Wiktionary talk:Entry layout explained/POS headers/archive 2005

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Verb Forms?[edit]

(Copied from an archived discussion in 2005)

Hey, in the "properly formated entrys" in the "Entry layout explained" the verb "leap" is listed. In it, it gives the verbs multiple forms, "leapt, leaped" etc. And each word links to a new article. The content of article "Leaped" is esstenially "past tense of to leap." Would it be better to simply have everything on one page? People can figure out that "leaped" is the past-tense of leap without a separate article telling them. "Leaped" should just redirect to "leap." After all, if we give a whole article to "leaped" don't we have to give one to "has leaped" and "had leaped" and "will have leaped" and "will leap"? Seems that it would be better to just have an "English Grammer Explained" article, for people who don't understand the concept of "-ed" and "has -ed" Of course, if a certain form means something entirely different from its infinitve, exceptions can be made, but you get the idea. This would vastly reduce clutter and make wiktionary slimmer and more efficent. For example, in highlight, the plural form, present, past, and progressive tense all REDIRECT to highlight, which gives all the information needed. Now, is that not nice and compact and practical?--HelloMrMe 18:16, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • The whole issue is very arguable without reaching any conclusion. I tend to leave it alone. I basically can't be bothered to create separate articles for all these forms, but I don't worry when others do. There are instances where an explanation may be necessary. If we put that an "-ed" form is the past tense of whatever the reader will know exactly what it is immediately without searching the whole article. For some verbs it may be useful to know whether the "-ed" form refers only to the past tense or to both the past tense and past participle. In any case this project views stubs differently than Wikipedia. Then too there would also be the situation where the inflected form in English is the same as a word in another language. The compound verb forms are a different story and are only rarely likely to need a separate article. In other words take a common sense flexible approach. Eclecticology 00:08, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Another argument against inclusion (only within main-entry articles) is for first-hit lookups. Someone entering a word to see if it is spelled correctly probably does not want to see an edit page, particularly when the main entry does exist. In the "leap" example, "leaped" is an Enlish word, "has leaped" is not. We discourage entry of phrases, unless they have a meaning other than that of their component words. I think as Wiktionary matures (in terms of number of entries, percent of language covered) we'll probably see someone like me come up with a bot to populate redirects for non-existent entries of other senses. That can only happen if they are "correctly" linked from the main entry. So far, for the most part, I've only created redirects as I come across them in the Wikipedia most common 5,000 words list. I'll continue doing so until I or someone else gets sick of it, and write the bloody bot to populate them all, at which point the number of entries in Wiktionary may double or triple, all at once. --Connel MacKenzie 01:25, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Okay, you guys are probably going to beat me up for even suggesting this, but I'm gonna. What if, to compile all information on a verb in one convenient page, we put next to the verb we are entering this list with all the tenses.

- Simple Present: /Simple Past: /Simple Future: /Present Continuous: /Past Continuous: /Future Continuous: /Present Perfect: /Past Perfect: /Future Perfect: /Present Perfect Continuous: /Past Perfect Continuous: /Future Perfect Continuous:

- NOW NOW NOW BEFORE YOU KILL ME, I'd just like to say that, although tedious and boring, having this system would really help having all verb information on one page. I know that this system dosen't solve everything, in fact, its probably full of holes. However, it is a step in the right direction. In any case, we CANNOT just leave this question answered, with half of wiktionary REDIRECTING and the other half creating entire new articles and the other half not giving a damn because the process is too vague and ambiguous to even work with. We need to start having a more streamlined process around here, not just over this, but over everything. We need to sit down in the...beer parlour i guess...and really start having discussions over wiktionary protocol, more votes over issues the moderators bring up. I know that these kind of things are hard to sort out, and really REALLY BORING. TRUST ME, I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. But the regulations over wiktionary are at the best okay, in general lax, and at the worst non-existant. I know I know that this is a free form evolving database, but wikipedia has developed regulations much more streamlined and efficent than wiktionary's, and have made the vast amounts of information they gather much more quickly and logically available to everyone. And they have done this without hampering the flow of new information. In fact, I think if we took the time to hammer out broad rules rather than leaving things vague, wiktionary would start growing a lot faster.

