User talk:Mzajac/2010

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regional templates[edit]

>>> Label links

Please don't put fixed links on regional templates. (Canada), for example, is used to put entries into Category:Canadian French, and potentially for regionalisms in many other minority languages. —Michael Z. 2010-02-07 17:34 z <<<

Thanks for the info, I didn't know Template:Canada had multiple uses like that, the template only says "Puts an entry into Category:Canadian English" (I will update that after investigating further). I don't see any template such as Template:Canada English (template "Canadian English" redirects to Template:Canada); but I guess we can live without them if Template:Canada is language sensitive. At entrée a defn discusses both Canadian English and the French Canadian region, but I think this can go in the usage notes instead. Facts707 20:16, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Moving your BP message[edit]

Hi. Would you mind if I move your recent complaint from WT:BP#Entry list to WT:BP#Entry list upgraded? The former discussion is mainly related to old issues such as the considerably hideous programming code that was totally changed. The latter discussion is more recent and more directly related to the template you dislike. --Daniel. 15:58, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, I'll do it. Michael Z. 2010-03-10 17:43 z


Hi Michael,

The word is obviously Russian, refers to the Russian empire and the Soviet period. Of course, kulaks could be in other places, also definitely used in (the Soviet) Ukraine along with "куркуль". I consider your reversion of my edit a hostile act. What was your motive, anyway? I changed the sense in the translation if mentioning Russia bothers you so much. --Anatoli 00:11, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

The last edit caught my eye on my watchlist because “the imperial Russia” is wrong. I noticed the terminology in the gloss was inconsistent with the definition, and also didn't represent the same range of meaning, so I improved it with an explanation. I didn't pay attention to who had been editing it.
If you're obsessed with others' motives and consider their edits “hostile acts,” then Wiktionary probably isn't for you. Michael Z. 2010-03-12 00:30 z
I didn't drop those translations. Must be a Wiktionary timing bug or something. Michael Z. 2010-03-12 00:32 z
Sorry, Michael. Well, you reverted my edits, which had many translations - more than one edit. Not sure how this could be accidental. What else could I think? --Anatoli 00:40, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry too – didn't notice what had happened until I looked at the history again, typed my last while running out. I've seen this happen once in a blue moon on very long, busy talk pages. Michael Z. 2010-03-12 16:47 z

Гоголь, Gogol[edit]

Hi Michael.

Like Ayvazovsky or Tsiolkovsky, the ethnic origin is not everything. Gogol is a Russian writer. Since he wrote in Ukrainian as well, lived in Ukraine (which was part of Russia) and was of Ukrainian origin, I suggest, as a compromise "a Russian and Ukrainian writer" better than "a writer in the Russian empire". We shouldn't bring the fights from Wikipedia here and boost the Ukrainian culture on the Russian expense.

I am half Ukrainian but I am also half Russian.

Please add some Ukrainian contents if you can. --Anatoli 20:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

(See also Gogolian.)
Calling Gogol a “Russian writer” implies ethnicity to most readers, when Joyce, Wilde, Shaw, and others are called Irish – not British – and certainly not “English” writers. It innocently promulgates a systemic bias in English-language academia from the time when it may have been considered pedantic to qualify Shevchenko as a Little-Russian writer.
By naming his state of origin, the Russian Empire, I was avoiding ambiguous statements or detailed explanations about his ethnicity and heritage, citizenship, or several places of residence in and outside the empire, and hoping to thus avoid controversy (until the proper-name definition is removed by Wiktionary:Requests for deletion#Gogol, maybe). “Russian and Ukrainian” might just raise questions, but perhaps that's not so bad. Readers can click over to Wikipedia for the details. Michael Z. 2010-03-22 21:34 z
I really think a Russian and Ukrainian writer is the best choice. I have changed since you said "perhaps that's not so bad". I think Shevchenko / Шевченко deserve an entry here, even if a simple name linking to Wikipedia. We probably don't have Ukrainian declension tables here, if I am not mistaken but they are optional. --Anatoli 23:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I'll reserve the right to become indignant about that in the future. Certainly all common surnames could make their way into the dictionary (my local University library has a few references, so maybe I'll compile an appendix some day).
I have made declension tables manually a few times, as in горілка. Building a template is on my long list, too. Michael Z. 2010-03-23 00:14 z
Sorry, I meant templates. I created English, Ukrainian and Russian entries for Shevchenko / Шевченко. Please add any info you see fit. I tried to add the audio file from the Ukrainian Wiktionary but it didn't work. --Anatoli 03:49, 23 March 2010 (UTC)


Could you help me with allocating citations between the proper noun and common noun senses? What is there at this writing is my best unaided effort. DCDuring TALK 13:51, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Geologic adjectives[edit]

Consider also this quote:

  • 1975, John Nance, The Gentle Tasaday: a Stone Age people in the Philippine rain forest‎, page 125
    "This is Stone Age," he said. "I don't doubt it for a minute."

