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Information desk archives edit

February 2019

Medieval Latin dictionary[edit]

A long time ago I had a collection of bookmarks on my harddrive to various linguistic websites, one of which was a dictionary that was about Medieval Latin and maybe written in French (or Middle French). Somebody on Wiktionary directed me to it years ago, but unfortunately I lost it due to an accident and now I have no idea what it was called.

Can somebody help me retrieve the link? @JohnC5 @Wikitiki89 — (((Romanophile))) (contributions) 23:30, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Already answered on Discord. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:06, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
(For those who aren't on Discord, this was the answer: http://logeion.uchicago.edu/gens) — Mnemosientje (t · c) 19:19, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
We have a discord?! What's the invite? GabeMoore (talk) 16:58, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
See Wiktionary:Discord server. — surjection?〉 17:04, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Coal not created by lack of fungi, say 4 scientists[edit]

Three years ago Stanford scientists published a paper refuting the popular idea that lack of organisms to decompose lignin was responsible for coal deposited during the Carboniferous Period. Three weeks ago I added details and reference citations at the bottom of the appropriate Talk page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Carboniferous but I'm thinking that nobody has seen it, and may never see it, which is why I mention it here. I suspect the page should be updated to deal with the old/incorrect view and incorporate the new/corrected view but I don't have the expertise to do it. 03:00, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

This is Wiktionary, not Wikipedia. You could try a general discussion page on Wikipedia rather than the talk page for that specific article. Equinox 04:14, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
An appropriate page for flagging the issue would be Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Geology.  --Lambiam 13:24, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Equinox: D'oh! Thanks, I don't know how that happened. Lambiam: Thanks, I did as you suggested just now. 06:38, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

Audio Gender[edit]

I remember seeing some words having audio for pronunciation by men and women, but have been unable to find an example to use as a basis for replication, so I was wondering, what are the standard practices when it comes to marking the gender of audio? —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 01:37, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

I have never noticed such a distinction being made. It would be nice I guess, but in practice we have so few people that record audio that we take what we can get. There's no need to specifically note it on an entry however. DTLHS (talk) 03:39, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with any language that has different pronunciations for the same word depending on the gender of the speaker (I'm sure there must be some, somewhere), so I don't see the point of marking gender- it's not like the mommy audios and the daddy audios are going to go off and have little baby audios... Seriously, though, it doesn't seem like a good idea. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:49, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
The Japanese first-person pronoun has two pronunciations, watakushi (very formal) and watashi (rather formal). The sound difference is not as pronounced (no pun intended) as it may seem: the syllable ku is unstressed and its vowel, already rather indistinct, is unvoiced, so to Western ears the more formal version may sound like watakshi. Until a couple of decades ago, the less formal use of watashi by men would be considered feminine. But a shift has set in, in which younger men – now including the middle-aged – also started to use the watashi pronunciation in circumstances where they would have used watakushi in earlier times. Funny enough, among older women there is a contrary tendency in which they stick to watakushi in formal situations where their male age mates are moving to watashi.  --Lambiam 23:55, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
That's actually really interesting, thank you for saying something, I would have never known otherwise! If audio files were to exist for each of the different pronunciations spoken by their respective groups, do you think it would make sense to note that the speaker for the file is a member of that group? Conversely, if one person who was not part of all the relevant groups were to do audio pronunciation files each of the pronunciations would it male sense to note that? If notes where added, what way would it make the most sense to include the note? —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:29, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
These are a lot of good questions that I have not thought about and have no ready answers to. In sociolinguistics several gender-related issues are studied (see e.g. on Wikipedia the articles Language and gender and Complimentary language and gender and the article section Gender and covert prestige). Gender-related differences are often subtle and may become only detectable (statistically significant) with larger sample sizes, so it may not be possible to describe them succinctly.  --Lambiam 11:32, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Now I really want to record a baby saying some words... :P
(Also... I guess if one considers some of the things in Category:Women's speech terms by language and their counterpart inflected/variant forms, etc in men's speech to be the same words, like ypék and nypék, they have gender-specific pronunciations...) - -sche (discuss) 04:57, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm odviously no expert, but I would consider those to be gender-specific words rather than gender-specific pronunciations.—The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 06:11, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
What about differences in phonology? diffSuzukaze-c 03:42, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Okay, thanks! —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:14, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
I think this is a really interesting issue. Ideally we would tag pronunciations in whatever kind of way, it might be age, locale, gender, etc. but it opens 50 cans of worms: the whole current gender thing where people are whatever they decide to be (not perfect for linguistics where we might want to know about the shape of their vocal tract), and all the politics of whether a Serbian speaker is Croatian and god knows what. I do think this is stuff we should care about. On the other hand I suspect that when we finally make it cheap and easy to record voice samples, the early brave pioneers will be deleted in hours. Perhaps we should wait for the tech to catch up with the politics, huh. Equinox 13:57, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Spanish parts-of-speech[edit]

