User talk:Dbfirs

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Hello, and welcome to Wiktionary. Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are a few good links for newcomers:

I hope you enjoy editing here and being a Wiktionarian! By the way, you can sign your name on Talk (discussion) and vote pages using four tildes, like this: ~~~~, which automatically produces your name and the current date. If you have any questions, see the help pages, add a question to one of the discussion rooms or ask me on my Talk page. Again, welcome! --*ABE* 14:39, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

colour blind etc[edit]

I would prefer just one main entry - with translations and all the rest. Other entries should just be {{alternative spelling of|---}}. Also it is definitely comparable e.g. (by Googling) "and as far as greenbacks are concerned, even the most colour-blind cop will develop divine x-ray vision." "But to work towards a more colour-blind culture when it comes to theatre" SemperBlotto 14:05, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your correction. You are right (as usual)! Dbfirs 14:08, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Which spelling should be the main one? Dbfirs 14:13, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately that question (especially the color/colour) part is a difficult one. It doesn't help that Google ignores hyphens. The standard for English multiword adjectives is to have a hyphen. As far as the US/UK spelling differences, what often happens is that the person adding the word uses his own local spelling and the "foreign" one as an alternative. Somone will argue whatever you choose. SemperBlotto 14:18, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Alternative spellings[edit]

ALL articles have to have a language and part of speech section - even these. See bonemeal as an example. SemperBlotto 16:19, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, and thanks. I've put them in now. Dbfirs 16:46, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
And the "#" at the beginning of the definition line (sorry to be a pain). SemperBlotto 16:48, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
OK will do. (I thought that was just for multiple meanings.) Dbfirs 16:50, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


Should that be twice yearly? Anyway I think it's just a sum of its parts, rather than an idiom. I mean, we don't want entries for "once yearly", "twice weekly", "thrice fortnightly", "once monthly", "twice hourly", do we?—msh210 20:58, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I meant to come back to this. "Twice yearly" is really the adverb "yearly" modified, and so should not have an entry.
The adjective "twice-yearly" was meant in my citation, but I agree that it gets ridiculous if we put in all possible combinations. I only put it there because it was a red link, but I'll forget the entry and alter the link instead. Thanks. Dbfirs 22:27, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
--- but does that mean we should also delete semi-annually?Dbfirs 22:31, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
---- on reflection, I think we should keep twice-yearly as the only common synonym for biannually in the UK, where semi-annually might mean biennially to some. Can you think of a clearer synonym?
Perhaps we should all stop using all of these compounds and just say what we mean using simple short words! Dbfirs 22:59, 7 January 2008 (UTC)


You may not have noticed that your signature (~~~~) links to User:dbfirs.—msh210 16:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you. I hadn't noticed! I should have anticipated that Wiktionary is case-sensitive in users as well as in entries! By the way, is it considered unprofessional to have a coloured signature on Wiktionary. I'll remove the colours if you think they don't quite match the tone of the project. dbfirs 18:00, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Trying out the link: dbfirs 18:02, 17 January 2008 (UTC) or is this better? -- Dbfirs 18:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not the person to ask that, but I can say that very few people seem to do it.—msh210 20:12, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I just re-read what I'd written and saw that I'd responded to the wrong question. My response was about color. As far as capitalization goes, people put all sorts of weird things (like "H."), but the most common is to use one's username, with first letter capital, as far as I can tell.—msh210 22:47, 22 January 2008 (UTC)


The fishy etymology is interesting. In the UK many fishmongers (where you can still find them) sell it as well as fish. It is very good steamed and eaten (with the fingers) with melted butter! SemperBlotto 22:24, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I've never tasted it. If I ever see a fishmonger, I might ask if they still sell it, but the last fishmonger I remember died about thirty years ago and his sons now run a small supermarket with a restaurant above. I don't see fish on sale much these days (being a good distance from the sea), except occasionally on a market stall. Dbfirs 12:32, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Various lay religious functions[edit]

The entries are fine AFAIK. I would have even removed the mentions of the specific religious organizations, but thought that was extracting useful info. I'm thinking that the specific denominations in which each specific title is used really belongs in a usage note, something like "Using this title are: Org1, Org2" or "Using this formally are several Methodist denominations and Lutheran synods." We probably shouldn't have too many specific denomination names. To make an awkward analogy, we wouldn't want to have to list all the companies that use specific job titles, like "apprentice welder". Your thoughts? DCDuring TALK 12:49, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, agreed, and thanks for your guidance. I originally started with a red link, then started researching the various usages in different denominations (and made a slight error), but I agree that the mention of these is better relegated to a usage note. I will do exactly this. Dbfirs 13:41, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
(later) I've done that, but it seems rather a minefield because Anglicanism uses just "Reader" capitalised, and several other denominations seem to use "reader" in the conventional sense of someone who reads scriptures, rather than someone who preaches and leads worship. I think I'll leave this now, and hope I haven't upset anyone. Dbfirs 14:13, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
(and even later) I agree that we don't want a long list of denominations, but we should record widespread specialist usage of a term which would otherwise be misunderstood. For example, we record the specialist use of gaffer in one industry. Dbfirs 14:22, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I would certainly welcome more industry-specific terms and religious-related terms both. Organization-specific terms or long lists of organizations using a term would be objectionable. I was actually hoping that putting it in the usage note would be seen by would-be contributors as an invitation to help extend the range of usage to its full extent without making them feel as if some other denomination was claiming exclusive rights or something. Some gray areas are terms only used in one religion, even big ones. We tend to include them, but we run risks. I'm was not so happy with the way some aspects of how it worked in WP, but my own cultural biases may have been operating. Anyway, what there looks good. I'm not too familiar with subject-matter categories, but there must be a religion category and a religion context tag.{{religion}} or {{context|religion}} and [[Category:Religion]]. The easiest would be {{religion}} at the beginnining of the sense line, which should automatically put the entry into [[Category:Religion]]. DCDuring TALK 15:52, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll put in the context tags. Dbfirs 20:37, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Usage notes[edit]

Please note that the section header should always be spelled "Usage notes", even if only one note is currently included. We use standard header names on Wiktionary to assist in bot maintenance. --EncycloPetey 01:56, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, I should have remembered that, but my memory doesn't always function preperly these days! Dbfirs 07:41, 10 February 2008 (UTC)


