Wiktionary talk:Abbreviation

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Can somebody give guidelines about when use capital letters ??. Mac

This is a current problem because of the Wikipedia practices we have inherited. This forces the first letter of an article to be capitalized, whether or not it's appropriate. In creating a link, however, I tend to favour the usage of the language. You can continue to link to word and know that you will be referred to Word, but the middle of a link is case sensitive so that one word and one Word lead to different places. Eclecticology 00:00 Mar 19, 2003 (UTC)
So, in abbreviations, better without dots and lower case letters (excepting acronyms, like NATO and so on).Mac
I don't agree. Abbreviations should be written the way they are normally written. The abbreviation eg does not exist; e.g. does. Doing otherwise will result in mistakes. I wouldn't want to use a dictionary that tells me to write the former when it should be the latter. I'd like to stress the importance of that in a dictionary. The first capital letter issue is similar: you simply don't write E.g. Dots and capital letters should be used when appropriate. D.D. 16:19 Mar 19, 2003 (UTC)
I support D.D.'s view on periods, but the original question was about capital letters instead of periods. Acronyms can be a little tricky because over time some have become better known without periods. In the absence of an established usage without periods they should remain. Eclecticology 19:41 Mar 19, 2003 (UTC)
Absolutely. We should follow the established usage in all cases (when it does/does not "prescribe" dots/capital letters). D.D. 19:58 Mar 19, 2003 (UTC)
Note that usage differs. The US standard is to include dots in abbreviations; the UK standard (for about the last forty years or so) has been to omit dots when there is no chance of ambiguity. Hence UK English permits eg and ie, and so these are, in my view, permissible in Wiktionary (which already allows UK/US variants in spelling), however curious these may look to US eyes. — Paul G 09:29, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)
What evidence is there for the stated British usage? According to the Oxford Style Guide periods are still used in abbreviations. Eclecticology 21:35, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Various other style guides say not to use them in certain abbreviations - see, for example, the style guide of the UK's "Guardian" newspaper, an Australian source, a South African source, (from a Google search on "points in abbreviations"). — Paul G 10:54, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Can someone tell a relative newbie where to put for example an article on the English abbreviations "i.e." and "e.g."? I want to define those since I find that a lot of non-native English speakers haven't got the faintest clue about their meaning. Wzzrd 07:14 Jun 18, 2003 (UTC)

You put them here: i.e. and e.g.. O and welcome to Wiktionary. -fonzy

Thanks :) Wzzrd 12:54 Jun 18, 2003 (UTC)

What do you think about linking to wikipedia this way "word gender"? Would it be better to have a separate link, rather than co-opting one of the "word gender"s? -- Ortonmc 16:25, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Only abbreviations?[edit]

