User talk:DCDuring/2009 QII

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The rfv you added in Sept/08 to the interjection senses of dude[edit]

Hello DC -- I just came across your old rfv for the preposterous plethora of senses under the interjection POS of "dude". I think you are quite right -- there is one sense here, at the most. In fact, I think the whole "interjection" section of this entry could just be bulldozed. This is the kind of content that fouls wiktionary's reputation. Unfortunately your rfv did not generate much discussion and no action resulted. Maybe you should consider relaunching this as an rfd for all of these senses. This mess cries out for housecleaning. -- WikiPedant 04:45, 8 April 2009 (UTC)


Why did you erase doabler? Confer Citations:doable, where its use is evident. I took it from there. If you wish, I shall dig up two more citations for doable from Carlyle, so that no doubt be cast. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 16:40, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I did not delete the entry. I merely removed doabler from the inflection line at "doable". I did so because it was used only by Carlyle and in discussion of his works, AFAICT. If someone needs to look it up they will find it. If someone is trying to determine what the comparative of doable is, they will not be misled by Carlyle's idiosyncratic usage. I'm not at all sure that "doabler" is attestable. Do you think it needs more citations? DCDuring TALK 17:50, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I shall look for other quotations for doabler and when they become three, I shall create Citations:doabler and the respective article. The uſer hight Bogorm converſation 20:09, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Cruciate ligament[edit]

"Usually uncountable"[edit]

Gasp! I didn't know you could do that, even though I have cursorily read the en-noun help page. I shall try to bear it in mind. Equinox 23:42, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to MSH. BTW, please cast your eyes on an uncountable sense of house I've added and taken to tea. DCDuring TALK 23:48, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
That is interesting. My gut feeling is that this can be done with practically any noun, though; cf. 1954 "more truck for your money", 1964 "you too can get more bookmobile for your money", 1976 "By getting more vacation for your money". Equinox 23:53, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

HO scale[edit]

How is this translingual? Foreign-language Wikipedias all give this a different name. --Jackofclubs 17:48, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Used in Japan per WP. I'll bet on non-English use in Western hemisphere (Spanish, Quebecoise, Hawaiian, etc.), possibly also Korea, Philippines. See discussion of AAA batteries. DCDuring TALK 18:03, 11 May 2009 (UTC)


Re pavee being derogatory, I've changed it to a usage note, as it really depends on who is saying it.--Dmol 01:16, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

"nigger" is like that, but it was not derived from a language spoken by blacks, ancestrally. DCDuring TALK 01:35, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


Concerning mater, and festus if applicable, I wasn't aware that descendants should be listed on parent entries as well as the relevant direct etymological origin; it would help if this was cleared up, as there are other entries that would need editing if it was standard to list the descendants on all words that go back. Caladon 18:23, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

WT:ELE#Descendants is the most definitive statement on the subject, but is only one line long. The idea is to be able to have wikilinks from the etymons in other languages to the descendants as well as from the descendants to the etymons. Good judgment would suggest that we not have all the English-language entries that were in any way descended from "mater" rather than representatives of the major lines of descent (ie, "matrimony" perhaps, but not "matrimonial"), but good judgment does not always prevail.

I find the etymologies themselves to be a higher priority. There are so many missing ones. If we had etymologies of some kind for all words, then contributors could use "what links here" to make complete or good selected lists of descendants. It might be possible to automate the process. DCDuring TALK 18:53, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

On WT:ALA#Descendants it does state it should be listed only on the 'direct etymological progentior'. The problem I can see is if compounds of Latin verbs have descendants in English, and there are often quite a few compounds to every verb, that there will be a lengthy list on the parent entry of the compound, but then again if one did have good judgment they would know not to have such excessive lists; and I have seen other editors remove descendants from verb compounds from the compound's etymon. Caladon 12:56, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
Let's parse the word "direct" in WT:ALA. Does it mean that if a Latin word had a descendant that was Middle English, Old English, or Old French from which the modern English word derived, the English is therefore not a descendant. Because almost all modern French words with Latin ancestry progressed through Middle and Old French, few French word would be descendants of Latin. I am reasonably sure this is not what is intended, though a case could be made for such a policy. In any event, in a certain sense, the Latin policy is subordinate to Wiki-wide policy, terse as it is. The plain meaning of descendant would argue against including uncles, aunts, and cousins (cognates) but for children at all removes. DCDuring TALK 16:22, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
What "wiki-wide policy"? Do you mean the "terse" statement on WT:ELE? If so, then please note that at the top of the ELE, a header explicitly lists language-specific policies, including WT:ALA. The ELE acknowledges ALA explicitly.
Listed Descendants of Latin words should include only non-Latin words whose immediate Latin precursor gave rise to the word. The word matrimony would thus NOT be listed at mater, becuase there is another Latin word matrimonium that is a more immediate Latin precursor. In choosing descnedants, the key consideration is the point at which the "new" language received the word. We are more flexible with English, in that many Latin words entered via French, but only to the point of the most immediate Latin precursor. We do not list all related English terms at the Latin root; that is what the Related terms section is used for, and there is no need to duplicate that function on the Latin entry since it is a matter of English relationships and not Latin. -EncycloPetey 14:01, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Lord willing and the creek don't rise[edit]

