Wiktionary:Tea room/2014/September

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← August 2014 · September 2014 · October 2014 → · (current)

milk sibling and wet nurse

The old definition of milk sibling was:

A person who is not one's biological sibling but was nursed by the same woman as oneself.

I wanted to generalize it and changed it to:

A person who was nursed by the same wet nurse.

User:Cloudcuckoolander reverted this with the message:

The qualifications in the def are necessary. A pair of biological brothers nursed by the same wet nurse probably wouldn't be considered "milk brothers." The term "wet nurse" excludes women who volunteer to nurse, as it means a woman hired to nurse.

I think that two biological brothers nursed by the same wet nurse are milk brothers, but they would never be called that unless other milk brothers are involved. I also think that our definition of wet nurse is wrong in that the woman does not necessarily need to be "hired". Any woman who suckles a child is a wet nurse, although the child's mother would never be called that unless other people's children she is suckling are also involved. --WikiTiki89 20:40, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Turkish alphabet

It's a noun, not a proper noun, right? --Type56op9 (talk) 10:01, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Umm... It's a proper noun. There is only one Turkish alphabet. --WikiTiki89 15:16, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

Arabic alphabet

At the moment, Arabic alphabet is a redirect to Arabic script. I don't reckon it should be, but I don't touch Arabic so perhaps someone wants to make a new entry to Arabic alphabet? Also, Arabic script probably isn't a proper noun. --Type56op9 (talk) 10:04, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

OK, they're now separate entries, and Arabic script is called a common noun rather than a proper noun. I've defined Arabic alphabet as a perfect synonym of Arabic script, though, which might not be the case. Arabic script and Arabic alphabet are separate WP articles, with the former discussing the script as applied to any language written in it, while the latter discusses the script as applied to the Arabic language. Also, b.g.c results suggest that while the plural Arabic scripts is fairly easily attestable, the plural Arabic alphabets appears not to be, so maybe WP is right there are many Arabic scripts but only one Arabic alphabet. More editors welcome! —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:31, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

to be born

I think we should have a full entry for this, rather than a redirect, but I am unsure how to define it non-circularly. --WikiTiki89 15:31, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

"To escape from one's mother's uterus, either via the vagina or by caesarean section", perhaps? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:07, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Even if you change "escape" to "exit", it still sounds weird. --WikiTiki89 17:15, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
"To emerge from the mother following pregnancy"? —CodeCat 17:22, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
"To emerge from the mother's womb." would problem be better. And even still, there is the problem that this definition is very odd in a context such as "Where were you born?" --WikiTiki89 17:44, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, "Where were you born?" does mean "Where did you emerge from your mother's womb?" even if the former is rather less explicit than the latter. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:20, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
It occurs to me we're being a bit viviparocentric here. A baby bird is born when it hatches from the egg, right? Which is some time after the egg has emerged from the mother's womb. (Do birds even have wombs?) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:43, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I was thinking something along the lines of "to come into existence" or "to come into this world". --WikiTiki89 20:00, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I would want the literal meaning (said of animals) to be separate from the figurative meaning (said of other things, like ideas). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:10, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
To be clear, I was only referring to the "literal meaning (said of animals)" in my previous post. When someone asks "Where were you born?" they don't really mean "Where did you come out of the womb?", but something more like "Where did you come into existence?" --WikiTiki89 21:46, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
No, they do mean where did you come out of the womb. "Existence" is much harder to define. —CodeCat 22:01, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
Specifically, "Where did you come into existence?" could mean "Where were you conceived?" which is not what "Where were you born?" means. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:03, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
I didn't mean literally that, but something along those lines. I just meant that that's what is in their mind when they say it. They are not picturing a womb when they ask you that question. --WikiTiki89 22:09, 3 September 2014 (UTC)
If you look at it in light of 'giving birth' (literally, figuratively, or what have you), then "Where is the place of your birth?"/"Where were you given birth?" Birth here refers to the 'unveiling' or 'presentation' of a person, thing, etc. This event occurs later than conception, so it doesnt begin with existence...rather 'birth' occurs at ones 'inception/establishment/debut' to the world, be it the natural, human, world of ideas, etc. Leasnam (talk) 04:31, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
It depends on your definition of existence, but I guess we should avoid the word existence in the definition since it is causing too much misunderstanding here. --WikiTiki89 12:03, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. What i meant above is that 'birth' doesn't necessarily bring to bear ones existence, so it's neutral in that respect. Some would even argue that existence begins prior to conception, so there is a wide swathe of opinions regarding that specific concept. Leasnam (talk) 13:06, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

How about "to come into existence through birth" (not my invention, it's a web definition)? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:14, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

  • If this is not SoP, we should have at least one definition to cover all the non-literal use as well, at least if we want to be a real dictionary. DCDuring TALK 17:44, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Work of a diaconess

Is there a word for the charity work the deaconesses do? Like in French there is diaconie and in German there's Diakonie. --Hekaheka (talk) 16:31, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

Hekaheka, this looked really interesting & you provided good links, so I poked around WP in a few languages & also the web for a bit. The short answer is: I don't think so, at least not for Roman Catholics.
Very long answer: The closest word I found was Diaconia (English WP) via Diakonie, then Diakonie_(Rom) (which had a link to an English-language page at the bottom), and finally copying the parenthetical word "diaconia" from that last German page and searching both the web and then that linked English page (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03333b.htm) for it, the latter of which includes the quote, "...an edifice (diaconia) for the reception of the poor, and close by a church." That matches the English WP description.
Since these words are derived from Greek, you might want to ask at http://orthodoxwiki.org/ or search there, since the Orthodox Church's terminology relies more on Greek than Latin. But even if they have one, it might very obscure word.
As for Wiktionary, someone might want to add the translations from WP & the Languages section of the sidebar to deaconess, which only has translations in a couple languages. Hope this helps! --Geekdiva (talk) 15:06, 17 September 2014 (UTC)


Is the verb burgeon ever really used as such in contemporary English? I can only recall seeing the adjective (not participle) burgeoning, which is a separate, independent lexeme (just like in grip and gripping, fascinate and fascinating or fuck and fucking, where the senses are not identical and therefore the participle has become autonomous). I would like to suggest that the verb should be marked as dated as well.

Update: By all appearances, it is not. The verb forms burgeons and burgeoned at least do occur, so at best the verb belongs to a formal register, and specific contexts, which could help explain why I hadn't encountered it yet.

The same relationship appears to hold between the verb bud and the adjective budding, although this verb is apparently still be used in a concrete, literal sense. I note that the only example for the sense "to be young, show promise, begin to develop" (as in humans) is the adjective, so at least this sense might be dated. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:14, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

I wonder whether a word of some uncertainty of meaning, such as the verbs bud and burgeon, will not be used in a focal position in an utterance, ie, as a verb in this case, but also as a subject or object in the case of a noun. But it could be used as an adjunct, where it could be ignored without significantly impairing communication.

un in Catalan


un is considered as an article in Catalan for the sense 2 (« some »), but some is not considered as an article. Maybe someone could fix this. Notif. CodeCat ([1]). — Automatik (talk) 23:53, 4 September 2014 (UTC)

The difference between determiner and article may not be clear, especially not in the minds of Catalan speakers. Articles are a subset of determiners, to begin with. —CodeCat 23:55, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Why would this be unclear especially for Catalan speakers? --Hekaheka (talk) 03:06, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
The English word some is not identical in usage to Catalan un. I think it is correct that they are different parts of speech. --WikiTiki89 17:48, 5 September 2014 (UTC)
The usage of the plural uns is not unlike the French des, except that it's not mandatory. It merely emphasises the indefiniteness somewhat, but its meaning is vague and hard to define. Section 3.2.4 of "Catalan: A Comprehensive Grammar" gives more details. —CodeCat 18:14, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Wengerocracy and Civilocity

A form of government where the people watch and listen to the leader of the country the entire time that person is leading the country. As a definition has changed so has a word in this case. From civilocity wengerocracy emerged to glamorize the authorship of the person who coined and copyrighted civilocity. Wengerocracy is a form of government where the people watch the ruler entirely amongst their reign. Now there simply is a government that exists in which the people can watch and listen to the leader of their country the entire time that person is leading their country. A politically satire work was written in 2007 called 'Trunks and Asses - the world of elephants and donkeys, republicans and democrats' which has become a solution for all those who perished because of a leader of a country covering up unlawful behavior.

We're a descriptive dictionary, so we limit ourselves to terms that people have actually used (please see WT:CFI). Wiktionary is not for terms people make up, unless they catch on and are used independently of the person who made them up. Please don't create entries for these, as they'll only be deleted. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:11, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

とし for 紀

Is とし a nanori reading of ? I just came across it at the entry 一紀 (Kazutoshi), in case anyone wants to know where I found it. @TAKASUGI Shinji, Tsukuyone --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 10:14, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

とし is listed as a nanori reading in Daijisen ([2]). Tsukuyone (talk) 10:53, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, Tsukuyone; that website looks like a gold mine for nanori readings. --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 14:53, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Plural form of "Stradivarius"

The entry depicts "Stradivariuses", but Merriam-Webster goes with the (Latin-influenced?) "Stradivarii" - any opinions? --Chester br (talk) 19:40, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Both are attested. I added it to the entry. — Ungoliant (falai) 19:51, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
There are apparently about 25% more google books pages that have stradivarii than have stradivariuses. It might be possible to show that one is currently more popular than another, but it seems likely to be close. Whichever you use, few will misunderstand you. DCDuring TALK 19:57, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
One usage example adds an additional complication:
  • 2009, Yehudi Menuhin, The Violin: An Illustrated History, page 96:
    Although I had spent my life thus far with two very great Stradivarii violins I had always wanted to own and play a Guarnerius as well.
At first I thought this was an error for "two very great Stradivarius violins". But it turns out that in addition to Antonio Stradivari(us), his son, Omobono Stradivari(us) was in the business and there were other workers in the business, which operated under the family name. Thus the great violinist also has good English diction, selecting the plural form of the noun for attributive use, which selection implies that the author believes that a "Stradivarius" is not necessarily produced solely by Antonio. DCDuring TALK 20:20, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Klondike - English dialect use?

I recently heard someone described as a 'klondike'. When I queried this use of the word I was told it was another word for a 'clot', itself a shortening of 'clod-hopper' or someone who works the soil. Has anyone else heard this dialect use of 'klondike'?

<-ele> as a suffix also appears to be currently the suffix <-éle> in the French <clientéle>.

I am doing some work to locate memes in English and the languages from which they are derived. <-ele> as a suffix appears also to be the suffix <-éle> in the French <clientéle>. It appears to be absent as a suffix in Wiktionary.

