Talk:Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Comments by me cut and pasted from IRC tonight on being given the URL to the Italian Wiktionary version of this article:

<hippietrail> wow there's a lot of unnecessary capitals in there and a few entries seem misformatted...
<hippietrail> some such as persian are missing their native script - that translation seems to leave out "new year" and repeat "christmas" twice by the way
<hippietrail> should it be in alphabetical order or in "language code order"?
<hippietrail> there are a lot more here, and in their native scripts! [1]

Hippietrail 13:23, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

There are, they are protected by "copyright" so I cannot copy them in. Then again this IS a work in progress with the Italian wiktionary leading the effort. it:Buon Natale e felice Anno Nuovo!. This little project is not just about the phrase, it is also about cooperation among the wiktionaries, the use of sound for pronounciations and storing them in Commons and last but not least, it is a fun project. GerardM 07:35, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)


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The sum of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, not to mention the very, very bad state of the translations section. —Leftmostcat 02:02, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Strong DELETE. Not really a needed expression. Neskaya 02:26, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Delete. (And on the off-chance we do keep this, I'll point out that the Hebrew translation given just means "merry Christmas", though I don't really have a suggested improvement, as חג המולד וסילבסטר שמחים sounds very strange and unidiomatic.) —RuakhTALK 03:23, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Ridiculously strong KEEP. Being "idiomatic" does not apply to phrasebook entries. It is, however, a set phrase in and of itself. Very widespread, at that. What's next, deleting Happy Chanukah? (Waitasec, why is this a redlink?) --Connel MacKenzie 20:28, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
It's a phrase that consists entirely of two separate phrases, both of which we have entries for. As far as the idiomatic criteria for phrases, WT:CFI certainly seems to suggest that it does apply. It may be a set phrase, but it's simply a combination of the two aforementioned phrases. —Leftmostcat 21:00, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. The phrasebook criteria is glossed over (at best) by CFI. The practice has been to keep set phrases which this combination most certainly is. --Connel MacKenzie 21:19, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
It does, however, mention "Idiomatic Phrases" as opposed to just "Phrases". Is there an archived copy of a discussion about this practice of keeping set phrases? If not, a new discussion should perhaps be struck up. I can see no reason to keep set phrases if they consist entirely of two other phrases plus basic connecting words. —Leftmostcat 22:22, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Connel pointed out to me the discussion at Wiktionary_talk:Criteria for inclusion#Pawley_list, which makes a fair bit of sense to me. While I still disagree with Stephen that this should be kept because of idiomaticity (it's not idiomatic in English, even if it is in other languages), I will change my own personal opinion to Keep as per the aforementioned discussion. —Leftmostcat 22:42, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Delete: We can have all this information at Merry Christmas! and Happy New Year!. Inserting the "and" doesn't add any useful information. --EncycloPetey 20:31, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Strong keep. The connection with a simple and and the capitalization are not as simple as they may seem. Try doing that with the other languages and you will come to appreciate how idiomatic it actually is. —Stephen 16:21, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Can you perhaps give an example? Unfortunately, not all of us are fluent in all the other languages. —Leftmostcat 20:47, 1 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, just take any language from Merry Christmas, add the word from and, and then add the phrase from Happy New Year, and see what sort of job you can do. If you know anything about languages, you will immediately find yourself in a quandary over how to put it all together and whether the same formula is even applicable. For example, try Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Here is what you get:
С Рождеством Христовым и С Новым годом!
メリークリスマス 然して よいお年を
메리 크리스마스 새해 복 많이 받으세요
圣诞快乐 恭喜發財
All four of these have resulted in unacceptable "translations". —Stephen 06:41, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry to nitpick, but both the Russian and Japanese entries are precisely how you've represented it here, the Chinese entries are both "Merry Christmas" only and I suspect the same of the Korean. Still, establishing that another language treats this phrase idiomatically does not establish idiomaticity for English and, were that still at issue for me I would still call for a deletion on that basis. —Leftmostcat 07:00, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
You say the Russian and Japanese examples are correct? Look again. The Russian phrase cannot be capitalized that way. Japanese does not use spaces. But my point was that you should attempt to do such a translation. You can’t see what I mean just by comparing my examples with the correct phrases, you have to try to do it yourself. If you have any experience with translating, you will immediately see that you cannot simply add bits and pieces from different articles and phrases and obtain a reliable translation. And once you see the problems you will face when "translating" other languages that you do not know so well, then you should be able to see how idiomatic the English phrase actually is. —Stephen 07:46, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Idiomatic meaning is not a requirement for English entries. Because we are a multi-lingual dictionary, we also have non-idiomatic English entries whose translations are idiomatic or otherwise not obvious:
Rod (A. Smith) 07:33, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Please consider this a response to both of the above statements, as I think addressing them together will allow me to better make my point. The capitalization and spacing problems are relatively minor problems should be relatively easy to address for someone translating into those languages. For the part of Japanese, spacing is never used in sentences. The examples provided by Rod could be said to fall under "set phrases", which as I acknowledge above can indeed be useful to the dictionary. Hence my decision to change my opinion to Keep on this article. However, I can pick many sentences which would be inappropriate to include in Wiktionary in English yet would have a nuanced translation into another language. While lack of idiomaticity is not reason to delete a phrase, neither is idiomaticity or nuanced translation of a phrase in another language reason to keep it. That's the primary thrust of my argument. —Leftmostcat 08:30, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Capitalization is different and very much stricter in Russian than in English, and it is not a minor matter at all. Cherry-picking from Merry Christmas and Happy New Year will not allow one to see this and make the proper adjustments. —Stephen 08:58, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
But doesn't that problem apply to any phrase consisting of "[capitalized term] and [capitalized term]"? bd2412 T 15:42, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but I think Stephen's point is that this is a "set phrase" in the sense that it's a very common collocation. Personally I wouldn't look it up but I can't see how its existence here does the site any harm. Widsith 22:07, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
Keep, as a phrasebook entry, but let's please consider moving all of these entries to Appendix: namespace or elsewhere; as a potentially infinite set of non-idiom phrases, these substantially dilute the meaning of CFI. -- Visviva 22:12, 2 August 2007 (UTC)
I could see keeping this as a phrasebook entry, but I really think this belongs in an appendix article on how different cultures treat the new year, season's greetings and all. It's an issue that goes beyond the mere language differences. DAVilla 21:38, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
That sounds to me like more of an encyclopædia article than a dictionary appendix. Thryduulf 19:32, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I guess it depends how it's treated. Could you see making an appendix for holidays? How would you approach that without categorizing them by culture? DAVilla 23:09, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Would it not make more sense to include these phrasebook entries in a new namespace specially for them with different CFI? Thryduulf 19:32, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

