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May 2014[edit]

See Wiktionary:Information desk/Archive 2014/January-June

June 2014[edit]

See Wiktionary:Information desk/Archive 2014/January-June

July 2014[edit]


Are there any languages, besides Icelandic, that have a feminine equivalent to -son or -sen? --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:53, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Irish: Nic
Azeri: qızı
Russian: -овна (-ovna)
Ungoliant (falai) 15:04, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
But it is only Icelandic, as far as I know, that uses the feminine as the standard, and where the masculine form is rare. For example, Russian: -овна (-ovna) is only for women, never for men. Icelandic -dóttir makes surnames for both women and for men. —Stephen (Talk) 05:46, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
One needs to be clear that Russian -овна (-ovna)/-евна (-jevna) is a feminine patronymic suffix (masculine: -ович (-ovič)/-евич (-jevič)), not a surname forming suffix, like -son or -sen. Equivalent surname forming suffixes in Russian are -ов (-ov)/-ев (-jev), -ин (-in)/-ын (-yn), which receive a "-а" in the feminine form (many, not all surnames have masculine and feminine forms). E.g. surnames: Петро́в (Petróv) m, Петро́ва (Petróva) f, patronymics: Петро́вич (Petróvič) m, Петро́вна (Petróvna) f. There are also surnames with -ович (-ovič)/-евич (-jevič), which don't have feminine forms in Russian. (Note: all these rules don't automatically coincide with various other Slavic languages.)--Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 06:06, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
And if I recall correctly, -dóttir also forms patronymics rather than family names. (I can add -ówna and -anka, which are attached to surnames, forming surname forms; both are falling out of use.) Keφr 10:31, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Stephen, -dóttir is never used to form men's names, only -son is and there's nothing rare about it. And as stated above names formed using -son and -dóttir are patronymics, not surnames. For example, the son of Bjarni Jónsson might be called Sigurður Bjarnason, but his daughter would be Sóley Bjarnadóttir. BigDom (tc) 08:10, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I once knew an Icelander who considered his father's name too ordinary, so he changed his "last name" to Mother's-name-son instead of Father's-name-son. Do transsexual Icelanders change their -son to -dóttir and vice versa? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:28, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, while matronymics are fairly uncommon they do exist (e.g. if the father is unknown or absent, or his name is too common [never heard that one before, gave me a chuckle]) but they still follow the rules of "-son" for males and "-dóttir" for females. The (brief) Icelandic WP article on transgenderism (w:is:Transfólk) says that trans people often change their names but it doesn't go into any more detail. BigDom (tc) 18:57, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I like the term transfolk. I was about to say we need to adopt that in English, but I see it's already a blue link. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:35, 10 July 2014 (UTC)


Please let me know how to terminate my account. Thank you —This unsigned comment was added by Angelucci (talkcontribs).

Just stop logging in. Keφr 17:23, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

Thank you —This unsigned comment was added by Angelucci (talkcontribs).

Just to be clear, your contributions will stay here. Not sure if anyone here would serve an w:WP:RTV request. Why such a sudden decision, though? Keφr 17:27, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

I am fed up with you patronizing and talking down to me. If I upload bogus stuff as said by Renard Migrant on his request for cleanup, I do better find another way to exercise my brain and mind!Angelucci (talk) 18:10, 2 July 2014 (UTC)

I am sorry that you have had a bad experience. We recently lost the services of a veteran patroller, who was very appreciative of Italian-language contributions and contributors. If I understand the situation correctly, I may be able to explain why some Italian entries you made were deemed problematic
Not every entry that it a good translation of a single English word and should be in a translation table should necessarily be an entry in its language. Specifically, those multi-word expressions whose meaning is obvious from the meanings of their arts are in principle excluded. Thus con tono di condiscendenza looks to me to be a perfectly good translation of condescendingly, at which entry it appears, as it should. It should not be linked as a unit however. Rather each individual word should be linked.
The matter of what is and what is not an includable multiword expression in a given language requires lot of discussion, most of which is on Wiktionary:Requests for deletion and its archives. Though some disagree, the existence of a one-word translation is not considered by itself to be sufficient reason to include a multiword expression. DCDuring TALK 19:26, 2 July 2014 (UTC)



For the page integrity, I was interested in requesting that the definition (specified on Wikipedia, wording modified) be incorporated:

Of operating based upon an internally consistent framework of principles

Is this acceptable as a definition?

