Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/October

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October 2012[edit]


How should the general American and British pronunciations of "air" be transcribed, broadly and narrowly? I have seen a number of transcriptions: /ɛəɹ/, /ɛɹ/, [ɛɚ], /eəɹ/ and [eɚ] for the American (rhotic), /ɛə(ɹ)/, /ɛ(ɹ)/ and /eə(ɹ)/ for the British (non-rhotic). This affects all words which have the same sound (with the TR#Mary-marry-merry_merger influencing how many such words there are for any given speaker). I think the vowel is different from simple /ɛ/ or /e/, [ɛ˞] or [e˞]... :\ - -sche (discuss) 18:50, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

Haven't we had this conversation before (#Mary-marry-merry merger)? I've generally seen /ɛə(ɹ)/ for British and /eə(ɹ)/ for American but personally, I think the nuances of this sound are beyond the scope of IPA and that's why we have audio samples. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 20:18, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
According to Appendix:English pronunciation, air should be transcribed /ɛə(ɹ)/ for RP and /ɛɹ/ for General American (assuming what we're calling General American has the Mary-marry-merry merger). The audio samples are a nice extra, but they're meaningless to anyone who isn't already familiar with English phonology, at least subconsciously. —Angr 20:33, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't know why you think audio samples are "meaningless to anyone who isn't already familiar with English phonology". I think audio samples are the best thing we can provide in terms of pronunciation, much better than IPA, as long as they are good enough quality recordings. IPA is only useful to those who are already familiar with both IPA and English (or whatever other language) phonology enough to reconstruct the sound from the IPA. I think the reason /ɛɹ/ is used for American is because (to those with the complete Mary-marry-merry merger) it is just the allophone of /ɛ/ before /ɹ/, but the allophone of /ɛ/ in /ɛɹ/ is certainly different from the one in (for example) /ɛt/. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 21:00, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
They're meaningless because simply hearing someone pronounce a word doesn't tell you anything about the phonology of the word if you don't already know what that language's phonemes are. If I hear a recording of someone saying a word in a language I know nothing about, I don't know whether the pitch they're using is crucial or not, because I don't know if it's a tone language or not. If I hear a voiceless aspirated stop at the beginning of a word, or a nasalized vowel next to a nasal consonant, I don't know whether those features are phonemic or allophonic. I may be able to parrot back what I've just heard, but I haven't learned anything about the structure of the language. Only a broad phonemic IPA transliteration can give that information to me as a learner of the language. —Angr 21:39, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
So for you a broad transcription would suffice which need not delve into the subtleties of the /ɛəɹ/ sound and a transcription of /ɛəɹ/ would suffice. But an audio sample is much better than a narrow transcription if you want to know what a word actually sounds like. In the end, to speak a language, you need to produce the sound, not identify phonemes. Don't forget, most of our users are not linguists and don't even know what phonemes are. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 22:23, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Subconsciously they do. And hearing what a word sounds like is all very well, but unless you're already familiar with the language it doesn't actually help you pronounce the word, because you don't know what information is important and what isn't. —Angr 22:45, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
They need both, which is why we provide both broad transcriptions and audio samples. But the narrow transcription, like I just said, can never be accurate enough so there's no point in getting it to be perfect when we can provide audio. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 22:59, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
  • In traditional RP it's /ɛə/, but the OED abandoned that several years ago and now gives the more familiar British pronunciation /ɛː/. Ƿidsiþ 13:17, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
    What about when the /ɹ/ is pronounced, as in Mary is it /mɛəɹi/ or /mɛːɹi/? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:21, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
    The latter. Ƿidsiþ 13:31, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

die slow[edit]

Should there be a page created called die slow? It is used as an expletive when you wish harm on someone, as in "die slow!". Pass a Method (talk) 14:34, 2 October 2012 (UTC)


I read the latter in a journal article and don't know what it means. We have neither nonexportive nor its antonym exportive on this Wiki. Can somebody create them, or at least tell me what they mean? (I also added them to the English requested entries list) Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 15:57, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

You didn't say what field, but this pdf uses it in the context of coral reef ecosystems, and there "nonexportive" seems to mean not taking things out of the system, like one would do by catching fish for use elsewhere. It would seem that "exporting" is roughly equivalent to "removing". Chuck Entz (talk) 04:43, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

foreign policy and foreign affairs[edit]

Is there any difference between these two terms? According to our current definitions there's hardly any:

  • foreign affairs: "Policy of a government in dealing with other countries or with activities overseas."
  • foreign policy: "A government's policy relating to matters beyond its own jurisdiction: usually relations with other nations and international organisations."

I am used to think that "foreign policy" refers to the decisions and guidelines which guide the dealings of a country with other countries whereas "foreign affairs" refers to the practical issues dealt with within the guidelines set by the foreign policy. --Hekaheka (talk) 05:44, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

They are very close in meaning indeed but "foreign policy" also is related to diplomacy, IMO, not just the dealings with foreign countries but the rules for these dealings, perhaps. However, the verbal translation of "foreign affairs" is not so common in some languages, the literal translation of "foreign affairs" is used in the name of the ministry in Russian, for example. Perhaps, the definition of "foreign affairs" should have another sense - "dealings with foreign countries", which sounds awkward to me because people mean the foreign policy when using this term ("foreign affairs"). My two cents, I might be wrong. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 06:06, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
"Foreign affairs" though implies more than just policy, and furthermore is not limited to diplomacy. In journalism for instance, ‘foreign affairs’ simply means ‘things of interest happening abroad’. Ƿidsiþ 06:25, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
"foreign policy" is policy on "foreign affairs". I've never heard of "foreign affairs" on its own referring to the policy itself. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 09:22, 3 October 2012 (UTC)


My New Oxford American Dictionary lists the following sense for prevent: archaic (of God) go before (someone) with spiritual guidance and help. Can this be attested? ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

From Article X of the 39 Articles of Religion: "Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will." I found some other archaic usages of prevent where it clearly doesn't have its modern meaning, but doesn't take a person as its direct object either: [1], [2]. (I looked specifically for "God preventeth" as I thought using the archaic verb ending would be a good way of finding archaic usages.) —Angr 07:42, 3 October 2012 (UTC)


The latest issue of a academic review journal, the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, just arrived in my inbox, and it includes an interesting term which I've not seen hitherto - €urope. Assuming it's not a typo, I assume that the term refers to the Euro-zone? Is this a common term that I, distant from Europe, just happen not to have encountered yet? Or a neologistic fad? The context: "no need to ask why the topic of falsification should have such magnetism in Spain—in €urope—today" (http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2012/2012-10-02.html). Furius (talk) 07:37, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure it's not a typo. It's presumably just a way of saying "Euro zone" or maybe just "money-obsessed Europe", parallel to "U$A". —Angr 07:45, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
For "money-obsessed", compare Micro$oft and Ke$ha. Equinox 09:20, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
These are called w:Satirical misspellings. — Ungoliant (Falai) 17:02, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
In fact that article mentions "€urope" specifically. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 17:09, 3 October 2012 (UTC)


Couple questions:

  1. The etymology and sense #3 seem to contradict each other.
  2. Is the interjection sense of "Dude!" (meaning "What the fuck!" or "What the hell are you doing?") a separate sense from #2?

