User talk:Stephen G. Brown/I

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I've added {{RUchar}} now too. At the moment it has a size field which is set to 100% just because it's based on the ARchar and THchar templates. Just let me know if I should get rid of the size part, I don't think it's needed. Also, I recommend that this template be optimised for a) modern Russian, b) Russian italics, c) well-positioned stress marks, and d) obsolete Russian. I recommend that it not be optimised for other languages which use Cyrillic since we can make special templates for those. Have fun! — Hippietrail 7 July 2005 05:48 (UTC)

I’ve tried {{RUchar}} out at Template:RUchar, and it’s working fine. No, I don’t think a size field is needed for Cyrillic. —Stephen 7 July 2005 12:04 (UTC)

е/ё redirects[edit]

Hi Stephen. I've noticed you reversing the way we were doing redirects for the pseudo-optional ё and didn't say anything because you're the Russian expert. But I wonder what solution you have in mind for cases when both spellings are correct words. At the time we nutted it out over a year ago we decided disambiguation pages were better for Wikipedia and that "composite" pages were better for Wiktionary. We do these anyway for Hebrew and Latin and it would work for Turkish but we don't have any regular Turkish contributors. And obviously we do it also in Russian when only the stress differentiates two words. I wonder if there exists any triptych of Russian words where there are ё, е, and е́ spellings with different meanings. — Hippietrail 10:47, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Actually, it was Gliorszio who began moving the е pages to ё’s not so long really didn’t matter to me as long as it’s all done one way, so, rather than argue about it, I finished the job of moving е’s to ё’s. Whenever one word has ё where another has accented е, that means there are two distinct etymologies, which is unusual for Russian, and so the problem doesn’t crop up much. It’s quite rare to have two citation forms differentiated only by ё and е...the only pair that occurs to me at the moment are небо and нёбо. In that case I have them on separate pages interlinked by See also’s. —Stephen 11:43, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Hmm well I was going to ask what the case was with все and всё but that's already radically different to the rest of Wiktionary since even the adverb "всё" is on the page titled "весь". That's not to say it's not a better way of doing things. As you know I'd prefer some kind of format which gets close to the best dictionaries such as the OED and puts homonyms on different pages and derivations on the same page - but this isn't really doable on a MediaWiki framework so instead pages are united by commonality of spelling despite differing etymology and divided by difference in capitalisation despite single etymology. — Hippietrail 12:23, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
Besides, всё isn’t an adverb in merely corresponds to one in English. In Russian it’s a nominative neuter singular pronoun, and все is the nominative plural. Looking in my dictionaries, I see that they handle this case by inserting an entry всё, все s. весь. That’s how I have treated them here on Wiktionary as well, as redirects to весь. —Stephen 12:49, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Hebrew/Arabic vowel/niqqud bug[edit]

Hi Stephen. I've just noticed that the bug report I filed about Hebrew and Arabic pointing getting messed up is finally being looked at by the developers here:

With your knowledge of the languages, scripts, fonts, typesetting, etc; I am positive your input on this bug would be of benefit to many people using Wiktionary and Wikipedia. — Hippietrail 17:26, 29 July 2005 (UTC)


Hi Stephen. Why did you restore the interwiki link for ru:Январь in January? Shouldn't it link to ru:January (if it exists)? --Ker 17:32, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

I wrote the ru:Январь article (and all the other months as well) specifically for the purpose of linking with the English pages, but yes, if ru:January existed, then that’s what it should be. I should create those ru:Month pages, and intend to eventually, but it’s a low priority since I already have all the ru:Месяц pages done, and the ru:Месяц pages (such as ru:Январь) offer additional information that is not found on either the en:Январь or en:January pages. —Stephen 06:45, 13 August 2005 (UTC)


Please go to Wiktionary:Administrators and accept or decline your nomination for sysop. I deleted the RFD берблюд as you requested earlier, but I think you should have the tools to make that sort of correction for yourself. Good luck! --Dvortygirl 05:22, 17 August 2005 (UTC)


This is to let you know that you are now a Wiktionary administrator. The work that you are doing with other scripts is very much appreciated. Eclecticology 06:27, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Welcome aboard, and congratulations. Several of us hang around in IRC, if you would like to compare notes. --Dvortygirl 06:32, 18 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you, I appreciate this very much. —Stephen 07:22, 18 September 2005 (UTC)


Hi Stephen. I just saw your Russian and Etymology for Amuzgo. I put "Spanish" in the English etym based on the assumption that we borrowed the word from Spanish since, as I read on the internet, "amuzgo" is not what the amuzgo call themselves. The SIL website says: "The name "Amuzgo" comes from the Nahuatl expression "amoxco", which can be translated 'Place of Books'." The -tl ending in your etymology is a very common Nahuatl ending. Neither of the parts given in your etymology exist in my Amuzgo dictionary either. (Unfortunately I haven't yet located a Nahuatl dictionary). I wonder where your etymology came from. I'll do some more searching but I think English borrowed from Spanish and Spanish borrowed from Nahuatl. The Amuzgo term given in my dictionary for the language is "jñò ndá tzjóⁿ noà" but looks like it might mean "language of San Pedro Amuzgos" and may not be idiomatic. It's cool that you're interested! — Hippietrail 08:29, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I’m sure the English term comes from the Spanish word. At the Oaxaca State Info page, they write: Amuzgo significa "en el o donde hay estaño". Se compone de Amuchitl-estaño y co-en. el nombre original es Amuchco. Otros dicen que significa escribientes o tenedores de libros, ya que cuando estuvieron durante el dominio mixteco, muchos de sus miembros fueron ocupados para realizar esa actividad.
So, they do mention the "books" notion, but they support the "tin" etymology. Possibly the origin was Mixtec or some other language in that area, but they are also Oto-Manguean languages.
Most American-Indian languages simply call themselves something along the lines of "talk of the people, or of the true people," and the language name that comes to be used in English is usually taken from their neighbors (often an enemy tribe). —Stephen 09:02, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Here's what I've found so far using only online Nahuatl dictionaries: nothing for "amuchitl" but near matches are: cobre = amochitl, boya = amachiotl, estaño = anochitl. My Amuzgo dictionary is Amuzgo->Spanish only and I haven't come across any of the relevant terms yet. I'll keep up the hunt (:
Programa Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (2001-2006) says: Los mixtecos, vecinos de San Pedro Amuzgos, reconocen a este pueblo como ñuu ñama que significa "pueblo de totomoxtle", en náhuatl se conoce como amuchitl que significa "en el estaño o donde hay estaño". Según el almanaque de Oaxaca el nombre correcto es amochco.
Both versions seem to have been cut and paste into a couple of pages. — Hippietrail 18:14, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
Hmm, confusing situation. It does appear, though, that Náhuatl figures in there somewhere. Another problem might be one of semantics and technology. Most Amerindian languages don’t seem to have separate words for the various metals such as copper, iron and tin ... or at least not until recently. In Sioux, for example, they're all called "maza". When necessary, they can differentiate a little by specifying white maza, yellow maza, and so on. Another problem is the words for "book" and "write," which are both recent developments in these languages. The Amerindian examples that I have studied usually prefer to use native words for new things, rather than borrowing the way English does ... so that the Sioux word for "clock" means "continuously moving metal." So, when the Amuzgo, Mixtecs and Aztecs felt the need for terms for "tin" and "book," it was a matter of creating new words out of the native lexicon, and such words could be very general (such as "shining rock" and "talking leaves") or they might be more specific. Anyway, it’s interesting. —Stephen 07:52, 21 September 2005 (UTC)


Hi, I've replied on Talk:б and I'm trying to change that back - if you could review, I'd appreciate it. --Connel MacKenzie 14:53, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

விடுதலை புலிகள்[edit]

Hi Stephen. I just noticed that you changed the wikification to the singular. My opinion is that in English, (the) Tamil Tigers is the name of a political organization and that Tamil Tiger would be a member of this organization.