I posted a comment on the origin of this phrase on Talk:Lord willing and the creek don't rise. Regards, Ecphora 01:42, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

I've added some more early uses of the phrase. Ecphora 23:03, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


This isn't Translingual in the sense we normally use that term. The Polish name and abbreviation are different, e.g., as is the French. --EncycloPetey 00:56, 24 May 2009 (UTC

But Jamaican Creole..... Are you sure that we can't find three languages that wouldn't translate it into words with this acronym? I'm just trying to avoid Anglophonic chauvinism. I've wondered about the meaning of Translingual in this context. DCDuring TALK 01:02, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
True, we've never explicitly defined what we mean by "Translingual, but I don't think a criterion of three languages would be what we mean, or words that are the same in Italian, Spanish, and Galician would become "translingual". For ICBN, there is no harm in multiple language listings, but I'd want to see really widespread use for a "Translingual" entry, such as for most major European languages and a few major Asian ones. --EncycloPetey 01:05, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

"there" as a noun in "from there"[edit]

Hi DCDuring,

I'm not sure that "there" is a noun in "from there"; "from" is pretty flexible in what sort of complements it takes, and in particular, seems quite comfortable taking any sort of prepositional phrase (including some that we call adverbs):

You all look like ants from up here!
On coming out from inside the dark theater, we had to cover our eyes.
He called over from across the street where he was staying.

(This is leaving aside the near-total free-for-all in phrases of the form "from ___ to ___":

Things went from bad to worse.
We tried everything we could think of, from ask the maid to check for a key under the mat, but we couldn't find a way in.

which I think is a slightly different sort of thing.)

RuakhTALK 18:02, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps the examples are too limiting. Unless you would question any of the prepositions that can position themselves before "there". Should we call it a pronoun? The plurals are certainly uncommon. It doesn't play well with adjectives, articles, quantifiers, or determiners.
BTW, I was surprised at how uncommon "there's" is relative to "theres" in COCA (even excluding all spoken material). DCDuring TALK 18:25, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
Right, I'm not questioning that it's a noun sometimes — a word this common is probably attested in every part of speech ("'No, there, there, park over there!', he said. 'Quit thereing me! I'll park where I wanna park!'"). It's interesting; I haven't checked corpora for this, but to me it seems like "at there" and "to there" are unidiomatic, while most of the more meaningful prepositions are O.K. ("from there", "in there", "on there", "out of there", "off (of) there", "near there", etc.). I'm not sure where exactly it crosses the line from "adverb" (or technically "intransitive preposition") to "noun" (or perhaps "pronoun", as you suggest — I have no idea), I'm just pretty confident that "from there" itself works just fine with "there" as an "adverb". —RuakhTALK 18:39, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
It may be restricted with some prepositions, but "It stretched from here to there."
For common words like this, I am strongly influenced by the lexicographic choices of Longmans' (Quirk's!!!) DCE. The copula-subject sense that we have been showing as an adverb they show as a pronoun. In the article on "there" they have a usage examples "over there" and "out there". They do not have a noun sense, but MWOnline does. But that's neither here nor there. I've not yet looked at other OneLook dictionaries, but OED, Quirk, and CGEL would be better than any of them, I think. DCDuring TALK 19:03, 25 May 2009 (UTC)
CGEL calls it a "preposed locative" in this construction, without commenting on the part of speech. It does indicate that it is not the subject of the sentence. The implication is that it's an adverb in constructions like "There is/are...", but I could not find an explicit statement in CGEL on the POS. I may do some more thorough looking later. --EncycloPetey 19:11, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

weak cardinality[edit]

