Wiktionary talk:Entry layout/archive 2005

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Archive of relevant 2005 WT:Beer parlour posts[edit]

File drawer for 2005 Wiktionary:Beer parlour (WP:BP) posts relating to WT:Entry layout

Designation of nouns as "countable" and "uncountable"[edit]

Is there anyplace on Wictionary where this is already discussed? I find nothing in Wiktionary:FAQ. If there is such a place, I'd be willing to move the discussion there, retaining a link here.

This is a really silly classification scheme, and to my thinking, many of them have been improperly categorized. It is probably my mathematics training that makes me notice it, but the existence of that more specific jargon meaning, which is different from the way many have apparently classified these nouns in Wictionary, argues strongly against continuing to use this as it stands. Note specifically that, in normal mathematics usage:

The number of grains of sand on Earth is countable, provided you have adequately specified what counts as a "grain", but
The points on a line three micrometers long are uncountable, and
A mass of 0.0000001 pound is uncountable.

All measured quantities are uncountable in the mathematics sense. We use real numbers to represent them, not integers (especially the nonnegative integers often referred to as counting numbers or natural numbers).

Another problem is the links attached to these classifications. The ones I have seen go to countable and the uncountable Wictionary entries. A better link would send them to count noun and the nonparallel naming of uncountable noun which redirects to mass noun; a non-count noun used somewhere is a redlink.

Can't somebody come up with better names for these classifications, if they are to be used? I'm not comfortable with count noun (defined only in reference to "things that can be counted" and thus excluding most measurements) as a strict complementary set of mass noun, either, but using those two terms would seem to be at least a great improvement. Isn't there some other term similar to "mass noun" as well? Oh, I remembered the one I was thinking of: "collective noun". Maybe we should just identify terms with that usage (quite relevant as something which affects how they are used in plural or singular form, etc.) Gene Nygaard 28 June 2005 13:35 (UTC)

Relax. I have a math degree too, but most people don't. These terms are not being used in their mathematical senses, any more than tennis players use set in the mathematical sense. The countable and uncountable categories use a long-standing and well-defined linguistic notion. A noun is countable if it can be used with an indefinite article, quantified by number, and so forth. For example, dog is countable: I can speak of a dog or three dogs. On the other hand, sand is not countable. If I speak of a sand, I mean "a kind of (the substance) sand". E.g., I wouldn't say "A sand is in my eye." Conversely, I would say "There is some sand in my eye." but if I want to say the analogous thing for dog, I say "There are some dogs in my house." Countable terms take many but not much (e.g., how many dogs). The reverse is true for uncuontable terms (how much sand). In fact, this is one of the clearer tests.
The distinction trips up non-native speakers all the time, which is a major reason it's important to note. Many nouns have both countable and uncountable senses, not always closely related to each other. For example, punk can be a substance (uncountable) "I found some punk to use for kindling." or a person (countable) "I found some punks loitering outside the door." If I say "Punk is dead." I'm talking about the movement. If I say "Punks are dead." I'm talking about people. Countability is one clue to sorting this out.
As to your examples, in the linguistic sense:
  • Grains of sand are countable, sand isn't.
  • Points are countable. E.g. There are uncountably many points. is a countable usage. The uncountable usage, "There is uncountably much point." is wrong.
  • A mass of 0.0000001 pound is not a mass at all. Pounds measure force, not mass. There's a lesson in there somewhere ... -dmh June 30, 2005 17:10 (UTC)
Even taking what you say into consideration, we should never be identifying these as countable and uncountable. Rather, we should be using the specific linguistics jargon terms such as count noun or mass noun, which can quite understandable have a specific meaning distinguished from the meanings of the component terms, and to which a link would provide reasonable information, rather than the nonsense we get when countable and uncountable are linked in these tags.
BTW, you are totally off base about pounds. Read the Wikipedia article and its talk page. The pound-force is a different unit, often simply called "pound" as well though it is the recent bastardization, a unit never well-defined before the 20th century, and a less often used unit than the various pounds as units of mass. The pound-force is so new that it is uniquely identified by that name; none of the hundreds of other pounds used at various times and places throughout history have spun off a unit of force of the same name that has seen any significant use. Gene Nygaard 30 June 2005 17:45 (UTC)
OK, so that went right by you. The point is that insisting that a usage that falls outside the domain being discussed (e.g., insisting on the mass/weight distinction in a discussion of lingusitic terms) is counterproductive. As indeed it is here. Physics teachers may insist that a pound is a unit of force, but people routinely use it as a unit of mass. Is common usage "nonsense"? No. Is it "nonsense" to use "uncountable" to describe a noun that acts as described above? Of course not. Does it matter what the mathematical sense is? Not a bit. Does it matter that one can mount a logical argument that the usage doesn't make sense? No. If we interpreted language on purely logical grounds, we'd never communicate anything. What matters is that dictionaries and other interested parties consistently use countable/uncountable in the senses described above.
That said, the timeline is roughly this: The pound has been a unit of weight for ages, long before weight and mass were distinguished. Along about Newton people start to make an analytical distinction between force (which includes weight) and mass. Interestingly, Newton also sowed the seeds that lead to the great tidal wave debate, but never mind that for now. Pound continues in use as a unit of weight, largely oblivious to developments in physics, though I note that that tends to get fudged as "unit of weight or mass".
Physicists insist that mass be measured in different units from force, and therefore that pound is not a unit of mass. The rest of the world equates weight and mass. And on we go.
Your use of pound in reference to mass was incorrect, no matter how you cut it. If you want to follow common usage — which is probably approriate here — you should have said "a weight of of 0.0000001 pound". If you want to follow the usage of physicists, you should have said either "a force of of 0.0000001 lbf" or "a mass of of 0.0000001 lbm." If you said "a mass of 5 pounds" in physics class, your physics teacher would have chidden you (or at least all of mine would have). If you said it at the fishmarket, chances are they'd look at you funny ("What do you mean mass?"). -dmh 17:53, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
The pound-mass or pound-force issue is tangential. Apart from that I think that dmh has given a good description of the difference. It helps to convince me that keeping these tags is in some way useful. I would still not find "Countable nouns" to be a useful category. It would have too many disparate items. Eclecticology June 30, 2005 18:27 (UTC)
Maybe I wasn't clear enough, because you don't seem to understand. This has nothing to do with the "Category" namespace, or whatever it is called. These are tags added in front of each definition of a noun. See reed or grain or coinage (the latter with the tag at the end rather than the beginning), for example. But for some even more relevant examples, see luggage and misspelling which not only include these tags, but they are linked as well, to articles which provide confusing information of little utility in determining their meaning (countable links to the antonym mass noun but does not link to count noun, and uncountable doesn't link to either though it does include a related definition). If we used count noun and mass noun for this purpose, they would be more likely be linked to those more useful links, and we could encourage their use any time these tags are used. Or we could just discourage the use of these tags all together. My biggest complaint is that the tags do not have logical or useful names, and do not link to anything which would help clarify what they do mean, and there doesn't appear to be any guidance whatsoever about using them. Gene Nygaard 30 June 2005 19:34 (UTC)
OK, so we need to fix the definitions of countable and uncountable. I don't like this sort of linking either, exactly because people tend to link to definitions without ensuring that the particular sense in question is well defined. I certainly apprecitate your frustration in that. The last time I looked at Category:Uncountable, though, it had a rundown on what we meant by the term. I had thought that the tag wasn't linked.
I've had a go at fixing countable and uncountable. Let me know what you think it needs (or better, just fix it). -dmh 17:53, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
There appear to be several issues here; maybe I'll hit the right one. :-)
  1. When the term ia attached to a particular definition it should, like many of these descriptive tags appear at the beginning of the line.
  2. I don't think that linking the tag is necessary.
  3. I don't personally use these tags, but will respect them when others do. I think that the "mass noun/count noun" vs. "countable/uncountable" distinction may be a UK/US variation. If that's the case then both systems should be acceptable, but the pages that describe these terms should have appropriate cross links in the synonyms and antonyms sections.
I hope that I understood your question corrctly. Eclecticology June 30, 2005 20:36 (UTC)