Hi, Thanks for the Bilingual Dictionaries for Offline Use!

Is there a list of what the part-of-speech tag abbreviations mean for the Spanish-English entries? Below is the set of the abbreviations.

set(['art' 'suffix' 'vi' 'affix' 'vp' 'vr' 'num' 'vt' 'interj' 'phrase' 'conj' 'adv' 'vit' 'vitr' 'vtp' 'vti' 'prop' 'pron' 'vtr' 'vtir' 'initialism' 'adj' 'prep' 'fp' 'vrt' 'acronym' 'symbol' 'abbr' 'letter' 'proverb' 'contraction' 'vir' 'mf' 'vtrp' 'determiner' 'particle' 'f' 'm' 'prefix' 'n' 'mp' 'v'])

Those dictionaries are a project by @Matthias Buchmeier rather than part of the dictionary proper. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:01, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

OK, thanks. How do I contact him to decode the list?

Reusing audio of homophones[edit]

Currently lute has audio pronunciation files but loot does not, is it allowable to or is there policy surrounding reusing the audio file for lute on loot's page? —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 02:03, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

I can’t think of a rule against it, but I suggest that you then copy File:En-US pronunciation of "lute".ogg to File:En-US pronunciation of "loot".ogg (with, of course, proper acknowledgement of its provenance) and link to that copy.  --Lambiam 14:10, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Why do you suggest that the audio be copyed? —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:20, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm against it. You don't know (and possibly won't even notice) if words are homophones in one dialect of English but not in another. When the word was recorded the speaker was specifically intending to produce the sounds for that word and not another. "Homophone" is an incredibly loose term. DTLHS (talk) 16:05, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
I assume that TEA is competent to judge if the sound of that file presents an apt US pronunciation of lute. Moreover, I assumed that they exercised that judgement before posing this question here.  --Lambiam 00:12, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
"Competence" has nothing to do with it. Speakers of one dialect of a language can have sound changes that are imperceptible to other speakers. DTLHS (talk) 00:40, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Would equal IPA transcriptions be enough to justify reuse? —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:20, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Definitely not. Two words can have the same phonemic transcriptions, but that doesn't mean they will have the same realization by two different speakers. IPA transcriptions are an abstraction. DTLHS (talk) 04:31, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm not completely sure I understand what you mean by realization in this context, but I think what it means is the actual sonic audio produced by a two speaker may be subtly different, in comparision to their IPA transcriptions which are tbe same because, as you said, IPA is an abstraction and involves broad-ish categories and information loss, and because of this possible difference the audio should not be reused? —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:47, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
That's basically my point, yes. Others may disagree. But also basically I don't think we are in such desperate need of audio that we have to reuse files on multiple pages. Others may disagree. DTLHS (talk) 04:53, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'll probably record the audio at some point. —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 05:19, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Where is Wiktionary stated to be descriptionist?[edit]

I often hear that people that Wiktionary is deacriptionist, but I can't seem to find the policy article that says so, can someone tell which policy does? —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:17, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Probably WT:CFI. DTLHS (talk) 04:28, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't find the word descriptionist nor prescriptionist on the page. —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:36, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
You'll have to read between the lines. Saying "We are descriptionist" is not a useful policy statement on its own. DTLHS (talk) 04:38, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough, I guess the part about attestment is the most relevant. Thanks! —The Editor's Apprentice (TalkEdits) 04:49, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Obsolete local units[edit]