I actually intended it to be failed, I just neglected to delete it. Usually on entries like that where there are multiple points of view expressed in the discussion I try to do some very quick and dirty research to see what it looks like to me, and I couldn't readily find anything that looked even close to verifiable cites, so I went with the "no-cites-no-pass" verdict. I just forgot to delete it, I blame the hour ;). I am going to follow through with failing it and deleting it, but I have no problem with people restoring "clocked-out" entries as they see fit as long as some form of reasonable justification is used. - [The]DaveRoss 14:01, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

over the top[edit]

I've moved the second "adverb" sense to the adjective, because it looks to me like a copula use of go. However, I'd like a second opinion. If you agree, then we'll assume that's right. If you disagree, than I ought to start a discussion in the Tea Room. --EncycloPetey 03:24, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes. I see what you mean. I have no references that help me on this, but I took a look in the BNC at the verbs that precede "over the top" within 4 words. So far I have found that the usages that have that meaning are exclusively verbs that have senses that many consider copulas (be, go, regard, seem, appear, sound). I think that "go" is a little confusing because in our minds it is associated with the adverbial motion usage with "go". By way of confirmation, in COCA some of the UK sense is evident, but the adverbial is relatively more common, including with some of the same words (be, go, appear) that are more often used copulatively with the adjective meaning.
In short, I agree with you. DCDuring TALK 04:03, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into this. --EncycloPetey 04:07, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Hello DC and Petey -- I originally added this sense. The OED sees it as an adverb, but these multi-word idiomatic modifiers sometimes seem to be toss-ups. I can live with calling it an adjective. -- WikiPedant 04:12, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I've gone to like BNC and COCA for this kind of thing. DCDuring TALK 04:33, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Um, isn't over the top a prepositional phrase? PPs can be used as attributive modifiers (the "adjective" sense; e.g., another down day, an in-house conference) and are often used as complements (the "adverbial" sense).--Brett 17:23, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

chopped meat 'nyms[edit]

An alternative way of dealing with these terms is to define chopped with a new sense: ground in a grinder. That might actually be the way to go, since Google Web estimates (as a first-page estimate) 103,000 hits for "chopped meat" and 206,000 for "chopped turkey|beef|lamb|mutton|venison|pork|chicken". Also, 3450 for "chopped meat" grinder to 2720 for "chopped turkey|beef|lamb|mutton|venison|pork|chicken" grinder. The number suggest, though not certainly, that — although perhaps no one phrase is used much — chopped is used to mean ground when meat of any kind is under discussion. So perhaps, as I say, a new sense is needed s.v. [[chopped]], with [[chopped meat]] and [[ground beef]] — the only bluelinks, I think — to be deleted as SoP. What think you?—msh210 18:51, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

I honestly don't know. In the long run we may have all of these close-to-SoP entries, but for now I like the idea of using their attempted entry as a way of making sure that we have all the valid nuances of the component words. The nyms seem frivolous to me at this stage of wikt's evolution. My thinking is mostly to get folks to pay more attention to improving the core entries and less to low-value compounds (true idioms and items in other important dictionaries excepted). Of course, whether any given entry is actually low value is not so easy to see. It is easy to miss some of the more subtle ways something can be an idiom. I still don't feel I get the various possibilities.
As to this entry, the loose(?) sense of "chopped" as "ground" is interesting. It would be particularly compelling if there were some uses in this sense applied to something other than meat. I've really been enjoying the use of BYU's COCA and BNC for examining collocations.
The coal mine discussion at RfD is an example of the benefits of challenging compounds. It raised questions to me about the adequacy of "mine", for which I entered some "especially" language relating to underground mines, which much usage, especially from more than 50 years ago, usually assumed. Even now, the archetypal mine is not a strip mine, I don't think. DCDuring TALK 19:21, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Someone — you? — keeps quoting stats from BYU's corpora, but I've never gotten the interface there to work for me. Maybe it's just a matter of reading the fine manual. In any event: What else is often ground but meat (in a general sense of "meat")? Well, google books:"eat ground" subject:fiction yields glass (!) as a favorite, and various nuts and grains besides. So trying google:"chopped nuts|pecans|walnuts|almonds|hazelnuts|filberts" "don't want" OR "if you" (with the last phrases thrown in to try to ensure I get hits from pages written by people not companies), it seems as though people use chopped when referring to chopping with a knife or processing a bit in a food processor, but not grinding in a hand grinder: for that they use ground. I'm not so sure about grains, though.—msh210 19:48, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
That's pretty much what I found. Mostly chopped vegetables, plenty of chopped meat, and some chopped nuts. What I saw were almost entirely recipes. Well, the "grind" sense should probably be at chop anyway, but sadly with the kind of context I've never liked: "of meat". We could allow for the possibility of other things with "especially of meat". I think home meat-grinding offends people these days. I wouldn't object to any decision you make about the nyms. They served their purpose by forcing us to think this through, not that there might not be more to say about it. The hyponyms seem most suspect. I'm not sure that inviting folks to add all the kinds of meat that can be chopped or ground is very productive. DCDuring TALK 20:55, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, with the addition of a sense to [[chopped]], the entry [[chopped meat]] can be deleted, in which case there is no decision to be made regarding chopped meat's 'nyms. (Or did I misunderstand you?)—msh210 20:59, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I was waffling. That seems fine to me. DCDuring TALK 21:22, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Fine, I've been bold and deleted chopped meat. I've also RFDed ground beef as SoP. Thanks so much.—msh210 21:44, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

