User talk:DCDuring/2011 QIII

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DT/DD lists[edit]

Please see the HTML code of this small list of beverages, which contain the tags "dl", "dt" and "dd".

"dl" means definition list.

- black hot drink
- white cold drink

Now, please see the code of this version of the same list of beverages, facilitated through ";" and ":", which works for MediaWiki, but not for HTML as a whole.

- black hot drink
- white cold drink

Appendix:DC Comics contains a big definition list. --Daniel 01:49, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

I was intrigued by the functionality of:
Name Surname Height
John Smith 1.85
Ron Ray 1.89
Mario Bianchi 1.72
Average: 1.82

-- DCDuring TALK 02:04, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Citations and alternative forms[edit]

Hi DCD. I've noticed in some of your edits recently you're moving citations which don't match the main lemma away to the relevant alt-form page. While I think it's a good idea to cite alternative forms, I think these citations should ALSO appear -- or at any rate should also be ABLE to appear -- under the main lemma form, which would gather together citation evidence for the "word" in question rather than just that spelling. Since all the alt-forms redirect you to the main lemma, I think it makes sense to have a wide range of citations there. This also has practical uses, because for example some terms only acquired their current spelling recently, but citations should preferably reflect that a word is several centuries old rather than just 100. Similarly hyphenation of compound terms is much less common than it was 30 years ago but that doesn't mean the words weren't in use. So basically, go ahead and copy cites to alt-form pages, just I'd rather you didn't also delete them from the lemma page. Is that OK? Ƿidsiþ 08:06, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm not entirely happy with it. I understand the reasoning about historical usage and the unity of the underlying semantics, but it seems to require judgment as to what constitutes the same underlying term that is not really consistent with getting a large number of contributors involved in citation. A strict rule of matching the headword seems good for attestation discipline and for current English usage.
This seems like yet another place where being all things to all users and all contributors is not really possible with the existing technology. Can we imagine a technological solution? Would transclusion and Javascript or php offer a solution? DCDuring TALK 11:45, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Can I suggest that this would make a useful BP discussion? At the very least, I think it ought to be explicitly covered by some of the individual language policies. In Latin, for example, I would expect the verb lemma to not restrict itself to citing only the lemma form, as that will severely limit options for demonstrating usage with suitable quotations. For English nouns, I'd be disappointed not to be able to use the plural. Now, with "alternative forms" there might be a rationale, but I still think the overall topic is worth discussiong, since I don't think I've seen it raised before. --EncycloPetey 14:53, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Why not. DCDuring TALK 15:09, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Parent languages[edit]

Referring to a few conversation we've had over the last 18 months, yes ISO 639-3 gives code for (and these are mainly convenient examples, not intended to be a whole list) Middle English ({{enm}} and Middle French ({{frm}}). I'm not saying that there is no distinction between Middle English and Modern English. But there's a difference between a distinction and being two separate languages. For example, there are 'distinctions' between American English, British English, Indian English (etc.) but this doesn't make them different languages. So saying that unworthy is from Middle English unworthy doesn't contradict with the etymology un- +‎ worthy. English words don't 'come from' Middle English words at all; the classification changes at a certain point. Depends on the source; some suggest about 1470, while others cite 1530. My point is really it's naïve and usually unhelpful to treat a word derived from Middle English in the same way as you would a word derived from Hindi, or Maltese or Maori. Middle English is English. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:21, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Middle English and even much of Shakespeare's EME requires translation for the vast majority of speakers of current English. Those who learn Shakespeare by reading it in a translation into their language have a better understanding of the plot and, generally, of the meaning of the words than those compelled to read it in a version close to the original. Middle English and EME are full of false friends, typical of foreign languages.
Why are you bringing this up now, here? DCDuring TALK 17:00, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Much of current English requires translation for the vast majority of speakers of current English. False friends abound. That doesn't seem like a good reason to treat (say) British English and American English as separate languages. —RuakhTALK 19:15, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
The extent of the differences is the issue. We treat sco as separate language, but not English dialects that don't have their own parliaments. Folks from two valleys apart in southern Germany can't be assumed to understand each other - and sometimes have different ISO codes. I think that the fiction of separate languages has value in creating, presenting, and maintaining our entries. DCDuring TALK 20:16, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
The extent of the differences is indeed the issue, and MidE and EModE are much, much more similar to PDE than any true foreign language. (BTW, sco is more complicated than just having its own parliament: we distinguish between "Scots" and "Scottish English".) Giving Middle English its own language header may (or may not) be useful, but it's ridiculous to pretend that unworthy is not un- +‎ worthy. —RuakhTALK 20:32, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry if I'm interrupting here. I always thought that it was strange to treat Middle English, Old English, Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European as 'foreign' to English. In a sense, they are the same language, passed down from generation to generation. A word like wolf was never 'borrowed' from Template:termx, it simply continued to exist in the language from one generation from the next, gradually undergoing sound and grammar changes until it ended up as the modern form. —CodeCat 19:24, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
As long as we maintain separate L2 sections we need to account for pseudo-borrowings between them. DCDuring TALK 20:16, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Essentially, like CodeCat says, English words aren't derived from Middle English ones, they simply continued to exist when Middle English became Modern English. Which is a bit like trying to define the difference between a child and an adult. The difference between Middle English and Modern English is at best academic, in the literal sense that it's academic who try to define such things. I don't think there really are any differences between Late Middle English and archaic Modern English. They're not essentially the same; they are the same. And yes, I was referring in particular (as Ruakh says) to the edit to unworthy. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:39, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
This is more or less what I meant, yes. Imagine someone would have coined unworthy on 31 December 1499, then we would say "From Middle English unworthy." and give that a separate entry. Whereas if this unlucky individual had coined it instead after she woke up the next morning, our etymology would suddenly say "From un- + worthy." and there would be no Middle English section. It's kind of silly that way... —CodeCat 20:48, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, if she coined it on 31 December 1499, then DCDuring would have us say "From Middle English unworthy", but we would not give that a separate entry: it wouldn't meet the CFI (unless she coined it in a well-known work, of course). —RuakhTALK 20:57, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
For a French words that's attested in Old French like I dunno venir, I would tend to write 'since Old French' rather than 'from Old French', for the reasons I and CodeCat have given above. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:03, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
  • This seems to be a problem of having discrete categories intertemporally, especially when there is no gap in the written record and no signal events like total conquests, either of which may provide a natural boundary, finessing the knife's edge problems at New Year's Eve. Nevertheless language change does make languages unintelligible over time. Some have suggested 500 years as the outside limit of intelligibility over time. Shakespeare seems to be beyond the limits of understanding for current students. Le Morte d'Arthur (1485) seems well beyond the limits though it is often a source of cites for us. DCDuring TALK 23:33, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
    • The problem also exists between dialect areas, where dialect changes are gradual and there are no definite borders between them, but dialects further apart are harder to understand than those close together. The dialect continuum of Germany and the Netherlands is a good example of that. —CodeCat 23:52, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
For clarity, I don't oppose Middle English sections, for example this, I just think it's unwise to treat them as entirely separate languages merely for 'convenience', forsaking accuracy. CodeCat is also right it can apply to living languages and dialects. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:00, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Unless we are talking about the convenience of non-contributing users, introducing "convenience" into the discussion is making the discussion ad hominem. And, further, putting sacred "accuracy" as the antithesis of mere personal "convenience" is transparent rhetoric. I am often guilty of such things myself (speculating about personal motives etc), so please don't take this observation personally. I'm trying to reform. Engaging in public criticism of the very behavior I myself engage in leaves me open to embarrassing pot-meet-kettle retorts and, therefore, should lead me to behave better. DCDuring TALK 16:25, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Removing Categories[edit]

