Wiktionary:Information desk/2017/July

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If there is a text written in some language and containing direct speech in another language, can this be used for attestation in that other language? For example several High German texts contain Low German direct speech. Sometimes it might be some kind of Missingsch, neither High nor Low German, but sometimes it might be correct Low German.

  • Herr von Ribbeck auf Ribbeck im Havelland (Fontane) at wikisource
    This might attest Low German Dirn = girl, lütt = little, dod = dead.
  • 1905, Wilhelm Jensen, Unter der Tarnkappe. Ein schleswig-holsteinischer Roman. In: Westermanns Illustrierte Deutsche Monatshefte. XCVIII. Band, Heft 588. September 1905, p. 767 (GB):
    Sünd dat twee, de sick helpen wüllt, amo, amas, amamus to konjugeern? Dat latinsche Tidwort geiht se all jümmer an lichtesten in, to lehrn, uns' Herrgott gifft wul sülbn Ünnerricht dato.
    This might attest Low German konjugeern = conjugate, Tidwort = verb, Ünnerricht = instruction, lesson.
  • 1883, F. W. Grimme, De Kumpelmentenmaker oder Hai mott wierfriggen. Lustspiel in sauerländischer Mundart, Münster:
    Stage direction and some speeches are High German, but some characters could speak Low German.

-Ageaux (talk) 16:09, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

It's complicated. On the one hand, Low German (which we treat as two languages: German Low German,language code nds-de, and Dutch Low Saxon, language code nds-nl) isn't what our Criteria for inclusion call a "Highly Documented Language" (HDL), so you only need a mention in a source that the community of editors in the language in question agree is reliable. On the other hand, this kind of source makes it very hard to be sure that you really have the right language. Characters in fiction tend to speak a stereotyped or even fake version of their supposed language which is often distorted for dramatic or comic purposes. Even if not deliberately tampered with, it may be the kind of phrases that "everybody knows those people say". For example, the interjection "Gott in Himmel" is rather well attested as something said in English texts by German characters- but I have my doubts about it being quite as well-attested in German texts... Chuck Entz (talk) 01:41, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
Woah. This is eerily similar to the case of the Prakrit languages. A lot of Middle Indic drama used different languages to denote class in society, e.g. the poorest spoke Magadhi Prakrit, the powerful men spoke Maharashtri (I think) and the well off women spoke Shauraseni, while in religious texts Jains used Ardhamagadhi and Buddhists used Pali. There was a high enough degree of mutual intelligibility in these standardized dramatic dialects (as in they were artificially made to sound a certain way). As Chuck Entz said about "stereotyped ... or even fake" language, the usage of Low German in High German texts is probably to poke fun or give a character a certain identity in a drama. —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 21:51, 14 July 2017 (UTC)


Used on page 94 of David Foster Wallace "Every love story is a ghost story." What does it mean?

"“Westward” also represented how seriously Wallace had come to take fiction, how much he believed that in the wrong hands it could demoralize and passify the unwary." Apparently passive + -fy = to make passive. Equinox 00:06, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
SemperBlotto has created it as a misspelling of "pacify". I don't think that's what it means in the above. Equinox 11:22, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
I've changed the definition and added some citations where the immediate context makes clear it means "make/become passive". - -sche (discuss) 18:30, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

Appendix article[edit]

I wanted to create a page about Polish adverbs but my article was rejected. How can I add an article to Polish appendices? —This unsigned comment was added by Mihxal (talkcontribs).

What do you mean by rejected? DTLHS (talk) 16:41, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
There appeared a communication that it would be harmful or something like that and some other communications. It was automatically rejected. On the whole, I couldn't add it. Mihxal (talk)
Aha! You tried to create a main-namespace page called "polish adverbs", with interwikis, and an edit filter blocked your edit because interwikis are unneeded in the main namespace. If you want to create an appendix, it should be in the appendix space and at the correct capitalization, say Appendix:Polish adverbs. Appendix:English adverbs and Appendix:Swedish adverbs are examples of existing appendices about adverbs. - -sche (discuss) 18:23, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. I have already added it. Mihxal (talk)
@Mihxal: Very nice. I added {{m}} or {{l}} to make the Polish text be properly linked and language-tagged. — Eru·tuon 19:30, 17 July 2017 (UTC)


How can I enable this option in this article: https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=Appendix:Polish_adverbs? https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/User:Conrad.Irwin/creation.js/documentation Mihxal (talk)

