Wiktionary talk:Quotations/Archive

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

Re the Morningstar quote if "represent" should be "represented" please correct it; if it is correct the way it is you should add (sic!). Eclecticology


If a word is used in english texts we should use english quotations, as it seems silly for instance to only use latin quotes for et cetera.

Your example is one of a Latin term that has come into common English usage. This is a dictionary that explains all kinds of foreign words. Thus in each of these sections it is the language of that section that will be preferred. If we are talking about the use of et cetera in an English context then for the purposes of finding quotations we look for an appropriate English context. Eclecticology 18:23 Jan 2, 2003 (UTC)
Where do we draw the line, hundreds of thousands if not millions of word fall into that category somewhere between english and another language, at what point should we have seperate articles for the word in English and the other language, for instance the German words blitzkrieg and frei, both are used in English but whether they have a seperate english meaning is questionable. --Imran
Blitzkrieg has certainly been adapted to English texts. Frei will as often be translated as "free". We have quotations to illustrate usage. If you are trying to illustrate how a German word is used in an English context, that's what you quote. There is no need for separate articles, or drawing any lines. A lexicographer observes the usage of language and reports what he sees. There is no problem here. Eclecticology

What's about copyright when i use quotations ?

It's not a problem as long as the quotation is not excessively long (i.e. not more than a paragraph). --Imran 12:38, 16 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Is this per the doctrine of fair use? I certainly hope that's correct (and obvious to anyone we're inclined to get quotations from). My reading is a major source of ideas for possible contributions, and typically the sentence the word is embedded in could hardly be a better complement to the definition. I would hate to cause any problems for the project by my usage of them. Jdickinson 08:43, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I see that physical italics are recommended for titles. Does it not make more sense, and perhaps offer more upward compatibility with ways that this project could evolve, or with possible derivatives of it, if our convention were to use HTML citation tags, e.g. Los Angeles Times? (Sorry, I'm having mixed results using HTML character entities to show the tags on the Wiki page; edit the page to see them if you're curious about the syntax.) Is there anything wrong with this approach? Jdickinson 08:43, 9 Jan 2004 (UTC)


Does everything really need to be from a dated, printable source? Even the OED uses electronic sources now. - Centrx 22:35, 29 May 2004 (UTC)

If its electronic then it should be something reliable like Slate, not just a personal blog. I'm sure OED has similar standards. --Eean 22:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
What do you mean "reliable"? Language is hardly static, and often print sources do not use newer slang words, for example, that nevertheless are used in other contexts. Further, print sources do not necessarily use words in a way that demonstrates all their definitons. URL sources are also more accessible than book sources. Finally, in practice, I believe, URL sources are more commonly used than print sources anyway. This project page should reflect this. Theshibboleth 00:19, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Why not have a full reference so folks would be able to look up the quote if they wanted? Like I did with dittohead. --Eean 22:54, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Problem with Musty Quotations[edit]

Quotes from the Bible or Shakespeare are fine as they go - especially if they are dated to show the earliest referenceable usage of the word.

But, as a help to someone trying to understand how a word is used, they are often unhelpful or downright misleading, as the usage has changed so much.

In these cases, I would like to see a modern usage example also. Does it have to be an attributable Quotation ? OR is usage example a different part of the entry ?--Richardb 13:32, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Wiktionary is not solely a dictionary of modern usage. It's a dictionary of everything. It is also a work-in-progress in its very early stages, so a lot is missing. One of our tenets is not to limit content based on limitations imposed by any particular version of the software. Future software will allow users to ignore sections they are not interested in. Until such time, leaving out any sections is a bad thing.
If you feel the quotations are of too ancient a vintage, please feel free to balance them with more modern quotations. I do believe that quotations should have dates wherever possible. — Hippietrail 00:40, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for response HT. Howeve4r, you might have misread my question, I was not suggesting at all that we leave out the Shakespeare quotes (though I was assuming these are really in there to show the earliest proven usage). I was suggesting that we 'also have a modern usage example. But did this have to be an attributable quotation ? However, elsewhere someone else has indicated that a usage example is perfectly OK, as something different to Quotation.
I think both are useful. Note that examples come right below the definition, italicized, usually without any label; whereas quotations have a labeled section of their own. I often use Google or Google groups to find "real word" examples which I think are often better than trying to make something up on the spot. It would be okay to attribute these. Another trick might be to use Google to find examples within Project Gutenberg but I haven't tried that yet. — Hippietrail 06:53, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

My 2 bits: First, quotes are matched to specific definitions. Therefore, you don't have to worry if the word's meaning has changed. If it's changed, each version will have its own defintion - and a quotation will be all the more help - and that's just the sort of thing we want here! Second, multiple quotes for a single definition, when taken from significantly different time periods, show the word's history. This is especially nifty when trying to identify the first known use of a word with a given meaning. If you ever have a chance to read an OED word article from the unabridged version, you'll get the idea. It's fascinating! Rklawton 02:19, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Ideas for revising the use of quotations[edit]

<Jun-Dai 10:07, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)>I noticed that the description of adding quotations for an entry is a little old, and that it hasn't been implemented all that much. I thought of a few ideas to revise the quotation mechanism.

