User talk:A-cai/2007

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Could you help this user learn the formatting conventions of Wiktionary? He has been adding Chinese translations, but does not seem to undertstand linking and transliteration formats, nor does he use the trans-top template correctly. I have left brief messages on his page, but I think he may not speak much English. Could you please help out? --EncycloPetey 05:46, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

I posted a note on his discussion page in Chinese. Hopefully, that will do the trick.

A-cai 06:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! --EncycloPetey 06:30, 7 January 2007 (UTC)


This new page needs formatting and clarification. Thanks, --EncycloPetey 21:01, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

  • done.

A-cai 01:29, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Another request[edit]

We don't have entries for 小時 or 小时 (xiǎoshí), though it seems to be a rather common word. --EncycloPetey 23:35, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

  • I added the entry for you. I would have gotten to it eventually, I've been creating entries for words found in Appendix:HSK list of Mandarin words. Unfortunately, it's slow going with just me working on it right now. Maybe some day we'll get more Chinese speakering contributors :)

A-cai 11:41, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, and I agree it would be nice to have more Chinese-fluent contributors. In the meantime, I apologize for continually asking for help, but I do have an interest in getting the time-related words and categories in very good shape as a model for others. --EncycloPetey 15:46, 28 January 2007 (UTC)


Thanks for asking about this. I guess I saw it in 铁石心肠 and 心如铁石. I thought it had some meaning by itself, but if it only show up in those expressions, maybe it shouldn't have an entry. I'll take it off the requests list. Kappa 06:15, 4 February 2007 (UTC)


You might want to check out User:Werdnabot/Archiver/Howto, as per your notice atop this page. --Connel MacKenzie 18:44, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Look at the top of my talk page; you can pretty much copy it, and then you don't need to think about archiving. Robert Ullmann 04:35, 10 February 2007 (UTC)


Please change your auto-insert thing to use {{subst:PAGENAME}} instead of {{PAGENAME}}. --Connel MacKenzie 18:45, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Those templates were written by Robert Ullmann. Robert, how much trouble would it be for you to do a bot find/replace on your templates?

A-cai 22:43, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

The only place I use PAGENAME in templates is where they are not subst'd, so it never shows up on pages. Where is this showing up that Connel sees? Robert Ullmann 04:29, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
He is referring to the use of PAGENAME in the category references you are putting in explicitly, not to the templates! Robert Ullmann 04:34, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
I understand, I will change future entries to comply.

A-cai 07:08, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Templates for Chinese-like characters and OmegaWiki[edit]

This is to continue our talks from Template_talk:zh-hanzi. Now I see how putting the template on the right works. However, as many Chinese-like character compounds are also used in Japanese kanji and Korean hanja, we cannot always put it on the top. As I have seen Chinese and Japanese templates, perhaps we should also consider Korean templates as Korean hanja have different fonts as well.

Ever heard of OmegaWiki? It gathers dictionary info that can be used in all Wiktionaries without excessive duplicates, like Wikimedia Commons gathering images and media usable in all Wiki sites. As I administer English and Chinese Wiktionaries, I cannot wait for OmegaWiki reducing our workloads duplicating much information in different language subdomains.--Jusjih 16:49, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

You are correct, it is sometimes not appropriate to put the template at the top of the page. The Korean idea sounds good, but I don't know Korean, so someone else would have to make the template.
Omegawiki sounds interesting. I hope it will eventually reduce the amount of duplication.

A-cai 09:44, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

It is an interesting idea. But: the designers of it didn't know enough. One of the very first issues raised was how to handle Japanese words that can be written in 3 different scripts. They hadn't thought of that. But they continue to go forward, instead of backing up and realizing they need some serious architecture work. And their basic model of "DefinedMeaning" is identifiers in a "pivot language" which just doesn't work in the general case. Would that the basic architecture have been done by someone who really understands languages... Robert Ullmann 12:53, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


As a sysop, you should have your email link set up. (If you want to use a different box, ask Connel about gmail ;-). I have something you should know off-line. Robert Ullmann

A-cai 11:23, 14 February 2007 (UTC)


Greetings, A-cai - can you check my Min Nan for 差不多? Cheers! bd2412 T 16:20, 16 February 2007 (UTC)


A-cai 09:57, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, I see what you did there! :) bd2412 T 16:35, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

按时, 按時[edit]

Hey, why is the pinyin not showing up in these? bd2412 T 04:40, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Never mind, Kappa fixed it, I'll see how. Cheers! bd2412 T 05:29, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Don't forget, the rs variable in the template is for the radical/stroke information of the first character. In this case we want the rs for . If you click on , you will find the information for rs near the top. It will look like:
      按 (radical 64 +06, 9 strokes, cangjie input 手十女 (QJV), four-corner 53044)
    • Make sure to delete the + symbol so that you get 手06. Therefore, you should put rs=手06 in the template. This means that is sorted under the radical, with 6 remaining strokes ( has a total of 6 strokes). The radical/stroke sort order is the most common sort order for traditional Chinese dictionaries, which is why we are using it for Categories that list words written in traditional characters. See w:Radical (Chinese character) for more information about radicals.