--WikiTiki89 (talk) 11:08, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Sense 3 seems to be based on dude ranch, which is the earliest usage of dude most people are aware of. I have my doubts about whether it really exists separate from the "tourist" and/or "dandy" sense ("tourist" may also be from "dude ranch"). As for the interjection: among its core practitioners, "dude" can mean just about anything, depending on context, intonation and gestures. Basically, it's a sort of carrier for non-verbal communication. I can imagine an entire conversation starting with "Hey,dude!", followed by an exchange of nothing but a series of variations on "Dude!" Chuck Entz (talk) 12:58, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
So is the interjection worth adding? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:00, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I remember an old Stan Freberg comedy recording called "John and Marsha", which consists of an entire old-fashioned soap opera based on John and Marsha saying "John" and "Marsha" to each other. Just about anything can be used as an interjection. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:20, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I remember that too. (And my sister Marcia has been constantly reminded of it all her life, especially since marrying a man named Jon). —Angr 13:21, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Which is why I'm asking if it's distinct from the vocative noun sense. From what I can tell you're saying no it isn't. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:23, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
It isn't. Maybe fodder for a usage note, at most. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:53, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Users seem to love the use of terms as interjections, so if we don't insert something that reduces the incentive of would-be contributors to add the meaning of the term in their idiolect, we can expect to be removing the interjection L3 section from this a few times a year. DCDuring TALK 16:34, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Wagen and Wägen[edit]

[[Wägen]] says its the plural of [[Wagen]], but [[Wagen]] won't admit any relation to [[Wägen]]. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 11:22, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

According to Duden, Wägen is Austrian/South German while Wagen is standard elsewhere. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:46, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Yep. I've edited both pages accordingly. —Angr 12:54, 3 October 2012 (UTC)


User:Da Desirer 2 has added a whole bunch of translations to the entry. That same user already added similar huge amounts to entries yesterday and before. In each case, one or more of the translations was wrong. And I figured if one of them is wrong, there is no telling how many more are, but I don't have the knowledge to check them all. So I reverted all, it seemed like the safer option. The user has now added a list of translation to the talk page instead. Could someone please have a look at them, and maybe also talk to the user? I don't think they're quite understanding me... —CodeCat 23:51, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

In-migration and out-migration[edit]

Is anyone familiar with the terms in-migrate/in-migration and out-migrate/out-migration? I have just been pointed out on Wikipedia that in-migration refers to internal migration within a country, and that the term is not to be confused with immigration. Out-migration, then, seems to be a general term covering immigration and emigration across country borders. Neither Wikipedia nor Wiktionary have entries (Wikipedia used to have one on out-migration that was redirected to w:Human migration with the rationale that it covered the same thing as emigration, which I have now reason to think is not correct), but Google turns up definitions along these lines. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 05:06, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

They don’t sound kosher to me. Internal migration within a country is just migration. External migration outside of a country is also just migration. Immigration is coming into a country, emigration is the exodus. —Stephen (Talk) 05:48, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
COCA has about a hundred hits for in-migration vs. 17,000 for immigration. Definitions fitting the usage would be "migration into a jurisdiction (as a US state or county) without a formal legal process", "immigration", and "(figurative) inflow of something, as capital", probably in that order of frequency. The highly formalized, legalistic nature of much international immigration in developed countries may make a different word seem appropriate for inward migration flows into sub-national regions. The term seems often used in sociological or other scholarly and policy discussions. DCDuring TALK 06:08, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
See in- (Etymology 1). A relevant definition for out- has not yet been written. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 07:32, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Stephen: That's not what I've written. I did not say that I understand out-migration to mean "external migration outside of a country", but "border-crossing migration" (i. e., "international migration"), referring to both immigration and emigration (not relative to any specific country), as opposed to in-migration or internal migration (i. e., "intranational migration"), which is neither. That may be somewhat confusing or difficult to follow, but I cannot state it any more clearly.
Apparently in-migration can also specifically refer to all inward or inbound migration, for example into a subdivision of a country, whether from the same country or from abroad (and presumably analogously for out-migration). There seem to be several different definitions and uses, however. The definitions Merriam-Webster gives for in-migrate and out-migrate do not seem any different from what I understand immigrate and emigrate respectively to mean, so it seems they can be synonyms, or they can have a different meaning in technical contexts. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 12:13, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Also, in speech, to clarify a distinction between immigration and emigration people will augment immigration with into and emigration with out of. In-migration and out-migration accomplish the same purpose. DCDuring TALK 13:31, 7 October 2012 (UTC)


Is the usage note necessary? It can apply to any city, are we going to put a similar usage note on every city name on Wiktionary? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Not every city would attestably have such usage. Try "Syracuse", for example. Such usage of a toponym might be a way of discriminating entry-worthy from non-entry-worthy toponyms, were we not opposed to having such discrimination. DCDuring TALK 13:53, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me like the usage note is serving to hold citations supporting the assertion that Chicago is an adjective: in one it's modified by uniquely and in two it's modified by very. Those are both ways of proving that something is a real adjective rather than just a noun used attributively. —Angr 13:57, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Here ya go. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:59, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Aside from references to an institution called "The Syracuse Way to Go" and to a street called "Syracuse way", those are almost all instances of "how we do things in Syracuse" rather than anything associated with characteristics of the city. There's one case where the assertion is that the city is associated with high-quality workmanship/technology, but that's it. "Very Syracuse" returns nothing relevant.
Some more examples. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 14:08, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Another one. It seems like (informally at least) this can be done to any sort of proper noun, including the whole being-modified-by-an-adverb thing. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 14:14, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Harvard and Boston are somewhat iconic, also. The mere existence of the phrase "the [city name] way" isn't a good test for this kind of usage, since it's often used without reference to iconic attributes of the city, just to the way things are done there. "So [city name]" and "very [city name]" are better. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:32, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
I'll analyze the three cites on [[Chicago]]:
  1. You can replace "Chicago" with any city or place and the adjectives in the latter half with adjectives suitable for that city and you get another equally valid sentence.
  2. Refers to "how things are done" in Chicago.
  3. Refers to being the kind of thing a Chicagoan would like.
Just because smaller cities wouldn't have as many durably archived citations about them doesn't mean they are any less valid to use as the same kind of adjective. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 15:48, 4 October 2012 (UTC)


What is the meaning of the word valenced in the following quotes?

  • Although taboo words are used to study emotional memory and attention, no easily accessible normative data are available that compare taboo, emotionally valenced, and emotionally neutral words on the same scales.
  • Naive causal understanding of valenced behaviors and its implications for social information processing.
  • Attentional bias for valenced stimuli as a function of personality in the dot-probe task.
  • Social sharing of emotion following exposure to a negatively valenced situation.

... and other similar ones. SemperBlotto (talk) 14:22, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

It is denominal: "having a valence". The sense of valence is simply a "value", often an emotional one or connecting with approach and avoidance. It is definitely common in psychology and used in semantics and sociolinguistics. DCDuring TALK 15:05, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
It seems to be comparable and limited to relatively scholarly usage in social sciences. DCDuring TALK 15:15, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
It would also be a home for the combining form as occasionally used in chemical writings. DCDuring TALK 15:29, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

"nip and tuck with me": adverb or adjective?[edit]

Is "nip and tuck" here an adverb or adjective? My guess is that's the former, but just to be sure.. --CopperKettle (talk) 01:02, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

After a copula, it would be an adjective. DCDuring TALK 01:07, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! --CopperKettle (talk) 11:53, 7 October 2012 (UTC)


The entry just says "eye dialect of if", but where does this (and similar words like "iffin", "if'n" etc) actually come from? What's the mysterious "'n"? Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:44, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

  • I believe it's and sense 2.1 or an Etymology 2 sense 1, both meaning if – in other words, if'n is just a reduplication. Ƿidsiþ 09:41, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think "reduplication" is the right word. More like "redundancy" IMHO, except that that has negative connotations . . . —RuakhTALK 21:04, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
    Quite right. Ƿidsiþ 20:15, 22 October 2012 (UTC)


Is there a better English word for "person of the same age (as you)" (Gleichaltriger) than "peer"? - -sche (discuss) 01:18, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