The first idea is that there be a separate page for quotations (I've started using Quotations: in my few tentative cases), and that there be a link to the page at the top of the main entry (for this purpose I created Template:Quot). It seems more valuable to have example sentences in the main entry, as they can be constructed to illustrate the word's use in the best possible manner. If there is a separate page for quotations, they can help fill out an idea of when it's appropriate to use a word, and what time frames that word is/was primarily used in. In any case, I think people will be less likely to avoid adding quotations (and thus overwhelming the entry with quotations) if there is a separate page for it.

The second idea is that we shouldn't try to limit ourselves to text-based quotations. It is probably easier for people to grab quotations on the internet, and it is certainly easier for people to see the quotations in context. This is especially true if we are trying to function as a descriptive reference, as we won't be limiting ourselves to formal sources (which is what people will mostly used for text-based quotations). We should establish some criteria for what makes one quotation better than another, so that we don't end up with total garbage (though the wiki process would probably sort most of that out anyways), and certainly if we feel that there are too many quotations for an entry, we can remove some of the more superfluous ones, starting with internet entries. At the very least we shouldn't remove basically decent quotations unless we have superior ones to supplant them.

The third idea is that we follow an established and specific standard for the citation of quotations (though putting the year up front and bolding it is a nice touch, since it helps give a sense of the time frame for all the quotations); is the one put forth on this main page based on an established citation standard?. I recommend Chicago, but certainly any would do.

The last idea is that the quotations should be in reverse chronological order. With bolded dates, it is simple enough to tell what the order is, and I think that recent uses of the word would be more generally valuable, and the archaic uses are only going to be useful to a relatively small number of people doing certain kinds of look-ups.

In any case, because it is easy to undo, I'm going to try to implement according to these ideas, but I certainly wouldn't modify the main page for the Quotation guidelines without first getting some input from others (particularly admins).

I don't think there should be a limit on the number of quotations, at least for the time being. If there are more than, say, five quotations, it might be prudent to remove less valuable ones, but certainly more than five quotations (especially for an old word, or a word that sees a lot of stylized use) can add value to a single entry.

I've started implementing this strategy at incubate, capture and Tidal_wave. More to come.</Jun-Dai>

  1. From the reader's perspective, I don't like the idea of putting quotes on separate pages.
  2. Text-based quotes are getting easier. Google, Amazon, and Project Gutenberg are all making these great sources available on-line, so finding and using great quotes won't be very hard at all. Sadly, editors won't even have to read any books to find a useful quote.
  3. We should have reasonable limits - perhaps one or two quotes per century. We should especially include the oldest known quote that clearly uses a word for its given meaning.
  4. We should include archaic uses. They are extremely valuable. But keep in mind, each archaic use will have its own definition - and the definitions are generally sorted by frequency of use. Therefore, archaic uses and their quotes will migrate toward the bottom of a section. Rklawton 02:28, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  1. I don't care for the separate pages either, and I don't know if anyone has been adding any recently. I won't complain if someone merges the material into the word's main article, especially in the case when the subpage only contains 3 or fewer citations in total.
  2. Agreed, but I'm not completely happy about how Google is handling this.
  3. We should use common sense about the number of quotes per century.
  4. We don't all agrre about the meaning of "archaic". For me it's more or less anything not used since 1800, but for others anything more than 20 years old is archaic. Ordering meanings by frequency of use is too subjective, and it will also vary from one English speaking country to another. Eclecticology 21:02, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I also prefer the quotes on the page. Lots of the quotes are beautiful writing, and add interest to the page. If they are on another page, I tend not to look at them, and probably miss some good stuff. I like the idea of quotes having the bolded date at the front, then the quote, then the author, title, publisher and page no. in italics afterwards. It just makes for easier reading. I recon a max of three quotes per sense, but usually one is good enough unless there is a problem with verification or one is trying to establish earliest usage. Andrew massyn 21:28, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I disagree about the three quote absolute limit. I think it should be more like three quotes per century. The current standards say nothing about publisher and page number. I'm not sure if it should. Thoughts? Rklawton 21:40, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I thought there was the idea of having as many quotes as the editor liked at the subpages, but a selection of the best and most relevant ones on the main entry page? And yes, abiding-place/Citations has recently been created. — Vildricianus 22:30, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
I reviewed the abiding-place example you provided, and I saw a problem. The quotes guidelines already note this, but it bears repeating here. Quotes aren't simply to show a word used in a sentence. If I want to see a word used in a sentence, I can hit up Google and get a zillion examples. It's vital that the quotation helps shed light on the meaning of the word in question.

Take the following example:

  • 1843: Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit
    He was ten good miles from the village made illustrious by being the abiding-place of Mr Pecksniff, when he stopped to breakfast at a little roadside alehouse;

If I didn't already know what abiding-place means, the quotation provides no help at all. For all I can infer, it could be Mr. Peckersniffer's grave, his birth place, or the place he takes a crap every afternoon at three.