Sorry about that blunder! Thinking about it over breakfast makes me believe that the idea must have come from a poster that a friend once had of the Earth over the Moon's horizon (from the Apollo landings) - I'm sure it's title was Earthrise. Cheers. SemperBlotto 09:28, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Not totally wrong because the Earth does appear over the moon's horizon when observing from the "edges" of the moon. It's just that it tends to set again in the same place in a slightly unpredicatable way not related to "days". Sorry to be so long replying - my internet connection has been off for 60 hours (it is transmitted via a microwave link - no fiber optics, or even reasonable quality of phone lines where I live!) Thanks for improving the wording. Dbfirs 16:52, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

re failure vandalism[edit]

I've already blocked him/her for a week -- Algrif 15:42, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I've left a polite message on the user page of Perhaps I should have been less polite? Dbfirs 15:44, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Dialect entries[edit]

I hope you don't mind my asking on your talk page, but I notice that you are an expert in Geordie and that you are entering words from other dialects. Does Wiktionary accept all dialect words? I have a few from by mother and grandfather (NW rather than NE) which probably date back to Viking (Norse) roots, but do not appear in other dictionaries (and I would find it difficult to cite usage, other than locals who would say "yes, that's what it means"). Do these words belong in Wiktionary, or is there a better place to record them? Dbfirs 17:03, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Generally it is very hard to find cites, however, most notable dialects have had their fans in the past who have created literature in it or simply created word lists. This is how most dialect words are verified from my experience. It may take some rummaging around but you should be able to find something on the internet somewhere. Local libraries may also be a good starting point. I have also found academics at universities keep a large volume of material on dialect e.g. Bill Griffins (the author of A Dictionary of North East Dialect).
Dialect does belong on Wiktionary as we aim to describe all words in all languages, but we must state clearly that they are dialect and go to lengths otherwise not required to try and verify them e.g. references and cites.
Hope this helps. --Williamsayers79 18:10, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I've added only "kytle" so far but I will try to find citations for some other local dialect words when I have a chance to visit the nearest library (17 miles away). Dbfirs 12:56, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Greek characters[edit]

N phenakistoscope‎; 12:38:38 . . (+274) . . Dbfirs (Talk | contribs | block) (Could someone please provide the Greek? (How do I get Greek characters within Wiki?))

One thing you can check out is this: Go to Wiktionary:Preferences and check the option Allow special characters to be input into the search box and save settings. Then use the new dropdown menu below the search box and select "Greek (modern)" or "Greek (ancient)". Maybe that helps you already as a source for copy/paste. Mutante 11:45, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, that's exactly what I needed. I'm not a Greek scholar, but interested for etymological purposes. Dbfirs 12:56, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
An easier method for entering Greek characters into an entry is at the bottom of the screen (below "Save page," "Show preview," etc.) is a box called "edittools". I'm not sure what the default setting is (maybe Latin characters?), anyway, on the Left is a slider menu which allows you to choose characters of a specific language. Pull it down to "Greek (Ancient)" and you should have every character you could ever want (including some you'll probably never use :)). If you like, take a look at some of the changes I've made to phenakistoscope to get an idea of how Ancient Greek etymologies should look. One thing about them, on Wiktionary we distinguish between Greek (modern Greek) and Ancient Greek. Nearly all words of Hellenic origin come from Ancient Greek, not Greek, and this should be distinguished in etymologies. Our format is admittedly a bit complex, so I'll leave you with that. I'm always happy to answer questions about Ancient Greek formatting or look over an entry and do copyediting, so feel free to make use of my talk page. Also, I answered your comment on Wiktionary:Feedback. Basically the answer is that encyclopedia is the American spelling. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:06, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your guidance. I had eventually found the Ancient Greek drop-down characters and used them to enter the Greek for phenakistoscope, but my translation was Hellenic, wasn't it? Sorry, as I said, I'm not a Greek scholar, though I wish I'd had a chance to learn it at school. Any understanding that I have is merely from an interest in etymology. (I'm stuggling to translate your user-talk link.) I will copy the format from phenakistoscope, but will ask you to check when I next add an Ancient Greek derivation, because I might get it wrong.
Also, thanks for clarifying my reply to the North American critic of Wikipedia who hadn't consulted Wikipedia. I know I shouldn't have replied in such a "tongue in cheek" way. Do North American dictionaries not include the British spelling? I was taught encyclopædia, but this is rare now in the UK, and the American spelling is gradually taking over from encyclopaedia. Words seem to be changing much faster than they used to - or is it just that I am getting older? I was also taught to put a hyphen in to-day, but this is now regarded as wrong or, at the very least, quaint! Will the a be lost from your user-name soon? Dbfirs 00:03, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Ummm...I'm note quite sure what you mean when you say, "my translation was Hellenic, wasn't it?" For the most part, the only problems with your etymology were formatting (and ancient vs modern). Hellenic is just a fancy term for all forms of Greek. And yes, I'm quite happy to look over any etymology you write. The only dictionary I've got in the house is Merriam-Webster, which lists both encyclopaedia and encyclopædia as British alt. spellings. To-day seems quite foreign to me, but I'm still fairly young myself, so.....who knows? Rest assured that I have no intention of removing either of the a's from my name. :) I positively love the ae combination, perhaps because it is so rare in American English. If obscure ligatures in usernames weren't frowned upon, it would be Atelæs. The name is an admittedly odd romanization of ἀτελής. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:17, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
Ummm...yes, I meant Ελληνικός i.e. Modern Greek. I'd forgotten that Hellenic applies to Ancient too.
Long live ligatures! Dbfirs 21:33, 8 March 2008 (UTC)


Over 8,000 Googles (even orphanatorium gets a few) SemperBlotto 10:05, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Wow! I'd never have thought of even looking for this one! I get a picture of the poor little orphans swimming endlessly round in a bowl! Thanks! Dbfirs 10:11, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
(later) You didn't give me this to test my gullibleness did you? Does the word have a history, or is it of recent invention? The 8000 Googles are largely interdependent, and I suspect that they are all derive ultimately from one source. However, I agree that the word deserves an entry because it seems to have entered the language of blogs etc. but I will add a further warning to usage notes when I find out the truth. Dbfirs 10:44, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
(& even later) I think I've tracked down the source to Matt Groening's inventiveness, but Futurama is not broadcast here. Has anyone come across a usage which pre-dates this? Dbfirs 11:08, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


