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Wiktionary:Requests for verification - kept[edit]

Kept. See archived discussion of May 2008. 09:51, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


According to this discussion, it was agreed that this entry be listed as an alternative spelling. However, I suppose the current definition is alright. In the words of Calvin, "A good compromise leaves everybody mad" [sic]. Teh Rote 10:56, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Though the consensus seems to be alternative spelling, the (backed up) Usage note implies that it could be a misspelling, so there's nothing too wrong with the way it stands at the moment. Conrad.Irwin 11:05, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I was supporting the current definition, not disagreeing. Perhaps I should have worded that better. Sorry. Teh Rote 17:01, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

There's been a three-way slo-mo revert war going on here, between Connel (who wants it marked a misspelling), Teh Rote (who wants it marked as the primary spelling, but is willing to compromise and accept marking it as an alternative spelling), and me (who/I don't care very much between "alternative spelling" and "misspelling", but thought misguidedly that I could get the two of them to compromise on a neutral wording). Hopefully community discussion and the light of day will help sort this out. :-)   —RuakhTALK 22:38, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

While I could live with alternative spelling, I would prefer misspelling. Those three s's make my insides hurt. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:53, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't remember ever reading about a blanket prohibition of triples before reading about it here. However, Fowler (2nd edition, in the entry -s-, -ss-, -sss-) says this:
“For the question whether such words as mis-shapen and mis-spelt should be hyphenated see MIS-, where it is recommended that they should be written as one word. But three s’s are felt to be too many to sort themselves out without help; mistress-ship and Inverness-shire are always so written.”
So, the label misspelling appears to belong, probably mitigated by a usage note explaining who exactly proscribes triple letters. Rod (A. Smith) 23:38, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
I'll look it up in MW Usage tonight or tomorrow. Based on frequency of tripled vowels (freeest and weeest) and tripled consonants (willless) vs. the alternatives, it seems that the hyphenators are definitely winning with consonants, trouncing both the triplers and the doublers and the doublers are in the lead for vowels over the triplers with the hyphenators behind, but my efforts are merely exhausting, not exhaustive. No clear trend over time.
IMHO, the important thing is to have any entry for all forms a user might look up. Whether we nudge or shove users toward the more accepted choice is not as important. DCDuring TALK 23:54, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

O.K., so there's definitely some support (though not necessarily consensus yet) for marking it a "misspelling", which raises the issue that {{misspelling of}} includes the word common. I think we can all agree that whatever goddessship may be, it's not a common misspelling. So, should we create a new template for uncommon misspellings, and clarify in the documentation that it's not to be used lightly? Or should {{misspelling of}} take a nocommon=1 parameter, à la (the admittedly much-maligned) nocap=1 and nodot=1, again with clarifying documentation? —RuakhTALK 00:28, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