Hi. I notice that you are using lang=-. Should I be doing this now? Did all the cats go bye-bye? Leasnam 02:30, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I am only doing this where the morphology is different from the historical etymology and only in Engish. The "equivalent to" wording for the morphology seems to strike the right note for putting the morphology in perspective. I am hoping to keep the suffix categories for historical, diachronic etymology. Whether we will ever have corresponding categories for the morphology I don't know. It would be hard for us to even have distinct categories for affixes with multiple etymologies (eg, -er, which has, I think, three currently productive etymologies [1, 2, and 8] and may have had others during Modern English).
Other ways of doing what I am doing is to use nocat=1 or {{term}} for such equivalent-to derivations.
In the other direction, I have found it useful sometimes to use {{suffix}} without its first parameter to give categorization while keeping flexibility of presentation, usually using {{term}} for the other components.
I hope what I'm doing doesn't seem controversial. I'm just trying to make the suffix and prefix categories tell one relatively coherent story. DCDuring TALK 03:07, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
But a word like forelook, which clearly shows the components of prefix fore- + verb look, will now no longer be categorised under English words prefixed with fore- simply because the formation occurred in Middle English? This will mean that become is no longer considered be- + come? This will weaken the category pages, will it not, as many good, qualified terms will be absent. Am I understanding this correctly? Leasnam 05:16, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
That's where I am going. Why does that seem wrong to you? I've always thought the prefix and suffix categories to be a jumble of things as they mixed things that occurred in English, things that occurred in Middle English, things that occurred in Old English, things that happened in French or German, and things that never happened at all. If we carve out an exception for Middle English, would we also do so for Old English? For Latin? Just for New Latin? DCDuring TALK 05:50, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't we want to be able to use our categories to help with questions of timing of productivity or affixes? What about spelling variations, especially in Middle English and EME? Are we just going to combine them all? With the benefit of hindsight? (Think what hindsight may have done to that odd sense of "winning".) DCDuring TALK 05:55, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I believe the default expectation is that there is no time involved, and a word like winsome, although formed initially in OE is still an example of a word in ModE with the suffix -some and should be grouped. I would suggest that a subset category, which contains the greater level of detail you wish, be made, such as 'Modern English formations in -some', leaving the current Cat as is. Leasnam 13:51, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
For me, Latin and New Latin would be treated equally. If an English word uses the suffix pre- regardless where it was formed or when, it should appear under a category for words prefixed with pre-. Leasnam 13:53, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
An argument in favour of categorising is that compound or affixed words often undergo sound changes differently than regular words. Even after a thousand years, winsome is still segmentable as two morphemes, and each morpheme has undergone sound changes independent of the other. In languages where sound changes affect the morphological boundary between morphemes, the changes are often undone because the morphemes are still felt to be distinguished. An example would be Dutch drift, which is also the Old Dutch form, but the early Middle Dutch form was dricht, having regularly undergone the change ft > cht. This was undone quite soon however because the word was still understood as drif- (from drijven) + -t (abstract noun suffix). —CodeCat 14:01, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Your lang changes[edit]

