User talk:Dan Polansky

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Euphemistic spellings with asterisk[edit]

Euphemistic spellings with asterisk are currently discussed at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/English#All "euphemistic spellings" with asterisks or other character placeholders. They are in Category:English terms spelled with *, which currently has 68 items.

An August 2019 deletion discussion will be archived to Talk:b*tches.

Other past deletion discussions include Talk:f*der (2010 keeper), and Talk:f**k (a near-unanimous 2008 keeper with 8 keep votes).

A relevant template is {{euphemistic spelling of}}.

WT:CFI#Attestation vs. the slippery slope seems relevant: "There is occasionally concern that adding an entry for a particular term will lead to entries for a large number of similar terms. This is not a problem, as each term is considered on its own based on its usage, not on the usage of terms similar in form."

--Dan Polansky (talk) 10:42, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

řidčeji[edit]

Hey. What part of speech is řidčeji supposed to be? For the abbreviation řidč, which has no POS header--Vitoscots (talk) 01:45, 10 April 2020 (UTC)

While I've got your attention, POS is needed for other Czech entries where it is not obvious to me. t. r., tzn., v. r. --Vitoscots (talk) 01:49, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
Wonderfool above? Anyway, I created řidčeji. The abbreviation would be at řidč. with period in it. As for the other entries, I find the heading "Abbreviation" just fine, while I know that some are trying to get rid of it. I find adding missing lemmas hugely more useful for me and our readers than getting rid of "Abbreviation". Even if I try to determine the part of speech for e.g. "tzn.", that is not so straightforward: it stands for "to znamená", in English "that means", or i.e., or Latin "id est". English i.e. is now entered as an adverb, which makes no grammatical sense to me. I actually find the still pretty widespread use of the heading Abbreviation pretty okay and certainly not inaccurate; it breaks some neatniks' sense of ontological purity since it does not state the part of speech unlike many other level-2 headings. To replace what is accurate with something that is inaccurate to achieve ontological purity does not strike me as the best idea. --Dan Polansky (talk) 05:30, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
OK, so I called them all phrases - what is normally done when I actually don't know the correct POS. --Vitoscots (talk) 11:41, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
That did not make anything better since 1) they are not phrases, and 2) "Phrase" is not part of speech, so the original problem was not even addressed. This whole effort (not yours in particular) seems pretty misguided to me. --Dan Polansky (talk) 12:00, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps you're right. Much of what I do is misguided. Feel free to revert if you see fit. Also, "Phrase" is an accepted part of speech in Wiktionary. --Vitoscots (talk) 12:51, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
"Phrase" is, as a matter of fact, not part of speech; it is an accepted value of level-2 heading. --Dan Polansky (talk) 15:12, 10 April 2020 (UTC)
I say it's both. --Vitoscots (talk) 23:58, 10 April 2020 (UTC)

Edit summary standard[edit]

The following is what I think is a fine edit summary standard for Wiktionary:

  • 1) If you are doing something unobvious, you should indicate so in the edit summary.
  • 2) If you are doing something unobvious, the edit summary benefits from the form A: R, where A is the action description and R is an abbreviated rationale.
  • 3) If you are deleting something, you should indicate so in the edit summary.
  • 4) A new entry does not need an edit summary. Alternatively, it can say "+Language".
  • 5) If you are adding something, an empty edit summary is okay, while saying "expand" is probably better.
  • 6) Abbreviated edit summaries are quicker to read and preferable. Thus, "Czech: +DT" is preferable to "I added Derived terms section to a Czech language section." Possibly rather subjective and culturally dependent.
  • 7) If you are entering a term that is not in dictionaries, indicate in the edit summary in an abbreviated form where the term is attested. I am using the form "Author1 Year1, Author2 Year2, Author3 Year3, title:WorkTitle4 Year4"; I only use work titles when I cannot quickly identify the author. Will be probably considered too stringent by many. On the other hand, it is still so much faster and cheaper to do than enter the actual quotations into the entry.
  • 8) If you are performing multiple actions, you may describe only one action and cover the rest via "etc."; what you should not do is describe only one action and perform also other actions since that is misleading or sometimes outright fraudulent.

