Talk:how long

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The following information passed a request 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.

how long[edit]

SoP? --Hekaheka 06:22, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes.​—msh210 (talk) 06:24, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Keep. I don't see how deleting this helps the project. There are two different meanings which may be confusing to ESL learners, plus the translations are useful. ---> Tooironic 07:24, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Keeping this hinders those ESL learners who, finding this entry, decide there must be something special about how long that might prevent one from saying, say, how wide, how short, how much, how old, how red, how pretty, how unprofessional, etc. This is already at [[long]] (both senses that are currently listed at [[how long]] are there), and at [[how]] (though the latter can use some non-question usexes of the sort currently s.v. [[how long]]).​—msh210 (talk) 09:58, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Keep. It is not SoP, it is definitely an idiomatic expression. Think of the foreigners who are learning English. Moreover, translations are very useful since each language on Earth has its own syntax to say how long, how old, how many, etc. --Actarus (Prince d'Euphor) 08:19, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Delete, SoP. Let's not keep everything that can have an interesting translation or else our English sections will become a joke. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:10, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Delete. Let Wiktionary be a dictionary, and start Wikigrammars for such issues. We are also attempting to come up with CFI for Phrasebook where I would expect uses of this collocation would appear in its most common uses. DCDuring TALK 16:03, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Would this, along with how many, be keepable under Phrasebook CFI? ---> Tooironic 22:49, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Keep as one of the most common question words, like how much, how many, etc. If there are no rules to include them, we should come up with something. Can somebody help, please?--Anatoli 23:19, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Start a phrasebook project. A dictionary isn't a phrasebook. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:37, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
In English we already have all the question words as I'm reasonably sure we have in many of the languages we cover. You seem to be looking for English translation targets for what are words in some other languages. Personally, I was hoping that we could avoid facing the conflict between the needs of a monolingual dictionary and a translating dictionary. My hope was that a Phrasebook that contained a large number of phrases that exemplified the most important constructions in all the languages that we cover would provide users with the grammar they are most likely we need. DCDuring TALK 23:44, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, DCDuring but I just don't think "how long" fits into a phrasebook. It's hardly a complete phrase (although it can be). In my opinion, a phrasebook should have some limits in the number of synonimical phrases or variations of "I need ...", "I'm a", etc. A most common phrase like "how long does it take to get there?" how red, how pretty, how unprofessional are not question words but "how long", "how much", "how many" are examples, which you can find in some bilingual dictionaries. Yes, I do have FL considerations in mind because it's a dictionary. I can simply say сколько (сколько мне ждать? - how long should I wait?) in Russian to mean "how long", Japanese どのぐらい is considered one word (although it can be potentially broken up into どの + ぐらい) is translated into English as "how long". Perhaps, the translations into a single foreign word could be used as a criterion? As per Tooironic, we won't help the project by deleting a very useful word.
To Mglovesfun, your edit summary wasn't friendly at all. --Anatoli 00:01, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
British sarcasm. Reading it back, it doesn't come across as I intended it. But my point remains. Mglovesfun (talk) 00:06, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Keep. --Yair rand (talk) 00:04, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
On reflection, this isn't comparable to how much and how many. This is just how + any adjective. Perhaps those should be kept, but not the how + anything construction. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:03, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
re: Anatoli. I know that how long:
  1. does not belong in an English monolingual dictionary
  2. does not by itself belong in a phrasebook
  3. does form a part of the kind of phrases that do belong in a phrasebook
I am sure that any reasonable CFI for Phrasebook would include a few such phrases.
I do not know how we can both provide translation targets and not mislead those who are trying to learn what is and is not distinctly idiomatic in English. Perhaps we need a different user interface for translations to provide answers to questions of the form "How does one say 'yyy' in Xxx?", where 'yyy' is not necessarily idiomatic and 'Xxx' is a language (or dialect).
Lemming check: "How long" is not supported in translating dictionaries that support "how much" and "how many", supporting MG's distinction. DCDuring TALK 23:41, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Also not here.​—msh210 (talk) 05:31, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Move to v:Wikiversity:Multilingual communication. JackPotte 11:46, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

