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RFV discussion: November 2013–June 2014[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

Do we have evidence of this having been used to produce forms not present in Hebrew or applied to non-Hebrew singular forms or stems? The individual terms need not be attestable. Three instances of productive use at any time 1450 to present would be sufficient. DCDuring TALK 15:37, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Could you provide a link to the policy/vote/discussion page for the policy you describe? —RuakhTALK 21:11, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
WT:CFI and, for the date which something needs to have been published after to be English, WT:AENM (which notes that the date is actually 1500, not 1450). -os is currently defined as an English suffix "Used to form plurals of some Hebrew and Yiddish loanwords, usually ending in -a or -ah"; per CFI, we need evidence of that. The entry currently links to a couple of words which English borrowed wholesale from Ashkenazi-accented Hebrew or Yiddish; it currently lacks anything that might demonstrate -os to be an English plural-forming suffix. - -sche (discuss) 22:06, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
This plural-formation rule is, of course, only used in cases where the etymon used that plural-formation rule. I doubt anyone is suggesting otherwise, and we don't really need an RFV to resolve that. If there is disagreement on whether we should keep these entries, that's a disagreement over policy (either over what it is, or over what it should be); if you are so confident that your view is correct, then you might as well speedy-delete them, rather than putting up straw men for the pleasure of tearing them down.
Sometimes this abuse of WT:RFV is entertainingly farcical, but most of the time it's just tiresome. It's the main reason I stopped bothering with this page.
RuakhTALK 18:33, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Are you saying that any Latinization of any morpheme in any script of any language meets CFI if there are three English instances of one (three different?) borrowings that contain the Latinized morpheme? DCDuring TALK 20:52, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm saying that if you think this entry should be deleted, you should either start an RFD discussion (if you care to discuss it) or speedy-delete it (if you don't). Listing it here, with requirements that everyone knows can't be satisfied, is disingenuous. —RuakhTALK 21:18, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
But I could imagine them being attestable as productive English suffixes in which case they should certainly be kept. I have no animus against them. I would expect that -im would almost certainly prove attestable in macaronic English formations. Similarly -san is almost certainly attestable in English. These two just seem much less likely. DCDuring TALK 21:33, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
There was a RFD discussion, it reached no consensus. I presumed DCDuring started this RFV in response to the RFD. It is not uncommon for discussions at RFD to raise questions of attestability and thus shift to RFV.
You say it's "disingenuous" to list it here with "requirements that everyone knows can't be satisfied", but those requirements are the ones everything else is subject to. If everyone knows the entry doesn't meet them, then it should be deleted and the question should be asked: why was it created? (-oth was created by me for reasons outlined here, in short I presumed it to be as attested or unattested and as idiomatic or unidiomatic as -os and thus deserving of the same treatment.) - -sche (discuss) 22:17, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
If the closest you can come to demonstrating a policy that requires "evidence of this having been used to produce forms not present in Hebrew or applied to non-Hebrew singular forms or stems" is to link to the entirety of WT:CFI, then you really might as well dispense with the link; it's not helpful. (And even if CFI did impose the requirements that you ascribe to it, your characterization of them as "the ones everything else is subject to" is impossible to take seriously. You can't possibly be suggesting that you'd apply this "forms not present in [source language]" requirement to whole words; rather, you must be applying this requirement to sub-word morphemes.)
As for the RFD discussion link — thanks. As you can plainly see, it was closed with "no consensus", not with "let's invent attestation requirements, then move it to RFV and impose them". (It's not as though anyone there argued that it met these made-up requirements; it's just that there wasn't consensus that they should be applied.) If DCDuring indeed started this RFV in response to that, then this listing is even more disingenuous than I had supposed.
RuakhTALK 23:27, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Do you think we should have an entry ki-#English that states that ki- is an English prefix? It so happens that in addition to Swahili#English and Kongo#English, English also borrowed kiSwahili#English and Kikongo#English. - -sche (discuss) 22:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Well, what is the relationship of those forms? What speakers use both "Swahili" and "Kiswahili", and what do they take the ki- part to mean? My understanding was — and our entries agree with this — that the two forms are synonymous alternatives. —RuakhTALK 23:27, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
As a crude check of plausibility I looked at Michael Quinion's site. The site includes -im and -san, but not -os and -oth. I understand that there might be some difficulty in attesting these because affixes are not conveniently searched for on Google, but I thought someone might have a feel for where attestation could be found. I aven't tried COCA and BNC yet. DCDuring TALK 23:56, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
  • There is no requirement in CFI that a putative suffix must be productive and attested as such. This nomination is not policy driven. DCDuring has been pushing the requirement that suffixes must be productive for some time, but I do not recall a community consensus for that requirement. For emphasis, the nomination says "Do we have evidence of this having been used to produce forms ...", italics mine. Proposed RFV outcome: out of scope of RFV. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:15, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
    First, I asked that there be unambiguous demonstration of productivity at any time in the past 500+ years. I was trying to suggest a more objective means of demonstrating that the affixes convey meaning,
Second, lots of things aren't in CFI and shouldn't be. Attestation of meaning is beyond what detailed rules are likely to sustain. I came up with something that seemed practical.
Third, could you suggest some other means of demonstrating that -os and -oth or other similar affixes convey meaning that has some taint of objectivity and testability (Or is that also to be a realm of whim wrapped in voting and legalism?) 14:32, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
RFV-failed; deleted. - -sche (discuss) 22:20, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Undone by Ruakh ([1]). — Ungoliant (falai) 22:14, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
  • RFV kept for no consensus about which policy, if any, pertains to this nomination in relation to attestation. The closer User:-sche (sic) failed to point to a policy supporting his or her manner of closure. For a previous RFD discussion, see Talk:-oth#Deletion discussion. --Dan Polansky (talk) 11:12, 21 June 2014 (UTC)


