Help:FAQ

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Q: Is the pronunciation of “Wiktionary” in the logo correct? Should there not be an extra syllable, a long ‘i’ at the end, or a different stress pattern?

A: The pronunciation is the received pronunciation (RP) of “Wiktionary”, based on the RP of “dictionary” found in British dictionaries. Other pronunciations of “dictionary” are used in the United Kingdom, and this particular pronunciation is not really heard outside the United Kingdom (and is somewhat dated even there). However, this is the pronunciation that was used to create the logo, and it would be difficult to change it without creating a new logo.

Starting out[edit]

Q: How do I add a new word?

A: You can find out at Help:Starting a new page.

Q: Where is the alphabetical listing?

A: Try using the search feature instead. Special:Allpages lists all of the pages in Wiktionary, including the utility pages in the Wiktionary: namespace. Index:English gives an alphabetic listing of English entries in Wiktionary, and pages in Category:Language indexes do the same for other languages.

Q: I've found a common word that is missing from Wiktionary, and thought of adding a seed entry. But it seems like you want fully grown entries or nothing! I'm not a lexicologist. I'm just someone who feels he can contribute some simple dictionary definitions. I don't know anything about etymology, translations or whatever! In Wikipedia a lot of people are quite happy to come along and copy-edit, wikify etc. Does that apply here?

A: Yes! Wiktionary is still much smaller than Wikipedia, but the wiki philosophy is just as strong. If a word does not exist on Wiktionary add it. If you know nothing about etymology that's fine; your humblest contribution is still better than nothing. Someone else can add the etymology later. The minimum you need to include is the language of the word, its part of speech, and its meaning.
However, if you are contributing a translation, it is important to know to which meaning of the word the translation applies.

Q: I've already done some work without signing up, but now I would like to create a username to have all my work shown as my own. How can I create a new username?

A: Just click on the Create an account or log in link on the top right of every Wiktionary page or Special:Userlogin.

Pronunciation[edit]

Q: Is there a table indicating which IPA symbols make certain sounds?

A. Near the top of a page, there should be a pronunciation section, like so:
IPA(key): /ˈwɪkʃənrɪ/, IPA(key): /ˈwɪkʃəˌnɛri/
Just follow the links.

Q: How do we type those symbols?

A: When you are in the edit page you will see below the save buttons a box with many accented letters and a pull-down menu that reads "Latin/Roman". Select "IPA" or "enPR" from the pull-down menu, depending on the pronunciation scheme you want. (There isn't an option for SAMPA as all SAMPA characters can be typed on an ordinary keyboard.) Position the text cursor where you want the symbol to be inserted, then click on the desired character.

Q: The IPA symbols are showing up as blocks in Internet Explorer, is there a way to fix this?

A. The easiest way for Windows/Internet Explorer users is to make sure the font "Arial Unicode MS" is installed. Then, in Internet Explorer go to Tools/Internet Options.../General tab. Select the "Fonts..." button at the bottom. Make sure the "Language script" displays "Latin based", then set the "Web Page Font" to "Arial Unicode MS". Click OK twice to exit.

Q: I've tried the above, and it still doesn't work. Any other ideas?

A: Works fine when setting Skin to Classic, Nostalgica or MySkin on your Preferences side, but not with Skins Cologne Blue, MonoBook. Would be nice if somebody could fix this. Alternatively, try a different browser, such as Firefox, which displays these characters correctly.

Article format[edit]

Q: How do we format articles? Is there a standard format we should use?

A: Guidelines for this can be seen at Wiktionary:Entry layout explained. The concepts on that page have varying levels of acceptability, and continue to evolve as new techniques are developed to deal with a wide array of challenges relating to different languages.

Q: Some people link to other words as they type a definition. Since every English word would eventually be listed on the Wiktionary, maybe someone could add a code (which perhaps could be turned off) that made every word link to its corresponding entry.

A: When an article is loaded the software checks each linking word to see if the article for the word exists, and it is marked in blue if it exists, red if it does not. It only takes a fraction of a second to check each word, but if more words are checked this time is cumulative. If every word is checked, it could cause serious slowdowns. This already happens in link-rich articles. How often does one really need a link to "the"?
Also, it's often clearer to link a compound word, or the root of a word, depending on the meaning.

Real words[edit]

Q: That's not a real word, is it?

A: In general, Wiktionary does not concern itself with metaphysical abstractions like "realness". We instead use a set of objective criteria for inclusion (WT:CFI), and a word may meet those requirements in a number of ways, such as through its use in multiple publications over an extended period of time.

Writing definitions[edit]

Q: How should we go about writing definitions?