I am starting to revert your additions of lang=-, as I disagree with them, I doubt that you have gained consensus for making these changes, and I find it unlikely that you will gain such a consensus. See also #Parent languages, and #Removing Categories.--Dan Polansky 08:22, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

If the categories are going to remain a stew, you should probably also start work on all the other ones that I never touched: those that have no prefix or suffix categories but have prefixes, those that have ridiculous prefixes and suffixes. We may as well reduce English suffix categories to the state of languages that don't have the potential to distinguish morphological and historical etymologies. DCDuring TALK 12:12, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, "outlive" (from Middle English outliven, equivalent to out- +‎ live) is prefixed with "out-", and "fatness" (from Middle English, from Old English fǣtnes, equivalent to fat +‎ -ness) is suffixed with "-ness". I do not claim to have fully understood your response, though; if you choose to speak simply and clearly, there are better chances that you will get a response from me that matches what you are trying to say. --Dan Polansky 12:57, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
As I think about it, "prefix" is a morphological rather than etymological notion. A word can have a prefix even if it did not originate from the latest phase of that prefix. Looking at for "affix", they give an example of sub-mit, even though the prefix was added back in Latin. Thus, the categories named on the model of "Category:English words suffixed with -ness" are morphological rather than etymological categories. I admit that this does not fit the placement of these categories within "Category:English etymologies", but that can be fixed. --Dan Polansky 13:10, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

{{IPA letters}}[edit]

If you don't mind, could you please have a look at [[talk:GLWT#Pronunciation]]?​—msh210 (talk) 20:51, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Thanks.​—msh210 (talk) 22:40, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

missään nimessä[edit]

How would you like this to be cleaned up? This phrase is always used with the negation verb ei and therefore discussing it separately from ei missään nimessä does not make much sense as it would be like discussing "by means" separately from "by no means". I added this entry because in some sentences ei and missään nimessä may be separated by a cluster of other words and therefore somebody using Wiktionary for translation might try to look up an entry for missään nimessä. Would a REDIRECT be a better solution? Or should I write a usage note which explains why the user should move to the page ei missään nimessä--Hekaheka 06:05, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Could it be considered an alternative form? A redirect seems fine. If you want to leave it as is, that's OK with me. It just didn't look right. DCDuring TALK 13:02, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Butting in, if I may: Hard redirect IMO.​—msh210 (talk) 20:08, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
I'll make it a redirect. --Hekaheka 03:33, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Astro Boy[edit]

I have further cited this entry. If this is your concern, then it should have been taken to RFV. DAVilla 07:28, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

That's what I had been doing for quite some time. It has seemed right and still seems right to me now that anything where deletion may be the result but could be addressed by attestation should be at RfV. RfD is for items of principle. Ruakh had argued otherwise, that probable resolution-by-attestation should not mean RfD could not be used. I can't say that I understood under what circumstances RfD is supposed more appropriate than RfV if attestation is the resolution. What are your criteria for RfV vs RfD?
Though I am often skeptical of the validity of fictional characters as entries and of the cites which are produced to cite them, I bow to community standards. I don't challenge such entries very often any more. DCDuring TALK 11:36, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, you're right that this is an old nomination. RFD is obviously appropriate when verification doesn't counter the principle, such as US Army. I think it's also appropriate when the probability of acceptable verification is nil, such as Wikispecies. In such case, a misdiagnosis can always be transferred to RFV instead. DAVilla 06:03, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


I'd say it's generally poor style to begin a definition in a dictionary with a qualification, followed by the meaning. I'd also prefer not to define an entry by its part of speech, that is, not to say "a noun that..." for a Noun or "when suffixed to..." for a Suffix. --EncycloPetey 20:28, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

"Used to form nouns denoting an place where things are kept from other nouns."
An place where things are kept from other nouns? DCDuring TALK 20:32, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
A general wording fix for the ending would be appreciated, but I do maintain that moving the construction qualification to the front of the definition is less than desirable. --EncycloPetey 20:40, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
As it is a non-gloss definition, I don't feel bound by the strictures I use for gloss-type definitions. I couldn't think of anything acceptable other than fronting as a remedy. How about: "Used to form, from other nouns, nouns denoting a place where things are kept." DCDuring TALK 20:49, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with both of you: it's better for the meaning to come first and the "from other nouns" to come afterward, unless we can't find a way to write that intelligibly, in which case we have no choice but to put the "from other nouns" first. Maybe "(added to a noun) Used to form nouns denoting places where things are kept."? —RuakhTALK 20:53, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I've already made my first attempt by using quotemarks. Does this work? --EncycloPetey 20:58, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I saw your attempt — that was actually the first version I saw — and it took me a good minute to figure out what was meant by it. Your version is a huge improvement over the original version quoted by DCDuring above, but I don't think it's enough. :-/   —RuakhTALK 21:01, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I think Ruakh's is the best idea so far - and there are not too large a number of choices. Another possibility is to separate the meaning and the morphology by a semicolon or period. DCDuring TALK 21:13, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Whatever we agree is best, let me just make it clear I'm not arguing just the one case. I'd like to resolve this in a way that provides a framework whereby I can go back and re-edit all the Latin suffix definition lines, so that we have good format for all of those entries. --EncycloPetey 22:33, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
As a general solution, Ruakh's approach, decomposing the morphology and the pure semantics, treating the morphology analogously to our grammar "context" labels, does generalize well and is not an unreasonable extension of the grammar context label model. I like it. I wonder why we didn't think of it before. (Maybe we did.) DCDuring TALK 23:19, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I think most of us were working independently before, rather than working synergistically. (ouch, did I just use that awful word?) I often find that discussing the ideas brings out better ones through synthesis, or at least clarifies the issues involved. --EncycloPetey
19:53, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
There's a bit more risk that a public on-line discussion will go off the rails than that a face-to-face one-on-one discussion will. So sometimes the conversations seem likely to become painful, which leads to more avoidance of them. Discussions off the discussion pages, like this!, runs the risk of seeming cliquish or cabalish. This particular matter should avoid that, but the problem remains in many cases. DCDuring TALK 21:20, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Use of the word attributive in PoS discussions[edit]