The word utmostly[edit]

I think it's been many days and months, so I think the RFV should be resolved right now. Thank you. Steel Blade 15:46, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, DCDuring.

Based on the current evidence, the originally challenged adjective sense would fail, with the sole citation being moved to the citations page to give any effort to fully attest the adjective a place to start. I have converted the RfV to RfV-sense since the entry would not be deleted only the unattested material. DCDuring TALK 15:59, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Mills Mess[edit]

I agree with you, and yet Mills Mess doesn't (see the talk page for the relevant discussion). Mglovesfun 21:21, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

I looked at usage. "Mills Mess" it is, with "Mills' Mess" second and "Mills' mess" perhaps third. Not worth multiple entries that don't aid search. I made it a proper noun. Revert if you don't think it is. I posted at the Pump on Commons about user-initiated animations, which would be better than ever-running ones. Ideal would be some initial motion to attract user attention (Not necessarily a full cycle!!!) followed by it being stationary until perhaps a mouseover. DCDuring TALK 22:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)


Thank you for your comments and guidance. Please take a look to see if it's OK. Never done a dictionary entry before. Thanks!--Cgnk 20:48, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
We need titles. The sources should be from durably archived sources, which means not from ordinary websites. My cite on that page was not a good model, because evidently I failed to save the latest version of my quote and the other two quotes that I had added for the adjective. Thanks for the effort. DCDuring TALK 21:42, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Hi DCDuring! You've been doing a great work to bring quality into this entry. I'm not sure how to approach the verification of nonkilling as a doctrine (or maybe a better term would be principle or philosophy). Could you provide some ideas? Also, what can be done with the translations? I'm not sure about the gender of some of them, but I could find out (what other information would be needed?). Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you once again! --Cgnk 17:51, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
The entry has become surprisingly complicated. You should understand that, under our rules, the entry has a minimum of 30 days to get cited after challenge. Usually, it has longer, especially in a case where there is partial citation. I don't like the citations very much because they aren't clear and informative, but they may well be adequate. I reversed the tag removal because we usually leave the process of closing out a challenge to someone not much involved in the challenge, on either side, to increase objectivity. When the spirit moves me, I will try to find quotes that are a bit more illuminating.
The translations need to be split into the various senses. In order not to waste too much translation effort, we should get the definition wording right first. We then use templates to create a structure for the translations that people offer. Which senses do you think are worded well enough? The adjective? I'm not at all sure about the countable noun.
All in all, this is an interesting entry, all the more valuable because other dictionaries don't have it - yet. Other dictionaries often copy us. Even MW online might pick up something we do. DCDuring TALK 18:24, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Dear DCDuring. I must admit my knowledge of English grammar is very little, as I'm a Portuguese speaker. As I see it, nonkilling could possible qualify as a true adjective, as predicative and comparable uses seem to make sense (even though it's probably not a good example, a poetry book has been launched this month where "the challenge of being nonkilling" is used). But I'll leave it up to you. I'm not completely happy with the "world view" citations either. I though I would find more appropriate ones in "Nonkilling Global Political Science" [1] but they are usually presented as adjectives. I've asked George Simson, professor emeritus of English at the University of Hawaii to help me out, as he's familiar with nonkilling and its literature. He also suggested some time ago the need to bring nonkilling into English language dictionaries, so he's partially responsible for our debate! I completely agree with the removal policy; my apologies. In relation to translations, I've gathered most of them from the translations of "Nonkilling Global Political Science" (there was a Forum back in 2007 where all the translators met and discussed the problem of translating this idea) and some new Wikipedia entries (I think it is a noun in almost all of the cases). I see three uses that have a wide use: the legal term nonkilling (which will probably have different forms in other legal traditions); nonkilling as the first precept of Buddhist ethics (I've seen uses of this in French as non-meurtre); and nonkilling as a world view that, probably coming from the previous, has been increasingly incorporated to the academic world since the 80s (we should also quote Marvin Harris' work "Our Values", 1990). Of course that doesn't mean that our definitions are worded well enough. Thank you in any case case for you great help!--Cgnk 15:01, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
You've done a good job, particularly for a non-native speaker. I'll see what I can do about the wording and better quotations in the next few days. The RfV tag and discussion might bring someone else to help, BTW. You can tell your prof that I thank the two of you for bringing the word to our attention. Many words prefixed by "non-", "in-", "un-" are not linguistically very interesting. This one is better than most and also provides a model for some of the potential complexity of their usage beside its value in its own right. Check in again in a few days. DCDuring TALK 15:17, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your kind comments! Please accept this Nonkilling Barnstar. --Cgnk 17:24, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Canis pugnax or Canis pugnaces or Canes or Canes pugnaces[edit]