A: In some respects writing a definition is an art. Begin by finding examples where the word is used, and distill a definition that would be accurate for all of the examples. It may very well be that a word can have more than one definition. You can then add the quotations as examples. See also Help:Writing definitions & How to Write a Dictionary Definition.

Q: How shouldn't we go about writing definitions?

A: One should not simply copy without crediting the definitions from other dictionaries and glossaries.

Q: Can I use what I find in other dictionaries and glossaries? How? How much?

A: Yes and no! Wiktionary should represent the language as it is used in practice, and that is best done through evidence of usage. Not all dictionaries provide this kind of evidence and may only reflect usages current at the time that the dictionary was published. The 1913 edition of Webster's Dictionary is a popular freely available source, but it must be supplemented to show how some words have changed since 1913.
There are copyright issues associated with more recent dictionaries. Also, specialized glossaries and other books may have the only accurate definition of a technical term, but they may be protected by copyright. Fair use (or fair dealing) is important here, and can apply as long as we don't use too much from one source. Whenever we use a source in that way, it must be credited. The legal issues about this are very complex, and it is wise to find other ways of expressing yourself so that fair use will not need to be a factor.

Limiting and/or ordering definitions[edit]

Q: To avoid bias, should we sometimes limit or order the definitions so as to avoid giving the impression that rare or difficult uses of a word are more common than they are?

A: Yes, in theory, the oldest uses of a word should be listed first, but in the absence of historical data this is difficult to do. Furthermore, definitions are sometimes related, and should be close to each other in such circumstances. Determining which usage is most common or popular requires expressing a Point of View, and should be avoided. Links to Wikipedia or references to the Oxford English Dictionary are better ways to ensure that the definitions are complete.

Q: Is there a subset of the wiktionary that would include only meanings that are known to be necessary for learning English as a second language, or for learning common English idioms?

A: There is provision for this idea. If you have the time, you could consider participating in the separate project at Simple:Main Page that aims to do just that! This kind of simplification is not a simple undertaking, and it has not attracted a lot of interest. See also Simple English Dictionary on the Simple English Wikipedia.

Copyright infringement[edit]

Q: I saw some copyrighted material in a certain article, submitted by user XYZ. What should I do?

A: In a publication like ours it is never easy to determine when a copyright infringement has taken place. Fair use (see below) is not an infringement. If you suspect that an article contains copyrighted material, use the following steps:
  1. Don't panic, and do your homework.
  2. On the talk page for the article show why you think it is a copyright violation. In particular show exactly where you think the text in question was originally published.
  3. As a matter of courtesy, if the material was placed by a registered user, politely let him know about this on his talk page.
  4. Add {{rfc}} to the article and make a note at WT:RFC. There is no need to immediately remove the suspected material.

Q: What is copyright?

A: Copyright is a person's exclusive economic right to use and exploit his own creative and artistic productions. Its duration depends primarily on the laws of the country in which that person lives. It may be accompanied by moral rights such as the right to be properly credited for one's works. A work whose copyright has expired is said to be in the public domain.

Q: What is fair use?

A: In simple terms, "fair use" (also known as "fair dealing" or "fair practice") is the allowable quotation of the copyrighted works of others. The concept is not relevant to works that are already in the public domain. Any such quotation must be properly credited. Whether any particular quotation constitutes fair use can often be a very difficult matter to resolve. In most cases, quoting a single definition or a brief illustrative passage from any author's work will fall within the definition of fair use.

Namespaces[edit]

Q: Occasionally in a discussion I see a reference to a "namespace". What is that?

A: A namespace is a group of pages designed to fulfill a special purpose. Namespaces are denoted by a prefix followed by a colon, as Talk:color. The one exception to that is the "article" namespace, which contains the substantive articles for the Wiktionary; it has no prefix. See Help:Namespace for more information. Articles in a namespace are also sorted and searched separately from those in other namespaces. Articles in different namespaces may have identical names after the prefix.

Q: Where can I see a list of active namespaces?

A: See Wiktionary:Namespace or Special:Allpages. Currently, they are "(articles)", "Talk", "User", "User talk", "Wiktionary", "Wiktionary talk", "Image", "Image talk", "MediaWiki", "MediaWiki talk", "Template", "Template talk", "Help", "Help talk", "Category", "Category talk", "Appendix", "Appendix talk", "Index", "Index talk", "Wikisaurus", "Wikisaurus talk", "Concordance", "Concordance talk", "Rhymes", "Rhymes talk", "Transwiki", "Transwiki talk", "Citations", "Citations talk".

Q: Is it possible to restrict a search to a given namespace?

A: Yes, Special:Allpages allows you to search individual namespaces.

