# Talk:alphabetical order

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## alphabetical order

Per asciibetical order RFD above. You can (and people do!) order by practically anything, e.g. numerical order, ASCII order, ANSI order, Unicode order, Hebrew alphabetical order... Equinox 22:36, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

But can't this be used specifically to mean the standard human-readable alphabet sequence (A,a,B,b), as opposed to asciibetical order and other technically "alphabetical" sequences? I mean, asciibetical order is alphabetical, but it specifically is not what is meant by "alphabetical order". -- Visviva 17:03, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes ("data is sorted in ASCII collated order rather than alphabetical order"), but that's still a matter for alphabetical versus asciibetical; the fact that it's an order is still SoP, isn't it? By the above token it seems we should also have alphabetical sort and asciibetical sort; alphabetically arranged and asciibetically arranged, etc. etc. At some point we have to give the reader credit for being able to put two words together. Equinox 17:23, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict):
IOW, even so, isn't the distinction/semantic relation in each case entirely in the adjective alone? DCDuring TALK 17:27, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
It should be kept, as a set phrase (but probably not the other phrases mentioned above). And how could you guess what alphabetical order means from alphabetical and order? It seems impossible, you can guess that the order is related to the alphabet, that's all. Lmaltier 17:33, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Keep In English, we usually use alphabetical order to mean in the order of the English alphabet, and not of just any alphabet. At the very least, we need this entry with a usage note to indicate such. The "alphabetical order" of Hungarian, Estonian, and even Spanish will throw many English speakers. Additionally, as Lmaltier notes, this is more than sum of parts. Alphabetical means "pertaining to the alphabet", but alphabetical order means that items have been sorted in sequence according to their initial letter. This is more information than is contained in the components. --EncycloPetey 17:30, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
But the same initial-letter implication is equally true for constructs like alphabetical listing, alphabetical sort, alphabetical catalogue, alphabetical index... do you support such entries as well? Equinox 17:40, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
No. An alphabetical listing is "a listing that is alphabetical". An alphabetical index is "an index that is alphabetical". But alphabetical order is NOT merely "an order that is alphabetical". Part of the reason for that order has so many meanings, but part of it is the slight idiomaticity and use as a set phrase. The correpsonding meaning of alphabetical is a back-sense from alphabetical order (as Visviva notes below). --EncycloPetey 17:48, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Then how is this — { Hebrew, Cyrillic, English, Spanish } — not an "alphabetical listing"? It's a listing of alphabets! Equinox 17:53, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
It would be an "alphabet list", not an "alphabetical listing", except for the fact that Cyrillic is a script, not an alphabet. There is more than one alphabet in the Cyrillic script, and these don't all include the same letters. --EncycloPetey 16:57, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
EP seems to believe that, for multi-word entries that include even one polysemic word, the potential for confusion among benighted users is sufficient to warrant inclusion, even though this is not to be found in WT:CFI. Until such time as this criterion is in WT:CFI, I would have thought such argument would be a mere make-weight, not determinative. DCDuring TALK 18:05, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
You neglected to read this sentence in WT:CFI (under Idiomaticity): "Compounds are generally idiomatic, even when the meaning can be clearly expressed in terms of the parts. The reason is that the parts often have several possible senses, but the compound is often restricted to only some combinations of them." Since this argument is in CFI, I assume your position is now to support inclusion. --EncycloPetey 06:00, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
I may be wrong, but I've always thought of the "alphabetical" in phrases like "alphabetical sorting" as being derived from alphabetical order, and basically meaning "of, pertaining to or following alphabetical order". That's certainly the way the concepts are structured in my benighted little brain; whether it corresponds to the actual historical derivation I don't know. -- Visviva 17:42, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Of the nine OneLook dictionary entries I looked at 4 had only the "order" sense and the balance had the two senses that our entry now has (thanks, EP). No other dictionary includes alphabetical order as a related/derived term, though it appears in a few of the usage examples. I think that does indicate that most lexicographers view it as SoP/non-idiomatic. DCDuring TALK 18:05, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
To make clearer what I mean: in an alphabetical order, you give priority to the first letter then, if needed, to the second letter, etc. This is essential to the meaning of alphabetical order, and cannot be deduced from alphabetical, nor from order. Lmaltier 07:20, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Right. The list
a I am an be he is we are has she the was you been have they were
is ordered according to the sequence of the alphabet, but is a numerical rather than lexicographical ordering. The question is if alphabetical conveys this information. If one of its definitions should include the idea of established orderings, then this term could be deleted'. On the other hand, a lot of these collocations would make great phrasebook entries. DAVilla 12:17, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Even beyond that, in English alphabetical order for surnames, Mc / Mac is treated separately from M, so there is actually more than one alphabetical order in English, one of which does not follow the sequence of the alphabet. --EncycloPetey 07:25, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Delete.msh210 16:58, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Delete This is a lovely sum-of-parts phrase, where part B clearly points to sense 2 of part A. Michael Z. 2009-03-24 17:25 z

Kept, no consensus. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:11, 20 August 2009 (UTC)