Thanks — 2602:304:59B8:1D39:B4CF:5D0:49D7:4516 03:00, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

It's not worded as a noun. It should be something like "The characteristic or state of having or operating under an internally consistent system of principles." Is it supposed to apply to people, organizations, systems? How do you know that the WP definition is actually in demonstrable use? Can you give some examples? DCDuring TALK 03:16, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
On the Wikipedia page, it mentions "a person", however, the overall article appears to imply that it applies to the broad concept of ethics and therefore could apply to a person, persons, or organization(s). To give an example based on the Wikipedia article, I could say (however you would reword it) that one would not steal unless one would want to live in a world which everyone was a thief. For more, please refer to w:Integrity#In ethics.
Thanks — 2602:304:59B8:1D39:B4CF:5D0:49D7:4516 03:59, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
You have to bear in mind that we're a dictionary, not an encyclopedia, so we deal in usage and meanings, not in the concepts behind them. To put it another way, Wikipedia tries to answer the question: "What is integrity, and what other interesting or useful information is there about the subject?", while Wiktionary tries to answer the question: "What do people mean when they say 'integrity', and what other interesting or useful information is there about the term itself?". Your proposed edit hinges on explaining integrity as a concept, while our interest is in defining it as a term. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:35, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

How about these two citations? They seem to support the given sense. It seems rather hard to separate from the general "morally righteous" sense we already have listed, though.

  • 1993, Gerald Cushing MacCallum, Legislative Intent and Other Essays on Law, Politics, and Morality, Univ of Wisconsin Press (ISBN 9780299138608), page 152
    His integrity is damaged or destroyed when things within this domain of his 'self' become disorganized, incoherent, or unsystematic. His integrity is violated when the domain is intruded upon and changes are produced within it that interfere with and counter or 'overcome' the effects of his own inertia or principle of operation.
  • 2011, Krishna Pillai, Essence of a Manager, Springer Science & Business Media (ISBN 9783642175817), page 163
    Integrity comes in two parts; there is the inner sense of integrity which is personal to an individual, and there is his integrity as observed by an external party or by the surrounding society. Being consistent with his own set of values is what preserves his inner personal integrity, his sense of wholeness and even his identity. It is independent of what is observed. Being lawful in his actions and following the direction of the integrated ethical code determines the external judgment of his integrity.

Keφr 06:41, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Ultimately in listing this definition, it was my intention to write something that was less up for dispute than "morally righteous", given the different value systems held. However, what is not up for dispute, and what is clearly definable is the internal consistency, ultimately meaning that integrity is testable against a definition and testable against the very belief system itself, ultimately meaning that a crook, at the end of the day, is forced to confess given that his own value system becomes inconsistent and breaks down.
Thanks. 2602:304:59B8:1D39:B4CF:5D0:49D7:4516 19:52, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
This is not how it works. We will not change definitions just to make them "less up for dispute"; we enter a definition only if people use the word in a way which agrees with the definition. If people use it to mean "moral righteousness", regardless of what they consider moral or not, then so be it, this will be our definition. The best way to convince us to include a definition is to demonstrate that this is how the word is used. Keφr 20:30, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Are the above citations sufficient to attest, as the guideline states, or do we need more? Thanks. — 2602:304:59B8:1D39:D43E:1CE2:B553:9220 20:37, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

sans commentaire = sans commentaires?[edit]

Are these good synonyms of each other? --Æ&Œ (talk) 16:49, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm told that in French zero of something is always treated as singular (with respect to grammatical agreement). So you say « j'ai zéro orange » and not « j'ai zéro oranges ». in English, we only use the verb singular form when there is exactly one of something. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:53, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
I didn't answer the question. I think textbook grammar says it should be sans commentaire but since they're homophones I wouldn't be surprised if both were attested. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:55, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, synonyms. —Stephen (Talk) 03:56, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Google Books has sans commentaire as slightly more common than sans commentaires by a ratio of 76 600 to 67 700. That's very close. Renard Migrant (talk) 15:39, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, judging by ngrams, the singlar only recently overtook the plural. I've created the plural as an alternative form of the singular. - -sche (discuss) 15:46, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Getting coding problems fixed[edit]

Earlier this month I put up a request (in the Grease Pit) for someone with appropriate skills to fix a problem that was preventing me from adding structure to senses to clarify complex usages. While I got some relevant comments promptly from someone who pinged two editors (one of whom seems to have quit as an editor) who might be able to actually fix the problem, the problem remains. Is there some way to more formally ask for bugs to be fixed? If there isn't, might I suggest that a table of requests be set up alongside the Grease Pit whose columns would show who has volunteered to fix each formal request, whether it has been fixed, and so on. Such tables were found very useful in programming shops of the '50s. — ReidAA (talk) 01:36, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