A-cai 05:56, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

      • Thanks for the info, I'll keep that in mind for new entries. Cheers! bd2412 T 06:06, 18 February 2007 (UTC)


Go vote? Robert Ullmann 12:07, 23 February 2007 (UTC)


I was suprised to find that we didn't have an article on Wu. I have attempted a start on the entry, but your translation help would be much appreciated! --EncycloPetey 05:49, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Looks good! I made some small additions to the translation section.

A-cai 06:53, 24 February 2007 (UTC)


I found you added 緩衝器/缓冲器 in the section of impact absorber in an automotive of the translation table of bumper. I think.... those words should be placed in the mechanical device to absorb impact of the table. For a reason that there is a word 保险杠 as an automotive front part, as far as I know. But I am not a good chinese speaker. so... What do you think? Thanks --Carl Daniels 23:58, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

First of all, thanks for asking a question about word usage. After working on Wiktionary for more than a year, I believe you are one of only a handful of people to ask me about something other than silly formatting issues :-) 缓冲器 is a rather vague word in Chinese. It literally means a device which can soften an impact. It has therefore been translated variously as shock absorber, bumper or buffer. On Chinese wikipedia, 缓冲器 is used for w:buffer (computer science). Although the Chinese wikipedia article for w:bumper (the front of a car) is listed under w:保险杠, 缓冲器 can also mean car bumper in Chinese. If you do a google search of images for just 缓冲器, you will mainly see pictures of automobile shock absorbers and buffer chips for computer boards. However, if you add (front) to your search, the term is much less vague. 前缓冲器 refers specifically to the front bumper of a car. Here are a couple more links that demonstrate this use:
I will attempt to incorporate some of the above into the definitions, and thanks again for asking.

A-cai 11:09, 2 March 2007 (UTC)


Hi A-Cai. 朋友們 is not the plural form of friend, but the plural form of 朋友. You can translate it as well, of course: see amis for an example of how it's been done in French. Widsith 18:54, 2 March 2007 (UTC)


A-cai 18:56, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

不客氣/不客气 Widsith 18:57, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Indenting signature[edit]


I don't know if this bothers anyone else or if I'm just being anally retentive, but I'd appreciate it if you could indent your signature when signing indented posts; it always confuses me to see your signature at the far left, and takes me a few seconds to realize what post it's attached to. (I realize this is stupid of me, since it's invariably attached to the post immediately before it, but I always feel as if it must be attached to a much-earlier comment, and someone has put their reply between your comment and your signature.)

RuakhTALK 03:00, 6 March 2007 (UTC)



On IRC, with Dodde and EncycloPetey, we are trying to resolve the remaining technical issues in the way of the {{t}} vote - so we can start using it everywhere.

The code embedded in the template seems very strange - doing a strange masquerading of the zh: wiktionary names. Could you please explain why it is doing that? Big challenge: could you please explain why, in terms I can understand?  :-)

Thanks in advance, --Connel MacKenzie 03:18, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

The template appears to be trying to standardize variant language codes to an accepted standard. I think this is a laudable goal in general, but I'm not certain that we have enough information to take this kind of concrete action. First, here is a little more information on the language codes themselves. These language codes have undergone several updates, as more and more languages come into focus. The original standard was ISO 639. This standard proved insufficient to deal with the 1,000s of languages in the world. Therefore, ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3 soon followed. However, before that happened, users of some languages, not originally covered by ISO 639, developed variant codes (not part of the original standard) in order to describe their particular language. For example, the original code for Chinese was zh. The problem is that Chinese represents many mutually unintelligible dialects[1]. People who wanted to describe a language other than Standard Mandarin invented add-ons to zh. For example, the literary name for Cantonese is yue. Therefore, Cantonese became zh-yue. This template is essentially promoting the use of the latest standard, which is ISO 639-3 (under ISO 639-3, Cantonese becomes yue).
Here is the long-term problem that I anticipate over-time: even ISO 639-3 is not sufficiently detailed to accurately describe all Sinitic languages. For example, cmn is supposed to be for Mandarin. In fact, Mandarin itself is a family of dialects which are only 66.8% mutually intelligible.[2] In lay terms, we associate Chinese with Mandarin. Furthermore, we associate Mandarin with Standard Mandarin. Therefore, if we want to use cmn to describe any other Mandarin dialect besides Standard Mandarin, we run into trouble. Similarly, Min Nan is conventionally understood to mean Xiamen speech and Taiwanese. However, Min Nan is also a family of languages. Chaozhou speech is also in the Min Nan language family, but is only 50.4% mutually intelligible with Xiamen speech.[3] Both of these forms of Min Nan (which are mutually unintelligible) have the language code nan assigned to them. For the most part, ISO 639-3 language codes are sufficient, but only if we stay with a (sometimes arbitrary) conventional standard. This means that if we continue to use nan for Quanzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou and Taiwanese (all mutually intelligible), we must use something else for Chaozhou speech. On Min Nan wikipedia (zh-min-nan:w:Talk:Tiô-chiu-oē), it was suggested that Chaozhou speech be assigned zh-min-nan-CN-44 per ISO 3166-2 (CN-44 being the code for Guangdong, since Chaozhou is located in northern Guangdong province). We could probably reduce that to nan-CN-44. Mind you, all of this fancy code variation is necessary, because the current standard does not (and possibly cannot) cover all eventualities. The question for us at Wiktionary is what to do about all of this. It is probably not a question we will have to answer immediately, but sooner or later, this issue will arise. There are 12 million Chaozhou speakers worldwide, some of whom will eventually want their language documented on Wiktionary! In the meantime, I'm working on Appendix:Sino-Tibetan_Swadesh_lists to better illustrate the lack of intelligibility between Chinese dialects. My question is this: should we be trying to fill in the gaps where the standards leave off, or should we wait (possibly indefinitely) for the standards to catch up with us?
Please let me know whether this answers your question. -- A-cai 08:09, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Connel, I took another look at the {{t}} template. I think the immediate answer to your question is that the template is attempting to match language codes on English wiktionary to language codes of their counterparts. For example, even though articles at are written in Standard Mandarin, the language code zh (Chinese) instead of cmn (Mandarin) is used. However, on English wiktionary, we are tagging the entries as cmn. Similarly, Min Nan entries at English Wiktionary are tagged with nan. But, the Min Nan Wiktionary is The template is attempting to account for the variations in the language codes. -- A-cai 11:30, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, the short answer is that the "zh-min-nan" wikt should be, likewise zh-yue should be And whether Mandarin is zh or not, doesn't exist. These could be fixed by table entries in the MW code and CNAMES in the DNS, but haven't been. So we just work around it for the moment. Robert Ullmann 12:31, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Could you suggest to them that they use nan-ch or nan-chzh (or some such), and not nan-CN-44? We don't want capital letters or digits in the codes; they are based on the names of the languages. Robert Ullmann 12:43, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


