User talk:Lawrence J. Howell

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Wiktionary talk page for Lawrence J. Howell

Phonosemantic interpretation[edit]

Please stop adding Phonosemantic interpretation sections until we sort out whether these are appropriate. See also Wiktionary:Beer_parlour/2013/June#Phonosemantic_interpretation. --Dan Polansky (talk) 12:19, 9 June 2013 (UTC)


Hi Lawrence,

Just noticed the discussion at BP: Phonosemantic interpretation, and looks like you’re having a rough time of it, so I thought I’d drop by.

First, welcome to Wiktionary! We really appreciate new editors, and we sorely need help on Chinese characters and Chinese languages. I’m personally especially keen on these – I’m studying Japanese, and am particularly interested in kanji! I still learn new ones pretty frequently – I recently saw 堡(海堡) and 嶼(島嶼) for the first time, for instance. I’m also very interested in etymology! So we’re delighted to have you, and look forward to your contributions.

OTOH, we have quite strong norms here – it’s not nearly as freewheeling as many other wiki – and so it’s easy to make mistakes at first. I was actually temporarily banned once early on (!), but I’ve since become a valued contributor.

So you’ll find it much more productive and pleasant for everyone if you work within the norms. Especially, changing form without discussion and support (often a vote) is really not accepted.

For your recent contributions regarding “Phonosemantic interpretation” of Chinese characters, I’m not currently able to judge the merits of the content, but looking at the form, they’re not acceptable at Wiktionary, for reasons I’ll enumerate at BP. Thus I believe they will be reverted sooner or later. Since it’s a lot of edits, it’s a hassle to revert all of them, so it would be really appreciated if you did this yourself. It would also help reduce tension and show good will on your part. You’re new, it’s completely fine and acceptable to make mistakes provided that you realize this and clean up after yourself, so as not to create a lot of work for other editors.

Regarding Old Chinese reconstructions, I would be thrilled if you could add some in the Old Chinese: Etymology section, with references to Schuessler and Baxter & Sagart! As I’ll discuss at BP, phonetic information isn’t a good fit for the Translingual section, which addresses character form and translingual meaning, but is perfectly suited for the language-specific sound.

Thanks again for raising this topic; I hope that this ultimately results in much better coverage of Old Chinese – currently Category:Old Chinese language is all but empty. BTW, I assume you’re aware of Appendix:Baxter-Sagart Old Chinese reconstruction; have you been in touch with Gilgamesh?

If you have any questions or there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask!

—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 14:35, 1 August 2013 (UTC)