For the record, I personally do prefer the terms "mass noun" and "count noun", but I believe more strongly that we should follow the precedent of dictionaries which have come before us. Every dictionary I've seen which notes countability of nouns uses "C" and "U". (In linguistics there are severals terms which seem to be used purlely on a personal-preference basis). To find these in the wild I recommend a Longmans print dictionary or any electronic Japanese-English dictionary. Very many but not all print Japanese-English dictionaries also use these. Note that it is the dictionaries created for Japanese learning English you need to look at, not the other way around. I haven't investigated Chinese or Korean dictionaries as thoroughly but my best guess is that many use the same system. The concept is equally as alien to speakers of slavic languages yet I have never seen countability treated in a Russian-English dictionary - there seems to be no tradition there. — Hippietrail 1 July 2005 00:34 (UTC)

Isn't it about time to mention pluralia tantum? -dmh 17:53, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Uniform headings[edit]

Gerard offered (on IRC) to 'bot the English language headings to a single form. But what heading do we really want? Should it be a template? Should the template add a category? Should it have spaces before and after (like the button of an edit box defaults) or without? A long time ago, HippieBot came up with the following list:

  • 10869 ==English==
  • 734 ==English==
  • 322 == English ==
  • 56 =={{En}}==
  • 38 ==[[English]]==
  • 19 =English=
  • 19 == [[English]] ==
  • 15 =====English=====
  • 13 ===English===
  • 10 ====English====
  • 1 ==English ==
  • 1 ==ENglish==
  • 1 === English ===
  • 1 ===English===

which I think I used as my basis for always going without the spaces. So, which one do we really want? --Connel MacKenzie 28 June 2005 22:30 (UTC)

  • I say ==English== or == English == and definitely not the awful ==English==. 24 28 June 2005 22:44 (UTC)
  • I would've gone for ==English==. It's the simplest and most common, so definitely a contender. However, I'm looking forward to more interwiktionary cooperation, and they all use {{-en-}} in some way or another. Most use it to add a header as well (which I strongly dislike), whereas la: uses =={{-en-}}== merely to indicate that the template is a template for use in a header. I quite like this, because you can use the templates to translate languages quite easily and so on. I would also like this to add a category, huge though it may be, so that stats and so on could be generated easily. However, we don't actually have this template extant on en:, so that would be a phenomenal amount of work for the bot. So, it seems I shall go for ==English== for now, just because it's so much less work that needs to be done. --Wytukaze 28 June 2005 23:21 (UTC)
Looks to me like a lot of tilting at windmills.
Fix the miscapitalized one and move the first level headers down one (check other headers in entry too). Check the third, fourth, and fifth level ones to see how they are used, some may be legitimately there, and if you want to reserve this word for a special meaning in headers, then that wording is what should be changed and not the spacing or level. No links. No templates. Don't worry about spaces which don't affect the display. And if I've totally misunderstood what's going on here, oh, well... Gene Nygaard 28 June 2005 23:30 (UTC)
Whoa, yes, I guess I did word that poorly. What is going on here has little to do with the bad/dirty headers listed above; I am in the side-process of cleaning many of them out. The question (particularly for UW integration) is which one title for English articles do we want to use? Some have said "==English==", some have said "== English ==", some have said "==English==" and some have said "=={{-en-}}==". Each has a very plausible reason for wanting their choice. What does the wider Wiktionary community think? --Connel MacKenzie 29 June 2005 03:38 (UTC)
The ones still remaining on my list are novus, frustra, tempestas, iacere, regere, vocare, vetare, catapulta, destruere, demoliri, assultus, abusivus, ineffabilis, monstrum, manere, ira, nauta and equitare. --Connel MacKenzie 29 June 2005 03:55 (UTC)
The strongest argument for using a template is so we have a method for knowing which pages have articles for which languages, and being able to count them. Problems are in using hard-to-remember language codes, and languages with contentious alternative names or spellings like Farsi and Persian. If we're going to do a template we should do it right, and it's by no means agreed that everybody even wants them. Another very useful thing a template can do is CSS which should even allow people to choose which alternative name or spelling they prefer. — Hippietrail 29 June 2005 01:42 (UTC)
If a template is going to be used, my personal preference, let it be {{-en-}}. The problem with the edit thingies to the side has been solved in the Dutch Wiktionary (no more edit thingies). If you must it can be something like =={{-en-}}== when you insist on having the edit thingies. Any variation with English will break things as it is also used to indicate that a translation is in the en language. This is a problem particularly for articles other than English.
Having one way of indicating what language is a good thing in and of itself. Yes, it does a migration to Ultimate Wiktionary. The implementation of the capitalisation vote is however more important for that. This action will help the quality drive of the English language wiktionary. That is why it should be decided what to do. GerardM June 29, 2005 06:39 (UTC)

Running a bot[edit]

I am now running a bot that should change all the variants of the indication of English to ==English==. The bot has been changed by Andre Engels to make this possible. The regular expression was provided to me by Andre. He says that the only chance of it going wrong is for it to find nothing.. GerardM July 2, 2005 10:36 (UTC)

When if finishes, I'd like to see the number of entries corrected. If it can provide a count of the number of articles that contain "==English==" that too would be helpful. It would also be good to know how long it takes to run...in case we decide at some point to switch to "==English==" or "== English ==". --Connel MacKenzie 3 July 2005 18:51 (UTC)

Order of languages[edit]

Am I right in thinking it standard to list languages alphabetically except for English always going first, if its in the article? Whether or no, is this documented anywhere? Nurg 12:01, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

You are correct. Translingual items (i.e. terms and expressions used in all languages, such as the symbols for the chemical elements, are also put at the top of the page. As to documentation, I do remember writing something about it early on in our history, but can't remember where. Eclecticology 06:54:17, 2005-07-25 (UTC)
If the word is nonexistentin English, and one of the languages uses that word more commonly than the other one, we should probably put that on the top. For example, Spanish uses XXXX more commonly than it does in Italian. Then Spanish goes on top. Stevey7788 21:58, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
How do you propose we decide that a term is used more frequently in one languae than in another? Remember a page can contain and Kiswahili, and Hungarian, and Finnish, and Welsh and Basque. I don't know of many people who will be able to judge abot how common tha specific term is in all of these langauges, so I propose we stick to an alphabetic order, with Translingual and English as the exceptions to the rule. Polyglot 22:51, 28 July 2005 (UTC)
Stevey7788, the order is (any of these being omitted if there is no word in that language): Translingual, English, all other languages in alphabetical order. There is another reason why this is not a good idea. Sticking to alphabetical order means it is easy to find the section for a particular language, and also prevents someone from accidentally replicating the work done for any given language. This is particularly the case for short words, which are likely to be words in many languages. — Paul G 15:19, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Inflection line[edit]

In the world of enforced first letter capitalization we developed a line (which I will now call the "inflection line") right under the part of speech that repeated the word in bold letters. This was primarily done as a workaround to show the capitalization status. Unless a word has inflections that need to be shown, I would propose eliminating that line. Eclecticology June 30, 2005 19:16 (UTC)

But what about Hebrew where we show vowels and dagesh; Arabic where we show vowels, shadda, and sukun; Russian where we show stress; Chinese, Japanese, and Korean hanja where we link to the individual characters, and all languages for multiple-word terms where this is a very handy place to link to the component words? Or do you propose having it sometimes and not having it other times? — Hippietrail 1 July 2005 01:29 (UTC)
In addition to that, it's a very handy place to list inflections/conjugations and genders, and the like, but it strikes me as.. inelegant to only use it some of the time. This would also suggest more cleanup, which is always fun. :) --Wytukaze 1 July 2005 01:37 (UTC)

I was thinking of using them only when needed. I happened to comment on the issue in the context of why that line was there in the first place, but it's presence is not such a big issue. I was just looking for people to consider it. BTW I won't have the same complaints there about Russian stresses that I have had in relation to article titles. Eclecticology July 1, 2005 08:14 (UTC)