If you did that, then what would the new or casual user have to type in order to find what he’s looking for? I think you will only succeed in making phrases effectively invisible, and to what end? It doesn’t save any space on the server. Having phrases in the same space as words does has no deleterious effect on the words. If you buy a paper dictionary, everybody knows that you have to examine the beginning and end to see what sort of things they put there, so it’s not a big deal to put proper nouns in the appendix. Here, people just type in the word or the phrase that they are looking for, and they do not see any appendix, and only heavy users and contributors ever become aware of the appendices. —Stephen 20:02, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
As I understand it (and I could be wrong), that it is merely a product of the set-up of the search engine that precludes it displaying results from namespaces other than ns0. If it is possible, then it should be set up to get hits from appendices and the phrasebook. Certainly I believe that the eagerly awaited replacement search will be customisable in this way. It should certainly pick up see alsos, e.g. "Merry Christmas" in the main namespace would have a See also: "*[[Phrasebook:Merry Christmas and a happy new year|]] in the Wiktionary Phrasebook".
Other than that perhaps we could set up the sidebar to have two searches - "search words" and "search phrases"/"search appendices" although this will be confusing as idiomatic phrases (e.g. what it says on the tin) are in the main namespace. Thryduulf 00:23, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I disagree, but we do need to come to some conclusion on this because the phrasebook is not mentioned in WT:CFI. DAVilla 23:09, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I see four "deletes", three "keep/strong keeps" and three other who commented ("abstain?") which altogether does not look even remotely like "consensus to delete."
I like UserThryduulf's namespace idea. But he pointed out some issues (e.g. idiomatic phrases) that need a tiny bit more discussion/hammering out before it is ready for a vote, I think. After all, it simply is logical to have phrasebook entries in a phrasebook namespace. The search engine improvements of the past few weeks have all the namespaces being searched now. We never did get a reasonable filtering mechanism for identifying what does (and what doesn't) feed the mirrors and search engines...but for phrasebook entries I don't think that makes any difference at all.
I think that any additional CFI modifications should wait for the proper nouns debates to resolve themselves through votes (or at least make better progress.) If the namespace idea can work, the CFI shouldn't need so much as one full sentence on it. --Connel MacKenzie 06:42, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

FWIW, five years later, I would have said keep. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:21, 2 January 2012 (UTC)


I've seen a lot of bullshit in the translation list, so in a moment of impulse I took all of them and moved them to the "ttbc" list. I'm 100% sure about the Icelandic translations, and about 80% sure about the Japanese one so I decided not to put it in. --BiT 08:48, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Rm ar, be, cmn, uk translation, which were simply Merry Christmas. The Belarusian one was really bad. I would cut that translator's fingers, LOL. --Anatoli (обсудить) 22:11, 21 December 2011 (UTC)