Hi, when you say the citations are not of the head word, would you please explain that to me. Thank you. WritersCramp 16:52, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Each citation for each entry title ( = headword) should be for exactly the entry title, including capitalization and hyphens. Even more importantly, the component words must not be separated by other words or punctuation. In the case of the quotations buried in the references that you provided, two or three were for "canes, pugnaces". Unless we can find an earlier version that did not have the comma, there is no chance that the citation would be accepted. In addition, the comma probably reflects the view of an editor that the words ought to be treated as if they were separated by a comma, that is, separately. As a result, even finding a version of the same text that didn't have the comma would probably not be good enough. You might ask EP about this.
You should appreciate that EP is a major contributor to Wiktionary, the major contributor for Latin. Not only does he do classical Latin, but also later versions, including the "New Latin" which is the source for taxonomic names. Taxonomic names are a mess because there are so many obsolete ones (rendered so by subsequent discoveries) and low-quality ones (coined or used only by amateurs, especially in 19th century England, never gaining scientific acceptance). The spelling "Canis pugnax" is suggestive of trying to make a species out of a dog breed. That is the kind of thing that dog fanciers and breeders do to promote their favorites. As you probably know, all dogs can interbreed and therefore meet one of the main requirements for being a single species.
Quotations that are not fully visible and, to a lesser extent, those not formatted are not looked at favorably because they force many others to spend more time in order to read the actual quotes. Or they force someone else to do work of low interest. The quotation formats are well worth learning. I've recently been working on nonkilling, which uses templates. clampdown takes a non-template approach, but omits things like page numbers. Many folks really prefer that I add urls to google version of the whole page for even more context.
There is definitely something of interest in what you have found. The quotes provide interesting illustrations of the use of some specific Latin words (treated as Latin because italicized) in English texts. Some of the Latin words for classes of dogs might belong in a Latin translation of the corresponding English word for the class of dogs (eg, canis pugnax for mastiff). I'm not so sure about it for English bulldog, but you could try. The wikipedia articles for some of the dog breeds or breed groups might be good homes for the material, especially as it is referenced. I will revisit the references you provided in a few days. They are still there, but "commented out" and not visible. You might want to copy them from the entry to save your work in convenient form before it gets deleted. I will probably do the same. DCDuring TALK 18:33, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

French etymologies[edit]

The etymology that bothered was that at eco- not ecology. While there is an indirect filiation to the Greek prefix, I HIGHLY doubt it is an accurate to make: people were thinking specifically of the suffix in "ecology" (after all, the same suffix is in economics!), so I'd stop there, and note the connection to Greek, but not trace directly to a Greek etymology (compare narco- as in narcotrafficant and narcoterrorism, clearly not the same derivation as the one in narcolepsy or narcoanalysis). Honestly, I'm not clear about your worry. Yes the derivation could be clearer, but IMO that's more about refining the given etymology than straight up "correcting" it. Circeus 23:23, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Etymologies always have to be done one at a time. I was just trying to get another opinion as to the breadth of the problem. I seem to find roughly one a week (it could be even fewer) without looking. Today the word was jay. It made me wonder whether someone had simply been assuming that any French cognate must be an etymon of a similar English word. In that case the problem etymology was mostly inherited from Websters 1913. The only questions are whether to start hunting for such things systematically and when to start the hunt.
I also have the impression that etymologies are not very well covered at fr.wikt so that I am often disappointed when I go there to find Middle and Old French etymons. I've just about stopped looking. DCDuring TALK 23:57, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
fr: is 90% an old dump of the Académie dictionary, which has no etymology material, hence your observation. The only widely used modern paper dictionary that has etymology material is Robert, but Trésor usually has excellent discussion of the history of terms.
Thanks. I've just spot-checked a few entries that have the Webster 1913 warning. That may be the source of much of the problem. They don't break French into the three stages + Anglo-Norman that ISO 639 supports. So, all I have to do is get some corroboration and I can update those fairly easily. I will check the sources you suggest. Thanks/
I generally agree with your assessment. It mostly comes down to me being more worried with actually adding fresh content than worrying about small details in etymology (it is I am afraid a mix of "whatever strikes my fancy ADHD-like" and "strike for the low-hanging fruits". Generally I do not have access to elaborate source from French etymology, which curtails it further: few works go farther than Latin and Greek, which I've found supremely irritating). I threw in the cognate at jay simply to have the modern evolution of the cited O.F., but I do agree a case like lie is exaggerated. Normally what we'd want is for such a list to move to the appropriate appendix. (Category:Proto-Indo-European roots). Circeus 03:37, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