For comparison, Wikipedia has W:Help:Edit summary. Interestingly, it says "Always provide an edit summary". That is far from being the common practice in the English Wiktionary, often to detrimental effect. On the other hand, contrary to its section title, even Wikipedia body text of the help page does not strictly require an edit summary for every single edit; I think it would be an overkill to require or even enforce that in Wiktionary.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 07:59, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Synonymy between given names and their pet forms[edit]

It seems to me there is synonymy between a given name and its pet forms. Thus, Jack is a synonym of John, and Maggie is a synonym of Margaret. The synonymy may not be entirely obvious since we are dealing with proper names, and these attach to referents via acts of christening. What seems to support the synonymy thesis is the readiness with which someone called, say, Margaret can be referred to as Maggie, and the latter reference is not via christening. A given name and its pet forms are coextensive (refer to the same set of individuals), to say the least. The trick by which it works seems to be that, say, Maggie has not the extensional meaning typical of proper names, one arising via christening, but rather seems to have the intensional meaning "a person named Margaret". To obtain full intensional synonymy, we need to assign this intensional meaning also to "Margaret", which is kind of weird, but anyway. "Margaret" would have 1) extensional meaning, arising via christening, and 2) intensional meaning "person named Margaret", where the term Margaret used in the intensional definition depends on the extensional meaning or else we would have an infinite recursion. The intensional meaning seems to be used in the plural Margarets. And then some people claim that "a given name" is also a meaning of "Margaret", which I submit is no meaning of the term at all but rather a description of the term.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 14:06, 8 May 2020 (UTC)

Expanded. --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:48, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
There's something contextual per individual about this. I work with a Liz and an Elizabeth. Liz is known only as Liz (at work) but has told me that outside of work she is known only as Elizabeth, and chose Liz at work to avoid confusion with the other Elizabeth. This kind of knottiness generally doesn't happen with common nouns since we aren't that concerned with distinguishing two apples or giving them a choice of identity. (BTW, what about "deadnaming" and synonymy? Heh.) Equinox 18:56, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
These are good points. The question would then be whether the kind of synonymy or near-synonymy is synonymic enough to merit the synonym markup in Wiktionary. I would think so. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:13, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

English: a hybrid Romance-Germanic language[edit]

English appears to me to be a hybrid Romance-Germanic language. The degree to which English vocabulary is permeated with words stemming from Latin is remarkable.

When I see Italian, it reminds me of English; when I see Danish, it reminds me of German.

I saw Richard Dawkins opine about English in a similar way, in a video that I cannot quickly find.

Is English Really a Germanic Language?, Sep 8, 2016, Langfocus at youtube.com, has a pie chart indicating that English vocabulary is 26% Germanic, 29% French, and 29% Latin. I don't know whether these numbers are correct and for what layer of vocabulary they are determined; if you include the large swaths of the bottom-ontology scientific vocabulary, surely Latin and Greek are going outnumber everything else, but that is to be expected and is not interesting.

The same video also relates the creole hypothesis, by which English is a creole language. The theory highlights huge simplification in English grammar that took place, including considerable reduction of inflection. Old English had an inflection system not unlike many other inflected languages, the video tells us.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 10:19, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

  • I was under the impression that English evolved from Germanic roots but borrowed words heavily from every other European countries - so there are many words derived from Romance languages but also from Scandinavian ones. I blame Shakespeare. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:25, 9 May 2020 (UTC)
    • Believing the percentages in the video, the distribution of borrowing is uneven, French being a much heavier lender to English than other European languages, a circumstance that would be linked to Norman invasion. By contrast, imports from Slavic languages are rather limited. --Dan Polansky (talk) 10:37, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

Links:

--Dan Polansky (talk) 10:59, 9 May 2020 (UTC)

Later: The graph in the medium.com article above[1], in article section Visualizing the data, suggests that French origin and Latin origin combined reach 40% of vocabulary for about 1000 most common English words, reaching 50% of vocabulary for about 2000 most common English words, and rising slowly higher as the number of most common English words analyzed increases. The article indicates wordfrequency.info as its source for word frequencies, where the website indicates that "The data is based on the one billion word Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) -- the only corpus of English that is large, up-to-date, and balanced between many genres." --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:54, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

Frequency-based notability test for inclusion of individual people[edit]

One might use Google Ngram Viewer for a frequency-based notability test for inclusion of individual people. To determine whether an individual should have a sense in their surname, we might compare the frequency of a fuller name with the frequencies of names of other notable people. For example, entry Newton includes individual sense "Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, and natural philosopher." Admittedly, one would in fact be interested in uses of the surname alone, but that is not amenable to an easy frequency test.

Some test results:

All of the above would be includable in surnames. More work required. See also Category:en:Individuals.

Another useful test is the lemming test (WT:LEMMING); M-W has Einstein[2], Hitler[3], Hume[4], Russell[5]; M-W does not have Popper[6].

