Wiktionary:Information desk/2018/March

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← February 2018 · March 2018 · April 2018 → · (current)

Insular script code[edit]

Is Insular script coded as latg or latn? – Gormflaith (talk) 23:54, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

We don't use Insular script here, since all variants of Latin script can be normalised as Latn. See WT:SCRIPTS for the exhaustive list of script codes we include and exclude. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:51, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

that's the wrong direction[edit]

About this sentence in English:

"That's the wrong direction."

Is has 395,000 Google results. But isn't it technically a mistake, unless there are exactly two directions to choose?

If I need to go North, but start walking East by mistake, that's not "the" wrong direction, that's "a" wrong direction, right?

It seems it's normal to say that sentence in English even though it's often technically a mistake. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 04:17, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

It's not a mistake, it's a common construction. Discussion, key point: "You use "the" when the item of discussion has somehow been identified, "a" when it is anonymous." DTLHS (talk) 04:19, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree. "The wrong direction" doesn't necessarily mean "the only wrong direction"; it means "a direction that isn't the right one". —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 15:14, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I see. Thank you both. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 17:49, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
It does seem illogical. We don't say "that's the bad idea" or "that's the moot point". Why "the" with "wrong" specifically? Equinox 17:51, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. Looking at google books:"That's the wrong", I also find "that's the wrong question", "but that's the wrong way" and the like. Something odd is going on there. Generally, predicates assigning an individual to a class usually use an indefinite article, like "He's a smart guy", not "He's the smart guy". --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:03, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
We should learn from Czech and just stop all this article nonsense, eh? Equinox 18:11, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Apparently the English language is broken. Where can I send a bug report? --Daniel Carrero (talk) 18:34, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
You send a bug report by placing "proscribed" on the word in Wiktionary; done ;). --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:45, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I've grown to like English articles. They need some getting used to, sure. But once I got used to them, I sometimes need them in Czech, and emulate them using certain words or phrases.
I think I saw an article (a journal article, that is :)) reporting that men use definite articles more often than women, or at least that's what a particular study quantitatively found. What that suggests is that the article choice is not so grammatically clear-cut as one might think. --Dan Polansky (talk) 18:40, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
At least English doesn't have gendered articles. In Portuguese we have: "the pencil" = "O lápis", "the pen" = "A caneta".
We also use articles for uncountable nouns a lot: "love is in the air" = "O amor está no ar".
And articles for proper nouns: "Daniel is late to the party" = "O Daniel está atrasado para a festa".
So now that I think about it, article usage in English seems simpler/easier than in my mother tongue. Which seems good for English, I guess. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 15:07, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
I suspect that you have to have a choice of options for this construction to work- it would have to be something where one could ask "which one?". There's more to it than that, but I think you have to have that, to start with. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:30, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm speculating, but maybe "the correct / right X" came first (which makes grammatical sense), and this construction transferred to "wrong / incorrect". DTLHS (talk) 18:41, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Here's a wrong direction,the wrong direction at Google Ngram Viewer; at the beginning of the 19th century, the indefinite article held sway.--Dan Polansky (talk) 18:49, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm sure this isn't universal, but when somebody says something like "You're going the wrong direction", I assume they specifically mean the opposite direction. Otherwise I would use, and expect to hear, the negative construction "You're not going in the right direction." --SanctMinimalicen (talk) 14:23, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

One of the jargon[edit]

lemming heuristic cannot be attested, and as I researched further it seems to strictly be Wiktionary jargon. It's an RFD-related term. Can someone explain this to me, and the background behind the term, etc. if you know it? Thanks! PseudoSkull (talk) 07:05, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

I think it's Dan Polansky's rewording of lemming logic. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 16:35, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
A "lemming" in RFD jargon is another dictionary; there's a heuristic for or test of includability that in effect says: if other lemmings (dictionaries) have jumped off a certain cliff (included a certain word), perhaps we should, too. It's documented at WT:LEMMING as one of a number of (not all binding, but informative) tests. - -sche (discuss) 17:10, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
@PseudoSkull: The way I see it, it is Wiktionary that is the lemming, not the other dictionaries. A heuristic is a rule or method of procedure that is merely good enough, not guaranteed to yield optimal result. An advantage of a heuristic is that it is computationally or cognitively cheap. A BP discussion is at Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2014/January#Proposal: Use Lemming principle to speed RfDs. I may have confused people by using the word "heuristic". I like the word since it points out to the merely-good-enough + cheap or fast nature, which the word "principle" does not do.
The lemming heuristic says that, in RFD, if a term is in certain dictionaries, it should be kept even if it seems to be a sum of parts. These dictionaries include Merriam-Webster, but exclude WordNet since WordNet has a general tendency to include sum of parts anyway. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:24, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Perhaps it would make sense to say both Wiktionary and other dictionaries are lemmings. (I see DCDuring refer to other dictionaries as lemmings, in any case; as in "among the lemmings, only Webster has this".) They are lemmings that we, as a fellow member of the species, must decide whether to follow or not. - -sche (discuss) 16:25, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

Animal commands that are also used more broadly[edit]

I am not proposing to add animal-specific senses to sit or stay or roll over, because the sense used when commanding a dog seems no different from the general use of the verb in the imperative, but should such terms nonetheless be added to Category:English animal commands due to their commonness as animal commands? - -sche (discuss) 17:42, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