That brings up the obvious question: is it really a suffix on its own, or is it only borrowed as part of whole words that were borrowed from other languages? clientele is a good example: we already had client via Old French from centuries before, but we didn't borrow the suffix and add it to client- instead we borrowed the whole word directly from modern French clientèle as a unit.
To show that it's an English word, you would have to show that it has some kind of meaning or function that it adds to English words. After all, most English speakers would have no clue how a word would be changed by adding -ele to it. If you made up a word like "blergele", you'd have a hard time getting people to figure out what it meant, but if you talked about someone being "blergish" they might figure it meant something like "resembling a blerg". Chuck Entz (talk) 21:55, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

Note that it's -èle in French, not -éle. Lmaltier (talk) 21:08, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Also note that clientèle derives from the Latin word clientela. The -èle suffix derives from clientèle. Lmaltier (talk) 21:13, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Need to learn greek language

I need to start off with the correct way of the alphabet

Check out Wikibooks. Their section on the alphabet is pretty good. — Ungoliant (falai) 18:22, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
It would also help to know which kind of Greek you're trying to learn: Modern Greek (which we call Greek) isn't the same as Ancient Greek. Even though they share the same alphabet (give or take some diacritics), the pronunciation is quite different, and the grammar has differences as well.
Ancient Greek is what you would want if you're interested in the history, language and/or literature of Europe and parts of Asia before the fall of the Roman Empire, while Modern Greek would be best for communication with Greek people or if you're going to travel to Greece. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:26, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

back#Etymology 1

<back> etymology <The adverb represents an aphetic form of aback.> This is extremely difficult for a normal English user to interpret. Even if you follow the <aphetic> link. What is the <adverb> that it refers to in any case? —This unsigned comment was added by GHibbs (talkcontribs) at 8:10, 8 September 2014 (UTC).

The Adverb section follows the Adjective section of Etymology 1 and precedes the Noun section. The entry table of contents is supposed to help.
I have given up trying to prevent Wiktionary from becoming a linguists-only indulgence. DCDuring TALK 08:38, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
I inserted that link in aphetic, which refers to aphesis but also gives an example ("pon from upon"). It's true that explanations could be sometimes cryptic, but remember that this is etymology, not common language: technical matters use technical words (as if you want to explain the difference between hacksaw and chainsaw). When you read the Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European words and etyms there is the same problem. Fortunately you can learn so much about this things even within the boundaries of Wiktionary. Sobreira (talk) 09:08, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian "г"

We romanise "г" as "g" for these languages and it matches Wikipedia but was "h" an alternative? Standard Russian "г" is "g" but not Ukrainian and Belarusian (/ɦ/). Russian European South uses "h" /ɣ/ or /ɦ/, also common among Russian speakers in Ukraine and Belarus and Russian ecclesiastical workers often also tend to use it quite often (the reason is unknown to me). Was /g/ borrowed from South Slavic languages or was it the original phonology? Educated Russians often frown upon /ɣ/ but it's still common and quite spread. Notably, Mikhail Gorbachov pronounced /ɣ/ (he is from the South Russian Stavropol krai). I found it also interesting that Russian and Polish (also Kashubian and Lower Sorbian) stand out from the rest of East and West Slavic languages, both use /g/ in Slavic cognates and the rest of East and West Slavic languages use a cognate of a voiced /h/. Only South Slavic languages all have "g". Appendix:Proto-Slavic/gora is one of good examples to show the split between "g" and "h". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:55, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

I suspect that Proto-Slavic itself had both [g] and [ɣ] as dialectal variations. As time went on, different groups of speakers stabilized around one or the other as a standard. Regardless, the actual pronunciation of OCS should not affect our Romanization of it. --WikiTiki89 01:05, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. i wasn't suggesting to change it. It would matter if the common or standard pronunciation was [ɣ] in Old Church Slavonic. Is it possible that it was more common or standard? Pronunciation of бог (box) makes me think so. What about Old Russian? I haven't found much on Old Russian (Old East Slavic) pronunciation. It seems /g/ appeared in 12-16 centuries only. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:28, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I think that both versions existed in Old Russian, with the [g] becoming more common in the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the [ɣ] in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Russian recension of Church Slavonic had and still has [ɣ], which influenced words like Бог (Bog) and Господь (Gospodʹ). There is no way to know which one was actually more common OCS, but the closest modern relatives of OCS all have [g]. --WikiTiki89 01:35, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Re: Muscovy and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Yes, perhaps. How did Polish /g/ come about? Lithuanian cognates also seem to have /g/, e.g. nagas (from *noga). Re: the closest modern relatives of OCS all have [g]. That's what I mentioned before, /g/ may have been borrowed from South Slavic via OCS. It's not my theory, just a thought. BTW, the original, common and standard spelling for "God" in Russian is lower case. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:16, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
In case you missed my point, I think that West Slavic also had both, with [g] becoming more common in parts of Poland and [ɣ] elsewhere. Sorbian is a good example of why I think both pronunciations were maintained in parallel in each Slavic sub-group. I don't think that the either the Russian or Polish [g] were "borrowed" from South Slavic. Re: Capitalization. Why is Господь (Gospodʹ) capitalized then? --WikiTiki89 12:35, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Re capitalization: the usage note at бог (bog) implies the capitalization in Russian is similar to that in English: capitalized when referring to the monotheistic God, lowercase when referring to a polytheistic god. My Russian Bible always capitalizes Бог (Bog) in reference to the God of Judaism and Christianity, e.g. Genesis 3:5: "Но знает Бог, что в день, в который вы вкусите их, откроются глаза ваши, и вы будете, как боги, знающие добро и зло." —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:51, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, this must have changed rather recently and it seems to match English now. I don't read the Bible, so I haven't paid attention to the spellings but in literature and casual writing бог/боже господь/господи are usually in lower case. Capitalised Господь/Господи are not new but there was no rule to capitalisation before, as far as I know. Anyway, the capitalisation has now been standardised when referring to the monotheistic God but various sources have different views about other usages, e.g. "По усмотрению пишущего выбирается строчная или прописная буква в слове Б/бог в устойчивых выражениях Б/бог даст, не приведи Б/бог, слава Б/богу и т. п." (in set expressions it's up to the author). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:01, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

" --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:01, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

From my experience, capitalization in the Bible does not always match capitalization elsewhere. For example, I would never capitalize "he" in my own writing even if it refers to a capitalized G-d. --WikiTiki89 13:06, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
I've never seen "he" capitalized in reference to God in an English-language Bible (or the Book of Common Prayer) either. I've only seen it in nonliturgical and nonscriptural texts such as tracts. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:47, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
After Googling around, it seems that you are right. Maybe it's just Jewish translations then. For example, see Deuteronomy 14:23 in the JPS: "And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which He shall choose to cause His name to dwell there, [] ". While the KJV, which the JPS is almost entirely based on, has "And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, [] ". The Chabad translation even capitalizes "His Name" in the same passage. I'm not really sure why they do all that though, since Hebrew does not have any notion of capital letters at all. Maybe it's just to clarify who the pronouns are referring to. --WikiTiki89 02:24, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't seem to have an article specifically about the /ɡ/ > /ɣ/ > /ɦ/ change in Slavic, but /ɡ/ is definitely the oldest pronunciation, so the answer to a question like "How did Polish /ɡ/ come about?" is simply "It never changed." The change looks to me like a typical wave model kind of sound change that started somewhere in the middle of its current territory and then spread outward, regardless of the genetic affiliation of the languages it touched: it affects Eastern Slavic (uk, be, rue, dialects of ru), Southern Slavic (dialects of sl), and Western Slavic (sk, cs, hsb) languages but isn't complete in any Slavic branch. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:29, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
That might be a better explanation. Although, it seems to be inconsistent with the fact that Russian Church Slavonic has [ɣ], even in [g] territory. --WikiTiki89 15:06, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Maybe at one point the /ɣ/ pronunciations were more prestigious than the /ɡ/ and so were used in liturgical language even though they weren't used in everyday speech. Or maybe Christianity spread from a ɣ-region to a ɡ-region, taking the ɣ-pronunciation with it for liturgical use but not everyday use. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:35, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Since the Kievan Rus' was centered around, well, Kiev, it would have had the fricative pronunciation as a prestige dialect originally. So that likely laid the foundation for the Eastern Church Slavonic pronunciation. —CodeCat 13:22, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

stammer vs stutter

Any evidence that stammer is more British and stutter more American, other than the naming of the w:Category:Stuttering associations? Sobreira (talk) 10:08, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Google Books Ngrams suggests that in American English stammer was more common than stutter until about 1940, then they were about equal for 40 years, and since 1980 stutter has been more common, while in British English stammer has always been more common, though in recent years stutter has started catching up. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:39, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Possibly complicating this analysis is the fact that (certainly in BrE) "stutter" has a much wider range of possible uses than "stammer", which is used almost exclusively for speech. For example, an engine can stutter, a running person can stutter, etc. The Wiktionary definition does not seem to cover those extended meanings. 23:20, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
I included this other meaning with the very same examples. Sobreira (talk) 09:26, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanx so much. Sobreira (talk) 13:03, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

change transitive for clothes?

Can be used for babies, e.g., I changed the baby (the nappie)? Or also my son told me to change him, as his shoes were wet from the rain puddles. But not in the meaning of the changeling (I changed/swapped/exchanged my son for another). Sobreira (talk) 10:08, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

You can definitely say "I changed the baby" to means you changed its nappy, but "My son told me to change him" sounds to me like he was talking about his nappy, not his shoes. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:41, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Changing a baby usually implies the "nappy", but can refer to the baby's clothes in general. It would be odd if it referred only to the shoes, in which case it would have said "change his shoes". --WikiTiki89 15:05, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Violence as involving physical force

I'm a bit surprised by the definitions provided for violence; I've typically heard the word used to imply *physical* force or action. Would that be an appropriate change to add to definition 2? The current "Action intended to cause destruction, pain, or suffering." doesn't capture that, and the usage quotes don't make the distinction clear. -- Creidieki (talk) 15:24, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Pronunciation of German ⟨or⟩

I note that in entries for German words containing ⟨or⟩ within a syllable (e.g., morgen, Morgen, sorgen), this sequence is often rendered as /ɔʁ/ in our IPA transcription (or at least one of the IPA transcriptions presented). Is this really correct? I don't believe I've ever heard that particular realization—in my experience it's always /ɔɐ̯/ (or /ɔr/ for many southern varieties). I think that most native speakers would find /ɔʁ/ awkward to articulate, particularly when followed by a velar stop as in my examples. Is this a case where we're using the symbol "ʁ" to stand in for some underspecified realization, the way "r" is used for IPA transcriptions of English ⟨r⟩ on the English Wikipedia? If so, it wasn't clear to me from our pronunciation key (though maybe I'm overlooking something). —Psychonaut (talk) 16:03, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

You'll hear a truly consonantal [ʁ] in careful pronunciation, not so much in colloquial speech. I think it makes sense to include it in a broad phonemic transcription, but a narrow transcription should probably list both [ɔʁ] and [ɔɐ̯]. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:18, 9 September 2014 (UTC)


One definition at sluice is "To elide the C` in a coordinated wh-question". Any ideas what that means ? It's something linguistic, so maybe the definition should have a tag or be made easier to understand? --Type56op9 (talk) 12:42, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

There is a better explanation at sluicing. Might still be improvable. Equinox 12:55, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

czysta and trzysta in polish

In Wikipedia czysta and trzysta are given as examples in the article on affricatives and as an example in the IPA guide for Polish in Wiktionary. However, when I listen to the audio samples czysta sounds to me like the English word tryst. And, the trz in the word trzysta sounds like the tch in the English word witch. —This unsigned comment was added by Dogshed (talkcontribs) at 17:59, 11 September 2014‎.