Same as for -os. DCDuring TALK 15:40, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Asherim and Asheroth are both attestable as plurals of Asherah; presumably only one of them is correct in Hebrew. This has ayatollot as a questioned plural of ayatollah (the plural from the Persian would be ayatollah(h)a). Bar-Mitzvah can become Bar-Mitzvoth or Bar-Mitzvot, whilst the correct plural form (AFAICT) is Barei-Mitzvah; likewise, Bat-Mitzvah can become Bat-Mitzvoth or Bat-Mitzvot, whilst its plural form is properly Bnoth-Mitzvah. Brit milah is attestable as brit milot in the plural, even though the correct form is britot milah. Chalukah is attestable as chalukot and as chalukim, even though, as in the case of Asherah, presumably only one of them is right in Hebrew. Is any of that evidence at all helpful? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 17:06, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
It's certainly helpful.
  1. I wouldn't have thought that the existence of alternative transliterations would be evidence for the existence of target-language morphemes based on the morphemes of the source language.
  2. The forms that would be erroneous were they transliterations are definitely better evidence that there was some more active word-formation process. I still wonder whether that kind of error in the frequency that it occurs would normally be deemed to be sufficient evidence of actual "morphemity" rather than of mere error in comparable cases, but no comparable cases come mind immediately.
Thanks. DCDuring TALK 17:36, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Re № 1: Well, presumably, attempted application of this suffix requires familiarity with other words in which the suffix occurs, which would probably include familiarity with the different ways that the suffix can be spelt (Hebrew is quite variable in its transliteration); compare the English -ing-in’ pair. Re № 2: I think that use of a plural-marking suffix in contexts that would be incorrect in the source language is a sign of its morphemity — it shows that the user of the suffix is thinking "-oth (or -ot) marks a plural", and not just that there are a bunch of listemes where the singular happens to end in -ah and the plural meanwhile happens to end in -oth. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 01:15, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I that criterion definitely demonstrates that a suffix should be included. However, I don't think that not fulfilling that criterion automatically means that a suffix shouldn't be included. --WikiTiki89 03:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree, this is helpful, whether or ot it is conclusive.
In Deut. 12:3 and 1 Kings 14:23, the plural of asherah seems to be asherim. →ISBN says "the Asherah (plural Asherim or Asheroth)".
- -sche (discuss) 07:49, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Does that mean that asherim and asheroth are transliterations of noun forms that are both correct in Hebrew? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 01:15, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
They both occur in Hebrew scripture, so I would say yes, though I suppose one could argue about whether they're scribal errors or whether they both mean the same thing. At any rate, if they're present in the Hebrew, they could be borrowed, whether they're correct or not. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:11, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, that was my thinking, too. More examples like ayatollot would be ideal. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 03:17, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Could someone who is proficient in Hebrew please state which, if any, of the plurals I listed above (in my post timestamped: 17:06, 30 November 2013) do not occur in Hebrew? Given that, I can then create English entries for them and thereby attest -oth as an English suffix. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 00:07, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

I think they are all attestable in Hebrew (except ayatollot, because it's not even a Hebrew word). The only question is whether the -ot ending is attested in Hebrew before or after it is attested in English, and that's a tricky question. Bar-mitzvah has been used in English since before Hebrew was revived as a spoken language, although the sense of bar-mitzvah that is more likely to have the ending -ot is the ceremony sense, which isn't attested in English until 1941. Although, it is still likely that the -ot ending in English may have come first. (Just a side note: the correct plural of bar-mitzvah is not barei-mitzvah, but bnei-mitzvah or b'nei-mitzvah.) --WikiTiki89 00:50, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
  • RFV kept for no consensus about which policy, if any, pertains to this nomination in relation to attestation. The closer User:-sche (sic) failed to point to a policy supporting his or her manner of closure. For a previous RFD discussion, see Talk:-oth#Deletion discussion. --Dan Polansky (talk) 11:12, 21 June 2014 (UTC)