User talk:Hippietrail/archive

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Hi Hippietrail,[edit]

I wanted to let you know I value your efforts for looking up and entering translations in Wiktionary very much. You seem to have seen some interesting parts of the world and learned quite a few interesting languages. I admire that. Sorry that I don't always seem to use the right tone or words to convey what I mean. I answered about the common gender on my talk page. Polyglot 18:29, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Hippietrail, Thanks for the help. I've been working on these 'turn' phrases for days now (they keep turning up!), and I think I'd feel adrift in a sea of language were it not for the fact that someone, somewhere is reading and improving my work. BTW--What document am I missing about how to format links to pages with spaces in the names? Is an underscore necessary? Counterproductive?

Dvortygirl 06:43, 19 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Hi Dvortygirl!
No worries. For inspiration I keep looking at recent pages or random pages and fiddling with them. For formatting, I've just picked it up as I've gone by seeing how other people have been doing it and reading discussion pages. On Wiktionary where I hung out before here, I never see links with underscores in them so I've been assuming it's wrong until somebody tells me otherwise. At the very least it makes cutting & pasting phrases from here easier if they have spaces in them.
Hi Dvortygirl and Hippietrail,

I don't think it's needed to put underscores in links. The software takes care of it. Those underscores are only important in the url, as far as I know. I would prefer seeing linked expressions and compound words without underscores in them, properly capitalized. So no capitals when that word wouldn't normally be capitalized. Keep up the good work! You are tackling the stuff I/we prudently avoided. The only excuse I can come up with for avoiding those harder words is that English isn't really my language. Polyglot 11:15, 19 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I put an answer on my talk page concerning the usage of words in Latin America.Polyglot 07:29, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hey Hippietrail. Regarding the Juice entry, I have put in a redirect. You asked "why pipe petrol to gasoline?" Because (1) I know that juice is slang for petrol in countries where I have bought petrol, (2 ) I know that petrol is a word not commonly used in some countries where gasoline is used so I linked to it explain what it is. ValidUserName 02:39, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hi ValidUserName. Here on Wiktionary we don't use pipes as much as on Wikipedia because we want to have an entry for every word including both British and US varieties so I've unpiped your entry since "juice" is used in countries which use the word "petrol" as well as countries which use the word "gasoline" or "gas". Even if a word isn't there it it's better to link to it and it that way prompt people to add it. Keep enjoying yourself on Wiktionary thanks! Hippietrail 04:36, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Sure, ' "juice" is used in countries which use the word "petrol" as well as countries which use the word "gasoline" or "gas"', but in the US (e.g.) how many people would know "juice" referred to petrol or even know what petrol actually is. But ok, if thems the rules then thems the rules. I've changed the synonym from petrol to gasoline on the petrol page. ValidUserName 19:48, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Actually that's what the dictionary is for - to let people find out what they don't already know (: Thanks for fixing my goof on the petrol page! Hippietrail 21:43, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Re donner: There is no absolute rule that translations would have level 4 headings. All heading levels beyond 3 and indentation levels should be treated as flexible. In the case of donner, the French word does not show such multiple usages as to require moving to a level 4 heading. Level 3 is adequate in this case. Eclecticology 10:03, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Sure it's adequate for now but if it's always level four then it lowers the need for maintainance when things change. It'll be in the right place when other parts of speech are added, when other language entries are added, etc. It's less for new users to learn and less for more experienced users to adjust when the new ones add things which would throw out the levels. And it certainly doesn't hurt anything either IMHO. Hippietrail 11:05, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I would also prefer to always use the same levels. It keeps things simpler. Polyglot 13:00, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
It doesn't make a big difference in donner as it now stands. It can, however, make a difference in more complicated instances where translations of words with multiple meanings can be better handled with indents or even with level 5 headings. Eclecticology 20:04, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Yes I agree and I have worked on some such pages but I think at present it's better to treat those complex articles as the exceptions and use the same levels on the simpler articles. Hippietrail 07:55, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Hi Hippietrail,

I am not convinced that it is necessary to capitalize those accented characters at the beginning of a word. In fact we are a bit unhappy that the software does this for the other words. This is fine for Wikipedia articles, but an unwanted side effect for Wiktionary. In a dictionary it would make sense to have different entries for capitalized and non-capitalized words. We make do with the software we have, but I don't think it's necessary to capitalize those letters where the software failed to do it. On the other hand, we should reach consensus about this and I'm only one little voice in the crowd.Polyglot 10:32, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I just noticed that the software used on the French Wikipedia did capitalize the first letter of être. So never mind anything I said. It's probably better for consistency to have them capitalized. Polyglot 10:57, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Actually I agree with you. I want the software improved to allow lowercase for some Wikis such as Wiktionary - in the meantime it should be consistent and I think this is a good way of bringing attention to the deficiency of the software as well. Hippietrail 11:03, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Hi Hippietrail,

Regarding the superlative of "little". "Little" is compared "littler", "littlest", as you say, but only when it means "small". When it means "not much" or is an adverb, it is compared "less", "least", as in "I am a little happy; I am less happy; I am least happy" (adverb), or "There is little money; there is less money; there is least money" (adjective). See -- Paul G 15:23, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Even accepting's assessment that "less" is the comparative of "little", "least" is still the superlative of "less," not "little." Given the progression "a little/less/least," it would seem that "little" is suppleting "less" and not the other way around (much as "to be able to" suppletes "can" in some cases).
I was going to take issue with "there is least money," but on second thoughts I would use it, e.g. "Naturally the new expense came when there was least money available." Personally, I would more likely say "the least" in such a case, but this is clearly a variation in dialect.
Nonetheless, my intution is that there is something more going on here than just adjective/comparative/superlative, even taking suppletion into account. The tendency is to say "a little" or "the least" instead of "little" or "least", and I'm not sure how best to explain that.
Here are some sample usages. I was going to try to draw conclusions from them, but I'm not sure I can and would like to hear other opinions:
  • This form of address is little used.
  • This form of address is less used than that one.
  • This form of address is least used.
  • This form of address is used a little.
  • This form of address is used less.
  • This form of address is used least.
  • This clothing is little-used. (No one wears it much)
  • This clothing is a little used. (It's somewhat worn out)
  • This clothing is lesser-used. (It is worn less frequently)
  • This clothing is less used. (could be either of the previous two senses)
  • This clothing is the less used. (ditto)
  • This clothing is least used. (ditto)
  • This clothing is the least used. (ditto)
  • This clothing is least-used. (It is worn least frequently))
  • There is little to be learned here.
  • There is a little to be learned here.
  • There is less to be learned here.
  • There is least to be learned here.
  • Of all the possible fields, there is the least to be learned here. (seems to need a bit more context than "there is least...")

The best-behaved situation seems to be when modifying another adverb:
  • It is worn less frequently.
  • It is worn least frequently. or ...
  • It is worn the least frequently.
But note that one would not say
  • * It is worn little frequently.
might say
  • It is worn a little frequently.
and certainly would say
  • It is worn a little too frequently.
-dmh 17:05, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Vocabulary Project[edit]

Hej Hippietrail, I have written a program for learning vocabulary, and since you are interested in languages and pronunciation I thought you might be interested. The program is based on the belief that it is best to learn foreign words by learning typical sentences. It can also be used for learning other stuff that works with the question/answer scheme, e.g. the theory for the driving licence or anatomy. Unfortunately I wrote in qbasic, which can be downloaded here. In the long run the program should be rewritten in a better language like Visual Basic. Afterwards it should be possible to switch languages within the program. Up to now there is a different version of the program for each language. The program uses images and sound files for alternation and in order to work on the pronunciation. If you are interested let me know. I currently have files in English, French (with sound), and Spanish. Catalan and Portuguese are in the planning. Corrections or additions are very welcome. The easiest thing to start with for improvements would be adding new vocabulary, sound files or images. A guide to the program will follow soon, although I think it is rather self-explanatory. Get-back-world-respect 16:24, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Wow... lots to answer here.

> I think your articles' format is a bit too different from the regular articles.