Hi. I'd forgotten I once intended to add these. Will you be adding tan, tather, etc. and other variations? If so, I'll leave it with you. -- Algrif 09:19, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Yan is still in common usage, but the others are quoted, not used (except by a very few, probably all dead now). Do they all merit entries? Dbfirs 09:34, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
That was why I'd put it off. But from personal experience, having lived for some years in Cumbria, up to 3 in various dialects is still in common useage. Higher numbers, if examples can be found, merit entry, but if no examples, then I suppose it becomes academic and can stay in Wikipedia. -- Algrif 09:58, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
After a bit of research, I've added tan and tethera because there are many references to the words. Where have you heard them used rather than quoted?
I've only heard yan in normal conversation, but I know the other numbers are more common in some parts of the Lake District. (I live in the bit that was formerly Yorkshire, where farmers normally speak of "yan o't sheep" and "t'ean on em", but never use "tan" or "tethera"). Dbfirs 13:27, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
In the north west corner of the Lakes you can still hear yan, tan, and tethera (although I always thought it was "tather", coz that's how it sounds!) And as you say, mainly restricted to sheep farmers. But you can hear them ask for "tather o' they" (3 of them) in the pubs and shops. Or "tather tups" (3 rams). Dying languages, *sigh*. -- Algrif 15:57, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm in the opposite corner of Cumbria, so I haven't heard the usage you mention, but I will listen out for it. I wish I'd asked my grandfather -- his family had lived in this area since the 1500s, so he might have known if the words were ever used here. I remember hearing someone counting in a shop in Wales, and being surprised that I could recognise some of the numbers. The Old Celtic counting is recognisable in Welsh, Manx & Cornish, with some of the Cumbrian words being used as far south as Lincolnshire, and up into the Scottish borders, but words change rapidly over just a few generations when they are heard and not written, so "tethera" must have become "tather" in your area. My Google search didn't come up with any written record of "tather" meaning three, so I've used the most common spelling in the Wiktionary entry, but there are lots of other variants. My grandfather knew lots of other old words (mainly Norse origin) which will probably never be listed in Wiktionary or anywhere else now. I wish we could go back! Dbfirs 10:18, 3 April 2008 (UTC)


Why do none of the articles have images?--Mr. Junk 23:51, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Because this is a dictionary. Try Wikipedia for images. Dbfirs 23:52, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Okay thank you.--Mr. Junk 23:53, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


In an edit summary you asked whether the math(s) senses of alternating are different from the usual sense. Although they are special application of it, I think that they both

  1. are used often enough with context clarifying how they are "alternating" and
  2. are far enough removed form the general definition

to warrant inclusion. (I guess you think so, too, since you added the sense.  :-) msh210 16:34, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. I agree they are just specialist enough to warrant inclusion, but I have seen other entries where there is a long list of uses in different contexts, and most of them are just the main meaning. I didn't want to annoy others as those entries annoyed me (though I didn't change them). I suppose specialists see differing nuances of meaning, but I'm sure some read more into words than is justified by the usage. Dbfirs 18:16, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Just to note, above, where I wrote "used enough with context", I meant "without", of course.—msh210 18:47, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

re deathy[edit]

There is a difference between typos and common misspellings, I don't think that people actually think that deathly is spelled without the l, (they pronounce the l), rather they mistype it deathy. Should probably not be listed as a misspelling. - TheDaveRoss 21:25, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I was originally going to put alternative spelling, then, when I looked at plain Google hits, I realised that most of them were mis-spellings (e.g. Harry Potter and the Deathy Hollows!), with the genuine ones being archaic. That's why I put the two senses. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a template for "common typo", but feel free to change my entry if you think it is not appropriate to use the mis-spelling template here. Would it be better to put sense 2 in a usage note? I'd be happy to do that. I did put the genuine sense first! Dbfirs 07:27, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

yan, tyan, tethera[edit]

Hi, nice to see someone else interested in the Cumbrian dialect! I realise tethera is more widespread than just Borrowdale, I modified the enrty with my template, as I was going through the Borrowdale variant first (seems to be the most common version). I intend to go through any other variants (check out the Wikipedia article for a list of many of them) that I can find a few cites/references for. The more generic ones (yan and tethera specifically) will fall under a lot of the variants, some (like tyan) won't. J Milburn 20:13, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

I considered entering the other numbers up to twenty, but decided that only yan, tan & tethera were common enough to merit entries, with only yan in widespread current use. Have you come across actual uses of the other numbers, rather than just lists of them? One problem is that there are so many variants - do we add them all? Probably the best solution is to enter the most common form, then include the others as alternative spellings. Editorial opinion seems to differ on what to include, but we have good evidence that they were once in common usage. Dbfirs 18:47, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

RE:Mis Spelling[edit]

I was not aware of that, actually. A source mentioned by another contributor told me that they should written out as one word, but I suppose I shouldn't trust grammar books anymore then (XP). I'll be careful in the future. Teh Rote 13:36, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't actually have one, someone just mentioned it to me. Teh Rote 19:16, 27 July 2008 (UTC)


Yes. In the US, doctors do not "visit" patients at home; patients are expected to "visit" the doctor. --EncycloPetey 22:55, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, and increasingly so in the UK. I'd already added this meaning before I read your message. Should this come first? Dbfirs 22:58, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
(later) I've changed the order to what I think is frequency of usage. Dbfirs 23:02, 16 September 2008 (UTC)


So you know, this looks a lot like an adjective to me. —Neskaya kanetsv 00:34, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I see what you mean! I clicked the wrong template. Thanks. Dbfirs 00:39, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, definitely a noun. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:39, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Now I've checked the history, it wasn't my mistake, was it. Perhaps it is bedtime for Neskaya, too. Goodnight. Dbfirs 00:44, 3 October 2008 (UTC)


Turns our "relicitous" isn't used in Karlgren either. It is "felicitous". It is very important not to guess; almost every other on-line reference uses us as the source for English definitions of Chinese characters. Robert Ullmann 14:01, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for checking, and apologies for guessing (I wouldn't have done so if I hadn't known that an expert such as yourself would check). All the Google hits just mis-quote Karlgren (presumably all copied from Wikipedia). I did wonder whether the sense used (exclusively?) by Karlgren should be relegated to a note. Dbfirs 14:24, 4 October 2008 (UTC)


It looks strange to me too, but there is some evidence. Having someone check my work is why I make a point to include the definition in the comment so it can be seen at recent changes. Evidence: It's in a word list along with [[metred] and metring (so it looks like a verb, though the list is not sufficient in itself) and see also [1]. (I also just added mitre as an alternative spelling for the verb miter, another case where I'd use -ter instead -tre).

You can add {{rare}}, you might want to consider adding RFV and getting some more opinions. RJFJR 17:32, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
How about this cite from google books from the Britannica? metre RJFJR 17:35, 9 November 2008 (UTC) strike that: adj sense

Google books may be (highly) subject to scannos. I went looking for metring to get the verb sense. How about:

There were also a number of examples of it used meaning "to establish a poetic meter".

