Talk:Civil War

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If there is only one main sense, then it seems pointless using subsenses... Ƿidsiþ 20:26, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I take it you only use subsenses to distinguish multiple groups of related senses? I use subsenses also to indicate that a single group of senses are, well, subsenses (specific instances) of one general sense. - -sche (discuss) 20:34, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I do. I understand your approach, I just think it looks a bit funny on the page. Well, screen. Ƿidsiþ 20:42, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Other senses[edit]

I dispute the removal of several of the cited senses and citations(!) from this entry. Listing an entry on RFD does not make it immune to changes; on the contrary, the point of an RFD listing is to determine if a term meets (non-WT:ATTEST) CFI, and one way of doing that is determining what senses it has. The cited senses should be restored, and RFDed if they are disputed. Is there a reason the English Civil War was left while the others were deleted? It seems prescriptivist to decide that only the English and American wars are important enough to mention, when the citations prove otherwise. At the least, the Irish Civil War was also fought among English-speaking people. - -sche (discuss) 12:59, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Done, seemed trivial to do so. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:01, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

RFD archive[edit]

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

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.

Civil War[edit]

This is just a capitalization of civil war, which is common practice when referring to a specific one ("After the Civil War, renewed industrialization paved the way for..."). The entry claims that it is just used for the American Civil War, but that's just plain wrong - I know I could cite it for the English Civil War and the Roman Civil War as well, and probably many others. Therefore, I believe this entry is misleading, inaccurate, and not worthy of having an entry (except perhaps as an alt-form of civil war). --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:36, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Delete. Irish Civil War, English Civil War, Angolan Civil War, Argentine Civil War, Nigerian Civil War, Rhodesian Civil War, Congo Civil War ad nauseum. There's dozens more. Listing them is Wikipedia's job, and someone has already done that. See List of civil wars .--Dmol (talk) 05:30, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Delete (replace with {{alternative form of|civil war}}) Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:37, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
What Smurray said.​—msh210 (talk) 17:47, 12 June 2012 (UTC) Striking.​—msh210 (talk) 20:33, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
Keep and add any missing attestable referents. None of the stated reasons would warrant deletion under WT:CFI. They would be reasons to add senses. There are many entries that are principally present because they are ellipses.
In the US, the only civil war that can be referred to in this way (with capitalization, without context) is the w:American Civil War. It is even in widespread use attributively in expressions like Civil War reenactment, Civil War history buff, and more. This is about the strongest non-encyclopedic case for inclusion that can be made for a proper noun. I don't know in what places other civil wars can be referred to in this way. If they can be in some places, those definitions should be added. DCDuring TALK 10:49, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
But we'd have to add every known civil war. Obviously, in American contexts, Civil War means the American Civil War, but it doesn't mean that to me at all in the phrases you mention. Ƿidsiþ 10:53, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Well, bonnet, lift and rubber don't mean the same thing to me as they do for someone from the UK, but that's why we have context labels and usage notes. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:55, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Look at it this way: are you going to cite every possible Civil War and write the usage notes? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:26, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
But an American writing a book to be published by an American publishing house and marketed in America would call the Borovian Civil War "the Civil War" if his book is about Borovia. This is not a dialect issue but a context one.​—msh210 (talk) 17:45, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
If I told my friend Sam that Joe was a Civil War buff in a response to a question about Joe's hobbies, Sam would not be in any doubt what I was attributing to Joe. The sole context required is {{US}}. DCDuring TALK 18:28, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@DCDuring, you could cite David Beckham the same way, David Beckham fan gets 45 Google Book hits alone. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:56, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Convert to alternative capitalization of, I note we have Prime Minister. Also President doesn't say "president of the United States" while Civil War does say US Civil War. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:58, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Keep Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 11:07, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Why? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I also agree that if kept, we can't just pick one civil war over all the others, we have to list all the attestable civil wars with the capitalization Civil War. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:11, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
I think this is the consequence of including proper names as entries whose "sense" is a mere specific referent. There is an a fortiori case for including nicknames of the referents whose fuller name is included. To the extent that Wiktionary merely describes the language rather than attempts to be useful to the general user I think it is seriously misleading and wrong to exclude a term that, for a large population of users, has no other referent than the one given in the entry. DCDuring TALK 11:16, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Keep. To Americans, this is has a lot of meaning aside from its literal interpretation, like Mom and apple pie and the Fourth of July (or "Americans", for that matter). We have an adjective, antebellum, based on its significance as a change of eras. By all means, the fact that it doesn't have the same meaning elsewhere needs to be pointed out, just as "God Save the Queen" (that refers to w:Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, right?) does for the UK Chuck Entz (talk) 13:39, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Personally I vote delete, it's either that or add ten more senses. Ƿidsiþ 14:01, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