Is there any convention regarding entries such as the pair Amsterdam pound/Amsterdams pond and whether they are considered sums of parts? Local units of the type L U are basically bound to have a value somewhere around the range of U and would have been used in locale L, even though the specific quantity cannot be inferred from the name. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:51, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

The obsolescence of such units should not enter into the considerations. For the nautical mile one might equally argue that it is SOP since it is a unit with a length around a mile used in a nautical context. And why should it matter that we are dealing with units? Roman numeral is SOP because it is a kind of numeral used by the Romans. The point is not that the specific quantity cannot be inferred from the name, but that the term has a specific meaning that cannot be inferred from the name. For example, I think it is defensible to include an entry biblical cubit even though we have only informed guesses about the specific quantity; nevertheless, the term has a specific meaning and is attestable.  --Lambiam 10:58, 16 February 2019 (UTC)

Corazón / corazoncito[edit]

I left this message about the diminutive of Spanish "corazón". Regards. -- 19:40, 17 February 2019 (UTC)

We don't include diminutives in the headword line for Spanish, unlike Polish. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:12, 17 February 2019 (UTC)
¿? Not sure why; especially in cases like this, which contains a connecting -c-. Sad, anyway. Regards. -- 03:02, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
I see there's a link in corazoncito to corazón. Why not, at least, a link somewhere in corazón to corazoncito? Not sure how to do it and, after the previous comment, if it would be reverted; so I'll just comment. Regards. -- 03:08, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
I added it as a derived term. I believe the reason we do not link them as we do in Polish is because they are completely predictable. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:41, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, Μετάknowledge! Kind regards. -- 11:53, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

Tag questions in other languages[edit]

Some languages have a generic word or particle that makes a statement into a yes/no question, a bit like 'innit' in London English or est-ce que in French. Is there a way to find these using Wiktionary? For example I know there's a Persian one but I forgot it. Vices Theme (talk) 16:38, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

You mean آیا‎, the sole inhabitant of Category:Persian interrogative particles?  --Lambiam 22:49, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

Having Difficulty with an Entry[edit]

We're new here and currently without a term to describe a class of objects for which a Wiktionary term currently exists pertaining to a specific application of the term. Our secondary entry hoped to shed light on both the class of object in addition to the term itself which under the existing description while suitable to the application, may fail to do justice to the term.

Our entry was left for verification and subsequently removed entirely which may make little difference to our use of the term but may be of greater concern to those aiming to uphold the standards of the platform since the current Wiktionary entry may be questionable.

Thank you for your attention in this matter. /UFC (see Metacube) —This unsigned comment was added by Unidentified Flying Cheeseburgers (talkcontribs).

You made up a meaning for the word. Wiktionary does not host things that you just make up one day; they have to follow our criteria for inclusion. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:39, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

March 2019

About the pronunciation of Japanese "kumo"[edit]

I'm curious about these two Japanese words:

  • (kumo, cloud)
  • 蜘蛛 (kumo, spider)

My questions:

  • Are they pronounced exactly the same?
    • The pronunciation section of both entries already has the same IPA, so it looks like the answer is "yes". I'm just checking.
  • Are these words likely to be confused with each other if the context doesn't help?
    • Suppose someone says a sentence along these lines in Japanese: "Please draw a 'kumo' for me." I'd like to know if it would be likely to sound ambiguous.