Comparing raw googles for metring verse metering (if I look at metre I get the noun sense too) I'd say it warrants the 'rare' tag.

I'm leaning towards 'RFV' and seeing if we can find some more citations. RJFJR 17:50, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

pub as verb?[edit]

Is there a verb form of pub, as in "We're going pubbing tonight."? RJFJR 01:47, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Replied here: [[2]]

American vs British English[edit]

A comment was placed at Wiktionary:Feedback#raise that some of the senses are American but not marked that way. Could you offer an opinion on whether any entries at raise need to be marked as US senses? Thank you. RJFJR 14:21, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, I've done so. Dbfirs 17:19, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

de tous les instants[edit]

Hi! Sorry for reverting you. all the time cannot be used attributively in the same way as the French phrase works in sentences; also, its partcular association with surveillance ('they kept a constant lookout’ etc) makes all the time not a very attractive translation. Ƿidsiþ 11:29, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

No offence taken (that's why I put the question in the edit summary). Strangely, does not have an entry for this expression, so I couldn't check usage (presumably they just regard it as a sum of parts). Perhaps full-time would be a better alternative translation? Dbfirs 09:17, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
Maybe round-the-clock? —RuakhTALK 03:10, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, thanks, that's exactly the idiom I was looking for. Dbfirs 08:10, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Perfect! Ƿidsiþ 10:15, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

inflection spelling errors[edit]

I don't think you accounted for many/any others of the 30 I extracted from an Ullmann list prepared for another purpose. There are plenty more, some done by veterans. DCDuring TALK 19:12, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your patience. I am sometimes horrified to see the mistakes that I have made and not spotted, but it is reassuring to know that even veterans make some errors. Dbfirs 19:24, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

shoddy et al.[edit]

Great finds! DCDuring TALK 18:31, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, I'm still checking the facts, and will update if I find any further info. Dbfirs 16:17, 19 December 2008 (UTC)


Quotation could not have the misspelling, it is an audio transcription. (Any given transcript might be misspelled, but the audio itself can't be misspelled, eh? ;-)

An udarnik (shock worker) was a comparatively super-productive worker, often used as a strikebreaker. Cf. the use of "shock" in w:shock troops. Robert Ullmann 16:00, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, I meant the transcription, of course. I made an error (transcription, of course) in my search for udarnik. It is now clear to me that the entry was valid, but just needed an explanation or a link. Dbfirs 16:08, 27 December 2008 (UTC)


Hello, I've just added Czech tranlations to the word, but I was somewhat surprised to see that you'd entered there the second sense (Relating to economy in any other sense.), as I have been in the past warned by more than one source not to use it in this sense, economic being allegedly the idiomatic term for sense 2 and economical only for sense 1 (even my 2000 OALD still points out this difference). Does it mean that the usage have changed, or should there be some specifying tag like {{informal}} or {{dialectal}} or something? --Duncan 16:42, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree with you on on preferred current usage, but both words have been used in both contexts in the past. The first definition was far too restrictive, even for current usage, but I should have anticipated that my addition could be interpreted in too general a way. Would a usage note about preferred contexts be appropriate? Dbfirs 21:45, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for answering. I think a usage note would be very user friendly, as I believe that many other non-natives would otherwise find themselves in the same uncertainty of which information is "more correct", so to say. --Duncan 21:59, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Interestingly, the big OED gives no indication of the distinction made in the OALD, in fact it quotes counter-examples, but I will add the usage note along the lines you suggest. (I am now trying to decide whether to add the theological usage of both words - probably rare if not obsolete!) Dbfirs 22:26, 28 December 2008 (UTC)


"unowned" is not a participle adjective – it's formed from un- + owned. That's not to say unown doesn't exist (the OED has it as a rare variant of disown), but if you're just putting it in to account for unowned, then it's probably the wrong way to go about it! Ƿidsiþ 09:35, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I was about to delete the (old) verb entry at unowned, then I began to wonder because I found some possible usages of the participles. I'm still not sure ... Most of the usages I can find are spelling mistakes and scannos. Dbfirs 09:39, 4 January 2009 (UTC)


Hey, I've seen you around a bit, doing lots of reverting. Would you like to have administrator tools so you can do even more to help? Conrad.Irwin 16:46, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your encouragement, but I'm not sure that I know enough about Wiktionary's rules and procedures to accept at present. Also, neither my brain nor my internet connection works as reliably as I would like them to! Dbfirs 17:18, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Good afternoon, Dbfirs[edit]

I would like to say that I hope you have a great day in your life. Steel Blade 19:55, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, Steel Blade. I checked some of your entries because someone else reverted one, but I notice that you have made some useful contributions to Wiktionary. In some cases, I have combined your added sense with a previous similar sense to avoid a long list of nuances of meaning. I hope you are enjoying your last day of January, too. Best wishes. Dbfirs 20:02, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I am sorry if I am being incivil. I will try my best to help a lot of people here. Steel Blade 20:05, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

There's been disputes about the definitions of compact. Compact means closely, firmly, and neatly packed, while in other dictionaries, it also means "small". Steel Blade 20:21, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I cannot find the citations of it at all. There's got to be somebody who is capable of finding it. Steel Blade 21:00, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm too afraid to go to the requests. Steel Blade 21:28, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for talking with User:Steel Blade[edit]

Thanks for your checking of User:Steel Blade's contribs, and your patience in talking with him/her. I hope I've been polite, but he/she certainly does seem to be concerned that I'm out to get him/her. You may wish to look at User_talk:Steel Blade as I just left the user some more messages, including one about an apparently misleading edit summary (one of the few edits in which the user left any edit summaries). Thanks for your work, and happy editing! JesseW 18:23, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your message. I originally reverted some of User:Steel Blade's edits, and looked at others to try to decide whether they were made in good faith. I decided to assume that they were, though a test of good faith editing will be to see if the editor heeds the advice that has been given. I find it difficult to distinguish, sometimes, between annoying troublemakers and new editors who are just slowly learning the ropes. I was not editing yesterday, so will look at subsequent edits to reconsider my decision. I certainly didn't intend to suggest that you had been impolite (or wrong). Best wishes from across the pond. Dbfirs 08:19, 2 February 2009 (UTC)


Hello, can you clean up abjunctive because it seems to be missing a category and I don't know anything about English entires (I only deal with Latin). Thanks. Caladon 10:18, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm not an expert on layout, but I've added additional senses and cites. There is also a grammatical usage that I would prefer to leave for a grammarian to add. Dbfirs 11:26, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Sense limited to cedilla-less spelling only?[edit]

Regarding your revisions to facade: Going on the OED, this second sense is just one the OED hasn’t bothered to define, and which was written by an author who happened not to use the cedilla to spell the word. (I.e., the OED isn’t recognising a distinct word under the different spelling, but rather not bothering to note it because it doesn’t consider it to have entered the standard, AFAICT.) Also, according to Google Book Search, the original text spelt it as façade, with a cedilla.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:33, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for doing the checks that I should have done. I must learn not to trust secondary sources, however long-established! I've reverted my edit in recognition of the facts you present so clearly. I would never spell the word without the cedilla! Dbfirs 13:11, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
You’re welcome. And that’s good to hear!  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 01:39, 7 April 2009 (UTC)


Replies at:

—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 17:07, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Thanks for removing "modern".