Wiktionary in your language[edit]

Q: What should I do if I want to start a Wiktionary in my own language?

A: You should go to the requests for new languages page on Meta.

Referencing Wiktionaries from Other Wikipedias[edit]

Q: What is Transwiki?

A: Transwiki is a way of moving articles from one wiki to another (in the case of Wiktionary, especially from Wikipedia to Wiktionary). It essentially applies to articles that have been written in the wrong project. By putting the article in the namespace "Transwiki:" the transferor can park it there without concern about our format or whether we will even accept it.

Q: Are [[wiktionary:Dog]] and [[wiktionary:eo:Konduto]] suitable references from other Wikipedias to Wiktionaries?

A: From a Wikipedia, [[wiktionary:Dog]] or the shorter [[wikt:Dog]] should link to the Wiktionary in the same language.
A: From Wiktionary, a link beginning with the word Wiktionary is treated as a link to the page in the Wiktionary namespace with the title [[wiktionary:dog]]. Upper or lower case of the first letter of the article title may give different results in this Wiktionary - (see here for the status of this on other wiktionaries). In the same way, here the link [[wikipedia:Dog]] will link to wikipedia.

What is a template?[edit]

Q: What is a Wiktionary template?

A: The word template in Wiktionary jargon means an entry in the Template: namespace which substitutes the content of the template whenever it is addressed in an article.

Q: How does it work?

A: Someone devises a template such as template:Wikipedia. Then, others use it by adding the text {{Wikipedia}} into their articles. When anyone displays that article, the text from template:Wikipedia is included in that page. In this example the template produces a box that includes a link to the article with the same name in Wikipedia,

Q: Where can I find a list of these templates?

A: See Wiktionary:Index to templates.

Examples[edit]

Q: Should I add examples to each definition?

A: Examples are good, but quotations are much better. A well-chosen quotation can do everything that an example can, and additionally show evidence
  • of the age of a word,
  • that the meaning given reflects actual use, and
  • that the word isn't just made up for Wiktionary.

Log in[edit]

Q: If I have an account with Wikipedia, do I still have to create a new account with Wiktionary?

A: No, provided you have accepted the Single log-in, you can keep the same username throughout all Wikimedia projects.

What are interwiki links?[edit]

Q: What are interwiki links?

A: Interwiki links in Wiktionary are links from one language Wiktionary to another. For example, the French Wiktionary has the word chat which corresponds to the English Wiktionary's entry under the title chat. One is written in French (for the French Wiktionary) the other in English (for the English Wiktionary.) Interwiki links link these two articles to each other (note: not their translations.)

Q: Where do interwiki links belong/what is the correct interwiki syntax?

A: Interwiki links appear in one of two places: either at the very end of the article, or embedded in a translation table. Interwiki links at the end of the article follow "normal" interwiki syntax: [[ followed by the (usually two-digit) country code, then a colon, then this same article name (identical matches ONLY!) followed by ]]. For interwikis within translations, (say in the translation table of the English article cat,) you would normally list first the English Wiktionary's wikified link; chat, as [[chat]] to allow your readers to learn about the French word (by reading the English description of it) then the French version of the French word is linked as chat by entering [[:fr:chat|chat]].

Q: This is too confusing, and it makes the article source look sloppy. Can I just delete them?

A: No. If you don't know why it is there, don't remove it.

Q: I still don't get it. Why have interwiki links? They don't make anything on the page change.

A: On the left-most column (if using the default monobook User preferences skin) below the "toolbox" is where the interwiki links appear.

Wikifying[edit]

Q: What is wikifying/wikification?

A: Putting two square brackets before and after a term will auto-generate a hypertext markup language link to that word's page, here on Wiktionary. Thus, entering [[link]] will give link.

Q: Why don't we wikify every word? That would be so cool!

A: We don't for several reasons:
  • Logical continuity. The wikilinks are meant to help clarify aspects of a meaning; it's good to have the important words stand out.
  • Server performance. The computers must check every word that's linked like that. It's no big deal on a short article, but it really slows down the downloading of longer articles.

Q: Fine then. Hey look- a red link! Should I dewikify it?

A: Maybe, but usually, no! Red links let you know where there is work yet to be done. They also help new users understand that they can help out here too.

Q: Any other guidelines on what to wikify?