By following a higher standard, I think we'll see far fewer yet far more meaningful quotes per definition. Rklawton 01:35, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Incidentally, here's a good example of a useful quote (from the same page):

  • 1913: Pauline Johnson, The Moccasin Maker
    The next girl married in Ohio, and the boys drifted away, glad to escape from a parental tyranny that made home anything but a desirable abiding-place. Rklawton 01:38, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
That's odd. I'd say the village made illustrious by being the abiding-place of Mr Pecksniff is quite a clear example illustrating the definition of abiding-place. It's not free from ambiguity, as you said, but then, how much clearer than that can a quote be (being always out of its context)? Sure the second one is clearer, but I think that's rather an exception. AFAIK, the intention of a quote is to illustrate a definition, not replace it. Moreover, I think quotes from well-known works and authors are a good addition, demonstrating a word's range in various aspects (time, regional distribution, usage, etc.), whether they are ambiguous or not.
Apart from what you pointed out, which is true after all, such is the purpose of the subpage system. Finding decent quotes is a time-consuming business, and having a decent number from which to choose which go on the main entry page is easier than having to start from scratch. Certainly there's more than enough space to store as many of them as we like, until someone with a good sense for selection can pick out the best. If ever we have more contributors spending time on such things, we should try to keep a system allowing for storage versus prime selection, so that no one's work gets undone by someone trying to have only the best quotes appearing. I'm sure this is what most dictionaries do when handling quotations. — Vildricianus 17:41, 9 June 2006 (UTC)


Quotation policy[edit]

Personally, I'd prefer to see quotations under their own header, and example sentences under each definition (the bare minimum required to convey usage effectively), Personally, I'd like to see one quotation and one example sentence under each definition, but I can understand that it will be a while before we arrive at a decision on this. However, I think it shouldn't be too hard to come to an agreement on two ideas regarding quotations as policy/guideline:
  1. The rough number of quotations we should have on a term, so as to avoid bogging the page down.
    (3 total per term? 1 per def?)
  2. Where to put the excess quotations
    I'd like to see us use Citations:term though I'd down with term/Quotations or term/Citations.
The idea here being to encourage people to include a large number of citations for terms without loading down the page with them. This gives us a few things:
  1. Ammo for our discussions/heated arguments on term usage and material to help people write usage notes
  2. A repository for us to select our best and finest quotations for the main article
  3. A place for people for whom this is interesting material to look into (including people that are not satisfied with the entry's ability to help them understand the term).
Basically the format I'd prefer would be:
  1. definition of the term.
    • example usage of the term
    • Year: Author, Work title
      quotation.
Or, for foreign terms:
  1. definition of the term.
    • example usage of the term
      translation of the example
    • Year: Author, Work title
      quotation
      translation of the quotation
Jun-Dai 16:21, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Translations[edit]

Another topic that bears discussion is the matter of quoting translations. Normally the translator is given backseat in the citation (e.g., trans. by William Weaver sitting halfway down the line), but given that the translator is the responsible party for including a particular term in a particular translated work, we should probably arrive at a modified citation format so that it is clear that we are attributing the term to the translator at least as much as to the author, and the year of the citation should be the year of the translation's publication, with the year of the original work's publication being made subordinate, if mentioned at all. Thoughts? Jun-Dai 16:25, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Citation formatting for the main page vs. for the subpage[edit]

One last item.
This is a proposal for modifying the "what year to use" section of the policy (is this official policy, btw?)
Given that our citations on the main page should be as concise as possible and our citations on any subpage have no such concern, I think we should be in the habit of including edition information on the subpage, and none of it on the main page. It's not relevant enough, for example, who the publisher is, in what city they are located, etc., to include it on the main page, where the goal is to see the quotation in some sort of context. It is relevant enough on the subpage, however, as one of the goals of the citation should be to make it possible to track the citation down and verify it. This is especially important for older citations, since many of us will be using modern editions, and the spellings may have changed. Translations, and year of translation, which I talk about in the previous item, are important enough for the main page, given that that provides vital context for the usage. After all, Plato didn't use any of the terms in my edition of The Republic, and to attribute them to him, along with the year he wrote the work, would be inappropriate. Yet we should not exclude my edition of The Republic as a source of quotations, especially since some of the ideas founded in his works have been linked to English terms in a language-changing sort of way. Thoughts? Jun-Dai 16:32, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Template[edit]

During the course of 2006 the quotation format has changed a few times. I don't mind. Improvement is the hallmark of the wiki medium. However, we've not got a lot of different quotation styles in use that aren't supported by these recent changes. Would someone be kind enough to create a quotation template so we can just fill in the variables? In this way, quotations can instantly conform to format or style changes. Rklawton 16:54, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Quoting poetry[edit]

How to format quotes from poems? I’ve been using the following style, where ‘De weg van het licht’ is the bundle, and ‘De Gerichte Wil’ is the poem. Should their places be switched?