Yet another test is the existence of -ian/-ean adjective: Galilean, Newtonian, Einsteinian, Humean, Russellian, Popperian, Wittgensteinian. One would have to make sure that the particular person is sufficiently often invoked by the adjective rather than another person of the same surname. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:49, 7 June 2020 (UTC)

Inclusion question[edit]

This is probably a really stupid question, but why does Darth Vader as "a powerful individual or force" clearly meet the criteria for CFI while Morgan Freeman as a description of a certain kind of deep voice does not? For example:

  • "Your students don't expect a Ron Howard film, a Morgan Freeman voice-over, or a heartfelt Meryl Streep soliloquy."
  • "Mark Zuckerberg reveals his Morgan Freeman voice inspired virtual butler"
  • "Harlan Freeman shrugged and said in a Morgan Freeman voice as if to Miss Daisy"

I can't quite put my finger on it. Alexis Jazz (talk) 10:31, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

Entry Morgan Freeman for an American actor[7] is regulated by WT:NSE, and is therefore exluded via "No individual person should be listed as a sense in any entry whose page title includes both a given name or diminutive and a family name or patronymic". By contrast, Darth Vader is regulated by WT:FICTION.
But your question seems to be about the form of quotation rather than which policy applies. Thus, you seem to be interested in the contrast between "[...] was rapidly becoming the Darth Vader of Japanese baseball" and "[...] said in a Morgan Freeman voice [...]". If we subject both forms to WT:FICTION for the sake of analysis, we can note WT:FICTION's "With respect to names of persons or places from fictional universes, they shall not be included unless they are used out of context in an attributive sense. I don't think "[...] said in a Morgan Freeman voice [...]" uses "Morgan Freeman" in an attributive sense. Let me add that "in a Morgan Freeman voice" surely is an attributive use, grammatically speaking, but I would argue it is not use in an attributive sense for the purpose of WT:FICTION. Admittedly, I am not sure the phrase "attributive sense" is used in linguistics in this way, and it seems to me the application of WT:FICTION is far from unproblematic and clear. --Dan Polansky (talk) 15:29, 29 June 2020 (UTC)
That's about what I meant. "Your students don't expect a Morgan Freeman voice-over" means "Your students don't expect an excellent deep voice-over" and "Bush's missile shield plan positions him as Darth Vader" means "Bush's missile shield plan positions him as a malevolent, dominating and threatening force". Using Morgan Freeman as a substitute for deep/credible/impressive = no inclusion, using Darth Vader to describe evil = inclusion.
I'm vaguely thinking that using something in this way as a kind-of adjective does not apply for inclusion, but as a noun it does? Like, "they showed a Darth Vader force of evil" would not be valid because "Darth Vader" describes "force of evil" instead of being its own term? Alexis Jazz (talk) 10:55, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion/Fictional universes has "[...] was rapidly becoming the Darth Vader of Japanese baseball" as an example, and thereby cements this kind of usage as coming under the policy. By contrast, "a Morgan Freeman voice-over" is more open to debate since policy does not have a directly analogous example; I don't really know what position I would take in RFD concerning such an example. One might argue that the Darth Vader example does not direct the reader to any particular attribute of Darth Vader to pick and is therefore more opaque; by contrast, the Morgan Freeman example directs the reader to the voice. And again, I don't really know and would be open to be convinced one way or another in a RFD. --Dan Polansky (talk) 17:40, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
Well, strictly literally speaking, it's not open to debate as the entry was deleted without any RFD or specified rationale. "Morgan Freeman–esque" is also a thing btw. Makes me think of Pythonesque and Kafkaesque. Not entirely the same as those melted into a single word, but still. The word hoarse also directs the reader to the voice. It's not named after anyone, but what if it were? Alexis Jazz (talk) 21:54, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
Morgan Freeman was deleted on 27 June 2020 by SemperBlotto. The entry was entered as a proper noun yet had adjectival definition "clear, calm and deep". The entry seems to fail CFI as per "No individual person should be listed as a sense in any entry whose page title includes both a given name or diminutive and a family name or patronymic", but since the definition is adjectival and might be argued to be not an individual person listed as a sense, you might want to ask SemperBlotto to restore the entry and send it to RFD for deletion discussion. I am not an admin and cannot restore the entry. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:25, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
PoS has literally confused me since childhood. If you have "a ball game" (or "coal mine" for that matter), are "ball" and "coal" adjectives? (I just don't know, two nouns in a row don't seem to be right either?) In Dutch such words usually become one, balspel and kolenmijn, sometimes hyphenated. Like Morgan Freeman-stem, for example "Om mee te peddelen met Jeff en zijn kalmerende Morgan Freeman-stem, kan u terecht op zijn site." ("To coast along with Jeff and his calming Morgan Freeman voice, visit his site.") Or is it just two nouns in a row and did I only get the header wrong? Alexis Jazz (talk) 10:51, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
"ball game" is two nouns in a row. It is a noun phrase, where "game" is a clear noun, and "ball" is a noun acting as an adjective, which is indicated by saying that it is a noun used attributively. The Czech equivalent "míčová hra" is much more transparent since "míčový" is an adjective separate from the noun "míč". Learning about attributive uses of English nouns is a basic English grammar learning task for a native speaker of a Slavic language. --Dan Polansky (talk) 11:25, 2 July 2020 (UTC)
I see. So "míčová" is essentially "ball-y", which is just less common in English. See also the "computer-y" quote from Cory Doctorow I just added to -y. Alexis Jazz (talk) 13:21, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