I'm not familiar with the use of spring to refer to groups of months. Who does that? For that matter, I didn't think that months were defined meteorologically. In what sense are they so defined? DCDuring TALK 14:10, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Spring is defined by British meteorologists as the months of March, April and May. Perhaps I should re-phrase this definition for clarity. I very much doubt whether anyone in the southern hemisphere uses your southern hemisphere definition, because the climate there tends to be very different from that in the USA. I've been trying to find out where the idea of spring starting on the date of the vernal equinox originated. Was it just a convenient notable date that happened to match the approximate start of the season in some areas of the world? Did the Founding Fathers bring the date from the UK to America? Astronomically, of course, without temperature lag, the vernal equinox ought to be the middle of spring, and it is so regarded by Celtic and similar traditions. Dbfirs 15:15, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't think US meteorologists do the same. I really hadn't given the matter much thought until it came up on my watchlist. The designation of specific time periods is just conventional after all. Any attestable formal conventions used in any context in any English-speaking country or group may be worth specifying, possibly in a table. In addition, we may need some catch-all definition in addition to the main senses to reflect the conventional variation in non-Anglophone countries. The compiling of the specific conventional definitions outside Anglophone countries seems to be a job for other Wiktionaries and for Wikipedia. Thoughts? DCDuring TALK 15:51, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Australia seems to use the seasonal terms, including spring, especially in Melbourne and Sydney. South Africa doesn't seem to. I don't see it for India, though far northern India is temperate, I think. I wouldn't expect it in the Caribbean, except for the ebb and flow of the tourist business, strongly influence by more northerly seasons. I wonder whether the word "fall" resonates in places without deciduous trees. DCDuring TALK 16:14, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Spring is used to refer to the same three months in the US among meteorologists, according to the Weather Channel glossary. DCDuring TALK 16:28, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I think our first definition for the noun covers all uses of spring (season). I was prompted to get involved with the "conventional dates" by the protestations from Australia when told that their spring couldn't begin until September 22nd, and by objections from Ireland about theirs being delayed until March 20th. I also observe, where I live, that we may well have already had out hottest summer days before June 21st, and that we often get sharp frosts at the start of September. I've also heard American meteorologists say that spring begins in the Everglades in early February and moves north at 15 or 20 miles per day. Whilst I accept that "conventional dates" exist, I wonder why some regard them as fixed throughout the hemisphere. I also question whether the so-called astronomical dates have any acceptance at all in the southern hemisphere where temperature lag is shorter. Dbfirs 21:30, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say what I said about Australia without looking for newspaper citations of "first-day-of-". Putting in any specific date as definite is wrong, but to not put in a date or at least a date range is too vague. The range of possible dates in the Northern Hemisphere may be as much as five days, I think. I've noticed in some of our discussions of definitions (also of usage), there is a desire for a precision which cannot be achieved in something as organic as natural language. The astronomical convention is the only thing that makes for global standardization. (Our discussion reminds me of reading about the introduction of "railroad time" in the US, which would be better named "telegraph time". I suppose that some of our senses are guilty of "temperatism" and "borealism", but that is where our contributors and the authors of the corpora we use are for the most part.
One agricultural/botanical, one meteorological, and one astronomical definition stake out a range of ways of looking at it that encompass all the main possibilities, suggest the range of coverage, and allow for other less common possibilities. DCDuring TALK 22:45, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. I think that's as fair as we can get. Thanks. Dbfirs 06:05, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

quotation mark[edit]

Wouldn't this be better as "One of a pair of quotation marks"? COCA shows 237 uses in the plural, 4 in the singular. It seems like a simpler case than the other words that refer to pairs of things because there is only one meaning. I often find myself typing plural forms in the search box, even when looking for terms more frequently used in the singular. I think the WP article should be moved to the plural for the same reasons. DCDuring TALK 15:39, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I thought the same when I made a small edit. Even one of the pair is actually two marks (normally, though British publishers seem to be trying to reverse the old rule). At present, the plural just points back to the singular. Should I have a go at expanding the plural entry, then shorten the singular? Dbfirs 22:22, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
I wasn't 100% sure, but it seems as if the plural should be the primary. I'm sure this will confuse translators. Perhaps all the translations should be copied and put under checktrans, though I'm not sure whether the translations at the singular respect the singular number. The general rule is that we don't make translations at plurals, but we must have exceptions for eyeglasses, binoculars, pliers, etc. (Hmmm, I'll look into that while you do what you will to the entry.) It hadn't occurred to me that each pair of inverted commas could be viewed as "marks". I've always thought of them as a unit, just like the two marks that make up a question mark.
It looks to me as if some are singular and some are plural, but I'm not a polyglot, so I'll leave it to experts to check. Dbfirs 07:09, 24 June 2009 (UTC)


Not sure if I'm doing this right... Can't figure out how to just add my own comment and I don't see anywhere on your user page where I can e-mail you. Anyhow, just wanted to say that I admire your spunk. I was just reading through some othere people's postings and your responses to them. Absolutely great! = ) --Pulcher 18:27, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your message, and yes, your editing worked (except it should go at the end of the page - I've moved it for you.) The quick way to add a comment is to click the "+" tab at the top of the page. The e-mail link should appear in the toolbox at the bottom left of your screen when you are on a user page (it's third up from the bottom on mine).
I'm just an amateur here - I just add the odd word from requested & missing entries. There are some expert lexicographers who do the real work on Wiktionary, but anyone can edit, or request a word to be added. I've added some links on your user page. Best wishes. Dbfirs 19:46, 22 July 2009 (UTC)


I assume that you know about edittools. I have three recurring problems with Greek, beyond just finding the characterset: 1., finding a good source of Greek for items not in Wiktionary, 2., reading the small diacritics and, 3., inserting them.