I must have been gone way too long. OK, that makes sense.

> I'm also a bit confused by your use of acute accents in your romanisations — what do they represent?

It was done to represent the fact that the vowels sound closer to acute than to normal vowel sounds... I know I should have done SAMPA or something but I don't have a clue about how to do SAMPA et al.

-- EmperorBMA|話す 11:07, 3 May 2004 (UTC)

Re: lyrics[edit]

Well that sounds nice... Glad to see we have another Japanophile. (Just watch those Copyrights...) ;) -- EmperorBMA|話す 01:29, 5 May 2004 (UTC)

BTW, I noticed you did e2 too, eh? (I have a user over there but I haven't gone back since I found the 'pedia) -- EmperorBMA|話す 01:34, 5 May 2004 (UTC)
Yes I've been there since the E1 days years ago. The only articles I bother with now are my ones of interesting terms in their original languages:

Yeah Wikipedia and Wiktionary take my time so I can't node any more... -- EmperorBMA|話す 02:03, 5 May 2004 (UTC)


Hello Hippietrail,

How would you feel about becoming a sysop? It might very well be you prefer to concentrate on adding content instead of administrative tasks, so don't feel obliged just because we ask. You can let your answer be known on Eclecticology's talk page. He's the one with the possibility to create more sysops anyway. Polyglot 06:46, 10 May 2004 (UTC)

Done. You are now a sysop. Now, about the initiation ritual ...
Things are much calmer here than on Wikipedia. Although NPOV is just as applicable, the subject matter just does not lend itself to that kind of problem. We do occasionally get the ordinary vandal visiting us, but dealing with them is not complicated. If I understand correctly you are in Australia, so it will be helpful to have somebody available from that block of time zones.
If I think of some suitable make-work projects, I'll keep you in mind. :-)


Hi Hippietrail,

Thanks for helping to enter the rhymes. There are many more to do, so thank you for your support. -- Paul G 08:41, 11 May 2004 (UTC)

G'day (I've just seen you are in Australia). A thought occurred to me this morning. Instead of battling to keep plurals, past participles, etc in synch with the uninflected words on the rhymes pages, I think it would give greater consistency and less redundancy to cross-refer to these pages. So, for example, the page for "-aɪz" would contain a link to the page for "-aɪ" with a note that the plurals, third-person singulars and possessives of some of these words give additional rhymes. This will mean much less work and keep these pages relatively maintenance-free. I'll do "-aɪz" now as an example. What do you think? -- Paul G 08:47, 12 May 2004 (UTC)
By the way, words that are not plurals, third-person singulars, possessives, regular past tenses or regular past participles would remain on their respective pages. -- Paul G 08:47, 12 May 2004 (UTC)
I saw that and had a bit of a think. It mostly makes good sense but some words have entries as plurals etc. Especially ones which happen to be spelled the same as a foreign word and some which are homophones with a non-plural (etc) word.
Also I think many people aren't conscious of the different phonetic realizations of certain derivational morphemes. -s can be /s/, /z/, or /@z/. Especially with words such as "bath" which changes from /bA:T/ to /bA:Dz/, the latter ending in probably the most difficult sound in English.
For now I think I'll watch how people use it and think more about it. — Hippietrail 09:42, 12 May 2004 (UTC)
I had a think about that. Where a word has a part of speech other than a simple plural, past tense, etc, I am retaining it. For example, "tired" is listed as it is an adjective as well as a past tense and past participle. I intend to include the consonant changes such as T to D if these aren't already listed.
I agree definitely where an inflected form is also used as an adjective etc or has some sound change. I'm starting to have doubts about removing the inflected forms though because the lists were not unmanageably long and it was really handy seeing all the rhymes in one place.
Incidentally, you might have seen that I am distinguishing between u: and ju:. I have done this only because the AHD transcriptions are different (oo + macron and u macron respectively). This means, for example, that "boon" belongs under the former and "dune" under the latter, with a cross-reference. This artificial distinction might be a little too fine. I might well put the rhymes together under "u:" and note that the AHD is one or the other, depending on the word. After all, the pronunciations of the individual words can be determined by looking them up. What do you think about this? -- Paul G 16:30, 13 May 2004 (UTC)
Yes I did notice and it's definitely wrong. /ju:/ definitely rhymes with /u:/. But what you say about the AHD is correct. When I first started adding them I was sticking tightly to how the AHD itself used them - and just for American pronunciations. Now I've found ways to get it to represent everything the IPA/SAMPA can represent but haven't updated the old ones - and I'm not calling it AHD anymore but haven't decided what to call it instead - it's just "non-IPA-dictionary-style pronunciation guide" — Hippietrail 22:46, 13 May 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for this feedback. I'll move the /ju:*/ content into /u:*/ and note the u-macron and oo-macron pronunciations.
I read a few hours ago (your?) reply on how /ju:/ is not a rhyme for /u:/ in some US accents. I wasn't aware of this and I guess we should note it somehow but I don't think it warrants splitting these pages for everybody. Also, if they do have a different sound we should find, preferably in a linguistics site or article, what the best IPA symbols are for representing the 2 sounds. In the meantime we should keep /(j)u:/ for representing the "usual" sound. — Hippietrail 09:40, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
I have been sticking to AHD's pronunciation scheme except I assumed that they use a-diaeresis for "ah", when in fact they use a-circumflex. Are you planning on changing this phoneticisation scheme? If so, please keep me updated so I can make appropriate edits (or do the edits yourself). Thanks. -- Paul G 08:56, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
Really? I haven't looked at a print AHD for months but has this link to an AHD pronunciation guide which I've always used here and which uses a-umlaut for "ah" and a-circumflex for "air". Also it has no u-macron but oo-macron for the sound in "boot". Sounds like even more reason for me/us to stop calling it "AHD".
I should make a new pronunciation article stating which symbols we use here. I've put off doing it for ages because the obvious way to do it is in a table with IPA and SAMPA but we could never agree on how to use those. Should I make an article under Wiktionary:, Index:, or Appendix: - or somewhere else? — Hippietrail 09:40, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
You're quite right about the AHD's transcription of "ah". The version I am looking at is, which looks identical to the copy you are using. My oversight. I'm glad I hadn't started changing them all!
I notice that AHD has no u-macron either. I wonder where I got that from. The sound (as "few") is transcribed as y + oo-macron.
I think a pronunciation article is certainly in order. Maybe the best place for it is under "Articles" as it is not really an appendix or index. In my view, "Abbreviations used in Wiktionary" belongs in "Articles" too rather tahn "Appendices" as the latter seems to be full of things that are not specific to Wiktionary, while "Articles" contains things that are (broadly speaking). — Paul G 09:47, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Do you mean Articles:Pronunciation guide? I can't find anything else in the Articles: namespace — or have I got your idea wrong? — Hippietrail 11:54, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Hi, I moved your comment to my user talk page and replied there. Diderot 10:18, 14 May 2004 (UTC)

For some reason I'm particularly delighted to see "yum" and "yuck" added to the lexicon. Thanks! -dmh 12:02, 18 May 2004 (UTC)


From the page history of the main page: "13:50, 14 May 2004 . . Hippietrail (rv vandalism to last entry by Paul G)". I read that and thought, I didn't vandalise the page! Then I looked at what the vandalism was and realised that you meant "rv vandalism to the last entry, which was by Paul G" rather than "rv Paul G's vandalism to the last entry" :) — Paul G 15:20, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Hi Hippietrail,

I've commented out your contribution "sahib" from Rhymes:English:-iːb as, from what I have been able to gather, it is stressed on the first syllable and the final syllable is /Ib/ rather than /i:b/. Do you know if it can be pronounced as you say? — Paul G 08:53, 28 May 2004 (UTC)

It looks like I've been mispronouncing it! Though the online dictionaries I find say /ˈsɑːɪb/, /ˈsɑːiːb/, /ˈsɑːhɪb/, they are all stressed on the first syllable. Thanks for pointing it out. Sorry for adding without checking. — Hippietrail 09:20, 28 May 2004 (UTC)