I see no reason not to, for the sake of completeness. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:44, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

English name for this hole on the street[edit]


What's the English name for this hole on the street? The 3rd man in the picture is sitting above it. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 10:54, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

It's a storm drain. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 12:02, 9 March 2018 (UTC)

How can I search only for Spanish words?[edit]

I am currently given a list of all the languages which happen to contain a word with the same spelling. As I am looking up a lot of words, having to scroll through to the Spanish section is cumulatively wasting a lot of time. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

You can add incategory:"spanish lemmas" or "spanish lemmas" to the end of your query. —suzukaze (tc) 00:59, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
If you add "#Spanish" (the capitalization has to match) to your search term, it should take you to the Spanish section on the page, if there is one. That is, search for "hay#Spanish" instead of just "hay". Chuck Entz (talk) 09:38, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
You can also click on "Spanish" in the table of contents. Redboywild (talk) 13:44, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
How can I get to the table of contents (where I can then select "Spanish) from the main page (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Main_Page)? I can see how to select the Spanish language version of Wiktionary (but I'm an English speaker of course) and also the Index:Spanish, but that doesn't seem to allow me to search it. I want the functionality of adding "#Spanish", as suggested by Chuck Entz above, but without having to type "#Spanish" everytime. Thanks!
I doubt we have any built-in way to do that, but your browser might allow you to set up an address-bar shortcut which will add #Spanish automatically. See User:Equinox/How_to_be_fast#Custom_searches and your browser's documentation. Equinox 02:22, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
If you sign up for an account you can enable the "Tabbed Languages" gadget (language sections will be converted to language tabs) that should send you to Spanish if it was the language of the last tab you viewed. —suzukaze (tc) 04:36, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I've enabled the "Tabbed Languages" gadget, but it's not remembering the last language I viewed. I think a better solution would be to add a drop-down box below the "Search Wiktionary" field, in which any user can select the language they want to search. The default can be "All languages". Is anyone reading this capable of making that change? And if not, do you know how I can go about getting this implemented?
No, tabbed languages no longer remember the last language you visited. They used to, but that was changed a while back so that you always go to the English section if there is one and the top of the page otherwise. That makes following links in glosses easier: if I click on [[teach]] in the entry for Irish múin, I want it take me to the English word teach, not the Irish homograph that means "house". —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 10:29, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Stephen Hawking[edit]

αθάνατος.   sarri.greek (talk) 04:51, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Apparently not. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 09:29, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

English transgender[edit]

Is it just me, or it's accented on the first syllable on the audio file? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:03, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

No, but the speaker seems to be trying to put equal stress on both syllables, which doesn't sound natural at all. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:17, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
The audiofile appears to be by @Romanophile. I agree that it sounds very unnatural; perhaps he could reupload it? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:20, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I guess the stress differs depending on the context/person. I usually say tránsgender, but in certain contexts I'll say transgénder. Perhaps it's just idiolectal in my case though... PseudoSkull (talk) 03:44, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I say tránsgénder too (I think. I don't really understand the intricacies of English phonetics). a tránsgénder person; a tránsgéndér wóman. —suzukaze (tc) 03:55, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
The audio clip sounds like the speaker is trying to pronounce a noun meaning "a gender that is trans", not an adjective. DTLHS (talk) 03:59, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree the particular clip was odd. I have heard it stressed on all the syllables described above, transgénder, tránsgender, and tránsgénder. Other dictionaries' transcriptions [that I saw] say it's stressed on the second-syllable, but their audio files are not so unanimous. I imagine many factors influence stress placement; someone who often contrasts transgender and cisgender, or often uses/hears trans, might stress the first syllable (as the "important"/"distinguishing" one) or stress both equally. Actually, although other dictionaries likewise say cisgender is also stressed on the second syllable, that (and their audio clips) sounds odd to me... - -sche (discuss) 05:33, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
The actual pronunciation and stress in the audio recording seems fine to me, but something about it seems robotic. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:41, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
Maybe it's a matter of dialect. To me, the audio file sounds fine, perfectly natural. —Stephen (Talk) 15:22, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
To clarify, the audio file that's in the entry now is a different one from what was there when the discussion started. - -sche (discuss) 17:23, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Linkingto Wikipedia[edit]

I've seen three different ways of linking to Wikipedia in existing articles. I've seen the box template at the top of the article, in-line parenthetical reference (like this one, and in-line citation under the See Also heading. Are all of these accepted, or is only one of them the proper format? I was operating under the assumption that the box was the proper method until I saw these other ways. --SanctMinimalicen (talk) 14:20, 18 March 2018 (UTC)


What should be done with the many citations pages which are like this one? It's in Category:English citations of undefined terms because all-destroying hasn't been created yet — but it's trivially attestable, and so could be created — but it seems SOP-y and might fail an RFD. I suggest adding a parameter to {{citations}} to allow suppressing the aforementioned category, so that the category can consist only of terms that would get entries if they had enough citations, though I expect opinions might differ on whether it was OK to add the parameter and suppress categorization of an entry without first RFDing it... - -sche (discuss) 05:51, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

  • Or we could just admit that the term exists, and actually create it. Just a suggestion. SemperBlotto (talk) 22:03, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
    Obviously, but see RFD. - -sche (discuss) 22:25, 19 March 2018 (UTC)