So what's your question? --WikiTiki89 14:14, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

fanny = sex?

The entry for fanny includes a vulgar UK usage defined as: "Sex; similar to North American pussy". But the example sentence is, "This club is full of fanny" where "fanny" doesn't seem to mean sex. I can imagine that perhaps people say, "I got me some fanny" like "pussy" in the US, but I don't think the example sentence is correct. --BB12 (talk) 09:46, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

(UK native) I agree. The use in "This club is full of fanny" is an extension of sense 1, "the female genitalia", to mean (vulgarly) women, especially attractive young women. I am not convinced about the separate sense 3 at all. Perhaps a "by extension ..." entry could be inserted after sense 1, or perhaps all UK vulgar senses should be merged in one definition. 19:31, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
As fanny ~ ass, it would not be much of a stretch to substitute it for ass in the various senses and collocations in which ass in the relevant set of senses fits. DCDuring TALK 21:46, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
That's true only in the US (as far as I know- I don't know about Canada). Besides, in US usage it's so innocuous and innocent that the example sentence would be pretty silly if it were meant that way. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:00, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
See here for a few Google Books examples of "[get] some fanny" in the relevant sense AFAICT. DCDuring TALK 23:07, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
I think it's almost exactly like pussy. Doesn't mean sex per se because it can't mean sex with a man. "This club is full of fanny" would mean 'full of female potential sexual partners, especially for one-night stand style sex'. What does pussy say, that would be a good starting point? Renard Migrant (talk) 23:42, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
It says "Sexual intercourse with a woman." Renard Migrant (talk) 23:44, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
The meaning of sexual intercourse under pussy has the example sentence: "I’m gonna get me some pussy tonight." A sentence like that seems more appropriate for the fanny meaning. For both terms, perhaps a definition along the lines of "a potential female sexual object" (as per RM above) should be added for things like "there is a lot of pussy/fanny in this club tonight." In a related issue, it seems odd that "fanny" cannot be used for men since the meaning is ass. Searching GB for "some fanny" "gay" yields no relevant hits, though, so perhaps this usage does not exist even in gay contexts. --BB12 (talk) 20:49, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
In the U.S., the "ass" meaning of fanny is far too innocuous and even childish for gay men to want to use it to refer to sex. I'm an American gay man myself and I cannot imagine myself or any other gay man I know ever saying "I'm gonna get some fanny tonight". It would be as ridiculous as using tush, tushie or toches in the same context. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:27, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but we are talking about the vulgar British meaning of fanny :) --BB12 (talk) 05:29, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
That's what I thought at first too, and then you wrote "it seems odd that 'fanny' cannot be used for men since the meaning is ass" so I thought we had widened the scope of the discussion. Anyway, gay men do sometimes use "pussy" and "cunt" (often compounded with boy-) to refer to other men and their anuses, so if British gay men never use fanny that way, maybe it is an anomaly. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:58, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
  • It has been changed, but it still isn't right. The definition is "Sexual intercourse with a woman". The example sentence is "This club is full of fanny". "This club is full of fanny" definitely does not mean "This club is full of sexual intercourse with a woman". 20:49, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

jabłko, Polish

The two pronunciations in IPA don't seem to be like the audio at all. Also, compare the recording on Forvo, http://www.forvo.com/word/jab%C5%82ko/#pl To me it sounds like ['ja.bu.kɔ], three syllables. Here's another recording. http://shtooka.net/listen/pol/jab%C5%82ko Maybe it's ['ja.bu.ko̞]

All of them are correct: jabłko may be pronounced [ˈjap.w̥kɔ] or [ˈjap.kɔ]. NB—if it were pronounced as you suggest, the word stress would be on bu, not ja. In Polish, the penultimate syllable is stressed. —Stephen (Talk) 09:15, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
I listened to all of them a few times, I don't see any reason to believe that the [w] is devoiced. I hope no one would mind if I change [ˈjabw̥.kɔ] to [ˈjabw.kɔ]. --WikiTiki89 20:05, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

lowe quotation

Could someone check if this is okay? (Would it be better to add it to Lowe?) Thanks ~ DanielTom (talk) 07:38, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

I added links to translator and author. It should not be at [[Lowe#English]]. I also note that the Burton translation is not one of those listed in the WP article on Luís de Camões. DCDuring TALK 15:27, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Error in Russian word article

Hi. Excuse me if I'm in the wrong forum for this type of topic. I happened to notice that the nominative/accusative singular of the Russian noun "словарь" in the English wiktionary are erroneous. Please note that I am not an expert in the Russian language. I have merely been learning the language as a hobby for the last two and a half years, which is why I am reluctant to try to edit the article myself. Also I don't know how to edit, so if someone would be so kind as to correct it I'd be grateful. Thanks.

This has been fixed now, thank you for pointing out. --Vahag (talk) 11:07, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Fixed, thanks. Vahagn beat me to it. Thanks! --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:08, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
(I didn't notice you have already replied, anyway, thanks both again) --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:11, 15 September 2014 (UTC)


Could someone please add the pronunciation (IPA, audio would be nice too of course). I mainly asked because a player called Falcão signed for Manchester United and I'd like to be able pronounce it right (not [fʌlkaʊ] which is what English speakers tend to say). I think it might be /fal.kã/ but I'm not sure. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:32, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Ungoliant has added the Brazilian pronunciation (which can also be found in WP's article on Brazilian Paulo Roberto Falcão). This bizarre video for "fascist superhero Capitão Falcão" pronounces the word at the 11 second mark. - -sche (discuss) 19:04, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Dankeschön, danke schön, danke and thanks. TIA! [grin!]

Due to real-life limitations, I can only post this here, so thank you in advance to anyone who can decide which of my points could be made into valid edits. I might make it back here to read any answers, but my health usually won't let me follow up anywhere, so I got to data-dump while I can.

On English WP, I wanted to say "thanks!" to a native German speaker, so I came here to verify spelling and copy the umlaut O. :) Poking around a bit, I found the four above entries here.

  1. I think all these entries should be cross-linked and linked from their English translations.
  2. The difference or lack thereof between dankeschön and danke schön should be mentioned in those two entries.
  3. In the danke entry, does the Related terms section fall under just the Verb section or also the rest of the German danke section? In other words, I couldn't add the two schön entries to that Related terms section because I didn't know if it was also a sub-section of the Interjection subheading. (Oh, I hope that makes sense!)
  4. Should a note be made about the song "Danke Schoen" and the reason why it's spelled that way, maybe with a link to WP?
  5. Should a link be made from the schön entry to these entries and vice versa?
  6. In the thanks entry, there's an image of that word with a caption that simply says, "Thanks" The image's info page says, "New Orleans: Thank you message in the grotto of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; added by those for whom prayer or miracles were granted." If this were WP, I'd base a new caption on that description, maybe starting with, "The word 'Thanks' on a votive plaque..." It occurred to me that maybe Wiktionary has a rule that captions must that simple, so I didn't make the change.

Well, there you are, and I hope this helps somehow, so, thanks! And danke! --Geekdiva (talk) 08:21, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

"avian ingestion" heteronym ?

As I am not a native speaker of English, I'm posting here for clarification/editing of the "avian ingestion" entry.

In the entry, "bird strike" is mentioned as heteronym. This is clearly wrong as an heteronym is "A word having the same spelling as another, but a different pronunciation and meaning.".

However, I was wondering if "bird strike" should be considered as synonym or merely a related term not to "avian ingestion" ? The entry should be corrected anyway. -- Dodecaplex (talk)

Perhaps the contributor is trying to get at the apparent use of bird strike outside of aviation. That would possibly make avian ingestion (and bird ingestion) a hyponym of its hypernym bird strike. We should get citations for the use outside of aviation as bird strike at OneLook Dictionary Search only shows aviation definitions, except for the WP article. In the meantime, with the definitions given they are all synonyms. DCDuring TALK 10:10, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

testbed: definition is not general enough


Any platform (hardware or software) used as a basis for experimentation


a vehicle (as an airplane) used for testing new equipment (as engines or weapons systems); broadly : any device, facility, or means for testing something in development


I checked the TILF given as reference and none is said about Greek coming from Sanskrit. I guess they could be cognates, but not GR derived from HIN. Any further notice? Sobreira (talk) 12:58, 18 September 2014 (UTC)


Some Scottish football fans have suggested they may refrain from singing Flower of Scotland at Scotland's next football match as a way of reacting to the Scottish vote to remain in the UK. One fan, quoted in several papers, said google:"The anthem is completely redundant now." Is this a common use of redundant? Is it one that [[redundant]] covers? It doesn't seem to mean "superfluous", "repetitive, needlessly wordy", or "providing back up in the event another component fails". I guess it could mean "dismissed from employment", though I thought that sense applied only to employees (i.e. people, and in fictional settings possibly animals, aliens, robots, etc). It seems to me to mean something like "meaningless" or "impossible to take seriously", given that the comment quoted immediately before it is "How can we possibly sing Flower of Scotland when it contains the ridiculous line of 'But we can still rise now and be the nation again'?" - -sche (discuss) 15:51, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

I think it does mean "superfluous". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:38, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

German months

Months in German have a few synonyms, I recently noticed. Have a look at some of the entries for them, which are bundled together:

Some are tagged archaic, others obsolete, some nouns with others proper nouns, others poetic, others don't exist. Perhaps someone with more German knowledge than me could check them over, as I guess there should be some kind of uniformity to this set. Danke. --Type56op9 (talk) 16:32, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

These are basically never used anymore, except in historical or pagan contexts. I doubt many people in Germany even know what they are. —CodeCat 16:43, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Good catch! There are actually many more month names than even that list suggests, e.g. August is not just Ernting but Erntemonat and Erntemond, as well as Ährenmonat, and rarely also Sichelmonat. Some names have multiple senses: in some books, Wolfsmonat means December, in others it means January, and supposedly in some it means November. I'll see about making a table in the appendix namespace to list all the names, sorted by which modern month they correspond to. It's actually probably not the case that they all deserve the same {{label}}; some are probably purely (obsolete), others (like Ährenmonat, it seems) are (obsolete except historical), others may be (obsolete outside paganism), and Wolfsmond seems to not only be obsolete, but have only been used to refer to historical peoples' calendars, i.e. it seems to be (historical, obsolete) or more verbosely (formerly historical, now obsolete).
As for what part of speech these are ... well, the standard month names (Januar, Februar, usw) are treated as nouns by en.Wikt and by de.Wikt; OTOH, en.Wikt calls the English month names proper nouns. Many have attested plurals, e.g. Julmonate, Februaries. - -sche (discuss) 19:30, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it would be fully correct to define these as coinciding with modern months, as many of them were not defined strictly in the past and basically expressed a more abstract idea of a time period or part of a season, and not really a month as we know it today. To define Wolfsmonat as just "December, January, November" doesn't do justice to the more general meaning of a name for a certain period of winter. —CodeCat 21:25, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
We should bring out the auld Germanic month names, IMHO. They go well with the Germanic weekdays. Tharthan (talk) 12:41, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

about time

This is shown as an adverb, but is it really? It doesn't seem to behave like other adverbs. It doesn't modify a verb for example. Can it be used anywhere except with be? —CodeCat 23:30, 19 September 2014 (UTC)

Change to prepositional phrase, perhaps? Equinox 23:34, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
It's not a prepositional phrase because "about" here is an adverb. It a just noun phrase with the same function as just "time", as in "It is time for..." vs. "It is about time for...". Side note: not all adverbs modify verbs (e.g. "very"). --WikiTiki89 23:38, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
But "time" can be used on its own like a real noun. This phrase can't. So what do we call it? —CodeCat 21:20, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
When "time" is "used on its own like a real noun", it is not the same sense of "time" as in the phrase "it is time". --WikiTiki89 21:29, 24 September 2014 (UTC)


How can this relatively recent word have an "obsolete" sense? How do the two senses differ, anyhow? Equinox 00:07, 20 September 2014 (UTC)

It's also interesting that a neologism (allistic) is used to define an obsolete term. The tag "obsolete" was added by an anon who seems to have an agenda of checking everything related to autism. The same person also added the second definition. I would assume that he wants to point out that being not autistic is not a sufficient condition for being neurotypical. I would be inclined towards deleting the first sense as redundant. And once we get going, why keep the noun section at all? Isn't it describing a rather normal way of using an adjective as a noun? --Hekaheka (talk) 05:51, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

"Shrilly" pronunciation

The entry for shrilly says it rhymes with ɪli. I geminate the L in pronunciation (which I think would be written -ɪl.li). Am I alone? "ʃɹɪli" sounds silly.