Would you consider that to mean that "Stone Age" is an adjective, or is this merely predicate attributive use of a proper noun? --EncycloPetey 00:47, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Addendum: This would also apply to Art Deco and a host of other proper nouns if we're accepting this as evidence of adjectival use. --EncycloPetey 00:50, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

This is getting a bit grammar-technical for me. I thought that attributive nouns were not predicative, so “a beautiful park is beautiful, but a car park is not "car"” (w:Attributive adjective#Other noun modifiers). Art Deco seems to buck this rule.
To me, “during the Triassic” has always sounded like an elliptical use of Triassic Period (many references write out the names in full, such as our own Appendix:Geologic timescale). My impression is that these are words in transition from adjectives to proper nouns (Triassic Period, “period of the Trias formation” > Triassic period, “a geologic period named Triassic” > Triassic, name of a time period), and in many cases the difference is indistinguishable. Phrases such as Upper Triassic are used by scientists interchangeably and ambiguously for both rock beds and time periods.
How can we say this isn't an adjective when all of the big-name dictionaries do? Michael Z. 2010-04-21 01:18 z
Also considering this addition to Cretaceous:


2010 (not comparable)

  1. Of or pertaining to...
    • 1990, Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park:
      His father squinted at the skeleton. “What is it, Jurassic?” “Jeez. No. Cretaceous.” “Cretaceous? What's the difference between Cretaceous and Jurassic?” “Only about a hundred million years,” Tim said. “Cretaceous is older?” “No, Dad, Jurassic is older.”
    • 2000, Joseph B. Verrengia, “Dropout-turned-explorer hides out as her great find is unveiled”, Associated Press.
      Fragments that trickled down around her boots had a honeycombed texture, like a bird's bones. ¶ Hendrickson did the arithmetic of paleontology. Cretaceous plus honeycombed equals large meat eater.
    • 1998, David Abrams, “Providence”, in Esquire, v 130, n 3 (September), p 88:
      On the canyon walls, you take note of the prehistoric time zones: first Tertiary, then Cretaceous. You breathe deeply.
Even the big dictionaries can be wrong. If they are, and we can demonstrate it, then we should say so. This might need to become a serious RfV search for quotations, because of the above three quotations, the final one has nothing at all to suggest it's adjectival. The first two could be noun use as well, without a stretch. The second is the only one that's slightly persuasive to me, since it places Cretaceous in a seemingly parallel position with an adjective, but that's no guarantee in modern English. Many writers no longer obey the parallel-items-in-a-list stylistic rule, and "plus" is ambiguously a conjunction here.
You are correct that common attributive nouns never appear in the predicate, but the grammar of proper nouns is different from common nouns. A proper noun behaves grammatically like a noun phrase, and so it can appear alone in places that common nouns could not. In English, one can say "This is Sparta!" but not "This is tree." The latter sentence only works when tree is part of a noun phrase such as "This is a tree" or "This is my favorite tree." Without supporting modifiers, a common noun can (almost) never appear by itself in the predicate after a copula, so the rule that "attributive nouns can't be in the predicate" is actually confounded by this separate principle of distinction between a noun and a noun phrase. The test can't be applied to all nouns, and especially not to proper nouns, which can appear in such a construction. --EncycloPetey 04:25, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
It looks to me that the proper-noun and/or adjectival use is practically indistinguishable, so what evidence do we have to support one over the other? Evidence supporting adjectives:
  • At least some of these were originally adjectives, in English. (Maybe we need to collect more early quotations.)
    1. Triassic = “of the Trias (rock formation)”
    2. Jurassic = “of the Jura mountains formation”
    3. Cretaceous = “chalky; of the chalk formation”
  • I see adjectival use in the early attributive application to various nouns, when geologists would have been conscious of the etymological meaning: Triassic system, Triassic formation, Triassic period, Triassic fishes, Upper Triassic (a physical location in rock beds, only implying a time period), and modern technical writing still reflects these etymologies. (Maybe there's a popular–technical distinction in meaning.)