What are you doing? This isn't going to work. We define languages down to 639 code level for a reason, and treat variations/dialects within them within the section. We need the Min Nan section for everything that isn't Amoy anyway. (Chaozhou might reasonably be nan-ch.) We can't do this for the same reason we can't have "British" as a language header. Please stop. Was this discussed anywhere? Robert Ullmann 12:41, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

This was not discussed anywhere because I didn't think anyone cared. However, I did post an explanation of my reasoning at Category talk:Min Nan. In brief, it is not comparable to putting British instead of English. As I explain in my post, the prestige dialect of Min Nan is widely considered to be Amoy (Xiamen dialect). Therefore, I originally thought it no problem to label entries as Min Nan. However, this becomes problematic if we ever want to create separate entries for other Min Nan dialects, which is already happening with the case of Teochew. The most likely scenario would be Teochew, since there are a large number of Teochew speakers living in Western countries. Teochew is part of the Min Nan language family as well, but is only 50.4% mutually intelligible with Amoy.[4] Since, Amoy is a well established name for the language/dialect spoken in Quanzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Taiwan (known there as Taiwanese), and Southeast Asia (known there as Hokkien), it seems like the best choice. The language code can still remain as nan. If we ever need to create a separate language code for Teochew, we can do something like nan-CN-44 (per ISO 3166-2). I will give you some time to digest this. I realize it's all of the sudden. I honestly didn't expect anybody to know or care since I'm the only one that has ever created entries in Amoy Min Nan on Wiktionary (with the exception of maybe one or two words). I look forward to your response. -- A-cai 12:53, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

P.S. The post before this also discusses the same issue. -- A-cai 13:00, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, way too sudden, and other people do care. Recall that we had some serious discussion on BP about the use of Mandarin v Mandarin Chinese, and whether Chinese should be subdivided at all. Renaming Min Nan (the ISO standard name) to Amoy without even mentioning it on BP is not good (note that we discussed "Scots Gaelic" to "Scottish Gaelic" for a while). The headers should almost certainly be Min Nan and Teochew. (And note that we are not using 3166 based code variants, they are deprecated; we, and ISO 639, code the languages, not the countries.) We have exactly one standard language header for each code. Finally, note that using the name of the "prestige dialect" might be considered serious POV. This has to be discussed on BP. Robert Ullmann 13:09, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
The rest of the above discussion may be found at Wiktionary:Beer_parlour_archive/2007/April#Amoy. -- A-cai 22:44, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


Hi, could you please "archive" some other way; trying to look through history is annoying, and not available to search or link, the history tab only works on the wikt itself, not mirrors etc. May I suggest you put all that text back, and then copy the Werdnabot stuff from the top of my talk page (changing the name in the text of course). Then you don't need to think about it again? Robert Ullmann 13:15, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


Hiya A-cai, I wonder if you can help with the etymology of this word. My sources say it comes from ‘Chinese’ lungyen meaning ‘dragons' eye’. Now I know dragon is , but what is this yen that means eye? I thought eye was yǎnjīng – but then my Chinese is really very basic. Can you help? Widsith 21:29, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I added the information for you. The yǎn part is short for yǎnjīng. -- A-cai 23:00, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Perfect. Thanks for your help. Widsith 12:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Weird question[edit]

Well, I think the hostility level on WT:BP is rather unacceptable, these days. On a completely different note, I had a lighthearted offbeat question, that perhaps you know something about.

For the past two generations of Americans, the phrase "Do or do not; there is no try" has been indelibly linked to the Star Wars character w:Yoda.

I got that as a fortune in my fortune cookie yesterday. So I am now wondering about the origin of the phrase; did w:Hollywood steal it from w:Confucius, or did a fortune-cookie writer steal it from Hollywood?