The way the Tamil article now stands it is defined by the English name used for the organization but links to the English name of a member. This is wrong.

I don't know about the existence or form of plurals in Tamil or if the same form covers both the organization and its members in that language, but one way or another the definitinos and the links need to be synchronized. — Hippietrail 19:25, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the plural (Tamil Tigers) should be the citation form, with the singular as a derivation. I only changed the wikification because I knew that the page in the singular was the only one that currently existed.
And yes, Tamil has singular and plural forms across all eight noun cases. The plural suffix is -kal (-கள்) and is placed between the stem and any case ending: maram ("tree"), marankal ("trees"), with maratt- as the oblique stem. Thus, marattai (accusative singular) versus marankalai (accusative plural). —Stephen 10:17, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation Stephen. Polysyllabic languages make my head spin, plus I've never found it easy to find grammatical info on Dravidian languages though Wikipedia is getting a lot better.
I think Wiki policy is generally that it's better to have broken but accurate links so people will see the red and come along and fix them, than to have unbroken yet inaccurate links which are usually much harder to spot. Redlinks are not bad guys (:
One other question, years ago I was looking for the word use by Sinhala speakers for the Tamil Tigers. I wonder if they calque it and retain the word "freedom" or if they go for something more derogatory. Do you have any idea? — Hippietrail 16:44, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
I believe the Sinhalese just call them Tigers. Unfortunately, I don’t have a Sinhalese font on this computer, so it’s difficult to show how to write the word that they use. Sinhalese for "tiger" is "koṭiyā"...I can transliterate it into the Malayalam script, which is reasonably similar to Sinhala, thus കോടിയാ. If you know the Sinhalese letters, you should be able to convert this without too much problem. —Stephen 11:46, 3 November 2005 (UTC)
You're right the Sinhalese do call them "Tigers" - the word is "koTi", but on news bulletins the term "LTTE sanvidhaya" (LTTE organization) is used -- Been
Unfortunately I'm travelling right now so only have access to internet cafe computers. But I can highly recommend a little app called SC Unipad which you can [download here]. It has a built-in font which covers most of the obscure scripts. It doesn't do proper indic shaping and the text will just show as boxes for most of us here but once we have Sinhala fonts they will all just work. I have added one or two Sinhala words in the past this way. — Hippietrail 15:06, 3 November 2005 (UTC)


Hi Stephen. Thanks for making an article for this word so quickly! I found the word on a language blog called Languagehat and they have some questions. Please see the talk page for a link to the blog if you're interested in talking about the word. — Hippietrail 00:40, 18 November 2005 (UTC)


What does 5/6 and 9/10 plural mean? I head a browse through w:Swahili language, but it didn't help. If it's complicated, then maybe I don't need to know! --Wonderfool 11:11, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

It’s a fundamental feature of all the many Bantu languages. Where Indo-European languages have usually two or three noun classes according to gender (sometimes according to animacy), Bantu languages have some 18 noun classes. In Swahili, noun class 1 is the "person" class, and the prefix is m-, mw- or mu- (mtu = person, Muingereza = Englishman). Noun class 2 is the plural of NC 1, or the "people" class, prefix wa- or w- (watu = people, Waingereza = Englishmen). So people nouns are generally noun 1/2.
Noun class 3 is the "tree" class, prefix m- (mti = tree); noun class 4 is its plural, "trees" class (miti = trees).
Noun class 5 is augmentative (jitu = giant), NC 6 is the plural (majitu = giants).
Noun class 7/8 is the "thing" class (kitu = thing; vitu = things; Kiswahili = Swahili language; Kiingereza = English language). NC 9/10 is for family names, animals, insects, foreign loanwords (e.g., rafiki), and other miscellaneous. NC 11 is the "abstract" class, prefix u- (uzuri = beauty, umoja = unity). This class is also used for countries (Uganda, Uingerera = England).
Noun class 15 is for verbal nouns, prefix ku- (kusoma = reading, kupiga = beating). NC 16 is locative, prefix pa-. NC 17 is unknown location (ku-). NC 18 is locative within, prefix mu-.
For this reason, Swahili (and Zulu, etc.) nouns are always listed with the applicable noun class, just as European nouns have their gender indicated. —Stephen 12:08, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Thanks for the multiple corrections; I generally agreed with most of them. The one exception had to do with removing the hyphen from "non-linguist". The hyphen is not wrong; this is just another of those American vs. World usage issues. We probably need to expand this point at non-. Eclecticology 19:33, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

I try to informed of the AmE vs. BrE orthographical differences, but I wasn’t aware of this one. Thanks. —Stephen 08:49, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

thanks stephen

Capitalization of state.[edit]

I saw your explanation of why you prefer State to state in the entries for the Russian names of U.S. states.

In Am. usage, "state" = состояние, "State" = штат.

However, this is news to me, and I've lived in America my whole life.  I'm willing to change what I think, though, so below is what I know about how the word state is used in America.  Any information you can give me would be appreciated.  I've honestly never seen state capitalized except in cases where State of state name here is used (for example, see the first paragraph on this Utah state government page).

Also, I looked up the word state on, which uses (in addition to other sources) the American Heritage Dictionary, and this is what I found:

11. One of the more or less internally autonomous territorial and political units composing a federation under a sovereign government: the 48 contiguous states of the Union.

This entry applies exactly to the definition of state we're talking about.  Using the explanation you provided in your edit, I would expect the example to say, "the 48 contiguous States of the Union."  Nowhere in the entry does it say the word is supposed to be capitalized.

Again, these are just my observations and what I know.  I'm open to learning something new.  In the end, it doesn't matter as far as Wiktionary is concerned, because I'd rather have things standard and uniform, so if we just always use a capital, that'd be all right.