I think the Grease Pit already does most of what you suggest in your second paragraph, albeit in the form of threads rather than a table: someone posts a bug in a thread, someone else posts "I'll see what I can do" if they're going to try to fix it (if they expect it to take a while — otherwise they fix it straight away), and then they post again when it's fixed. The problem, in my experience, is not that users don't know who's working on a bug, it's that no-one is working on the bug, because Wiktionary is maintained by an unfortunately small number of volunteers who have unfortunately not as much time to spend here as might be hoped. :/ - -sche (discuss) 02:10, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Is Mongolian script/Cyrillic transliteration automatable?[edit]

(This question probably doesn't completely belong here, but...)

Does anyone happen to know if automatic transliteration from Mongolian in Cyrillic to Mongolian script is possible? (At least, to the same extent that automatic Traditional/Simplified Chinese transliteration is possible?) --Yair rand (talk) 16:09, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Short answer - no. Mongolian script is not fully phonetic. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:01, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
I am interested in having utility tools for editors for languages, which can't be transliterated 100%, such as Hebrew, Hindi, unvocalised Arabic, Mongolian in Mongolian script, etc. Vocalised Arabic actually is 100% phonetic and Module:ar-translit could use some improvement. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:35, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Vocalized Arabic is not quite 100% phonetic. You run into strange exceptions that usually have to do with prefixes/proclitics. What kind of utilities do you have in mind? --WikiTiki89 13:59, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Something that transliterates what it can, letting the editor add missing or remove extra letters, fix inaccuracies. Strange exceptions could be handled manually. For example, तोड़ना has currently a non-standard transliteration "toɽnā", the standard transliteration is "toṛnā" and the tool would produce "toṛanā" where I would could copy and remove the silent adherent "a" in the middle to get "toṛnā". A not 100% accurate tool would reduce time to add transliteration to long words, phrases like عَاصِفَة رَعْدِيَّة. Module:ar-translit, etc. are not currently used at all. It can be useful when mass-editing, adding/fixing transliterations on entries for languages, which normally can't be transliterated automatically, in longer usage examples, translation requests. -Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 14:19, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I suppose what we want is a JavaScript tool that would take you to the edit screen and automatically fill in the preliminary transliteration, which can then be edited. --WikiTiki89 14:46, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, a JavaScript. I sometimes use User:ZxxZxxZ/arTranslit.js and User:ZxxZxxZ/faTranslit.js, which transliterate EVERYTHING in the edit window, it's not based on the modules and "عَاصِفَة رَعْدِيَّة" becomes "ʿaʾṣifaa(t) raʿdiyaaa(t)". --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:25, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Is it phonetic enough that it would be possible to cover most cases with a giant pile of rules, if the rest were taken care of manually? (My understanding is that Traditional/Simplified Chinese don't match up perfectly either, but mostly-automated transliteration between them seems to be working on certain Wikipedias...) --Yair rand (talk) 13:12, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
Vowels o/u, yo/yu and ö/ü, final a/e, consonants ts/č, ž/z, k/g, d/t are all rendered with the same letter for each pair. There seem to be other problems. The traditional Mongolian orthography is similar to English in its irregularity. All depends on the context and one must know how to pronounce this or that word. Conversion problems between traditional and simplified Chinese (which is also used here) are not comparable. It should be noted that phonologies of Inner and Outer Mongolia differs and they don't match 100% if both are romanised. Inner Mongolia has some sounds Outer Mongolia doesn't. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:52, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I see. Thank you for your help. --Yair rand (talk) 15:28, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Retroes is an organization[edit]

Retroes is not the plural of retro. Retros is the plural of retro. Retroes is an organization. Jsmish30 (talk) 15:15, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

google books:"retroes" gets two relevant hits, all the others seem to be not English or ambiguous. There's a chess one here where it seems to be the plural of retro, but the meaning is very uncertain. Renard Migrant (talk) 15:30, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
If you try google books:retroes without the quotation marks, it 'helpfully' included a load of citations for 'retro'. Renard Migrant (talk)

Old Indo-Aryan[edit]