The meaning of "common" is not at all clear for this. Because "goddess-ship" is itself not common, any misspelling is likely to be much less common. There is some combination of absolute frequency and frequency relative to the "correct" spelling that makes something "common" in a Wiktionary Glossary sense. This need not correspond to the ordinary meaning of the word common.
We probably serve our users if we have entries for misspellings that someone might make, even if they are not "common". For example, I have argued that "freeest" may not be very common, but is a very plausible mistake, resulting from application of a basic rule for constructing superlatives, unmodified by the rare pseudo-rule against triple consecutive identical letters or a less clear principle of avoiding visual confusion. This seems to be almost the same case, as is willless/will-less.
I do not know where to draw the line between "misspelling worth including in Wiktionary" and "mispelling not worth including in Wiktionary". I'd like to think that there is some nice software that handles misspellings and typos, but it is unlikely it will get to these cases until after the end of the next decade. DCDuring TALK 02:45, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Based on Google web hits, it is actually much more common than goddess-ship. Some of those 200,000-some hits are dictionaries and weird-word sites, but the vast majority seem to be real.
  • Of course, the situation is reversed in print, with a raw 607 b.g.c. for goddess-ship vs. 35 for goddessship. I'm not sure if 5% is enough to count as "common."
  • But note that the goddess-ship print numbers are inflated by a) random collocations of "goddess/goddess's" and "ship" (about 10%?), and b) 19th-century works that have been reprinted umpteen times (filtering "Byron" alone drops the count by about 100).
  • IMS the correct b.g.c. percentage is probably closer to 10%, which seems like enough for "common" to me. -- Visviva 04:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Re: "Based on Google web hits, it is actually much more common than goddess-ship.": You'd think that, but they're actually about tied: 217 for "goddessship" and 214 for "goddess-ship". (You can see this by adding, say, &start=500 into the URIs.) However, neither number is terribly meaningful; you say that the vast majority of hits for "goddessship" seem to be real, but my impression (from looking at random pages of ten hits and counting the real ones) is that only about 20–30% are, and for "goddess-ship" only about 30–40% seem to be in the right sense. Regardless, this isn't common enough to be a common misspelling; I don't think "common by comparison" counts, because by that measure, we'd accept misspellings of words that just barely scrape by RFV. —RuakhTALK 12:09, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah, thanks, I was led astray by the 199,000 hits (which apparently is a baldfaced lie on Google's part; even with filtering off it only gives 574).
So because goddess-ship is uncommon, it cannot have a common misspelling? That seems odd, and is not how I had understood our current practice (i.e., that either a significant proportion or a significant absolute magnitude were enough to merit a {{misspelling of}}). I guess I had always understood "common" to be relative in this context. -- Visviva 12:19, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I’d say it’s relative. Goddess-ship is an uncommon word, but it is possible that it is frequently misspelt as "goddessship". Therefore, "goddessship" is a common misspelling, relatively speaking. —Stephen 12:30, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
No matter what else we did we would need to make sure that a misspelling at least would meet RfV. But a standard that was as complicated as RfV seems silly for this. Would a raw b.g.c. count of 10 be enough? Relative frequency is important. I think Visviva's 10% standard should include many important misspellings. Would 20% be a good automatic threshold? DCDuring TALK 12:53, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Just to let everyone know, I'm now against it being marked as the primary spelling, I'm pretty such that via the Google books results that the other two are more popular. However, that doesn't make the sss version a misspelling, much less a common one, so I'm entirely pro-alternative. As stated on the talk page of the entry in question, I'm fine with both "alternative" and "mis" being marked, as long as the usage notes give an adequate explanation of the controversy surrounding the triple-lettered words. Teh Rote 17:06, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I looked in a few usage and grammar books, but not MW Usage. None of them stated a simple prohibition against triple letters. There are discussions the use of hyphens to help the reader decode an unusual word by breaking in into more understandable pieces. will-less and goddess-ship would fit under that in most contexts. I am still looking for something about no-three-vowels (weeest, freeest). In those and similar cases, prevailing practice prefers weest and freest rather than free-est or wee-est, AFIACT. weest and freest just look like Dutch to me. DCDuring TALK 17:17, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
The superlative suffix is used to changing, as in big-ger big-gest, fleet-er fleet-est, spare-r spare-st, funny-ier funny-iest, while -hood and -ship are not. Michael Z. 2008-05-23 19:52 z
Just as a notation, my unabridged copy of Webster's includes the unhyphenated hostessship. This may imply that triplets are, in fact, allowed. Teh Rote 01:18, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

The proscription of triplets is quite absurd, just look at zzz. Even if the rule is modified to exclude "obvious" exceptions like that, it's still just a grammatical rule, an attempt to model the language and nothing more. Written English is what English writers write... Language Lover 01:31, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

I just created an entry for sooo which is supported by bgc and is obviously not a misspelling because it's obviously done intentionally. Language Lover 01:38, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

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hostessship, headmistressship, goddessship[edit]

The usage note at hostessship says, "The term appears unhyphenated in the unabridged second edition of Webster's Dictionary, yet is spelled hostess-ship in subsequent editions. This trend is also prevalent in headmistressship and goddessship, which, respectively, may be hyphenated."

  • English does not allow the same letter three times consecutively, and usually hyphenates to avoid this (compare cross-stitch), but I acknowledge that these closed-up forms might have currency.
  • American English more readily closes up words that are hyphenated in British English. If these terms are to be included, they need to be marked as "US" because they would be considered incorrect in British English.
  • The fact that Webster's amended "hostessship" to "hostess-ship" in later editions suggests that they recognised they had made an error.