No, you're not alone. I say /ˈʃɹɪl.li/ too, at least in careful speech. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:14, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
It appears it may have both pronunciations. Forvo has two recordings, one from the UK with /l.l/ and one from the US with /l/, but I doubt /l.l/ vs /l/ is a UK-US difference; I think it's just chance that their US informant uses the one variant and their UK informant uses the other. - -sche (discuss) 15:47, 20 September 2014 (UTC)


Is there a word in other languages for this too? Wyang (talk) 01:01, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Appletard, Mactard (derogatory). Equinox 01:45, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, are there any non-derogatory terms? Wyang (talk) 01:58, 22 September 2014 (UTC)
Applehead (see -head) might be attestable. Equinox 01:59, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Page Creation Request

Hi! I would like to request for a "Tom Gates" page to be made, he is a author that writes books! Many kids love him and his amazing funny books!

This is something you should do at Wikipedia rather than Wiktionary, provided he is notable enough for Wikipedia's notability requirements. --WikiTiki89 17:12, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

In our use, is a gender-neutral pronoun. Is it a wrong?

Further comments here: User_talk:Atitarev#.E4.BB.96_is_a_gender-neutral_pronoun.

I'm a Chinese native speaker. OK, I'm a Trad. Chinese speaker. In our common use, is a gender-neutral pronoun for all gender. Not only in talk, but also in dictionary. It is defined for a pronoun other than you and me, not defined gender.

I have discussed it with someone, someone make me discuss it at here with others. Zero00072 (talk) 04:15, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

I have added usage notes from dictionaries you have provided. The standard modern usage in standard Chinese for 他 is "he", though. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 04:17, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
I wonder if this is considered traditional Chinese or Taiwanese usage only? Pleco, Wenlin and several other mainland dictionaries don't show it as gender-neutral. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 04:21, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
is coined by 劉半農 since 1930s. In traditional, we do not use . Zero00072 (talk) 04:34, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
Also see this [[3]]. Zero00072 (talk) 04:39, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
Your last link is not right. I've linked my talk page since there were a lot of comments there. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:00, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
The second link is broken because of the web site design. I have appended new links. Zero00072 (talk) 15:31, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
You can not find any in wikipedia:Dream_of_the_Red_Chamber which book is well known for most of Chinese native speakers, can you? In originally and traditionary, is for all gender. Chinese native speaker do not identify a third person's gender in general use. Zero00072 (talk) 15:31, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
  • It's also worth noting the distinction between speakers and readers and writers. The difference between traditional and simplified Chinese is a difference in spelling -- this has nothing to do with speech (so far as I know). The characters and are both pronounced the same in Mandarin, as with a high tone. So in speech, there is no difference -- there is only the one third-person singular pronoun . ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:58, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

@Eirikr, yes, it's all about the written form. The characters are pronounced identically. @Zero00072 Thanks for making your user page, now I can guess that you're from Taiwan. Is that right? Character doesn't seem as popular on Taiwanese sites as it is in mainland China. I found another confirmation of your claim - gender-neutrality (Wenlin - ABC dictionary, correcting my previous post). Of course, 她 won't appear in old texts or in classical Chinese. Perhaps, we should change the usage notes? I can add she/her to the definition line but I'd like to get some confirmation from mainlanders, if 他 is really used for both sexes in modern standard Chinese (Mandarin) (all dialects/topolects and classical Chinese seem gender-neutral) and if it (modern) gender-neutrality is specific to Taiwan and some overseas Chinese communities. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:24, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes, you are right, I'm from Taiwan. I am happily that you can listen to our recommends. My idea is also adding she/her to the definition line, and explain some why or usage. I just want all Chinese learner who references to this dictionary not to ignore this definition and limit for only he. I also should to ask some of our friends from China to confirm it is a different between our educations. Zero00072 (talk) 01:53, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

baptism by fire vs. baptism of fire

Is there really this suggested difference that "baptism of fire" is used in the military context and "baptism by fire" is reserved for non-military ordeals, or are we just confusing? According to Google Ngram "of" is more popular. Is there some reason for not combining the content of the two entries under "baptism of fire" and making "baptism by fire" an alternative-form-of entry? --Hekaheka (talk) 05:31, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

The "of" form sounds a bit strange to me. Checking Google News for the last month for both shows that ALL of the "by" usage was North American and almost all of the "of" usage was not, but there is more than half again as much usage of the "of" version. For both the News usage was mostly sports. It would seem the concept is more used outside of North America and that the "of" form dominates there.
In the Authorized KJV Matthew 3:11 has "he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire", with clearly conveying agency. But other NT references seem to use fire in the genitive in Greek.
Many books on baptism refer both to "baptism by fire" and "baptism of fire" as if they were interchangeable. DCDuring TALK 11:47, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

"clue-by-four" origin

I am curious where the term "clue-by-four" originally came from. The Wiktionary entry for it shows it in use as far back as 1993 (under citations), but I can't quite figure out what that means. Someone used the term on a message board in 1993?

I'm trying to find the first known use of this phrase - in a movie, or a TV show, etc. -- -- 12:58, 24 September 2014 User:KannD86

It's an allusion to desiring to hit an annoying person with a 2-by-4 piece of wood. Conceptually, one hits a clueless person with a "clue-by-four" to give them a clue. I would guess that it originated in the BBS or Usenet world, and is not a media reference... AnonMoos (talk) 16:20, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

been to

Lately I've noticed that this construction cannot be used with any other form of the verb "to be". When it needs to be used in the present or future tense, it is replaced with "go to" ("I've never been to an island, but I am going to one this weekend."). I'm curious about the origin of this construction, whether anyone else finds it odd, and whether/how we can/should lemmatize it (perhaps simply been to?). Maybe it would even be appropriate to say that "been to" is an alternative past participle of "go to" used only for certain senses. --WikiTiki89 21:36, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

In my opinion, "been" can substitute for the past participle of "go" in certain contexts, but there is no way you can say it actually is a past participle of "go". By the way there is an article on the subject here, which you may have already seen. He gives other examples, such as "gone/been into", "gone/been over", etc., which show that this substitution is not confined to "gone/been to". 03:45, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
So, to complete that thought, my suggestion would be to put an entry under "been" reading "substitutes for 'gone' in certain phrases such as [examples]". 03:54, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't see any reason why we can't say it is a past participle of "go". After all, we do say that "went" is the past tense of "go" even though it's really just a substitute. But thanks for the article, I had not already seen it. --WikiTiki89 11:14, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
The article's argument clearly suggests that been can be used in the same sense with other locative expressions such as home, away, on the road, so an entry for been to would not come close to doing justice to the usage. Perhaps it could host a redirect to a usage note at [[go#Verb]].
A usage note at [[go]] could refer to the specific senses for which been is a permissible or preferred substitute for gone. Failing to specify the senses seems inadequate. DCDuring TALK 13:31, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I can't find an applicable sense of go. DCDuring TALK 13:36, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Although I spoke earlier about "substituting", actually, in the case of "been to", it is more than that since the meaning is of course different. "I've been to Paris" =/= "I've gone to Paris". In some other cases, though, the meaning seems the same, e.g. "I've gone/been over the figures". So it seems that these can't all be lumped together. 20:21, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
The absence of forms other than past participle together with a significant difference in meaning between the expression with gone and been seems to me to be limited among prepositional phrase modifiers to those with for and to (including compounds like into, over to). All of the other locational prepositions, like at, in, and on can be used with be in the present (and other) tenses. In these cases, the been version seems to indicate that the state described no longer obtains, whereas the gone form implies that the state still obtains.
He had gone for a run. | He had been for a run. - clear difference
She has gone to Sheffield. | She has been to Sheffield. - clear difference
They will have gone around to the house. | They will have been around to the house. - difference
The dog has gone onto the bed. | The dog has been onto the bed. - some difference?
In each case except possibly the last the present tense of be is not possible, IMO.
It think both for and to have elements of some kind of accomplishment that may or may not be complete, but apparently some kind of change to an "away" location is needed. This kind of distinction doesn't happen with come.
It seems to me that it is not that go has two past participle but rather that be can't be used except in the perfect tenses with prepositional phrases headed by to and for. DCDuring TALK 05:10, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
But "be" can be used with other prepositions too, as noted above, e.g. "been over/through the figures". 12:00, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I was having trouble finding other prepositions where there was both:
  1. a difference in meaning between the expression "been + PREP + OBJ" and "gone + PREP + OBJ" and
  2. no use of "other forms of be + PREP + OBJ.
I concentrated on prepositions because there are relatively few of them and they seem to me to span the range of locative and metaphorically locative possibilities. I'd be happy to find that I'd missed something. DCDuring TALK 21:33, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Re "I've been to Paris" =/= "I've gone to Paris": My point was that the word "go" in other tenses has both meanings, but in the past participle there is a distinction between "gone" and "been". Thus the choice of "been" or "gone" depends on the intended sense of "go". --WikiTiki89 22:44, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
In case it's of any relevance, the Dutch copula zijn (cognate with be in part) also has this sense. But it's not limited to only the past participle; the present and past finite forms can also be used this way. So it may be a more universal thing and not limited to English alone. What about other Germanic languages? —CodeCat 18:12, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
It's probably of relevance, but I'd need some historical grammarian to help me with the interpretation. I have only Curme and a short Jespersen grammar to help with that. I don't know where I could get convenient library access to the complete long Jespersen. DCDuring TALK 21:38, 26 September 2014 (UTC)


Does compendial merit an article? The word is used in relation to pharmacopoeia. --CopperKettle (talk) 15:47, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

We didn't, but now do, have the specific pharmaceutical industry subsense of compendium, from which compendial seems to be derived. I haven't yet found any use of the term outside of the pharmaceutical industry. It is certainly attestable.
I think pharmacopeial (from pharmacopeia) is nearly synonymous, though it may be a hyponym referring principally to the US Pharmacopeia and the US Pharmacopeial Convention, Inc., its publisher. Also, pharmacopoeia and its derived term pharmacopoeial seem to be used with respect to all other comparable national and international standards. DCDuring TALK 16:35, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, DCDuring! Ours seems to be the first dicitionary to include "compendial". --CopperKettle (talk) 08:10, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

kuff, kuffs

Some treat this a singular, even though the Arabic root of the English borrowing 'kuffar' is plural (so they write 'a kuff', 'these kuffs', 'the kuffs'). Others (I supppose with a better knowledge of Arabic) treat it as plural ('the kuff', 'those kuff'). I don't know how to treat this using 'en-noun'. At the moment I have left it with the plural 'kuffs' displayed for want of a better option, especially as I don't usually make English entries. Thanks for any help. Kaixinguo (talk) 21:09, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Also, I have been on all kinds of dodgy websites looking for citations. In the end I gave up as I don't want to be put on some kind of list. Kaixinguo (talk) 21:12, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Is Twitter considered durably archived? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:18, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
It won't be on 'Usenet' as the people using the word were probably not yet born when that was fashionable. Kaixinguo (talk) 21:24, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

dúr Irish, in the entry for dour.

dúr Irish, in the entry for dour.