Alternate/alternative spelling[edit]

I prefer to use "Variant spelling" to avoid the "alternate/alternative" US( & Aus/NZ?)/UK. I don't expect anyone to do the same, but I think it might be worth adopting for this reason. What do you think? -- Paul G 15:26, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

I've been puzzling over this for a while myself. To my ear, "variant" has a connotation of "lesser", "non-standard", etc. I was using "alternate" until I read that that term correctly deals with a choice of two only. So while I'm not really happy with "alternative" — since it has weaker connotations due to phrases like "alternative music" — I haven't been able to think of anything better yet ): At least alternative gives the impression of "you have several alternatives" rather than "that's just a variant". Maybe the same impressions don't count for other people though? — Hippietrail 15:34, 30 May 2004 (UTC)
Interesting... Chambers (published in the UK) has "alternative: either of a pair, or any of a set; [...] one of them, esp. other than the one in question". US English uses "alternate" for this, while in British English, "alternate" means "every other, every second". I agree that "variant" could have the sense of "lesser", like you say. Chambers has "a different form of the same thing, esp. a word", which counts in the word's favour, but also "a specimen slightly differing from a type or standard", which counts against it! So, all things considered, "alternative" would be correct word to use, but might not be understood by American readers (I don't know if "alternative" is an American English alternative to "alternate" :)) Checking Chambers again, one meaning of "alternate" is "somethings used with the sense 'alternative'" without any comment on where it is used, although "alternate" is certainly used for "alternative" in the US.
I'm not sure what the solution is here. For the time being, it's safe to continue with "alternative", "alternate" and "variant" - we can decide on a standard later and propagate it to all entries using a bot (once we find out how to do that). -- Paul G 16:09, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

New rhymes[edit]

I'm planning on systematically adding links for rhymes that add /-i/, -/-@/ and /-@U/ to the existing links (for example, adding /-eIdi/ ("lady"), /-eId@/ ("Ada") and /-eId@U/ ("Play-Doh"®) to /-eid/ ("fade")). I see that you have added some of these already. Please feel free to add more - it will be less work for me when I add them wholesale. -- Paul G 16:09, 30 May 2004 (UTC)


I was surprised to read your note on "data" to the effect that claiming "data" is plural is hypercorrection based in ignorance of the Latin origin. Isn't it from the Latin "[things] that are given", as I have put as the etymology? Doesn't this mean it is (or at least, was originally) plural? The OED says it is. I have modified the usage note to reflect how it is used (usually collective, although this is considered incorrect by some; always collective in computing; usually plural in statistics). -- Paul G 17:02, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

For some reason, old dictionaries seem to fall in line with the stuff/pedantic camp when it comes to this word. I mean to check the Macquarie Dictionary which is usually very thorough and not stuff at all. More descriptive than some other big dictionaries. Yes it was indeed originally a plural word which is why I put that def first. But in speech, apart of certain nerdy types (nerdier than me!) I never hear it.
Also watch out on the difference between "uncountable" vs "collective". A collective noun is a special name given to a group of a certain type of things. A flock of geese. A pride of lions. A murder of crows. An uncountable noun is something that cannout be counted in a given language. "Dust" is a perfect example. You can never say "a dust", "one dust", "n dusts". The usual determiners are "the" and "some". "non-count noun" and "mass noun" are synonyms with "uncountable noun". But I chose "countable"/"uncountable" because it's meaningful as a single keyword with no explanation.
As an experiment, try googling "some data" vs "datas" or some other tricks you can think of to detect countability in actual usage.
Hippietrail 01:29, 31 May 2004 (UTC)


Hi Hippietrail,

I saw on Paul's page you are interested in creating a bot. Have a look at pyWikibot, I think it's the one that is the most appropriate to build further upon. I haven't had a very close look yet, but I think it's worth the while. I also created a PHP-script, but it's more like an aid to enter lists semi-automatically. A link to it is on my page. I think it makes more sense to use the Python bot though. That's what I plan to do once things get a bit calmer in my life.

Polyglot 18:27, 30 May 2004 (UTC)

Hi Hippietrail,

I love you

  • Romanian and Romanica are not the same language.

User:Josu_Lavin 31 May 2004

Oops sorry Josu. I thought you had only dewikified the language name which I thought was a superfluous edit - I only looked at the diff and didn't notice that you had also fixed broken indentation. I've fixed it again now. Thanks for aalerting me to my stupidity! — Hippietrail 13:39, 31 May 2004 (UTC)

Hi, Hippietrail--

Yes, Terra is capitalized when it's used as a proper noun....but it's probably used more in science fiction than elsewhere. Proper nouns in English are generally capitalized, but you probably know that. Cheers, RSvK 20:44, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)


On nl:Servisch we have the translations copied from the en:wiktionary. I have translated the translations by using messages instead. One thing that you may notice that the nouns are as capitols when I know them to be capatilised in that language. Could you have a look and tell me if you like this.. The benefit is particularly important for adding/changing translations automagically. Thanks, GerardM 16:38, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Re: aa mistake[edit]

At your comment "replace hawaiian silently deleted by Centrx...": that was most certainly a mistake, and possibly even due to database peculiarity. - Centrx 05:28, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I saw that you changed some translations removing square brackets from language names. Is there a rule that language names should not be links? If yes where can I find such rules written? I suppose the best way would be to use two letter language codes in braces, so that just changing the expansion rule could change it in all places at once. But currently 'pl' in braces expands to 'Template:pl' (no link) while 'bo' in braces expands to 'Template:bo'... Cek 06:00, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Hi Cek. I just left you an unrelated message on your own talk page by the way.
Basically as far as linking goes, the wiki servers are under great load and break down from time to time, so we have decided to use links sparingly here at Wiktionary. For exotic or obscure languages that typical educated people are not familiar with, we link the language name to make them easy to look up and it makes it easy to create an index for the language by using the "What links here" feature.
For well-known languages, these things are not really needed. Typical people already know what the words mean, and indices typically exist already.
Lately though, some people have been msg-ifying various language names, headers, etc. Some others of us are not yet impressed by these new changes and are sticking with the old ways until we're convinced. It seems somebody might be deciding which of these headings should be links or not... None of this stuff is probably written anywhere. There has been discussion about some of it in the Beer Parlour, and probably some on the mailing lists. — Hippietrail 06:22, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Yes, you're right about me didn't spotting that there were two entries. Thanks for telling me:) \Mike 09:31, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the help with öringen! :) \Mike 10:35, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)

pinyin sort[edit]


I noticed your resorting at Wiktionary:Requested articles:Chinese — I didn't understand it at first, but I think I get it now; where does this kind of pinyin sort come from? Is it a standard? I'd like to learn more about this if I could.

(I only have a couple of Chinese sources, and they both seem to go about it differently — one, a Chinese-English phrasebook, alphabetizes them by letter, like English, thus ai - an - ao - ayi; the other, the book form of, alphabetizes them by syllable, thus ayi - ai - an - ao; the former book anaesthetic to tone except for disambiguation of otherwise identical words and the latter apparently only following this rule in monosyllables, which is why I didn't grok your ordering at first.) —Muke Tever 05:51, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Yes you're right, I included the tone in the alphabetical order whereas it should really be secondary only for identical syllables. I'll put them in the correct order.
I think the majority of the dictionaries I've seen use English alphabetical order but there are variations. — Hippietrail 06:11, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)


It may come as a surprise but you were not either of the persons that I had in mind as stubbornly holding out for the status quo at Wiktionary:Beer parlour/case-sensitivity vote when I was writing on Timwi's talk page. I apologize if I left that mistaken impression.