Go to Preferences (it's on the top of the page, next to the Talk link). Click the Gadgets tab. Scroll down to the Editing gadgets section. Click Add accelerated creation links for common inflections of some words. Click Save on the bottom. This will enable green links for available accelerations. Polish adverbs already have this feature. However, I don't think it will work for an Appendix. --Panda10 (talk) 21:13, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
@Panda10: Yes, it does not work. Is it possible to enable it in Appendix? Mihxal (talk)
The accelerated green links appear when you use the headword template {{pl-adv}} in the actual entry page. Why would you want to use acceleration in an appendix? Just go to the actual entry page and click on the green links to create the comparative and superlative forms. --Panda10 (talk) 15:08, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
@panda10: To allow adding entries for words which appear in Appendix. After all, I could do everything manually but I would like to do it semi-automatically. ~Mihxal (talk)
@Mihxal: I'm sorry but I don't understand the problem. I just created the comparative form goręcej by going to the lemma entry gorąco and clicking on the green link then clicking save. --Panda10 (talk) 16:53, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Taishanese words with no written form[edit]

Hi all. What is the best practice for w:Taishanese (or other applicable varieties of Chinese, for that matter) words that have no written form? An example would be /lai²² sai²²/ "dirty".

Also, what is the best practice for adding these words into their respective Template:zh-dial tables? Chagneling (talk) 06:19, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

(@Wyang, Justinrleungsuzukaze (tc) 05:12, 20 July 2017 (UTC))
@Chagneling: It's hard to say. Even though the sources we have do not provide a written form, there may be one out there. In these cases, I usually do not create any entry until further investigation (since it fails to meet WT:CFI anyway, unless we make an exception for dialectal terms). For zh-dial tables, I usually put them as a comment at the end of the line for any dialect. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:25, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
@Justinrleung: Got it. Also, just to confirm:
* for the purposes of WT:CFI#Number_of_citations, do sources include dictionaries (whether physical or digital)?
* do I need to state sources on entries themselves, or are they already implied (e.g. Stephen Li for Taishanese)? It doesn't look like entries like 天早 list any directly. Chagneling (talk) 06:50, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
If a language has a limited written corpus, dictionaries can be counted towards attestation (WT:LDL). DTLHS (talk) 16:56, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

HSK Appendix[edit]

Hello! Currently on Wiktionary there is an appendix for HSK (Chinese proficiency test) vocabulary according to the old system: Appendix:HSK list of Mandarin words. The new HSK was implemented in 2010 and has six levels (w:HSK). Does an appendix exist for the new system?

Thanks Zumley (talk) 18:35, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

I reckon we should handle all of the HSK information automatically, perhaps via {{zh-forms}}. Wyang (talk) 05:50, 20 July 2017 (UTC)


See diff. Is "powwow" a reduplication? It was borrowed in its entirety from Massachusett pauwau, from PA *pawe·wa, i.e. no part was generated by duplication. (Compare the WT:ES discussion of todger dodger.) - -sche (discuss) 09:44, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

(Another user has undid the edit, which also seemed to me like the correct course of action. - -sche (discuss) 04:56, 31 July 2017 (UTC))

Pronouncing diphthongs ending in /ɪ/[edit]

I hope this is a decent place for this question. I'm from the Northwestern US where we all seem to pronounce the /ɪ/ in diphthongs as a tense vowel. For example, /bɔɪ/ has a definite "ee" sound at the end (not extremely tense, but distinct from /ɪ/ by itself). Is this simply a matter of dialect, or is it due to the way the tongue moves from /ɔ/ to /ɪ/ that gives it that sound? Both? Sorry for the noobishness of my question. I'm not a student, just a hobbyist. This may be beyond the scope of the Information desk, but I'm hoping someone will have some thoughts on the matter. It will help me to understand my IPA transcriptions as I go along. Thanks! BirdHopper (talk) 19:24, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Well, first, the English monophthong /ɪ/, in contrast to the offglide of the diphthongs /aɪ eɪ ɔɪ/, is not always (not in all dialects) the same as the official pronunciation of the symbol ɪ: it's not always near-close. (It also used to be near-close in Received Pronunciation, but no longer is. That pronunciation sounds decidedly old-fashioned to me.) It's definitely not near-close for me: I usually pronounce bit with a mid central vowel: [bət]. So English /ɪ/ isn't always literally [ɪ].
But the offglide of the /ɔɪ/ diphthong may approximate a near-close vowel. To me, a fully close vowel sounds rather non-native. But I would rather it just be transcribed as /ɔi/ (or /oi/), because it's not all that important which vowel the diphthong ends on: it's aiming for the high front position, more or less.
However, I think there's a tradition in which the "small capital" IPA letters ɪ ʊ are used for non-syllabic vowels. This is incorrect: i̯ u̯ should be used instead.
I'm not sure where the use of ɪ ʊ in English phonemic transcription originated, but it irritates me and I'd love to replace them with i̯ u̯. — Eru·tuon 19:49, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
I much prefer sticking to the transcription system we've established here, as it's easy to read, it matches expectations, it's phonemically no less accurate (even if it doesn't perfectly match the phonetic realization in all accents), and it minimizes the need for multiple listings in multiple accents. It's bad enough that have to use RP /əʊ/ vs GenAm /oʊ/ for the goat vowel; I'd be very unhappy to see us introduce a wholly unnecessary distinction between RP /ɔɪ/ and GenAm /ɔi/ for the choice vowel. I have no objection to using the nonsyllabicity marker for all accents (i.e. /ɔɪ̯/), but neither to I feel it's really necessary. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:41, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Well, the RP diphthongs should probably use /i̯/ as well. There isn't a difference in the offglides between RP and GA as far as I know. — Eru·tuon 21:29, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Erutuon. I think it's confusing. I've almost (or maybe even have, when I didn't know better) added "alternate" pronunciations with a higher vowel since it is clearly not /ɪ/ to my ears. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 20:47, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the input, everyone. I always like to hear both sides of an argument. The use of something like /ɔi̯/ makes a lot of sense from my perspective, but I can see the value in sticking with what is well-established as well. BirdHopper (talk) 16:30, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Question about headings format[edit]