We often translate the Russian equivalent - ровесник (rovésnik) m / ровесница (rovésnica) f as peer or "age-mate" (no entry yet). --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 01:36, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd use coeval. —Angr 20:43, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
How about contemporary? Reminds me of Chinese 同龄人. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:34, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Both coeval and contemporary are not defined (yet?) as "person of the same age". Do they have this sense? How about an entry for "age-mate"? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 05:55, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
[[age-mate]] is great; I've created an entry for it. :) - -sche (discuss) 06:06, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Does age-mate actually exist? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 07:12, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
I created the Icelandic entry jafnaldri the other day and wondered if there was a better word than "contemporary" which I used. Never heard of age-mate before but apparently it does exist (on Google Books at least). BigDom (tc) 08:24, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
It's even defined in Merriam-Webster dictionary. It's a colloquial word but it's attestable and it's used, no doubt about this. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 03:20, 10 October 2012 (UTC)


Etymology 2 needs a bit of help. This is a real sense, but the part of speech may be wrong. -- Liliana 06:04, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

  • I've cited and tidied up the adjective sense (can't make heads or tails of the adverb sense). However, I don't think it's actually an adjective - I've searched, but there are no hits I can find for "the game was gold" or "the gold game". It always takes "go" - "the game had gone gold", "the game will go gold". As a result, I think this is a verb, go gold. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:50, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
    • It's not just used there. Many product names used this meaning of gold (Netscape Navigator Gold may be the most well-known example), and then there's stuff like Brian Stanford-Smith, Paul T. Kidd: E-business: Key Issues, Applications and Technologies, IOS Press, Amsterdam 2000, p. 216: The development of ActiveMARK™ eventually led to the Gold version of the product in May 2000. -- Liliana 14:43, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Also, looking at Google Books, the term gold is verifiable even before the advent of computing, so {{programming|of software}} cannot be correct. -- Liliana 12:14, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Examples? There are hits about records going gold, but that's in the sales sense (going gold = selling half a million records in the United States), not the production sense. There are also a couple of pre-computing hits for "gold master", but these date back to the days when they were literally made of gold. The "final version" sense of "gold" seems computing specific. Smurrayinchester (talk) 05:38, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Also, I'm not sure those cites fit the given definition of "gold". "Netscape Navigator Gold" is not the final version of Netscape navigator, it's the premium version - it shared the marketplace with Netscape Navigator Standard - and "gold" in this case seems to mean "valuable". It wouldn't make much sense for a product to be called "Gold" because it was the finished version - by definition, every piece of software released commercially is gold. The ActiveMARK one might be valid, but the capital "G" on "Gold" makes it seem like that too might be a specific product name. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:22, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

False direct[edit]

Why does Druid (capital D) direct to druid (lower-case) d)? I tried to create a seperate article but the create page won't show. Pass a Method (talk) 18:54, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Never mind, the red link showed up here and i created the page. Pass a Method (talk) 18:56, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
For next time, you can click on the link in the redirect message. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 06:44, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
There was no redirect message; maybe its a glitch. It was plain. Pass a Method (talk) 08:46, 10 October 2012 (UTC)


Is the second definition right? Should it be "criticism of an easy target, a cheap shot"? - -sche (discuss) 02:49, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

I've changed it. - -sche (discuss) 19:02, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

pre-commissioning, precommissioning[edit]

Achilles heel and feet of clay - synonyms?[edit]

Are these two synonyms? If not, what is the difference in meaning and usage? Thanks. --Panda10 (talk) 19:21, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Your Death Star has an Achilles heel if it has an exposed exhaust port large enough for your enemies to shoot down. Your religious leader / politician has feet of clay when you realize he's slept with a new woman every town he's spoke in. Feet of clay is more about moral failings, I believe, whereas Achilles heels are more moral neutral.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:18, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Prosfilaes. In addition, I feel like the Achilles heel is a tiny flaw which proves fatal, while the feet of clay are a substantial absolutely fundamental failing. Furius (talk) 04:15, 12 October 2012 (UTC)


My American Oxford seems to suggest that this has usually used negatively - [ predic. ] (prone to/prone to do something) likely to or liable to suffer from, do, or experience something, typically something regrettable or unwelcome. Should we adding this connotation to our entry? ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:53, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

I think yes. You can say "He's prone to eating all our cookies." but you can't really say "He's prone to bringing us free cookies." --WikiTiki89 (talk) 09:18, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
It does seem to add a negative valence to whatever it is used with. The 'regret' or 'suffering' is in the relationship between the complement of prone and what is modified by prone. "He's prone to eating all our cookies" implies it is bad for him, eg, he's diabetic or he's going to earn our enmity. "He's prone to bring us free cookies" could make some sense if it were to be interpreted as "He's prone to bring us cookies that he can ill afford to buy on his pension." DCDuring TALK 13:11, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree that "He's prone to bring us free cookies." could make sense if it is bad for him financially. I was thinking that myself but decided not to mention it. I disagree though, that "He's prone to eating all our cookies." can only imply that it is bad for him. For example: "Try the cookies before he gets here because he's prone to eating all our cookies." This is similar to how "My cellphone is prone to going off in the middle of meetings." does not imply it's bad for the cellphone but that it's bad for me. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 15:49, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
You might be right. It seems like a research project. We can just go with OAD for now. DCDuring TALK 17:00, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
@Wikitiki: It didn't take much research to convince me that you are right. I was just focused on the somewhat more common situation, but the more general usage is quite abundant. DCDuring TALK 17:19, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Somehow though, I have a feeling that this "more general usage" originated as a figurative or ironic form of what you described. But that's just one of those sixth-sense feelings that has no basis in anything I know of. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 18:39, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Hello you bunch of filthy fucking rotters[edit]

What is the word for an object that a group of people would treat as a identifying sign? e.g. the Star of David to the Jewish race. There's some fucktwirling word for it. Tell me immediately. 21:19, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

emblem... maybe. Equinox 21:35, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
No, it might not be a word for a general object, but possibly a code word that would identify people. It sounds a bit more mystical than emblem.
ethnic emblem/symbol. — Ungoliant (Falai) 21:55, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Symbol, but why the douchebaggery? — Ungoliant (Falai) 21:36, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
There's a problem with your question. The people who "treat" "the Star of David" "as a[n] identifying sign" for "the Jewish race" are not Jews, but rather Nazis. That's a pretty important distinction. —RuakhTALK 22:08, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
You might want to edit Wikipedia's Star of David page then, because it's sounding pretty Nazi by your standards. 22:12, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I think Ruakh's implication is that only a Nazi would consider Jews a race. There is no doubt that the star of David is used by the Jews to identify themselves. But as far as I know, Jews consider themselves a people and/or a religious group, certainly not a race. —CodeCat 22:39, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, more or less. I mean, insofar as Jews form an ethnic group, it can be merely very-old-fashioned (rather than specifically Nazi) to refer to that group as a "race"; but the use of the Star of David as a racial identifier is primarily a Nazi one. —RuakhTALK 23:00, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Why even bother answering? I blocked the IP for obvious reasons, although I put "Stupidity" as a reason. Such behaviour is stupid. Please don't unblock without agreement. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:44, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Help with parts of speech[edit]

Can anyone tell the PoS of the Fala word mais in these sentences?

  • hasta “oito” o mais. (up to “eight” or more)
  • a nossa fala é un tesoiru mais entre elas. (Fala is yet another treasure among them).

My guess is pronoun and determiner. — Ungoliant (Falai) 14:23, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Try WT:TR. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).
Stupid me. — Ungoliant (Falai) 01:28, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Why would it be a pronoun? I would say its a determiner in both. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 07:29, 16 October 2012 (UTC)


I've been adding translations for troll (in its noun Internet sense) like crazy. Come join in the party and add translations (with information on gender, counters, etc.) for languages we don't yet have! It's at troll#Translations_3. Jeremy Jigglypuff Jones (talk) 09:49, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

I've added a few. I wonder where you got your Chinese and Korean translations from? I will verify them and remove/change. To me, 网路特务, 网路特工 and 网特 (abbreviation of the first two) seem the most apporpriate. Korean uses the English borrowing 트롤. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 04:52, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
I resorted to the "In other languages" section of the Wikipedia article [[w:troll|troll], and got several more from the interlanguage links at the Wikipedia article. Oh, BTW, thanks for your additions! Jeremy Jigglypuff Jones (talk) 02:04, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

proceed/ procede[edit]

'common misspelling'? I would prefer to see it as 'archaic' or perhaps 'obsolete' spelling. it is the original correct spelling, unless you want to undergo a minor proceedure (or you are going to receed into the distance, or take preceedence, or conceed a point). for goodness' sake. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 00:50, 17 October 2012‎.