Thanks in advance. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 13:54, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

This Reddit thread includes (besides a bunch of unhelpful stuff) evidence that Japanese speakers would just say sora no kumo (and presumably mushi no kumo) to disambiguate if the interlocutor didn't understand by context alone. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 14:40, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
My dictionary (Kenkyusha pocket) also gives the same tonal pattern (a downstep in pitch) for both.  --Lambiam 16:27, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
In the standard Japanese accent, both of them are pronounced as /kúmò/, but in the Kansai dialect, 雲 /kúmò/ and 蜘蛛 /kùmô/ respectively. Those are one of the rare exceptional minimal pairs not following the rules of correspondence between the dialects in Tokyo and the Kansai region.--荒巻モロゾフ (talk) 16:27, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
@荒巻モロゾフ: Could you please add the Kansai to these two entries? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:21, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
I would very much like to add them, but {{ja-pron}} is totally messed up for expressing Japanese dialectal phonological structures. It can't express accent system of Kansai dialect (there are fall and rise accents and no voiceless vowels in Kansai dialect) and can't handle the difference of the vowel and consonant between Japanese dialects (Western Japanese /u/ is not [ɯ] like Tokyo dialect, but [u]). We should change the template.--荒巻モロゾフ (talk) 15:07, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

How to give definitions for prefixes[edit]

I'm working on uploading a lot of Tocharian B words, many of which are prefixed with e(n)-. The issue is, that particular prefix appears to have two uses, both as an intensifier and a negator, which are largely opposites. I was going to use the || used for definitions, but the usage of the prefix is different from the definition, so I feel it wouldn't fit there. How would I specify the usage of the prefix?

Here's an example of what I'm talking about: anklautkatte. The e(n)- prefix is used as an intensifier here, but I have no way of neatly denoting that as opposed to the negator usage. GabeMoore (talk) 17:07, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

I assume that this is about the template {{affix}}. You could use {{af|txb|e(n)-#Etymology 2|alt1=e(n)-|klautk-}}.  --Lambiam 18:00, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
You should use the "id" parameter, as in {{af|txb|e(n)-|id1=test}}. DTLHS (talk) 18:03, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Doing that didn't change anything. What I'm looking for is a way to show the meaning of the prefix right after it is written. For example: Latin cudo (to beat).
(This is kind of difficult to explain via writing, so bear with me.) GabeMoore (talk) 18:47, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
You can see all the parameters and their documentation at Template:affix. DTLHS (talk) 19:56, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
The best I can do with the template in its current form is {{af|txb|e(n)-#Etymology 2|alt1=e(n)-|t1=a [[negating]] prefix|klautk-|t2=}}. However, that produces a gloss that looks like (“a negating prefix”); I think we’d like to see (a negating prefix) in italics, instead of between quote signs.  --Lambiam 21:21, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
You shouldn't use section links inside terms like that. Sections may change as entries change, so they are not reliable. Moreover, they only link to the first section with that name on the page, which may change as well. —Rua (mew) 22:28, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
To display a non-gloss definition, what I usually do is use a pos parameter. For instance, in ἀρχή (arkhḗ), {{affix|grc|ἄρχω|t1=to begin|-η|id2=zero grade|pos2=verbal noun suffix}}. — Eru·tuon 21:46, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Modern translations[edit]

One of the quotations for bedlock is from Goethe, who was of course an 18th Century poet, but the date of the text it is taken from (a modern translation) is 2005. But this implies the original quotation is from 2005. Is this intentional? Is this dating issue a common problem with translations and other secondary reference texts that quotations are taken from? -- 12:13, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

The year is fine, but what was not fine in this quotation is giving Goethe as the author, instead of the translator. Yes check.svg I have modified the attribution in the quotation.  --Lambiam 22:24, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

Period (full stop) inside IPA string[edit]

So I was looking at the entries for demon and daemon and came to believe they were (probably) pronounced the same. The problem is that the IPA string in the two entries differ in that there seems to be a period in one and not the other. Demon has IPA(key): /ˈdiː.mən/ and the other has IPA(key): /ˈdiːmən/. Is one of these in error? If so, which? If both are okay, why do they differ, etc.? Thanks. --R. S. Shaw (talk) 19:36, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

It's a syllable break, and not always marked. See Wiktionary:International Phonetic Alphabet or w:International Phonetic Alphabet. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:19, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

Designing Wiktionary Task for Students[edit]