[continuation of WT:RFV#because DCDuring TALK

Also, this is neither here nor there, but I think you're misusing "attributive use" again. It does not mean "adjective-like use". —RuakhTALK 20:15, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Right, it refers to one specific kind of use of a noun, a use as a modifier of another noun, a kind of use it shares with adjectives. This is the use that is almost always the use indicated in any usage example provided and, I wager, is also almost always the motivation for a contributor adding an adjective PoS section where the noun has the same semantics as the adjective. If I am making a category error, I am doing it in the interest of consistency with the language I have learned here and as a kind of shorthand. DCDuring TALK 21:19, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Re: your first sentence: No, not at all. Well, you use the term that way, so yes, that's what it refers to when you use it; but that's not what it means to everyone else. It's a crappy kind of shorthand, because it takes a useful real-world word with a well-defined and relevant meaning, and uses that word in a completely different way that seems superficially the same. I don't understand why you feel the need for a specific term that "refers to one specific kind of use of a noun, a use as a modifier of another noun", since in all the cases that you've used "attributive" for that, the term "noun" would actually have worked just as well; but as you obviously do feel the need for such a term, why can't you just make one up? That would be more honest, and would make it clear that you are expressing your own personal POV rather than anything that other editors should feel compelled to accept. —RuakhTALK 23:23, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
When I go to a reference work that uses the term "attributive use of the noun", how should I read that? DCDuring TALK 23:48, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
That's not a single term — it's SOP — but it means "use of the noun before another noun, which it modifies" (as in "chicken salad"). Importantly, it can be contrasted with "attributive use of the adjective" (as in "angry dog"); and also importantly, it can be contrasted with "predicative use of the noun" (as in "they made him president" or "digging trenches is work"), which also superficially looks like adjectives. So "attributive" does not imply "noun", and "modifier of another noun" does not imply "attributive". And I'm not just speaking abstractly; more than once I've seen you nominate an adjective section for deletion as "attributive use" when the entry itself had predicative usage examples. —RuakhTALK 00:15, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
(I should clarify one thing: some reference works consider tall in he is tall to be a "modifier", and I believe that's the traditional use of the term; but other reference works, such as CGEL, do not, considering "modifier" and "predicative" to be mutually exclusive. Since you've used "attributive use" in reference to predicative examples, I can't even begin to guess how you're using the term "modifier". If you're using it in the CGEL sense, and by "it" above you meant something like "'attributive use of nouns'", rather than just the "'attributive use'" in the comment you were replying to, then your definition was pretty accurate. Which is pretty bad, if so; defining it wrong and using it wrong is infuriating, but defining it right and using it wrong seems like lying.) —RuakhTALK 00:32, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't recall intentionally using attributive except as a coordinate term of predicative. I hesitate to use any term the way CGEL does because their system often does not comport with what I read elsewhere. They often make their departure from usage by others quite explicit.
I still don't understand what particular use bothers you. When I object to a purported adjective, I assert that the usage that appears as an example or has motivated the creation of the adjective section is not the full range of true adjective usage but is merely attributive use of the noun. The unstated premise, implicit in an RfD, is that the term does not exist as an adjective or should not be considered to exist as an adjective. Where is the error? DCDuring TALK 03:22, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Re: "When I object to a purported adjective, I assert that the usage that appears as an example or has motivated the creation of the adjective section is not the full range of true adjective usage but is merely attributive use of the noun": Yes, I've noticed that you assert that. One problem is that you assert that even when the example usages are not attributive, or even when it's implausible that attributive use is what motivated the entry. (N.B.: Assertions that are not true, and that you make without regard for their truth, are known as bullshit.) Another problem is that you often "assert" it by saying something like "attributive use" without specifying "noun". —RuakhTALK 12:56, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
Could you give me a specific instance? DCDuring TALK 16:09, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
An instance where the example usages are not attributive: I can picture one in my head — it was a slang word, and had two example sentences, one with attributive use, one with predicative use — but can't remember what the headword was. I'll think about it, maybe it will come to me. (I tried Googling for it, but no dice. It may have been back when Mglovesfun was deleting archived RFV discussions.) · An instance where it was implausible that an ===Adjective=== sense-line was motivated only by the existence of attributive uses: WT:RFV#bad form. (Also WT:RFV#brass, IMHO, despite your protestations there. And even if those sense-lines were motivated only by attributive uses, which is hard to imagine, it still wouldn't make sense to posit that the senses are only attributive use of the noun, if your goal is for people to find clearly-adjective cites instead of merely non-attributive cites.) · An instance where you used "attributive use", without "noun", as though it meant "non-adjective": WT:RFV#belt and suspenders. (Also Talk:family, though at least there it was replying to someone who had said "attributive use of the noun", so could be taken as an understandable-if-nonetheless-crappy shorthand for "what you just said".) · —RuakhTALK 18:28, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time. I'll look at them carefully. DCDuring TALK 18:33, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
  • bad form - When bad form (or many other nouns) is used as a predicate, I would argue that the predicative use provides no straightforward grammatical evidence as to whether it is a noun or adjective. I made an assumption that everyone knew this, though I had only laboriously learned in preparing Wiktionary:English adjectives (but not explained there). It might have helped if I had added a bad form#Noun. (Websters 1913 clearly defines good form and bad form as nouns in the run-in entries at "form". Cambridge Advanced Learners explicitly gives the PoS for "bad form" as noun.)
  • brass could be considered a similar case, though I am less sure it is worth pursuing. "X is brass" could refer to brass (having the color of brass), brass (metallic material), or, in principle, brass (the color of brass). Thus, I would look to more discriminating tests of adjectivity.
From these cases alone, I think I see an emerging pattern: my making too many assumptions. DCDuring TALK 19:13, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
For the record, I completely agree that predicative use is not proof of adjective use. In fact, that is my whole point! Using "attributive" to imply "noun", or complaining that a putative adjective is only "attributive", wrongly suggests that the problem is with attributive use. But attributive use is not always ambiguous (you often — quite rightly — raise modification by "very" or "more [] than [] " as strong evidence of adjective status, but both of those are very common for attributive adjectives), and non-attributive use is sometimes also ambiguous (as you just said yourself).
I don't think we should be insisting on three specific unambiguous-adjective cites in order for an ===Adjective=== section not to be deleted, but you often do insist on that, which means that you have an obligation to accurately identify what it is that you are rejecting and what it is that you would accept. Abuse of the phrase "attributive use" to mean "a use that I would reject" would be ridiculous if it weren't so infuriating.
RuakhTALK 20:25, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
I never thought I would have to ask you, of all people, to WT:AGF. I was apparently mistaken in some of my uses of the word in various ways with various degrees of inexcusability. (I'm still trying to nail down the specifics for myself.) But I was simply mistaken.
I am still a bit bothered by our use of material terms, as brass. Maybe I can approach it again with better vocabulary. DCDuring TALK 20:47, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Re: AGF: You're quite right. I'm sorry. I shouldn't even have had to assume good faith, since your good faith has been evident throughout (for example, in your switching to RFD after I, much belatedly, expressed my objections to the application of "RFV failed" to these words). When you asked me for examples, I mostly found only old ones, which should have been a big hint to me that my anger was out-of-date. Your use of "attributive use" in this discussion seemed wrong to me, hence my <small>-font comment about it, but if it weren't for past history on this issue, I wouldn't even have noticed. So, I have no excuse. I've been way too harsh in this discussion, and I hope you can forgive me. —RuakhTALK 21:43, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Nothing you wrote quite rose to the point of needing forgiveness. I wish that you would, if possible, tell me sooner about my wrong or minority use of terms or my bad practices. Even on those rare occasions that I think you are wrong, I find your knowledge deep, your analysis often quite sharp, and your judgment excellent. I am a completely self-tutored student of language, really only English, so I am willing to defer to deeper knowledge, at least if I get a sense that the one with greater knowledge and I are talking about the same thing. It is sometimes frustrating to me when my linguistic vocabulary fails me. DCDuring TALK 23:26, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