These are supposedly the only abbreviations to be used in Wiktionary; for example, "plural" and "singular are written in full. However there seem to be some missing; I have see "de" after some Dutch translations, and, if I recall correctly, "t" as well. Could someone add these with their full forms, please. — Paul G 09:29, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Of course, I still believe that even the few that we do have should all be written in full. I'm not familiar with the Dutch examples, but it does not seem right to be using Dutch abbreviations on the English Wiktionary. These should be replaced by their English equivalents with whatever abbreviation convention has been adopted for them. Eclecticology 16:28, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)
"De" isn't an abbreviation. I believe the convention when citing Dutch words is to use the definite article, whose form (de or het) indicates the gender of the word, in the same way that Greek-English dictionaries use ὁ, ἡ, τό "the" for masculine, feminine, and neuter respectively. (At least, this is what my small Dutch-English dictionary does.) This is more useful than labels such as "masculine" in the case of Dutch as, if I understand correctly, the names of the relevant Dutch genders are properly "common" and "neuter", which from an anglophone perspective are very easy to confuse. —Muke Tever 22:45, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)
(Squeezing my reply before Eclecticology's) It is I who adds the de and n to Dutch. I learned from our Dutch contributors - Polyglot I think - that Dutch has 3 genders but de is used for both masculine and feminine articles. I think it is best to have m or f for Dutch words but the problem is that if you're not a native speaker or don't have a very good dictionary it's almost impossible to figure out the gender. Books for teaching Dutch to English speakers usually just fudge and say that Dutch has two genders: common and neuter. It is pretty easy to figure out which with an online translator or a bit of googling. Since more information is better than no information I think it's best to put in de when we know that much and when more knowledgeable people come along they can replace de with either m or f. — Hippietrail 02:37, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)
In a situation of doubt as you express with Dutch, no information is better than wrong information. If someone more familiar with the language sees this absence he can always fill it in later. It is easy to confuse grammatical gender and sexual gender; this is a by-product of the Latin influence on European languages. The basis can be quite different in some other languages where other characteristics determine gender.
Perhaps, then, if they are not abbreviations, but articles instead they should appear before the word. Eclecticology 00:17, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I think that putting de there temporarily is not so bad. Although not putting anything at all may be an even better solution. As long as we don't put c for common gender, because that really doesn't make sense. There is no concept of a common gender in Dutch grammars. If I happen to find places where they are not filled in, I'll add them. For some reason I can't seem to find as much time to dedicate to Wiktionary as last year though. Good thing there are now quite a few great contributors by now! Polyglot 12:31, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I think this is a good idea. I did it for a few days months ago but some people started systematically deleting them all so I stopped. Another advantages exist for doing it this way:
  1. Some languages (English, French, Italian) use different forms of articles depending on spelling or pronunciation of the word: (a/an), (le/l')
  2. It's another good way to show "countability" in English. In English we could use the indefinite article which would give us a / an / some: "a man", "an apple", "some water" in a way more intuitive than spelling out the terms which few people are familiar with. — Hippietrail 02:37, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Try again, and if the same thing happens again further discussion would be in order. For French I would find that using "le" or "la" better than "m" or "f". Your proposal for English could add to the cofusion. We can have "some water" but we can also have "some men". It would open up issues of English grammar that are best left to Wikibooks. Any of these additions to a translation should not be used if they fail to help the reader's understanding of the word and its usages. Eclecticology 12:09, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I don't agree that 'le' or 'la' would be better than m or f, especially if they have to go in front of the word. Quite a lot of them would become contracted to "l'" and then they don't give any information any more. I liked the usage of m, f, n, c and pl. They are unambiguous and useful across languages. Polyglot 12:31, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)
My preference would be to have both. "m/f/n/c" tells you unequivocally the gender, for French and Italian I myself never know what should be contracted to "'l" so putting it in explicitly will be even more helpful. "some" water and "some" mean are clearly different senses and will be no problem to keep maintained. — Hippietrail 12:35, 14 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I don't know that those abbreviations would be unambiguous or useful across all languages. "Le" and "la" are certainly more conventional in French. Contracting to "l'" happens before words that begin in a vowel and sometimes with "h". In most of those cases you can use "un" or "une". If it is still unclear then write it out. "Common gender" is a uniquely English concept. What would we accomplish by using "some"?
