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)[reply]


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)[reply]

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)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]
"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)[reply]
I say it's both. --Vitoscots (talk) 23:58, 10 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]

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)[reply]

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)[reply]

Expanded. --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:48, 9 May 2020 (UTC)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]

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, 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)[reply]

  • 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)[reply]
    • 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)[reply]


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

Later: The graph in the 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 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)[reply]

  • Calling English “a hybrid Romance-Germanic language” (which implies a creole) is misleading. It is only Standard English (which is based mainly on the Estuary dialect, with influences from other dialects) that has a superstratum from Romance & Latin. Other Anglic dialects, especially Northern English & Scots, simply remind one of some Germanic speech. By the way, it is eath to write even Southern English using only inherited words: the mainstream literature rejecting native words of a language does not change its linguistic affiliation. inqilābī [ inqilāb zindabād ] 19:17, 24 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

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)[reply]

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)[reply]

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)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]
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)[reply]
"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)[reply]
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)[reply]

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)[reply]

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)[reply]

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)[reply]

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)[reply]

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)[reply]

Policy override and categorical imperative[edit]

The following is inspired by Kant's categorical imperative. It may be a proper application of the principle or not; it is in any case inspired be it. It is further inspired by Popper's falsificationism.

The following principle guiding policy override comes to mind:

  • If, in RFD, you want to override a codified policy, you have to state the overriding principle that you could wish to become part of policy.

The above is probably too stringent since it requires the overriding person to do the policy work and to iron out the kinks and details. For instance, we used translation target (now known as translation hub) as an override at the time at which we had not a proper policy change proposal.

The above results in a more lenient modification of the above principle:

  • If, in RFD, you want to override a codified policy, you have to state the overriding principle that, after adding proper detail, qualifications and finetuning, you could wish to become part of policy.

On the other hand, the above may be too lenient. It may allow overriders to throw around hugely disfunctional principles lacking all qualifications and distinctions and claim that the principles would work if only the proper qualifications were added.

Now how do you know whether you could wish a principle to become part of policy? You would know that by examining the impact of incorporating the principle into policy, and by determining whether the impact is desirable or not. Unfortunately, you may not be qualified or have enough information to properly assess the impact. That's a complication. Furthermore, people differ about what is desirable and what is not.

On a different note, policy overrides are a fact of life in the English Wiktionary. One example are the translation targets/translation hubs, codified after years of use. Another example are the hot words, which have not yet been codified via a vote as far as I know.

Policy overrides should not be done too lightly, or else the English Wiktionary's atmosphere of rule of law, at least as far as RFDs and RFVs go, would erode. Those who apply overrides should be ready to respond to inquiries and provide rationales and supporting evidence. Those unwilling to do the research and articulation work or point to research and articulation work done by someone else should not be throwing around overrides.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 09:09, 11 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Google Ngram Viewer interface spoiled[edit]

Google Ngram Viewer had such a beautiful, functional user interface. Today, I found its interface spoiled using some "modern" web design or whatever it is. I wonder how and if this fashionable nonsense could be stopped. (Only borderline relevant to Wiktionary; nonetheless, GNV is a very useful tool for us.) --Dan Polansky (talk) 05:59, 14 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Since all design is shit now, the most likely workable solution is for creators to expose their services as a set of functionality, with a choice of visuals on top (like choosing CSS themes on some sites, or a window manager for Linux). Equinox 10:04, 14 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Gmail does give us some kind of choice. Since some time ago, I switched to "basic HTML" interface in Gmail. Boy, does it feel sane. It behaves much more like the physical world; I mean, when I move my hand toward a drawer, I don't expect the drawer to start opening. --Dan Polansky (talk) 10:16, 14 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

English nouns derived directly from adjectives without suffixing[edit]

In English, adjectives often have corresponding same-looking nouns, featuring plurals. While such nouns exist for a host of adjectives, one cannot automatically assume the noun existence for any adjective.