How about not insisting that it be added but allowing it to be added, if it merely reflects the article name, but not removing it either?
There are a great many words and abbreviations which are sometimes capitalized, sometimes not, and it remains as useful as ever for that. Another use not mentioned yet is to indicate use of italics, as in y-axis. Gene Nygaard 2 July 2005 05:34 (UTC)
  • I was unaware why the practice had been started, as it was mostly begun before I started contributing here. Since the practice has started, it has proven much more useful than merely sorting out capitalization issues. To abandon it now seems wrong in many ways. Perhaps the developers could use it for formatting the headline and hiding the line below, as an enhancement if we ask them. They have been very responsive so far for our capitalization crisis; this certainly is related. --Connel MacKenzie 3 July 2005 06:56 (UTC)

What do I do?[edit]

If I have, for example, Ba, how do I reference users to ba? 24 30 June 2005 14:31 (UTC)

This is what I'm doing:

===See also===

24 30 June 2005 14:57 (UTC)

Perhaps simply

See also ba

at the very top of the page with no heading. It needs to be the first thing one sees on the page, and should not be confused with the existing "see also" references that come later in the page. I was already having some thoughts about how to handle romanization/transliteration entries as a special section like "Translingual", but I can come back to that after the current problems have cleared up. Eclecticology June 30, 2005 16:11 (UTC)
At the top of the page, indented by preceding with a colon, with the See also part in italics, similar to what is done on English Wikipedia, makes sense to me at least for the one to three letter entries. Does anyone agree? Should that also apply to longer ones? The longer it gets, the more possibilities there are. With only two letters, you wouldn't need to link to more than three other entries, and only to ones which actually exist in any case, so in practice longer ones will most often have no more variants.
I don't really care that much about what the details are, I'd like somebody to give some guidance that will help us achieve uniformity. That is something we won't get, unless somebody starts getting more specific about the details. Gene Nygaard 30 June 2005 16:23 (UTC)
We could instate the disambig template, with text along the lines of "See also: Word" or some such. Including more than one word isn't much of a problem: Say the template has [[{{{1}}}]], to link to two you would simply insert "word]] and [[Word" as the parameter. Anyone disagree with this? --Wytukaze 30 June 2005 16:42 (UTC)
As long as the issue is only about first letter capitalization there are only two possibilities no matter how long the title. Titles with varied capitalization at other places in the title have always been treated as separate articles. Whether that first line is indented or "See also" is italicized is inconsequential. People may do this differently at first, but these details eventually fall in line. I find the template unnecessary, but I suppose that if people want to use one there's no need to stop them, as long as they respect the fact that others of us won't. Eclecticology June 30, 2005 18:54 (UTC)
Maybe indentation doesn't matter much. But whether it is on the very first line of the article, or at the bottom of the page in a "See also" section, the other suggestion which has been put forth here, or in a "See also" subsection at the end of the "English" section or the "Translingual" section when that appears, or at whatever place some other editor might decide to put it in the total absense of any guidance from fellow editors, is a much more significant issue. That is something which has not been determined. Also, whether or not it should always be included has not been determined. Gene Nygaard 30 June 2005 19:42 (UTC)
I think it's important to have this right at the top of the page so that people are aware of this other option as soon as they come to the page. I don't object if the link is there to a non-existent page, as long as there is a reasonable chance that such a page will exist some day. Consider it optional. The link will simply appear in red to tell us that there is more work to be done. Eclecticology June 30, 2005 20:08 (UTC)
I hate to say this Gene, but I think you are precisely correct. The issue is that the switch was made without any warning. The last time someone made a comment on the issues page was quite some time ago (and I think it may have been the last to post a question there, about which way to proceed with analysis?) At the moment, I cannot find the vote page, nor it's discussion page. (HMMM.) But IIRC, the last anyone said was that we'd need significantly more analysis of which would what where when, before proceeding to ask the dev's to change the config file. This additional analysis never happened. So we've all been taken off-gaurd. I daresay I almost forgot how much of a row there had been about it; and how bent out of whack I became. Lastly, there have been no guidlines presented because they were still mostly in debate, when the flame war petered out to mild smoldering apathy. To me, common sense would dictate that a developer would post a MediaWiki:Sitenotice 24/72 hours in advance, but that unfortunately didn't happen. Most sysops here have been frantically communicating with developers (primarily on IRC) ever since. --Connel MacKenzie 1 July 2005 02:49 (UTC)
Why do you want a link from Ba to ba? Ncik 02 Jul 2005
Because every outside link made to this project since the dawn of time will have likely used en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Ba -- and now most of the content of that page is at ba. Breaking links for no reason is a Bad Thing. —Muke Tever July 3, 2005 00:48 (UTC)
Because this is the English Wiktionary. Because in the English Wiktionary, it is assumed you are doing a lookup in an English language style, therefore b is very closely related to B and both ba and Ba should reference each other prominently. This is most useful when one is English and the other is not, e.g. kind / Kind (which I edit also, just now.) --Connel MacKenzie 3 July 2005 03:47 (UTC)

Link to Wikipedia[edit]

I would expect to have on Wiktionary pages a link back to Wikipedia

This is the wrong premisse; first of all if you want to add a link, add it. Second of all the way you put is assumes primacy of Wikipedia, Wiktionary is a seperate project. GerardM 07:32, 18 July 2005 (UTC)
Just a small point - it is advisable to link an entry to Wikipedia whenever Wikipedia has an article on the entry that carries more information than appears in Wiktionary, rather than if one wants to. — Paul G 17:45, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Archive 2005[edit]

Deviations from this standard[edit]

This is a very good page, but I think there are a few points that are, at least, in flux at the moment.

  • Derived terms vs. Related terms I believe that Related terms is often used where Derived terms would be strictly correct, and IMHO this is a good thing.
  • Examples vs. Quotations Examples and quotations serve different purposes. Quotations are not necessarily preferable to examples for showing example usage.
  • Hierarchy: Whether related terms go under part of speech or at the third level along with parts of speech varies in practice, and probably should vary. I'm coming to think that anciliary information should go under the lowest-level heading possible (occasionaly under individual senses), and that this is generally but not always level 4. Eytmology and pronunciation are generally level 3, as they are common to all senses, but sometimes should go lower.
  • Alternate spellings: Actual practice may vary with regard to full entries (generally lacking further formatting) alternate spellings vs. redirects. Also, a non-idiomatic definition in the midst of idiomatic senses. I'm not sure how to put this more coherently.
  • Regular inflections: I believe that including regular inflections has come to be frowned upon, particularly if they are wikified and the inflected form is non-idiomatic. Further, I'm not sure there's really a standard format for things like "goose, plural geese". Adjectives should generally give comparative and superlative to show whether to use -er, -est or more/most.

In any case, this is still a very useful reference -dmh 22:12, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Reform proposal[edit]

The following has been moved to the talk page. This proposal would be a significant departure from actual practice. Eclecticology 00:41, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)


These are proposals submitted by any user in an attempt to improve the English language. If you do not agree with the proposal, respond on the discussion page. Don't simply revert the page to delete them. Examples:

  1. too
  2. dye
  3. nail


These examples use the proposed reforms to visualize how they may be used.

Basic English 850[edit]

This section offers a direct substitution of the entry word with a word or phrase which uses the constrained vocabulary of Basic English 850. Use this section to simplify the vocabulary of your writing.

