Wiktionary talk:Usage notes

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Moved from Beer Parlour - 22-May-2005[edit]


Is there / should there be a usage subsection for each definition ( for which it would be worthwhile). I'm thinking Fowler - Modern English usagem abd & Partridge, Usage and Abusage. --Tagishsimon

Well, we sometimes add a usage note underneath a definition; often like this

  • Note: This word is often used wrongly etc

See, for two examples, Scotch SemperBlotto 16:54, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

When clearly needed, I use {{-usage-}}. --Connel MacKenzie 02:26, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Usage articles[edit]

<Jun-Dai 06:46, 6 May 2005 (UTC)> I'm beginning to feel pretty strongly that we should have "articles" for multi-word usage issues, rather than merely usage notes, so that we can nail the usage description without restricting ourselves to information relevant to only one of the articles. This is especially so for synonyms or words with similar, overlapping, or hierarchical meanings. We really ought to have articles, for example, to compare the usage of book, tome, volume, text, manuscript, etc. Such an article could never be adequately addressed on the pages of one of the words, and it would be silly to reproduce the whole article on all of them. But before I do this, I want to see what others think, and I want to develop a consistent approach for doing this, particularly in the article naming (anything that involves article namespace needs communal discussion). dictionary.com's (really American Heritage's) approach is to put the usage not at one of the articles, and put a "see usage note at" on each of the other articles. I think it would be better, however, to give separate articles (which bartleby.com's version of American Heritage does). We could, in the example above, have an article named something like Usage notes:Types of books, or we could go a little better and do something like Usage notes:Words for bound texts. Or just Usage:

Any thoughts? </Jun-Dai>

I quite like this idea, just the other day I was wondering about a similar usage problem, the exact nature of which now escapes me. I'd personally go for 'Usage:', because it generally seems better to have a one word namespace (especially considering the talk pages, 'Usage notes talk:" just doesn't seem as appealing as 'Usage talk:'), and also, the pages are likely to be much more than notes after a while as this idea opens up the opportunity for some quite lengthy discussions on prescriptivism and prescriptivist views of language. A tidy place for a caveat about using naturalised English plurals on Latinate words and so on, perhaps. I agree with you that a standard needs to be developed, including a template for how to link to these articles from relevant word entries, for example, at the end or the beginning of the article? If there is a usage notes header, do we put the link there?
In a similar vein, the entry layout article and so on would also need to be updated to show this. Incidentally, I think the entry layout guide needs more clarity, to help answer such questions as in which order to put verb definitions, noun definitions and so on, or explaining more explicitly to new users that they don't need to include headers if they can't put any content in.
Back to the topic at hand, putting it simply, I second this motion. --Wytukaze 18:08, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Good idea. I think it was you who, quite a while ago, made similar proposals to improve the Synonyms section (was it synonyms? Example at the time was song and tune, air, etc.). There is a now archived thread "Discussing words pairwise" which I started but only got two or so posts in response. Not surprisingly since the matter is complicated. However, it would be good if someone could give an initial impulse by starting to create such pages. Hopefully other people will join subsequently. Ncik 06 May 2005
I don't like the idea of branching from a dictionary to an ESL guide. The examples you provide should (disclaimer: I have not checked them, I'm only asserting that they should) provide sufficient differentiation in each of their own definitions. On the other hand, it is a neat idea. I'd lean towards Style:articlename or Usage:articlename. But I think that Usage talk:articlename would have to somehow be changed to Usage flamewar:articlename.  :-) Neat concept - I also (like User:Wytukaze) would like to see this proceed, perhaps to an experimental phase. --Connel MacKenzie 19:46, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

<Jun-Dai 11:28, 7 May 2005 (UTC)> I'm happy with the fairly positive response here, so I decided to set out with English usage:Dieresis. I realized that there was no value in merging all the various-language usage notes into a single namespace, and it does leave the possibility of confusion. I fully expect y'all to make edits to my beautiful new stub, and in case there is disagreement with the name, or with its existence altogether, I held off on implementing links to it across the board. I restrained myself by touching only a few. Does this seem like a good start?

Note to Connel: I'm not really intending this as an ESL resource, which is why I expect that, for a perfect Wiktionary, there would be many more such usage articles for any given foreign language than there would be for English. This is mainly to clear up confusing issues that affect more than one word—issues that need more space than would comfortably fit in the section of a word.