{{derv}} is beneficial to users such as this example in Mandarin. I believe that it is good for English as well. Engirst 12:45, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

The community of active contributors in Mandarin didn't seem to share your views at all and the Wiktionanry community as a whole was not much less unfavorable. DCDuring TALK 15:32, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
There are very few active contributors of Mandarin, and there is no contributor to apply {{derv}} in Mandarin except me. What do you think about the function of {{derv}} as you were the only active contributor to apply {{derv}} in English? Engirst 15:58, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it would be great if the community were willing to apply it. DCDuring TALK 16:33, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we should do promotion for it. Engirst 18:16, 24 July 2011 (UTC)

Category:English words derived from...[edit]

Somebody said: "These categories are incorrectly named. We use "terms" in the category names, not "words"." (Please see here.) Could you amend it? Engirst 19:16, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

There is also a discussion afloat that may prohibit these categories (at least for English; see WT:RFDO). --EncycloPetey 19:18, 25 July 2011 (UTC)


Fair point, but the problem is the TOC - the heading level makes it look like the statistics section only applies to the second etymology. It should probably be promoted to a level 3 heading so it comes as a direct child of "English" in the TOC. 20:50, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Absolutely. I hadn't noted that. Yes check.svg Done DCDuring TALK 21:22, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

{{derv}} banned?[edit]

Is {{derv}} already banned by the rule of Wiktionary? 02:25, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

There is no rule for some administrators. 14:54, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
When one person (=you) forges ahead overusing a template whose usage is disputed... one administrator (=me) might get irritated and start to doubt your good faith, which will result in long strings of rollbacks and banning. Especially when you don't even want to use accepted templates. — [Ric Laurent] — 15:37, 27 July 2011 (UTC)
Anyhow, you should let me know whether {{derv}} is banned or not? Otherwise, I don't know how to do. 20:51, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Wiktionary should have rules to follow but not by somebody's thinking. 09:27, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