Interwiki links[edit]

I have not found any rules on interwiki link usage here. Therefore I propose to use ONLY the following form of interlanguage links on wiktionaries:


Additionally one might have to use
[[fr:A]], [[fr:a]]
on case-insensitive wikipedias.
This runs into problems, because not all Wiktionaries have the same policies for titles, so some page titles are not going to correspond exactly. Capitalization is one example; also, some wiktionaries may use the modern letter "w" in Old English words and some will use the contemporary character "ƿ" (in this case there's also the issue of acutes vs. macrons vs. no marking in titles); some will and some won't give things like phrasal verbs their own page; some will cite Latin verbs in the infinitive, following the style for their own verbs, and some will cite them in the first-person singular, as is usual Latin practice.. so you won't always be able to use subst:PAGENAME — on snáw you may need interwiki links to snāƿ or snāw or snaw or snáƿ, for example; on blow up to blow; on dare to do, etc. —Muke Tever 20:30, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I see. Thank you for pointing this out. There's nothing wrong with such links of course. Actually I did not mean to encourage using subst:PAGENAME at all. Interwiki links to translations are what bother me. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not think these are useful. --Ker 07:20, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
No, you're right... interwikis for translations are entirely impractical, especially for ordinary words. It only even "works" for technical terms and proper names (e.g. "iridium", "Greenland"), that are likely to have simple 1:1 correspondences. But it was decided here a long while back that the logical behavior for interwikis should be to link to the same word described in another language. —Muke Tever 00:54, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Currently there are some rebel wiktionaries/wiktionarians who do not follow proposed policy and use


instead. I find it bad practice since you will soon discover yourself using something like:


Use in-page links for such purposes, please.

--Ker 10:49, 27 Jan 2005 (UTC)


The above discussion seems to be moving away from what the current verging-on-official "project page" says, ie we talkers are suggesting that the interwiki should (unlike the ones in Wikipedia) go only to the entry for the same word in another Wikt (eg "Australian" has an interwiki such as "[[mi:Australian]]", not "[[mi:Ahitereiriana]]"). If we follow what the "page" says at present ("An Interwiki link is a link to an article of the same meaning in another Wiktionary"), then - as I think Ker was illustrating and Muke Tever and I agree - we will soon be filling the page with thousands of interwikis because in theory every Wikt will have all the other languages' words for "Australian".

Anyone brave enough - or with enough authority - to change the project page forthwith? Robin Patterson 11:16, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Reason for Moving Wiktionary:Template to Wiktionary:Entry layout explained[edit]

Part of my project to rename pages that wrongly use the word Template. See Wiktionary:Sub-Project -Template renaming--Richardb 09:57, 24 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It's not the page the misuses the word "template"; it's Wikipedia/Wiktionary. Look up "template" in a "real" dictionary. -- 06:06, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The "English" heading[edit]

What is the point of the "English" heading, besides cluttering the page? We've got a "Translations" section, right? AND we're in "en.wiktionary.org", which is an English dictionary, right? Therefore: words in an English dictionary should be ASSUMED to be English. If not, than a heading or text can be added to indicate that it is NOT English. This just seems like common sense. 06:10, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Some reasons:
  1. The absence of the English heading is an indication that the person entering it is new, and the article probably needs cleanup.
  2. The use of 1st level English headings implies a vandal, therefore candidate for deletion.
  3. The presence of the English heading makes it readily apparent how another language definition can be added to a page.
  4. The presence of the English heading makes parsing articles by external tools easier. (The point of Wiktionary is to provide electronic access to everyone, everywhere, provided they extend the same courtesy to their derived works. There is nothing to say that we should arbitrarily make it more difficult for programs to interpret.)
  5. The presence of the English heading makes parsing articles by internal "bots" easier/possible.
(I'm sure others will add additional reasons, even though this start should be sufficient.) --Connel MacKenzie 04:40, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
One reason I used to run into a lot: The absence of an "English" heading may encourage new users to not place language headings for non-English articles, leading to later confusion (compounded if the user also adds a Translations section, i.e., making an entry for a foreign word look entirely like an entry for an English word, except for the word itself, which, if it looks like plausibly obscure/protologistic English, may only draw deletion requests.) —Muke Tever 21:10, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I needed to reference this recently, but could not find it. Anyone know what the correct Wiktionary: namespaced article this should be at/in/under? --Connel MacKenzie 3 July 2005 04:28 (UTC)
Copied to WT:FAQ. --Connel MacKenzie 16:16, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Verb Forms?[edit]

Hey, in the "properly formated entrys" in the "Entry layout explained" the verb "leap" is listed. In it, it gives the verbs multiple forms, "leapt, leaped" etc. And each word links to a new article. The content of article "Leaped" is esstenially "past tense of to leap." Would it be better to simply have everything on one page? People can figure out that "leaped" is the past-tense of leap without a separate article telling them. "Leaped" should just redirect to "leap." After all, if we give a whole article to "leaped" don't we have to give one to "has leaped" and "had leaped" and "will have leaped" and "will leap"? Seems that it would be better to just have an "English Grammer Explained" article, for people who don't understand the concept of "-ed" and "has -ed" Of course, if a certain form means something entirely different from its infinitve, exceptions can be made, but you get the idea. This would vastly reduce clutter and make wiktionary slimmer and more efficent. For example, in highlight, the plural form, present, past, and progressive tense all REDIRECT to highlight, which gives all the information needed. Now, is that not nice and compact and practical?--HelloMrMe 18:16, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • The whole issue is very arguable without reaching any conclusion. I tend to leave it alone. I basically can't be bothered to create separate articles for all these forms, but I don't worry when others do. There are instances where an explanation may be necessary. If we put that an "-ed" form is the past tense of whatever the reader will know exactly what it is immediately without searching the whole article. For some verbs it may be useful to know whether the "-ed" form refers only to the past tense or to both the past tense and past participle. In any case this project views stubs differently than Wikipedia. Then too there would also be the situation where the inflected form in English is the same as a word in another language. The compound verb forms are a different story and are only rarely likely to need a separate article. In other words take a common sense flexible approach. Eclecticology 00:08, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Another argument against inclusion (only within main-entry articles) is for first-hit lookups. Someone entering a word to see if it is spelled correctly probably does not want to see an edit page, particularly when the main entry does exist. In the "leap" example, "leaped" is an Enlish word, "has leaped" is not. We discourage entry of phrases, unless they have a meaning other than that of their component words. I think as Wiktionary matures (in terms of number of entries, percent of language covered) we'll probably see someone like me come up with a bot to populate redirects for non-existent entries of other senses. That can only happen if they are "correctly" linked from the main entry. So far, for the most part, I've only created redirects as I come across them in the Wikipedia most common 5,000 words list. I'll continue doing so until I or someone else gets sick of it, and write the bloody bot to populate them all, at which point the number of entries in Wiktionary may double or triple, all at once. --Connel MacKenzie 01:25, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Okay, you guys are probably going to beat me up for even suggesting this, but I'm gonna. What if, to compile all information on a verb in one convenient page, we put next to the verb we are entering this list with all the tenses.

- Simple Present: /Simple Past: /Simple Future: /Present Continuous: /Past Continuous: /Future Continuous: /Present Perfect: /Past Perfect: /Future Perfect: /Present Perfect Continuous: /Past Perfect Continuous: /Future Perfect Continuous:

- NOW NOW NOW BEFORE YOU KILL ME, I'd just like to say that, although tedious and boring, having this system would really help having all verb information on one page. I know that this system dosen't solve everything, in fact, its probably full of holes. However, it is a step in the right direction. In any case, we CANNOT just leave this question answered, with half of wiktionary REDIRECTING and the other half creating entire new articles and the other half not giving a damn because the process is too vague and ambiguous to even work with. We need to start having a more streamlined process around here, not just over this, but over everything. We need to sit down in the...beer parlour i guess...and really start having discussions over wiktionary protocol, more votes over issues the moderators bring up. I know that these kind of things are hard to sort out, and really REALLY BORING. TRUST ME, I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. But the regulations over wiktionary are at the best okay, in general lax, and at the worst non-existant. I know I know that this is a free form evolving database, but wikipedia has developed regulations much more streamlined and efficent than wiktionary's, and have made the vast amounts of information they gather much more quickly and logically available to everyone. And they have done this without hampering the flow of new information. In fact, I think if we took the time to hammer out broad rules rather than leaving things vague, wiktionary would start growing a lot faster.

- Okay. So, I think that the verb system I reccomded above is very logical and helpful for getting all word information onto one convenient page. Perhaps we could somehow make a command to generate this so wiktionarians won't have to retype it everytime. I dunno, Template:verb list or something. I don't care if people do it or not, I just want a rule that says "We organize verbs in this manner..." This system might be a terrible idea, I don't know, but I DO know we need SOME KIND OF SYSTEM. I know its tedious to figure this out, but its hopelessly more tedious to try to tie together messy articles in gray areas whose only guideline was "a common sense flexible approach."