If you click dúr the only entry is Icelandic.

If you search dur you find neither the Irish nor the Icelandic. GHibbs (talk) 08:52, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

If you look at dur, you will see a "see also dúr" at the very top. The dúr page just needs to have the Irish added. Irish dúr means stupid. Also, dour needs the Scottish Gaelic added. —Stephen (Talk) 09:08, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm adding it now. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 09:10, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Also, the Scottish Gaelic is dùr, dour would be Scots. I'm not exactly au fait with Scots, so someone might want to check that bit. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 12:30, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Scots is not a separate language, just a dialect or variety of English. Some words from regional dialects remain confined to their regions, while others make their way into the "universal" language. "dour" is in the latter category, so there is no meaningful distinction between the ordinary English-language word and a supposed "Scots" word. 13:23, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Here at Wiktionary, Scots is definitely a separate language. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:30, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
If Wiktionary truly considered Scots a separate language then about 20,000 ordinary English words in common use by "Scots" speakers would have to be given separate "Scots" entries. In fact, Wiktionary simply lists special dialect words and spellings. 14:04, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
It's true that the majority of our Scots entries are for words or spellings that are different from standard English, but we do have some exceptions, such as Aristotle, electrical, electromagnetic, mine and technological. At any rate we certainly have no rules excluding Scots words whose spellings and meanings are identical to their English equivalents. If people want to add them, they're more than welcome. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:03, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Alternative pronunciations of /-ʌl, -oʊl, -ʊl/ in English

As suggested by -sche (talkcontribs), I am opening this topic here. I've never used the Tea Room before, so I don't necessarily know what to expect, or how this is all supposed to work. This topic extends existing discussing already started User talk:Angr#bold in North American English here. The topic is the gradual and pervasive merger of /-l̩, -ʌl, -oʊl, -ʊl/ in General American and North American English in general, especially among the Millennial Generation. And through -sche's edits, this topic seems to have been expanded to cover the treatment of /-əʊl/ in U.K. English and how it becomes more like [-ɔʊɫ] (the wholly-holy split). The latter situation seems to be better studied and documented than the former situation, and yet anyone who watches American television knows it's commonplace for Millennials to merge /-l̩, -ʌl, -oʊl, -ʊl/ into a common /-l̩/ sound. Many of us who speak so-affected forms of North American English know there is more often than not no difference in the pronunciation of pairs like bold-bulled, bowl-bull, coal-cull, cold-culled, colt-cult, dole-dull, foal-full, goal-gull, hold-hulled, hole-hull, knoll-null, mold-mulled, mole-mull, pole-pull, scold-skulled, seminal-Seminole, and such. Differences that do exist in speech either sound very dated, elderly-accented, or only distinct sometimes when enunciated, and even in enunciation the exact pronunciation often requires consulting a dictionary to see which vowel a word used to have. Since dictionaries are descriptive as well as prescriptive, there seems no harm in providing additional alternative pronunciations with a broad transcription of /-l̩/ where these mergers occur.

"Mono-" means "one", and "-cle" is a kind of slaw. - Steve Smith, American Dad

- Gilgamesh (talk) 14:16, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

As a native speaker of GAE, I do not pronounce any of those pairs alike, although I do suppose they could possibly sound similar, especially in mumbled speech. And I do not doubt there may be individuals out there who may pronounce them the same, but it's not so widespread that it has even caught my attention enough. Also I think we'd be jumping the gun to describe differentiation in the above pairs as "dated"...it's not. Leasnam (talk) 16:57, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I will have to ask all of my over-34 elderly acquaintances whether they have noticed this. I am too old to have any non-elderly acquaintances. DCDuring TALK 17:18, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Lol, then I am glad I do not qualify as either. Ask Avril Lavigne, she might know :p —This unsigned comment was added by Leasnam (talkcontribs).
The Atlas of North American English by William Labov and his coworkers reports on the results of a telephone survey of 762 native English speakers from the U.S. and Canada. Of all these people, they found exactly one (a male from Pittsburgh born in the 1930s) for whom full, fool, and cold all have the same vowel (culture had a different vowel, though). A few other people may merge two of these three sequences (especially full/fool) but not all three. Before we add pronunciations like "/kl̩d/" to cold I would like to see some scholarly recognition that (1) such a merger exists more than sporadically and (2) that the merged vowel is really /l̩/, which seems highly implausible (/kʊld/ I could believe, but /kl̩d/ with no vowel at all beggars belief). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:21, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Like Angr, I'd like to see scholarly recognition / evidence of this supposed phenomenon. Anecdotally, since it came up on Angr's talk page that he's 46 and Gilgamesh is 34, I should point out that when I say I've never heard this supposed millennial pronunciation, I'm 26, and most of my American friends (from such varied places as Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, and Illinois) are in their 20s, too, and I don't recall hearing them merge "bull" and "bowl", "(mono)cle" and "cole", etc. One of my American friends teaches at a ?high? school now (or middle school? I'm not sure); I'll ask her if her pupils merge these sounds. - -sche (discuss) 22:16, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia's article on vowel changes before /l/ does mention, with frustratingly little detail, that "Labov, Ash, and Boberg (2006: 73) mention four mergers before /l/ that may be under way in some accents of North American English, and which require more study: /ʊl/ and /ol/ (bull vs bowl), /ʌl/ and /ɔl/ (hull vs hall), /ʊl/ and /ʌl/ (bull vs hull), [and] /ʌl/ and /ol/ (hull vs hole)". The work in question seems to be the same one Angr refers to, but perhaps a different edition. - -sche (discuss) 22:16, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
OK, this article has some info on people in late-1990s Waldorf, Maryland, who merge some or all of pole/pull/pool; this paper by the same author provides more information. This paper by John Riebold (given in 2014) lists "the 'bull'-'bowl' merger (/ʊ, o, ʌ/ before /l/) (Squizzero, 2009)" as one of the features of Northwestern American English.
This is the 2006 Atlas of North American English by Labov et al. which WP cites; at the very end of chapter 9, it says "In the course of the study, Telsur found evidence for a number of other mergers of back vowels before /l/ codas. Figure 9.4 shows a merger of /owl/ with /uwl/ and /ul/. Minimal pairs for these contrasts were introduced in the course of the study but not consistently over the whole Telsur sample. In order of frequency of ʻsameʼ responses, these items were:
– the merger of /ul/ and /owl/ as in bull and bowl;
– the merger of /ʌl/ and /ohl/ as in hull and hall;
– the merger of /ul/ and /ʌl/ as in the rhyming pair bull and hull;
– the merger of /ʌl/ and /owl/ as in hull and hole.
The first three of these at least deserve further study."
These resources are all sadly silent on what vowel it is, exactly, which results from the merger. (I found these by googling "bull-bowl merger" and "pull-pole merger".) - -sche (discuss) 23:34, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I belong to this so-called "Millennial Generation" and I make all of these distinctions, as does everyone whose speech I've every paid attention to. The only merger before /l/ that I have is bowl-poll. --WikiTiki89 22:50, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Its funny Waldorf MD is mentioned above bc earlier this discussion reminded me of Good Charlotte's music and they are from Waldorf i believe. What we're hearing in these mergers, i think, is a fad pronunciation (?, that kids will grow out of?). My nephew went thru this about 2 years ago and it lasted about a week. Leasnam (talk) 01:09, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Huh, I did not at all expect all this.
Speaking strictly of my own experiences, I hear this merger constantly, both in media and among my siblings (of whom I am the youngest). And our family has lived in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Utah, Washington state, and in an overseas American expatriate community where I spent most of my childhood. The people there came from all over the United States, and some from Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries. It's been suggested the merger we're discussing is common in the Pacific Northwest, but I've never lived there (I wasn't born yet when my family lived there). Knowing what I know about phonetics, I'd estimate the merged vowel is [ɤˡ] (L-colored unrounded mid back vowel). All my vowels unround before /ɫ/, and front vowels diphthong into back vowels or L-break before /ɫ/. Trying to round the consonant as [ɫʷ] makes it sound too much like /w/. So this is how my vowels contour before /ɫ/:
/ɫ̩, ʌɫ, oʊɫ, ʊɫ/ → [ɤˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/æɫ, aʊɫ/ → [æɤˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/ɑɫ, ɔɫ/ → [ɑˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/aɪɫ/ → [ɑi.ɤˡ ~ aɛɤˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/ɛɫ/ → [ɛɤˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/eɪɫ/ → [ɛi.ɤˡ ~ eɤˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/ɪɫ/ → [ɪɤˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/iɫ/ → [i.ɤˡ ~ iɯˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/ɔɪɫ/ → [ɔi.ɤˡ ~ ɔɛɤˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
/uɫ/ → [ɯˡ] invalid IPA characters (//→[])
So let's say this merger is indeed some kind of regional or marginal feature. But I still hear it all over the place. I don't know how to explain it when other people of my similar age group with a similar-sounding accent do perceive the difference where I don't. - Gilgamesh (talk) 04:22, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Part of the reason why it's important to find scholarly information about this is that people often hear what they expect to hear and don't notice when other people make phonemic contrasts or phonemic mergers that the listeners don't make. I bet most Americans who have the Mary/merry/marry merger or the cot/caught merger do not notice that other people have distinctions there, unless they're interested in language and have a good ear. That's why I've been avoiding the "I've never heard this merger" argument the whole time: I don't think I've ever heard this merger (and I do notice some mergers not my own, like when Michael Jackson sings "fill" for feel in "Speechless"), but maybe I have heard it and just didn't notice. Likewise I strongly suspect Gilgamesh has heard people his age and younger make the distinction, but just didn't notice. So rather than relying on our own intuitions and anecdotal evidence, we need to see what published sociolinguists and phoneticians have to say. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 07:56, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
That's a very good point. I suppose I'll have to yield on this topic for now as far as article pronunciation guides are concerned, barring better evidence. Still though, it's a bit irritating to be told that the lifelong deeply-ingrained speech patterns I have, seem to be so poorly researched. I mean, I do perceive it (or at least I taught myself to perceive it) when someone enunciates o as /oʊ/ in words like bold, but it certainly sounds old-fashioned, stilted or foreign—it sounds "accented". - Gilgamesh (talk) 15:59, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
I think you may have set up a false dilemma. I certainly (and clearly) distinguish bold from bulled and hold from hulled, but I don't think the vowel I have in bold/hold is really [oʊ]; or at least, to me it sounds quite different from the vowel I have in bone. So I think you might well notice and perceive those few speakers who pronounce bold with a full [oʊ], and yet be completely unaware of the vast majority of speakers who distinguish all of these vowels. —RuakhTALK 02:37, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Very strange indeed. Still, I speak and perceive the ways I do. If these characteristics are indeed less pervasive than I perceived, I wonder where mine came from. I've lived all over. - Gilgamesh (talk) 08:35, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Gilgamesh -- In my particular variety of American English, there is a partial merger of [ɨ] and [ʊ], so that a word like "bull" can end up being pronounced with a stressed syllabic [l]. However, this causes the merger in pronunciation of rather few words, if any at all (it could theoretically cause the merger of historical [ɜːr] words with historical [uːr]/[ʊər] words, but I can't find any actual case)... AnonMoos (talk) 16:47, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