My solution is cut-and-paste from Perseus. I wish Wiktionary had the coverage and some of the features of COCA and OneLook and Perseus. DCDuring TALK 17:26, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

BTW, your handling of Feedback comments has been terrific. Only in my better moments do I have the patience and I have never managed the consistent good-humor of your work. Thanks DCDuring TALK 17:30, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for correcting my Greek. The language was missing from my education, so sometimes I have to guess about the different "i"s, and, when I do copy from edittools, the display doesn't seem to match the copied letter. The Perseus link sounds promising. I'm glad someone reads the replies to feedback because I doubt whether many of the original "feeders back" ever return to the page. Dbfirs 21:21, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I can't zoom in enough to really see the diacritics and still get good use of the rest of what is on the screen. I don't think that the Greeks used diacritics, except possibly for the rough breathing to indicate a leading "h". It is more of the pedantry-first approach to things.
You are probably right about the specific users not coming back. The probably find the button by accident. The lack of followup to answers definitely suggests that they aren't coming back often. I find it interesting what users complain about, though I don't know of any analysis. Do you have you any impressions or conclusions about Feedback? DCDuring TALK 23:17, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Occasionally feedback provides a new word, or highlights an error or vandalism. My impression is that it consists, in roughly equal parts, of positive, negative, informative, and utter drivel. I do think that there ought to be replies where appropriate, even if they are rarely seen by the original posters. Dbfirs 16:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC)


Actually, I only deleted that page because it was a redirect. If we are to have an entry, it should be a proper entry, even if it's just an "alternative spelling" one. Personally, I've never heard the word used generically. Chambers has it as a trademark (despite saying it can be used as a verb!), and there are some interesting Google Books results too (about "natural vaselines" etc.). I wonder if it was once a generic term in chemistry that fell into disuse. Equinox 17:58, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

It was patented as a medical lubricant in 1872 (reputedly from the German "wasser" plus the Greek "elaion"), but seems to have acquired the capital letter when it was registered as a trade name in the 1920s. Since the original word had no capital, I think we should have an uncapitalised entry. I'll make a first attempt at noun and verb. Dbfirs 18:25, 5 April 2010 (UTC)


I lost my cool. Thanks. DCDuring TALK 23:04, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

I understood your response perfectly, but I wasn't sure whether the OP (old pedant?) would comprehend. Dbfirs 23:11, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

hi If you don't mind...[edit]

Could you kindly show me the color coding for signatures like yours? I would like mine yellow and your signature came up. Thanks, An editor since 8.28.2011. 04:25, 29 August 2011 (UTC) Never mind; got it.
Another comment: if you don't mind,
...I borrowed the color of the "b" in your signature. You can see it in the orange bar at the top of this screen (look for "(last change)"). Thanks again, An editor since 8.28.2011. 02:22, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

You're welcome to use any colours -- they're not patented. I think I ought to reduce the colours in my signature because they take up too much space. Dbfirs 09:39, 4 September 2011 (UTC)
Sorry about that; I didn't click the "Treat signature as wikitext/wiki markup" check box. Could you please also explain this? An editor since 8.28.2011. 02:48, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
The link just produces a random entry from the English dictionary (bringing up following entries for the same spelling in any other language). Dbfirs 13:41, 8 September 2011 (UTC)


Hello. Would you like to be nominated for adminship? I see you declined 2 years ago, but perhaps your situation has changed. --Rockpilot 12:48, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the offer, but I'm not really an expert on words, and I do make more mistakes than I'm happy with, and I'm still waiting for a decent internet connection, so I think I'd be better as just an ordinary editor at present. Dbfirs 12:53, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
You don't need to be an expert on words, or have decent internet connection, to be an admin. In fact, most admins here are illiterate and/or dyslexic. --Rockpilot 12:56, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
He's right, most of us are basically twats. — [Ric Laurent] — 13:02, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Is than an encouragement to join you? Dbfirs 13:15, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
I don't really know you so I can't say with any certainty whether or not you're a twat, BUT if you aren't, then we'll have one more admin who's not, which would certainly not be a bad thing lol — [Ric Laurent] — 13:18, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll think about it. Dbfirs 13:30, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but I've deleted it. It's not really fair to Dbfirs to create the vote page before he or she has decided whether to accept the nomination, because that pressures him or her to decide quickly, lest the vote stay up indefinitely. (Note: this deletion should nowise be taken as a criticism of the nomination. I'd have nominated him or her myself if I'd realized that he or she wasn't already an admin!) —RuakhTALK 02:45, 25 September 2011 (UTC)


There is definitely a point in commenting on my talk page. I was just tired of seeing unsettling comments every time I had to scroll down the page and it was getting too long as well. I guess I did it wrong yet again. =( I would ask that I prefer new comments on old topics in a new section on the current talk page, but who know's there's probably some dumb regulation on here about that too. Good grief.Gtroy 20:52, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for replying. I posted my comment before I noticed that you'd done a genuine archive. I added a note to apologise for my hasty assumption. Wiktionary's ways do take a bit of getting used to -- I'm not sure that I'm up to speed yet -- but keep up the good work and please take note of genuine attempts to help. I agree that some comments appeared unsettling, but they were in response to what seemed like a stone wall at your end. There are sometimes some decisions that I don't agree with, but Wiktionary is run as a democracy and we just have to abide by the majority decisions (even if we "know" that they're wrong). I'm glad to hear that you read comments, and I don't see any problem in asking for new comments on old topics to appear under a new heading. There are lots of "rules and procedures" here, but I haven't heard of one that prohibits this. Dbfirs 11:46, 24 September 2011 (UTC)


Toilet is pronounced /ˈtɔɪlɪt/ or /ˈtɔɪlət/ ? Fête (talk) 13:16, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

The second option here in the UK. It doesn't follow the "cricket, wicket, ticket" pattern, perhaps because of the "l" and because it comes recently from the French "toilette". You will find that pronunciations vary considerably by region across both the English-speaking and French-speaking world, so not all variant pronunciations are included in either Wiktionary or Wiktionnaire. You will also find that many American speakers combine some vowels that are distinct in many British accents. It's fine to discuss variants, but not to make changes to entries then use these in your argument as you did with someone else. Dbfirs 21:32, 19 December 2012 (UTC)


You pronounce /ˈsæmsʌŋ/ or /ˈsæmsʊŋ/ for the name Samsung ? Fête (talk) 12:57, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Well, actually, I pronounce it /ˈsamsʊŋ/, but that's because I'm from the north of England where the first vowel is more open, and ʊ is common, but both of your suggested pronunciations are common, with the first being most common I think. Dbfirs