  • To me, the formation/period duality feels like two equal sides of a coin. Triassic is applied to formation, system, etc as often as it is to period, era, times. At least in technical writing, I don't see evidence that it means chiefly a period, and is applied only occasionally to a physical phenomenon. I.e., if it were only a proper noun, I couldn't tell whether it means a period or a formation. It seems more natural to have it “of, from, or pertaining to” two things interchangeably, than to have one noun sense which represents both a physical layer of rock and a period millions of years in the past.
Hand-picked OED quotations:
  • 1831: The Jurassic and Alpine limestones. [adjective from Jura mountains]
  • 1831: Chalk does not exist in the Carpathians, nor could the author recognise it at Cracow, the limestone of which he refers to the Upper Jurassic. [from the same source and page, OED places this under a different sense, “absol. as n., Jurassic system or Jurassic period”]
  • 1833: Sedimentary modern as the jurassic or oolite formations [l.c. adjective referring to stone, not time]
  • 1902: The Upper Jurassic, again, is an argillaceous series. [clearly, a rock]
  • 1956: In the popular imagination the Jurassic is the period of great marine reptiles and flying dragons. [clearly, a period]
It's hard to prove that they weren't attributive nouns, but what clear evidence is there that they were such, and not adjectives? Michael Z. 2010-04-21 14:35 z
Indeed, it's very hard to distinguish the grammatical usages in this situation. "the Jurassic", whether it refers to a period or a rock is clearly substantive use, and in English entries we treat that as a de facto noun. (In our Latin entries, substantive use can still be an adjective if the substantive sense applies to more than one gender, but that doesn't help us here.) There is a sinilar adjective/noun problem in dealing with the anatomical names of muscles of the body, but there it's a little easier to see since there are no proper nouns involved. That is, an anatomist would say "deltoid muscle", using deltoid strictly as an adjective. However, non-anatomists use deltoid as a noun to name the muscle. Most anatomical names of muscle derive from adjectives in this way (biceps, abdominals, rhomboids, etc.), but they're all used as nouns by the general population and adjectives by some specialists. There is thus a grammatical difference between the general popuation uses the words and the way some specialists do, although even doctors and other specialists are beginning to shift towards using the (shorter) adjectival name as if it were a noun. I think this whas already happened with the names of geological periods, so that the shift is almost (or entirely) complete at this point. And this also addresses your quetion about distinguishing attributive use form an adjective. It's even harder than usual with this kind of situation because one of these can change over time to become the other. So there will not always be a clear distinction between adjective and attributive use. We have to decide, based on what evidence we can gather, what the current situation is. --EncycloPetey 17:57, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
(Re: Stone Age, it's not the same because it is more directly comparable to Jurassic period, which has a more restricted meaning than Jurassic. Re: Art Deco, this is the name of a style, not a period, so it is naturally attributive of things made in the style.)
Re: the shift is almost (or entirely) complete, perhaps in popular usage, but I think not in academic. These names date to the mid 19th century, and the works in which they originated are still used in modern scholarship (e.g., we still see new finds from w: Bone Wars fossil collections, which must be compared to the publications of Marsh and Cope). These old usages are not obsolete, so we can't ignore them when we define these words for their readers. And modern scholars still recognize the etymologies of these words by using them dually, to refer to purely the rock formation, or purely the period, or interchangeably both. (I can accept an adjective alluding to one and/or the other, but not as easily a proper noun which can't decide what its referent is.)
We can compare these terms to to the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, etc. The adjectival form feels familiar when they are styles (this mural is Renaissance), but gets awkward or puzzling when indicating age (the Battle of Lepanto is Renaissance). Contrast with the origin of birds is Triassic. Triassic period is common, and sometimes necessary for clarity, while Renaissance period is redundant. It's kind of nuanced.
Finally, if even a little bit of adjectival usage were remaining, then we should inclusively define these as both nouns and adjectives. We can't just ignore the adjective after its use drops below 50/50.
I'll see if I can reformulate some of these entries in an acceptable way. Michael Z. 2010-04-21 21:31 z

POS headers in pronunciation sections[edit]

See WT:BP#Structure of pronunciation sections. Thryduulf 17:59, 24 April 2010 (UTC)