Adjective → noun and its plural, examples:

  • additive → additive, additives
  • adjective → adjective, adjectives
  • adhesive → adhesive, adhesives
  • contraceptive → contraceptive, contraceptives
  • bad → bad, bads
  • wrong → wrong, wrongs
  • plural → plural, plurals
  • principal → principal, principals
  • constant → constant, constants
  • variable → variable, variables
  • observable → observable, observables
  • pharmaceutical → pharmaceutical, pharmaceuticals

Linguistics will have many of these, on the model of "X case" → noun:X and the like.

Pharmaceuticals will be often named liked this.

If there were a neat linguistic term for the above phenomenon, we could create a convenient category for such nouns; we could create a category regardless, clumsily named, perhaps.

--Dan Polansky (talk) 07:43, 15 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

This is called a conversion (linguistics). PUC – 10:23, 15 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Czech has a somewhat similar phenomenon in which adjectives give rise to what is usually ranked as nouns but are inflected as adjectives anyway. Examples include proměnná, neznámá, vrchní, etc. In Czech, adjectives have plurals anyway, and the nominalization (turning-into-noun) does not change that. In Czech, the process seems much less productive than in English; compare Czech nouns aditivum (vs. aditivní), plurál (vs. plurální), principál (vs. principální), konstanta (vs. konstantní), etc. The lesser productiveness in Czech may have to do with English having Latin as one of its major sources, to the point of being considered by some to be a hybrid Latin-Germanic language, unlike Czech. --Dan Polansky (talk) 10:16, 15 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Should have been "hybrid Germanic-Romance" rather than "hybrid Latin-Germanic". A previous post is #English: a hybrid Romance-Germanic language. --Dan Polansky (talk) 07:08, 16 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I've been noticing some cases where this has been, in my view, taken too far. Just about any adjective can be nominalized in an ad-hoc way, and with vast corpora like Google books or Usenet, you can surely find someone saying "I'll have an unsweetened", or "the dumbs drown out the smarts". sweaty#Noun ("one who is sweaty") is one that was discussed recently at RfV. Other suspect cases I've noticed include skinny ("A skinny being", also "A low-fat serving of coffee"), and blue ("Anything coloured blue"). Colin M (talk) 04:22, 2 March 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Administration statistics[edit]

Administration statistics including admin action total and break down into action types, e.g. page deletions:

Top 7 admin action totals for 2020-06-14 to 2020-07-15 (31 days):

  • 1. SemperBlotto: 758
  • 2. Benwing: 665
  • 3. Surjection: 490
  • 4. Metaknowledge: 265
  • 5. Chuck Entz: 247
  • 6. Robbie SWE: 149
  • 7. Ultimateria: 128

--Dan Polansky (talk) 12:00, 15 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Time range and types of admin action examined can be set here:

Maximum time range seems to be one year. --Dan Polansky (talk) 07:04, 16 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]


Sorry for bringing up something that happened five years ago, but a related question has just come up in a Czech discord server I'm in and I once again find this page inadequate. [13]

From the SSJČ link at the bottom of the page:

3. kniž. souhrn základních znaků, rysů někoho, něčeho; podstata 1, povaha 2, charakter 3, tvářnost 2: lidská t. básníka; poznat skutečnou t. života; pravá t. fašismu ... 4. kniž. vnější podoba věci n. jevu; vzezření, vzhled, tvářnost 3: měnící se t. města; t. krajiny; t. časopisu (Fuč.)

Google results for "tvář města" are plentiful. Clearly none of this refers to a part of the human body and I think the page should account for these senses too. filelakeshoe (holla) 07:28, 10 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

The above is in reference to my removing sense "form, essence" from tvář in diff. The sense does not match "tvář města" or "tvář krajiny", so it does not match sense SSJC 4. As for sense 3, there could be a better match but I am not sure; "pravá t. fašismu" from SSJC 3 would be "pravá tvář fašismu", something like "true colors of fascism" rather than "true essence of fascist". Which Czech-English dictionaries support the discussed sense? What are some example translations of sentences from Czech to English where "form" or "essence" are well-fitting translations of "tvář"? --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:27, 11 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

If people use a word to mean something, that's what it means[edit]

The idea of the title of this section was beautifully put by Equinox on a different project:

'If a word is used by 99% of the world to mean something then it means that thing. I can cry that people say "hacker" to refer to a person who breaks into computer systems, instead of the old-skool meaning of a creative computer programmer; or that "gay" means homosexual instead of the older "colourful, flamboyant". But the world doesn't listen to my crying.'