- Okay. So, I think that the verb system I reccomded above is very logical and helpful for getting all word information onto one convenient page. Perhaps we could somehow make a command to generate this so wiktionarians won't have to retype it everytime. I dunno, Template:verb list or something. I don't care if people do it or not, I just want a rule that says "We organize verbs in this manner..." This system might be a terrible idea, I don't know, but I DO know we need SOME KIND OF SYSTEM. I know its tedious to figure this out, but its hopelessly more tedious to try to tie together messy articles in gray areas whose only guideline was "a common sense flexible approach."

Phew. I am done. I hope something productive comes of all that haha--HelloMrMe 01:33, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • I think that is a fine suggestion, that merits a little more discussion. Let's stick for a moment with the aforementioned example: leap. (Disclaimer: I just made edits to that page.) The verb sense lists leapt, leaped, and leaping. That seems to me to be the "correctly" formatted way of having all the senses mentioned on the main page. Separate words get separate entries. For any of the pointed-to entries, you can enter as complete an article as you desire; only very rarely (and often reverted) would such an entry get replaced by a redirect. The entries that exist IMHO deserve separate entries, while the redirects I entered are for senses that don't merit special attention. Could you expound a little on your idea please? --Connel MacKenzie 04:41, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • (Uncle G 14:19, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)):
    • Hammering out rules is good as long as we don't go too far. Beware of, and avoid, instruction creep.
    • This isn't a new idea. An inflections sub-section for verbs under the English section is no different to the "Conjugations" sections that you will find in the verbs for other languages. See bluter for a recent example. Also note that the other languages use templates for such things. Regular verbs in English can be handled in much the same way. In fact, there's probably a template for doing so already.
    • Hyperlinks to the inflected forms are good, and to be desired, not avoided.
    • Articles under the inflected forms are good, and to be desired, not avoided. Aside from Eclecticology's point about language overlap, remember the "all words" part of Wiktionary's all words in all languages mandate.
    • Simple redirections from the inflected form to the main article are good as stubs, as long as we acknowledge that they can, and should, expand to real articles in their own right. As WT:ELE#Definitions says, a real definition for an inflected form would read:
      • '''hrunked'''
        # past tense of [[hrunk]]
    • As Connel MacKenzie says, very rarely, if ever, should things proceed in the opposite direction. A real article should not be replaced with a redirect just because the word is an inflected form of another word.
Inflected forms shouln't be linked since the pages the links point to shouldn't contain information about this word other than a link to the "basic" form of it. Ncik 06 May 2005
Ncik, your opinion conflicts directly with the "all words" premise of Wiktionary, as Uncle G pointed out above. Please stop dewikifying links. Until we have a bot that reliably propogates the redirects, having the links makes it vastly easier to enter the redirects. And having them linked makes it vastly easier to verify that such a bot (when implemented) is working correctly. Additionally, your theory that linked-to words won't contain additional information is incorrect in numerous situations. --Connel MacKenzie 03:03, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Part of speech[edit]

(Copied from an archived discussion in 2005)

Can we agree on reserving the'Part of speech' header for parts of speech? Some people use it for things like 'Acronym', 'Initialism', or 'Idiom'. Ncik 17:23, 15 Jul 2005