V-ball 20:15, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

When the word state means condition or mode, it is not capitalized. Capitalization is only applied with certain meanings, such as a U.S. State or the Department of State. In the case of the fifty States, capitalization is optional, not a requirement. My Random House Dictionary of the English Language, for example, says this under the entry state: "(sometimes capitalized) any of the commonwealths or bodies politic, each more or less independent as regards internal affairs, which together make up a federal union, as in the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Australia." Later in the same entry, it mentions "a Texas State highway." Under the entry for Utah, the Random House writes: "(n.) a State in the W United States."
So the word state in the sense of one of the fifty States may be capitalized or not...both ways are correct. However, in the article that you were editing, Юта, the capitalized spelling was originally selected, and since it is correct, there are no grounds for changing it. It becomes a question of primacy. When someone writes an article using British spelling, that spelling is kept, and an American spelling may redirect to it. If the original was in American spelling, then that is the spelling we keep. In a nutshell, if the original form is correct, it takes precedence over alternate forms that are equally correct. The only reason that I edited your correct but lowercased state that appeared in the newly added sentence was to maintain consistency with the equally correct capitalization that the article was created with. —Stephen 10:02, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, Stephen, for the information, and I couldn't agree with you more about maintaining consistency.
V-ball 00:14, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


Hiya Stephen. If you get a moment, would you mind checking my spelling in ghazal#Etymology - my Arabic is, to put it mildly, rusty. I tried to pipe in the harakat but whenever I save the page they seem to get moved around so they're on the wrong letters... Widsith 16:36, 24 January 2006 (UTC)


Please do not revert the Jahbulon page again. This article is being reviewed for deletion and/or verification and should not be edited without discussion on the Talk Page. Blueboar 16:02, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I made it clear to you on several occasions that the article has been considered for deletion, has been duly verified, and will be kept. That is no longer under review. Discuss new meanings, etc., on the talk page, and if we believe what you say has merit, we will include it. —Stephen 16:52, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Actually, that doesn't appear to be the case. It's up for verification now, and there isn't a pre-existing archived page at the other end of the link. MSJapan 18:17, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Whether it appears to be the case or not, it is the case. Furthmore, the article is not up for verification now, but recently one sense was up for verification. The period allowed for verification of the sense was ample and it failed verification, so the sense was removed. —Stephen 08:21, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Anno Domini[edit]

Stop bringing your anti-Christian bias to the Wikimedia group. Twenty years ago "Common Era" wasn't even remotely heard of, how do you expect a dictionary to refer to it in the definition of Anno Domini, the actual original terminology?? Look in any dictionary, past OR present, your peculiar definition would not even come close to the likeness of those. Put this definition on the "Common era" page all you like. 22:39, 30 January 2006 (UTC).

First, I have no anti-Christian bias, religion was an important part of my curriculum and one of my degrees is from a major Christian university. Second, your statement that Common Era wasn’t even remotely heard of just twenty years ago is both patently untrue and not relevant. I say patently because it is listed in my Simon and Schuster’s International Dictionary, English/Spanish, dated 1973. It’s also listed in my Random House Dictionary of the English Language, unabridged, 1966. I said that it’s not relevant because the article does not make a case for Common Era, but only says "it is becoming more common to use"...which is a simple fact that I know you agree with, since you said that twenty years ago it was much less used. Third, you keep capitalizing Latin anno, which is wrong (whether alone or as part of the expression anno Domini), and you keep deleting the Latin category link, as well as links to discussions of style and usage. Fourth, you keep trying to give the impression that it’s all right to place AD after the date, even in formal writing, and it is not. That style is only appropriate in casual writing, and anyone caught using it in formal texts may expect complaints and questions about his education. And finally, your 'definition' is not a definition, but merely the expansion of the abbreviation. You cannot define a word with itself (paradox of self-reference). —Stephen 10:07, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

Russian translit[edit]

Is an <е> transliterated as <je> when after another vowel, like e.g. in новое: nóvoe or nóvoje? Cheers. — Vildricianus 13:02, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

There are different systems, of course. The most common seems to be to transliterate Russian <e> as <je> at the beginning of words (jésli), after vowels (nóvoje), and after the hard or soft sign (v’jetnámets). Otherwise, just <e> (perevestí), and this is the way I’ve been doing it here. —Stephen 13:18, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Ok, thanks. I'm still watching a bit how you do it before adding Russian words myself. — Vildricianus 13:27, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Dual grammatical numbers[edit]

Hi Stephen! How do you list dual grammatical numbers in Russian entries? Do you simply just mention them or what? Like Russian, Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian have the dual grammatical numbers (2, 3, 4). I just wanted to know, is there a template for that here on Wiktionary to make it easier and nicer to list? I don't want to create one if there is one already and that is why I'm asking you (you seem to be an expert on Russian and I thought that that might be something you might know). Thanks. --Dijan 03:21, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi Dijan. There is no template for it. I simply tried to explain it under два, три, and четыре. It’s also a good idea to explain the development of irregular modern plurals in some words such as дома, города, глаза, рога, and бока, that are actually old dual forms. In some languages, such as Arabic, the dual is still active, and I like to give the different numbers (including collective and singulative) in the article ... see Template:ARchar. —Stephen 07:53, 5 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm just going to follow the Template:ARchar example by just listing them. Thanks again. --Dijan 09:27, 5 February 2006 (UTC)


I thought redirections were not allowed anymore ? — Vildricianus 15:55, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I haven’t heard about "not allowed", but definitions of plurals, finite forms and oblique cases are generally to be preferred over redirects and it’s what we’re doing with English words. With few exceptions, no one has thus far volunteered to do this with the myriad Russian or Serbian forms, or the many tens of thousands of Arabic forms. Nevertheless, some oblique or finite forms are so common that something should be done for them, even if it’s only a redirect. Hopefully there will be people down the line who will eventually convert them into definitions ... but even then I don’t think much time or effort will be expended on these forms with regard to multiple meanings and usages, and anyone looking for the word will probably still need to click through to the citation form to get sufficient information. —Stephen 08:32, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Why do you keep reverting my edits to Jahbulon?[edit]

I removed wikilinks to Hebrew that don't belong there, stated it plainly, and you reverted it. Seriously, what is your problem? MSJapan 15:07, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that those links DO belong there. You removed, for example יה, which happens to be Hebrew for [{God]]. The only grounds for removing the links would be if they were not really Hebrew words ... but they are, and they are correctly spelt. —Stephen 09:45, 16 February 2006 (UTC)


I was wondering whether you could check that one translation which uses an unknown template. I can't find "tm" in the ISO list, but I thought you might recognize the language on sight. — Vildricianus 12:39, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I found it. Must be Strabismus’ doing. It’s Tamil. —Stephen 13:13, 17 February 2006 (UTC)


Hello Stephen, would you consider putting Wiktionary:Babel on your userpage. thanks, --Dangherous 17:35, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I had a look at the page and gave it some thought. I’ve studied, learned and used so many languages in my lifetime that it’s difficult to decide which ones to list and how to categorize them, and in the end I gave up. I have university degrees in Spanish, German and Russian; I worked in Germany for several years as a Russian linguist for the government, and I’ve worked in Spain and France. I’ve done extensive work in Arabic and quite a bit of work in French, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and Italian. I used to be fluent in American Sign Language, but haven’t had an opportunity to use it since about 1990. I’ve done some work in Bulgarian, Japanese, Korean, and Greek. And I’ve done a lesser amount in languages such as Thai and... the list goes on. My work with some languages (such as Spanish, Russian, German and French) involved large amounts of technical translation, less translation from Dutch, Swedish, Italian and Arabic. For many languages such as Hebrew, Thai, Burmese, Khmer, etc., I tried to limit myself to data entry and general typography. Hope this helps. —Stephen 18:50, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, you could perhaps add your user page to the appropriate categories, like Category:User ru, Category:User es etc. That way you don't have to specify the level you're at. It would be a great help for sure. — Vildricianus 19:31, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