--Connel MacKenzie 06:00, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I did some google checking, but couldn't find anything that Confucius might have said that directly corresponds. However, having watched the "making of" documentaries on my Star Wars DVD set, I believe that George Lucas was heavily influenced by the Japanese Samurai films of Akira Kurosawa. George Lucas talked about basing some of the character traits for R2D2 and C3PO on the movie The Hidden Fortress with Toshiro Mifune. I think a lot of the Jedi philosophy (the force = qi, light saber = Kendo) was based on the Samurai, like the stuff in the The Book of Five Rings. I don't know whether or not George Lucas ever read the book, but a lot of Yoda's teachings remind me of that kind of thinking. BTW, I actually prefer the puppet Yoda to the digital version :) -- A-cai 12:03, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

tagging entries with zh-attention[edit]

re BP question: I ran some code on the XML see about tagging. If it tagged:

  • Chinese header at level 2
  • Min Nan, Mandarin, or Cantonese at level 3 (presumably under Chinese)
  • Mandarin or Min Nan and no inflection template

then it would tag 1520 entries, as of the 19 April XML. This isn't checking each part of speech, just whether there is any template in the entry. Without looking for templates, it would be 1239 entries. Robert Ullmann 12:41, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

With some refinements, would tag 1923 entries; I did a few, see 東京 for example. Tell me if you think I should run more. Robert Ullmann 14:38, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
That should do the trick. With this improvement, I can simply go to Category:Chinese words needing attention, and tackle them one at a time. Yes, by all means, keep going. -- A-cai 22:28, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Okay, will do. btw: some of the tags are just adding the sort key to the tags you have added. (The sort key is very easy, and makes it much more pleasant than dealing with a random list I think :-) Robert Ullmann 15:24, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. -- A-cai 22:47, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
Sawa, I've run it though on the current XML; some network problems caused a few to be missed, but we should certainly recheck. Seems quite good. Tell me what you think. Robert Ullmann 22:30, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, this is what I had in mind. At my current rate, and assuming I don't get distracted by some other wiki fancy, I should be able to get through all of the entries within the next year or two :) A-cai 22:43, 3 May 2007 (UTC)


Hey, would you be willing to check on the etymology of this. All I could find was that it's of Chinese origin, and so I assumed it to simply be the word given as the translation. I realize that we're not treating Chinese as a language, but as a language family....but I have no idea how any of that might factor into this. In any case, I figured someone a bit more knowledgeable on the subject might be able to fine tune they etymology a bit. Thanks. Atelaes 21:27, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

done. -- A-cai 23:32, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Many thanks. Atelaes 23:39, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

杀鸡儆猴, 殺雞儆猴[edit]

Can you check these, 杀鸡儆猴, 殺雞儆猴, and see if I've done them right? Cheers! bd2412 T 08:22, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Looks good. I did modify your google search so it would be more specific. By putting "杀鸡儆猴" in the search box, it is the equivalent of saying, "Only give me exact matches with the phrase "杀鸡儆猴," and only if it is found on a website with the .cn extension (PRC). -- A-cai 09:32, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
    • Thanks! :-D bd2412 T 09:35, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Policy vote[edit]

I thought you might be interested in a policy I've proposed regarding inclusion of Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2007-07/Brand names of products. Cheers! bd2412 T 22:50, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Kang Xi reference[edit]

I tries that sort of thing; I could not find any way the site would let me link to a page. It apparently looks at the referring page and won't let you access the desired page unless you are coming from its own indexes. (There are a number of sites like that, and they are all just as annoying, and in the end, just as useless.) Robert Ullmann 11:29, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

  • What do you think of my gif page idea ( It would involve some modifications to your template, but do you think you could make it link directly to the correct gif page? -- A-cai 11:33, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
    referring to the gif might work. One thing is that once you do math, the leading 0's disappear. (sigh, they are there in the parameter; wish we had substring ops). Will think about it. Robert Ullmann 11:35, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
  • You did it!!! Thanks. -- A-cai 22:30, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Two syllable characters?[edit]

Are you aware of any Chinese characters for which the transliteration has two syllables (not two separate transliterations, but one two-syllable transliteration)? A number of instances have cropped up on Robert Ullmann's Pinyin problems list. Cheers! bd2412 T 00:58, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

is the only one that was flat out wrong, so I erased yunwen as a pronunciation. The others fall into two categories:
  1. radicals: is only used as part of other characters (ex. 海), therefore it does not have a reading per se (technically, it would be shuǐ). However, most such radicals have some word to describe it. In this case, 三点水 (sāndiǎnshuǐ), which means three point water. The word sāndiǎnshuǐ is what is listed as the "pronunciation" for .
  2. specialty characters: see the usage notes in for an example of how this works. In general, a two or more character word gets "shoved" together into one hybrid character. Most of these characters retain the pronunciation of the original word. None of the one's on Robert's list are all that common.
So, the answer to your question is a qualified yes. -- A-cai 11:39, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Food for thought. So would it be safe to say that the genuine two syllable characters are likely to be complex ones with many strokes? And those that have three syllables are probably just the name of the character itself rather than its transliteration? bd2412 T 14:37, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Here is a good example of the second type: = qiānwǎ kilowatt. The single character is a more modern hybrid of the two original characters. Note that is not to be found in the Kangxi dictionary (1716). A traditionalist might not regard these kind of hybrid characters as being true Chinese characters. -- A-cai 22:18, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Interesting - I think I'll put together an appendix of irregular Chinese characters. bd2412 T 22:33, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Chinese headers[edit]