Here is a discussion initiated by Ticklewickleukulele (talkcontribs) on Talk:nerd. Essentially he's disputing the current definition. What do you guys think?

<quote> "intellectual,skilled in one or more fields, and generally introverted." That def is WAY off. First, it says that simply being intellectual makes you a nerd. second, it says that nerds are introverted. The key term is "overly intellectual". Having A's in school doesn't necessarily make one nerdy.

As for the introversion, that may not be the case. Most nerds are either socially excluded (not allowed in conversations and peer groups), or socially inept (lacking social skills entirely.) I have heard of many nerds in schools that want to be extroverted, but cant, because of bullies, sometimes leading them to suicide. If they were introverted, they wouldn't care.

Also, "nerd" is a really common term for referring to a person heavily obsessed with a fantasy interest (e.g. comics, Pokémon), both as a derogatory ref and a reclaimed term.

Nerd is one of the few derogatory terms with no standard definition. It just refers to people with odd interests, personalities, appearance, etc. It also has a different meaning when reclaimed by a targeted group (e.g. scientists, retro video game enthusiasts). The more common derogatory meaning is "a person who is overly intellectual, obsessive, odd, or socially impaired." But in reclaimed usage, it refers to any person heavily interested in something. Ticklewickleukulele (talk) 21:20, 14 October 2012 (UTC) </quote>

—This unsigned comment was added by Jamesjiao (talkcontribs) at 02:00, 17 October 2012‎.

We were definitely missing a sense. I added one that doesn't imply intellectuality or introversion: "One who has an intense, obsessive interest in something. a computer nerd; a comic-book nerd". Equinox 07:29, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Just because you're introverted doesn't mean you're completely happy with your lack of social skills. Think of all those involuntary celibates. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:39, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


"(transitive, passive) Designed for some purpose." This is not a verb definition but an adjective one. Is it even a distinct sense? Equinox 09:27, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Or a noun, used attributively in an adjectival sense? Chuck Entz (talk) 12:40, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why a passive sense needs a separate definition, though from the wording I haven't yet been able to judge whether we have the corresponding active sense.
I see current citations at COCA that are of a transitive sense "to give a purpose to" something (I've not yet seen it refer to another person.), which we seem to lack.
One can find enough use of purposed#Adjective to warrant inclusion, though I'm not sure of the sense(s) of the adjective. I'd just look at uses with "more [] than", "very", and "too" to determine adjective senses.
The definitions at both purpose#Verb and purposed#Adjective seem a jumble to me, partially because of what is omitted.
I always find it easier to assess the coverage of definitions if the grammar is clear (transitive, intransitive, other complements) and if one allows for persons, other animates, and things to be objects. I'm not getting that clarity as the definitions are worded and labeled now.
Hmmm. That seems to warrant an rfc, doesn't it? DCDuring TALK 14:19, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


I feel like this is also used in English but I can't find any evidence to back this up since all the search results anywhere I search are in French, even when I try my best to add more English words to the search. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 11:38, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Are you sure you're not thinking of après without the article? I've never seen d'après in English. Chuck Entz (talk) 12:35, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
No because the sense is "according to". It's possible that it's just interference from my knowledge of French, but I wanna know if anyone else has heard this. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 12:47, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
The only possible citation I can find is:
  • 2007, Rosso: the transient form, page 54:
    Gavroche and the copy of Niccolò da Uzzano can be seen in two photographs of the salon-atelier and living room of Rue de Lisbonne, in Paris 2004, pp. 38, 42-43; in ibidem, p. 147, the sketch d'après the Frileuse by Houdon is published.
I searched for "d'après the", which also turned up a lot of French texts that were saying things like "d'après The Oxford English Dictionary", etc. - -sche (discuss) 06:27, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

cliche vs. cliché[edit]

Is this Google Ngram search accurate? If so, then why do we seem to be proscribing cliche? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 15:11, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Seems to have been a very old issue, partially corrected in 2009 (before which it also had odd an usage note). I've now changed it to "alternative form of". - -sche (discuss) 06:31, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
But still if the Ngram is accurate, then it's cliché that should be an alternative form of cliche. --WikiTiki89 09:32, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
No, it's not accurate. Look at some of the hits for cliche from the links on the bottom; you'll see a lot of cliché. There's no strict rules on how to use "alternative form of"; inferring fine details of popularity from it is incorrect, and using it to imply such fine details pales compared to a good usage note.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:40, 18 October 2012 (UTC)


This badly needs a better definition. It doesn't explain what copyleft is at all. —CodeCat 13:36, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

I made a few changes that I think are a good start. --WikiTiki89 13:48, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
It's definitely better, but I think there is also an adjective sense. You can say "this licence is copyleft". —CodeCat 13:55, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't feel adjectival to me. Can a licence be "more copyleft" or "too copyleft"? Equinox 14:07, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
According to many hits on Google for "is more copyleft", and a few for "(is) too copyleft", yes. :) There is even result that says "your coverage of these kinds of issues tends to lean too Copyleft for my taste" which makes it seem almost like an adverb. —CodeCat 14:17, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
I added the adjective sense. and also copyleftist (uncommon but attestable). --WikiTiki89 14:43, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
As documented on the talk page, the adjective section failed RFV because there was no durably-archived evidence of adjectival use. Cite it or lose it... - -sche (discuss) 17:05, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't this fall under 'clearly widespread use'? To me, it is clearly an adjective. —CodeCat 17:13, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
It wouldn't hurt to cite it though. --WikiTiki89 17:32, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
@CodeCat: if it previously failed RFV, then no, it obviously can't be claimed to be in clearly widespread use. It's also worth reading the previous RFV discussion to see why it failed: because the common use of it is as a noun, sometimes modifying other nouns. To be an adjective, it has to pass tests of adjectivity, like "more/less copyleft than". - -sche (discuss) 19:06, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
What if it's uncountable? (Not that it is, since it seems to be countable) —CodeCat 19:28, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
It's still possible to tell the difference. For example, in the thread Materializm dialektyczny, czyli kod vs projekt in pl.comp.os.advocacy, someone posted: "The MPL has a limited amount of 'copyleft' - more copyleft than the BSD family of licenses, which have no copyleft at all, but less than the LGPL or the GPL." In that case, "copyleft" is an uncountable/mass noun like hair or water. On the other hand, I've found three citations (here) where it's an adjective... but I haven't found three citations of a coherent sense yet: the 1992 and 2012 citations mean "subject to a copyleft licence", the 2007 citation seems to mean "in favour of copyleft philosophy" - -sche (discuss) 05:50, 20 October 2012 (UTC)


Sense 9 simply says "Used attributively". This is not a separate sense of the word; indeed, any of the 8 preceding senses could be used attributively. We would not (I hope) have a separate sense line at tractor saying "Used attributively" just because of e.g. "tractor parts". Equinox 17:10, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

As an attributive sense distinct from the others, I could only think of those which are in the adjective section. — Ungoliant (Falai) 18:00, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

Bos grunniens grunniens[edit]

This is one of the taxa for the domesticated yak, now a redlink. Is the domesticated yak just the yak that has been domesticated? Or is it inherently distinct because the subspecies is deemed to have its own scientific identity? I expect that normal folks, should they ever talk about such things and still remain normal, would have the SoP definition in mind.