I shall copy here what I have already said on this subject:

First of all, the Millennial Generation did not unanimously begin around 1980. There are differing views on that. Personally, I consider myself born around the end of Generation Y. Twoth, I merge pole and poll (except in perhaps über-sounding out speech) but not pull, I do not pronounce -cle to rhyme with "cole", nor do I pronounce "howl" as /hæl/ (I pronounce "howl" as /haʊl/), I pronounce "twenty' as /twɛnti/, not /ˈtwʊni/ or /ˈtʍɤɾ̃i/, my /æŋ/s and /eɪŋ/s fluctuate based on the swiftness of my speech (as do, to a far lesser extent, my /æn/s and /ɛən/s). Finally, Gilgamesh, I was born in the '90s. So... I doubt the mergers that you describe are as widespread as you believe them to be.


Ruakh, you say that bold has a different vowel than bone for you. What vowel does it have for you, then? For me, bold and bone have the same vowel. Tharthan (talk) 18:24, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

I don't know about Ruakh, but for me they have the same vowel phoneme, but different allophones: the vowel in bone is a real diphthong [boʊn], while the vowel in bold is monophthongal [boːɫd], or if it is diphthongal, then diphthongal in a different direction [boəɫd]. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:01, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I know a girl, early 20's, from around west of Denver, and she pronounces the 'o' in bold very short, like in for. To me, her pronunciation is the one that sounds affected and fremd like a foreign accent, as though she were from Germany or the Upper Midwest, yet further "west". Perhaps that is what you are hearing. That is a very non-standard American pronunciation. She is originally from Utah, I believe. Leasnam (talk) 06:12, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
If it is of any help, I pronounce bold as [bo̞ːɫd] and bone as something more like [bəʊn] (I'm not sure about the exact nature of the [ə], but it is certainly more central and less rounded than the [o̞]). In case it makes a difference, I was born in the early 1990s. --WikiTiki89 12:31, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Huh. I was born in the late '90s, and pronounce bold with the same vowel as bone. I will yield that I may pronounce bold with /o/ or /o̞/, and bone with /oʊ/, however. Tharthan (talk) 12:38, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

This discussion has gotten complicated enough that I think we can generally agree that these topics need a lot more study than they've been getting. Until then, it appears that accent drift makes us hear only our own distinctions and perceive them as being perhaps more common than they actually are. I will admit that there are other members of my immediate family who have speech patterns I don't share. My older sister (a Generation X-er) says both as /ˈbl̩θ/ and coma as /ˈkl̩mə/, though I settled into using normal /oʊ/ with them, and she uses normal /oʊ/ for most other words in that lexical set as well. As a child, learning new words and how to read and write, I thought coma had an L in it because of my sister. My mom was from Texas and my dad is from Michigan and they also have certain pronunciation patterns I never shared. - Gilgamesh (talk) 09:09, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Well of course that's how it is. If it wasn't, the merry-Mary-marry merger likely wouldn't be so prevalent. People would have stopped the offender and said "Um, no. You're doing it wrong. Please stop doing that, for it is making my ears bleed." and that would have been that (of course, this also applies to mergers that have happened centuries upon centuries ago as well, but I'm just noting this one for sake of example). People wouldn't think that words rhymed that didn't if they were learnt enough (or simply never grew up mispronouncing them) to know that they didn't rhyme, but wellawoe, that is not the case. We are, as has has happened since pre-history, doomed to become simpler and simpler as time goes on, until we are so pathetically simple and base that we are destroyed by some other creature. Such is life; "If you're too smart to go along with shenanigans, you get the boot", or (in less biased terms) "Those that choose not to adapt will most likely not survive". Tharthan (talk) 19:26, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
A purely prescriptivist approach is unsustainable because the standard it prescribes soon becomes obsolete even to the well-spoken. And apparently a purely descriptivist approach seems to have problems of its own if Urban Dictionary cannot be cited as a source. I was well-educated and I've been reading dictionaries for years. But even someone like that, can look at a dictionary entry, and intuit, "wait...that's not how it's pronounced," and make good faith edits adding additional pronunciations to supplement what is already there. I lean towards descriptivism over prescriptivism—language has rules and structure, but it's also a creature that evolves in everyday life, and a dictionary needs to frequently revise its content to maintain its relevance to everyday life, which is part of why we're all here as editors. For now, I think we're in general agreement that we could use some better documentary evidence for some of these pronunciations if we cannot seem to reach a consensus of how common or rare they actually are. Still, it's rather unpleasant when another editor reverts my good faith pronunciation edit and flat-out tells me I'm wrong, leaving me to wonder what opposite corner of the planet they must be from to have never heard it before. Aggressive prescriptivism can be antagonizing that way, as it superficially appears to create an up-front assumption of either stupidity or bad faith. While I understand that the nature of divergent personal phonotactics can help explain such disagreements, it's still often a blindside to experience them in the first place. - Gilgamesh (talk) 10:57, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Actually a purely prescriptivist approach is sustainable for quite long periods of time (many centuries). What you eventually end up with is a diglossia. The whole descriptivism vs. prescriptivism "debate" is quite meaningless anyway. It is fairly obvious that a more prescriptive approach is better for communication purposes, while a descriptive approach is better for scientific purposes. Since Wiktionary tries to be everything, the only viable solution is to be descriptive of the prescription. But describing everything is an attainable goal, thus there must be things that we choose not to describe and you should not immediately conclude when we choose not to describe something that we are being prescriptive. --WikiTiki89 11:24, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I think there's a happy medium that we can strive for. By no means do I want to include only pronunciations that are sanctioned as prescriptively correct, but I do want to include only pronunciations that can be independently verified. There are plenty of scholarly sources that discuss nonstandard pronunciations of American English, so those can be listed (I'd have no objection at all to including /fɪl/ as a pronunciation of feel, since that's discussed in the literature). But I do have to draw the line at pronunciations that are based solely on a single user's intuition. I have nonstandard pronunciations in my own speech (/ˈtwʌn(t)i/ for twenty, /sɛns/ for since, /kɛtʃ/ for catch, etc.), but I wouldn't think of adding those to the entries unless I could confirm their existence in a published source. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:57, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Gilgamesh, if we do not "prescribe" and "proscribe" things, and have those prescriptions and proscriptions enforced and taken seriously, language will just change for the worst (read: change towards further extreme simplification). That said, some prescriptions and proscriptions are erroneous, but I'd rather have people have a few erroneous forms in their speech than be merging things left and right until they sound like a dufus (like that one guy I ran into when I was in Virginia one time who pronounced the word "scythe" as if the unetymological "c" was actually pronounced, because he clearly seems to think that each and every spelling pronunciation is accurate). Nevertheless, we are wont to be lazy, so we will probably just be saying /ɑ.i.o.ɑ/ for "What is your name?" in one thousand years (if not earlier). "English" (if it still exists as "English") will probably be called simply /i:/. My point is, I will not stand for the flouting of people who speak correctly (read: having relatively minimal mergers in comparison to other dialects and retaining more conservative aspects of a language [though, of course, not all historical forms of something are accurate forms]) by way of argumenta ad numerum, as oft happens (and is happening) to many who are actually doing things correctly. I'd rather be (hyperbolically) bemartyred than concede to stark falsehoods in this particular situation. Yet, you are correct, full on prescriptivist ideology wouldn't work either, because it would introduce numerous fallacies. There needs to be a balance, and (today) unfortunately, there is not. Things are particularly descriptivist (or erroneously prescriptivist) nowadays anent this, and that needs to change because it is evident that it is messing with the language far too much. In the olden days, this is where languages would often break apart, so each side somewhat got what they wished for. But today, people aren't allowed to speak differently. Whomever has the guns and weapons and population controls everybody else. It's nonsensical, and I won't stand for it (and will actively try to combat it). Tharthan (talk) 19:49, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
  • @Tharthan, by your apparent argument, Cervantes was merely a "dufus" who couldn't speak proper Latin. But then, Cicero was merely a "dufus" who couldn't speak proper PIE.
You come across as very concerned about "correct" speech. Who is the arbiter of "correct"? One person's minimal mergers in comparison to other dialects might be another's excessive divergences in comparison to other dialects, or another's ridiculously pedantic, or yet another's not entirely intelligible.
Languages change. This is inevitable, and natural, and the cumulative result of these changes does not produce anything better or worse than the ancestor tongues -- simply different. My own understanding of the Wiktionary mission is that Wiktionary is in the business of describing the current state of all languages. Describing includes noting, where appropriate, when certain terms or pronunciations or spellings might be regarded as "preferred" or "proscribed", and noting in what contexts they might be so. But describing does not go so far as to lay any absolute value judgment: Wiktionary (ideally) describes what is, not what should be by someone's arbitrary metric.
In a related, and hopefully more mirthful, mien, I ran across a list years ago that purported to predict how each language would change over the next few centuries. English would go on to absorb the vocabulary of all languages. Japanese would absorb the writing systems of all languages. And French would become one long string of vowels.
So I suppose your suggested /ɑ.i.o.ɑ/ for "What is your name?" implies that English will give way to French?  :) ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:53, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I never said that languages shouldn't change. I simply said that, oftentimes, in the past, languages would break apart in this sort of situation and develop their own ways. In today's world, that's not being allowed. People are being forced to essentially accept any and every change into their language till, indeed, we will simply be speaking the /i:/ language instead of the English language. This is demented. Now imagine if this happened in the past like it is now (in terms of a language not being allowed to break apart and instead forced to accept every terrible mutation to the language).
Latin's (or, more accurately, late Proto-Italic's) stupid th-fronting (the most despicable sound change, in my humble opinion, and the only one I actually would do everything in my power to completely prevent spreading at all costs) probably would have spread to every single other Indo-European language that had developed /θ/ and /ð/.
Furthermore, one instance in which I strongly approve of sound change is if it does away with historical th-fronting. Spanish, for the most part, has done a splendid job in this aspect, replacing those "false f"s with a written h that is not pronounced. Beautiful. I'd rather have anything else happen to /θ/ and /ð/ than them be fronted. Hence why the Germanic language that I like the least is Faroese, even though it is relatively conservative. It fronts "th"s in many instances, which is a shame, as it is otherwise a fairly alright language. Tharthan (talk) 23:40, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