A: The following are but a few.
  • On the inflection line, (the line following the part-of-speech header) you should wikify all component words of idioms and phrases.
  • You should wikify all translated words.
  • You should wikify all but the "top 40" language names in translation sections. If the country name matches the language name, it probably is a "top 40" common language.
  • You should wikify the expansion of abbreviations. Usually the main article should go with the short form's expansion entry, not the abbreviation itself.
  • All foreign language words in the etymology section should be wikified.
  • All foreign languages in the etymology section should be wikified.
  • All inflections of a word should be wikified (plurals, comparatives, superlatives, third person, participles and past tenses.)
  • None of the words in example sentences or quotations should be wikified. The headword of the entry should be bolded, within example sentences and quotations.

Q: Okay then, where are the other guidelines and the rules ?

English header[edit]

Q: I see a bunch of articles that have no language specified, but they are clearly written for English terms. That makes sense. Should I remove ==English== wherever I see it then?

A: No. It is very much a required heading.

The ==English== header is not assumed. It cannot be, since we aim to include "all words." Also, it reminds people that they can enter other languages.

Some more reasons why "==English==" is required:
  1. Introduces newcomers to wiki* syntax
  2. Indicates (by implication) to newcomers that a single entry can have more than one language
  3. Indicates which parts are English
  4. It reminds new contributors that they can enter words and definitions of other languages.
  5. The absence of the English heading is an indication that the person entering it is new, and the article probably needs cleanup.
  6. The presence of the English heading makes it readily apparent how another language definition can be added to a page.
  7. The presence of the English heading makes parsing articles by external tools easier. (The point of Wiktionary is to provide electronic access to everyone, everywhere, provided they extend the same courtesy to their derived works. There is nothing to say that we should arbitrarily make it more difficult for programs to interpret.)
  8. The presence of the English heading makes parsing articles by internal "bots" easier/possible.

Downloading Wiktionary[edit]

Q: Is it possible to download Wiktionary?

A: Yes. http://download.wikimedia.org/enwiktionary/ should have the latest copy of the main namespace. The cleanest navigation page is http://download.wikimedia.org/. Just download a *-articles.xml.bz2 file and some software to read it (for *nix, for Windows).

A: If you just want definitions, you can try http://toolserver.org/~enwikt/definitions/.

Q: Can I use data from Wiktionary in my program?

A: As long as you meet the conditions of the GNU Free Documentation License or Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, certainly.

How do I batch upload?[edit]

Q: Hi, I have a bunch of words in language that I can upload, already containing the word, grammatical tags and basic English translation. However, how would I do a batch upload, since I don't have the kind of time to enter each one separately?

A: The robot code in question is from the Using the python wikipediabot's pagefromfile.py.

Example: dict.txt

'''Mangaung'''
{{-start-}}
==Sesotho==

===Proper noun===
'''Mangaung'''

# [[Bloemfontein]]
{{-stop-}}
'''kgòtsò'''
{{-start-}}
==Sesotho==

===Noun===
'''kgòtsò'''

# [[peace]]
{{-stop-}}

Remember to learn the Wiktionary format of entries before starting. It will correctly run "throttled" by default. Start with ten entries. When you get ten to load correctly, try running one hundred then stop and check the results; make sure you haven't been blocked for flooding and none of your entries have been edited already. If any have been edited, you don't have the format correct and need to fix the problem before testing again.

Request 'bot status in the Beer parlour if you get complaints. If entries are not marked minor by default, go to Special:Preferences, [Editing] and check off "Mark all edits minor by default".

Q: What if someone keeps posting messages on my talk page, saying I'm uploading them wrong?

A: Stop what you are doing. Ask for help on Wiktionary's information desk.

How do I link to Wikipedia?[edit]

Wikipedia

In general, we should have terms defined locally here. But in a definition, if you need to refer to the corresponding Wikipedia entry there are three common methods:

  • When referencing Wikipedia outside of a definition, you can simply use the inter-project prefix "w:", e.g. [[w:WP:FAQ|]] = WP:FAQ. Other useful interproject links to know are "s:" for linking to Wikisource documents used for quotations, and of course you may use "wikt:" to link to Wiktionary from other sister projects. Note that interproject links do not work in redirects.
  • When Wikipedia has one or more articles about a word or phrase, you can add {{pedialite}} in a "See also" section at the end of the entry, just before the categories and interwiki links:
===See also===
*{{pedialite}}
This produces:
See Template talk:pedialite for more information.
  • You can also add the template {{wikipedia}} at the top of the language section, which adds a "fancy" sister project link box.

Why do you block new editors so readily?[edit]

As said at the top of Help:Interacting with humans, "Actions that appear destructive are either a result of someone not caring, not understanding, or not concentrating. Those who don't care should be blocked lest they cause damage, those who don't understand should be educated, and accidental damage should be undone." Allowing someone who doesn't care about Wiktionary to edit it is a waste of everyone's time, as is giving warnings to people who will not take them on board.