"For" vote[edit]

Hi Stephen! I just wanted to thank you for the "for" vote on the admin page.  :) --Dijan 13:45, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

You’re welcome, Dijan. —Stephen 13:47, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


Is this different from Min Nan? It looks like we need a definition anyway. SemperBlotto 13:56, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

No, it’s the same. Bân-lâm-gú is the native name, while Min Nan is the Mandarin and English name. —Stephen 14:00, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

FAchar vs the new URchar[edit]

Hi Stephen. I just made a new URchar template for Urdu. I noticed you're used FAchar for Urdu in some places. This is not a good idea since some fonts including the older versions of Tahoma don't have the extra Urdu characters. Also there are some nice new Urdu fonts about that we could add to the templates that people might not want to use for Persian. Please let me know if there are any other cases where you use a template intended for one language with another language and I will split them. — Hippietrail 17:11, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I can’t think of a specific case, but I know that I occasionally use RUchar to display unusual Cyrillic letters in some non-Slavic languages such as Azerbaijani, Mongolian and Tatar. I’ve run into similar problems with some Arabic-script languages such as Pashto and Sindhi that have character set very different from either Arabic or Persian. —Stephen 10:49, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Well do let me know. — Hippietrail 17:39, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
By the way, I wonder if you ever heard anything from the developers about the Arabic nikkud bug that I reported a couple of times on Bugzilla. To date, nothing has been done about it and they have not spoken to me. Let me test it one more time ... in this word, the fatha (´) should appear distinctly ABOVE the shadda (w): < Template:ARchar >. If the two diacritics overlap, or if the 'w' is on top, it means it’s still broken. —Stephen 10:49, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
As far as I can tell that is sadly one of the bugs nobody's doing anything about )-: — Hippietrail 17:39, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Common vs exotic languages and their wikification in translation lists[edit]

Also I just noticed you dewikify Esperanto and Connel dewikify Yiddish as being common. While not a big issue I think since neither has many speakers and neither has a country or a name related to an obvious speaker base that very many people have not heard of these languages. In this light I think it's better to consider them and any borderline cases really as exotic languages and thus wikify them. It certainly doesn't hurt anyway. Thanks! — Hippietrail 17:11, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

You could be right. My sense is that Esperanto and Yiddish are extremely well known language names, equivalent to Swedish or Vietnamese, but I haven’t done a survey to see if it’s true. On the other hand, I have noticed that we are not wikifying some languages that I consider almost unheard of by most Americans, including Belarusian, Breton, Afrikaans, Bosnian, and Azeri. This is one of the things that I have always thought should be the subject of an official policy, where we would list in detail somewhere those languages that we want wikified. —Stephen 10:32, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
The other grey-area languages you mention are also good examples. Here are my feelings on each one: Belarusian - I don't wikify it because it's obviously derived from "Belarus", Breton - I always wikify it, Afrikaans - I don't make a habit of wikifying it because I thought it was very well know even though it's not derived from "South Africa", Bosnian - obviously derived from "Bosnia" so I don't wikify, and Azeri - derived from "Azerbaijan" but not so obviously and pretty unheard of by typical people I suspect - this is the greyest one and you should wikify if you think that's best, I have wikified it sometimes. But I don't think any of this is crucial enough to bother with policy, after all it's only for practical reason to encourage casual browsers to look up languages that look unfamiliar and exotic to them. — Hippietrail 16:21, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
I understand the reasoning behind Belarusian/Belarus and Bosnian/Bosnia, but the problem with it is that the names of many new countries such as Belarus are still completely unknown to most Americans, and most of them will remain unfamiliar to us unless, like Iraq and Afghanistan, they become major and enduring news stories. Our children learn about them in school, of course, so eventually they will become general knowledge, but most of our adults will persist in their ignorance of the outside world. The word Afrikaans is very exotic for Americans, and most of us would probably guess that it means "African people". If told that it’s the name of a language, most of us would think it’s another word for Swahili or Zulu. —Stephen 09:45, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
The other important thing that I think an official policy should be written for is the transliteration schemes to be used for specific non-Roman languages. We are being fairly consistent with Korean and Japanese, but many other transliterations are chaotic. I’ve used a consistent transliteration for Russian, but there have been complaints (especially about using 'j' instead of 'y'), and it would be beneficial if we selected one of the several common systems and made it policy.
A related problem arose recently when Strabismus began adding words in many exotic languages written entirely in IPA, without regard to any actual orthographies that might exist for some of these languages. In the case of some of them such as the Amerindian languages of the Northwest, that have very different phonologies and have never been written except by linguists, this is perhaps the most practical way. But other languages such as Lakota Sioux, Mohawk, Choctaw, and Ojibwe have been written for some time already and have orthographies that are different from IPA. In particular, they don’t usually employ any of the odd symbols that some lingists like. For example, Strabismus has written the Lakota word for dog as shuɳka (if I recall correctly), but the usually orthography is sunka or shunka (in many of these languages, 's' and 'sh' are allophones and tend to be written always as 's'...nasalized vowels that are important in some languages such as Sioux are often not indicated in writing at all). My point is that this is becoming a mess. It’s good to have the linguist’s IPA if the actual orthography is not known, but these words should be tagged in some way to show that they only represent pronunciation and not real spellings. —Stephen 10:32, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Hi Stephen. I've raised the issue of language wikification in the Beer parlour. You might perhaps want to comment on it.

BTW, I've replaced the redirection in меня by an actual entry. I'm going to add the majority of inflected forms of Russian pronouns, so feel free to point out what I've failed to add there. — Vildricianus 18:38, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I think I would include at least the most common translation of the verb/noun/pronoun form on the page. In the case of меня, that would be me. —Stephen 18:43, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Min Nan[edit]

  1. I wanted to make you aware of Category:Min Nan terms which is now in Category:Min Nan POJ index. Let me know if you feel that these items should more appropriately be located in the Min Nan language category.
  2. While I personally have no problem calling Min Nan a language, I know that there are many that do not believe this to be the case. Perhaps we can avoid the controversy altogether by simply changing the name from Min Nan language to Min Nan?