I am teaching Lexicography to junior university students this semester. What are ways I can incorporate Wiktionary in the syllabus? I am thinking of getting the students on board by designing a project task in which the students add words/translations to Wiktionary. The students native language is Arabic and they are majoring in translation between Arabic and English. So far, the students have good knowledge of the types of dictionaries, the macro- and micro-structures, and the best practices in writing definitions. I think this could potentially be a real asset to Wiktionary and to the students. Your opinions and ideas are highly appreciated.--Reem Al-Kashif (talk) 16:10, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Hello. Off the top of my head, given the topic your students are majoring in, I think the most valuable contributions your students can make is correcting or adding Arabic terms at the English Wiktionary, and likewise for English terms at the Arabic Wiktionary. I don’t know anything about the situation at the Arabic Wiktionary, so the following applies mainly to the English Wiktionary. I assume all student contributions will be supervised and checked – at Wikipedia they have had some bad experiences with student projects that in the end cost the regular editors more pain, effort and time than it was worth.
For starters, the students should be well aware of (1) our criteria for inclusion, (2) our formatting conventions for entries (for beginners it helps to look at analogous existing entries and follow the format found there, but this should never be done blindly), and (3) our conventions that are specific to Arabic. They should study these and discuss what they do not immediately find clear until they are reasonably comfortable with these rules. If done right, this will save them a lot of wasted effort and us a lot of tears.
I assume that the students know, or are savvy enough to check if they are not sure, when a term or expression is specifically Egyptian Arabic. We welcome Egyptian Arabic entries, but they should be marked with the language code arz instead of the code ar for general Arabic.
Here are two lists of known tasks specific for Arabic:
  1. Requests for verification in Arabic entries (only a few requests).
  2. Requested entries (quite a few; giving some consideration to which terms are the most important ones may be helpful).
You can try to enlist the assistance of some of the editors who are native Arabic speakers – but I cannot speak for them; several of the editors on that list are not currently active or may have only very limited time available.
I hope that others will add their ideas and comments. Best of luck.  --Lambiam 21:17, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam Did you mean "Wiktionary" rather than "Wikipedia" in that first paragraph? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 19:41, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
D’oh! Yes, of course. Corrected. Thanks.  --Lambiam 20:00, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
Well if they are majoring in translation, Category:Requests for translations into Arabic and Category:Requests for review of Arabic translations and English translation tables in general would be an appropriate puzzle for them, I guess. Otherwise people are only occasionally eager to add many technical terms. On the other hand they can just create well-defined entries with well-found usage examples or quotes from occasional literature they read. Regard an entry like German stellen. It is a super-basic word but one has to define well and give proper usages examples to get over all the nuances, which also means one needs to have a proper capability of abstraction to group senses; the cherries on top are quotes from all kinds of texts.
No one in the category “editors who are native speakers of Arabic” has been active in Arabic the last two years. Aspiring editors just have to see to use correct formatting and make nothing unreasonable. There are some other editors that know how it should look like and will look onto occurring edits here and there so no misfits are maintained. @Reem Al-Kashif Fay Freak (talk) 00:45, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Looking at Category:Arabic terms with quotations could be interesting: what makes a good quotation? Category:Arabic usage examples with the translation missing could also be relevant. —Suzukaze-c 09:10, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

Bullets in etymology[edit]

Several entries, like abdominothoracic, have bullets before the etymology, but many don’t. Several entries of words with multiple possible etymologies have bullets for each possible etymology, but many don’t. What exactly is the consensus for such formatting? Tamınɢsari (談話) 09:01, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

If there is just a single etymology, as for abdominothoracic, putting a bullet in front serves no purpose. If there are several possible etymologies, I’d rather see a treatment in running sentences, like e.g. for badge and kludge, which makes it easier to express judgements regarding plausibility (if warranted), like seen at shanty. So then also no bullets are needed.  --Lambiam 17:31, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
I think the bullets can be visually useful where there are multiple unrelated ety theories. Equinox 01:13, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Even then I prefer an unbulleted intro to the bulleted list, even if it just says:
Unknown. There are several, unrelated theories:
 --Lambiam 09:58, 14 March 2019 (UTC)