Chinese Hanzi
Chinese [[Hanzi
Chinese [[Pinyin àodàlìyǎ àozhōu dōngjīng dongjing shíwù Xizang xianggang aomen renminbi ditu xinzhu Dōngjīng
Chinese, Simplified 鯖魚 在黄昏以后 在黄昏之前
Chinese]] [[Hanzi 䵿

Could you help with these entries? They all have non-standard language headers, but I am not certain how they should be corrected. --EncycloPetey 21:59, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

I will work on them, but it may take me some time. Some of them are rather obscure, so I will have to do some research. -- A-cai 22:14, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. --EncycloPetey 22:36, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
The characters with no information just need the format changed to fix the headers, for example in I replaced the page with {{subst:xhan|uh=4D90}}. That at least provides a link to chase for more info. Robert Ullmann 03:11, 24 July 2007 (UTC) I've done some of them... will keep slogging. The entries in the 3rd and 4th row above are more interesting. Robert Ullmann 03:28, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I formatted all the single character entries, so the offending headers are gone; but I didn't add any of the missing information. Robert Ullmann 03:55, 24 July 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I was wondering if you'd consider accepting a nomination for CheckUser. It's a fairly technical role and not so much related to your translations work, but we need trustworthy people to occassionally accept responsibility with that kind of information, and you are someone who the community can trust. Let me know how you feel about it, and thanks! DAVilla 08:58, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Is there some place where I can read about it, so that I know what it entails? -- A-cai 09:00, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
As I told Widsith, CheckUsers "are able to inspect certain IP information pertaining to accused sock puppets and other disruptive use". They complete requests to identify such users. DAVilla 09:01, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Sounds a bit technical as you say. Thanks for thinking of me. Right now, I am spending most of my time translating w:Romance of Three Kingdoms (which at the rate I'm going, could take another 10 to 20 years :) I'm creating a bilingual version on Wikisource (s:Romance of the Three Kingdoms), where every word of the original text will be hyperlinked back to Wiktionary. Each paragraph yields about 20 to 40 new entries for Wiktionary so far. Most of these words have never been documented in Chinese-English dictionaries before. Of course, the more I translate, the more Wiktionary entries, the less of a need to create new Wiktionary entries etc. Anyway, I anticipate that I will be pretty busy with that, so I'm not sure how much extra time I would have to do the CheckUser. Of course, if you can't find anyone else, I will do what I can. But mainly, I would like to stay focused on my translation work. -- A-cai 09:16, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm actually hoping to nominate a number of people so that it won't be such a big burden on any of them. You will be pushed through if you accept, so the real question is if that's something you might want to learn how to do. It won't be so difficult with others learning at the same time on IRC, plus you can always give it up later if the techiness is just too much for you, although Connel seems to think you'd be okay at it. DAVilla 09:46, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Again, thanks for thinking of me, but I would rather focus on my translation work at this time. -- A-cai 09:56, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
I have a Taiwanese friend who wanted to study translation, and she couldn't get into the university. Oddly, it was too difficult for her because of the Mandarin that she didn't know, not because of her English, which is reasonably good. I know how valuable your work is and I do not want to detract from it. Simply, this isn't something you want to learn how to do, and I'm sorry if it seems I was trying to twist your arm. For me, something like this would only be a minor distraction, but then I don't know much of anything useful like IPA, Old English or really any other language, or for that matter even the difference between Middle and Classical Chinese.
Stephen G. Brown has indicated he would accept. Connel and I had the same mind on asking both of you, and the same uncertainty in whether either of you would accept. Do you think it was a poor judgement call to ask? If Stephen were the only one to accept, I don't think I could go through with the nomination... but certainly there will be others. DAVilla 10:51, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course not, it never hurts to ask :) Right now, I feel as though my time is best spent adding new words into Wiktionary. What I'm hoping is that eventually, I will attract some serious scholars, historians etc. who can help me to put some meat on Wiktionary's bones, if you know what I mean. I think the only way to get their attention is to show them the potential of Wiktionary. One of issues seems to be that experts in a given subject generally want to get paid for their work, or failing that, to at least get credit for it. Of course, Wiktionary and its sister projects can offer neither. Personally, I think of Wiktionary as the linguistic equivalent of a lawyer who does pro bono work, or a doctor who works in a free clinic. Put another way, I'm donating words to Wiktionary, for free, in hopes that it will be useful to someone at some point. Failing that, it is at least useful to me personally. -- A-cai 11:22, 15 August 2007 (UTC)


Hi A-cai. Is the copyright to this image that you have uploaded, Image:Ding.jpg, owned by you (it looks like it might be professionally done), or is it under a free license already? If so, could you please license it? You can (preferably) specify any of the acceptable licenses listed at commons:Commons:Licensing#Acceptable_licenses, and just edit the image description page with the one you choose. Dmcdevit·t 22:32, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