I am surprised and I certainly accept your apology as well as offering my apologies for butting in. I am stubborn on the issue but I'm also democratic (-:

As for the search function, I believe that it should be fully case insensitive. I just searched the words "stone" and "Stone" and neither gave me "Philosophers' stone". This suggests that there's something buggy about the search engine rather than some kind of policy issue. Eclecticology 09:03, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Hmm time to try out the bug page! — Hippietrail 09:34, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Numbers before synonyms[edit]

Hi, Hippietrail. The (17) in uncipher means that there are 17 synonyms for uncipher. Thanks for the question. Good day, and peace profound. --MeroTalk 19:03, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Hello again, HT. Yes, Gadhelic and Goidelic are capitalized. --MeroTalk 00:29, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)


From the page history of Requests: "Hippietrail: - she'll puke giant trike". Nice to see a bit of humour on Wiktionary :) — Paul G 12:58, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks — I wondered if anyone would notice (-: — Hippietrail 13:50, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Hey Hippie,

saw your comment on /i:/ vs /i/ vs /I/ on User talk:Paul G. I have opened a discussion of the transcription of Wikitionary as it appears in the logo at Wiktionary talk:Wiktionary Logo. I would welcome your input on the matter. Oska 07:58, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)


The obvious answer is that I only speak and read english. Hyacinth 20:01, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Howard Stern et al.[edit]

I have no complaints about your deletion of Howard Stern. However, when making an entry at RfD, could you please sign and date your entries in the usual way. It's my way of knowing when a notice has been there long enough to be removed from the page. Eclecticology 04:24, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Translations without definitions[edit]

Hi Hippietrail,

I notice you have created some pages with translations but no definition (such as bay and loin). I think this is a bad idea, as if more than one definition is subsequently added, it is unclear which of these the translations are for and extra work is required to check them all. See what I have done with "bay", where the translations were for at least two senses (the geographical - Spanish "bahia", and "compartment", the French "compartiment"). So could you add at least a provisional definition when you make new pages with translations in, please? I've seen at least one other user do this and made the same request to him/her so that this does not develop into a trend. Thanks. — Paul G 11:22, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Hi Paul.
I do this on purpose because I feel that "some information is better than none". Often my sources are incomplete or their disambiguation notes are in a language I do not understand. Most of the time these sources are going to be for the "obvious" sense. In this case the water one. I wasn't even aware of the existence of the "compartment" sense although it makes sense relating to "bay window". I do try to use provisional defs when I can but in this case I wasn't sure how to define "bay" even in a rough sense without peeking at another dictionary - it's just not my forte.
Anyway I don't see it as a problem. Users will understand from the lack of a sense number or lack of insertion into the new tables that the translations are given without exact senses - this is already how I have to use about half of my printed dictionaries or online resources. In fact in many instances we separate more senses that almost any translating dictionary would anyway. I'll keep an eye out for such examples.
When I find the translation of a word I am loath to keep it out Wiktionary just because I don't know enough about it. With collaborative projects like this we can all just add what we know and others will improve it over time. I think this is the best we can do. I do respect your opinion however and understand where you are coming from. — Hippietrail 11:35, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Sure, I understand that it makes sense to add what we know rather than attempting to write complete entries at a first pass. However, with a word like "bay", if someone had added the "herb" sense as the first definition, the translations would appear to be for this word. An exact definition is not needed - a two-word place-holder definition will suffice until someone comes along to provide a fuller one. I just feel it is important from the start to prevent translations ending up as the unusable mess that they often have in the past.
Thanks for taking this on board in any case. Now I have another gripe for you :) See "Translations" below. — Paul G 15:06, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Where do you get your online translations? I suspect some of these sources are not as reliable as they might be. "Birthmark" seems to have been translated as "mark of birth" in a few Western European languages, but these seem not to be correct - Collins' online translation resource (comprehensive and accurate, but best used for reference only, in my opinion, rather than as a source, as it is copyrighted) gives "envie; tache de vin" for the French and "antojo" (as well as "marca de nacimiento", granted) for the Spanish. — Paul G 15:06, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I thought they looked a bit "iffy" too but I checked them with Babelfish which is usually - but not always - pretty good. — Hippietrail 15:09, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

List of de words in Dutch[edit]

Hi Hippietrail, it's all right to give me such a list. I'm a amazed that you can produce such a list though!

In fact I just used Google: >> "dutch * +de" << but only a few pages of results were found due to Google not indexing us very thoroughly. I should allow also the mirror sites though...

I worked through it. I think one of the reasons some dictionaries shy away of adding the gender is because there is not always agreement between Holland and Flanders (Belgium) for the usage. Polyglot 15:41, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Thanks very much! I hate that I can't find these anywhere else. Dutch<->English dictionaries are hard to come by altogether here in .au - especially cheap ones. — Hippietrail 15:45, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Thanks for your comments; I'm still not sure how to get an accented Russian vowel though. Is there a wiki way to do it? Nikitab 22:33, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)



Why did you revert my edit of Hindi ? Yann 09:25, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Because the interwiki links are to link to the exact same word & spelling in different Wiktionaries, not to link to translations of the word. This has been discussed in the Wiktionary:Beer parlour several times by now. Hope this makes it clear. Sorry if I seem abrupt. — Hippietrail 09:29, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
But this is ridiculous and useless. If I don't know English, I want a quick link to a translation, not a link to the same word. Yann 09:50, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Mind if I butt in? Clicking a link does take you to a translation - but of the definition, not of the headword.
An analogy: the Japanese link on the Wikipedia article on Beer takes you to ビール (biiru, beer) which is still about beer, and not the Japanese equivalent of beer, sake. --Vladisdead 10:08, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)

About ko YOU[edit]

You have friendly corrected pronomial adjective. Korean belongs to the language group which does not know declension nor conjugation. There is no exact form of derivates of pronouns. is used, if the so-called adjective particle -의 will be contracted with pronoun 너 in one syllable.

E.g.: 친구 and 너의 친구 have same meaning.--A-heun 15:10, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yes I see now that 너 = you, 의 = 's, 네 = 너 + 의; therefore both 네 and 너의 = your, and not you. — Hippietrail 15:15, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Right. That -의 can never alone used, although its meaning or its function is like preposition of in English.
E.g.: 그는 너의 친구이다 (He is your friend). In this sentence you find the pronoun of third person 그 = He, and also the so-called adjective particle -는 which makes the pronoun 그 subject, meanwhile -의 makes the pronoun 너 possesive pronoun. --A-heun 07:04, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

waning gibbous[edit]

Erm, why did you gun waning gibbous? I'm assuming it was an oversight. It's a perfectly good astronomical term, and I had installed what I hope was a reasonable first cut at a definition. If it's just to get rid of the rubbish history, you might want to re-start with the legitimate definition instead of blowing it away entirely. FWIW, I don't think it's a good idea to gun an article just to get rid of its history, unless the history is really heinous. It would tend to impede wiktionary's natural self-repair process. I'll certainly stop trying to patch bogus definitions if they're just going to get blown away anyway. -dmh 03:24, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hi Dmh. Looks like I goofed then. I initially questioned it, along with some other rubbish which appeared at the same time. Usually I look at diffs so I might have only noticed that somebody put it on RFD or that it still contained rubbish at some point. Looks like I missed your fix however. I'll reinstate it right away. Sorry about that. It was a casualty of lots of crap appearing and trying to clean it up too quickly. — Hippietrail 06:48, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)
No worries. This whole vandalism removal thing has been a bit annoying in general lately. -dmh 13:31, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)


When the Main Page was vandalized it was done as a "Move this page" rather than a simple text replacement, Thus, when you deleted the vandalized page you also deleted all the Main Page history. I've had to restore this page so that I can move it back to a newly deleted main page. Eclecticology 09:23, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Strewth! I guess I've been too trigger happy! I better keep myself in check from now on. Thanks for letting me know. — Hippietrail 13:22, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Uh, isn't the spelling generally struth?[edit]

He's an evil bastard, isn't he? Re-vandalizing pages just after they've been fixed. Not nice. --Vladisdead 09:00, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

“...a note as to which form they are”[edit]

<< inflected forms should have a note as to which form they are >>

Hi, Hippietrail,

While the verbs حسن ɧásuna and حسن ɧássana are inflected, they are actually the citation forms. Arabic, like Bulgarian and Greek, does not use infinitives (or rather, the Arabic infinitive functions only as a noun or adverb, and is a derived form). The citation form of an Arabic verb is usually the 3rd-person masculine singular perfective (which is the simplest form of any verb).