compound terms[edit]

On "range estimation"'s RfD discussion, you wrote: "Would it be easier if we simply strongly discouraged any multi-word terms, directing contibutors to Wiktionary:Requested entries or an improved or specialized version of it?"

Yes, that would be easier, IMHO. But not better for the future of Wiktionary.

As you can see from my final entry, which was written over the last hour while you posted yours, leaving me in the position of unknowingly surrendering the battle while you were still fighting it: I'm shell-shocked from that debate. Not due to the style or emotion; those were exemplary. Rather, due to its departure from stated policy.

The home page says you want a dictionary people want to use and contribute to and improve. However, others obviously want - and are building - a pedant's playpen. Petey's mention of "Jewish vs. Christian" was quite revealing. Some people need to be sent a "The perfect is the enemy of the good" poster.

Thanks for your help. -- Soargain 21:06, 16 June 2009 (UTC)


I changed from Pronoun to Determiner because I saw that "my" was categorized as Determiner, so for the sake of consistency... Anyway, I don't dispute your reversal since I see that "his", "her", etc. are categorized as Pronoun. —AugPi 02:35, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

There is a deep conflict surrounding the use of the word "determiner". The word "pronoun" is much more familiar to the user population. I object less to some of the other uses of "determiner", characterizing "some", "many", "all" etc. The newer terminology my well work in classrooms where a teacher has many ways of enforcing his choice than on the Web. COCA shows that word "pronoun" to be a one-in-a-million word (351), about sixty times more frequently used than "determiner" (6). "Determiner" was only reported there in academic journals. Using "determiner" signals a total disregard of this fundamental fact or a complete indifference to trying to communicate with the claimed beneficiaries of our efforts. DCDuring TALK 04:53, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, I've never seen the possessive pronouns called determiners. I've seen them called "Pronoun" or "Adjective" depending on the language, but never "Determiner". --EncycloPetey 04:55, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Longman DCE shows them as Determiner. It is a more modern approach, but too far ahead of our users, I think. DCDuring TALK 06:05, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and I have changed the POS on my to Pronoun accordingly. --EncycloPetey 04:57, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I see "determiner" not as a POS, but as a word which describes a function which some terms can perform, like the word "modifier". Following other dictionaries, we should classify terms principally by their POS's, not by functions like this. -- WikiPedant 05:22, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, under the strong influence of grammarian Randolph Quirk, treats Determiner as a part of speech. I think it is the only major one to do this. I see these terms merely as labels to help users bring some of their prior learning to bear on what we offer them. I don't think "Determiner" means much of anything to them. The old "parts of speech" have a big installed base of users. DCDuring TALK 06:05, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Amen, bro'. -- WikiPedant 06:14, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't want to get into another big BP discussion over this, but the possessive pronouns seem like a place where the determiner language hurts users. It doesn't make as much difference in many of the other cases. DCDuring TALK 06:23, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you both about not initiating another BP discussion (whew!) and about labelling possessive pronouns as pronouns. --EncycloPetey 13:06, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that most grammars that use the term determiner use it both for the category (part of speech) and the syntactical function (e.g., subject, complement, modifier, etc.). This results in confusion like the above. The correct category for words like my, your, its, etc. is pronoun even though they typically function as determiners in NPs.