You could have asked about that template before. Did you? Overusing it without regard for opinions of others is making up your own rules, ergo your criticism actually applies to you. --Daniel 09:44, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
What is "overusing"? Wiktionary should have rules to follow but not by somebody's feeling. 09:49, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Just see overuse. Your complaint is meaningless; please stop repeating it. If you don't have anything constructive to say, don't say anything. --Daniel 10:04, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
You can't just close my mouth. Anyway, is {{derv}} banned? 10:53, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
You said "You can't just close my mouth." after I asked you to be either constructive or silent. Are you seriously trying to claim the right to say unconstructive things? --Daniel 18:42, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Somebody opposes {{derv}} but does something similarly as an "accomplice". Please see here. 18:25, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

What's your point? Whom are you talking about? DCDuring TALK 18:29, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

topical attention[edit]

Hi. I hope you're well.

I don't understand the purpose of your recent edits to absolute address, and they do reduce utility. ([[Category:Foo|topic=bar]] does not help the script tabulate the entry correctly at WT:TA.) Likewise interesterify and transphenomenal.

Thanks.​—msh210 (talk) 23:00, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I should also thank you for taking care of so many of the entries formerly on that list!​—msh210 (talk) 23:01, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
My concern is that there is a very heterogeneous mass of items in [[:Category:English terms needing attention]]. Generally, once something in English is on an Rf page, it should no longer be in that category. I really don't care about the elegance of the category structure, I care about items not falling between the cracks or into black holes. We already have numerous lists that are so overpopulated that they are useless. (For example, the numerous Special pages with more than 5,000 entries are black holes.) It may be true that a language with only occasional participants needs to draw those participants to the list of problem entries in that language. But that does not seem to apply to English and may not apply to some other languages. I hadn't noticed that very many folks were even using the [[:Category:English terms needing attention]] list.
Specifically about topics, whatever the future benefits of a topics-oriented attention list might be, we are not realizing them now. I believe that it is and will be merely a too-hard pile. That it also clogs up English terms needing attention makes it seem counter-productive to me. Perhaps if [[:Category:English terms needing topical attention]] were a subcategory of [[:Category:English terms needing attention]] it would not seem so counterproductive. To really make the topical attention idea work we would need to have some project page for each area that made it easier and more interesting for non-language-oriented persons with knowledge to contribute where it does us some good. Attention tags aren't generating much volume in any specific area. That implies that we don't need much outside help, whereas in fact we need a great deal of help with missing terms and bad definitions in many areas. DCDuring TALK 23:24, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Ah, I forgot about its clogging up [[:category:English terms needing attention]] as well. As (as you noted) no one really uses WT:TA (except you and me, and we hardly), I'll have to agree that the benefit of adding the entries to that list is outweighed by the clutter added to the English-attention category. (I suppose having the various templates that call template:attention instead call it only for foreign words, and, for English ones, categorize in the topical-attention category directly would avoid the clutter, but then the script would (as currently written) be unable to tabulate them right.) If WT:TA does start being used, I think a new solution will be necessary. I am looking forward to the day when WT:TA is regularly cleared by experts (perhaps advertising it on various WikiProject pages at enWP will help; what do you think?), but am not anticipating it any time soon.
All that said, adding topic= to the category link doesn't help, so you might as well not bother (unless the script can be modified to recognize such).​—msh210 (talk) 23:35, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Another possibility is to have a specific topical attention template. That could be inserted in specific sense lines with comments. But much the same thing can be accomplished using the entry talk page. DCDuring TALK 00:05, 3 August 2011 (UTC)