You pronounce /kʊt/ for the word cut ? Fête (talk) 22:12, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I do when I am using my local dialect, but I use /kʌt/ when I'm speaking "BBC English". In the UK "/kʊt/" identifies the speaker as a northerner, and tends to convey an impression of lack of education (to some people), so I don't use it when speaking to strangers. Dbfirs 22:23, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Fête is pronounced "fight" in Quebec French. Fête (talk) 23:55, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, there are many idiosyncrasies of pronunciation in local dialects (we pronounce it /feːt/). We don't need to fight over them. Are you sure that it's /aɪ/ and not /eɪ/ ?Dbfirs 09:34, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes. See Fête (talk) 13:22, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

You hear "fight" ? Fête (talk) 23:22, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

There are dialects of British English where all /eɪ/ vowels are pronounced /aɪ/, but it's not standard here. Dbfirs 19:41, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Double links[edit]

I don't think linking to the same page a second time on the same line is helpful, and I think the hundred permutations that will result from doing it without a template will be downright unprofessional. Do you really think it's necessary? If so, we should ask in the BP or GP if someone can make {{alternative spelling of}} add it automatically. - -sche (discuss) 20:09, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

I wouldn't normally repeat a link, but these entries are exceptional in that users will expect to see definitions for a valid word in their region, so the repetition makes is clearer that the definitions are only a click away. My preferred option would be to have the definitions in both entries, as for colour and color, but that creates the problem of keeping them synchronised. In the past, I've suggested putting the definitions in template space so that the same definitions could be included in both entries, but some editors think that this would make the definitions too difficult to edit. I'd be happy if we could improve the template to cater for these special entries. It would involve extending it with an extra optional parameter. Dbfirs 21:09, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
Alright, I've started a BP discussion. - -sche (discuss) 22:14, 6 June 2013 (UTC)


I have rfv-failed a sense for "zeptomole" for which you said you could find cites, at WT:RFV#zeptomole. If you have such quotations, please place them at Citations:zeptomole. The sense was this: "Loosely, a small amount of a substance, especially a countable number of atoms or molecules." --Dan Polansky (talk) 17:52, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the notification. I still think that the word is used in that sense, but when I look again at some of the cites, I can't prove that the word was not being used in the current sense (602 atoms or molecules) that replaced my original definition. I'll look again. The cites given in the entry were originally for the deleted sense. The word had a sudden surge in usage in the 1990s when it became easy to isolate a countable number of molecules of a substance. Dbfirs 19:29, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Hello, sir.[edit]

Do you pronounce Carey as /kɛəɹi/? I've always pronounced it as /kæɹi/. Then again, some people pronounce Sarah as /sɛərə/ rather than /særə/. Tharthan (talk) 16:04, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Yes, in the UK the first vowel is that of care, not car or carry. I'm aware that the situation is sometimes different in America. Where in the world is vary pronounced /væɹi/? I've never heard it with a short vowel like /ˈvɛɹɪ/. Dbfirs 16:16, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Where does it say that vary is pronounced like /ˈvɛɹɪ/? Though, now that you mention it, I think I've heard some of those silly fellows with the merry, Mary, marry merger pronounce the word various like it was /ˈvɛɹiəs/. However, I don't live in an area that possesses the merry, Mary, marry merger, so I can't say for sure. For me, /ɛɹi/ /ɛəɹi/ and /æɹi/ are all distinct.
In any case, vary is pronounced as /væɹi/ sporadically throughout North America in places that lack the merry, Mary, marry merger. Personally, my mum and her side of the family pronounces vary as /vɛəɹi/, but my dad and his side of the family pronounces it as /væɹi/. I too pronounce it as /væɹi/, and everyone I know from my generation pronounces it as /væɹi/ as well.
Similarly, the pronunciation of parent is split at least in my area as well. Both of my parents and their families pronounce the word /pæɹənt/ (as do I), but many other people in my area pronounce the word /pɛəɹənt/. It seems split 50:50 where I live.
In conclusion, it seems to me that some words that have /ɛəɹi/ have either: 1. switched to an /æɹi/ pronunciation over generations in parts of North America 2. preserve an older /æɹi/ pronunciation that was lost in the British Isles (this wouldn't be that farfetched, as note that Ireland preserves the old /fæðɚ/ [or /faðɚ/ if you'd prefer to transcribe it that way] pronunciation for father, even though elsewhere the word has a pronunciation closer to its Proto-Germanic ancestor than its Old English ancestor.)
Furthermore, confer the similar process that took place that caused the word "arrant" /æɹənt/ to develop from errant /ɛɹənt/. Tharthan (talk) 17:33, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
I must admit that I'm puzzled by American pronunciations. How do you distinguish between vary and very? (Actually, I think I understand now -- the vowel /æ/ is interpreted differently on your side of the pond. I'd transcribe your pronunciation as /væːɹi/, but you don't have long and short vowels as we do.)
Arrant and errant were originally the same word (erraunt in Chaucer). Dbfirs 22:18, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Well, I don't have have a pronunciation up on here for vary (though I do have two up for "various"; one for each of the two pronunciations used in my area, /ˈvɛəɹiəs/ and /ˈvæɹiəs/), but if you want to hear how I pronounce words in the -erry, -ary and -arry groups:
merry =
Mary = (I didn't upload an audio file of me saying this word because the one up here already pronounces it the same way that I do)
marry =
Despite this, my pronunciation of vary is /væɹi/. Like I said, one usually can tell which words are to be pronounced with /æɹi/ and which are to be pronounced with /ɛəɹi/ based on whether they have -arry (/æɹi/) or -ary (/ɛəɹi/) spellings, but in the case of vary this does not apply. And, let me just make this clear since your wording seems to imply that you didn't catch this: in my dialect /ɛɹ/ /ɛəɹ/ and /æɹ/ all all distinct sounds. They don't merge together or anything. They are all separate. If you weren't implying that you didn't catch that, then I'm not sure why you thought that vary and very would sound the same to me.
In any case, my dialect is one of the New England dialects (Southeastern New England dialect in particular), so it's quite conservative pronunciation-wise in most cases (i.e. it still distinguishes between merry /mɛɹi/, Mary /mɛəɹi/ and marry /mæɹi/ unlike much of the rest of North America, it doesn't have the cot-caught merger, it doesn't have the father-bother merger [more specifically, in my dialect father is /fɑðɚ/, bother is /bʌðɚ/], etc.) so Tharthan (talk) 22:55, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I can just about distinguish between your merry /mɛɹi/, Mary /mɛəɹi/ and marry /mæɹi/ but they all sound very similar, half-merged, to my British ear. Normal British English for Mary is /ˈmɛːri/, though some say /ˈmɛəɹi/ to rhyme with /ˈhɛərɪ/. Our Wiktionary entry needs adjusting. Your short vowel in /ˈfɑːðə(r)/ also looks strange to me because what you mean by it is not the same as the truly short /a/ in my local dialectal pronunciation /ˈfaðə/. The long and the short of it seems to be that we are divided by a common IPA. Dbfirs 00:01, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
True enough, but let me note something: some people transcribe the vowel used in marry as /a/ [or /a/ with diacritics] for Received Pronunciation and /æ/ for North American varieties, whilst the "a" of starry is /ɑ/ for both. Is it not possible that the lack of vowel length differentiation (RP /ɛː/ vs. my dialect's /ɛə/) and an actual minor vowel difference (RP /a/ (or some variant thereof) vs. my dialect's /æ/) could be leading to your perception as my differentiation of those vowels there as being very weak? I say this because, in North American varieties like mine that do not have the merry, Mary, marry merger, /ɛə/ /æ/ and /ɛ/ are not perceived as being similar at all [before /ɹ/ or otherwise] (leading some to go so far as transcribing /ɛə/ as /eə/ in words like "yeah" and "Mary" because it is perceived as being closer to /e/ than /ɛ/). Alternatively, are you perhaps from Northern England or the West Country? That could explain your perception of my pronunciations, mayhap. Tharthan (talk) 00:55, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I think your analysis is correct, and I was wrong to imply that your differentiation sounds very weak. It's just different from my differentiation of those words. For "starry", by the way, the OED has "Brit. /ˈstɑːri/ , U.S. /ˈstɑri/".
I am indeed from Northern England and have four sets of vowels: my local dialect from a hundred years ago that has some similarities to Middle English (used only in fun when I want to sound incomprehensible); general northern "flat" vowels that I use with locals; BBC English (or General British) — a non-regional accent; and fourthly a poor imitation of "conservative RP" as spoken on the BBC sixty years ago but now used by fewer than 2% of speakers. Occasionally I get them confused! Dbfirs 09:07, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
I should have checked my own Oxford for that before I posted that. My bad!
Indeed, traditional RP used back in the day even distinguished horse and hoarse as well as morn and mourn (my dialect does that too, albeit differently than traditional RP did. My dialect has horse /hɔ(ɹ)s/ hoarse /hoʊə(ɹ)s/ and morn /mɔ(ɹ)n/ mourn /moʊə(ɹ)n/, whilst traditional RP had horse /hɔː(ɹ)s/ hoarse /hɔə(ɹ)s/ and morn /mɔː(ɹ)n/ mourn /mɔə(ɹ)n/.
In any case this has been a learning experience for me and I learnt some things about dialects in the United Kingdom from you that I did not know. Thanks much! Tharthan (talk) 12:07, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
I would make those distinctions only in very careful speech (and not use /ʊ/). It's been an interesting discussion, and I've learnt about American dialects, thanks to you. Best wishes for 2015. Dbfirs 12:42, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
The same to thee. Tharthan (talk) 14:40, 5 January 2015 (UTC)