I pronounce "twenty" (when not attempting to emphasize the word) as [twʌ̃ɾiː] with heavily nasalized (and possibly somewhat glottalized or semi-creaky) [ʌ] vowel followed by a flap. It does not at all rhyme with "funny", which is ordinary plain [fʌniː]... AnonMoos (talk) 12:04, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

I've been reading that John Riebold paper linked above, and it indeed documents a lexical merger that matches the merger I originally discussed. Since it is documented, we can discuss it as a Northwestern pronunciation norm. It's bizarre considering I've never lived there, but since speech influences are ultimately more complex than where we were born and who our parents were, I'm willing to accept it for now.
But Tharthan, I cannot really agree that we can make value judgments about whether language change is "better" or "worse", and we cannot necessarily presume that all changes are toward the simpler. While it is true that many languages seem to gradually simplify towards analytic languages, actual analytic languages tend to gradually develop agglutinative features. Isolated words become clitics and then affixes, and some even lose their independent syllables, as seen in languages like French. And then languages can lose the resulting consonant clusters altogether, compensating through the phonemicization of tones and/or word compounding, as seen in languages like Mandarin. Similar features we see in English are not necessarily simpler, nor are they "better" or "worse", such as pen-pin merger accents that coin compound words like "ink-pen" and "stick-pin" to disambiguate merged homophones. The only objective thing we can generally say about language change, is that they make the language different from what it used to be. United languages are communicative, and standards are helpful, but standards that cannot adapt to change and diversity will calcify and lose their living social relevance. - Gilgamesh (talk) 08:31, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
One slightly-tongue-in-cheek hypothesis made by a linguist (I believe at the Language Log) was that languages have a constant amount of complexity; that when one area gets simplified, another gets more complex. (The problem for testability as he pointed out was quantifying complexity.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:11, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
A few comments (more later, maybe):
The point that there's a difference between production and perception of sounds is important. The papers I linked to about Waldorf discuss how the merger there has been one of perception more than of production.
I strongly suggest that if we do include merged pronunciations of bull, bowl, etc, we label them with an accent template that is named something like Template:accent:bull-bowl or Template:accent:pull-pool-pole (à la Template:accent:father-bother), even if we make the template's display text something different. That way, we can always refine the display text later without having to update all the entries. As for what the display text should be: "Northwestern" has been suggested as an ersatz label, but simply "bull-bowl merger" or "pull-pool-pole merger", linked the way Template:accent:father-bother is to information about the merger (either on Wikt or on WP), would probably be more sensible/accurate.
To what extent do the full-fool, hull-hole and doll-dole mergers WP mentions cover (account for the pieces of) the pull-pool-pole merger? Is the pull-pool-pole merger a combination of those mergers, diachronically speaking? Should we list the pronunciations that result from those mergers, too?
General question: Should we create a master-template (vaguely like the one Chinese uses, but hopefully less tabular) which would accept all these pronunciations as input, and by default only show some of them (e.g. GenAm, RP, Aus), with the others (New York, Southern US, Estuary English, full-fool merger, etc) collapsed to avoid taking up too much space? - -sche (discuss) 16:54, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply. I think that's a good idea. Conditional split/merger qualifiers rather than regional qualifiers. - Gilgamesh (talk) 19:33, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
I strongly oppose that. That would be biased favouritism. I don't think we should be choosing which dialects are the "important" ones. That's none of our business, honestly. The only time I could see that being useful is if there ends up being dozens of pronunciations on a single page. I think it's absolutely abhorrent for it to be used otherwise. Tharthan (talk) 19:45, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
We aren't choosing which dialects are important ones. We're recognizing which dialects are important ones, or, rather, the ones that will come across as unaccented and normal to large groups of people.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:46, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
"We're recognizing which dialects are important ones, or, rather, the ones that will come across as unaccented and normal to large groups of people."

So, in other words, you are choosing which dialects are important and which are unimportant. Go ahead and try to skirt that fact if you so choose, but supporting such a proposal in this way only makes it painfully obvious that one is biased towards certain dialects and biased against others. There is, for the most part, nothing wrong with how pronunciation transcription of English is handled here. I will concede that words with many, many listed pronunciations could probably use a system like the one -sche mentioned (i.e. "pwn") but other than that I'd reckon such a system would do more harm than good. Tharthan (talk) 01:09, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

What a transcription of English here should be

The practical necessity for English transcription conventions here is that a speaker of quasi-standard English can identify what each set of symbols corresponds to in his or her own dialect. We don't transcribe "tort" and "taught" identically (even though some pronounce the two words the same) because a significant number of speakers of quasi-standard English make a distinction between the two. If our transcriptions reflect all the distinctions made in all the major varieties of quasi-standard English, then the result could turn out to be slightly more conservative than any one of them -- but this does not mean that it is "prescriptive", only that it contains enough information so that speakers of all major varieties of quasi-standard English can easily figure out what the symbols used mean in their own pronunciations, without being distracted by issues such as would face speakers of rhotic dialects if we were to transcribe "tort" and "taught" identically.
These principles would indicate that mergers occurring in relatively few dialects should not generally affect Wiktionary transcriptions... AnonMoos (talk) 11:49, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

I might pronounce "tort" and "taught" identically very often because I speak a non-rhotic dialect, but that doesn't make non-rhotic dialects "quasi-standard". Keep in mind that the loss of rhoticity was a shift in English dialects. Before that shift, all English dialects were rhotic. Furthermore, modern rhotic dialects today are no less "standard" than any other (at least in terms of their rhoticity/non-rhoticity). Tharthan (talk) 13:36, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't want to get into any extended discussion of the definition of standard English. A generation ago, it was pretty much defined as Daniel Jones' Received Pronunciation in the U.K. and so-called "General American" in its broadcast network standard form in the U.S. Today things are a little bit more complex and diverse, but the principles of my message of "11:49, 3 October 2014" above still apply... AnonMoos (talk) 15:25, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
What you're advocating is essentially an IPA transcription of enPR, or what linguists call a diaphonemic transcription. I'm not opposed to that; I've mostly done the same for Dutch as well (although User:Morgengave seems to disagree). —CodeCat 15:33, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia uses a diaphonemic transcription. I was at first opposed to it there, but finally relented because the alternative was having several lines of text taken up with alternative pronunciations, which is annoying in an encyclopedia article. But in a dictionary entry, there's room to list RP and GenAm (and multiple other accents) separately and a whole ===Pronunciation=== section to do it in. And for English, we already have enPR to be diaphonemic, so we don't need to do it all over again in IPA. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:30, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I still don't see why we can't have something like I suggested in a previous BP discussion that includes both diaphonemic and phonemic transcriptions. --WikiTiki89 18:02, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
CodeCat, Angr, Wikitiki89 -- it seems to me that any practical pronunciation transcription convention (which is not closely tied to one single prestige dialect only) must contain some kind of diaphonemic component, or else alternative transcriptions for many words would be multiplied beyond reasonable limits... AnonMoos (talk) 19:33, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
AnonMoos, you do realise that General American did not create the dialects of English spoken in North America. My dialect, for instance, is not at all derived from it, and is quite significantly different from it. Furthermore, your claims would be like saying that Scots-influenced Scottish English is derived from Received Pronunciation. Clearly not!
Furthermore, "General American" (allegedly a form of American English, though its birth certificate lists its name as "durpspeek", and that it is the less bright relative of the more well-known [and many scores better] "leetspeek". At its christening, it had its name given as "Gibberish", a name it retained until relatively recently, when it filed a court order to be renamed "General American") is a loathful abomination based on the fallacious idea that the "true" "American" dialects were those spoken in the centre of the country, as if all other dialects spun out from the Midwestern dialects. The fact that we even include it here is an honest-to-goodness rue-bargain. But whatever, I'm not here to discuss the inclusion of gibberish on Wiktionary. In fact, your argument that was essentially "Last time I checked, it was just RP and General American" is nonsense. It is quite easy for a nearly mandated method of speaking in the media to convince people that everybody actually speaks in such a way. FOR INSTANCE, as I brought up earlier, Mid-Atlantic English, the predecessor to durpsp-err, I mean "General American", was SO common from the 1930s to the early 1960s that, some who lack familiarity with what Mid-Atlantic English actually was that live nowadays actually believe that EVERYONE spoke like that back in those times.
In any case, whether or not any modern Benedict Arnolds of sorts wish to sound like fools and speak this pseudo-dialectal levelling durpspeek language, it doesn't change the fact that the real English dialects of North America do not derive from it. Tharthan (talk) 18:58, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Tharthan -- unfortunately, you do not seem to have a solid grasp on the main issues involved. It has nothing to do with which dialects are "derived" from each other, but with which dialects are most prestigious currently, and Wikipedia/Wiktionary does not decree this, but rather merely recognizes the external realities. In any case, a dictionary transcription system which contains enough information to include the contrasts of both traditional RP and traditional network standard GenAm would appear to contain enough information to also represent the contrasts of 1930s "Mid-Atlantic" (also known as Margaret Dumont speak, and which was widely prestigious at least two generations ago, not one, anyway)... -- AnonMoos (talk) 19:33, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
It's pretty clear Tharthan has very strong subjective opinions about accents he likes and those he doesn't like, and that he isn't going to allow anything like facts to get in the way of those opinions. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:05, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
GenAm is so designated because it's perceived by a lot of Americans as "neutral" or "unaccented", not because it's better or because it's the source of all the others (though some might erroneously believe that). Someone who uses GenAm pronunciation won't be perceived as a regional speaker in the same way as someone using a Northeastern or Southern pronunciation. It may all be a matter of perception, but it's accepted by a lot of US speakers. You're welcome to feel otherwise, but your comments elsewhere about the evils of Proto-Italic th-fronting demonstrate that you're so far from the mainstream as to border on goofiness. While it's nice to be passionate about language, too much passion over minor things tends to make you look silly. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:07, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
@AnonMoos How so? (Regarding your claim that a transcription system that contains enough information to include both traditional RP & GA contrasts would also appear to do the same for Mid-Atlantic English)
@Angr It really depends on which facts are being brought up in the discussion, honestly.
@Chuck Entz Yeah, you'd be surprised at how many people one can run into that seem to think that GA is the source of all other dialects. This is especially true in the mid to lower part of the east coast, I've found, in comparison to more northern parts. But that's just gathered from my own personal experience.
Well, much of the population tends to believe that they don't possess an accent (even though that is quite impossible). So I don't think that a common perception of GA being unaccented is that extraordinary (especially when a lot of those people live in areas where their local dialects are/are related to the dialects from which General American was derived). In fact, most people I've run into from where I live call GA "TV Speech" or the like (and I know that I'm not the only one who has run into people who describe it as such), which seems to be a counter-view to what you described.
Indeed, I'll admit that there is no particular reason based in common logic for me to hate th-fronting any more than any other sound change. It's but a very stark pet peeve, in reality. Tharthan (talk) 22:11, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Chosing for one transcription can easily be interpreted as a choice for a certain pronounciation over others, and can even been seen as prescribing a certain pronounciation, which compromises our perception of neutrality. Chosing for multiple transcriptions on the other hand clutters the pronounciation section, at least it would do so in the current lay-out. In my view, the choice is then easily made: let us adapt the lay-out of the pronounciation section. This worked well for amongst others the translations section, and enables us to remain neutral. In addition, it also helps people who are interested in studying, comparing or learning more about different accents, adding another layer of useful information to this dictionary. Morgengave (talk) 19:08, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