There are no South Germanic languages (see Category:South Germanic languages) it's an odd thing were there are North, West and east Germanic languages, but not South. Also in relation to Thing, should this not be lowercase? I mean it's a common noun, but common nouns can be with an initial capital letter by convention. --Mglovesfun (talk) 17:42, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Ok, the southern Germanic languages. I wasn't thinking of well defined categories, I was thinking non-Scandinavian. DCDuring TALK 17:45, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Actually, þing has some good information. --Mglovesfun (talk) 17:52, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Even modern German Ding seems to have the sense Thing (assembly). Certainly there are MHG cognates, possibly related to dingen (employ, hire, etc). I doubt that they were referring to Scandinavian assemblies, rather than their own. DCDuring TALK 18:43, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
If I may stick my nose and two cents in: yes, most (possibly all) Germanic languages have a word cognate to "thing" that means "assembly"; the sense "item" developed later because items were discussed at things. In German, the word (sense) has become less common as the referent has become less common, but some scouting organisations in Germany still call their assembly a "Thing" or "Ding", and the National Socialists built Thingplätze in the 30s. Thus at [[Thing]] I would suggest a definition like "a public assembly or council in a Germanic country, especially in a Scandinavian one". I would also support moving the common noun to lowercase; the quotation in the entry uses uppercase to refer to a specific thing, much as one might say "I'm going to the Convention tomorrow", referring to a specific convention. - -sche (discuss) 05:25, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. How about "(chiefly historical, except in Scandinavia) A public assembly or council in a Germanic country." ? DCDuring TALK 05:43, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
The context is tricky. I will try to cite the English words "Thing" and "thing" comprehensively over the next few days to see how they are used. I think, though, that: although there are still assemblies in Sweden and Germany (etc) which the Swedes and Germans call "ting" and "Dinge"/"Thinge", English-speakers would not call these modern assemblies "things", and would think that the word referred exclusively to the historical phenomena. (I tried searching for "the [Icelandic/Swedish] Thing passed a" [new law], and found nothing.) Thus, I think the context of [[thing#English]] is purely "(historical)" or "(chiefly historical)", even though [[ting#Swedish]] is not "(historical)". "Especially in Scandinavia" could either be part of the context or part of the definition. I want to take a good look through literature, though; among other things (no pun intended - 06:33, 5 August 2011 (UTC)), I think English-speaking pagans may use the terms to refer to their own or even others' modern-day assemblies. - -sche (discuss) 06:31, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
You are certainly right about context. I should not attempt to deal with such matters without more sleep. DCDuring TALK 08:42, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Alright, I've cited this fairly comprehensively (so that we can judge how the term is used), temporarily conflating majuscule and minuscule at Citations:thing. My suspicion that this would be used by (neo)pagans in durably archived places proved unsupportable. However, I draw a number of conclusions from the cites I did find: first, that the term is used outside of translations of the sagas (eg in the 1974 and 1988 quotations). Second, that English-speakers only speak of Icelandic/Norwegian/Swedish/Shetlandic/Orcadian "things", although continental Germans did have contemporary Dinge/Thinge. Third, that English-speakers refer to historical assemblies as "things"; the only references to modern "things" are references to proper names (eg the specific "Great Thing" of Norway). Assuming I don't find (a way to find) references to German "things", do you think "A public assembly or council in a Scandinavian country during the Viking era." is a good definition? Or "A public or judicial assembly [or council] in a Scandinavian country during the Viking era."? I add the "during the Viking era" bit because I realised that it might be misleading to say "(historical)" as I had suggested above — the referent is historical but the term is still in use to refer to the historical thing. I suppose we should either have that sense at [[Thing]] and [[thing]], or make one an "alternative form of". (I'd suggest making [[thing]] the main entry.) What do you think? - -sche (discuss) 05:39, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the research. It seems to me that the {{temp|historical}} tag is perfect for references to thing (assembly) in contemporary works of history (or historical fiction?) referring to the phenomena. I have removed {{temp|obsolete}} from [[Thing]] and also added the "transcriptions" = "thing" in Etymology. Presumably Thing is used for references to specific assemblies so called, as well as for the generic phenomenon. I have also edited the sense at [[thing]]. I think the main entry has to be at [[Thing]], which could be a Proper noun, though the term is used generically, whether or not capitalized, in works of history AFAICT. I am not committed to any of the changes I made so please feel free to make any revisions you wish, especially since you have collected actual citations.
BTW, are you familiar with COCA? It's a great resource for US usage. The BYU site also has other corpora (BNC, Time, COHA) that mostly work the same way. DCDuring TALK 12:01, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Good point, that the uses of "thing" are in history books or translations of sagas, so {{temp|historical}} is appropriate. (I also just checked WT:Glossary and found that it explicitly points out that "historical" doesn't mean the word itself is unused, only that the referent is historical. Ok :) I'm satisfied the tag is good.) I've improved the etymology section; modern use to mean "assembly" is probably influenced by the presence of þing in Old Norse, but the word is still derived from Old English (where assembly was the original sense). I've done my best to reduce the amount of content that must be synced, by putting the translations at Thing (added benefit: the smaller page should be easier for users wanting to add translations to edit), but the etymology at thing. Also, great job finding the continental Germanic cite! - -sche (discuss) 01:28, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
I haven't used COCA or the BNC, but I'll check it out! I've mostly used Google Books. - -sche (discuss) 01:28, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
It looks good. It should be easier to improve the definitions of [[thing]] if we chip away at the periphery like this. Sometimes Widsith works on fundamental words like this, especially those from Old English. Access to the OED helps. He also deploys tags which indicate the period during which specific definitions were current.
I am in the middle of reading the book I got the cite from. Google Books only has it without preview (text not even searchable).
Thanks. DCDuring TALK 02:19, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

absolute address[edit]

I would say it's sense 4 of address: "Loosed from, or unconnected by, dependence on any other being". For memory addresses, it's the same sub-sense as used in relative path (e.g. docs/) vs. absolute path (e.g. c:/mystuff/docs — a complete path, not just a partial one relative to some assumed disk location). Equinox 19:18, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

But an absolute address is "dependent" (in a way) on a zero point. [[Absolute]] has a lot of Webster 1913 cobwebs, including too much terminology from philosophical idealism.
It seems that there might be a sense that is common between absolute zero (temperature) and this. Am I wrong in thinking that there is even a correspondence between the notion of scale (Celsius (& Kelvin) vs Fahrenhiet) and the the units of memory (bits, bytes, 64-bit etc)? DCDuring TALK 19:29, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't quite see what you're asking, but one situation where you might hear about absolute vs. relative addresses is in assembly-language programming. Each tiny computer instruction (like "add two numbers" etc.) resides at an address in memory; you can imagine the memory as being a long row of sequentially numbered boxes with instructions or data in them. When jumping to another address (like following a branch of a flow chart, or doing a GOTO), depending on the hardware you might do an absolute jump (e.g. "go to address 4000 and continue running from there") or a relative jump (e.g. "move 3 instructions forward from where we are right now, and continue from there"). Code with those absolute addresses will not function correctly if it is located anywhere else in memory, whereas code using only relative addresses can be placed anywhere (useful in modern operating systems where several programs may be loaded at once). Dunno if that helps! Equinox 19:37, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I've been bold and rewritten it completely. SemperBlotto 19:42, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Are such memory addresses always in bytes or could the units of memory be double-bytes or larger units. Were smaller units (bits or larger) ever addressed? Is the prevailing language always "bytes". DCDuring TALK 19:58, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, the actual size of things in memory can vary, and there is the concept of addressability. A 64-bit CPU is capable of working on values that are 64 bits long (8 bytes) in a single operation, but the addresses would still be stated in terms of bytes, so the values might be stored at addresses 0, 8, 16, and so on. Separately, some very ancient systems had a byte of a different size than 8 bits, but I don't think that's ever the case any more. Equinox 09:19, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, I was wondering whether the larger units that CPUs handled, the use of Unicode rather than ASCII for encoding, and the reduced cost of memory had led to larger units of memory being addressed in some cases. Apparently, not yet. DCDuring TALK 11:20, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