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language avoids this confusion by using the term determinative for the category and determiner for the function.--Brett 17:30, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I was wondering when we'd hear from you on this subject. I'm glad that we made a good decision on this and didn't get into heavy controversy. I haven't noticed determiner getting increased use in the popular press yet, but I haven't heard a complaint about it at WT:FEED either. DCDuring TALK 17:43, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
All the English determiners that I know of are already marked as such, so really there shouldn't be much determiner action, except for other languages. Glad nobody's complaining.--Brett 21:17, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Requests for deletion?diff=6784805[edit]

I'm sorry, but this edit was completely inappropriate. It totally changed the meaning of my comment. If you're not willing to fix the template — totally understandable, not everyone wants to mess with template code — you should have removed the template, or commented it out, or something, not change my comment to say something completely different. —RuakhTALK 20:41, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Form of opinion[edit]

I can't recall whether it was you, DAVilla, Widsith, or Stephen whom I had this conversation with originally, so I'm just looking for an opinion, There has, from time to time, been debate about including a gloss in FL form-of entries to indicate how they should be translated. The problem is that it makes the sense lines look awful, especially if there are mutliple senses, and there is the problem of multiple trnaslations. What do you think about this solution? This seems the "obvious" answer, though it didn't occur to me properly until today. What do you think about uniformly recommending this method as the standard for "translating" form-of entries? --EncycloPetey 02:52, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

I hadn't ventured opinions in this arena. Given my low level of ability in other languages, I am close to being a man in the street for this. Speaking for all men in the street, then, I like a few things about it:
  1. It gives usage examples, which are wonderful for learners. Each one exposes a learner to word order, agreement, and some vocabulary.
  2. The format (Latin) is superior to the format (Romanian) from a space-consumed/information density perspective
  3. It takes away the ugly and minimally helpful micro-gloss.
Against this is mostly the work required, but short usage examples may not be too bad and perhaps many contributors can enter these as part of their own learning efforts. How can folks be recruited for this? Even if this is initially done for only one example of each type of conjugation or declension, it would be useful.
It would be good to think through whether it is more important to take a minimal-pair approach to the choice of usage examples/translations, highlighting the specific differences or to have a variety of vocabulary represented. DCDuring TALK 03:18, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I prefer a minimal approach to FL example sentences, leaving the complex and varied vocabulary to citations. I also assume that any user looking at the page could be a novice in the language who may not wish to deal with complex verb tenses or multiple clauses. That is, unless the word requires it by virtue of its meaning as a weird verb tense itself or as a conjunction, for example.
I think to recruit people we would need to (1) ensure several leading community members support the idea, even if they choose not to contribute much to this, (2) create somewhere a guideline for format that explains with examples for the newest of contributors, (3) publicize in the Beer Parlour and Things to Do. --EncycloPetey 03:27, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to hear from others, of course, but it seems to offer a lot. I suppose this will have to be sold one language/language group at a time. Does it really need any formal approval beyond the language-specific pages? Latin is a particularly good place to start because it is highly visible, both etymologically and by sharing many entry pages with Romance languages. DCDuring TALK 03:57, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Would it be a bad thing for some entries to do it one way (the way you propose, EP) and some another (brief glosses on the definition line)? The latter might be ideal for entries where a brief gloss is possible, and the former for entries where idiosyncrasies of collocation arise, or the like.msh210 04:06, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Realistically, something like this will only be done where contributors want to do it. If a small group of folks start doing it in a language and it looks good or that language gets a few more active contributors, then other languages might imitate. Even the ugly minimal gloss seems better than no gloss at all. It seems at best premature to do much other than "permit" various acceptable approaches and "model" ones that seem superior for some languages/language groups. AFAICT, there are some languages that are rather disorganized or neglected and others with inherent orthography, script, grammar, or culture-specific issues, so the idea of standardization across languages seems almost laughable anyway. DCDuring TALK 04:40, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

bale needle[edit]

Thanks. The thing I have is small and cheap-looking. It is made from a single ~3/32" rod. The shank is about 4" long, with just a 1/4" to 3/8" dull hook on the end. It might indeed be a "bale needle", but it seems implausible that a city boy like me should have come across one. Some tools seem to belong to occupations that are small (unlike woodworking) and worked by folks not likely to write (unlike electronics engineers), so that their names for things may be lost or, at least, hard to find. DCDuring TALK 16:25, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Maybe bale hook (two words) is the go after all. I'm a city boy myself and just guessing, but maybe you're missing the handle? I just found this, this, this and also this. Pingku 17:33, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
The handle is integral. The same rod that has the hook and shank forms the handle. It generally looks like the illustration, except the hook is smaller relative to the overall size of the tool. That's what has made me think that the hook would mostly have been used with twine, certainly not rope of more than 1/4" diameter. Given the low cost of the items pictured and that mine is made from a single thin rod, mine may not merit much Web mention. I could make one myself though it'd probably break where I'd bent it. Maybe I can find an old mail-/shipping-room supplies catalog. DCDuring TALK 18:41, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm betting on knotting hook, knot hook, or tying hook. Twining hook is a long shot. DCDuring TALK 19:13, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