I honestly think that the pronunciation section works fine as it is (minus the fact that we constantly draw attention to "RP" and "GA). Nevertheless, if we were to add more dialects to the pronunciation key, I would have no objections. However, I think attempting a grand change to the system right now might not be the best idea. It most likely would be better to simply deal with problematic words as they come. But that's just my tuppence worth. Tharthan (talk) 20:12, 4 October 2014 (UTC)


I'm thinking about creating this entry, with the definition "from the start of a trial to the finish", but I can't decide if it's a noun or an adjective. Thoughts? Purplebackpack89 04:05, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

In this instance it would be an adjective Leasnam (talk) 06:03, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
In citations like the following one, it's an adjective:
  • 2010, David Brian Robertson, Loss of Confidence: Politics and Policy in The 1970s (ISBN 0271044861), page 32:
    After the experiment was widely deemed a success, the House voted 342-44 to make gavel-to-gavel broadcast permanent.
It's also slightly broader than just "from the start of a trial to the finish"; it seems more like "from the start of an official proceeding to the finish".
Is usage like "the steroid hearing ran gavel-to-gavel" adverbial? - -sche (discuss) 15:15, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Probably not, because there really should be a "from" in there. I'm gonna create it as an adjective with the citation you found. Purplebackpack89 15:20, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
The "from" is irrelevant: if you were to add "from", the "from" would modify the first "gavel" in the same way that "to" modifies the second one, not "gavel-to-gavel" as a whole. If I say "We traveled from shore to shore", "from shore to shore" is clearly modifying "traveled", which means it's functioning adverbially. In a way, you could also analyze "gavel-to-gavel" as "lasting from gavel to gavel", with the verb and "from" omitted due to the constraints of English syntax (in some languages, such as Chinese, having a complete clause or even a sentence as a modifier is quite normal). Chuck Entz (talk) 21:41, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

U And Non-U Coverage

I am not sure if this belongs here or at the Beer Parlour, but since I don't believe in alcohol I will just go with my gut and put this here.

Should we increase our coverage of U and Non-U English? Even if such things are relatively dated at best, is it not agreeable that covering such things might be a boon to Wiktionary?

See here if unaware of what I am referring to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U_and_non-U_English

This is one of the biggest primary sources for this subject: http://www.helsinki.fi/jarj/ufy/24991_s113_150Ross.pdf

Tharthan (talk) 15:12, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

I doubt such an effort would be sufficiently sustainable to avoid ultimate removal, but whatever floats your boat. The article has the look of one group of people, possibly academics aspiring to backdoor or junior membership in the upper classes, sneering at another. It doesn't seem that same as register and might be quite hard to support with either authority or citations. DCDuring TALK 15:54, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, however some of the points raised make sense logically, do they not? An aspiring middle-class wished to appear more elegant, so they borrowed foreign terms and/or verbally noted particular things that the upper class did (e.g. "excuse my glove" being Non-U, in reference to the removal of one's gloves by a U-speaker [the U-speaker actually said nothing when this was done]) to try and appear to be of the same class as those people, when (in reality) they didn't fool the actual people of that class.
The only issue is that, if we were to include information on this, we would need to apply a metaphorical sile to it to weed out that which is just hogswallop opinion (i.e. Words marked with "this is surely Non-U?" and the like). Tharthan (talk) 16:18, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Tharthan (talk) 16:09, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

I found myself very skeptical of many members of the WP list of such terms. So I :::wonder how agreement can be won, except possibly by taking this out of the realm of the currently relevant and making any labels strictly historical. That also takes it out of the realm of our supposed advantage as a wiki. DCDuring TALK 17:10, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
I too am sceptical of some of the terms. I have some doubt that "ice" was U, that "spectacles" was U, that "pudding" was used to refer to sweets in general in U speech, and I also have issues with several other terms that are listed in Ross' original article.
How would adding labels such as (historically U) and (historically non-U) take this subject out of the realm of our "supposed advantage as a wiki"? Tharthan (talk) 19:14, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
I doubt this means much for us, but the U/non-U thing has quite often been used in British (newspaper) cryptic crosswords: this may well have served to perpetuate awareness of it. I probably wouldn't know about it otherwise! Equinox 00:32, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
So perhaps, then, this isn't something purely historical. Mayhap it still has some lasting influence to this day. Tharthan (talk) 23:27, 28 September 2014 (UTC)


Could someone check if it's correct to add this quotation under #Adjective ("Unrefined, crude")? Thanks ~ DanielTom (talk) 14:42, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

I see no issues with it. Most people, especially today, use uncouth in the sense of "unfamiliar with good morals, good manners, good taste, asf." Leasnam (talk) 17:02, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
I guess you could say that that was uncouth to DanielTom, Leasnam. Tharthan (talk) 23:26, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

buffer, and whether "data" is plural

Not going to get into some dumb edit war over this, so can people please take a look at [4] and decide who is right? Ta very much, old chap. Equinox 21:49, 28 September 2014 (UTC)

Per COCA and BNC: In speech data is usually singular. Based on a quick look at Google Books: in IT writing data is also usually singular; in academic articles and newspapers, usually plural. For the definition at hand I would make it singular. We should investigate this a bit further and say something about it at [[data]]. DCDuring TALK 22:15, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Searching for "data in the buffer is|are" confirms the singular being more common. DCDuring TALK 22:22, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Isn't data the plural of datum? o_O Like "one bit of datum, multiple bits of data"? Tharthan (talk) 23:24, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
See Data (word). Equinox 23:25, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
In computing, data is more often used as a collective noun that is grammatically singular. --WikiTiki89 08:17, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
If you are going to use it as the plural of datum, then it's "one datum, multiple data", not "one bit of datum" and "multiple bits of data", which would be treating both "datum" and "data" as mass nouns. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:57, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I wasn't trying to imply that it was uncountable, though. Tharthan (talk) 11:34, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
In the usages where data has singular agreement, it is a mass noun. Or is that too much data for this discussion? DCDuring TALK 12:48, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
*rimshot* Tharthan (talk) 21:48, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

photo album

Just realised we don't have an entry for this. Do you think it is worth creating one? In Chinese it is one word (相册), not that it matters much. ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:36, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Photoalbum is just barely citable, so this one is includible per COALMINE. — Ungoliant (falai) 16:37, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
And a lemming rule would also lead us to the same conclusion: photo album at OneLook Dictionary Search DCDuring TALK 17:50, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

body corporate

I have added two additional meanings in accordance to what I've heard in Australia in my translation work. Anyone have anything to add? ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:41, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Well, a translation table with glosses would be good :) --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:09, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
The plural "body corporates" seems dubious to me: I would expect "bodies corporate" (noun + adj, like Secretary General), which appears in the titles of old laws in Ireland, the UK, and has higher frequency on Google ngrams (and as you mention Australia, it seems to be used there too) -- Jimregan (talk) 09:28, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
In Australian use, "body corporates" is an unremarkable plural for the real estate corporation sense. viz:
  • 8 Oct 2006 The Age (Melbourne)
    "All body corporates require owners to contribute to an administration fund to cover day-to-day expenses such as electricity bills and a sinking fund to pay for regular maintenance such as the painting of common areas."
  • 8 August 2011 The Age
    "Body corporates are not eligible for federal renewable energy certificates, and then they have to deal with the fact the Tax Office regards any income to the body corporate from solar schemes as mutual income that is taxable in the hands of individual owners," Mr Lever said."
  • 2012 ABC Radio National, PM
    "The Queensland Association of Body Corporates wants to take it a step further."
    "But he admits there's a limit to what body corporates can achieve."
  • 2014 ABC Radio National, Breakfast
    "Many homeowners in the disaster-prone north are paying roughly 2.5 times more for cover than those in southern Queensland, while body corporates are struggling with increases of up to 800 per cent in recent years."
  • 2014 ABC News
    "A James Cook University report released yesterday says independent assessments showing a building's resilience would help body corporates bargain for lower insurance premiums."
"bodies corporate" is also found. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 10:46, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Body corporates does not appear in any of the BYU corpora except Global Web-based English where bodies corporate outnumbers body corporates 308 to 40. I don't know of an Australian corpus to check, as I don't know how to use Google News for that purpose since they changed the UI. DCDuring TALK 12:43, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Are flowers animate in Polish?

Are masculine flower names (e.g. bratek, hiacynt, tulipan) masculine animate or masculine inanimate?

Obviously kwiat is masculine inaminate (accusative "kwiat" and not "kwiata"), but in the case of the above I really have no idea. For example, both "bratek" and "bratka" sound natural to me as an accusative of "bratek". I am fairly sure tulipan is animate though. --Tweenk (talk) 04:53, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Let me guess. Is it because "bratek" means "little brother", "bro" (animate) and it may get animated colloquially, even if it's referring to a flower? Compare to Russian мураве́й (muravéj) "ant". It's animate but refers to a type of a motor scooter, technically, it's inanimate but Russian may use it as animate still, like "я купи́л муравья́" (animate usage) instead of "я купи́л мураве́й" (inanimate usage) (kupiłem "mrówkę" - I bought an "ant"). Slavic animacy is tricky :) --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:07, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
"Bratek" doesn't actually mean "little brother" - I've never heard it used in that sense, though maybe it's archaic. The diminutive of "brother" is "braciszek" or colloquially / in slang "braciak". "Bratek" refers only to the flower.
It's true that animacy is really strange, e.g. in Polish currencies are animate :) --Tweenk (talk) 13:46, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Dobra dobra, bratku. Keφr 14:45, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
pl.wiktionary's entry lists two declensions, one inanimate (the flower), the other animate (archaic diminutive of 'brat'). NKJP has:
"Dziś prezentujemy bratka, drugie (po dziurawcu) z 12 ziół..." (Dziennik Bałtycki, "Na kłopoty ze skórą - bratek", 1999-12-11)
"Za bratka zapłacić trzeba było 1,50 zł " (Dziennik Powiatu Bytowskiego, "Nasiona drzewka i krzewy", 2000-04-28)
"dziewczyna w ostatniej chwili rzuciła mu bratka przez parkan." (Dziennik Polski, "Dwa światy", Andrzej Kozioł, 2008-02-16)
which are all accusative contexts which show an animate usage, and:
"Na przeszło 50 hektarach uprawiają bratek, melisę, miętę, arcydzięgiel i kozłek." (Życie Podkarpackie, "Bratkowe żniwa", 2008-11-06)
"Dobre wyniki otrzymuje się przy leczeniu dolegliwości skórnych, mieszając bratek z innymi roślinami rutynowymi, np. bzem i rutą." (Trybuna Śląska, "Najpiękniejsze są kobiety naturalne", Mirosław Łukaszuk, 2003-06-27)
which are accusative contexts which show an inanimate usage, so... both.
(FWIW, I think the best example that animacy is strange is that trup is animate :) -- Jimregan (talk) 23:21, 4 October 2014 (UTC)