Keeping real people names via use in attributive sense[edit]

Since 2010, Arnold Schwarzenegger can be deleted as failing WT:NSE's "No individual person should be listed as a sense in any entry whose page title includes both a given name or diminutive and a family name or patronymic" unless one argues that since that entry is made as a noun with a noun definition rather than a proper noun with a definition line identifying the particular individual, it does not fall under the quoted NSE regulation. This was introduced by Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2010-12/Names of individuals. It created an incongruence with inclusion of Darth Vader via WT:FICTION, via "With respect to names of persons or places from fictional universes, they shall not be included unless they are used out of context in an attributive sense." Here again one might object that there is no incongruence since Darth Vader is kept as a countable noun with the main definition "A powerful individual or force, particularly one that is seen as malevolent, dominating and threatening" and therefore, both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Darth Vader can be kept as nouns, escaping WT:NSE.

I would rather modify CFI and keep Arnold Schwarzenegger as a proper noun with definition "An Austrian-American bodybuilder and actor noted for highly muscular body" or the like, a definition that both identifies the individual and the characteristics that can be picked by metaphorical uses.

I made some relevant comment in RFD for Morgan Freeman, to be archived at Talk:Morgan Freeman.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 09:42, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

Names of organizations[edit]

Names of organizations are governed by WT:NSE. Names of organizations include United Nations, and some other items in Category:en:Organizations including Federal Intelligence Service, Greenpeace, Hamas, Hezbollah, International Court of Justice, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, World Trade Organization, and more.

An ongoing RFD is going to be archived at Talk:National Hockey League. One property easing the deletion of National Hockey League is that it consists of multiple capitalized nouns or adjectives, unlike e.g. Greenpeace.

The WT:LEMMING test can be useful.

Greenpeace is in Lexico[8], Collins[9] and Macmillan[10]. Greenpeace survived RFD per Talk:Greenpeace.

Hamas is in Lexico[11] and Collins[12].

--Dan Polansky (talk) 13:51, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

Interpreting and fixing WT:FICTION[edit]

WT:FICTION seems problematic as per RFD comments that are going to be archived at Talk:Scheherazade.

Replacing WT:FICTION's "With respect to names of persons or places from fictional universes, they shall not be included unless they are used out of context in an attributive sense" with editor discretion could be considered, like "Inclusion or exclusion of attested names of fictional persons and fictional places is subject to editor discretion"; then, editors could use any tentative policy they like in RFD. The attestation requirement involves independence, a basic filter to does not allow any single-attested fictional character to be included but rather multiple authors would need to refer to the character. --Dan Polansky (talk) 15:02, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

I don't think it is even useful to differentiate between fiction and non-fiction. What would it matter if people say "You are a real Dexter" or "You are a real Albert Einstein"? What's the difference between "It hardly takes a Sherlock Holmes to deduce that a properly designed and installed lap beltshoulder harness will prevent or mitigate every one of the above listed hazards" and "Well, it hardly takes an Allan Pinkerton to figure out what you're up to now, does it?"? Can't have the latter because Allan Pinkerton actually existed? Alexis Jazz (talk) 19:57, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

Blend/portmanteau formation patterns as suffixes[edit]

Blend/portmanteau formation patterns can sometimes be included as suffixes, e.g. -gate. A deletion discussion is to be archived at Talk:-geddon; other candidates include -mageddon and -pocalypse. -gate is particularly productive: Category:English words suffixed with -gate has 151 items. --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:43, 4 July 2020 (UTC)