Talk:touch

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touch[edit]

Rfd-redundant: First four senses. They appear to essentially say the same thing - do we need to make a distinction between voluntarily and involuntarily touches? A simple "To make physical contact with" does the job more cleanly, I would think. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:35, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

For reference, they are:
  1. (transitive) To make physical contact with; to bring the hand, finger or other part of the body into contact with. [from 14th c.]
    I touched her face softly.
  2. (transitive) To come into (involuntary) contact with; to meet or intersect. [from 14th c.]
    Sitting on the bench, the hem of her skirt touched the ground.
  3. (intransitive) To come into physical contact, or to be in physical contact. [from 14th c.]
    They stood next to each other, their shoulders touching.
  4. (intransitive) To make physical contact with a thing. [from 14th c.]
    Please can I have a look, if I promise not to touch?
1 and 2, transitive, are clearly distinct from 3–4, intransitive. (I'm not sure whether 1 and 2 are distinct from one another.) 3–4 do seem awfully similar: I think the distinction is whether the subject is two things that touch one another or one thing that touches something other things; cf. [[talk:coprime]]. I think the following transitive senses should be distinguished also. (1) being in contact with (I think this exists, but can't think of any clear exemplar), (2) coming into contact with (the most common sense, which is 1 or 2 above), and (3) barely being in (or coming into) contact with (her skirt touched the ground, the graph touches the x-axis — unless that's redundant to the others because "barely' is implied by context).​—msh210 (talk) 17:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
To be clear, I suggest merging the four senses into two, not one: transitive and intransitive. I agree that distinction needs to be made, but 1/2 and 3/4 have negligible differences in meaning. Tempodivalse [talk] 17:36, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Sense 3 seems to be reflexive, at least in the usage example, differing at least in that regard from sense 4. Sense 1 seems to require an animate subject and is usually a momentary action. Sense 2 is stative. We can ignore these distinctions, I suppose, but it runs the risk of dumbing down Wiktionary. DCDuring TALK 18:52, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
For more on this kind of distinction, see w:Lexical aspect. DCDuring TALK 19:00, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
As the editor who wrote these definitions, I stand by the distinctions. Certainly 1 and 2 are different: if I am standing in a crowd I may be touching the person next to me (sense 2) but that is very different from touching them (sense 1), which would just be weird. 3 and 4 as written seem distinct, indicating respectively "make contact" and simply "be in contact". All of these senses could, of course, be merged, but my general appraoch when I work on common words like this is that splitting up the shades of usage is more useful than not. A better way to merge them, if you're desperate to do so, would be to merge 1 and 4 and label it transitive or intransitive, and likewise with 2 and 3. (For reference, these four defs correspond more or less to the OED definitions 1a, 3a, 3b and 1d.) Ƿidsiþ 14:53, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
Keep the four senses. Ƿidsiþ makes a good point about touching (sense 2) being different from touching (sense 1). I also agree that senses 3 and 4 are different; sense 3 requires more than one subject or a reflexive pronoun ("the scarf was touching" makes no sense, unless the scarf affected someone emotionally; only "the two scarves were touching" or "the scarf was touching itself"). - -sche (discuss) 16:38, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Keep all. Like many basic words, touch gets its tendrils into a number of closely related semantic spaces, without filling in all the permutations that might seem plausible to a non-native speaker. For example, how come both "he was touching the * with his hand" and "his hand was touching the *" are O.K., as is "his back was touching the *", but not "he was touching the * with his back"? When this happens, it's not a simple matter to carve things up into senses that distinguish ways the word is used from ways it is not used. The best approach is to give lots of subsenses that convey different nuances, so the reader can get a decent overall picture. The current breakdown seems pretty good to me; I'm sure it must still have problems and limitations, but it's miles better than not breaking them down at all. —RuakhTALK 03:03, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Do we not do transitive and intransitive anymore, e.g. combining 1 + 4? DAVilla 06:23, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Kept.​—msh210 (talk) 16:02, 19 July 2011 (UTC)