I agree that Part Of Speech (POS) headings should be discussed more.
Certainly, for abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms and symbols, the normal Wiktionary heading level is not a part of speech. Such things are linguistic anomalities, that rarely fit the POS mold particularly well.
Idioms, phrases and other non-POS headers seem to be in common use, as again, they are more correct than trying to shoe-horn into an inappropriate or only partially appropriate POS.
The POS mold works pretty well for words but not for many other things.
A separate question exists for terms that do fit the POS scheme, but only awkwardly: "Proper Adjective"s, "Proper nouns", "Transitive Verb", etc. If we are going to use generalized POS headers, they should probably be limited to adjective, adverb, conjunction, interjection, noun, preposition, pronoun and verb. Encouraging more flamboyant headers discourages new contributors, particularly those (like myself when I was new here) who have rarely if ever seen the more exacting terminology. The various and sundry grammatical qualifiers to the big eight should be added by the regulars/experts in a subtle manner down below in the fine details, not blazing in the header and quick index information.
--Connel MacKenzie 06:05, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
For a long time, we have been using the POS headings to distinguish transitive and intransitive verbs. Is that appropriate? Often, the transitive and intransitive meanings are very closely related. Might it make more sense to contain this information in the definitions, as follows:
  1. (transitive or intransitive) To hrunk furply.
As for acronyms and initialisms, it may make sense to continue labeling them acronym and initialism, simply because one TLA can mean many things. It might be better to sort out the parts of speech for those on the pages to which they link.
Let us also decide what to do about idioms, while we are discussing the matter. My preference of late has been to use Noun, Verb, etc. (note, not -phrase or phrasal-, because, while true, it is cumbersome and off-putting to newcomers) where it is clear what part of speech a phrase occupies.
I have to correct you here. 'Noun phrase', 'Adverbial phrase', etc. are not parts of speech. As an example consider the sentence When the boss assigned the project to Tom, the rest of us were relieved to be off the hook. Here (and generally when having the same meaning) the prepositional phrase 'off the hook' is an adjective. A mistake I too used to make till only recently (see, e.g. the history of off the hook). I also think that the second meaning given for 'off the hook' is in fact a meaning for 'to let (someone) off the hook', hence should get a separate page, and be classified as a verb. The importance of clearly indicating the part of speech of entries becomes even more evident when considering the great confusion they cause even among native speakers. Ncik 15:48, 19 Jul 2005
Other times, it is very hard to pin down a part of speech, and it is awfully helpful to have "idiom" as an out for those situations. --Dvortygirl

Here are some points to think about:

  • 1. "Part of speech heading" is a name of convenience rather than a rule set in stone.
  • 2. Idioms, abbreviations, initialisms, and acronyms can all have a part of speech as well independent of this other label and both need to be recorded.
  • 3. We can always learn by studying what quality dictionaries have done before us.
  • 4. The POS heading when it is used for POS shouldn't allow elaborate terms on the one hand and disallow major parts of speech such as "article" on the other hand.
  • 5. Elaborate POS labels have always had little value to me. They are too fuzzy and editors seem to use some amount of guesswork when chosing them.
  • 6. "Phrasal verb" as a term is a subject of debate among linguists and as such lacks the clarity required of a dictionary. See Wikipedia for a rundown of the debate.
  • 7. Print dictionaries mostly use vt, vi, and vti. This works well for them but less well for us due to our limiting our use of abbreviations, for which our reasons are quite valid.
I indicate grammatical attributes like transitivity, countability, plural forms (if several meaning specific ones exist), etc. in italics (including the parentheses) and right after the hash. Usage related stuff like 'slang', 'archaic', 'biology' goes in italics between parentheses after that. But maybe it's a better idea, at least for (in)transitivity, to have two sub-headings to the 'Verb' header. I don't like the '(In)Transitive verb' headings. (In)Transitivity is not a POS relevant property. I like having the POS headers in alphabetical order. Meanings of a verb split by noun meanings is unelegant. I' inclined to mention that something is an abbreviation in the inflection line as well as in the etymology. Ncik 15:48, 19 Jul 2005
  • 8. We can make abbreviations more user-friendly by using the HTML "title" attribute to create tooltips. I've used them above. Templates would work well for this and we could do the same for our existing approved abbreviations.
  • 9. We might need to think about whether some acronyms and abbreviations should have regular "word" entries with the fact of being an acronym covered in their etymology. Scuba and laser are examples. Others might work better as "acronym/abbreviation" entries which cover only what they are short for and point to a full article. Seeing what reliable print dictionaries do would be worthwhile.
  • 10.Transitivity is an attribute, much like gender, countability, etc. There is an argument for all attributes to be treated in a like manner.