A number of entries, e.g. بیچ, پیار, डील, बार, प्यार, and बीच have etymology sections saying they're from "Old Indo Aryan" or "Old Indo-Aryan vāra" or the like. How should this be templatized? "Old {{etyl|inc|hi}} {{m|und|vāra}}"? - -sche (discuss) 18:28, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I imagine it's just another name for Sanskrit. —CodeCat 19:01, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I think so too. I've certainly seen altindisch (Old Indian) as a now old-fashioned German name for Sanskrit, and I suspect these etymologies were taken from older dictionaries that use "Old Indo-Aryan" as a name for Sanskrit. However, anything unattested can be said to be Proto-Indo-Aryan (language code inc-pro). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:38, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Template:plural of[edit]

Is there any way to get the Template:plural of at comae to link to coma#Noun_2, rather than coma#English? It Is Me Here t / c 21:57, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

No. You cannot link to section headers other than L2 languages. DTLHS (talk) 22:00, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Whenever a template fails to do the right thing, feel free to hard code the right thing. DCDuring TALK 22:24, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Linking to "Noun 2" is never the right thing. DTLHS (talk) 22:34, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Nor is linking to "Etymology 2" for that matter. The proper way to link to specific senses is to use {{senseid}} and the id= parameter on the linking template. —CodeCat 22:38, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
But it is the entire Etymology (all senses) that has (or at least sometimes has) comae as a plural, unless the inflection line is wrong too. I don't know how to write a gloss for the entire Etymology section. This is a situation which print dictionaries cover by referring the reader to a numbered homonym and online dictionaries by a link to a numbered homonym.
OTOH, we have plenty of cases where only one sense has a given plural, for which {{senseid}} is the right solution. It occurs to me that if there were, say an Adjective PoS preceding a multi-definition noun PoS, that neither the Etymology n header nor {{senseid}} would offer the right link target. Something like {{senseid}} that didn't have the highlighting and could be inserted on a section-header line or just before it would do the job for the few cases of this type that might need it and might be useful for other situations where neither {{senseid}}, nor an L2 header, nor an Etymology n header, nor an expedient PoS header worked. Otherwise you can expect folks to hard-code things to link to. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Don't feel bad. It probably isn't worth the overhead to cover all the cases in the template. OTOH, it might be a good idea to put all the non-conforming entries into a category so that it would be possible to determine which cases were most worth the overhead. DCDuring TALK 23:09, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
Print dictionaries tend to have editors whose job it is to make sure numbers point to the correct definitions before the dictionary is published, a luxury we cannot afford. DTLHS (talk) 23:33, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
I disagree with DCDuring's undoing of my edit which restored {{plural of}}. There is not enough of a reason not to use it. Compared to the very minor benefit of linking somewhat closer to the intended section, section links like this cause problems, and so do entries which do not use templates. They're both a maintenance hazard. With a section link, it essentially becomes impossible for us to rearrange the sections if we ever decide to. Furthermore, from my own experience in working with many entries, entries that do not use templates (there are unfortunately lots of them in Italian) are an absolute pain to deal with. It's fine if DCDuring doesn't have to deal with that kind of thing, but that doesn't give him free reign to make it harder for those who do. Not without a very good reason, which I certainly do not see here. —CodeCat 23:49, 15 July 2014 (UTC)
If there were something like {{senseid}} with respect to linking that also:
  1. could be placed on any line of an entry (excluding headers, only at the beginning of a line, or only on an empty line, if necessary),
  2. did not introduce any ugly, confusing, or misleading side-effects in formatting (See coma.), and
  3. had a name that reflected the range of possible use,
there would be no need for the template-free expedients that seem to make Wiktionary a living hell for CodeCat. Until such a template is forthcoming, I don't see why good user-oriented linking behavior achieved by other means should be outlawed. I would be perfectly happy to mark any sections that use template-free expedients so that the expedient could be replaced with some template that addressed the underlying need.
English L2 sections in particular can be extremely difficult to navigate as they have much more content than is typical for an FL entry (multiple and often elaborate etymologies, multiple definitions, usage examples, citations, derived terms, synonyms, other semantic relations, and of course, translation tables). Getting a user to the relevant section (etymology n, PoS, or other section header, or to specific content thereunder) from another page is important to make English L2 sections more conveniently usable as they grow ever more complex. {{senseid}}, as useful as it is, does not fully meet the need. DCDuring TALK 15:17, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

tête carrée, bloke[edit]

Do you lot know any derogatory or pejorative terms for Anglophones in other languages? -- 01:44, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Russian пиндос (pindos), Spanish gringo. —Stephen (Talk) 01:51, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Definition - origin of slang for statement 'Lady Jane'[edit]

I am seeking the origin and meaning of a saying that has been used throuout my family for generations.