Phew. I am done. I hope something productive comes of all that haha--HelloMrMe 01:33, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • I think that is a fine suggestion, that merits a little more discussion. Let's stick for a moment with the aforementioned example: leap. (Disclaimer: I just made edits to that page.) The verb sense lists leapt, leaped, and leaping. That seems to me to be the "correctly" formatted way of having all the senses mentioned on the main page. Separate words get separate entries. For any of the pointed-to entries, you can enter as complete an article as you desire; only very rarely (and often reverted) would such an entry get replaced by a redirect. The entries that exist IMHO deserve separate entries, while the redirects I entered are for senses that don't merit special attention. Could you expound a little on your idea please? --Connel MacKenzie 04:41, 7 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • (Uncle G 14:19, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)):
    • Hammering out rules is good as long as we don't go too far. Beware of, and avoid, instruction creep.
    • This isn't a new idea. An inflections sub-section for verbs under the English section is no different to the "Conjugations" sections that you will find in the verbs for other languages. See bluter for a recent example. Also note that the other languages use templates for such things. Regular verbs in English can be handled in much the same way. In fact, there's probably a template for doing so already.
    • Hyperlinks to the inflected forms are good, and to be desired, not avoided.
    • Articles under the inflected forms are good, and to be desired, not avoided. Aside from Eclecticology's point about language overlap, remember the "all words" part of Wiktionary's all words in all languages mandate.
    • Simple redirections from the inflected form to the main article are good as stubs, as long as we acknowledge that they can, and should, expand to real articles in their own right. As WT:ELE#Definitions says, a real definition for an inflected form would read:
      • '''hrunked'''
        # past tense of [[hrunk]]
    • As Connel MacKenzie says, very rarely, if ever, should things proceed in the opposite direction. A real article should not be replaced with a redirect just because the word is an inflected form of another word.
Inflected forms shouln't be linked since the pages the links point to shouldn't contain information about this word other than a link to the "basic" form of it. Ncik 06 May 2005
Ncik, your opinion conflicts directly with the "all words" premise of Wiktionary, as Uncle G pointed out above. Please stop dewikifying links. Until we have a bot that reliably propogates the redirects, having the links makes it vastly easier to enter the redirects. And having them linked makes it vastly easier to verify that such a bot (when implemented) is working correctly. Additionally, your theory that linked-to words won't contain additional information is incorrect in numerous situations. --Connel MacKenzie 03:03, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Declaring this page as "Semi-Official Policy"[edit]

Rather a lot of our "policy" is tied up in this page, so I tagged it as aSemi-Offical Policy to help people realise they should not just change it willy nilly, but should conduct some discussion and consensus building first. --Richardb 17:51, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Bold language names in translation section[edit]

I think language names shouldn't be bold in the translations section. They are not of any particular importance to a specific enty but divert the readers attention. Ncik 09 Apr 2005

If anything the translations themselves should be bolded, to help them stand out from the language names, and the stuff like transliteration and gender that are placed with them. —Muke Tever 23:56, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)
As links, the translations themselves will already stand out. Eclecticology 01:22, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Additional headers?[edit]

I would like to suggest the consideration of some additional (optional?) headers. For some of these ideas, I've used the organization of the WordWeb dictionary program ([1]) which uses the WordNet lexical database from Princeton University ([2]). The program has the following connections between words:

  • Synonyms: Words which mean the same in some context. e.g. close is a synonym of shut.
  • Antonyms: Words meaning the opposite in some context. e.g. big is an antonym of little
  • Attribs: A noun for which the adjective expresses value e.g. big is an attribute of size.
  • Type of: Shows less specific words. e.g. a comedy is a type of play
  • Types: Shows more specific words. e.g. flower has daisy as one of its types
  • Parts: Shows words for part of an object. e.g. tree is one of the parts of a forest
  • Part of: Shows words for a collection or the whole. e.g. bumper is a part of a car
  • Similar: Words with meanings that are close. e.g. big is similar to huge
  • See also: Phrases that include the word. e.g. for get, see also get ahead, get along, get on, get over
  • Causes: A verb X causes Y if X denotes the causation of the state or activity referred to by Y. (An action tending toward a particular end.)
  • Entails: A verb X entails Y if X cannot be done unless Y is, or has been, done. - These are relations between two verbs, indicating that the action denoted by one verb necessarily precedes, or follows the action denoted by the other verb. To "awake" entails to "sleep", because it is not possible to awake without first sleeping. In order to "travel" it is necessary to "move". (Have as a logical consequence.)

The WordWeb program is using an older version of the WordNet database. The most current version (2.1) has a much larger (and confusing) set of connections between words (see [3], [4], or [5])

I would also suggest that there probably should be an optional header for Usage Notes. Some words probably should have a header for False or Folk etymologies. Also a "Phrases containing" and "Related phrases" headers might be useful (e.g. gluttony -> "eaten out of house and home").

The RhymeZone website (http://www.rhymezone.com) also adds "Often used in the same context:", "Appears in the definition of:" and "Contains" for related words (e.g. "raindrops" contains "rain") [(http://www.rhymezone.com/r/rhyme.cgi?Word=&typeofrhyme=rel&org1=syl&org2=l)].

The Lexical FreeNet (http://lexfn.com) also adds the an Anagram of category. Although completely unnecessary, I still think that it is a fun optional category. gK ¿? 13:30, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

"Synonyms", "antonyms" and "see also" are already being used. The problem with the other relational headings lieas as much in the subjectivity of their interpretation, and whether people will actually use them. Some are already built into the definitions, and that would make those headers redundant. Those which require cataloguing elements of a set strike me as beyond the scope of this project. Whlle their are some interesting innovations in the sites that you cite, I don't think that the software is yet able to handle that kind of diagrammatic approach. Eclecticology 20:34, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Have you looked at the WordWeb program? What makes it so much more useful than an ordinary dictionary is that it is a combined dictionary/thesaurus that then goes beyond the basics of a thesaurus to show all the sorts of connections a word has. To really do this correctly would require the Wiktionary to use a database format, but there is already a proposal to add relational database capabilities to the MediaWiki software. The other nice thing is that there are already some GFDL dictionaries in several languages that could be ported over to the Wiktionary. gK ¿? 02:34, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Combining parts of speech[edit]

What is the current policy regarding combining differently spelled words under a single headword, i.e. adverb, adjective and gerund forms (although spelled differently) being on one single page. A recent example being adventitiously, adventitious and adventitiousness all combined onto adventitious. I recall some discussion that different parts of speech were supposed to be on separate pages, but I forget why the line-in-the-sand was drawn at parts of speech (for that matter, if it ever was agreed upon.) --Connel MacKenzie 05:38, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Well I also thought we were doing them with one heading per part of speech just as we were'nt putting multiple languages in one heading. I even set up a category to gather articles with these kind of formats so we could look at them all and decide whether to do away with them or not. For whatever reason, Eclecticology has come along and removed the category from most of them without a comment or at most calling it "meaningless". In one case a foreign word now has "Adjective and adverb" as part of speech where all the English translations are suitable only in the adjective sense. I can see no reason at all why we would want people to think that kind of translations is a good idea. Since Eclecticology seems to support this and actively undo my work without responding to my questions, I suggest asking him. Maybe he'll answer you. — Hippietrail 09:10, 19 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I sorted out the "adventitious" mess. Differently spelled words belong on different pages. Information about the adverb could be given in the following form:


adventitious (comparative: more adventitious, superlative: most adventitious; adverb: adventitiously, comparative: more adventitiously, superlative: most adventitiously)

Which, admittedly, doesn't look very nice. Would a table do the job better? Ncik 20 Apr 2005

