User talk:Stephen G. Brown/Declension tables

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Declension tables, etc.[edit]

I began by sending this to Dennis Veleev, but he referred me to you

I am at odds to understand why you need to use the Unicode template in the declension tables when simply putting the word will do just fine. Avoiding unnecesaary constructions keeps the project simpler to edit.

  • They don’t do fine at all. Without the Unicode template, the acute accent appears over to one side and very high in the air. If it looked fine without it, then I certainly would not be using it.

I do have mixed feelings about using the stress marks since they are not normally used in Russian texts, and we really have not used this to show stress in any other language. I'm sure you have your reasons for doing this. Still I thought it better to discuss the matter before starting to remove them.

  • The stress is usually fairly predictable in many languages (such as Hungarian, Finnish, French, Czech, Polish, German, Italian), and is explicitly marked in others (such as Spanish and Portuguese). Russian stress is mobile and extremely unpredictable. Virtually all Russian dictionaries indicate word stress. The declension tables that I have been putting in would be completely useless without showing the stressed syllables. As far as including these accents on the entries themselves (that is, the Russian word immediately following the heading "Noun" or "Verb," I am also in favor of not putting them, since I've been indicating the stress in the transliteration. Hippytrail, however, strongly disagreed about this and requested that I not remove existing accents from these entry words. So when I find them already there, I just ignore them, but I don’t put them when I create new pages. But in the Declension and Conjugation tables (especially the Declension tables), stress indication is absolutely necessary. If we are not going to put the accent, then we don’t need the tables at all, since that makes them useless. —Stephen 10:58, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps then a reasonable compromise in the declension tables would be to add the transliterations and show the stresses only on the transliterations. Eclecticology 03:11, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Declension and conjugation paradigms are never shown in transliteration, and if we did that, the tables would be unwieldy and grotesque. I don’t think anyone would be willing to do them along with transliterations, and the people who would like to consult these tables would be very put off. I, for example, have resorted to Russian declension and conjugation tables every day of my life for the last 40 years, and I wouldn’t waste a moment of my time with transliterated tables. I can barely tolerate the transliterations of the head words that I’m putting in. Cyrillic is extraordinarily simple and easy to learn, and it only takes a half hour to learn to read and write it. The transliterations are only for people who have only a passing interest. Students and users of the language do not appreciate them and would be put off by transliterated declension tables.—Stephen 09:29, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

For the cases it should be enough to simply link to nominative rather than nominative case. (The same for the other cases) Somehow we have ended up with separate articles for the two terms and the content should be merged at some time.

  • I considered that in the beginning, but decided that it was better to put possessive case, etc., because those pages are disambiguated. The pages without "case" sometimes have other meanings that make it more difficult to understand, especially for the kind of person who would actually need to refer to these pages. People who understand noun declension do not need to bother. We can merge the pages and delete the "case" references, but I think that makes it all more difficult to use and less useful. —Stephen 10:58, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
    Would simply identifying the useage as "(Grammar)" at possessive not be sufficient? But then we don't need "possesive" for Russian anyway. AFAIK most languages would use genitive for that concept. Eclecticology 03:11, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • As time permits, I have been creating articles for all of the declensions, and all of the articles are named with the word "case": illative case, ablative case, adessive case, inessive case, temporal case, superessive case, allative case, delative case, caritive case, vocative case, abessive case, benefactive case, ergative case, and so on. These articles are linked to in other pages as well, such as at. Besides that, in some instances Russian also has other cases, in particular the partitive case, the locative case, and the vocative case. Many of these words (such as accusative) have other meanings as well, including other grammatical senses. The people who would click on these links would have little or no understanding of noun cases, and probably not much knowledge of grammar in general. It is extraordinarily easy to write the links as I have done them, and not one bit easier to do them the other way...and the links as I’ve done them are far easier for a novice to make sense of, and they would get lost and give up if I used the merged links instead. Also, as I have designed the tables, they are exceedingly easy to edit, if anyone ever needed to do it (but this is factual data, and future editing is not very likely and would probably be detrimental). If the Unicode Consortium and font manufacturers ever start making Unicode fonts with true accented Cyrillic vowels, then that would call for some editing, but the editing would be just as easy with the tables as I’m doing them.—Stephen 09:29, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Finally I think that transliterations with "j" are somewhat antiquated. The system with a "y" is probably preferable. This system is used by the British Library and the U. S. Board on Geographical Names. Thus й becomes y, я becomes ya, and ю becomes yu. Also е becomes ye at the beginning of words and after ъ, ь or a vowel. This system can be used for all Slavonic languages that use a Cyrillic script except Serbian and Macedonian. Eclecticology 09:16, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