The listing for حسن (ɧ-s-n) already existed, and I just added to it. Its author had listed only the simple intransitive ɧásuna ("he/it was beautiful"), but the very same spelling (حسن) may be read with different vowel patterns for different meanings.

Classical Arabic has no verb tenses, but employs aspect instead (perfective and imperfective). The verb ɧásuna is a perfective of Stem I, and although the perfective is commonly considered the past tense, in fact it can translate to other tenses as well (such as the future perfective).

Most Arabic-English dictionaries give the English infinitive as the equivalent of these verbs, and that's what I would have done, too (to be beautiful, to be good, to improve), except that the original page used "has been beautiful" instead.

So my question is, what should be done with these Arabic verbs? Since Arabs rarely write the vowels or shaddas, the triliteral root حسن, depending on context, could be read as ɧásuna, ɧássana, ɧúsnun, ɧúsnu, ɧásan or ɧásanu (among others). I could simply list the English infinitive (حسن = ɧásuna = "to be good") as the meaning, or I could include all sorts of other information, such as:

  1. . حَسُنَ (ɧásuna) v.i., Stem I, 3rd masc. sg. perfective, "was beautiful, was good"
  2. . حَسَّنَ (ɧássana) v.t., Stem II, 3rd masc. sg. perfective, "improved"

--Stephen 10:21, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Hi Stephen. Thanks for such an informative response! I was aware of Arabic's aspects rather than our cases and I should've been prepared for the citation form being in the perfect but this fact I didn't remember. The translations into English past forms was what threw me. I think it's best to give the gloss in the English infinitive - all glosses should be in the natural citation form for each language. I don't know if it's worth stating for every single Arabic verb that it's the perfective but just as for English I include also the 3rd person present, the past (tense and participle if they differ), and present participle/gerund; we should also include the other forms of the Arabic verbs. Though if there are many forms it may become unweildy. I've never learned the forms of Arabic verbs though since Arabic teaching materials always seem to dive straight into derivation and leave inflection till later on. Putting all the words which differ only in vowels/shaddas/etc on the same page is the right thing to do. I think we should also include sukuns though.

Thanks again. I hope you can add more! — Hippietrail 13:34, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

/* Arabic forms */[edit]

Hi Hippietrail,

The Arabic verb is quite complex, with (minimally) over 120 forms. There are the active and the passive paradigms, which include the perfect, imperfect, subjunctive, jussive, energetic and (in the case of active verbs) the imperative (not to mention the infinitives, participles, and so on). There are different forms for masculine and feminine, as well as for singular, dual and plural. This alone amounts to some 120 verb forms.

Then there are the different form classes (Stems I through XI). Add to this the transitive and intransitive vowel patterns and the different kinds of verbs (such as weak verbs, hollow verbs middle W, hollow verbs middle Y, verbs first W and Y, doubled verbs, verbs first hamza, verbs middle hamza, verbs third hamza, verbs third W, verbs third Y, and so on) and they become a nightmare.

And that's not all...Arabic verbs also take direct and indirect object pronouns as suffixes, and conjunctions, prepositions and other particles as prefixes. For instance, كَتَبَ kátaba ("he wrote," 3rd masc. sg. perfective), but لِتَكْتُبَانِّهُولْهُمَا litaktubaannihúlhumaa ("you two [females] shall write it to those two [females]," 3rd feminine dual energetic, masc. sg. direct object, fem. dual indirect object). Most of this applies to the other stems, too, such as: خَلَفَ khálafa "remain behind" (stem I); خَلَّفَ khállafa "leave behind" (stem II); خَالَفَ kháalafa "oppose" (stem III); أخْلَفَ 'akhláfa "make lag behind" (stem IV); تَخَلَّفَ takhállafa "hold back from" (stem V); تَخَالَفَ takháalafa "disagree with" (stem VI); إنْخَلَفَ 'inkhálafa "be left behind" (stem VII); إخْتَلَفَ 'ikhtálafa "differ" (stem VIII); إسْتَخْلَفَ 'istákhlafa "take in exchange" (stem X).

As for sukun, yes, we should use it where appropriate. In fact, I did use it in حُسْنٌ (ɧúsnun...technically, this is the infinitive of the verb حَسُنَ ɧásuna, but most people don't recognize it as such, since it only functions as a noun, never as a verb). In the case of the adjective حَسَن (ɧásan), however, I didn't put a sukun over the final nun because in some environments a vowel will appear there... حسن الوجه ɧásanu l-wájih (pretty face, good-looking). So there are cases where a vowel may not exist (and these need sukun), and other cases where vowels seem to come and go.

--Stephen 12:54, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)


I've tried to disentangle US usage of youse as best I can, but I understand that Australian uses either youse, yous or both. Could you have a look and file off any septocentric rough edges? Thanks -dmh 05:54, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC) (-dmh)


Thanks for the message about the IRC. I went on once a few months ago. Chat rooms are not my thing, because as my son says, I think too much. I need to go out to a meeting now, but I'll try again when I come back in a couple hours. I keep getting the message "irc is not a registered protocol" when I try to link forom the Mediawiki page on the subject. Eclecticology 02:48, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ah yes you need a separate program. If you're using Windows everybody uses mIRC. I think you have to put in a user name etc but it's not very fussy, then select "random freenode" as the server. Once it connects, type "/join #wiktionary" without the double quotes but with the slash. — Hippietrail 03:30, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Hi Hippietrail,

It was either you or Eclecticology who told me the Unicode for oo-breve and oo-macron. I am looking for the former in particular to use in the rhymes pages that use this phoneme (as rendered in AHD). If you know them, please could you let me know on my user page. Thank you. — Paul G 14:38, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Brilliant - thanks for posting them on my page. Now I can get on with the /-ʊ-/ rhymes. — Paul G 14:54, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Redirection, disambiguation etc. — see response on my page -dmh 04:18, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I wanted to more completely understand your technical objections to the "neutral page" approach to color/colour (as opposed to the equally legitimate "please don't do anything without further discussion" objection). I can see several possibilities:

  • The use of disambiguation. I believe you mentioned this specifically. I no longer believe disambiguation to be necessary or useful.
  • The factoring into several small pages (e.g. color (non-English)). I believe that this can be avoided by keeping non-common information on the main page and only factoring out common information.
  • The use of an ugly arbitrary name for the common page. I don't see that it matters much, but some folks seem to intensely dislike this.
  • Anything else I missed?

Please let me know.


wiktionary playground[edit]

I installed wiktionary on some webspace of mine. Its at

Its kind of fun to see what the sysops sees. I thought I could give you a SSH account, unfortunately thats not really possible with just sub-domains. Last year the folks that run .nu gave me a free domain for a year, maybe they'll do that again, who knows. But for now I can just give you a FTP account, see me in IRC or --Eean 01:30, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for picking up on the rfc template, category etc.=[edit]

It'll be a couple of days before I "launch" this new cleaned up cleanup process, but if you want to catch where I've got to so far, have a look at Wiktionary:Cleanup and deletion process/index--Richardb 13:44, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Project to get basic words defined[edit]

User:Richardb/Project - Basic English Word Cleanup.

Active Participants[edit]

The following people have contributed to the project so far. Can you help too ?

  • dmh- enthusiastically running with it
  • Eclecticology - This seems like a useful idea.