I deleted the image and replaced it with this Wikicommons image:

The image is used in the entry for . -- A-cai 05:32, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

and Hanzi[edit]

Um, we want to keep the Hanzi header and the compounds. Just add the verb or whatever (and rm the {defn} line, since the POS has a definition). Robert Ullmann 11:49, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

I thought we were supposed to remove the Hanzi header once we replaced it with a "legitimate" pos header. I'll put back the compounds while I await your response. -- A-cai 11:56, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
We wanted the entries to be both styles of dictionary, describing the character and linking to compounds, and the character-as-word with whatever parts of speech. The compounds are usful, and this is where they would go; and the Hanzi header also provides a place for the other readings, and the Wade-Giles transcription, etc. Also, the automation to update and check the pinyin and pinyin with tones ntries needs the {cmn-hanzi} template. Robert Ullmann 16:28, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Asian classifiers and measure words[edit]

Hi A-cai. I recently came home from Vietnam and I've been reading up a bit on the Vietnamese language and brought some of it here. I've noticed that the headings and categories etc for the various Asian languages using classifiers or measure words are not consistent. I'm on IRC #wiktionary if you are available to chat. — Hippietrail 11:52, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure that it is an issue that we have tackled in as a group. A while ago, I added a mw variable to Template:cmn-noun. You can check out the "What links here" from the template page, to see some examples of where I've used it in the past. Of course, I'm open to suggestions for modifications if you have an idea for how to make improvements. -- A-cai 12:00, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes I noticed the measure word on some han nouns and thought it was a great idea. Sadly I don't know enough about Vietnamese to know which classifier to put with many nouns though.

What I was thinking about was Category:Classifiers which now contains some of these terms for Vietnamese and Thai and space for Khmer ones as well. But there are no corresponding categories for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Is it that the latter three languages use "measure words" and that those are not the same as "classifiers"? Or should we choose one term to use for POS headings and categories for all languages? If not it would be a good idea to set up Category:Measure words for those three languages to match the classifier categories. — Hippietrail 12:10, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

I was just taking a look at the Wikipedia articles (classifier and measure word). It seems as though a measure word is one type of classifier. BTW, 自行车 is an example of Template:cmn-noun with the mw variable. I'll have to read the two wikipedia articles more thoroughly. For now, I can say that the Mandarin term which describes the mw variable in 自行车 () is called 量词 (lit. "measure word") in Mandarin. -- A-cai 12:21, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
In Japanese we've been using Counter. They are also sometimes "count words". (And in English, "singulatives", like head, e.g. of cattle. ;-) We should settle on something in common. As you note, "classifier" is broader than "counter", so we may need both. Robert Ullmann 16:32, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Based on how things are organized in Wikipedia, you were correct to use counter for Japanese (see: Japanese counter word). The word in Japanese is 助数詞, which literally means help with counting word. However, the Mandarin term is 量词, which means measure word (hence Chinese measure word). It seems as though the term counter word is a synonym for measure word, but I'm not sure if there are any subtle differences between the two (I can't think of any off top of my head). One difference (from Japanese counter word):
The problem is partially solved for the numbers from one to ten by using the traditional numbers (see below) which can be used to quantify some nouns by themselves. For example, "four apples" is ringo yonko (リンゴ四個) where ko () is the counter, but can also be expressed using the traditional numeral four as ringo yottsu (リンゴ四つ). These traditional numerals cannot be used to count all nouns however; some, including people and animals, require the proper counter.
In Mandarin, you have to use a measure word even for numbers below ten. -- A-cai 22:51, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
  • So have we come to a decision? Should I create Category:Japanese Counter words or Category:Classifiers? And what for Chinese and Korean? Along with the categories we need a POS section for each such term in each of these languages. Or should I bring the discussion to the Beer parlour now? — Hippietrail 13:00, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
It sounds like we could use Classifier as the overarching POS section header, then place an in-line parenthetical clarification at the head of definitions, just as we use (interrogative) and (personal) under the header of Pronoun. Does that work? --EncycloPetey 15:10, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable to me. However, I agree with Hippietrail that we should probably raise the issue at Beer Parlour, so that others can weigh in. -- A-cai 22:02, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Would one of you Asian-language experts like to bring the topic to the Beer parlour please? I think you'd do a better job than me. — Hippietrail 09:25, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


This entry has a section labelled "Shanghainese". Are we using that term or calling it Wu? --EncycloPetey 06:54, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Per WT:AC#Wu, I would say Wu is the appropriate header. Of course, "Shanghainese" is not the only Wu dialect, but so far we have not had to deal with that on English Wiktionary. -- A-cai 06:58, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. --EncycloPetey 06:59, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Header help[edit]

Could you take a look at the following entries? The "language" given for each one is "Chinese Pinyin". I do not know which Chinese they are. to correct the headers myself. Thanks. --EncycloPetey 22:12, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

I'll take a look at them. If you find any other Chinese entries that are incorrectly formatted, you can insert the {{zh-attention}} template into the entry. Inserting the template will place the entry in Category:Chinese words needing attention. -- A-cai 22:15, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

trad/simp help[edit]