So, the layout policy states that Pronunciation should come after Etymology, yet you have entries like red where it is reversed in the English section. This strikes me as the better way to do it, because most of the pages I've seen just repeat the same pronunciation for every etymology. It clutters up the page. In fact you can see an example of what I'm talking about in the very same entry red#Slovene. I am of the opinion Pronunciation should come before Etymology, unless there's a specific need otherwise. Or at least organize it in a fashion where the repetition isn't necessary. Pariah24 03:12, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Yes, I don't think our users are very bothered about the order of sections. Some leeway should be allowed. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:08, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
  • I always put pronunciation before etymology, because then it's in the same order whether there is one etymology or several. If the different etymologies have different pronunciations (which has been very rare in the entries I edit, compared to the opposite) then pronunciation is nested under etymology and with a higher header level. —CodeCat 10:41, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Contribute to the evolution of Wiktionnary[edit]

Hi everyone, I'm new at this website. I want to contribute with you, to Wiktionnary's evolution. I want to be an editor in this website too. So I count of you to help me. Thanks —This unsigned comment was added by Jjjoa (talkcontribs).

@Jjjoa: We're happy to have you. First off, a tip: end your posts with ~~~~. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:52, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Why can't Wonderfool vote?[edit]

I know he's banned, but is there even really written policy here about bans? If "Wonderfool is a special case", why can't he vote? Don't you think his votes are valuable too, or is there a reason his votes are not valuable by default? PseudoSkull (talk) 04:24, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

In practice: he has a very long, strong (like Andrex) habit of doing things to mess up the project (a.k.a. trolling), so it would be hard to trust the votes as sincere. If you want a "policy" reason, then it's because he has been repeatedly banned for "abusing multiple accounts": this means (i) all bets are off (it's one of Wikimedia's no-nos) and (ii) you could never be sure that there weren't two Wonderfools taking part in the same vote, and therefore having more sway than they should. Equinox 04:49, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Didn't he nominate himself as an admin once? —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 04:53, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't want Wonderfool to go away, he is excellent, it is just crucially important that we don't give him official legitimacy. Or we could do, really, I'm easy. Equinox 04:56, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
If we give him any power, he will end up as admin again and delete the main page again. I think things are good as they are: he contributes, but has no power. --WikiTiki89 17:56, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I would liken WFs current status to a prison work-release program: as long as he behaves and is constructive, we let him do what he wants- but we can withdraw that at any time, and we always keep an eye on him, just in case. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:44, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
WF has been a fixture here for over 12 years. Twelve years ago, he was still in university. I remember because he was under the impression at that time that university exams were a mirror of real life, and since a grade of 80 on a test (80% correct answers) was average, he thought that would also apply here. That's where we began to clash, because on Wiktionary we strive for 100% correct, and 80% is unacceptable. Human maturity continues, we now believe, until about the age of 30, so WF is not the same guy he was twelve years ago. He's our most famous member and one of our earliest, and he seems to like us. Human development of maturity is tied to our prefrontal cortex, which is the last part of the brain to develop and organize itself fully. The prefrontal cortex is the seat of the majority of our w:executive functions. These functions help us to assess risk, think ahead, evaluate ourselves, set goals, and regulate our emotions. I really think we should give WF a break. I'd hate to lose him. —Stephen (Talk) 05:52, 2 August 2017 (UTC)