I would be interested to hear your views. A-cai 14:05, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

It’s probably a good idea to change Category:Min Nan language to Category:Min Nan to avoid argument. And yes, I think the Min Nan category in adjectives, verbs, etc., should all point to Category:Min Nan instead of Category:Min Nan terms. Category:Min Nan POJ index seems okay, and it should point to Category:Min Nan as well. —Stephen 14:19, 23 February 2006 (UTC)


I know this word is from Malay but that's not a language I speak. As you can evidently ask the way to the beach in every timezone on earth, I wonder if you could help me out with the Etymology section...when you get a mo of course. Widsith 13:41, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

I haven’t studied Malay in a long time and have forgotten most of what I knew. The word latah means "pile of leaves," but I think it’s a completely different and unrelated homophone. As I understand it, the latah that you’re talking about is not related to "pile of leaves," but is simply an old word for this nervous condition. That is, I don’t know of any earlier meaning if there ever was one. —Stephen 14:28, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

обо мне / мне[edit]

Well I just wikified all words in the declension table of я, and I removed the prepositions in the prepositional case, for a good reason I thought at the time. However, I just realized you might as well have a good reason for including them. I know some grammars do as you did, some very good ones don't. Personally, I find it incorrect, as those prepositions are not a part of the word, and because о is not the only instance when a prepositional case is used. — Vildricianus 21:02, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

I haven’t seen a Russian declension table that didn’t use the preposition о to indicate the prepositional case before, and in very many cases the prepositional also has to be shown with в/на as well, since the prepositional case is a fairly recent merging of three older cases and thousands of words still have different forms in the prepositional according to the preposition ... for example, о по́ле, but на полу́. And of course there is sometimes a question of which form of о to use, and обо мне is exceptional. There are occasions when it is necessary to show prepositions in some of the other cases as well, mainly the accusative, because the preposition frequently attracts the word stress to itself as in на́ пол (nápəl) ... but these rather more complex issues are better explained in examples instead of in the table. But о always needs to be in the table as the conventional mark of the prepositional. —Stephen 21:40, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, well, the complexity of those many instances of which you named some are exactly the reason why I would not want to have just one of those in the table. I've been considering a new type of header for Russian, where we can add those instances. Something like ====Deviations==== perhaps. Primarily because there are so many of them, they can't all clearly be mentioned in example sentences. There's the opportunity here on Wiktionary to do what paper dictionaries can't, namely clearly describing how a word can change etc. I'd reserve the declension table for the word proper, and then have any irregularity under a separate header. Good idea/bad idea? — Vildricianus 22:22, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
It sounds like a good idea in general, because there is a lot of complexity in form, stress and preposition depending on the exact sense. I’m not clear on how we could describe these things better than through examples, but I’m open to suggestions. I do feel strongly that о is an inalienable element of the prepositional case in Russian declension tables and that it should always appear in the table no matter what we do by way of examples or descriptions for the other things. If I ever found a source that didn’t mark the prepositional with an о, it would throw me into a state of panic and confusion. —Stephen 22:53, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
That's reason enough to keep it then. I'll proceed with this new header thing later on when TTBC is arranged. — Vildricianus 23:02, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Templates for Russian declensions[edit]

Hello Stephen.

I'm thinking and working on some templates for declensions of Russian words. Mostly stuff that is worth the effort (effort indeed!) like nouns, verbs and adjectives. First I'm going to tackle nouns. However, I'd like to hear your opinion first before I proceed with it.

Do you have ideas? Could we use a simple template which takes one or two parameters for the most regular nouns? I can do the technical side of this, but I have no clear view on how to set about all different conjugations systematically. The easiest would be to have just one template for nouns, but then we'll need to fill in more as we use it.

I have an initial thing already at User:Vildricianus/Page7, for now singular only, which I will use as a basis. I let it take one single parameter for the stressed nominative and ten parameters in couples for the other cases, one for the first part of a pipe link, without stress marks, and the other for the second part, with stress. The result would be 23 parameters, though, like this, for a noun's singular and plural. My current basic example takes:


and shows:

  • Infinitive: ве́терть
  • Present: ве́терю, ве́терешь, ве́терет, ве́терем, ве́терете, ве́терют
  • Past: ве́терл, ве́терла, ве́терло, ве́терли
  • Imperative: ве́терй, ве́терйте
  • Gerund: ве́теря
  • Participle: Present: Active: ве́терющий
  • Participle: Present: Passive: ве́теремый
  • Participle: Past: Active: ве́тервший
  • Participle: Past: Passive: ве́тернный

Yes, in the case of ветер, I think we could indeed use a simpler template which only takes four parameters or so, but this way you can see what the possibilities are.

Concerning words with multiple forms, I think we should include the most common ones in the table, and explain further on irregularities in a subsection of the ===declension===.

What do you say? I think you'll indicate that we don't need links to inflected forms and are thus able to remove half of the parameters. Nonetheless, I'd suggest we first try with links. Cheers. — Vildricianus 19:26, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it seems like a good idea. The only suggestion that comes to mind is that I think it’s easier and more natural to list all six singulars first, and then six plurals.
The nouns will be the easiest, of course. I suppose you’ve seen some of the adjective tables as well, such as хороший and слабый. Some adjectives have short forms in addition to the long ones, others only have the long forms (русский).
The real challenge will be the verbs. I’ve done a few verb tables, e.g., быть, давать, and ебаться (if I recall correctly). I’ve been thinking that verbs should be broken down into several separate templates, so that the easiest and most basic forms could be added in the first setting, and then later I or someone else could add a second, third, and fourth part. But that’s just off the top of my head, and there are probably better approaches. —Stephen 20:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Hi again. I've proceeded with the template for nouns, and it now looks like this (+ above example adapted). You'll see the parameters are quite complex after all, and I'm generally put off by them. I've tried to keep the links to the inflected forms in the template, but perhaps it'll be much easier to just leave them out. After all, they're not really useful, are they? And the majority will probably stay red for the next couple of years. I'll probably need to simplify them. (Note: I'll integrate the preposition for prep. case later on). — Vildricianus 20:03, 9 March 2006 (UTC)[edit]

Hello, please could you confirm that this is your account, because this account links here.
I think this is a user that is trying to impersonate you.

We had to block es:Usuario:Stephen_G._Brown this afternoon, because he was obviously a vandal ;(

Greetings from --birdy (:> )=| 19:32, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

No, that’s not me. This is the only account that I have or have ever had. This could be User:EddieSegoura, it’s one of the types of vandalism that he’s known for. —Stephen 20:52, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer. We blocked him [1]. Greetings --birdy (:> )=| 22:24, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Need some help[edit]

Hi Stephen! I just wanted to ask you if you use Firefox when you're editing on Wiktionary? I'm having trouble with some foreign scripts (notably: Bengali, sometimes Thai, Telugu, and Sinhala). How do I fix those problemes? Last time I tried to mess with the fonts in Firefox, I had to reinstall it completely. What do you recommend? --Dijan 05:27, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, I usually use Firefox, and I have the same trouble with the Indic scripts. I haven’t tried to mess with the fonts yet, so when I need to see the Indian languages, I usually switch to Internet Explorer. I really should take some time to experiment with the fonts in Firefox, because that would be much more efficient. —Stephen 05:52, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Another thing that I often do is copy the text that I’m interested in and paste it into Word. Then I have good control over font and size. I like to keep a Word page open all the time for just this purpose. —Stephen 05:54, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it's some of the Indic fonts that are messed up. I tried to see what fonts IE uses for specific languages and compare to Firefox. And yes, they are different and possibly why those scripts display better in IE. For example: the Bengali font in IE (on my comp.) is UT Bengali Dhaka, while in Firefox, UT Bengali Dhaka is listed in the Serif box, but not in the others. Could that be affecting it? Oh, the Thai characters (just like Cherokee ones) display as empty boxes in Firefox (and this is only sometimes; not all the time) while they display just fine in IE. --Dijan 05:57, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
I have’t had any trouble at all with Thai or Cherokee in Firefox, they seem to work just fine. In general, I think Firefox is supposed to allow the webpage to select the font and the size, and that seems to be what happens with most languages. For some reasons, it does something funny with the Indic languages. —Stephen 06:32, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
OH! Wow! 150% is a bad idea. It looks huge now. LOL! I think 120-130% is a good range. --Dijan 06:43, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Template:p and Template:sg[edit]