Just a note to let you know that I've responded to your comments. If you have nothing more to say, that's ok; I just wanted to make sure you were aware. BP threads are so easy to lose track of. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:39, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks a lot, I did see that. You're doing excellent work here, and I wanted to throw in my 2¢ but not boss you around or sound like I disapprove of any of it. Keep it up. (I'm sure I'll have more to say....) Michael Z. 2010-05-20 01:51 z

your changes at Sydney Opera House, Hadrian's Wall, et al[edit]

AFAIK {{wikipedia}} can go either above or below the language header, although I may be wrong. ---> Tooironic 02:57, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Not even sure of the guideline. I have the page index, images, and Wikipedia templates all floating left right, so I always find it best to have the local page index come first, and the external link below that. I guess that this would be more convenient for users of screen readers and braille displays. Michael Z. 2010-05-21 03:19 z
Oops; I mean I have these elements floating right, by my monobook.css. Michael Z. 2010-05-21 03:51 z
The {{wikipedia}} box should always appear within a language section, never floating at the top of a page. More than one of these can appear on a page, and should always be associated with a particular language, because the entry is always language-specific. The changes Mzajac has made keep MS IE from producing a blank gap at the top of the English language section, while keeping the information within the appropriate langauge section. I don't mind the gap, myself, since I hate and avoid IE, but it can affect other less elightened users. --EncycloPetey 03:43, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh. No one told me about this before. Shit. From now on I'll put it under the language header. Cheers. ---> Tooironic 05:03, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Votes/2010-04/Voting policy[edit]

I urge you to vote. (I don't know which way you'll vote, but I want more voices, especially English Wiktionarians' voices, heard in this vote.) If you've voted already, or stated that you won't, and I missed it, I apologize.​—msh210 17:00, 21 May 2010 (UTC)


You can see Cary Bass listed at foundation:Staff#Programs, the name linking to a page saying that his account name is Bastique. As for whether he is the foundation's voice and what he has said about the logo, you can either take my word for it, ask Cary Bass himself, or "launch a research project" as you said, as it would probably take quite a large amount of time to sufficiently explain/prove it to you :). If you want to ask him to make a statement specifically to the English Wiktionary, go ahead, but I don't really think it's necessary. --Yair rand (talk) 03:37, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Okay, apologies. I had no idea that the foundation was represented in this, and if I had read some of those comments, did not realize their significance. Michael Z. 2010-05-26 05:31 z

Category:British English[edit]

There's some stuff going on here. In the Oxford Dictionary I'd fully expect to see realise glossed as English. But I wouldn't expect to see Australia or New Zealand only slang glossed as British, like dunny. The obvious difference is that paper dictionaries gloss but they don't categorize. I guess realise isn't British English, but it is British, while ey up is British but it's not a British spelling, and dunny just isn't British.

Separating British spellings (a spelling system) from British English (English used in the UK) as you say, would not be easy. But is it better than providing false information? Well, yes. The fact that we're not paper sometimes gives us decisions that wouldn't apply to paper. Apart from not categorizing at all, which I could support, having categories for British and American spellings (two spelling systems not necessarily associated with British and American culture or people) and British and American words/terms. Your "just follow other dictionaries" approach fails on the categorization issue as paper dictionaries don't categorize, as it's impossible! You're clearly very intelligent, and I don't say that as flattery, so how can you have not thought of the paper/not paper side of the argument? Mglovesfun (talk) 00:41, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, there's something for me to think more about. But paper dictionaries do indicate the difference using context, thus:

modelling, Chiefly US modeling.

I notice that the OED often adds a note instead of labelling spellings. We may have to do this in many cases, for example, if there are both historical and regional differences, or when there are several exceptions and chieflys. Will we still be able to categorize either when it gets complex? Modelling is a British and Canadian spelling, modeling is chiefly US, but also an acceptable spelling in Canada. Throw in some characterization of its use in Australia and South Africa maybe, and how do we label this? Categorization can't convey this story at all, because it's an all-or-nothing approximation of a nuanced reality. Michael Z. 2010-06-29 06:34 z
Then we shouldn't categorize, rather than have British spellings and British words in the same category. Note, we now have {{British spelling}} and [[Category:British spellings]] to show the difference between them. Modelling is not only used in the UK and Canada. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:34, 25 November 2010 (UTC)