  • I was transliterating here with a "y" a couple of years ago, but people complained about it being Anglocentric, and the majority of people who deal with the Slavic languages are accustomed to the "j" as used in German, Czech, Serbian, Croatian, Latvian, Polish, IPA, etc. Besides that, there is another letter, Ы, that is transliterated as "y," and many people find it confusing...especially since the two different y's frequently appear together: zholtyy, zholtyye (where one "y" is hard "yeri" and the other is the semivowel). No matter which way we do it, somebody is going to complain and say there’s a better way, and then people complain about the "better way" and say there’s another "better way."—Stephen 10:58, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
    Being Anglocentric should not be a problem on the English Wiktionary. :-)
    I'm not bothered by having two y's come together. Without looking into it too deeply I believe that the uses are mutually exclusive. My view is based on reviewing the matter in both the Oxford and Chicago stylebooks. Eclecticology 03:11, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Well, it doesn’t matter to me, I’m familiar with several popular systems. I was using the one you suggested a couple of years ago, and the sysops of those days were against using "y" for the semivowel, and I was instructed to use the "j." I don’t care which way we do it, but there should be an agreed-upon policy so that we don’t have to re-do everything every year. I’ve done a lot of work using my current transliteration scheme, and changing in midstream would mean having two systems (at least) in use for months or years to come. If everyone agrees on a change as official policy, then I’m okay with that...but it will take a long time to convert all of the old material.
  • And yes, in Russian the two y’s are mutually exclusive, and if you know the Cyrillic alphabet well enough, then you will have no trouble knowing which is which. Unfortunately, the only people who use the transliterations are people who don’t know Cyrillic and who don’t care enough about it to learn...and they will not understand the difference between the two y’s. And in some Cyrillic-using languages, the two y's are not differentiated...for instance, in Chukchi you can have йъилгын (y’ilgyn) vs. ыълетык (y’letyk), or чамаым (chamaym), гырокыым (gyrokyym), алялкыян (alyalkyyan), all difficult-to-decipher conflicts; in Mari, лийын (liyyn); Komi, биыс (biys); Chuvash, йываç (yyvaç); and many other languages...they very often have spellings that make it hard to know which y is which.
  • But, as I said, I don’t care which way we do it as long as it’s agreed-upon as the official policy, and as long as everyone understands that the many old transliterations are going to be around for a long time to come.
  • What I do care about, however, is that (1) the declension and conjugation tables not be transliterated, (2) the Cyrillic accent not be used without the Unicode template, and (3) that all the nice noun-case pages that I have been creating not be devalued by merging into adjective pages with irrelevant senses.
  • One thing that might be done, if anyone knows how, is to create a template for these tables. I could write a template that would work, but I don’t know wiki language well enough and my template would be too complicated. If someone could write a nice, easy-to-use template for these tables, then all the tables could be edited and updated in one stroke if they ever came out with better Cyrillic fonts or other tools. If no one wants to do a template (the one for verbs will have to be much more complex), then I think the way I am doing them is the best possible (for the nouns, I mean...I still have a lot of work to do on the verb tables). —Stephen 09:29, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Thanks a lot for your wading (read: combing) through my contributions. Dennis Valeev 11:28, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

  • You’re very welcome! —Stephen 11:36, 31 May 2005 (UTC)