[[:Category:English terms needing attention]][edit]

You know, the aim isn't to empty the category at any costs, but rather to fix the problem or other issue and then remove the entries from the category. And I quote:

If you don't understand why a word appears here, don't worry about it!

A word appearing here does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the entry, only that it may be improved.

Some entries tagged just have 'missing definitions' as the subject needing attention, and there's no reason to detag this while the tag is correct. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:38, 6 August 2011 (UTC)


if you have some time later could you help my entries? thank you. --Koopawarwa2 16:28, 17 August 2011 (UTC)


The current etymology doesn't parse. I'd fix it myself, but I'm not certain I know what it's supposed to say. —RuakhTALK 23:35, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks. haste makes waste. DCDuring TALK 23:43, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. But actually, on further reflection . . . I tend to doubt that ObamaCare is meant as a blend with Medicare, because Medicare is an immensely popular program, and ObamaCare is meant to be derisive and dismissive. Also, Medicare is uniformly written with a lowercase <c>, whereas ObamaCare is frequently written with an uppercase <C>. (The latter, notably, is also an argument against reading it as a blend with healthcare. I note that -care is rather productive in forming one-word proper-nouns and other compound nouns, mostly in the general areas of childcare, healthcare, and elder-care — healthcare, ObamaCare, HillaryCare, RomneyCare, CancerCare, Compucare, homecare, eldercare, childcare, daycare, KinderCare, etc. — such that trying to identify specifically-relevant influences in any verifiable way is likely to be an uphill slog.) —RuakhTALK 00:06, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I think healthcare is the most obvious etymon, though of course that doesn't mean it's right. Can it be from healthcare, with the capitalization a newfangled titlecasing for the proper noun?​—msh210 (talk) 14:49, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
It seems infinitely possible. (If nothing else, it seems less unlikely to me that the <c> would be uppercased on the way from "healthcare" (common noun) to "ObamaCare" (proper noun) than on the way from "Medicare" (proper noun) to "ObamaCare" (proper noun).) But I really have no idea. How can we verify such a thing? —RuakhTALK 15:37, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
If I were an etymologist, I'd (maybe) be able to tell you. As I'm a layman, I can only present my ideas for what they're worth. Find the earliest uses and see what they seem to be playing off of (e.g. comparing/contrasting the coinage to/with Medicare, or to healthcare, or what) and how they spell it.​—msh210 (talk) 20:42, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
I've added the earliest reliably-dated cite that I could find. (Hat-tip to this, via the Google News Archive.) It actually seems to have been playing off of HillaryCare. :-P   —RuakhTALK 13:25, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
I hadn't given it that much thought. The previous etymology was "blend". What you say seems eminently reasonable and more likely and straightforward. DCDuring TALK 00:13, 20 August 2011 (UTC)


I suppose you're now gonna want me to convert it to Category:en:Silence, right? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:36, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Whatever the unvoted-on "rules" require. I don't understand why some context categories have language prefixes. So I have stopped paying attention to whatever rules are being promulgated in category world. DCDuring TALK 11:58, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
You clearly have stopped paying attention, and they're not unvoted-on; see Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2011-05/Add en: to English topical categories, part 2. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:39, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
What's a topical category vs a context? Who decides? Based on what criteria? Who implements? DCDuring TALK 13:26, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
Anyone I guess, context labels appear in entries and generate categories. Categories are obligatory in context labels, but any context label that doesn't have a category is no better than {{context|context goes here}}. --Mglovesfun (talk) 17:09, 15 September 2011 (UTC)


A genus of boring insects. That seems a bit harsh to be honest. LOL. --Mglovesfun (talk) 17:08, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Ah, polysemy. DCDuring TALK 17:14, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Adjective translations of nouns[edit]

Hi! I don't want you to think I've forgotten about this discussion. I will post something about it in the Beer Parlour today, or you can beat me to it if you like. The more I think about it, the harder I find it to believe anyone will/could object to it, given how often entries contain translations that are of a different POS... the only difference seems to be that this is widespread/common and regular. - -sche (discuss) 19:58, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Nobody should object, but they might anyway. Someone could view it as some kind of backdoor exclusionist attack on compound nouns. I'd be happy with any reasonable version of the proposal. Please feel free to make the proposal as I seem to find it easy to annoy some with my manner of discussion. DCDuring TALK 20:12, 15 September 2011 (UTC)