    • 1922, Albert Verwey, De weg van het licht, De Gerichte Wil
      Wanneer ik stierf en zij die mij beminden / Rondom mijn baar staan en de een d’andre vraagt:
      Wenn I died and those that loved me stand around my dead bed and one aks the other:

Some comments, please. H. (talk)]] 11:40, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I've been doing much the same, sans translation, in English. --Enginear 12:09, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I would usually switch these, like so: "De Gerichte Wil" in De weg van het licht. I don't know if that's good, but it's what I've been doing; may have picked it up from APA style. Anyway, IMO by far the most important thing is that the citation be unambiguous and provide all the information necessary for the reader to locate the original; which your system does perfectly well. -- Visviva 04:24, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
This is also what {{quote-book}} does with chapters in books, and indeed it looks better. I propose to move this to the policy page. H. (talk) 14:36, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

So what is the policy?[edit]

If you compare the /Templates subpage with the main page, you’ll see that most of the templates do not conform to the current policy, in that they use a colon after the year. Should the templates be adapted, or the policy page? I see people adding quotations with the colon as well e.g. line. H. (talk) 09:54, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I have been improving the templates and made them all consistent in style. It seems like I didn’t use the latest conventions, however. H. (talk) 14:36, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Difficult citation[edit]

Hi all. I'm currently reading some stories by Tom Holt, and he uses a lot of great vocabulary, so I've been quoting him for some words on Wiktionary (i.e. foumart and shufti). However, I'm not sure what the best way to formation the citation is. I am reading an omnibus paperback, so it includes two stories of his, Expecting Someone Taller and Ye Gods!. The omnibus book was published in 2004, but the stories were published separately in 1987 and 1992, respectively. I don't own the original books, so how should these be cited? ~MDD4696 02:19, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Google around for the title of the books, and look where they are published originally. Use that information, providing the text from your copy. H. (talk) 15:01, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Quotation template[edit]

Prior discussion[edit]

Copied from User talk:Connel MacKenzie, where the bulk of prior discussion took place. - Visviva 04:57, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
==Format question==

Since I rarely do quotations and their format seems to matter to you a great deal, would you please check the one I added to succedaneum? --Connel MacKenzie 14:52, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

You got it mostly right. However, you should note the following (the first two are WT:QUOTE prescriptions, and the other three are the best way I’ve found of listing citations):
  1. The source title ought to be italicised, not emboldened (sometimes, the word being cited is used in the title, so if it were emboldened, there would be no way of pointing out its use therein);
    That directly conflicts with my recollection for the format. The emphasis is on who and where the term was used, not on the quotation itself. --Connel MacKenzie 21:56, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
    If you don’t believe me, see WT:QUOTE#How to format a quotation. IMO, the quotation itself is the most important part of the citation. A descriptive dictionary is meant to describe language as it used, which means examining a given word’s use by various authors and then inferring a common sense; the citations are our evidence upon which we base the wording of our definitions (at least in theory). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 00:42, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
  2. The quotation should not be enclosed in quotation marks, unless the source uses the quotation marks;
  3. Sub-titles are best written as part of the title, separated by a colon (though, if they ramble on and on, as many legal or older works often do, sub-titles are sometimes best simply omitted);
  4. “Foreword”, “Introduction”, “Preface”, and other such succedaneal section titles are best written in SMALL CAPS; and,
  5. The use of directed typography is preferable (as in entries per se).
Also, contrary to WT:QUOTE, I tend to type a colon (rather than a comma) after the year, as I consider citations to be making statements to the effect of “this is how this term was used in this year: DETAILS & EVIDENCE … this is how this term was used in this year: …”; furthermore, as you did, I don’t write anything after the page № (or foreword, or whatever), despite WT:QUOTE’s prescription that a comma be written there. Lastly, now thinking about it, ISBNs should be written parenthetically at the end, as their inclusion creates links which would otherwise exist (to a Google Books page) in the page number, so it makes sense for them to be in roughly the same place.
This all means that I’d have added the quotation thus:
  • 2002: Laurence Urdang, New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced words: Words We Know (until someone asks us what they mean), FOREWORD (ISBN 1579120601)
    Not a succedaneum for satisfying the nympholepsy of nullifidians, it is hoped that the haecceity of this enchiridion of arcane and recondite sesquipedalian items will appeal to the oniomania of an eximious Gemeinschaft whose legerity and sophrosyne, whose Sprachgefühl and orexis will find more than fugacious fulfillment among its felicific pages.
Of course, if you think that there’s a better format, please feel free to suggest it. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:37, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

I hope this helps! † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:40, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