The term being Lady Jane. It is used to berate someone, for example catching a child doing something wrong we would ask 'what to you think your doing Lady Jane'.

I'm thinking perhaps this is back times of lord and gents and mylady. Perhaps there was a lady/royalty name Jane that was always trying to fool or get away with something.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Possibly a reference to Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen? --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:15, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I hope nobody minds that I moved this discussion here from Translation Requests. LalalalaSta (talk) 22:28, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

English genitive cases problem.[edit]

Could someone help me word this sentence?

"Principal Shawbly hid Flopsy in St. Faith's Elementary, the school at which he works, (where do I put the 's or ') basement."

I'm trying to say St. Faith's Elementary's basement, except there's a clause after this, so could someone please help me word this sentence? Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 22:17, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

You can't do it that way. Try "...in the basement of St. Faith's Elementary, the school..." Equinox 22:18, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the quick and good response. That answers my question well. Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 22:27, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
The above is best, but you could also have said: "..., the school where he works'/works's basement." --this is extremely colloquial, and though sometmes heard in actual speech, it might be viewed as odd in writing. But it does follow your original train of thought concept a little more closely though ;) Leasnam (talk) 12:56, 25 July 2014 (UTC)


I am looking to try to be a polyglot. I am already okay on Danish, but I want to learn Romanian, French, and Spanish for now. I already have basic understandings of French and Spanish, but I am looking for suggestions, please, for learning multiple different languages at a time? Thanks. Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 06:13, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Think of all languages as dialects of each other. It makes everything easier. --WikiTiki89 13:40, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Does it? A spade is still a spade, however you call it. Keφr 20:27, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
It helps me (1) not have to remember as many words in closely related languages, (2) switch between languages and mixes of languages depending on who I am talking to, as if each language or mix were a sociolect, and (3) accidentally understand things I didn't think I knew in languages I don't know very well. --WikiTiki89 20:35, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
You need to learn grammatical terminology better and learn better how to use references, in order to save you time on trial and error, but the most important part is using languages to read, write, hear and speak (just remember to get feedback on your speaking and writing, so you don't learn it wrong). Even listening to recordings without understanding them is helpful, because it gets your ear used to patterns of sounds for a language. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:02, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Learn comparative linguistics. This helps if you want to learn languages of the same family. — Ungoliant (falai) 20:30, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Re: "I am looking to try to be a polyglot." Well, just do it. It's not recommended though, as it's addictive and bad for health. :) I've been doing it since I was 7 with various interruptions and only partial successes. It's not my profession any more in the last 17 years but it's my lifetime hobby. Not setting any particular goals, although I did before - finish that course, pass that test, just enjoying the process. Formal studies, apart from native Russian - German, English, French, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese. Informal self-studies - Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, Arabic, Korean, Swedish, Norwegian Bokmål, Finnish, Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, Hindi, Persian (the last five were brief). Korean is going to be formal end of this month. --Anatoli T. (обсудить;/вклад) 00:57, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the input guys. But I've changed my mind. I'm not going to jump to Latin-based languages. I like Germanic languages the best, so I'm just going to stick with them. Right now, I've started Icelandic, and believe it or not, the words are so similar, so it's kind of not as hard as I thought it would be. I've found http://icelandiconline.is/ that is very good learning. I'm surprised I didn't use an online website to learn Danish. I'm also trying to find a good way to learn Faroese.

Well, and then I'm starting Afrikaans now too with http://easyafrikaans.com/ . I'm trying to be as unique as possible here. Think I can take this on if I really try? Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 00:21, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

missing caption[edit]

A uploaded a new image, and placed it into the counterfoil definition, but its caption is missing. I do not know why and was unable to fix it. Nwbeeson (talk) 14:46, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I fixed it. You forgot to add the "thumb" argument. --WikiTiki89 14:56, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the format is [ [ File:????.???|???px|right/left|thumb|caption ] ] . Rædi Stædi Yæti {-skriv til mig-} 20:27, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Meanings of a word and definitions in other languages[edit]

Tenses The English watermelon has two primary meanings (the plant and the fruit bore by said plant) but also has a third slang meaning: a socialist environmentalist. The Spanish sandía means the first two definitions but not the third. How would I explain this in Wiktionary? Presently, sandía#Spanish merely reads "watermelon" as its definition but that does not explain that the pejorative slang word is inaccurate. Thoughts? —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:35, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

We use glosses. Take another look. — Ungoliant (falai) 04:00, 25 July 2014 (UTC)