(Is this a quasi-retweet?) --Dan Polansky (talk)

I'd like to see the polling data regarding that 99%. I take that back. I'd be satisfied with 50% plus one. --Kent Dominic (talk) 09:51, 6 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]

To phrase or no to phrase[edit]

Hi, Dan. This is a bit of a delayed reaction to something you mentioned in April. Yes, a machine can determine a phrase from a word given the spaces entailed in the text, but I don't think machines have yet figured out how to distinguish phrases according to lexical category. For instance:

  • We looked over the house. (phrasal verb)
  • We looked over the house. (prepositional phrase)
  • Let's jump in the taxi. (phrasal verb)
  • Let's jump in the taxi. (prepositional phrase)

Do machines know the difference? True, most native English speakers can tell the difference within a given context without the need to know anything about the lexical categories. But many non-native English speakers would have difficulty interpreting this sentence absent some phrasal parsing: "Towering iron gates seen three blocks down the road marked the main entrance." I.e.:

  • Towering (adjectival participle)
  • gates (subject noun)
  • seen (elliptical past participle: "that were seen")
  • three blocks down the road (adverbial phrase entailing the locative noun phrase, "three blocks" and the prepositional phrase, "down the road")
  • marked (transitive verb)
  • the main entrance (noun phrase)

I have tons of students who would think "three" is a noun that's blocking something, or that the road marked the entrance.

By extrapolation, my approach to lexicography entails labeling each phrase in its own right: noun phrase, verb phrase, adjectival phrase, adverbial phrase, and so on. I'm not on a stump to change others' approach. Rather, I made one edit here along those lines by force of habit, not meaning to linguistically evangelize. But, think about it: What if Wikipedia, in the same way that it requires Verb over Verb phrase, suddenly implemented a rule that required Noun instead of Prepositional phrase. It wouldn't change the way anyone speaks, but it would hamper the ability to learn the language, and the phrase, "take something for granted," would become a noun. It's like saying, "You can use any whole numbers from zero to nine, but you must not use fractions." Okie dokie. More thoughts on my approach: "Metaknowledge Re.transivity" --Kent Dominic (talk) 09:45, 6 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]


Hi Dan. It appears that you're on a break. If I were to nominate you to become an administrator, would you accept? — Dentonius 13:02, 15 February 2021 (UTC)[reply]

malé ryby taky ryby[edit]

Ad: Dan, dashless or commaless notation (mere juxtaposition of expressions) can probably occur sometimes, but it is not correct (logically, formally, orthographically) notation, if you think about it (it is actually a sentence with a silent predicate (I mean přísudek by that) - and one is supposed to indicate that somehow). --Jiří Janíček (talk) 14:31, 2 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@Jiří Janíček: Notation with zero indication for missing copula jsou, malé ryby taky ryby, is found multiple times in copyedited corpus, and that is all that should matter. Do you have a source indicating that silent copula has to be typographically indicated? Even if you have such a source, the malé ryby taky ryby entry would not be moved but rather indicated as sometimes proscribed, possibly in a usage note tracing to a source. Furthermore, by searching for "malé ryby – taky ryby" in Google Books, I find no hit in this form; the search finds malé ryby taky ryby and malé ryby, taky ryby. Moreover, omitting the copula without typographic indication seems rather common, such as in práce kvapná málo platná, veselá mysl půl zdraví, náš zákazník náš pán, přání otcem myšlenky, jeden za osmnáct, druhý bez dvou za dvacet and každá koruna dobrá; I cannot imagine writing každá koruna, dobrá or každá koruna – dobrá. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:21, 7 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Same controversion: práce kvapná, málo platná versus cs:práce kvapná málo platná. Anyway, these proverbs should be seen one from other on both wictionaries! --Kusurija (talk) 09:19, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]