Ncik, anyone reading this after you now cannot see the intruiging formatting that I was highlighting. Combining the adverb sense to within the adjective sense seems a step backwards, to me. FWIW, I liked the newcommer's combined formatting. Several of his early contributions were of the same form. For another example of this formatting style (hold off redistributing it for a couple days, while discussing, please) is Calumny. Perhaps the most important part of why I was asking, was to definitively determine if there is widespread agreement, and if so, to perhaps reconsider that collective conclusion. --Connel MacKenzie 14:17, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I have generally been including alternate forms of a word if they didn't significantly deviate from the meaning of the root word. Many words have an adverbial form which simply adds '-ly' and means to do something in the manner of the root word, or an adjectival form which simply means root word -like. In these cases I have been adding redirects, which is a convention paper dictionaries use, they dont have a listing for each complacent and complacently, which, as in this example, is more helpful for the user, seeing as there is an article for 'complacent' but 'complacently' helps them not at all. Other words like 'loft' and 'lofty' and 'loftily' obviously deserve three separate pages, they are all distinct words. In the end I think that this is intended to be the most useful resource for the general user, and all conventions should be constructed with that in mind, which is most useful to someone just wondering what this word that they have come across means? TheDaveRoss 01:46, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

  • TheDave, thank you for your contributions. As I said before, I like your style of entry. However, the last time I checked, that was not the accepted, common, Wiktionary way. I started the conversation here on the Beer Parlor for some clarification/reconsideration. I'd like to hear what others think on the topic...specifically the general concept of headword articles (with a plethora of redirects.) In the meantime, please keep the entries flowing! --Connel MacKenzie 06:39, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • The fact that paper dictionaries combine everything under single headwords is a problem for paper dictionaries caused by the fact that they are paper. We don't have that problem. calumnious and calumniously should not be under calumny. They should, as words in their own rights, have articles in their own rights, eventually to have their own individual pronunciations, quotations, usage notes, and so forth. (There's nothing stopping calumny from giving hyperlinks to calumnious and calumniously, indicating that they are related adjectives and adverbs. Nor is there anything stopping calumniously from relying heavily upon calumnious and -ly so that the formation is clear.) The fact that complacently "helps them not at all" simply means that we are missing an article on the word, not that we should ape the sardine-tin-like behaviour of paper dictionaries. Wiktionary is not a sardine tin. Uncle G 15:21, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
    • It would appear there was an edit conflict between me and Uncle G. Not to worry though, Uncle G said pretty much everything I was going to say, though I was disagreeing more midly than he was. --Wytukaze 15:34, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
      • Uncle G, I don't quite see what you are getting at. The Wik*-not-paper argument in this case is a strawman; the additional information is all expanded out in the article calumny (unlike paper dictionaries); the redirects from calumnious and calumniously simply combines the relationship between the words in a perhaps more meaningful way. An adjective's primary definition is often of the form "Pertaining to or regarding [such-and-such]" where [such-and-such] is now helpfully on the same page, instead of another click away. --Connel MacKenzie 09:03, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
        • I didn't argue that it wasn't paper. I argued that it wasn't a sardine tin. ☺ Here is how I see it:
          • Every (spoken) word has a pronunciation, and the pronunciation of calumniously is not the same as that of calumny. (Moreover, most words have several pronunciations, for different dialects. Consider, for starters, that eventually we might have pronunciations of English words in both Received Pronunciation and General American and pronunciations of French words in both Parisian and Québécois.)
          • Every word has quotations, but the quotations that show the history and use of calumny do not necessarily show the history and use of calumnious and calumniously, which may be very different. (Related adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs do not necessarily all appear at the same time en bloc. Consider the -ic/-icly/-ical/-ically drift in words related to politic, logic, hysteric, comic, and so forth. Some words appeared much later than others.)
          • Most words have translations, but the translation of (say) a noun into other languages is not necessarily going to yield by inference the correct translations of related nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives into those languages. Languages do not all form words using the same principles, and the fact that a noun and an adverb may be related in English does not mean that their translations into language X are related, and that the translation of the latter can be derived from knowing only the translation of the former.
        • Fitting all of the pronunciations, quotations, translations, and whatnot of calumnious and calumniously into calumny, alongside its pronunciations, quotations, translations, and whatnot will either result in a huge and confusing article, or in the approach of paper dictionaries, where we decide to omit the histories, quotations, and pronunciations of any but the "headwords" (relying upon other separate specialized publications to tell readers all of the missing stuff) and abbreviate massively, so that our articles have multiple words all squashed together in single sardine tins. I predict that it will not be all that "helpful" for everything to be in a single article once the information on each of the words combined into one grows to include all of the information that we aim to have on any individual word.
        • Personally, I think that redirects are a good start for words that paper dictionaries don't consider to be "headwords", because they at least take readers to information on words related to the words they were actually looking up. I don't see them as the goal though, since Wiktionary can afford the space to do the things that paper dictionaries have to forego precisely for reasons of space.
        • That the reader has to click once to follow a link from spoken to speak in order to find out the meaning of the verb is outweighed by the fact that spoken can have a pronunciation section all of its own. That the reader has to click once to follow a link from spelled to spell in order to find out the meaning of the verb is outweighed by the fact that spelled can have a pronunciation, etymology, and set of quotations all of its own, which can be contrasted by the reader with the (different) pronunciation, etymology, and set of quotations for spelt. Uncle G 02:00, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
OK. I agree. I must've just got caught-up in your reference to paper dictionaries. Your eloquent explanation belongs on a policy or policy talk page somewhere, I think. I especially like the point that redirects are not the "goal." And more importantly, the various reasons why. Who knows, maybe someday Wiktionary will have sidebars on the aformentioned headwords that provide the summary I was trying to imagine/describe. But with your explanation, I completely agree that the separate-word = separate-entry approach seems the most comprehensive in the long run. --Connel MacKenzie 05:41, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
I agree that each distinct form should have a separate page. Nevertheless, rather than redirects it is preferable at spelled for example to put something like, "past tense and past participle of spell. The matter refrenced by Hippietrail had to do with putting the heading Adjective and adverb when the form does not vary and the meanings are essentially the same. I see nothing wrong with the combined heading. If someone wants to divide the two that's fine too. A note that this is something for someone else to fix does not accomplish this. Eclecticology 06:31, 22 May 2005 (UTC)


User Ncik rewrote this entire page to his on liking, with little or no discussion. Then referenced it as justification for taking on several new tangents, directly opposed to 90% (probably more like 99%) of the existing articles. While some of these suggestions are perhaps admirable on their own, simply dropping them in and claiming it to be a fait accomplis just cannot fly. I hit the rollback button once, and all his recent edits have been reverted. Since each of his changes are being introduced as topics (and most are meeting significant resistance) it does not make sense to me, to pick individual changes that might be worthwhile, at this time. --Connel MacKenzie 05:31, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

<Jun-Dai 06:17, 6 May 2005 (UTC)> Ncik's radical change was uncalled for, but I've restored the changes at Wiktionary:Entry_layout_explained/Change_proposal_draft_of_20050505, because I think there are some good points for discussion in there. Also, unless people have an issue with it, I'm going to start archiving some of the older discussions on pages like this one, because it is beginning to feel a little like dead weight, and I think it inhibits further discussion. I don't think we should feel too constrained by the discussions of yesteryear. Agree? Disagree? I'll wait awhile before I start doing it.</Jun-Dai>

I confess, it is true that there are some good points for discussion in there. But if this page is about to undergo some serious debate, it may as well just build up in one place (rather than having it fragment all over the place like talk:tsunami did.) --Connel MacKenzie 06:39, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
<Jun-Dai 06:53, 6 May 2005 (UTC)> :) I think the talk:tsunami problem wouldn't have been a problem if we'd had a Usage:Words for big waves's talk page to flame each other on. But that's a separate soapbox. </Jun-Dai>

Vandalism in progress[edit]

At 10:28, 6 May 2005 User:Ncik reverted the page Wiktionary:Entry layout explained to his previously contested rewrite, with the flat-out-lie comment "reverted Connels revert to SemperBlotto's version. Connel: See your talk page". Doing a comparison from that version to his previous version show only a miniscule number of changes. Doing a comparison from that version to SemperBlotto's version show a complete rewrite. Do we (Wiktionary) have any policy regarding blocking subtle vandals? --Connel MacKenzie 17:15, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Archive of Beer parlour discussion, 22-May-2005[edit]

Voting for Wiktionary:Entry layout explained[edit]

I would propose that the Wiktionary:Entry layout explained semi-official policy should be voted on to make it official policy.