The whole "sometimes" part with "h"s make it very useful. Can you spell out in a simpler way which times they do and which times they don't? — Hippietrail 01:42, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It depends on h aspiré or non-aspiré. The h itself is never pronounced, so the term is misleading. The difference is that liaison can be made or not:
  • les haricots /lɛ aʀik'o/
  • les hollandais /lɛ olãd'ɛ/
  • les huitres /lɛzɥɪtʀə/
I don't see where this has an influence on le or la becoming l' though Polyglot 10:10, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
How does 'common gender' equate to English? It's supposed to be a translation of Greek ἐπίκοινος (also Englished directly as epicene), meaning basically "using the same form for both masculine and feminine", (and sometimes by extension "whose gender varies between masculine and feminine")—this concept is common to several languages, such as classical Greek and Latin, and even still holds in some cases (e.g. Spanish el policía, la policía "the policeman, the (female) policeman). If masculine and feminine fall together as they are tending to in e.g. Dutch one would expect the name to extend there too..
Masculine and feminine don't fall together. They happen to share the same article (plural also happens to use this same article), nothing more to it:
  • politieagent m, politieagente f
  • verzorger m, verzorgster f
  • zanger m, zangeres f
  • secretaris m, secretaresse m
There are some words like apotheker, dokter, arts which are used for both male and female persons with that profession, but I would say they are an exception. Anyway, there are three genders in Dutch and it's important to be able to indicate this unambiguously, just like it is for Greek, German and quite a few other languages. It becomes important when the noun is replaced with a pronoun, so its importance is less obvious than in German and Greek. Polyglot 10:10, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
You speak Dutch more than I do, so I can't argue this point too hard other than with statements I've heard from other Dutch speakers, on the existence of common and neuter genders [1], uncomfortability using hij and zij for inanimates [2], the falling together of masculine and feminine forms and the use of e.g. die for hij and zij [3] (my Dutch textbook just says to use hij).
In any case, the existence of words with different forms for men and women like schaker/schaakster doesn't indicate the existence of grammatical gender in a language—English after all has similar pairs, e.g. actor/actress, but the system only indicates natural gender (with a few traditional exceptions such as boats). —Muke Tever 16:26, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The purpose of "some", I suppose would be to indicate mass nouns that can't appear with "a". (The argument that some is ambiguous as the plural of a doesn't hold, as similar is true with e.g. Dutch de being the plural for both de and het; what really make it wrong are that it's not what English dictionaries do and also that the distinction in English is for the most part not solid enough for this purpose.) —Muke Tever 16:47, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
There was nothing in my comments about "equate". "Common" may very well be a translation of the Greek work, but its existence is based upon English need and usage. It does not owe its existence to a translation from Greek or any other language. "Common gender" is not a gender in its own right; it rather describes a situation of ambiguity or indeterminacy.
I also have no idea what you're talking about with English's need and usage of common gender. I first learned of common gender when I was learning Danish and Swedish where they are also called en-words and et-words. Later I found that sometimes Dutch is described this was. Later still I found that even Latin has the concept of common gender and that's why the term was chosen for the Scandinavian languages. You seem to be limiting yourself to the concept of natural gender which is not very useful for linguistic purposes such as dictionaries. Please read the Wikipedia article on Grammatical Gender. Or you could just give us some reference to back up your statements. — Hippietrail 01:42, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I looked at the Wikipedia article, and I do not find it reliable when it comes to English. It's attitude that English does not have grammatical gender is eccentric and bizarre. English has three grammatical genders, masculine, femininie and neuter, which mostly happen to conform with sexual gender. The usage of gender in a grammatical sense in the fourteenth century predates its usage in a sexual sense. In those early days many words which are now neuter were masculine or feminine. "Common gender" is not a gender, but a description of a situation where the gender of something (or more often someone) can be either of two genders. The idea that "common gender" exists as a separate gender seems to be based on a complete misunderstanding of how the word "common" is used in English. I make no comment about Dutch or Scandinavian practices. Among my references: Fowler's Modern English Usage, and The Chicago Manal of Style (15th edition). Eclecticology 22:53, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
If your entire discussion here is based on an English common gender I'm even more confused. Wiktionary is multilingual and needs to take into account the Scandinavian languages which is the only place I'm currently aware of that is in real need of marking words as common gender. What you are saying about natural versus grammatical gender here flies in the face of what I've learned. If you don't agree with the Wikipedia article I suggest you make some improvements. Then when it's settled down we should end up with a consensus of what those terms really mean, though this thread seems to be losing relevance. — Hippietrail 00:41, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