Cool. Thanks for the disclaimer. I think you should proceed with a single experiment for all to review. --Connel MacKenzie 19:13, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Um, didn't we just discuss using the pseudo namespace Usage: not English Usage:? I prefer the former for a variety of reasons. --Connel MacKenzie 19:13, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Um, I just edited your link above to point to English usage:Dieresis. I think this is an even worse example of what you are after here...the diaresis disclaimer should be a template that is included in each of these (much like is done with {{punctuation}}. I would like to see a different, better example, as I do think you are on to something good here...but dieresis isn't it. --Connel MacKenzie 21:37, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

It is not possible, for example, to have a clear understanding of the distinction between coöperate and cooperate (i.e., it's not just a spelling variant, it's part of a system) based on the definitions there, and most of the information provided to that effect would have to be reprinted on reëxamine, reëlect, and the others. On a smaller scale, there is an important usage note to be created that will cover the terms they, them, their, and themself, regarding their use as a gender-unspecific third-person pronoun collection. You could put a usage note under they, and say "see usage note at they", but that seems inelegant when we can have an article for it and link to the article. Additionally, you can make references to usage articles with relevant information (in this case, an article on the use of he as a pronoun for someone of unspecified gender would be highly relevant), which would seem excessive on a word article.

I consider myself a reasonably erudite layman, but to me there is no coöperate in English, so how can there be a different English usage between coöperate and cooperate. There are times when I believe the "academics" on this project have their heads in the clouds, and try to be far, far too technical. Just stick with the one English word - cooperate.--Richardb 06:30, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

As for synonyms, I think it's very hard to capture the difference, particularly in usage, between the various words that have overlapping meanings in a small word definition (small in the sense of at most a couple lines). This is by no means restricted to people learning English. I'm sure there are many native speakers of English that would be enlightened by a quality article on the differences between use, utilize, employ, and put to use. The article format is even more appropriate for such difficult and contentious groups of terms as tsunami and tidal wave or opera, oratorio, and musical. As no three people can agree on the distinction between an opera and a musical, and most people upon learning the word oratorio would have a hard time differentiating it from opera (there exist oratori that are performed with costumes and acting, and operas that are not. There are also secular oratori and religious operas). In such cases it becomes necessary to frame various arguments (some would say Evita is an opera. Others would say it is not) and speak of senses (oratorio is generally used for religious-themed, unacted works, but there are cases where this is not true, particularly in times when it was a dominant form. It is very rare, on the other hand for an opera to be written with the intention that it not be acted. On the whole, the term used is likely to be based on the composer's preference, or at least what he wrote on the top of the score, unless the composer is Andrew Lloyd Webber). Such articles hardly belong in the main entries, and yet they are entirely suitable for the Wiktionary.</Jun-Dai>

I respectively disagree, on the grounds that such an assertion is wrong :P Clicking the 'discussion' tab above a page leads you to "Namespace_Talk:Article_name", unless there is no namespace, as it is a content page, and then you'll find "Talk:Article_name". As a test, I tried typing http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Talk:Wiktionary:Beer_parlour in my browser, and it leads to a creation page -> [[Talk:Wiktionary:Beer_parlour]], whereas Wiktionary_talk:Beer_parlour is perfectly functioning. --Wytukaze 15:54, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
It has just occurred to me what Uncle G is referring to. Although as a namespace, Usage will enjoy the same talk page URL formatting as all the other namespaces, it will not yet be a namespace per se. This is because it must be formalised, and in the meantime it will be treated by the MediaWiki software as a regular article. So, until such a time as it is formalised, Uncle G is correct in his assertion. This counts as an apology, I suppose. --Wytukaze 18:03, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
For the interim, can we just use a redirect from Talk:Usage:Diaresis --> Usage_Talk:Diaresis so we can see what the idea looks like? Um, wait a sec. Does anyone know who or where to ask for a new namespace? Is such a thing possible without developer intervention? --Connel MacKenzie 19:13, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
If you want a new namespace, request it at Bugzilla, and/or talk to a developer on the #mediawiki channel. I found out the hard way that most of the pages that collect requests on meta don't generally get watched. (BTW, this wouldn't be the first wiktionary asking for an additional namespace. bg: also requested one at bugzilla:1902, though it doesn't seem to have it yet.) —Muke Tever 16:19, 8 May 2005 (UTC)

Is WikiSaurus relevant[edit]

WikiSaurus is there for you to group words with similar meanings. You could have an entry WikiSaurus:Book. The content of a WikiSaurus entry is not rigidly defined. Often words, in the list of similar words in a WikiSaurus entry, have a note against them to indicate specific usage.--Richardb 10:11, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Why use a namespace ?[edit]

My understanding is that we are limited to having 16 namespaces, without any prospect of upping this number. I looked into it a bit after using WikiSaurus as a pseudo namespace.

Why not just use sub-pages ? Eg: a page called Dieresis/usage notes, with the sub-page title of "usage notes" being used consistently for any extended usage notes associated with a word. --Richardb 10:21, 22 May 2005 (UTC)