Hm, I'm not convinced by your argument that "plural" and "singular" are harder to read than "pl" and "sg". Surely the former are much more understandable? — Paul G 11:49, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

In running English text, it’s fine to write out plural, singular, masculine, feminine, neuter, and common, but in most of the places where {{m}}, etc., are used, it’s just unacceptable. You wind up with entries like on masculine singular, ona feminine singular, ono neuter singular, one feminine plural, oni masculine plural. In the unlikely circumstance where we would actually want them spelt out, then they would have to be set off with parentheses at the very least: on (masculine singular), ona (feminine singular), ono (neuter singular), one (feminine plural), oni (masculine plural). The argument that they are sufficiently set off by italics is no good, because italics are not so clearly differentiated on computer screens as they are on paper (and only to varying degrees according to operating system and monitor resolution).
Spelling the little grammatical bits out overpowers the entries and makes them difficult to read and understand. I would never under any circumstances buy or use a dictionary that spelt these things out. If I’m using a Russian dictionary, I expect and insist on the grammatical bits being abbreviated in Russian. In an Armenian dictionary, abbreviated in Armenian. In a Hebrew dictionary, abbreviated in Hebrew. If they are spelt out, it’s too difficult to sift out the grammatical bits from the words in question.
Print dictionaries don’t use abbreviations because they save on typing or on ink or paper, they use abbreviations to differentiate them from the important words. I built and ran a foreign-language typography company since the mid ’70s and I’ve set many thousands of books and other materials in English and numerous other languages, and I can assure you that the purpose of abbreviations has nothing whatever to do with saving time or saving money. They are used to set grammatical and other extraneous information off from the important text. —Stephen 10:15, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I see where you're coming from now. Perhaps this could be summarised in the comments in the templates to prevent others from changing them to the abbreviated forms. — Paul G 10:24, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I'll slightly change the comments on the template pages so that it be clearer. — Vildricianus 11:01, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Persian vulgarities[edit]

Hi Stephen! There is one Persian entry that is puzzling me. It is كس. Now, the problem is that the current entry lists the meaning as pussy, cunt. However, when I looked it up in a Persian dictionary, it was listed as person, companion, one. And this is not the only issue with it. The online dictionary will not accept the present entry کس as a Persian word, but it does accept کس. What is wrong with this? Is the current entry written in another language using a different unicode character that looks the same, but someone used it and listed it as a Persian word? --Dijan 07:18, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Oh. I just, sort of, figured it out. I tried typing the word in Pashto script, and that is the one that the online dictionary is accepting as Persian. Now, one thing remains that's bugging me. Wiktionary does not discriminate against the characters as Persian or Pashto. But, it does differentiate Arabic and Persian characters. Should a note be sent to someone to fix this bug? --Dijan 07:24, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I have also found out that the entry on Wiktionary is written in Pashto script and not Persian. Either the fonts on my computer are messed up or Unicode on Wiktionary is. I have also found out that the code in the address bar for that Persian entry should be %D9%83%D8%B3. According to my computer, the same code is applied for Arabic, Persian, Dari, Farsi, Kurdish, Uyghur, and Urdu). Are my fonts messed up? The current entry is listed is %DA%A9%D8%B3 and on my computer that is listed as Pashto. Should I use Pashto for Persian entries from now on and correct the other ones? hmmm... --Dijan 07:40, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Hello again. I've done some research and here are the results. The problem seems to be with the letter KAF or K. The languages that use Persian and Arabic scripts (including Persian and Arabic) display the letter K differently (this is only when the letter is alone and not combined to another letter). I've compared how the letter is displayed with my fonts, printed materials, and information about these scripts from On my computer (with my fonts), the letter K is displayed as something similar to the Roman letter J with a small s inside the arc for the following languages: Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Kurdish, Persian, Uyghur, and Urdu. According to, that type of K is displayed in Arabic, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Kyrghyz, Pashto, Punjabi, Tatar, Turkish, and Uyghur. Yes, some of these languages no longer use this script, but this character was used when the script was used. In the printed dictionary for Farsi/Persian that I have, the letter is also shaped that way. Now, the second shape of the K is something similar to Roman S (or more like a backwards Z). This is also how the letter appears in all of these languages when connected to another letter. In my fonts, only Pashto displays K in this manner. According to, Azeri, Farsi/Persian, Sindhi (which also uses a third variant), and Urdu use this display. The contradiction, between my fonts and, that I'm seeing is with Persian (Farsi) and with Urdu. I've also found out, from other sources, that the Urdu K that I have, is not the one used in Urdu. I really don't know which display is actually accurate. Should I believe my fonts (which are apparently wrong about Urdu, but correct with Persian) and the printed dictionary, or Also, in wiktionary, %DA%A9 corresponds to the S or backwards Z shaped one, while %D9%83 corresponds to the J shaped one. Hmmm... Wow, this is not about Persian anymore. This is a lot of info to process at 3:40 am!!! What do we do? :) --Dijan 08:42, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
I don’t have a simple way to convert codes like %D9%83%D8%B3, so I can’t tell you much about that. It helps to put spaces around the kaf in a word that you are looking at, because that gives you the isolated form, which is not the same in Arabic and Persian (ك vs. ک).
As far as I’m aware, the only forms of the simple kaf are: Arabic ك U+0643, Persian ک U+06A9, and the Arabic swash ڪ U+06AA. I have an Arabic keyboard which automatically selects ك (U+0643), and a Persian keyboard that selects ک U+06A9. Unfortunately I don’t have a Pashto keyboard to test, but it should be the same as the Persian kaf. Of course, there are other kinds of kaf (such as 'kh' and 'ng') used by some languages, but we’re not talking about those cases. Actually, there are some presentation forms of kaf as well, such as U+FED9 and U+FB8E, but they would require a special keyboard and would be very unusual.
One of the problems with these languages is that the technology is still so new and there are lots of people using Arabic keyboards to type Persian and other languages. So it’s not at all unusual to find Persian words with Arabic kafs and yehs, especially in the initial and medial positions where they look identical.
The other problem is that most of the small, simple words (such as ک س) have multiple meanings, not all of them obscene. And it seems unlikely that a Persian dictionary, online or otherwise, would give the vulgar meanings of anything; and where there is no authority to govern orthography, people may spell some words in different ways. I haven’t seen the vulgar sense of کس in any dictionary, but I’m pretty sure it’s the usual spelling. I’m less sure of the usual Arabic spelling of 'kiss', which means the same thing. It might be كس or كيس, and there are other possibilities as well. —Stephen 09:39, 10 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I don't know why, but this has really stressed me out a little while ago. Now, I just don't care anymore. I can't do anything about it. I'll use the keyboard the way it was invented to be used for right now. Thanks again. --Dijan 09:54, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Invitation to contribute[edit]

Hi Stephen,

You'll probably have read about this in the Beer parlour already, but as you do not use Babel you won't have had a personal message from me. Vildricianus reminded me to contact you.

Would you be interested in working on the translations to be checked lists for the various languages that you know? If so, please let me know on my user page what you can help with. Thanks.