If necessary, we should. The vote seems to be lining up neatly along national lines, which is itself significant. Civil War may be SOP to the rest of the world, but in the US it isn't. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:20, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
If you want to see it that way, that's fine, but it's not true. I'm American, but I recognize that civil wars are a common trend in history, and every Anglophone nation that has had one will naturally use it this way, capitalized, to refer to whichever one they had. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it was citeable for countries like Russia as well.--Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:26, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep: widely used term. In America, there are civil wars and the Civil War. I don't find the "if we keep it, we'll have to add more senses" argument compelling at all...we're a dictionary, we're supposed to have lots and lots of senses Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 15:34, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
    So are you planning on adding the senses and citing them? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:39, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
    In America, there are presidents and there is the President. So what? This is beyond the realm of lexicography. Ƿidsiþ 16:52, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
    If somone would propose that we exclude all proper names of specific entities (not name components, like John and Smith), unless used attributively and with other restrictions, I would support it. We could carve out any exceptions needed for, say, taxonomic names or exclude them, too. DCDuring TALK 17:05, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
    Because we are a wiki, all of our entries are works in progress. If we deleted any entry that wasn't "complete", we'd need to:
  1. have standards of completeness,
  2. enforce them, and
  3. accept that we would probably have to delete many entries for common English words for which we lack senses that other on-line dictionaries have. DCDuring TALK 16:40, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. I cannot vouch how speakers in other Anglophonic speakers use "Civil War" or "civil war," but in the US, the meaning of "Civil War" is as distinctive from "civil war" as "the White House" is from "the white house." The OED does not recognize this US meaning even in its citations (even though it's updated to 1998), but the AHD does. It has four meanings, two of which are:
  • Civil War - The war in the United States between the Union and the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865. Also called War Between the States.
  • Civil War - The war in England between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists from 1642 to 1648.
In the Mac dictionary, the English-English dictionary includes references to American Civil War, English Civil War, Spanish Civil War, and the Japanese-English dictionary includes the American and English Civil Wars (with slightly different dates from the AHD). If British speakers agree with the AHD and the Mac dictionary that "Civil War" has the meaning of the English Civil War, I will believe them. I think we need both citations and native dialect speaker intuition here to sort these out. --BB12 (talk) 08:25, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course, in English contexts, it has the menaing of "the English Civil War", just as in American contexts it has the meaning of "the American Civil War". It can in fact mean any civil war, that is the whole point of this debate. No one is disputing that it can mean "the American Civil War". The point is that in different contexts it can mean any other civil war. That's the whole issue at hand. Ƿidsiþ 11:52, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think that there is any evidence that in English it can refer to just any civil war, except as an anaphora. I don't think that the civil war going on in Syria is thought of by any English-speaking population as "the Civil War".
The point, I think, is that Civil War has some attestable meanings, apparently different in different places. This is similar to Constitution and constitution.
Again, it seems to me to be a matter of policy that could be resolved by being much more explicit about what kind of capitalized English terms we include and why. Since the deletion of the section of CFI about "specific entities", the arena of Proper nouns has been a free-fire zone. DCDuring TALK 14:14, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Of course it could refer to a Syrian civil war. This is the first time Syria has really had a civil war, so there isn't much literature on it yet. But neighbouring Lebanon has hundreds of examples -- from Google Books I see "Before the Civil War, Lebanon was extolled by many as the “Switzerland” of the Middle East"; "by the onset of the Civil War in April 1975, political fragmentation was accelerating"; "Cadiz and Lebanon became very different societies in ways pertinent to the Civil War, and for reasons dating to near their origins"...etc etc. Must we really go through a process like this for every single country before you accept that the only limit on the number of referents is the number of civil wars that have taken place? Ƿidsiþ 14:46, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
In reply to "In America, there are civil wars and the Civil War." What about President, to Americans that implies the current US president while in the UK it doesn't (France has a president for example). Ditto Prime Minister in the UK implies the UK prime minister, I suspect in Australia it implies the Australian prime minister. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:50, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
I think that many Americans would change "the President" to "our President" in speech when someone from a different country was present, or at least have a strong understanding that doing so is appropriate. But for Civil War, I think people would be much less likely to use "American Civil War" because the meaning is very specific (to the point that probably many Americans do not consider the Civil War to be a civil war per se). I can even imagine people saying, instead of "the American Civil War," "the Civil War, when Americans fought each other" to explain the term to a foreigner. --BB12 (talk) 17:45, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete and make a usage note at civil war saying that in the U.S. "the Civil War" capitalized but unmodified is generally understood to refer to the U.S. Civil War of 1861–65. I've done something similar at Uachtarán#Irish, the Irish word for "President": it's usually understood to refer to the President of Ireland, but can refer to other presidents as well. —Angr 19:17, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep as American English. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 11:11, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