May I ask why quotations are not placed in quotation marks? I think it's difficult to perceive it as a quotation unless one already knows that, if it's written with the same text type without quotation marks. Best regards Rhanyeia 17:20, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
The short answer is: Wiktionary:Quotations says so. The long answer is:
  • When you see a properly-formatted quotation in the context of an entry, it's pretty obvious that it's a quotation, because it's set off with indentation, and it's preceded by a line giving full details of what it's a quotation from.
  • We like to modify quotations as little as possible. If we wrap the quotation in quotation marks, then it looks like the quotation marks are in the actual text (e.g., in dialog).
  • We like to modify quotations as little as possible. If we wrap the quotation in quotation marks, we have to start messing with internal quotation marks. This can get quite complicated, as there are different rules for wrapping text in quotation marks (single- vs. double-quotes, curly vs. straight quotes), and even when rules are fairly universal (e.g. every paragraph in a multi-paragraph quote starts with quotation marks, but only the last paragraph ends with them), they're not always widely known.
  • We include quotes from foreign languages, but the page as a whole is still in English; in these cases, English-style quotes would often look simply wrong, but language-appropriate-style quotes would just reinforce the above-mentioned mistaken impression that the quotation marks are in the actual text.
RuakhTALK 17:54, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

How does this look to you?

  • 2002: Laurence Urdang, New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced words: Words We Know (until someone asks us what they mean), FOREWORD (ISBN 1579120601)
Cquote1.svg Not a succedaneum for satisfying the nympholepsy of nullifidians, it is hoped that the haecceity of this enchiridion of arcane and recondite sesquipedalian items will appeal to the oniomania of an eximious Gemeinschaft whose legerity and sophrosyne, whose Sprachgefühl and orexis will find more than fugacious fulfillment among its felicific pages. Cquote2.svg

Best regards Rhanyeia 18:29, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

I personally don't recally ever seeing that style quotation mark for English, ever before. --Connel MacKenzie 18:37, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I changed it, is that better? Best regards Rhanyeia 18:48, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
You were right, there is a list of languages on Wikipedia using the other ones, and English is not there. Best regards Rhanyeia 18:57, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I could make different templates for quotations of different languages. :) Best regards Rhanyeia 19:05, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Here is the one with guillemets. Those two might be enough for most cases, these wouldn't get mixed with the quotation text so maybe they don't have to be exactly right. Best regards Rhanyeia 19:36, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of these, personally. I don't think they look very good, and I don't think they actually help make anything more clear. —RuakhTALK 20:00, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Hmm… I quite like them. There are a few issues though:
  1. At present, your template would almost certainly break numbering, making it unusable for words with more than one sense per POS — a particular problem for quotations given between definitions;
  2. The guillemet version would have to have a language parameter, to ensure that they pointed the correct way (as «», as »«, or as »»); and,
  3. Your template presently inserts margins on either side of the quotation which would need to be removed.
In short, this template gives an æsthetic improvement, but it also causes functionality problems; the latter must all be resolved before this template can be considered workable. Sorry to only present problems, Rhanyeia; keep up the effort though — I do like them! † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 20:22, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
While it is interesting, it is not something that has any chance of engendering a warm, familiar look and feel to English readers. The "<<" and ">>" style marks are acceptable on de.wikt:, where they are used extensively, but have no place here at all. --Connel MacKenzie 20:38, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
For me, accuracy and correctness are more important than “engendering a warm, familiar look and feel to English readers”. I would hope that, if this template is instituted (after many modifications), it would use the quotation marks appropriate to the quoted language, so that guillemets are used for French et alios linguae, kagikakko (“” and “”) are used for Japanese, and so on. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 00:42, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
That seems rather at odds with our goals as a descriptivist dictionary — taking it upon ourselves to decide what kind of quotation marks are appropriate for a given quote based on its language. In many languages — including English — there are multiple conflicting traditions, and these traditions often imply different things. For example, French newspapers, journals, etc. will nearly always use either guillemets or English-style double-quotes, but French fiction works will often use em dashes. If we decide that French-language quotes always get guillemets, that could set a slightly "off" tone for quotes from fiction works. (I guess you could argue that we're serving the role of a journal, and guillemets are ours, but that has the problem that we're an English-language work, and therefore shouldn't be using guillemets at all.) —RuakhTALK 01:14, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
  • An observation, if I may. All I did was ask a brief question. (Elsewhere!) How did yet-another-policy discussion end up on my talk page? --Connel MacKenzie 20:34, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, I was thinking about that. It is a very curious thing that your talk page seems to be a kind of de facto outside patio for the beer parlour… † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 00:42, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. :) What would be a good place to go on? Doremítzwr, thank you for the message, I think the idea about the language parameter is very good. I could try if I can do it. Best regards Rhanyeia 20:49, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I'd recommend starting a discussion at Wiktionary talk:Quotations, including plenty of examples, and linking to it from Wiktionary:Beer parlour. —RuakhTALK 20:55, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, what Ruakh said...  :-)   --Connel MacKenzie 20:59, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Reply to Ruakh’s comment submitted at 01:14 on the 30 th day of September 2007:

Yes, and in English “” and “” are often used as quotation marks (though it be bad style) in place of “” and “” — you can’t possibly be suggesting that the template should match such use in a work. What if we cannot see which style is used by the work? Or what if the style used is inconsistent? At some point we have to set some standard. Certain quotation marks will appear appropriate to readers of a given language, and others will appear inappropriate; for example, “” and “” would look very strange quoting Japanese text — it would be best to use “” and “” (nijūkagikakko, as opposed to kagikakko as I suggested hereinbefore). However, if a style is used as a consistent standard in a certain language (as you say em-dashes are used in French fictional works), then it may be OK to be flexible in such situations and allow their use (though I’m a tad hesitant). † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:07, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Re: "you can’t possibly be suggesting that the template should match such use in a work": Indeed I can't be. Instead, I'm suggesting that we not use these templates at all. —RuakhTALK 15:26, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, there will be differences of opinion on this issue as there are on many others. As this is a template-based proposal, many differences may be accomodated; that is, WT:PREFS can be used to toggle quotation marks and the present format. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 17:34, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Only at the price of mangling the original quoation (randomly)? No, I don't think the notion of using templates for quotations is a sound idea, at all. --Connel MacKenzie 18:45, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
No, no — I’m suggesting that the Wiktionary quotation marks around the whole citation be a given language’s standard; the quotation marks that are used in the quotation itself should most certainly be the same as the source’s. † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 19:19, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Current discussion[edit]

See User talk:Connel MacKenzie#Format question and User talk:Doremítzwr#Quotation template. Conversation here please. :) Best regards Rhanyeia 22:03, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

On what? --EncycloPetey 22:09, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
On User:Rhanyeia/quotation and User:Rhanyeia/quotation2, I think. -- Visviva 04:20, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
There is no reason to have those here. Citations are not part of running text as they are on Wikipedia. --EncycloPetey 04:25, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
That's a good point. Still, I think we could really use an answer to Rklawton's request from a year or so back, for a standard fill-in-the-blanks template. With such a template, CSS labels could be put in all the appropriate places, and those who want big gray quotes can have them (provided they're willing to perform the requisite Monobook gymnastics), those who want no quotes can be assured of not having them, and so on. Plus, more importantly for me, it would allow us to be sure we're formatting the source information in a standard way. This could just be something very similar to w:Template:cite book, perhaps with an option for numbered rather than named parameters, and with an extra field for the quotation itself. -- Visviva 04:57, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
No, it can't. We've been through this discussion many times and the fundamental problem is that a template requires standardization that we just can't have. Even Wikipedia uses multiple citation templates. We need to be able to cite more than just books; we need to cite plays, short stories, poems, religious texts, scientific articles, newspapers, archived websites, edited books, collected works, inscriptions, papyri, and many more kinds of sources as well. Frankly, I would find it difficult to remember which template and what parameters to use for that mind-numbing array of templates such a situation would require. And that doesn't address the need to sometimes (but not always) link to the author on WP (possibly under a different name) and to the source document on Wikisource (again, possibly under a different name). --EncycloPetey 05:06, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
But we have standardization right here; that's the point of WT:QUOTE. If that level of standardization can work as policy, there has to be a way to make it work as a template. I'll admit, I'm not sure how best to handle inscriptions, papyri, and potsherds, but most other source types already have dedicated templates on Wikipedia. (q.v.). So I would propose to have a simple two-line meta-template to insert basic CSS classes (mocked up at Template:cite meta), with dedicated wrapper templates for each type of source that we cite routinely. Those wrapper templates can mostly be adapted from their existing analogs on Wikipedia (I stress "adapted" because of course these templates are not compatible with our formatting guidelines here; I made the mistake of copying a few of them over when I was a new newbie, and some of those are still with us). -- Visviva 05:29, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
The standardization you speak of has the goal of representing the original as faithfully as possible. Adding random (unnecessary) quotation marks around it, when it is already quite clear it is a citation contradicts that primary purpose of the standardization. --Connel MacKenzie 18:48, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
P.S. I edited an entry that hadn't been touched since 2004 a few days ago. There are lots of things that haven't been systematically cleaned up. Often, standardizing things meets inexplicable, militant resistance. AFAIK, no one has attacked wrong-ways quotation marks yet. The simple fact that something hasn't been cleaned up yet, does not imply that it shouldn't be. --Connel MacKenzie 18:53, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Ruakh solved the numbering problem and I made the margin smaller. Best regards Rhanyeia 14:18, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Which one of these looks better for you? The second one would be much easier to handle.