I've not publicised this in the Beer Parlour because I don't want just anyone to test out the idea, only the currently active players--Richardb 11:40, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I was going to remove the wiki-link for the plural of garbologist, then I saw you added it. Why do we want a seperate article for plurals? --Eean 22:26, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I just want links. When the plurals exist - and there are quite a few, then they will show up in the links. Sometimes the show up for unexpected reasons and that can be interesting. I try not to decide on a per-word basis whether this is likely or not. I just add link versions of all plurals and all verb forms and adjective comparative and superlative. When people remove them I don't go to the trouble of reverting because edit wars over such trivialities are not worth any trouble.
I really wish we had a separation of content and presentation though - "issues" like these would just go away. — Hippietrail 23:00, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I don't see the point of plural articles, so I don't see the point of linking to them either. But I agree with your latter sentiment.
As far as removing newlines, in the article in question I found the extra newlines annoying. I'll try to be better about marking minor edits as minor. --Eean 08:09, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well, maybe there should be a policy. Having 0 or 1 blank lines between headers is a personal preference, since it doesn't actually matter (though I've noticed the standard is one blank line, so I've been using that recently), two or more blank lines is incorrect since it shows up as lots of whitespace in the end result. I haven't actually seen two or more blank lines used very much, I don't know what your concerned about really. --Eean 18:10, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


What is prescriptivism? --Connel MacKenzie 00:31, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Good question! I'm not sure if I'm up to a dictionary-quality definition but here goes:
It's the practice of prescribing usage of a given language, of setting down rules of correctness. It usually comes down to a certain type of pedant decrying the way that most people speak naturally, and trying to correct them, based on various principles which may or may not stand up to scrutiny. It is in opposition to descriptivism which is the practice of describing a language as it really is, without trying to judge it in any way. — Hippietrail 00:37, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Cool. Thank you. --Connel MacKenzie 00:54, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)
By the way, your definition looks like a fine start to me. "Be Bold!"?  :-) --Connel MacKenzie 05:22, 3 Jan 2005 (UTC)
<Jun-Dai 00:59, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)>Alternatively, you can think of prescriptivism as the natural byproduct of an attempt to codify a language. No two people use English in the same way, so any reference seeking to explain the English language must simultaneously attempt to define how the English language is generally used, and what is considered "proper" English. The idea being that non-standard English could be marked off in an essay by a professor as incorrect, even though it is in common usage. Thus most dictionaries are both descriptivist (describing the language) and prescriptivist (pointing to its "proper" use). American Heritage, for example, has a usage panel that, er, describes the level of acceptability of certain phrasings, which is a purely prescriptivist mechanism.</Jun-Dai>

{{Recent changes}}[edit]

Hippietrail, Sorry about all that. It must've been a shock when you saw the Recent changes template, apparently a gazillion miles wide. I had tailored that view to the way it renders in Special:Recent changes...that is, it breaks the line in two, whereas the direct template edit does not show that (because it is not in an HTML/wiki table context.)

I had left messages for you over at MediaWiki talk:Recentchangestext, that apparently you didn't see before you reverted that. C'est la vie.

If you want to see what I was trying to describe, open my user page, where I have it now rendering two separate templates for the two (related but separate) lists.

To my eye, the separate lists look fine. But they ultimately are trying to achieve the same goal and it could be said they are too closely related to be separate lists. My experiment {{Most linked undefined words}} only appears on my user page...I can't imagine that hurting anyone for now at least. --Connel MacKenzie 02:06, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Käse vs. Kas[edit]

Hello / Hallo / Grüezi, May I ask why you are so keen on keeping the Bavarian word "Kas" (cheese) in the list of translations? I hope you know that Bavarian is not a language on its own. No one in Germany claims that it'd be one, there's nothing like a standard way of writing Bavarian and you cannot find the word "Kas" in the dictionary. I therefore request the removal of the word "Kas", because it's just silly to keep it there. If it stays, we should also include the Swiss German "Kchääise", the Saxon "Gäse" and all the other subtle dialectal forms of the German language. What about other language? I bet there's an English dialect that says "Chayse" or something like that.

Kind regards, — André aka N-true 23:52, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The onus is on you to show that Bavarian is not a language since both Ethnologue ( and Wikipedia ( hold that it is a language with dialects of its own. When you convince at least one of these sites that their view is "silly" and they remove their article, you will have convinced me.
We certainly do support English dialects. I have added quite a few Australian words and the odd New Zealand, South African, Canadian, Indian, British, and American word as well. If the spellings you cite for other German dialects are usual I agree they should also be included. English is a written language and has standardised spelling in which "cheese" is the recognised spelling no matter how it is pronounced. Most of the world's languages do not have standardised spelling, neither do many European "dialects", that does not mean they ought not be referenced in this dictionary. Quite an array of dialect dictionaries are published in Europe and, since Wiktionary aims to included all words of all languages, we must include those words too. — Hippietrail 11:45, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Independent of whether Bavarian is to be classified as a language or a dialect, it isn't codified, ie has no standard way of rendering words in (in this case) the Latin Alphabet. Besides "Kas" you will also find the versions "Kaas" and "Käs". A solution could be writing dialect words in IPA (would certainly require some discussion). Ncik 15 Mar 2005

Template goatse vandalism[edit]

Hippietrail, the Wiktionary:Wanted entries was vandalized with hello.jpg twice tonight/this morning. Reverted after a few minutes, as the server decided right then to be *very* slow (error pages x 10). Perhaps it is time to think about protecting those templates? Or dragging it all back into MediaWiki:Recentchangestext? --Connel MacKenzie 09:54, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Well, any page can be vandalised, even the front page. I don't think there's much point protecting each page that's been attacked once. If it become a repeated target we might want to do something. — Hippietrail 23:23, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Had a fun revert war with Kenneth tonight. I'd like to apologize for filling the template up with queued entries. The last time I needed more words, I went to the end of the Wanted Pages history, and pulled undefined words off there. Alas, there were too many typos in that old old version. Eyeballing a few of them, the entries on the current request page with text to the right describing what they are, seemed likely "OLD" candidates. So I blitzed them onto the queue. By the time I was done, the vandal was gone. Now it looks like quite an ugly mess. --Connel MacKenzie 06:59, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Reverting parts of speech[edit]

Hippietrail, Regarding your message to me on my talk page: No problem! Fortunately, I saw you revert that right before submitting another batch of them. (Yup, even I have learned to use "PREVIEW".) The only one I didn't cancel at that point was "Part of speech" iteself, as that really ought to be in the category category:English parts of speech. I've been cooling my heels waiting to see what else would get reverted, while I keep thinking "what the hell was I thinking?"

How about a category Category:Grammar terminology (or Category:Grammar or Category:Grammar terms or Category:English grammar or Category:Grammar: English) for those like me who are so easily confused? Ultimately, it'll get broken into sub-categories via wikimagic. Hmmm, maybe this should be reposted in the Beer Parlor? Whadaya think? --Connel MacKenzie 03:56, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

A correct set of categories really would be a good thing. We just have to come up with a good way of naming categories which can reflect the language the words are in, the language the words might pertain to if they are of a linguistic or grammatical nature, and those which can reflect both. I think it's been brought up on the beer parlour before but I'm not sure. If yes, add a comment, if not, start a topic there. — Hippietrail 04:07, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Category:Spanish verb plus plural noun compounds[edit]

HT, what are you on!!! I respect some of your other work, but is this Category:Spanish verb plus plural noun compounds of interest to anyone else in the world ??? It seems like a pet project which no-one else will ever be interested in. Except that it adds unhelpful clutter to the list of categories. Please reconsider !--Richardb 14:42, 24 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind introductory remark (-: But what on earth do you mean by category clutter? And I think you'd need to show that nobody would be interested. In fact I compiled the list in part by finding several pages on the net created by people who have been interested in the phenomenon before. You need to justify your remarks about clutter, unhelpfulness, and lack of interest. You also need to show that any or each of these is reason not to have a category. I would think anybody interested in word formation in the romance languages would find this quite interesting. There are only going to be more and more categories as the wikis mature, are you saying that the number of categories should be kept very small or limited to the very obvious or what? Please expand on what you believe are the issues. — Hippietrail 00:28, 25 Jan 2005 (UTC)

What's up with the EARLIEST USENET from google stuff?[edit]

Hello Hippietrail,

I owe you some large amount of thanks for the various information on your user & discussion & robotuser & robotdiscussion pages. You are one busy guy! Keep up the awesome stuff.