Paul G 10:14, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Russian templates again[edit]

What do you think about ветер, хороший and китайский ? — Vildricianus 13:06, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I think they look pretty good. The noun ветер, however, is one of the more complex ones, and it almost qualifies for two plurals (similar to ребёнок, but not as drastic). Either there needs to be a provision for a third column for the alternate plural forms, or both forms will have to be listed in one column:
Template:RUchar, etc.
I suppose such cases are rare enough that we don’t need to worry about a special template for them...we can just do those the old way.
As for the adjectives, they are much less of a problem. There are only about seven slightly different paradigms that work for virtually all Russian adjectives. The short forms, where they exist, are unpredictable, but the long forms are extremely regular. —Stephen 13:58, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Are these the seven you have in mind?

  1. Template:ru-adj1 -- новый (finished)
  2. Template:ru-adj2 -- русский
  3. Template:ru-adj3 -- хороший
  4. Template:ru-adj4 -- молодой
  5. Template:ru-adj5 -- плохой / большой
  6. Template:ru-adj6 -- последний
  7. Template:ru-adj7 -- третий

For nouns, we'll do as you proposed. Complete tables where the template doesn't suffice. I didn't know that about ветер, though, looks like I learnt something. — Vildricianus 16:03, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, those with the possible addition of сукин should cover it. I’ll make sure these nine adjectives all have entries with tables. —Stephen 09:51, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Done. Template:ru-adj8. I see that you've been applying them already; they're working fine I think. — Vildricianus 12:58, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

What do you think about важный? Or do you think it's table overkill? — Vildricianus 11:06, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
No, I like it. I think it looks good and presents necessary material in a readable format. —Stephen 11:10, 25 March 2006 (UTC)


Hi Stephen. Can you please check the last edit of тьма? Somebody deleted the plural declension. --Dijan 04:56, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

That’s a tough one. I think purists would maintain that тьма has no plural, but some people do use it in the plural sometimes ... e.g., « тьма тем ». I’ve changed it back. —Stephen 05:50, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Plural clutter[edit]

Could you please not re-add arbitrarily chosen plural forms to the translations of words, like at Russian? There's no sense in adding or keeping them since they should be covered in the articles themselves, just like any other non-dictionary forms like various cases or definite forms. It makes it a lot harder to read the already large table of translations.

Peter Isotalo 10:27, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

What you are deleting is important information that is not easily obtainable elsewhere, and destroying that information is vandalism. These forms belong on the individual pages for those words, and if you want to delete them from Russian, first create the relevant pages and move them to those pages. Otherwise, you may employ <!-- -->> to hide the text if it bothers you...but do not destroy it. —Stephen 10:38, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
Just please don't give the people the impression that they should keep filling them in for other languages as well. They're plural forms, not advanced tracts on grammar, and ridiculously easy to check out. You're overreacting.
Peter Isotalo 08:23, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
I want them added for most languages, but they belong on the individual pages for the word in question in those languages. And since most people do not bother creating those pages, the plural forms are welcome where we can get them, and I absolutely encourage everyone to give the plural forms, especially in exotic languages such as some of those that you deleted. If plurals are "ridiculously" easy to find elsewhere, tell me the plurals of Persian جلق, Tamil விலங்க, and Arabic ميناء (and do it quickly and without asking anyone who speaks the language, since most people are not able to do that). I know how to form the plurals in many languages, including these, but I find it very difficult to find such information online or in commonly available books. If you know of an easy source for such information, perhaps we can mention it somewhere so that other people can have access to it as well. As for "overreacting," you tried to destroy information, and that’s vandalism any way you cut it. —Stephen 09:55, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
No, that's not vandalism. Peter's motivation was to honestly improve the entry, according to his own aesthetics. Now, you or I can disagree with his aesthetics, but unless he is repeatedly removing the information — without consensus — it is not vandalism. Alexander 007 10:15, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
That reminds me. Can you have a look at the Romanian entry in one? There is something written there that is not understandable to anyone who doesn’t know Romanian. —Stephen 10:30, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
Plural forms of words in major languages is not information that wikis have to take responsibility in this manner. And it's information that can't possibly be "destroyed", even if it's not displayed here. I seriously doubt anyone without knowledge of Arabic or Serbian has much, if any, interest in knowing a plural form any more than they would need various declinations because they won't know how to use them anyway. The clutter is a bigger concern for me.
Peter Isotalo 18:11, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
When I've been shopping for print Arabic dictionaries, my pet peeve is that most of them lack the plural forms. They are unpredictable and therefore essential. We can address this fault by including them here. — Hippietrail 19:46, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
That’s right. Most Arabic dictionaries don’t indicate the plural, which is extremely irregular and unpredictable with most words, and furthermore they don’t give the gender ... which is also unintuitive and hard to predict with many words. And that’s only the nouns. Many adjectives also have special broken plural forms, which most dictionaries ignore, and there is a ton of info that should be given for verbs, which they also fail to do. Arabic–English and English–Arabic dictionaries are almost always designed for native speakers of Arabic, and they are not intended for use by foreigners
There are several important languages with similar problems, including Estonian (problematic pluralization), Finnish and Estonian (problematic word stems that cannot be deduced from the nominative), and Hausa (insanely complex pluralization). I can add Russian as well, since most dictionaries do not show the plurals (often irregular and unpredictable) and declensions (also irregular). Dictionaries for English–Spanish/French/German/Italian/Portuguese are very complete and usable for Americans and Brits, but most dictionaries for exotic languages (meaning non-Western European) are simply not written for American and British users, they are written for native speakers of the exotic language. —Stephen 03:55, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with listing plurals in these cases. On another topic, it is quite bizarre to define exotic languages as all those that are non-Western European. The Basque language native to France and Spain is as exotic as they get, while the current Celtic languages of France, Ireland and the UK are also thoroughly exotique. Alexander 007 09:33, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
When we speak of Western European languages, we mean English and the main Germanic and Romance languages of Western Europe; certainly not Basque, Celtic, Plattdeutsch or Friulian. That is, the languages that Americans (and I suppose the British) generally limit themselves to studying and learning. It is extraordinary to find an American of Western European descent who speaks relatively fluent Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Basque, Turkish, or almost any other language in the world outside of French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, and possibly a smattering of Latin or Koine Greek. Most American schools don’t offer even all of these, and rarely anything other than these. Usually only the top universities such as Columbia and the University of Texas will offer four years of languages such as Persian, Arabic, Russian, Khmer, and so on. Exotic is a matter of perspective, and from an American perspective, even Romanian is exotic. —Stephen 10:27, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Even Swedish and Dutch. Despite the Germanic affiliation, a person who is only a native English speaker will find those languages about as foreign as Spanish. Exotic may be defined as languages for which you may have to go to several libraries or bookstores before you find a bilingual English-XXX dictionary or search for awhile to find a course in the language, in which case Romanian, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Friulian, Basque, Gaelic, etc. are exotic; yet for languages that are much more distant from English (Chinese, Japanese, etc.) you can easily find courses or books. It's really subjective. Alexander 007 10:36, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, they’re not very difficult, but we just don’t study them. It’s difficult to find a school in the U.S. that offers courses in Swedish or Dutch. I suppose some British schools may offer them. Americans find Spanish and French the easiest to learn, but we don’t do well with German. Much too complex. The only Americans I’ve ever known to actually learn to speak German were American soldiers who were stationed in Germany for several years and who married German wives. Even then, most Americans can’t get beyond baby-talk in German. Until about 50 years ago, Latin and Greek were widely studied, but they have all but disappeared from our schools. Nobody wants to study a "dead" language. —Stephen 10:48, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Just to clarify: it's very easy to include plural forms and whatnot, but not where it's not relevant (i.e. in articles about other words). Information overload is one of the biggest problems with all wikis. Many editors seem to think that all additions that aren't actually false are good per se, which often results in downright fact hoarding.
And I must disagree with Stephen's claim that Latin is all but dead in schools. It's certainly true that it's not nearly as popular as before, but at least in Sweden Latin is still very popular in the universities, still carries great prestige and is about as popular in high schools (for youth as well as adults) as major world languages such as Chinese and Portuguese. People most certainly still want to study dead languages.
Peter Isotalo 11:36, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
The articles in question are not about other words, they’re about these words. We need the other forms, but we get very, very few of them. They do not result in hoarding or overload, they are a drop in the bucket, and we need many more of them. They should be moved to the relevant pages, and that’s what you should be doing instead of deleting.
I didn’t claim that Latin was dead at all. In my country, the use of quote marks implies that the words are from another source. And I’ve made it clear that I’m only talking about Americans, not Swedes, and Americans in general consider Latin and Classical Greek to be dead languages and have had that attitude for the last half century, and if you ask a high-school or college student at an American school that offers both Latin and Spanish why he wants to study Spanish rather than Latin, the reason given is almost always "dead language." Few Americans want to study languages at all, and far fewer want to study a language that they consider to be dead. This is not Sweden and this is not a Swedish wiki. —Stephen 12:14, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
I disagree with Stephen regarding Latin: even community colleges in Los Angeles offer Latin courses regularly, but ancient Greek courses are harder to find. But Latin courses are not as popular as they once were in the U.S., that's true. People of course do want to study dead languages, but the importance and popularity of Latin and ancient Greek courses has decreased a lot. Alexander 007 11:41, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, as of 2006, one of the colleges I was referring to has dropped Latin [2], but it had a regular Latin course a few years ago (Armenian is listed there because that part of L.A. has a large Armenian population; this is a purely monetary/economic move on the part of the college; many second generation Armenians in the area want to enroll to learn the language, so that equals a steady stream of business; same for Filipino and Korean). Contemporary Arabic, for obvious reasons, is experiencing a boom. Alexander 007 12:04, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, Latin can still be found in some schools in some parts of the country. But it used to be a regular part of any good education, and Latin and Greek were taught all over the country and in all the territories. Yes, in a population of 300,000,000, you will find a few classrooms of people who want to study ancient languages, but as a percentage of the population of the country, the number is vanishingly small. Most schools require two years of a foreign language, and the percentage of students who want to study an ancient language is far less than 1%. Only a few decades ago, the percentages were just the opposite, and most people considered Latin and Greek, or at least Latin, an absolute necessity to a proper education. And understandably, colleges in certain communities offer languages that few others offer, simply because of large immigrant populations in the area. Colleges in Michigan are likely to carry Arabic, and colleges in California will have Chinese and Japanese, and New York schools will have Russian. But across the nation, the languages offered and wanted are Spanish, French, and German, and very little else. Not many decades ago, the situation was quite different. —Stephen 12:14, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
In the post 9-11 world (including of course, the U.S.) Arabic is on the boom, regardless of immigrant populations. Arabic may soon join the club, if it hasn't already. Arabic is likely to take the place of Russian (which was especially popular during the Cold War era) in many areas. Alexander 007 12:22, 25 March 2006 (UTC)