  1. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings:
      Cquote1.svg The leaves were long, the grass was green,
      The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
      And in the glade a light was seen
      Of stars in shadow shimmering. Cquote2.svg
  2. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings:
      Cquote1.svg Tinúviel was dancing there
      To music of a pipe unseen,
      And light of stars was in her hair,
      And in her raiment glimmering. Cquote2.svg

Best regards Rhanyeia 14:20, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

That’s good — I prefer the second. :-) † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 15:04, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Neither. The first one has odd-looking indenting of the first line, whoch is undesirable since a quotation may come from the middle of a stanza or paragraph. I say "neither" because on my screen, I couldn't tell the tiny faded blue quote marks were there for the first couple of minutes looking at it. They are so small and so faint that I can't see them. Worse, neither of these citations gives the critical information of where in the thousands of pages of LOTR the quotation may be found. Books must cite chapter (or page) as well as edition to be worth anything. --EncycloPetey 15:05, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree with EncycloPetey on the color issue: I have had a gray background here for a very long time (set in my CSS, instead of telling the browser to use my colors, as I used to.) The light-blue blends very nicely with the gray; if they were not the focus of the discussion, I would not have noticed them at all. --Connel MacKenzie 18:59, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
I think I agree about the shade too. :) What about this color, or shall I change it more? The quotation mark could be right next to the letter or there can be a small gap, which one of these do you think is better?
  1. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollinsPublishers 2007, p. 191:
      Cquote1 sh2.svg The leaves were long, the grass was green,
      The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
      And in the glade a light was seen
      Of stars in shadow shimmering. Cquote2 sh2.svg
  2. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollinsPublishers 2007, p. 191:
      Cquote1 sh2.svgTinúviel was dancing there
      To music of a pipe unseen,
      And light of stars was in her hair,
      And in her raiment glimmering.Cquote2 sh2.svg

Best regards Rhanyeia 09:03, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Definitely the first version, as the second looks too much like the quotation marks are part of the citation itself. In re colour: I daresay the new shade will fade into the grey background about as much as the original one does. (Nota bene: my background is white, not grey — I’m just assuming.) I imagine that differences in the colour, shade, and vividity of the quotation marks are all things that could be accommodated by having multiple options available in WT:PREFS. As this template is being made, is there a possibility that other functions can be tacked onto it? –Namely:
  1. Some way of marking the word to be cited so that multiple, WT:PREFS-set formatting can be applied to it (such as conventional emboldenment, underlining, colour, and so on); and
  2. Having the ability to toggle (again, using WT:PREFS) the display of hidden comments (comments like this word was split as “dictio-nary” at a line break in the source text and this word is possibly a scanno), so that those who want pedantically precise, faithfully reproduced, unadulterated quotations needn’t view the source code for those minor notes.
Opinions? † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 14:30, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand much about that slang. :) I can provide pictures with different colors from those PD files, but I can't code things which are related to user preferences. The pictures are svg, code. There is this shade now. Best regards Rhanyeia 18:48, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
The first step (before we involve WT:PREFS) would be to alter the template somehow so that the word to be cited could be marked for special formatting (emboldenment, for example). Hidden comments are presently inserted using this code: <!-- [HIDDEN COMMENTS] --> — ideally, a replacement could be found which still hid the text, but could be altered to allow the text to be show if so desired by WT:PREFS. I don’t think that colour (dark teal?) is suitable — perhaps red or magenta? –Just ensure that the shade isn’t too dull for a grey background but isn’t so vivid as to be garish! † Raifʻhār Doremítzwr 20:39, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
The cited word uses ordinary emboldenment now and I thought the template would use that too, like in the next example. Here are some possible color varieties. How does the one I picked look? I made a creative solution for the language parameter because everything else I could think of would break the numbering. You can look at it here. :)






  1. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollinsPublishers 2007, p. 191:
      Cquote1 sh3.svg The leaves were long, the grass was green,
      The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
      And in the glade a light was seen
      Of stars in shadow shimmering. Cquote2 sh3.svg
  2. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollinsPublishers 2007, p. 191:
      Cquote1 sh3.svg Tinúviel was dancing there
      To music of a pipe unseen,
      And light of stars was in her hair,
      And in her raiment glimmering. Cquote2 sh3.svg

Best regards Rhanyeia 16:57, 2 October 2007 (UTC)


Here are two color options for the quotation marks:

  1. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollinsPublishers 2007, p. 191:
      Cquote1 sh3.svg The leaves were long, the grass was green,
      The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
      And in the glade a light was seen
      Of stars in shadow shimmering. Cquote2 sh3.svg
  2. Some definition.
    • 1954: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollinsPublishers 2007, p. 191:
      Cquote1 sh4.svg Tinúviel was dancing there
      To music of a pipe unseen,
      And light of stars was in her hair,
      And in her raiment glimmering. Cquote2 sh4.svg

Best regards Rhanyeia 07:36, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