Collocations of prepositions[edit]

Please take a look at Talk:in#Collocations. I collected the top 100 in+noun collocations from COCA and began sorting. So far it has led me to add 3 senses to "fact", "in fact" being the most common of the collocations by far. It is idiomatic inasmuch as it derives from older senses of fact. About 27 of the collocations are already entries, many rightly so. A few of the remainder should perhaps be entries in state or perhaps be embedded in larger idioms lie in state.

My view of the process:

  1. Collect a set of collocations for a preposition
  2. Match collocation by existing senses of the preposition (by own knowledge for first pass)
  3. Add any missing senses to nouns and repeat step 2 for them.
  4. Classify collocations that didn't match any existing sense of preposition.
  5. Develop missing sense, reviewing other dictionaries.
  6. Review existing entries for collocations for possible RfD
  7. Review redlink collocations for possible additional entries.

This looks like 100 hours of work. I don't see how it can be done more quickly. I don't see how it can be done by anon contributors or newbies. It doesn't look easy for non-native speakers (other than perhaps scholars of English). I don't see how we can get all the prepositions done at all. I haven't even looked at collocations of the forms "in the X", "in a X", "in an X", and "in N Xes", though they seem less likely to generate additional senses of "in" or additional idioms. DCDuring TALK 04:01, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

I have more time for the next few weeks, and could take maybe one or two prepositions to work on. I've wanted to do some English prepositions for a while, but I have had a shortage of available time and would have had to do most of the work by hand. If someone could collect a set of collocations for me, that would greatly simplify the process. It sounds as though you have a method for gathering these for review, yes? If so, I'd be willing to tackle of and/or from, provided there is a way to harvest and dump potential citations, or at least a way to train others to do so. --EncycloPetey 04:14, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
In some ways it is very straightforward to get the collocations: Use COCA (better than BNC because larger and has some transcripts of spoken English). BYU also hosts the Time database, BNC, and OED quotations. You should register at each! They kick you off every two hours or when you are inactive. The OED database has a bit less functionality, but they all share a common search language, which is pretty damn good for a free resource.

You type in "from [n*]", hit return, and bob's your uncle, the 100 most common collocations of "from" and a noun with no intervening word materialize on screen. If you click on the collocation the actual contexts of the collocations appear. You can even get more than the single line that initially shows up. The tedious bit is typing the 100 nouns. I also typed in the first 1-2 digits of the counts. It is possible to get it all by cut and paste, but I didn't do that this first time because I backed into doing as much as I did. It should be quite possible to use any software with adequate editing capability to format a table of wikitext more attractively formatted than what I did. If you could recruit someone who knows how to automate formatting into tables, we could grab a lot of good raw data. I like placing the data in the talk page for the preposition to attract some interest and ideas. Each dollop of such collocations is likely to take a while to fully exploit so we won't really be putting too much load on the BYU servers. DCDuring TALK 05:02, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Where would the "in light of" type of usage belong to? --Panda10 17:27, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
The PoS for in light of would seem to be preposition. (Other like this: in front of, in case of, in view of ) From OneLook, AHD(idioms), RHU, MWOnline, and one other idiom dictionary list it, so it is arguably an idiom and therefore meets WT:CFI. The use of "light", though comprehensible, is figurative. Without "the" it seems more of an idiom than the similar in the light of, which some dictionaries (MWOnline, RHU, and Cambridge Idioms) also call an idiom. None of these dictionaries assign a PoS to idiomatic/phrasal prepositions. (I'm not sure that they do for any idioms.) DCDuring TALK 17:59, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

in order[edit]

"When the doctor told him he had six months to live, he decided to get his affairs in order." Defined as "complete, finished". I would've thought this was actually sense 2: "tidy, orderly". I don't really recognise sense 3. Equinox 16:01, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I think you are right about that. It sounds different when delivered in context, though. "put one's affairs in order" is a phrase used in euphemisms about the hearer's projected imminent demise. It means "prepare for one's death". Perhaps put one's affairs in order merits an idiomatic entry and should be a derived term at in order. DCDuring TALK 16:15, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


Would you mind having another look at RFV#Hobson-Jobson?​—msh210 19:10, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

I've done things to the entry. DCDuring TALK 20:24, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks.​—msh210 21:47, 30 June 2009 (UTC)