Here's what I'm proposing, the voting should be open for two weeks, all registered users can vote, simple majority will carry. The question is simply should this be policy yes/no. The voting would happen on the talk page.

If someone will second my proposal for a vote then I think we could get the polls open. If you think the policy needs more discussion then vote against it. If you think it's good (or at least workable) then vote for it. Kevin Rector 05:17, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

My opinion for the item above this one applies ten-fold for this one. Our policy is currently a rough guideline, and it needs to stay that way for a couple of years, I think. If we apply it as a real policy (nevermind the fact that it's not even half-finished), we are in much graver danger of turning people off of this project than we are of making it more appealing to others. We've never reached agreement on whether it should be forte(1) and forte(2), and if we did, those on the losing side (who have invested much into this project) would feel slighted. Let is remain a guideline for now, and let those who like forte(1) and forte(2) keep doing it, and those who don't keep writing consolidated articles. At the moment we need more articles, and more fleshed-out articles, and that is a much bigger concern than having more consistent articles. For example, I have strong feelings towards the idea that we should have articles for romanized Japanese words, and links to those articles, but there is a user here that feels very strongly the other way. If one of us "wins" this argument by means of a vote, the other is likely to leave (I would certainly feel inclined to). Better that I write my articles my way, and he write his his way (and limit himeself to small changes to his satisfaction on the articles I've started) than one of us leave. I'm convinced that if he is still here after a year, he will see things my way. He may feel similarly. Jun-Dai 07:21, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
If you look at the history of the page you will find that only recently I gave it a thorough overhaul. Haven't had any feedback though. But that's not much of a problem since there are still many things left that will have to be changed. It is far too early to implement any binding layout rules. Ncik 06 May 2005
I hadn't noticed. I have now. I very strongly agree that it is far too early to implement any binding layout rules. I am amazed that you would take on such a task on yourself, with hardly any input from others. And that the end result would conflict so strongly with the majority of existing articles. --Connel MacKenzie 05:48, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
<Jun-Dai 06:35, 6 May 2005 (UTC)> Actually, I think that what Ncik did was, in a large sense, commendable. We shouldn't do everything by committee, and there is some worth in having a single person periodically take a stab at (re)architecting such things as our Entry layout. That said, I'd like to mention to Ncik that the correct way to do this is to set up a proposed changes page -- either as a subpage of the real page (with a datestamp in the title, please) if you are bold, or as a subpage of your own user page if you are humble. That can be a starting point for dicussion, and if you feel like no one's going to respond, then give a mild threat like "if no one comments on this for a whole month, I'll implement these changes." Even if the initial (re)design(s) of things should not necessarily be done by committee, any formal decisions about the design most definitely should. The main proposal pages should not be modified willy-nilly. </Jun-Dai>
I ought to set up a proposals page indeed, and will do so in the near future. A short outline of what changes there will be (some of which are mentioned on ELE already): The main objective is to improve the structure of entries by organizing headers as follows:

===Etymology=== (===Etymology 1===, ===Etymology 2===, ... if required. So when adding a second etymology a "1" will have to be added to the existing etymology header)
====[part of speech]====
Certain inflected forms (E.g. for English words: Singular and plural for nouns, infinitive & third pers. sing. & past tense & past particliple & present participle for verbs; comparative and superlative for adjectives, etc.); spelling variants; pronunciation (including homophones, rhymes, etc.); definitions (with illustrative sentences, quotations, usage notes, etc.) =====Synonyms and antonyms=====
====Derived terms==== (i.e. morphologically derived terms as I understand Hippietrail)
====Related terms==== (i.e etymologically related terms as I understand Hippietrail)
"See also" can have four or five ='s to each side depending on where it appears. Furthermore, I was going to put inflected forms, spelling variants, and pronunciation in some sort of table (I experimented on break, please comment). I haven't had a convincing idea how to handle grammatical information like transitive, intransitive, countable, different plurals (see dice) etc. They have to be definition specific but both giving the information in headers (such as =====Intransitive=====) and giving it in a bracket after the definition number (#''(intransitive)'') lead to problems. Another thing is the introduction of a ===Forms and variants=== section (could do with a better name) which will, if it is added to a page, preceed the etymology sections. This section will list spelling variants, inflections, etc. and should provide as little information as possible (which instead should go on the page the word it belongs to links to). A big problem is that I don't know anything about languages which are not major, still in Europe spoken, Indo-European languages. Ncik 06 May 2005

I'd like to callenge the heiarchy under etymology concept. Wiktionary entries describe words. Words spelled the same way, that have separate etymologies should not necessarily be kept separate; the homonyms' meanings merge over time.

It makes more sense to me to list the etymologies all under a single etymology header. The etymology of a word is interesting - it is an interesting factoid about a word. But there is no official English Language entity that creates rules for how English words are created and used. It is debatable that every word has a distinct unshared etymology, and that homonyms do not sometimes share connotations because of them.

I think we have lost something by over-emphasizing the importance of etymologies. The language itself is much more fluid than a single decree saying such-and-such a word came (only) from so-and-so.

I propose flattening the recommended layout, instead of making it more obscure, nested and harder to navigate.

#etym 1
#etym 2
#pron 1
#pron 2
#meaning 1 (e1, p2)
#meaning 2 (e2, p2)
#meaning 1 (e1, p1)
#meaning 1 (e2, p1)

etc. --Connel MacKenzie 20:24, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

I would like to draw attention to the nip/Nip article. It's... a perfect laboratory for this proposed system. -- Bennmorland 07:51, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

My two cents[edit]

I agree with Connel, in fact the way he describes it is how I thought it was supposed to be and is how I have been doing my entries. I think that if there are two distinct etymologies for two rdistinct meanings of a word however, it would be wholly appropriate to note that in the etymology section. Kevin Rector 22:06, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, but I think the current practice is to (only in the case of multiple etymologies) arrange the words one level down from the etymology. In the case of a single etymology/single word, the language header would be a level two header, all other headers would be at level three. I'm proposing abolishing that inconsistency, and having the only exception being translation headers (but they would be consistently at level 4, instead of sometimes 3, sometimes 4, sometimes 5.) --Connel MacKenzie 23:07, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
Ok, well, I've never worked on a page with multiple etymologies. I'm mostly a janitor you know. Kevin Rector 23:13, 6 May 2005 (UTC)
<Jun-Dai 00:33, 7 May 2005 (UTC)> See forte. This is along the lines of what the current practice is supposed to be. Certainly we should reopen this discussion, but I'm hoping that the consensus will be in favor of keeping it, as it's my preference to separate from the top based on etymology, as most print dictionaries do (note: I am not arguing that we should do it because most print dictionaries do it). </Jun-Dai>
I don't see the advantage of Connel's proposal. Numbering etymologies is exactly what we do right now and what my proposal also does (only it clarifies the current structure by putting the parts of speech under the etymologies not only spatially but also structurally by lowering the header level), and I'm convinced the present structure is much easier to survey for the reader and also principally right: As the Connel justly remarks "Wiktionary describes words." Unfortunately he seems to have a blurred idea of what a word is. His claim that "It is debatable that every word has a distinct unshared etymology" is wrong. Roughly speaking, a word is its etymology! A word is somthing we learn by hearing it in certain variations (e.g. in an inflected form which is necessary to relate it correctly to other words in the sentence it is used in, or in a high-pitched hurried modification signalizing urgency, panic, etc.) from infancy onwards, and whose meanings we derive from the contexts it is used in (which we know because, er... better ask a philosopher here). These contexts change due to circumstances, and so do the percepted meanings of the word. This trace of a word in history is its etymology. But how do we know the etymology of a word? Well, we don't... until someone came up with the ingenious idea of letters. The correspondence between words and their spelling has to be agreed upon and learned. Agreeing on a spelling is difficult, so if one wants to be understood one has to create a correspondence between spelling and meaning (e.g. hieroglyphs). However, there are systems which relate the spelling to its pronunciation (e.g. alphabet). In alphabetized languages it is of course tempting to identify a word with its spelling, and is indeed what we do. The etymology has become a spelling etymology but retains its quality of being a word's trace in history around which certain variations (now reflected by different spellings) appear, disappear, and change. Hence if we look up a spelling in a dictionary (that is what dictionaries are for) it makes perfect sense to say what word it is first; and that's exactly what the etymology does. Ncik 07 May 2005
That's why I had the word unshared in there. You are wrong. Words' meanings change over time. Commingling of homophones, homonyms and rhyming words contribute extroardinarily to that. Reducing a word to only one particular etymology is the epitome of prescriptivism...and I'm told that that is at odds with the goals of Wiktionary. --Connel MacKenzie 07:38, 8 May 2005 (UTC)
I would not consider etymology to be in any way an attempt at reductionism. Eric Partridge said in his essay "The Etymology of Etymology" from his book A Charm of Words: "Etymology ... is therefore etymologically, as well as by definition, a discourse on the true word, the real word, the original word, hence on the truth of words collectively, especially on the true origins embedded in the reality of words. Etymology, in short, forms the philological aspect of the philosophical problem of truth and of mankind's search for truth." I would emphasize the word "discourse". The study of etymology helps us to understand a word in the full context of its origins, which can at times be quite rich. Eclecticology 07:22, 22 May 2005 (UTC)
Are you agreeing with me Ec? Most words in Wiktionary contain an amazingly brief etymology. In the cases where there are more than one, it is rare that a particular meaning gained popularity due to a single etymological branch. The older a word is, the more likely the intermingling of heteronyms affects their meanings. Just because etymology is the search for something's origin, should not mean we ignore later influences. Since we do not have a paragraph (or several pages) on each word's etymology, the (best case one or two sentences) current etymologies are approximations of that search for truth. Indicating that multiple influences are shared and/or related seems correct to me. --Connel MacKenzie 21:46, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)