If domesticated yak is SoP, should we have a translation table at Bos grunniens grunniens? DCDuring TALK 23:27, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

According to something called the Principle of Coordination in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, any time you describe a species, you're also describing the subspecies of the same name. That means that Bos gruniens gruniens is technically correct. No one would bother using it, though, unless there's another subspecies to contrast it with- Bos gruniens and Bos gruniens gruniens would mean the same thing, so why bother? If one considers the wild yak to be a different subspecies of the same species (Bos gruniens mutus), then it would make sense to talk about Bos gruniens gruniens.
There was a ruling by the International Committee Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, which has authority over the ICZN (the code), that explicitly gave Bos mutus priority over Bos gruniens when they're applied to the same species, which means you can have Bos gruniens and Bos mutus, but when considered as subspecies of the same species, it's Bos mutus gruniens and Bos mutus mutus (w:Yak seems to have misunderstood this). In accordance with the ruling, Bos gruniens gruniens is therefore an obsolete synonym unless it's redundant. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:37, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
When was the ruling? As B. grunniens was in Mammal Species 3rd (2005) I figure that there must be some usage thereof. DCDuring TALK 02:16, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
2012 Google Scholar has both in almost equal number. That would be the third or fourth possible modern name. I've picked those species that have gotten or are getting their genome sequenced to do as full a job of handling synonyms etc as possible, before I throw in the towel on taxonomic names.
In any event, what about the vernacular names? They look SoP to a normal human. Are they something special to some group of users? If so, then do we put translation tables in Translingual sections? DCDuring TALK 02:28, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
I think I'll just use the second reply I was preparing as is, even though your reply to the first one has made it partly obsolete:
  • As to your main point: a taxonomic species and a common name aren't the same thing. They often coincide, and one can be used to explain the other, but changing one doesn't change the other. "Domesticated yak" and "wild yak" mean the same things they always have, regardless of whether they coincide with valid taxa. After all, a wolf is still a wolf, and a dog is still a dog, even though they're now taxonomically both Canis lupus instead of Canis familiaris and Canis lupus. The term yak refers to both domesticated and wild yaks, just as camel refers to both the Bactrian camel and the dromedary. I think domesticated yak isn't quite SOP, because you can tame a wild yak, but it's not the same as a domesticated yak. In the same way, a feral domestic yak is wild, and it's a yak, but it's not really a wild yak.Chuck Entz (talk) 02:44, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Chuck that a yak which has been (individually) domesticated is distinct from a domesticated yak; I think domesticated yak deserves an entry as much as tennis player (see that entry's talk page for the relevant "tennis player" test of idiomaticity). - -sche (discuss) 03:17, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Re: "I think domesticated yak isn't quite SOP, because you can tame a wild yak, but it's not the same as a domesticated yak": I think that's mostly because "domesticated", in current technical usage, does not mean exactly the same thing as "tame": it implies genetic, or at least heritable, changes. Taming a single lion doesn't make it a domesticated animal, and conversely, domesticating a fruit tree doesn't make it obey commands. —RuakhTALK 03:49, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
As for the ruling, it was in 2003 [3]. The word "explicitly" that I used above is probably not quite right, since the ruling itself doesn't actually say one has priority over the other. There's a paragraph further down in the article on p.83 that addresses that issue, but "can't be distinguished" is ambiguous, so it doesn't exactly nail it down. Even so, it's the same ruling that justifies Bos primigenius taurus instead of Bos taurus taurus and Canis lupus familiaris instead of Canis familiaris familiaris, and both of those are widely used. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:40, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
  • It is not at all uncommon for various types of professionals to talk of feral domesticated horses. See wild horse for an example of the polysemy of this type of terminology in vernacular names. Vernacular names are not quite what normal people use, at least not in English or, I assume, any language with enough professionals and money to standardize terminology. They seem to attempt to duplicate the specificity of taxonomic names. I think vernacular name in this sense may deserve and entry. DCDuring TALK 04:01, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
I would subsume the last two definitions of "wild horse", namely "a feral horse" and "an untamed horse", into {{&lit}}... - -sche (discuss) 06:49, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
A feral horse is one that has "gone native", that may be descended from domesticated animals, but also may have been born in the wild and be living in the wild. An untamed horse is a horse not yet tamed, but quite possibly living in a barn. I could see that one might argue that {{&lit}} would cover this last sense, but it is not the same as "feral horse". DCDuring TALK 12:06, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

put someone in their place[edit]

  1. Do we usually inflect idioms like this, idioms which contain placeholder pronouns?
  2. How is this the past tense of "put oneself in someone's place"? (Oh, because Lucifer created the entry.) - -sche (discuss) 04:38, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
put oneself in someone's place is similarly poorly defined. - -sche (discuss) 04:38, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me like LW copy-pasted the second verb section directly from put oneself in someone's place and forgot to change it to fit the new enry. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:57, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
You can say "puts someone in their place" and "putting someone in their place," but wouldn't the past participle be "someone, put in their place" on account of the past participle being passive? At any rate, it doesn't really feel like the idiom inflecting so much as "put" carrying on as usual... Furius (talk) 06:43, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
What about "They had put someone in their place." That's a past participle. If I were dictator here, I would say entries such as this belong in [[put in place]]. But otherwise, I'd rename it to [[put one in one's place]]. --WikiTiki89 09:39, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Oddly enough, it was the RFD for put in place that lead me to look at this entry, and notice its format problems.
The logic for using "someone" (another person) instead of "one" (the subject of the sentence) is that you usually say "I put him in his place", not "I put myself in my place". - -sche (discuss) 16:27, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Does one always have to refer to the subject? Isn't that what oneself is for? --WikiTiki89 04:39, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
The practice in almost every dictionary that covers idiomatic expression is to use "someone" and "something" rather than "one" and "something" when they need placeholders. As we are trying to communicate with those whose expectations are formed by such dictionaries and as we are less space-limited than the print dictionaries, I don't see the advantage in using "one". DCDuring TALK 05:27, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. --WikiTiki89 05:31, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
AHD has a run-in entry at "put" for "put (someone) in (someone's) place". I think [[put someone in someone's place]] would work for us with redirects to it from all the relevant all-pronoun forms (you, him, her, them, us, me) (6 forms) and "put someone in his/her/their place(s)" (4 forms). DCDuring TALK 17:21, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Whether or not it is inflected is part of the general question of inflecting multi-word verbs. I think it is appropriate for short ones (two words? three?) using irregular verbs, eg, some "phrasal verbs". I think it is completely inappropriate for long expressions using regular (weak) verbs. I don't know about the other two categories. DCDuring TALK 17:29, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

a quick drop and a sudden stop[edit]

Does anyone have any idea what the asterisk is doing in the plural? --WikiTiki89 12:44, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

  • See definition 3 of [[*]]. —Angr 13:53, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Maybe the person thinks the plural doesn't exist.
Shouldn't the entry be at quick drop and sudden stop with redirection from the forms with articles in various combinations, including a/the quick drop and sudden stop? DCDuring TALK 13:58, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree it should be at quick drop and sudden stop. As for the plural not existing, it may not meet our CFI, but it certainly exists. --WikiTiki89 15:02, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
I notice a lot of those hits are our page, and a lot of the other hits are nonidiomatic references to literal quick drops and sudden stops, e.g. on a roller coaster. The only one I found that seems to actually refer to hanging is a comment to a YouTube video: "Quick drops and sudden stops are the only thing little kkk wannabe pussys like you deserve". —Angr 15:56, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Like I said, it doesn't meet our CFI, but it exists. But it's not like I'm saying we need an entry for it. --WikiTiki89 16:02, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
It is attestable, based on Google Books alone by dispensing with the lead article. More attestation can be found by allowing plurals (and dispensing with the second article) and going to Usenet. OTOH, no additional joy on News or Scholar. DCDuring TALK 16:36, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

tomato tomato[edit]

Umm... Is this attestable, with this exact spelling in written text. If I read this somewhere with this spelling, I would read it as /təˈmeɪtoʊ təˈmeɪtoʊ/ and thus it loses its significance. Should we add a usage note that this always either spoken or written in eye-dialect? --WikiTiki89 05:47, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't know how to make this entry useful. Perhaps we should accentuate the pronunciation difference at [[tomato]] and include the line from the song in a citation (not specific to a sense, not good as attestation because it is a mention!). DCDuring TALK 18:18, 2 January 2013 (UTC)