I've noticed recently you seem to be adding a great deal of text from early USENET posts, gleaned from google. Is this automated? Or just a strange experiment? It seems to me to be very interesting. But there is one formatting anomoly; if you append those posts to an ongoing conversation (yes, under a clean, new heading) the end of the conversation is no longer readily apparent by holding the space bar down or pressing END to get to the bottom of a page. Other than that one tiny glitch (hmmm, glitch is too strong?) other than that, it does seem to be pretty curiously fascinating stuff. --Connel MacKenzie 07:16, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Hi Connel. Phew, your heading made me expect a rant against it - I'm glad that's not what I got (-: No it's not automated, I'm doing it manually though I think about creating a bot to do it sometimes. I began doing it for words which have appeared after Usenet to pin down a little the time of their appearance and popularity. But then I realized that it's also interesting to see when words jump from noun to verb or vice versa, when they start picking up inflections and derivations. It's also fun to see what kind of subject matter they are first popular in. And of course the contexts provide insights on the how the words are used too.
I'll have to keep an eye out for the glitch you've mentioned - I haven't noticed it before.
Thanks for the message! — Hippietrail 21:47, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

IPA pronunciations - HELP[edit]

Hello my friend,

I understand the importance of pronunciation for most definitions. Without a pronunciation key of some sort, all acronyms are mostly useless entries. I've been trying to grok IPA, but I keep failing. I am hopeful that you can help me understand it.

Part of the problem stems from our bizarre IPA pages here on Wiktionary. I don't readily think of myself as stupid, but trying to read the initial words of Wiktionary:About International Phonetic Alphabet leave me at a loss.

  • Appendix - ok, an obsolete organ of the human body
  • International - Someone from outside the US
  • Phonetic - pertaining to telephones
  • Alphabet - ABCDEFG...
  • Consonants - Alphabet minus AEIOU
  • Pulmonic - ? Pertaining to a pulmonary function? The beating of the heart?
  • Bilabial - Two lips. Sounds almost obscene.
  • Labiodental - Lip-tooth. Again, almost an obscene reference?
  • Dental - TEETH. OK, I got one.
  • Alveolar - Pertaining to aveoli - the tiny sacs inside one's lungs? Oh, does this mean sounds that sound like one is coughing up phlegm?
  • Postalveolar - ? The sound of spitting, after couging up phlegm?
  • Retroflex - Pertaining to disco/1970s? A John Travolta sound?
  • Palatal - Sounds that are caused by having peanut butter stuck to the top of your mouth?
  • Velar - OK, now I'm really lost.
  • Uvular - Pertaining to a female reproductive organ? A sound made during cunnilingus?
  • Pharyngeal - Pharyanx...hmm, what's a pharynx again?
  • Glottal - HEY! This is the first term on the page that pertains to pronunciation (to this insane American.)
  • Plosive - Somehow related to TNT or atom-bombs?

I'm trying to determine a reasonable answer to the question you posed on klingon, but aparently I'm too fucking stupid. OK, maybe I'll have luck in the second sentence of the page...

Ok, I'm hopeless. The table of IPA examples seemed like maybe I'd be able to figure out what all these really meant from examples, but damn, that table seems scattered.

Seriously though, is there any reasonable way for me to learn this system? I'd honestly like to try to help, but this is just not a good starting point...Wiktionary:About International Phonetic Alphabet may as well be written in Klingon. (Perhaps this questions should have been on that page's discussion page.)

--Connel MacKenzie 17:22, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I saw this and have posted a reply to Connel on his talk page. — Paul G 18:08, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)


My understanding of the Wiki way of life is that we don't complain (too much) about things, we fix them. So I await with genuine interest an improved article. SemperBlotto 15:11, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Very true but it's 2.20am here and I have work in the morning at 8am so the notes will have to do for now. Hopefully it will help people clarify any fuzzy understandings of the various forms of English verbs. — Hippietrail 15:16, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Sorry to have squished your edit of calibrate - that particular IP contributor replaced a blank article I had found a while back (verify) that I had devised an experimantal template for. Out of curiosity, I checked and sure enough, the first three definitions were direct cut-n-paste from AHD. Therefore, this was an intentional, blatant act by User:

I didn't notice your revision when I squashed it. But then, I don't think we'd want your edit to count as a derivitive work, anyhow.

--Connel MacKenzie 07:09, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Oh dear... I see what's happened here. I already have a page for this, which is at Rhymes:English:-eɪʃǝn, which has a different symbol for the schwa... I wonder how many of my pages have the wrong symbol in. I'll move the few extra that you have into my page and then rename it. (BTW - it's Haitian - the page has "Hatian".) Thanks for indirectly bringing this to my attention. — Paul G 14:48, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There are indeed many, many more rhymes, and I have been adding them a few at a time as I have time. There are probably a good few hundred more to add, and these are just the more familiar words. There are many more obscure words that could be added. — Paul G 14:51, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Sorry for not replying earlier. I hadn't realized there were several schwa characters in Unicode. I'm glad I was able to help you spot the mistake, even inadvertantly. At the moment, the rhymes and pronunciations are interesting me, but it surely won't last. I'll come and go as different things attract me and I bore of them again (-: — Hippietrail 11:54, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Hello HIPPIE[edit]

I'm not sure if this is your department or not, but it says (sysop) next to your name so I figured why the hell not. I noticed that wikipedia has a barnstar award system set up for valuable users. Does wiktionary have something like that? If not, maybe you could think about doing that, to draw in more wiktionarians, because, tedious or not, the wiktionary project is important and massive, and needs a following like wikipedia's if it is ever going to be "accomplished" I CAN ONLY FILL IN SO MANY ENGLISH LANGUAGE CATEGORIES BEFORE MY HANDS CRAMP! --HelloMrMe 06:44, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Hi HelloMrMe. I don't know what a barnstar award system is and didn't know that Wikipedia had one. You probably should bring up the topic on the Wiktionary:Beer parlour where more people will see it and respond. — Hippietrail 11:48, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Have a look at User talk:Connel MacKenzie#WikiThanks - Wikipedia has a whole hierarchy of such things. SemperBlotto 11:56, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Pronunciation of vacation[edit]

Why reverting my edit of vacation? The ə may or may not be pronouned, thus should appear in italics. Ncik 10 Mar 2005

A couple of reasons.
  1. I didn't know what you were trying to do and the prounciation was already correct.
  2. There is no standard by which italics indicates a phoneme is optional. We use parentheses for that purposes - usually with (r) and (j) but also with (@).
  3. No English dialect I know of allows a syllabic /n/ after an /S/, it is possible after other sounds though, as in "button", /bVt(@)n/.
Sorry that the revert was a little abrupt. — Hippietrail 18:02, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I only know about IPA (please check if I paired phonetical alphabets and pronunciations correctly). The IPA doesn't seem to include a standard by which letters can be marked as optional. I have only ever seen the italicization method and that you give (r) as an alternative makes me wonder if you mean what is written as * or a raised r in dictionaries I know: an r which is only pronounced when a vowel follos (eg "were"+"is"). I'm surprised about your /n/-after-/ʃ/ claim since basically all words ending in -tion can be pronounced as /ʃn/ (compare how the IPA write their own name in IPA on their web site or any dictionary). Feel free to revert my changes again if I'm wrong. Ncik 10 Mar 2005
As far as I know parentheses to indicate optionality is not part of IPA but I've seen it used in more than one place. I can't recall where so I'll keep my eyes open for references now. It would be helpful if you could find some references for italics representing optionality too.
The main use for /(r)/ is to indicate w:Linking R (unfortunately the Wikipedia article is currently wrong). Your "where is" example is of Linking R. You are probably correct in saying that various methods have been used to show Linking R in dictionaries etc. It would be useful again if we can start collecting references.
The use for /(j)/ is to distinguish American and Commonwealth pronunciation of words such as "news": US /nu:z/, Comm. /nju:z/
Because we had 3 cases of optional morphemes I wanted a standard representation and I wasn't sure of any IPA representation but had seen parentheses used. I am open to changing this system if there is a more accepted system I'm not aware of.
Syllabic n is interesting. To me "button" and "action" feel to have a syllabic n but "vacation" does not. I checked one online dictionary and it has syllabic n for "button" only. I will try to check my print dictionaries later. I consider this an area of ongoing study so we can get it right. Thanks for bringing it more to my attention. — Hippietrail 00:24, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I've had a look at these dictionaries:
  1. OED: uses parantheses for the linking R, consonants which "may or may not be heard in the context", and around a Schwa before /l/, /m/, and /n/ to show "that these consonants are often syllabic in the words concerned"
  2. The Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English: uses italicization for sounds which may be omitted (ie consonants and Schwa), and an asterisk for the linking R.
  3. Some Webster's dictionary (Webster's Third New International Dictionary, or so) which had strange conventions and didn't use the IPA.
  4. ... to be continued
However, I think we should refrain from introducing shorthands and give multiple pronunciations instead. This is mainly because it contradicts the purpose of the IPA and because the English Wiktionary is multilingual and we would probably end up with people introducing extra rules for other languages if we started doing it for English pronunciations and get a mess. (By the way, there is a diacritic indicating that a consonant is syllabic. See w:International Phonetic Alphabet) Apart from this, I'd be grateful for your opinion on what's being discussed in my latest thread, entitled "Gerunds, Participles, etc." in the Beer Parlour Ncik 15 Mar 2005
I think that
<input type="hidden" name="num" value="50">
should be inserted to
so that 50 search matches could be displayed at one time.
--Dubaduba 20:26, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Formatting question[edit]