This is the English Wiktionary, and exists primarily for the benefit of English speakers. Unlike you, I do not share your fluency in the Scandinavian languages, so I just refrain from making statements about them that exceed my knowledge. I guess that wht you learned about genders was just plain wrong. I would prefer not to get involved with the Wikipedia article at this point; I have plenty of other things to keep me busy. I do agree that the thread has wandered away from the subject of abbreviations. Eclecticology 03:14, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
English uses natural gender to the near-complete exclusion of grammatical gender. The difference is that in grammatical gender, gender will arise mostly based on the form of a word: Latin aqua is feminine because it ends in -a, a suffix creating nouns which happen to trigger feminine agreement. English gender is assigned on semantic, not grammatical or morphological grounds: a disk doesn't become feminine by adding the feminine/diminutive suffix -ette; a diskette is neuter because the object it refers to is neuter, which is what it means to say English has no grammatical gender. In any case "common gender" is indeed a gender, as exemplified by the third definition in [4] — perhaps you have one of the others in mind? —Muke Tever 02:19, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Why does "a" need a plural? Sometimes plurality is suggested by the absence of the article. "Some" can just as easily be partitive as indicating a plural. So if English dictionaries don't use "some" in this way, why should we? Eclecticology 23:28, 15 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean with "a" and plurality. "A" and "an" are used for singular nouns. They are not usable for uncountable nouns. Most dictionaries don't show countability leaving learners of the language to their own observation. We can do better than that. Just as we can provide the Dutch genders often left out of dictionaries, whether French words beginning with "h" should have "l'", "la", or "le" etc. These things we can improve without making a mess, unlike other improvements talked about on other threads. — Hippietrail 01:42, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The reference to "some" was in reply to Muke's comments. To say that the indefinite article cannot be used with uncountable nouns is erroneous. There is generally no need to show countability; this quality is inherent in the nature of the object. You seem, at least, to agree with using "le" or "la". I don't know what other kinds of mess you have in mind.
Messes on other threads such as Greek romanization. Please give me some examples of the indefinite article in use with uncountable nouns. — Hippietrail 00:41, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I don't see where the process of having a discussion makes the subject a mess, but this would not be the place to expand on the. "A frustration derived from coping with obstinate points of view" Eclecticology 03:14, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
One possible reason to leave the Dutch genders out of a dictionary could be simplify the learning of it. Another could be that for some words Dutch as spoken in Holland and Flemish as spoken in Belgium, don't agree on the genders of some words... I'm glad that we want to try and do better than the average dictionary though. Polyglot 10:10, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
An excellant point. It is better to leave that blank unless you know what you're doing. for people to add in material that they don't understand will not produce a better than average dictionary. Eclecticology 22:53, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I recently found this page, and see here that the only abbreviations used should be m,f,n and c. (According to discussion above, possibly also pl). I only want to make sure that I don't break any 'rules' somewhere when I use def (for definite form - useful for e.g. Scandinavian languages) as well as sing. Are those abbreviations OK? \Mike 08:48, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If it were entirely up to me the four that appear as allowed would all be fully spelled out. Can "def" be interpreted by someone is some circumstances as perhaps "default"? Maybe, maybe not. I a large print dictionary using "m" for the nine-letter word "masculine" can save a few pages in the length of the book, but "the wiki is not paper." Eclecticology 23:44, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Deletion debate[edit]

Keep tidy.svg

The following information has failed Wiktionary's deletion process.

It should not be re-entered without careful consideration.


Pointless. Very few linked pages. Keep the talk page though. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:53, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

delete -- Prince Kassad 21:22, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Good "disambiguation" page. You say "[v]ery few linked pages": but what else should be linked to from it? (Or do you mean few pages link to it? That may be true, but people may type it in manually.) Don't see the purpose of deleting it.​—msh210 (talk) 21:51, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
It seems at worst harmless. It might be a good page for some specialized guidance on our practice concerning such entries. DCDuring TALK 22:34, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I mean very few pages link to it, suggesting that it wouldn't really be missed. However yeah, we don't have many disambiguation pages, but this not the only one we have (WT:CAT). I won't oppose the keep if that is the overall consensus, then. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:00, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Delete 'cause nothing's there. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:41, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Deleted per MK. - -sche (discuss) 04:21, 17 December 2012 (UTC)