By the way, "respectively" is redundant here as "may be hyphenated" applies to both words. — Paul G 08:41, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I am unaware of the rule. There is no authority to promulgate a binding rule. Wiktionary does not normally give much weight to rules, except with respect to context tags. I doubt if it is "error" correction as much as changes in prevailing usage or in information about such usage that the other dictionaries follow. DCDuring TALK 10:48, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Why are these items at RfV??? hostessship, because used in w:A Winter's Tale, would meet the well-known work rule. The others are cited. No argument challenging the citations has been made. DCDuring TALK 10:54, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, the First Folio spells it Hoſteſſeſhip; are you sure that the specific edition quoted in our entry constitutes a well-known work? (Also, I'm not sure the well-known work rule applies to misspellings, as this may be; but then, RFV isn't great at identifying misspellings.) —RuakhTALK 00:44, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I am aware of the question of editions in Shakespeare, which is why I got the First Folio reference into the notes. I have no idea what ought to constitute a well-known edition of a well-known work. That it was Samuel Johnson's I thought would help the claim. This is the first time that I've seen this issue come up. DCDuring TALK 01:00, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
The fact remains that whatever edition it is, people will read it and can therefore decide to look up the word. At the very least, we should have some sort of "obsolete form of" entry. By the way, because this section isn't precisely titled "hostessship", the RFV link wasn't working, so I thought it was un-listed and removed the tag. Language Lover 01:23, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I've restored it, thanks for mentioning. —RuakhTALK 01:39, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't notice it was you that added that. I don't really know enough about the history of editions of Shakespeare. —RuakhTALK 01:39, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the First Folio is, more or less, the first "authorized" edition of the plays. Some of the older "Quarto" editions were "pirated". I think the quality of some is considered poor, but Shakespeare was dead by the time the First Folio was printed. In any event this was apparently the first publication of "The Winter's Tale". Presumably the later Folios (let alone the later editions) reflect both true corrections and adjustments to then-contemporary printing and spelling conventions. Because the issue here really is just spelling, we might have to wade into this in more detail than normal. Is the a true Shakespeare scholar in the house? DCDuring TALK 00:37, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed with DCDuring, RFV is the wrong place for these. Let's compare freeest, which only passed as a misspelling, but that's perhaps because of the recency of the term. However, also compare various other attested terms that violate this so-called "rule" which no one has provided citations for: skulllike, bulllike, gillless, crosssection, etc (please don't RFD any of those until this discussion is over). Bear in mind the sheer number of words that break rules (slough can be pronounced three different ways, efficiencies breaks the "I before E except after C" rule twice, and barbaric pronounces the "bar" combination two different ways). To exclude clearly attested words because they break rules is completely absurd. Teh Rote 00:54, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
The rule “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’” is only for an [iː] sound; an exception is made for <ies>-terminal plurals of <y>-terminal nouns. Also, you must agree that skull-like, bull-like, gill-less, and cross-section are a lot more common that their unhyphenated forms. In language, I’d wager that any rule of broad application will have its exceptions, especially in one so widely spoken as English. Nevertheless, this does not bar such terms from being included (as long as they are attestable); however, it is only wise that it be noted when they “buck a trend” when some may term such bucking as “violating a rule”.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 01:41, 28 August 2008 (UTC)


Moved out of the entry, where they had been flagged {{rfc|It's not clear what the references pertain to. It seems unlikely that all of them mention this word. If they do, page numbers would help.}}:

  • 1998, The Kid's Guide To Good Grammar, Lowell House (NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group) by Dorothy McKerns, M.Ed., Ph.D., CCC-SLP and Leslie Motchkavitz
  • 1992, How to Make Grammar Fun — (and Easy!), Troll Associates, by Elizabeth A. Ryan
  • 2002, Goof-Proof Grammar, Learning Express, LLC., by Felice Primeau Devine
  • 2002, Verbs, Verbs, Verbs, Scholastic Inc., by Marvin Terban