Can we remove the humorous tag? It seems like the equivalent of putting {{humorous}} on feminism (i.e. it's not exclusively used humorously), although I don't speak Latin. --WikiTiki89 09:33, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Remember that Latin was spoken natively thousands of years ago. Their society and what they thought about women was totally different from what we do and it’s quite possible that the thought of a female dictator was a joke to them. — Ungoliant (Falai) 10:36, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why that's any different today. As I just said though, how likely is it that it was exclusively humorous? --WikiTiki89 10:42, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
It is quite rare, but is definitely used as such in one of Plautus's comedies. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:46, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Any word can be used humorously. That doesn't mean we have to tag them all as humorous. --WikiTiki89 10:59, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, all you have to do is find a Latin text where it is used seriously - no problem. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:02, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
So are you saying that for any rare Latin word that happens to be attested only once, and in a comedy, we would have to mark it as humorous? --WikiTiki89 11:06, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
If that's the only use attested, then perhaps it should be marked thus - it might very well have been coined by Plautus for humourous effect. Furius (talk) 08:34, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Wikitiki here, but Furius has a good point, it may have been a humorous coinage by Plautus, while other words were used in serious discussion.
See Talk:πεδίον for a sense that is unattested outside of innuendo in a single Ancient Greek play, which is nevertheless not (yet) tagged {{humorous}}. If this is to be tagged, that should be tagged, too... - -sche (discuss) 20:46, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Can we tag it {{context|perhaps|_|humorous|lang=la}}, and perhaps add a usage note? —RuakhTALK 02:33, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
    Sounds like a good solution. - -sche (discuss) 03:38, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

use of with[edit]

I'd like to ask an English grammar-related question which has bugged me for some time. A lot of people who translate from Chinese into English come up with a sentence which reads something like this:

With the development of the economy, people’s living standards have risen.

Does anyone else find this usage of "with" ugly/awkward/incorrect? If so, how would you correct it? ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:36, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

It's stylisitics, not grammar. I dislike compounding prepositional phrases. Other ways of saying it are: "As the economy has developed, ..." or "With economic development, ..." DCDuring TALK 05:51, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
That sentence sounds perfectly natural, but it's stylistic like DCDuring said. Some people would say it that way, others would say it another way. The word with here is perfectly correct. --WikiTiki89 08:45, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
It sounds ugly/awkward/incorrect to me as well; I think what I don't like is the "with"-phrase as a sort of dangling modifier, modifying the whole sentence rather than any one part of it. (The compounded prepositional phrase is not what bothers me: "with greater freedom, cultural activity has blossomed" sounds just as bad to me.) —RuakhTALK 15:31, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Um, that's not the way I understood it. I understood the with clause to be adverbial and modifying risen. In other words, people's living standards have risen together with the development of the economy. --WikiTiki89 15:40, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Either I'm misunderstanding you, or I think you're misunderstanding the sentence. "The development of the economy has risen" sounds absurd, and I don't think it's what was meant. Rather, I agree with DCDuring's reading, whereby the relationship is {the economy : develop :: people's living standards : rise}. —RuakhTALK 16:42, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes you're misunderstanding me. "The people's living standards have risen with the development of the economy." In other words "The development of the economy brought with it the rise of people's living standards." Does that clear it up? --WikiTiki89 16:54, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Nope, sorry. To me "The people's living standards have risen with the development of the economy" still makes it sound like the development of the economy is rising. —RuakhTALK 17:22, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I would read "with the development of the economy" as an adverbial phrase indicating circumstance. This kind of sentence reminds me of very similar construct used in many of the older Indo-European languages, particularly those that still had a case system. In those languages, instead of a preposition like "with", a particular case would have been used (so "development" would have been in, say, the instrumental). There is also a construction called the absolute which is similar in function (like "[with] the economy having developed, ..."). —CodeCat 16:49, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
That interpretation is exactly what Ruakh was talking about and formal English often regards this as an incorrect use of with. --WikiTiki89 16:54, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Even though it has existed for thousands of years? —CodeCat 17:00, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
There are many things in English grammar that are historically correct but today are considered incorrect by traditional formal grammar. --WikiTiki89 17:09, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm not applying "traditional formal grammar", I'm applying my own native-speaker judgment. Naturally, that is shaped mostly by how Americans have spoken during the past twenty-seven years, rather than by how Angles and Saxons spoke twelve hundred ago. (Though for the record, the absolute construction with 'with' sounds fine to me, e.g. in "With the economy developing at an unprecedented pace, living standards have risen substantially in the past decade." It's only 'with' with an unpredicated-of noun that I find ugly/awkward/incorrect.) —RuakhTALK 17:21, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
By "traditional formal grammar" I mean the grammar taught in schools. Obviously it varies from school to school and obviously it is not completely in sync with common usage. And yeah, I figured it was probably the fact that development is a noun that was bothering you, but VERB + -ment is just as much of a verbal noun as VERB + -ing and is often preferred with French/Latin-derived verbs. --WikiTiki89 19:15, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Re: first and second sentences: I understood you the first time. My response stands. I was not applying some rule of grammar I was taught in school, because this isn't a rule of grammar I was taught in school; rather, I was applying the grammar of English that I have internalized as a native speaker of the language. And Tooironic was obviously doing the same. I don't know why you're unwilling to accept that.   Re: last sentence: Sorry, but that makes no sense at all. In "with the economy developing at an unprecedented pace", developing is a participle (a "verbal adjective", here functioning predicatively), not a "verbal noun". The grammatical difference between "with X Y-ing" and "with the Y-ment of X" is obvious. —RuakhTALK 19:49, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I only brought up formal grammar as a response to CodeCat. Pointing out a similarity between your native instincts and formal grammar is not an insult and I don't know why you seem to be taking it that way. Re: the second part: Sorry, I misread your example sentence and thought you were using developing as a gerund. I was not referring to -ing the participle but to -ing the gerund/verbal noun. If you want to understand my interpretation, I think this wording makes it the clearest: "The development of the economy brought with it the rise of people's living standards." If that sentence makes sense to you then just get rid of the subject ("the development of the economy") and the verb ("brought") and replace it with what it refers to (again "the development of the economy") and then turn the verbal noun phrase at the end ("the rise of people's living standards") into a clause in the past tense ("the people's living standards have risen") and you're left with the original sentence. So if you understood me correctly you will now see how the with can be interpreted as a normal with rather than a dangling, context-establishing prepositional phrase. So do you see it now? --WikiTiki89 20:10, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I find the "brought with it" version to be unexceptionable — there, with heads an adverbial complement of bring — but the various transformations don't work for me. (I'd also have no problem, by the way, with "With the development of the economy has come a rise in people's living standards", where "with" heads a complement of "come". I mean, it's awkward, but only stylistically; it doesn't twinge my ungrammaticality antennae.) By way of analogy: "he thought of leaving" and "the thought of leaving" may seem superficially similar, just with a transformation from the noun "thought" to the verb "think", but the result is a totally different sense of the complement-introducing preposition "of". Not all seemingly-logical transformations are possible. (Or, as in this case — possible for all speakers.) —RuakhTALK 20:42, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I guess what I'm saying is there is a difference between "With the cleaning of the reservoir, our tap water has become drinkable." and "With the clean reservoir, our tap water has become drinkable." or even "With the reservoir having been cleaned, our tap water has become drinkable." (Just to be clear, I see the first one as correct, the second and third as incorrect but acceptable in less formal contexts). --WikiTiki89 07:53, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
That's intersting - I would consider the third option the most natural. The first doesn't seem "wrong", but is not something I'd be inclined to write, while the second looks quite odd to me. I suspefct that what feels stylistically naturally to a given person is just the forms that they/use and see most often - and therefore largely accidental. Furius (talk) 09:24, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
That usage of with is ugly‽ Damn, I’ve been using it for some time. Portuguese also forms sentences like that. As for alternatives, I can think of “Following the …”, “Because of the …”, “After the …”, “As a result of the …”. — Ungoliant (Falai) 03:11, 23 October 2012 (UTC)