IIRC, you know Hebrew, right? Could you please check MediaWiki talk:Edittools#Hebrew and add it to that page (and MediaWiki:Monobook.js as appropriate) so we can have that palette on the bottom of the edit box also? Thanks in advance,

--Connel MacKenzie T C 06:36, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

I could if I knew how. I know the alphabet, but I don’t know how or where to encode it. I assume it goes somewhere in MediaWiki:Monobook.js, but I don’t know where. Or did you just want me to type the complete alphabet on MediaWiki talk:Edittools#Hebrew? Here is the complete alphabet, plus three needed punctuation marks: (אבגדהוזחטיכךלמםנןסעפףצץקרשת ־ ״ ׳). It’s in order from right to left. —Stephen 06:56, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, it was more important that the alphabet be verified yes. But I had hoped you'd then add it to MediaWiki:Edittools. I'll give it a try, and hope that Hippietrail doesn't get mad at me if I hose it up. --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:00, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Test: ׳״־תשרקץצףפעסןנםמלךכיטחזוהדגבא

Was it all supposed to come out backwards? --Connel MacKenzie T C 07:07, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Yes, if you type א followed by ב, they should automatically arrange themselves to read אב. The Hebrew doesn’t appear in my editor yet, so I can’t test it. I imagine that, since you are essentially pasting, you will have to insert from right to left to get it to read correctly. —Stephen 07:19, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

upcoming ru-verb templates[edit]

Could you perhaps take a look at User:Vildricianus/Page7 and User:Vildricianus/Page10? They're a preliminary sketch to see which forms the Russian verb templates should contain. Please let me know which ones I've missed out on. (Any other thoughts on these templates are welcome too). Thanks. — Vildricianus 16:53, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

If you don't mind my butting in, I have some comments on the stresses from User:Vildricianus/Page10:
Probably е -> ё:
As for the following, I am not sure whether these are legal forms at all. I am no linguist, but they sound strange to me as a native speaker. I hope someone can clarify this:
Hope this helps :). — Oleg Katsitadze 19:43, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

I’ve made a few corrections. (Also, some verbs don’t have every form. One that I can think of is ебать, which has neither the gerund nor the present passive participle.)

делать (imperfective)

сделать (perfective)

играть (imperfective)

сыграть (perfective)

ломать (imperfective)

сломать (perfective)

ваять (imperfective)

изваять (perfective)

одолевать (imperfective)

одолеть (perfective)

—Stephen 14:29, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

On wheels[edit]

Hello Stephen. The "on wheels" vandal is lurking, but I'm going to bed now. Could you keep a lookout and block him as he creates new aliases. Cheers. SemperBlotto 22:26, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Anno Domini[edit]

According to the OED, Anno Domini should be capitalized. All quote examples given in the OED are so capitalized. --EncycloPetey 14:03, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Then it must be a BrE/AmE difference, because the Random House Dictionary of the English Language disagrees. The Random House has, for example, *A.D. < L annō Domini, and then *annō Domini, and *A.H. < L annō Hejirae, etc. Looking at the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), it also says annō Domini. It’s also annō Domini in my Latin-English/English-Latin dictionary. As far as I can tell, this decorative use of capitals is a fairly recent phenomenon and restricted to German and English. Latin, Spanish, French, and Russian have traditionally tended to be very conservative about capitalization. —Stephen 14:31, 1 April 2006 (UTC)