Could you take a look at 脊髄 and 脊髓? The person who entered them gave conflicting information on which is simplified. I've tried to straighten the mess out but it seems I'm no good with characters outside shinjitai. Thanks. Cynewulf 16:21, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

It's 脊髓 for both Simplified and Traditional Chinese. is the shinjitai for . This is a rare instance where Japan simplified the character, but the PRC did not. -- A-cai 22:56, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Ah, okay. Thanks for your hard work -- it's interesting to see the relationship between Chinese and Japanese words :) Cynewulf 23:08, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

words needing attention[edit]

Wow, nice work! ;-) I'm running the tag code again to see what might be left, it is finding a few random things. Robert Ullmann 11:44, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

All 601945 entries in the wikt checked, 22 more. Either recent additions or were missed last time for various reasons. Again, very good work! Robert Ullmann 12:01, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. As Mao Zedong said, 愚公移山. -- A-cai 12:51, 9 October 2007 (UTC)


Could you please add some Chinese definitions for this. It seems to be an interesting word with many seemingly far removed meanings. – Krun 22:23, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

It's a start anyway. More could be added, especially with respect to how 分身 used in the computing world. -- A-cai 23:14, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. – Krun 18:18, 11 October 2007 (UTC)


Hi, A-cai. Does 无量 not also mean, more specifically, the number 1068? Rod (A. Smith) 21:43, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually the term I've seen is 无量大数 for 1068. However, I've only seen it on various blogs, nothing formal like an academic paper, dictionary etc..[5] To be fair, the Chinese Wikipedia article for w:十进制 (decimal) does list 无量大数 as being equal to 1068. On the other hand, the history tab of the article only shows two human editors (one of them anonymous). I would feel better if we could cite something more authoritative. -- A-cai 22:00, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I much prefer authoritative sources. I don't have the reading comprehension of Chinese to do so myself, though. I had imported the definitions from w:Chinese numerals to here in order to remove the Mandarin-specific pronunciations from the Wikipedia article. Then you removed several (most?) of the definitions I imported. Removal sort of seems like a loss of information. Is there some way to restore those definitions with an {{informal}} tag or a note to the effect of "this definition is not yet verified"? Rod (A. Smith) 22:22, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to post your question on Beer Parlor to allow others to weigh in. -- A-cai 22:26, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Broken redirect[edit]

I know this is probably a bit trivial, but I found a broken redirect and didn't know who to bother with it. Link is here. -- 16:07, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I have posted a message at Wiktionary:Requests for verification#Mook. -- A-cai 23:25, 2 November 2007 (UTC)


If it's not too much trouble, I'd like to ask you to fix the Translation section at Southern Europe to indicate whether the Mandarin pronunciation of 南欧 is nánōu or nāōu, 'cause... although I would guess nanou, I really have no idea :-D Thanks in advance — [ ric | opiaterein ] — 19:36, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I fixed it. It's Nán Ōu. -- A-cai 23:24, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Hanzi sections[edit]

Hi, could you please stop removing them? It is a lot of work to put them back. (Edit old entry, copy paste forward, each one manually ...) Just add the POS section after it (and remove the unneeded {defn} line.)

We need the Hanzi section to contain compounds, sometimes other notes, and for the Yale/Wade-Giles transcriptions. Sice each entry is for the character, and (if applicable) the word as a POS, we should always have the Hanzi section.

The number of problems in User:Robert Ullmann/Han/Problems is growing rather than shrinking ... Robert Ullmann 12:28, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Robert, I'm a little troubled by the Hanzi header. I was under the impression that it was meant to be a temperory placeholder until I can eventually create a proper entry (Some time within the next 30 years :). For one thing, it doesn't seem to conform with the idea of a POS header. Also, there are instances where one Simplified character will have more than one traditional, but not with the same meanings. An example would be . When it is a verb meaning to transmit, the traditional is . When it is a noun meaning hair, the traditional is . The two traditional characters are not synonyms, and are NOT interchangeable. Your Hanzi template, as designed, would render it as follows (ignore the A-cai part):


2007 (traditional , , Pinyin (fa1), (fa4), Wade-Giles fa1, fa4)

Which implies (incorrectly) that or are synonyms.
Also, the Hanzi template is the only place where we're doing multiple Romanizations for the Characters in Mandarin. Shouldn't we be doing something like this instead (but for Mandarin, of course :):


Please let me know what you think. -- A-cai 12:52, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
It's a header for the character, like we use Symbol and Letter. The entry is for the character and the word. It was never intended as a placeholder. (Collapsible "romanization" sections are awful; we should only collapse something generally large, otherwise the collapsed section is far more obnoxious.)
It doesn't imply the trad forms are synonyms, that section is about the character, not the word. We need entries for the characters, and as you know, they are at the same title, therefore the same page.
So please don't take them out, I'm already facing a lot of work putting the ones that have disappeared already back. Robert Ullmann 13:21, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I guess I can buy your explanation. If you haven't already done so, could you add a note somewhere (such as at WT:AC) about the purpose of the Hanzi header? I think it will avoid confusion in the future. Right now, it's just me and two or three other semi-regular Mandarin contributors (only one of whom seems to actually be fluent in the language). However, with any luck, we will attract more Mandarin contributors in the coming years. When that happens, I know there will be a lot more questions about why things are done the way they are. -- A-cai 14:25, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
What I really need to do is archive Wiktionary:About Chinese characters and write a new one ... Robert Ullmann 14:35, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

blank Han entries[edit]

I dumped the remaining ones (106 or so) into Category:Chinese words needing attention which cleans up the start of the standard categories.