    @TAKASUGI Shinji, what if I add a sense to President {{US}} The current US President. It would not be incorrect not any more than this is. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:28, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete, otherwise, make it generic, something along the lines of used to refer to various national civil wars (e.g. American Civil War, Spanish Civil War, etc.) Leasnam (talk) 20:27, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I have made all of the specific wars subsenses of the general sense "Any of several civil wars". I have added seven new senses, with citations: the English, Russian, Chinese, Irish, Spanish, Greek and Lebanese Civil Wars. At least a dozen more remain to be added. I notice, incidentally, that we are missing an English section at [[Nationalist]]: that word is attested with at least as many senses! - -sche (discuss) 20:27, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Er I've lost track, do you actually want to keep all these, or is this just you on one of your reductio ad absurdum things? Ƿidsiþ 20:32, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't see what 'wanting' has to do with it, unless you want to delete these merely for being 'less common' than the American Civil War sense. Earlier I changed an instance of [[Empire]] to [[empire|Empire]], I wonder if we should in fact create Empire as a capitalized form of empire, per King, Queen, Prince and so on. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:05, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I have temporarily reverted -she’s edits. We have two opinions here:
  1. keep the article because the Civil War means the American Civil War in America, or
  2. delete it because it is clear from the context.
In either case, adding the other civil wars is misleading in the current discussion. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 04:09, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
It is seriously wrong to delete content out of process in this way. I have restored the edits, pending the conclusion of this discussion. DCDuring TALK 04:34, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
OK, I understand. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 05:12, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Suggestion: reduce the definition to something like {{form of|Alternative capitalization of|civil war}} used when referring to a specific one. Explain in the usage notes that in the context of American/English/Irish history, it means the American/English/Irish Civil War (as those are the ones fought by English-speakers), and that in other contexts it refers to other civil wars. (And keep all of the citations I added. Why would you want to bin those?) - -sche (discuss) 13:12, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
    • What -sche said.​—msh210 (talk) 20:33, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Delete and replace with what -sche said. — Ungoliant (Falai) 16:11, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete all specific senses, leaving only the general definition ("Any specific civil war") and several quotations to illustrate different usages. The phrase "Civil War" can refer to any specific civil war, and trying to enumerate them all is absurd. "Civil War" doesn't refer solely to some well-defined, specific set of civil wars; it can be applied to any civil war when the context is clear, whether that's the American Civil War, the Lebanese Civil War, or the Klingon Civil War. It wouldn't make sense to have our entry on Constitution be a bulleted list of dozens of different constitutions (all of which are sometimes called "the Constitution"), or Parliament have links to the dozens of parliaments that exist in the world (since each of them can be referred to simply as "Parliament"), and similarly it doesn't make sense to treat Civil War as a term referring to an ever-expanding list of specific wars. —Caesura(t) 18:04, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I count 11 people in favour of "deleting" the entry / making it an {{alternative form of}} entry: Metaknowledge, Dmol, Smurrayinchester, Widsith, Mglovesfun, Angr, Leasnam, msh210, Ungoliant, Caesura and myself.
I count 6 people in favour of keeping the entry with specific wars as senses: DCDuring, Matthias Buchmeier (without rationale), Chuck Entz, Purplebackpack89, BB12, TAKASUGI Shinji.
Unless I have made an error in counting, that is a 64% (almost two-thirds) majority for deletion. - -sche (discuss) 04:45, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep for at least the US. There are numerous references to the "Civil War Era", which denotes a very specific period of time in US history. I realize that there are other civil wars (current and historical), but for the average US citizen, the Civil War (in capitalized form) is more well-known than the names of all the states. The colloquial/regional use would never use American to describe it, unless they were talking in international context/conversation, and then only after they were corrected to specify which civil war they were talking about.
The debate here (IMO) should not be whether or not the use of Civil War is specific to the US or other regions when used in capitalized form, but whether or not it is USED in such a manner to denote a specific event.
I also added War of Northern Aggression to the definition of American Civil War. --Jacecar (talk) 08:28, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Ah, but even bare "War" can be used to denote a specific event: "Lee fought Grant during the War". Such an application of either "War" or "Civil War" is just one of hundreds of context-specific applications of the word, which only means "civil war". As someone commented ages ago about something else, when I say "I'm going to the store", I mean the store nearest my house, but "store" doesn't mean "the store nearest User:-sche's house". - -sche (discuss) 08:55, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
For anyone keeping tabs: we now have a 61% majority for deletion, down from 64%. - -sche (discuss) 08:55, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

deleted. I hold the notion that the definitions in dictionaries that refer to Civil War as only the American or the British one are quite obviously biased (as they tend to be) and do not reflect actual usage across the world. I was indifferent about this, but after noticing that Wikipedia, on their disambiguation page, doesn't even list the American Civil War as one of the main senses, I am convinced that the American one is not any more important than any of the others. If you encountered English speakers in Greece, chances are that when they say Civil War, they would refer to the Greek one, not to the English or American one. -- Liliana 08:02, 13 October 2012 (UTC)