I've looked for some guidelines on formatting pages, but haven't found anything. What I'm wondering about is how the names of languages (under Translations) are supposed to be formatted. On most pages, I see that language names are in regular type (e.g., French: xyz) ... and if the language is relatively unknown, then it's linked (e.g., Dyirbal: xyz). But now I see that one or two people are reformatting these pages, making the language names bold and removing all of the links (French: xyz; Dyirbal: xyz). So, which way are we supposed to follow? —Stephen 10:39, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Yes I just brought the issue up on the Wiktionary:Beer parlour. Basically, we'd pretty much agreed to link the languages which I call "exotic" but Ec's never been fond of it and has started removing the links on pages he touches. Ec also edited the formatting guideline page to say put language names in bold, which I don't think looks bad but I do think it's a bit of a waste of energy at the moment and should've been discussed first.
Basically I'm still doing my stuff not in bold and linking exotics. When I edit a page with bold I add in bold and link exotics. Most of the time when I touch a page I also wikify all the exotics and dewikify all the non-exotics. But that's just my personal way. I guess you should read the Beer parlour thread, add a comment if you have one, and just decide which way you're more comfortable doing stuff for now. — Hippietrail 11:31, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)



Do you know of any way to check with the developers, to see if they can refresh things like Special:shortpages? It seems like it has been a long time (and they probably disabled all kinds of things during/after the power-failure crash.) --Connel MacKenzie 10:57, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm never positive when it comes to these things. It's worth asking on IRC or on Meta. My guess is that a quicker response is likely via IRC. — Hippietrail 07:58, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I'd prefer if you indicated what alphabets are used in a string like

gā, /ɡeɪ/, /geI/
I probably don't understand your question but let me try.
The first part uses the English alphabet with diacritics in a form typical of pre-IPA British dictionaries and current dictionaries. It is closest to the system used by the American Heritage Dictionary. In this example, "ā" indicates a "long a" as in "pay".
The second part uses the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) which is now used in most of the world's dictionaries except in the United States for some reason. Every dictionary has their own variations. In this example "ɡ" is a "script g" which is guaranteed to always look like the simple version of the letter with one loop and a hooked descender, and to never look like the more complex versin of the letter with two loops. The IPA script g represents the sound in "get". "ɪ" is a small capital letter "I". It is used to represent the sound in "bit".
The third part uses SAMPA which was invented so that people could talk about pronunciations and phonetics when they didn't have access to the extra letters required by the IPA such as on normal typewriters and the Internet before Unicode.

Also: Is it necessary to change the typeface of the SAMPA (is it SAMPA?) pronunciation? Ncik 10 Apr 2005

Well it helps because a lowercase "l" and an uppercase "I" (and some other letters) are too similar. Also, the fact that SAMPA was originally designed for typewriters makes this a natural-looking way to do it. It's quite a bit easier to read.
You can read about the IPA and SAMPA on Wikipedia (and in various places in Wiktionary). The "American dictionary" system is based on that used by - you can read about it there and also in some Wiktionary pages.
I hope these are the answers you were looking for. — Hippietrail 00:57, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it does. Have a look at the pronunciation section of gay now. Ncik 11 Apr 2005


Can you tell me what is wrong with this page so I can fix it? Thanks. -- FP 02:17, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments, I will try to iron out the confusion. -- FP 02:58, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)
I see someone else has reverted your edit. (Not me!) -- FP 05:17, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)
Can I ask you to please review the page Aotearoa and give me an appraisal? -- FP 10:57, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)

When to use 's[edit]

I've posted a reply to this topic on my user page, if you haven't already seen it. — Paul G 13:40, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Overwriting stuff with redirects[edit]

Hello number 4. You might like to have a go at Præfect, Oölogy and Oöidal - I'm sure he just does it to annoy. Cheers (number 5) SemperBlotto 16:04, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Names aren't better than numbers, not only with respect to synonyms but also w.r.t translations and any other list consisting of definition specific entries. It is true that they don't become invalid when you change definitions but what's the point in having translations for a meaning that isn't correct; we don't need wrong translations for words. I agree that empty double brackets look ugly but I couldn't think of a better solution. If you find one, let me know. Ncik 28 Apr 2005

The only way that would really work as far as keeping the synonyms and translations in synch with the defs is to have syn and trans sections for each sense. But that would be terribly unweily and nobody would want it.
We used to use numbers here and had plenty of problems. That's why one of the contributors came up with the name system instead. Most of us have regarded it as a step forward.
As for the empty double brackets, the # alone will give a number. I would much rather see some kind of stub message such as "please fill in", "not yet supplied", etc. Or even elipses "..." — Hippietrail 02:48, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The more I think about it (and I've been thinking about it a lot for the current situation is unsatisfactory) the more I think we should have synonyms, antonyms, and translations sections for each definition. It would make users who don't give a shit about those sections (be it deliberately or unknowingly) aware of them, and (so I hope) make them adapt those sections accordingly when working on the definitions. I further suggest (as I did - unsuccessfully though - before) to promote the use of nested definitions, which in many cases make renumbering unnecessary.
A hash on its own is ignored (when I try it!). But # <br> works. Would you prefer that?
I also noticed that you (like the Connel) wikify inclined forms in the line below the part of speech heading. Please don't do that. It doesn't make any sense at all, is irritating and misleading. Ncik 29 Apr 2005
Well if you want to try to convince people that there should be syn, ant, & trans for each def, and you come up with a format for it which isn't ugly, you'll have my support. I think it'll be a hard sell though.
Sorry about the # thing. I thought it worked but maybe that's the reason I used ellipses sometimes.
As for wikifying the inclined forms, that had all been discussed on the Beer Parlour at length before you arrived. Although I don't think they are indisposable I do think having translations of inclined forms can be useful. And sometimes as you know there needs to be a page when a form has two interpretations (like axes). Anyway if you want to change that you'd have to bring the subject back up on the Beer Parlour. I suggest you read through all the old comments first - they could well be archived by now. — Hippietrail 00:21, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Minor edits[edit]

I had all edits marked as minor by default. What's the difference between "minor" and "major" to you? 2004-12-29T22:45Z 01:31, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Minor is fixing a formatting or spelling error or any kind of mistake you made seconds ago. Major is changing senses, adding stuff, deleting stuff. But changing things which affect policy or other articles - like editing a template - would also be major. Especially if some people are likely to hold a different opinion.
You'll get a feel for it soon enough. — Hippietrail 01:37, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'll keep it in mind. Thanks for your suggestion. 2004-12-29T22:45Z 17:10, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)