Template talk:compound

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See Template talk:suffix#From. H. (talk) 09:57, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Reverted (by Robert) as change was not discussed and the template is used widely (breaking many existing usages). See Wiktionary:Beer parlour#The prefix template is broken. --Bequw¢τ 06:32, 25 September 2008 (UTC)


At WT:RFDO#Category:English compound words, the discussion indicates a desire to retain the category and have this template populate the category. I am reluctant to attempt this myself, though tamplate {{suffix}} provides a model. DCDuring TALK 02:45, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I've added the categorization to the template, following {{suffix}}. Worth reviewing and correcting if needed. --Dan Polansky 11:03, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Restricting applicable compounds[edit]

Last Saturday's addition contradicts the two year-old advice in wt: Etymology. Since this template is used to indicate the method of formation in etymologies, there's no reason to restrict it to “single-word” terms, and not apply it to all terms produced by compounding (or composition), i.e. all compound terms, or compounds?

For reference, linguistics dictionaries don't arbitrarily restrict compound to mean “one-word” expressions:

  1. Dictionary of Linguistics & Phonetics, composition, compound, p 92:
    ... a linguistic unit which is composed of elements that function independently in other circumstances.
    [Examples include washing machine]
  2. Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, composition & compound, pp 90–91:
    Result of the process of word formation of composition, a linguistic expression that consists of at least two free morphemes or morpheme constructions...
    [E.g. (s.v. compound) refrigeration mechanic, dance step, step dance, owner-operator, operator-owner, child prodigy, chief editor, child psychology, paper trail, dog's-ear; (s.v. composition) good-for-nothing, step turn, living room, author-editor, women's liberation, children's literature, table board]
  3. Dictionary of Historical and Comparative Linguistics, compound, p 69
    A word constructed by combining two (or more) existing words, ...
  4. Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics, compound & compounding, p 53:
    A word formed by compounding. ... The process of forming a word by combining two or more existing words...
    [E.g. paper-thin, video game]

For example, what sense is there in formatting indicating the compounding of schoolbus and stepdance with this template, but using other methods for variants with the identical etymology: school-bus and step-dance, school bus and step dance?

Instead of creating a contradiction, let's link to the stable draft guideline, and talk about making changes there. Michael Z. 2010-04-29 19:19 z

See also w: English compoundMichael Z. 2010-04-29 20:13 z

The simple logic is that hyphenated and spaced forms afford another means of directing users to the etymologies of the component terms, to wit, the head=, inf=, pos=, or sg= parameters of the inflection template which should be used for all multiword terms. If and only if we have something useful to say about the etymology that cannot more economically be conveyed by the date of the earliest attestation citation and the etymology of the component words, of course we could use {{compound}}. In particular, now that said template supports glosses, we can usefully refer to the specific sense of a polysemic (or obsolete) constituent that is most closely associated with the sense of the compound.
The difficulty is that the current form of the template forces the entry into Category:English compound words when there is no consensus that compound should include hyphenated and spaced terms. I am not sure that it is especially helpful to characterize hyphenated and spaced multiword terms in the same category as the spelled solid terms. The may merit their own category, which could be coordinate with the spelled-solid sense of compound.
The definitions above that use word leave ambiguous the question of what the references really intend in terms of including spaced and hyphenated terms in the class of "compounds".
As linguists do not all use the term compound consistently, it looks to me that we have the ability to make our own determination of which linguistic sense of compound we choose to use for our own purposes. DCDuring TALK 20:32, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't know that compound is used inconsistently. It has a broad application, and often its context indicates a specific restricted reference. In the references above, it appears that word, linguistic unit, linguistic expression mean the same thing. Since we deal with terms in this dictionary, it follows that unqualified “compound” refers to a compound term, and more specifically, when we indicate immediate word formation in etymologies, it follows that if the mechanism is compounding then that would set the stage for us to indicate its occurrence (say, by “compound”).
Sure we can choose to use a more restricted application of compound, but then could we 1. explain why, 2, agree to it, and 3, inform editors and readers? (For example 3, if we want to only categorize closed compounds, then let's use {{opencompound}} or {{compound|type=open}}, to place these entries into Category:Open compounds.) Is there sense in our current patchwork?:
  • The references linked above make it clear in their examples that when they use “compound word”, it includes open, closed, and hyphenated compounds.
  • compound#Etymology_2 – our definition is explicitly inclusive since May 2005: “Examples include pancake, two-tone and school bus – it may or may not have a space or hyphen.”
  • Wiktionary:Etymology#Compound – has been inclusive since summer 2008
  • Category:English compound words, in contradiction, has been labelled “limited to closed compounds” since summer 2009
Several editors repeatedly insist that we are only interested in categorizing closed compounds, or that only those are compound “words” at all. No one has explained to me why this should be the case, and I find it puzzling that anyone should want to categorize based strictly on minor orthographic variations – of morphologically and etymologically identical synonyms – which in many cases have no significance at all. (Someone please explain why school bus, school-bus, and schoolbus should have different etymologies indicated!) [sig added late] Michael Z. 2010-05-01 18:35 z
The "minor orthographic variations", as you call them, are indicative of a perception as to whether the word is a single unit or sum-of-parts. So, just as we make a huge fuss over whether something is sum of parts and therefore should be excluded, so many people see the hyphenated forms as a collection of two separate words, and not a compounded term. There's a lot more at issue than simple orthography. --EncycloPetey 18:41, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting anything at all about determining inclusion, or on the nuances of meaning. I'm not saying we should add entries just because they are hyphenated. (Although if you are interested in these nuances, then I don't understand why you would prefer the diktat that “solid = compound; hyphen != compound; space != compound”.)
I'm saying that in the etymology, included terms whose method of formation is compounding should have this fact indicated, by a consistent method. Michael Z. 2010-05-03 05:28 z

Parameter names[edit]

Wouldn't the glosses be better added with g1= and g2=? These can be useful for English terms too, where there is no translation. Michael Z. 2010-05-05 13:52 z


I suggest moving this to {{+}} or create a shortcut from it. --Z 18:36, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Template:compound --Z 18:53, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
  • That's much more obtuse. Is there any particular advantage to moving it there? Shortening the wikitext is all very good, but once it's to the point that no one can tell what's going on, we're basically reinventing the bad old days of illegible Perl. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:25, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
    • I hope DCDuring doesn't see this. He thinks less typing is always a great idea... —CodeCat 19:38, 30 July 2013 (UTC)