Hello, Dbfirs. I hope life has been treating you well!

We discussed some time ago several things, and one of them was the seeming replacement of vowel length (/ː/) in my dialect of North American English with /ə/ in many instances.

Well, I think I have found a dialect of American English that does have actual vowel length distinction, at least in one instance: Southern United States English.

They shift /aɪ/ (their equivalent to my dialect's /ɑɪ/) to /aː/.

I was not sure whether you were aware of that or not. Tharthan (talk) 17:07, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

Hi, Tharthan. Sorry I didn't log on yesterday, so missed your message. Thank you for the info on one American dialect that I've heard only in films, but that sounds familiar from my very limited exposure to the accent.
Life in the UK is fine: we had a spring day on February 27th, then several inches of snow this afternoon. The folklore for March is "in like a lion, out like a lamb" so we are expecting a warm end to the month. Best wishes. Dbfirs 19:08, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Funny you should say that. We say the same thing here in New England for March. We also say "April showers bring May flowers (I have never seen it written, but perhaps this is actually supposed to be "mayflowers"?)" for April.
I don't know exactly how bad it has been in the United Kingdom, but here in New England we've gotten at least fifty inches this Winter! Although my back aches from the constant shovelling, I have absolutely no qualms with the lovely Winter. You see, whilst Fall and Spring are honestly my favourite seasons, Winter is quite near and dear to my heart as well. The only season that I do not like whatsoever is Summer. To be quite frank, once the temperature starts rising above 60°F (15.6°C), it starts to get too hot for me. 70°F (21.1°C) is my absolute maximum if I am to remain comfortable. I also love the rain, and (as you can probably guess) the snow.
I hear that Southern England and Ireland have lovely weather (at least, lovely by my standards, anyway). I would consider going to Southern England if it weren't for a certain gargantuanly rising populace that is currently existent there. Ireland is a definite possibility in the future, though, considering my heritage. Tharthan (talk) 21:06, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
We certainly don't get that amount of snow, even in a bad winter, and I haven't shovelled much at all this winter -- the daytime temperature at the front door stayed below freezing for a couple of weeks, but otherwise it has been remarkably mild. We're expecting a bit more snow tomorrow and Tuesday, but our winter total is nowhere near yours, even if it didn't melt between snowfalls. We get more rain (up to 100 inches per year) where I live than does most of England and Ireland. You would enjoy our summers because the regular cloud cover keeps the temperature well below seventy except on rare occasions. Air conditioning is unheard of in Garsdale! Dbfirs 22:16, 1 March 2015 (UTC)


The category American English forms is removed that way. Maybe you didn't intend to do that. Donnanz (talk) 21:22, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Is there any way to make the correct template display more helpfully, without relying on the mouseover that users might or might not notice? (I tried out my alternative on a comparatively rare word where both spellings are used in America (but not in the UK) just to see what the effect would be, but I didn't deliberately remove the category. Dbfirs 21:29, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
I know what you want to achieve, and I agree with you - it's the same with the British template. Maybe the template can be altered, but in the meantime, with the wording you prefer, you would have to enter Category:American English forms at the bottom. Donnanz (talk) 21:45, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll do that. I was hoping to attract the attention of someone who knows how to change the template (or who can explain why we have to put up with it). Perhaps I'll raise it at the grease pit. Dbfirs 19:30, 4 April 2015 (UTC)