While both of those color choices are better than the original, they both appear almost invisible when I set my browser to ignore site-color choices, and use my default black background. I think you seem to be missing two major points: #1) using the curly quotations marks is inherently inappropriate for Wiktionary quotations, #2) any color specified for this, will be inadequate for some users, some of the time, no mater what preference or template wrapping trickery is used. I can't think of any reason to add this much complexity to an already difficult citation process; is it just to hamper 'bot activities? Or to increase the barrier to entry (pun intended) for newcomers? So far, two people think it looks good but very few (three so far) have expressed equal or greater dislike of it and all it implies. I don't think it is useful to anyone, for you to pursue this. The technical challenges are significant, for no discernible gain. --Connel MacKenzie 02:01, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
It may be that it's impossible to make it work. But I think it would make adding sitations easier. I looked around some pages and there are three different ways of doing it at the moment. Someone uses quotation marks, someone uses italics, and someone neither. I think it's also a problem if there is nothing to mark the difference from the ordinary text, and both usual quotation marks and italics are problematic. I think a template could encourage people to add quotations. The "inherently inappropriate" comment I didn't understand, but the one about color I did. You are probably right, but because there are currently no quotation marks used, does it really matter if there are some rare computer screens where they don't show up? I don't know much about bots, but the code of this template is very simple, I don't think it's going to create problems, especially after how I solved the language parameter thing. :) The template is already working, I just fixed the bolding. I think I'll make the quotation marks brown now, but any ideas about the best shade are very welcome. :) Best regards Rhanyeia 07:44, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
I tested background colors. I tried both with Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer, and the settings of the browser did not affect the background color on Wiktionary. Then I tried different skins on Wiktionary, and some skins had green background, and the quotes looked fine on it. Some might have difficulties seeing brown on green (because there are people who can't tell green from red), but that person would almost certainly not decide to work with a green background because red links would be invisible. I couldn't find out how to change the background color to anything else. I guess there are only handful of editors with other background colors, and new editors who come in can choose a color where things show up. Best regards Rhanyeia 16:14, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
I don’t like those quote marks either. I like the quotations plain and clear. See Ruakh’s arguments earlier for why not to use them. H. (talk) 14:36, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Size and color[edit]

Technical problems are solved, some more languages can be added later. I'm still experimenting with color and size. The next examples are from real pages, flower and rock. With a flower example the quotation marks are slightly bigger than with the rock. Which one is better? I'm trying blue now, could you compare it to brown here please (no one could use blue background color here anyway because links are blue). Best regards Rhanyeia 11:24, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

  1. (botany) A reproductive structure in angiosperms (flowering plants), typically including sepals, petals, stamens, and ovaries; often conspicuously colourful.
    • 1894, H. G. Wells, The Flowering of the Strange Orchid
      Cquote1 blue.svg You know, Darwin studied their fertilisation, and showed that the whole structure of an ordinary orchid flower was contrived in order that moths might carry the pollen from plant to plant. Cquote2 blue.svg
  2. An inflorescence that resembles a flower, but actually contains many small florets, such as a sunflower.


  1. (figuratively) Something that is strong, stable, and dependable; a person who provides security or support to another.
    • 1611: King James Bible, Matthew 16:18
      Cquote1 blue.svg And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Cquote2 blue.svg
    • 1991: Robert Harling and Andrew Bergman, Soapdish, Paramount Pictures
      Cquote1 blue.svg Celeste Talbert: She is my rock, my right hand. Cquote2 blue.svg
  2. (geology) Any natural material with a distinctive composition of minerals.


Best regards Rhanyeia 11:30, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

I have no problem with the concept here, as a user preference; but I think it would be far better simply to specify a CSS class for citation quotes, and allow users to select their own preferred display. Of course such a class would need to be applied through a template, but I don't think the template should overtly apply any formatting beyond what is already specified in WT:QUOTE. -- Visviva 11:33, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I have very hard time understanding the slang here. :) But if you mean that the quotation marks would appear only if one has set them in preferences, that's not what I have in mind. I'm designing this for the pages for those who browse around to see them, not the editors. Best regards Rhanyeia 11:39, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

They are blue now and the upper size. It's still possible to compare the two colors on a test page. Best regards Rhanyeia 12:18, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

Need periodical reference example[edit]

Need at least one example of a periodical reference. dougher 21:55, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

How about the last quotation I added to Minnesota nice?
  1. A style of pleasantness, courtesy, cooperation, and helpfulness associated with Minnesota culture; a form of Midwestern charm.
    • 2006, Brooke Gladstone, "The Importance of Being Earnest", On the Media, 28 July 2006 (accessed 31 August 2007), WNYC, page 1
      Their [KARE-TV's] new anchor, or family member, as they call him, isn't resonating with the viewers, who aren't sure he's Minnesota nice, as Sarah Lemanczyk reports.
~ Jeff Q 12:58, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, it’s questionable whether the bracketed comment is really necessary — it doesn’t seem to give an additional clue as to what Minnesota nice means, and if such information is necessary, I think it’s best given by an expanded quotation or by a {{italbrac}}ked comment after the date and author info.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:01, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I put one in only if like this:
    • 1965 June 4, John W. Tukey, Data Analysis and the Frontiers of Geophysics, in Science New Series, 148(3675), page 1288, [1]
      This is a somewhat paradoxical conclusion, and we can be happy to learn that it follows only if we can trust, precisely and in detail, the assumed way in which the probability of occurrence of a deviation decreases as the size of that deviation increases.
I just improvise based on APA format and such. I would prefer the above to read "in On the Media". Cynewulf 18:13, 28 October 2007 (UTC)