What are the odds that is an intentional spelling (for which we should be collecting citations) vs that one of the pieces of type got flipped and it is merely a (literal) typo? - -sche (discuss) 08:52, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

You'd have to look at the original and see if the schwa is vertically aligned with the rest of the word. --WikiTiki89 09:08, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Or you could just consider the source. DCDuring TALK 10:26, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean by that DCDuring. But I just checked the Google books page and I was right the schwa is not vertically aligned with the rest of the word indicating that -sche's suspicion was correct and it is a flipped e. --WikiTiki89 11:14, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
We've had a couple of contributors who have devoted an enormous amount of effort to typographic variation, which seems to be of little interest to anyone else, AFAICT. DCDuring TALK 12:50, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I tracked down the scan of the original, and it's just a typesetting error. There's no reason for this to be here. —Angr 20:44, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I've stripped out the typo and moved the citation to Citations:Honduras (since it's still a fine citation of that term). - -sche (discuss) 03:34, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

marshmallow and anachronistic translations[edit]

Do we have a policy on anachronistic translations? [[marshmallow]] (the modern confectionary sense) currently has a Latin translation and a request for an Old English translation. I've noticed similar things on other pages such as [[Israel]] (the modern state sense). --WikiTiki89 13:48, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't know if we have an official policy recorded anywhere, but if an entry for a term would fail RFV, then it shouldn't be given as a translation, either. (But the Latin term for “marshmallow” might actually be citeable, since we use ==Latin== for all forms of Latin, including those still in use by the Vatican and elsewhere. Our translation does agree with the Vicipædia article: w:la:Pasta hibisci.) —RuakhTALK 19:01, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
What Ruakh says is my view as well, though other editors have other opinions. (Most recently, Labneh and Labné were added as German translations of labneh over my objection that the two terms get <20 relevant, German Google hits between them, and absolutely nothing durable.) I tend to look the other way in cases like Labneh (where the word is starting to exist, and no other word for the thing exists), but I would definitely remove any Old English word for pickup truck, as it could only be made-up. - -sche (discuss) 19:31, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Old English is like Latin, new words are regularly added to the language. For instance, an airship is w:ang:lyftscip. It is also true of Old Church Slavonic. These languages are still spoken by some people (or in the case of Old English, again spoken), and they have words for all the new technology, including pickup trucks. —Stephen (Talk) 18:29, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
Really? Is there a reliable source for lyftscip? Are there three? (I don't know how it'll be interpreted, but I certainly oppose letting words like that get by on the one source basis.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:51, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
We had a vote on rare languages, which only require one source, not sure if ang and cu belong there, though. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 06:55, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
ang belongs there; I think 21st century innovations on ang should be counted as constructed languages and take 3.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:17, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
That’s like saying English is a constructed language, or any other language that expands its lexicon to include new concepts and technology. That is not what a constructed language is. —Stephen (Talk) 11:45, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
A living language where speakers are expanding the language is simply not comparable here. I want to exclude words stuck in languages that no real speaker of the language would use. I want to exclude stuff by people playing around with language and not actually using to communicate, and I want to keep a distinction from ancient language long dead and modern stuff written in revived forms of that language. (Latin has a living tradition going back to ancient times, but I still hope we note new Latin and ancient Latin; I would have distinguished ancient Hebrew and modern Hebrew, but at least modern Hebrew is more valuable then the ancient Hebrew whose patterns it's obscuring.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:37, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
Old English is most certainly not like Latin. It has a closed corpus; no new words are added to it. The so-called Old English Wikipedia is written in a modern conlang that has some superficial similarity to Old English but isn't Old English. (The same is true mutatis mutandis of the so-called Gothic Wikipedia.) If it isn't attested in or before the 11th century, it isn't Old English. —Angr 11:53, 2 November 2012 (UTC)


I was having a hard time working out how the first two adverb senses are different from the conjunction sense when I noticed that Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster in fact treat them as conjunctions. (MW also has "explore northward or wherever" as an adverb sense we're missing.) Is there any argument against reclassifying those senses as Conjunctions? - -sche (discuss) 18:42, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Whatever. I don't object. And MWO's sense that we lack should be added whenever. DCDuring TALK 18:46, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
We also classify both pan-dialectal senses of [[whenever]] as an adverb:
  1. "At whatever time: Visit whenever you want to." (MW agrees with us, Dictionary.com has this as a conjunction)
  2. "Every time: Whenever he has a pair of aces, his eyelids twitch." (MW has this as a conjunction, Dictionary.com doesn't have it)
[[Whatever]] is probably muddled, too. - -sche (discuss) 18:49, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

another grammar question - this time about no matter[edit]

How would you correct this sentence?

In today's ambitious education and professional environments, no matter what people apply for is high schools or reputable career positions, participation in extra-curricular activities is arguably a prerequisite for admission to top universities and organisations.

In particular, I don't know how to fix "no matter". Cheers! ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:24, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

I would replace "no matter what people apply for is high schools or reputable career positions" with "(no matter) whether people are applying for high school admission or a career position". "No matter" is definitely optional, which is to say redundant IMO. I think of it as more colloquial or informal. DCDuring TALK 06:02, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
I would correct it like this:
In today's ambitious educational and professional environments, no matter what people apply forhigh schools or reputable career positions, participation is arguably a prerequisite to top universities and organizations.
But that's still a bit wordy and awkward. If you are ok with a bit of a rewrite then I would say it more concisely like this:
In today's ambitious educational and professional environments, participation in extracurricular activities is arguably a prerequisite both for top jobs and for admission to top schools.
(I don't know about Australia, but in the US, the word schools would encompass high schools as well as colleges and universities and whatever else.)
--WikiTiki89 08:06, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
In New Zealand usage (usually similar to Australian), "schools" without qualification would tend not to refer to tertiary institutions (And a "college" is a high school).
As for the sentence, I'd be inclined to change the what to whether, as DCDuring did Furius (talk) 10:15, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

en el[edit]

There's been a request on my talk page to restore en el, Spanish for in the. I've refused but would like a second opinion. My argument, using an example here, is that en el does NOT function as a single unit. En el banco is en + el banco (in + the bank) not en el + banco (in the + bank). Mglovesfun (talk) 12:50, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

I think the reason this is wanted is because of words like Italian nel and Portuguese no, but those are only included because it's a single word. --WikiTiki89 13:00, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Right, there's nothing about 'en el' to warrant an entry; it occurs whenever 'en' happens to be followed by 'el'. It's certainly not a "preposition", as our entry claimed. —RuakhTALK 19:31, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


Is there a source that backs this up? It used to say that this term was from *postius, but it was changed. --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:27, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Well, FWIW, *postius > poi does not seem to agree with what I know about Italian historical phonology. In fact, I believe poi (if from *pos), in combination with dopo (if from *de pos), is one of the main pieces of evidence (besides noi < *nos and voi < *vos) for the proposal that the normal development of Proto-Italo-Western *-os in Italian was *-oj, which then became -oi or, when unstressed, -o, just like *-as > *-aj > -ai or (when unstressed) -e (compare crai < *kras, amiche < *amikas) and *-es > *-ej > -e(i) or (when unstressed) -i (compare tre, dialectally trei < *tres, Giovanni < *Joannes). See also w:Romance languages#Apocope and w:Romance plurals#Origin of vocalic plurals. But I'd have to check this at the library. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:04, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


Which sense of what is used in the following sentence:


--WikiTiki89 14:31, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Pronoun. It's elliptical for "What did you say?". —Angr 17:41, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. But what about in this context:
Person A: Your house burned down today.
Person B: What?
--WikiTiki89 18:09, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
I think it's still elliptical for "What did you say?" or "What are you talking about?". Still a pronoun. —Angr 18:38, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Different languages use different words for that, though. I don't think French quoi? works the same way, and in Dutch you occasionally hear welk? (which?) used synonymously to wat? (what?) when asking someone to repeat themselves. —CodeCat 21:59, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
I want to call it an "interrogative interjection", but I'm not sure if that's a separate part of speech from either interjection or interrogative pronoun. --WikiTiki89 01:12, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
It's clearly an interrogative. It may also be interpreted as a pronoun with the rest of the phrase elided, but that is hard to maintain in the face of welk which doesn't seem to be an elision of anything. It stands by itself. —CodeCat 17:44, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
I've also heard AAVE speakers use Who? in this way. —RuakhTALK 00:28, 8 November 2012 (UTC)


The entry Chelm says that this is a "hobson-jobson" of Polish Chełm. I don't understand what a "hobson-jobson" really is, even after reading the definitions at hobson-jobson and Wikipedia. My impression (judging from the eponymous term) is that it should refer to a considerable distortion or corruption (and optionally partial or complete re-interpretation, as in folk etymology) of a foreign word or phrase, as in hocus-pocus, abracadabra or simsalabim, which are usually traced to recognisably similar sounding Latin, Aramaic/Hebrew and Arabic phrases respectively, as mere phonetic (and phonotactic) adaptation is trivial and probably occurs in any or virtually any borrowing. The examples at Hobson-Jobson (and the related term mondegreen) also suggest that much more than mere phonetic adaptation is involved in a "hobson-jobson". The amount of adaptation seen in Chelm from Polish Chełm fits the definitions given at Wiktionary and Wikipedia, but by these definitions, and by the measure of the example Chelm, virtually any borrowing qualifies as a "hobson-jobson". My suspicion is that – much like in the case of portmanteau, though in this case this was justified by the original definition –, a cute-sounding esoteric technical term has acquired some lay popularity, especially among geeks, and seen use far beyond its linguistic definition ("a fusional morph" in the case of "portmanteau", while the popular sense is covered by the linguistic term "blend"). --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:00, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

"Eye dialect" seems to be another one of these not really understood technical terms. Sigh. I just had to remove it from Hobson-Jobson – "eye dialect" sure refers to a kind of deliberate distortion, too, but you cannot render something in "eye dialect" that is not from the same language. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:13, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
I understood a hobson-jobson to be when a foreign word is heard as if it were a (usually silly) English word/phrase? So Ligurno being borrowed into English as Leghorn might count, but not Chełm to Chelm. Furius (talk) 21:27, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
There are two distinct questions:
  1. What is a useful linguist's definition?
  2. How do folks use the term?
I agree that a useful definition has to involve a distorted hearing, memory, or repetition of an FL expression. I don't know whether [[Chelm from Polish Chełm could be that, or it could be a spelling pronunciation where the different orthography was not respected or even perceived or could not be rendered conveniently.
How folks use or misuse the expression is a question for RfV. If they attestably use it to mean "mumbo-jumbo", we need to retain the sense. DCDuring TALK 22:40, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
But you only removed "eye dialect" from the ety, where we get to select appropriate words by our lights. So there is only one question. DCDuring TALK 23:03, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
I've changed "Hobson-jobson of" to simply "From"... - -sche (discuss) 22:41, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


Why do we translate garçon as "waiter" and waiter as "garçon" (first!) if it's not used that way except as a bad joke gone awry for learners of French? I also thought we had this discussion before, but it's not archived on the talk page. DAVilla 21:48, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:01, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't see where waiter is defined as "garçon". --WikiTiki89 01:21, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Re: "it's not used that way except as a bad joke gone awry for learners of French": What makes you say that? Our entry tags that sense as "rude or dated", which sounds about right to me. —RuakhTALK 01:39, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
But fr:waiter defines waiter as garçon, so maybe garçon is not as rude/dated as we thought? --WikiTiki89 02:06, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, maybe. That entry was created by a bot, and has been only lightly edited by native French-speakers, so I'm not sure exactly how much to trust it; but on the other hand, I've never spent much time in any French-speaking country, so my own impressions of what's considered rude in French are also probably not reliable. (BTW, I think one complicating factor is that garçon is used both in reference to waiters and in addressing waiters, and my impression — again, probably unreliable — is that the latter is much ruder-or-dateder-or-English-touristier than the former.) —RuakhTALK 03:28, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
That's what I was thinking too. I also, haven't spent much time in French speaking countries (and most of that not-much-time was in Quebec where things are a bit different anyway). --WikiTiki89 09:10, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Nah, I think it is pretty outdated. Everyone just uses serveur nowadays in my experience. Ƿidsiþ 11:54, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
No, it's used. An (official) example: http://www.infa-formation.com/index.php?option=com_diplome&view=vDiplome&id=42 It's probably less used when addressing waiters, though, but I don't think it would be considered as rude. Lmaltier (talk) 20:18, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Interesting. I stand corrected. Ƿidsiþ 20:22, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

excambio as a Vulgar Latin appendix page[edit]

I realize the page for excambio should probably not have been created as a normal page, but rather as a Vulgar Latin reconstruction appendix page. However, now all the inflections have been made and separate pages exist for the inflected/conjugated forms of the verb. How would this be affected if the page were to be removed and instead made an appendix page separate from the main dictionary? Should those pages be removed also? Should this be done in the first place? As far as I know it's a hypothetical term and not directly attested, unless someone else has any evidence to the contrary. Just wondering what to do in this case, thanks. Word dewd544 (talk) 17:43, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

I think you've summed it up perfectly well, actually. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:10, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

thong (flip-flop sense)[edit]

I noticed that on this page, even though thong is singular (although usually used in the plural thongs), many of the translations are listed in the plural. Should they be changed to the singular (when such a singular exists)? --WikiTiki89 13:43, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

I doubt that this is the only entry which has triggered this contributor behavior. Would it be wise to have a translation table in the plural form with a sense that corresponds to the "usually plural" sense to move these to? DCDuring TALK 14:37, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, IMO. Thongs in this sense is a plurale tantum, and should appear at thongs with its own translation table. Ƿidsiþ 14:43, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure it can be singular, it's just that, like "sneakers" or "shoes", one usually has two of them. Here's an example [4] Furius (talk) 18:07, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
No, IMO. A separate translation table just for the plurals of the things in the other table? A waste of space. Or did you mean a table only for such languages as have the term as a plurale tantum? Just include it in the singular's table with a brief note. And as for erroneous contributions in the singular's table of plural translations into languages with a singular, I don't think having a second table will put much of a dent in those; readers will just have to figure out (until such are fixed) that the intent is to the plural (which should be obvious to people who know a bit about the language, though they might not know the singular exists; but which should be obvious also in such cases as we have the foreign plural entry in question, in which case it will also indicate the singular).​—msh210 (talk) 01:07, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
So are you saying that they should be fixed? --WikiTiki89 08:04, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Are you simply repeating your original question? My answer to that one is yes.​—msh210 (talk) 15:37, 30 October 2012 (UTC)


A quote from To My Cigar

  • What though they tell, with phizzes long,
    My years are sooner pass'd?
    I would reply, with reason strong,
    They're sweeter while they last.

Do the "phizzes" here mean "faces" or is it a designation for "inhalings" (long puffs of one's cigar)? Would be logical that the years should pass sooner with long (deep) inhalings. --CopperKettle (talk) 18:53, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

I'd say "phizzes long" means "long faces" (i.e. sorrowful ones). Equinox 18:56, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes - see also phizog. SemperBlotto (talk) 18:58, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! Cheers, --CopperKettle (talk) 12:26, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

dairy farmer[edit]

Is dairy farmer a synonym to dairyman? Maro 15:36, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

  • No. A dairy farmer raises cows; a dairyman works in a dairy or delivers milk. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:41, 31 October 2012 (UTC)