I'll get to them presently if you or someone else doesn't. I wouldn't mind if they were just deleted if no-one wants to add to them, they have no content ;-)

best, Robert, Robert Ullmann 23:08, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


Hi A-cai. Could you create a Pīnyīn entry for 惊蛰 at Jīngzhé please?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:19, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I haven't forgot about you. I put this on my list of things to do. -- A-cai 14:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
No hurry. Sort it when you have the time.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:01, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


I was trying to think of the English version of this. Is it like one rule for them, one rule for the rest of us? (Usually in an abbreviated form, eg [6]). Widsith 13:37, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Something like that. I can't think of the precise English idiom at the moment. Dr. Eye defines it as, "One may steal a horse while another may not look over the hedge." However, I don't like that translation at all. Although it accurately captures the sentiment of the phrase, it is way too obscure to be of much use to the average English speaker. I learned the Chinese phrase while watching episode nine of a TV series entitled 中国式离婚 ("Divorce, China-style"), which is a 2003 PRC TV series about an upper-class Chinese family whose parents are going through marital difficulties. I think if I were to re-watch the episode (I have it on DVD), it might help me think of the appropriate English idiom. I can't quite remember the exact wording of the scene; roughly, the friend (a divorcee whose own husband was unfaithful) of the wife (who suspects her husband of having an affair) advises her to not make unreasonable demands of her husband (she was calling him at work 8 to 10 times per day). -- A-cai 14:09, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
IOKIYAR: "It's okay if you're a Republican" ;-) Robert Ullmann

May you live in interesting times[edit]

I see, this reputed English version of an ancient Chinese curse is probably spurious too, and the presumed Chinese version was probably just a direct translation from the "fake" English version. However, the article mentions a (real) similar Chinese proverb "It's better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period." Does this one exist in hanzi? 19:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes it does. There are a great many variations to this saying, but after playing around with the wording, 寧為太平犬,不做亂世人宁为太平犬,不做乱世人 seems to be the most "common." I own several dictionaries of Chinese sayings. One of them is called 中国古代小说俗语大词典 (A large dictionary of colloquial expressions from old Chinese novels, →ISBN. It lists eight variations (which is not all of them), none of which had as many google hits as the one above.
Also, I have been thinking about your dictionary situation. You need something with larger print, Pinyin based, but also with the ability to search by radical. You also need a dictionary with a large enough lexicon that you can search for words beyond basic and intermediate level. The only thing I don't know is if you're really serious about Mandarin. If you are serious about Mandarin, I recommend you purchase a dictionary like this. As you already know, that concise pocket dictionary of yours is just not going to cut the mustard for your purposes here at Wiktionary. Online internet dictionaries and websites can be very useful, but almost none of them are authoritative. You need the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. Without any fluency in the language, your only hope is to purchase a dictionary put out by a reputable publisher. As we say in Chinese, 工欲善其事,必先利其器. -- A-cai 12:40, 16 December 2007 (UTC)


Note I changed the literal "translation" in the Etymology, to make it more literal: the same sequence. I think this will help people learning characters? I looked at it and said to myself (effectively) okay, one + hill + clitic 's, so that last character (which I don't know) must be badger! Someone who has learned less than me (say only 一) can see "one hill's badgers" and be a lot further along than if they are trying to figure out where the "one" went, and where the "same" came from: oh yes, "one" can be ~= "same". And so on. I think one can almost always create a comprehensible, if not entirely grammatical, literal "translation" going character by character. That is not, of course, the definition ;-) (oh, and as CM said, these idioms are great ;-)Robert Ullmann 12:20, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. Based on your and Connel's feedback, I will make it a goal to put in at least one new phrase per day (more or less). Of all the things I do at Wiktionary, those are probably the most fun anyway. I figure if I do atleast one per day, that's 365 after one year (as they say: 日積月累). -- A-cai 13:05, 17 December 2007 (UTC)


We have {{language}} ... Robert Ullmann 14:07, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. I was trying to install all of the stuff for Template:ruby-zh-p. You might want to check it to make sure I did it correctly. -- A-cai 14:13, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

镜花水月, 镜花水月 and jìnghuāshuǐyuè[edit]

I started these a couple of days ago, but you know more than I do, so I think it'd be good if you took a look at them :D Thanks — [ ric ] opiaterein — 19:45, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

I mainly made some minor format changes, and added some links. I also corrected the IPA. -- A-cai 22:56, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Chinese contributor[edit]

Have you met User:Chloejr? He is contributing "Chinese" translations, so I thought to bring your attention to assisting him. --EncycloPetey 17:15, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Thank you[edit]

Hi, thank you for the message, I think the format is quite good. I have changed one of the translations I did. I hope that's the way you would like it to be: clandestinely.
I have also asked everyone about their opinions in which version they would like in Wiktionary:About Chinese and I guess I will wait for some reply before I start doing more. Thank you! Chloejr 15:52, 31 December 2007 (UTC)