Hippietrail 07:44, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

I can agree with a lot of that. We need to have some flexibility with the POS labels, but without having an array that is so wide that we can't recognize what is meant. I habe no problem with abbreviatio as a POS heading. "Tooltips" are only useful if people know that they are there; the average passive user may not know it.
I have also had thoughts about how we could allow the "language" headings to have other uses such as describing transliteration. Eclecticology 07:52, July 19, 2005 (UTC)

I'd prefer not to get too detailed for parts of speech because they're suggestive of grammatical rules that aren't really rules at all, only patterns that fit a wide range of situations. The evidence of this is the difficulty in agreeing on the grammatical parts, in particular the unification with foreign languages, especially Asian languages. And it's impractical. For the narrower cases you'd have to resort to unfamiliar terminology if you have any luck at all. I'm only as familiar with these grammatical terms as most people. For instance, I wouldn't know how to differentiate the following:

  • He wrote a letter to his friend.
  • He wrote his friend.
  • He wrote his friend a letter.
  • He wrote, "The truth is, I'm doing well."
  • He wrote truth.
  • He wrote the truth.
  • He wrote how he's doing.
  • He wrote he's doing well.

The first three are clearly transitive. One and two are distinguished by meaning, the first having an optional indirect object. But the transitive label doesn't distinguish the third type, which appears to have two objects, which furthermore must appear in that order. I haven't got a clue on the quotation, and I'm not sure if the mention of truth should be considered a quotation or, as in the sentence below it, an object. The last I would consider to be intransitive because it's an ecliptic elliptical form of "He wrote that he's doing well." However, it's not clear whether the second-to-last is transitive, as is the one before it, or if it's an ecliptic elliptical form of "He wrote about how he's doing." Here are some other verbs that I wouldn't know how to categorize:

  • I think him a good man.
  • He looks nice.
  • They made a clean room messy.
  • We bathe ourselves.
  • Go help clean the car!

Besides this, there are already enough issues to work out, such as problems with pronouns treated as nouns (she, him, ours) vs. adjectives (its) and probably a host of others. Davilla 16:40, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree that one cannot be too rigid about parts of speech, especially when a word is cited in isolation. English depends as much on syntax as it does on inflection, if not more so. Many of our parts of speech depend on the work of classical philologists who saw Greek and Latin as embodiments of the standards which should be applied to all languages. Even if we add biblical Hebrew to that mix there will still be languages where the pattern will not fit. In English there is often no clear line between a word as a past participle or as an adjective. There are other factors that matter. Even from the above how do we distinguish between "He wrote truth", "He wrote truth," and "He wrote 'truth'." Or we can change punctuation and have "He wrote, his friend." There is also the title of the recent book "He eats, shoots and leaves", which has a completely different meaning when the comma is omitted. Even though generally regarded as not a tonal language there are places where it can make a difference. I believe it was Gleason who introduced the linguistic classic "What are we having for dinner tonight, mother?". Try saying that with a rising tone on "mother".
I don't like to put too much emphasis on misused words in a person's discussions here, unless I think it could be helpful. The term should not be "ecliptic" but "elliptic", or better still "elliptical". "Ecliptic" relates to astronomical eclipses, while "elliptic" relates to mathematical ellipses. "Elliptic" carries the connotation of overshooting or bypassing something in a manner that reflects the shape of an ellipse. "Elliptical" with its additional suffix give the idea of being abstactly similar to an ellipse in effect. Eclecticology 20:14:35, 2005-07-25 (UTC)
By your second use of "an ellipse" you mean "...". Thanks, corrected. Davilla 20:28, 25 July 2005 (UTC)