best proves the oneness of Serbo-Croatian. Serbo-Croatian has some 10 times more complex inflection than Danish and Bokmal. Nominal words (nouns and adjectives) are inflected in 3 genders, 2 numbers and 7 cases, and verbs in 3 persons and 2 numbers in 3 synthetic and 4 analytic tenses. All formed exactly the same way. Actually, when differences exist, they're merely orthographical, and not phonetic. For example, the 1st-person future I tense is spelled as imat ću in Croatian, and imaću in Serbian, but they're pronounced exactly the same way! We've handled that situation elegantly inside the {{sh-conj}} template I designed.

The fact on the complexity of shared inflectional morphology cannot be underestimated. For example, I've recently started writing w:Serbo-Croatian grammar, mostly based on the several grammar books I have, namely the siva gramatika published by the Institute for Croatian language. According to morphophonolgical alternations (e.g. nepostojano a, palatalizacije, sibilarizacije, different stem classes, various exceptions etc.) - the grammar lists some ~30 basic declensional patterns for nouns, and some ~ 120 with also different accentual patterns in minds (accent can change throughout the inflection). There are also dozens of perverted details on various exception, and double forms. Verbal inflection is not that complex itself, but there are numerous diverging patterns, stems mutating unpredictably, changing accents.. In the end, when realize see how complex that inflectional system is (thousands of morphemes, when you do the counting), for all the possible variations, and you see how all of that is shared among the standards, you can't help thinking "Gee, is the spelling between e.g. and sȏl in nominative singular so important, when both of the words have the same accent, same accent class, and the same inflection in the 12 remaining cases?".

The point is, there are so extensive shared traits among the literary varieties of Serbo-Croatian, resulting from the fact that all of them are based on the same dialect, that it's pretty much pointless to compare it most of the other apparently "similar" situations, which are in fact underlyingly quite disparate. As opposed to e.g. Danish/Bokmal, or Hindi/Urdu (other often cited example of "analogy"), Serbo-Croatian varieties actually had the period of almost 150 years of common treatment, in common grammar books, dictionaries, orthographies..--Ivan Štambuk 10:27, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

What I was saying is that the key criteria is what the langugage communities themselves consider their language to be. - It's only key to define the sociolinugistic (=political) notion of "standard language" (or "Ausbau language"), not the linguistic notion of language. Languages are not "owned" by the nationas that speak them, even if themselves appear to live in the illusion that they are (as is often the case in the Balkans). Note the important fact: per the proposal we are not depriving either of the modern-day Serbo-Croatian varieties of their standardization - in fact, the whole thing is to pretend that it's the same language (as it is), and emphasize the differences wherever they occur (either in modern or older usage, or the prescribed stanadard norm), by utilizing usage notes and context labels. Absolutely nothing is "forced" upon Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs, either in Croatia or those who'd contribute here. They do exactly the same thing as before, only using ==Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian== instead of their exclusive ethnic designation.

..but in the Wiktionary environment where space isn't really a concern and the motives are decidedly non-commercial it makes very little sense to do so. - it makes a lot of sense and I've already explained to you how and why it does. Did you read any of it? :) Our motives are not merely to "satisfy" national(ist) sentiments of the contributors, they're primarily to provide useful educational content for the end-users. Since, as you say, university courses usually group "Central South Slavic languages" (obscure term, otherwise usually known as "Serbo-Croatian") together, and never provide separate courses on "Bosnian languge", "Croatian language" and "Serbian language" simultaneously, we should focus on making it easier for learners who follow such courses to look up words. Those who want to focus only on one of the literary varieties (although that is pretty much pointless, as e.g. every "Croatian" speaker is sooner or later exposed to the volume of "Bosnian" or "Serbian" words, be it on TV shows, Internet, or street speech), should simply ignore alternative forms and the meanings tagged with other of the 2 varieties. It certainaly wouldn't "hurt" them to the forms they're not interested in listed (it would only occupy some 2-3 lines of the whole entry).

B/C/S share much more than those Scandinavian language, which are reasonable to separate here, since we provide such an extensive treatment, including pronunciation, inflection, derived forms...and these would mostly not be the same for Danish/Swedish/Norwegian etc, while they'd very much be for all the varieties of Ijekavian Neoštokavian.

Of course it wouldn't be without precedent, but the most professional and comprehensive dictionaries always treat them commonly (e.g. Morton-Benson for English, Сербско-хорватско-русский словарь by И. И. Толстой for Russian.. I have no idea for German-speaking area but according to Kordić who lives and works there, the term Serbokroatisch is very much alive and thriving, and B/C/S are regularly taught as one at the unis). Every single Croatian-FL (Foreign Language) and FL-Croatian dictionary can be used by a Serb, Bosniak or Montenegrin without any difficulty at all, and every single Croatian-FL dictionary could be at least 90% reused to translate Serbian and Bosnian (presumably if the FL-speaker knew of the trivial differences in spelling between the standards, that percentage would be even more).

The existence of dictionaries focusing on a particular variant does not itself make a point. You don't "prove" the existence or the necessity for separate treatment with the existence of book that merely says "Croatian" or "Serbian". You can find dictionaries of various Croatian dialects that are much more divergent (in just about every aspect of the grammar) from the standard language then either Serbian or Bosnian, yet the very notion of "separate" ==Chakavian== or ==Kajkavian== language would prob. be out of the question for every proud self-aware Croat. For our purposes, we must always have the bigger picture in mind:

  1. Who all are we targeting
  2. What are the benefits/drawbacks of the common treatment with respect to contributors/end-users

When you sum everything up, you realize that the common approach is the only thing that makes sense. We already tried the separate approach for almost 4 years, and after enormous time-waste (in the 90% of words there was triplication of identical content, in at least half of which B/C/S where the only sections on the page - which looked completely ridiculous). The approach of drowning B/C/S into the same header is the only way that we can eliminate needless redundancy, and ultimately optimize the editors' and users' time.

I don't edit the translation tables (and I also think that they should be kept separate, for some other reasons). I'll merge only the entries I and the other SC-supportive editors created. If you want to copy/paste them to ==Croatian==, I'm fine with that. --Ivan Štambuk 14:07, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Also note that I've fixed a lot of errors during the merger, you should not be simply copy/pasting from history (like you've been doing for govor - restoring the inline table which should be replaced by the appropriate template), but actually diff the merger to see what was changed in the process. And the sense too, of course. The entry at govor now looks ridiculously misleading, as if the "Bosnian", "Croatian" and "Serbian" have completely different set of meanings, which they don't. You are in fact doing damage. --Ivan Štambuk 14:09, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Also jezik cannot be "related term" to govor, as ====Related terms==== is only reserved for etymologically related terms (see WT:ELE). If I removed anything from the merged entries, I did it for a very good reason.. :) --Ivan Štambuk 14:29, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that's the reason I only used "speech" in the merged entry (both of the meanings of the English term speech are covered). "talk" is also another meaning of govor, and the other senses are not that important and are very rare, and should be cited and given examples of when defined (e.g. as in Bile je govora o..., or in the linguistic sense which doesn't really have English-language equvalent, SC nar(j)ečje = English dialect, SC govor = ? etc.)
You just add your beloved ==Croatian==, and we the native speakers of all the other Serbo-Croatian "languages" will just make sure that the information is appropriately propagated :) --Ivan Štambuk 14:45, 17 August 2009 (UTC)