  1. Keep I did not understand why you want to delete it! Pamputt 12:19, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Keep as idiomatic due to confusion of length and time. DAVilla 07:05, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
Weird. Should we have how hard due to confusion of difficulty and durability? Equinox 10:44, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I actually think keeping this sort of thing is bad for people learning English. We're encouraging them not to understand the individual words. Per Equinox, how tough would pass as well (a tough test isn't hard to chew). Mglovesfun (talk) 10:55, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
My doctor once said to me "the more I know, the less I understand". I think that's the case here, adding SoP terms for non-English speakers encourages laziness. Plus, what about the native/good English speakers? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:15, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
You're right, that's not entirely justifiable. I do feel with some considerable certainty that this should be kept, I'm just not sure I can put my finger on why. For me the above was just what tipped the balance. Another thing I've been thinking is that we ask how many?, how much?, how long? even when there aren't many, or there isn't much, or the time period isn't long. On the other hand maybe this is true of everything that we measure.
Of course it's possible to say "How new is your car?" or "How short is she, anyway?", e.g. in response to "My car is fairly new" or "She's incredibly short!", and expect some figure rather than an answer of "fairly" or "incredibly" or some other adjective. The point is that, by default, we ask how old? or how tall? But then does that not also justify how deep?, how massive?, how gradual? etc.? There must be some way to draw the line.
I think the conclusion all of this is pointing towards is that there are some terms that cannot be considered idioms in English but which should be kept nonetheless as dictionary (not merely phrasebook) entries because they are fundamental constructions of language that are often idiomatic in other languages. The latter fact provides evidence that these are set phrases even for someone who speaks only English, whereas a question like how new? or how deep? undergoes a summation of meaning in our internal processing. I'm at a loss for any truly objective criteria on the distinction. DAVilla 21:56, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
In order to show that it is not as obvious and simple as some like Mglovesfun believe, there are at least two translations of how long in French (my mother tongue):
  • How long have you been living in this country?
    translation in French: Depuis quand (lit. “since when”) vis-tu dans ce pays ?
  • How long did you live in this country?
    translation in French: Combien de temps (lit. “how much time”) as-tu vécu dans ce pays ?
You see? Of course, you cannot use depuis quand instead of combien de temps and vice versa. Each has its own signification and usage. So, now, the meaning of how long isn't so obvious, is it? Do you still believe it should be deleted?
--Actarus (Prince d'Euphor) 11:46, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I still agree with you no matter how many times you say it (and you wonder why I accuse you of not reading my comments). I just think the solution for such a person would be to learn English. If you want to learn English, you need at some point to look at the individual words and understand them. My quelque chose de très long (something that is very long) to translated the English marathon on fr:marathon got speedily deleted. Yet you want to keep this? Mglovesfun (talk) 09:08, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, French has charcuterie and boucherie as two distinct types of butcher, but that doesn't (IMO) support an argument that we should have cured-meat shop (or whatever) in English. Of course there won't always be one-to-one correspondence between languages. Equinox 11:50, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
keep --Diligent 12:48, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

why ? why delete how long and keep such sentences like that's what she said ? sum of parts did’nt explain everything. Cdlt, VIGNERON 21:55, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

I think it's more of an insult to ESOL learners, it's like saying "you're too stupid to understand the meaning of two common words put together, so we're gonna explain it to you". Mglovesfun (talk) 09:36, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Striking as keeping per no consensus for deletion. For keeping: 8 people; for deletion: 5 people. People for keeping: Tooironic, Actarus, Anatoli, Yair rand, Pamputt, DAVilla, Diligent, Vigneron; People for deletion: Hekaheka, msh210, Mglovesfun, DCDuring, JackPotte. Started on: 29 June 2010; last discussion post on: 6 July 2010. --Dan Polansky 12:19, 13 November 2010 (UTC)