{{etystub}} and {{pronstub}}[edit]

Alright, let's slug it out here! My reasons for backing these are not selfish guardianship of my two favorite stubs. Indeed, I think their current usefulness outweighs the only other arguments I have heard against them; that they make Wiktionary seem messy and unprofessional (IMHO, the lack of a unified format for the individual etymologies is more of a danger there) and that it could possibly lead to an excuse "to do nothing". My feeling is that, not only are we appearing professional by admitting in the open that we are a work-in-progress, but we are also creating a place by attaching these stubs where both amateur and professional etymologists and pronunciators can search and destroy the gaps, without having to either click on "random page" incessantly, or troll the Wiktionary using links. -- Benn M. 08:06, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

What are citations? such as Zelkova/Citations[edit]

What are these articles for? They appear to be quotes, but shouldn't quotes be added to Wikiquote? or added with in articles? I seen a few and am confused to their purpose. Thanks.-- 18:03, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

They're not quotes, they're citations. Citations are collected by lexicographers so that words can be seen in use and development over history. Quotes usually need to be relevant in some way: memorable, witty, historical, famous. Citations can be a lot more boring and won't have no aspiration of ever getting into books of quotations, but they're a necessary part of researching a dictionary, especially for unusual words, senses, or uses. — Hippietrail 18:13, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Whether they are quotes or citations is only a matter of how they are used. The purpose of citations is to illustrate and provide evidence of the different usages of a word. They are all still quotations. Quotations as used in Wikiquote can also be used to illustrate a person's work, or how different people though about an idea. The separate citation pages are a matter of some controversy, and that technique is not supported by a majority of participants in this project. Others feel that lexicography is better served by having the citations/quotations on the same page as the rest of the information about the word. Eclecticology 04:06, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)
I'm not convinced there's a clear majority opinion on this either way. Did we take a vote? Personally, I like the idea for long lists of citations (e.g. tidal wave/Citations), but I also like seeing a few choice quotations in the main article. -dmh 04:31, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Two points I'd like to make here:[edit]

Keep it Simple[edit]

I'm a 'light contributor' to wiktionary. I find the Entry Layout Explained (I liked the name change, btw) page has the most useful information for me. I have it bookmarked and keep it open whenever I do entries. The point I'd like to make is whatever you do to this page, please keep it simple. I don't usually have time to do much more than add simple definitions. I enjoy doing this and it seems there's alot to do, so I assume you want to encourage this. The more complicated it gets the less people will want to contribute anything. It may even be a good idea to break this page into different sections (or different pages) such as "beginner's entry layout" (Language, word, definition, and wikipedia link?), "moderate user's entry layout" (etymolygy, pronunciation, synomyns, and quotes?) and "advanced user's entry layout" (everything else). Whether this page is 'official' or 'semi-official' doesn't really matter to me, but I suggest imperfect guidelines are better than none.

What you say here makes good sense. If what you do is add simple definitions then that's the right place for you. Somebody else can add these other features of a word at a later time. You certainly don't need to be taken up by the template mania. Fundamental English and the essentials of wiki markup should be enough for most users. I too don't attach much weight to the term "official". Sticking that to all an sundry items of rules and guidelines tends to detract from those points that really are important. Eclecticology 17:57, 2005 Jun 15 (UTC)

Pronunciation section needs work[edit]

The Pronunciation section is outdated the link to IPA/SAMPA is bad. I suggest referring to Wiktionary:Pronunciation_key. Maybe the folks working on that page can also discuss/work on a standard layout also.

Sorry, if I'm asking for more than I'm providing. -- 17:24, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

You're probably right there too, but I would say more muddled than outdated. On a personal level the pronunciations don't interest me very much, so I'm just as happy to see others take leadership on this aspect.
If you're planning to be a regular contributor I would strongly suggest that you adopt a user name. In theory all contributors are equal, but there is a strong tendency to presume IP numbers to be guilty when something strange happens. A registered user can build up credibility based on the cumulative body of his work. Eclecticology 17:57, 2005 Jun 15 (UTC)


Is the "hrunk (hrunking, hrunked, hrunked)" format used correct? Why is "hrunked" repated? 24 22:51, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

Part of speech[edit]

Can we agree on reserving the'Part of speech' header for parts of speech? Some people use it for things like 'Acronym', 'Initialism', or 'Idiom'. Ncik 17:23, 15 Jul 2005

I agree that Part Of Speech (POS) headings should be discussed more.
Certainly, for abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms and symbols, the normal Wiktionary heading level is not a part of speech. Such things are linguistic anomalities, that rarely fit the POS mold particularly well.
Idioms, phrases and other non-POS headers seem to be in common use, as again, they are more correct than trying to shoe-horn into an inappropriate or only partially appropriate POS.
The POS mold works pretty well for words but not for many other things.
A separate question exists for terms that do fit the POS scheme, but only awkwardly: "Proper Adjective"s, "Proper nouns", "Transitive Verb", etc. If we are going to use generalized POS headers, they should probably be limited to adjective, adverb, conjunction, interjection, noun, preposition, pronoun and verb. Encouraging more flamboyant headers discourages new contributors, particularly those (like myself when I was new here) who have rarely if ever seen the more exacting terminology. The various and sundry grammatical qualifiers to the big eight should be added by the regulars/experts in a subtle manner down below in the fine details, not blazing in the header and quick index information.
--Connel MacKenzie 06:05, 17 July 2005 (UTC)
For a long time, we have been using the POS headings to distinguish transitive and intransitive verbs. Is that appropriate? Often, the transitive and intransitive meanings are very closely related. Might it make more sense to contain this information in the definitions, as follows:
  1. (transitive or intransitive) To hrunk furply.
As for acronyms and initialisms, it may make sense to continue labeling them acronym and initialism, simply because one TLA can mean many things. It might be better to sort out the parts of speech for those on the pages to which they link.
Let us also decide what to do about idioms, while we are discussing the matter. My preference of late has been to use Noun, Verb, etc. (note, not -phrase or phrasal-, because, while true, it is cumbersome and off-putting to newcomers) where it is clear what part of speech a phrase occupies.
I have to correct you here. 'Noun phrase', 'Adverbial phrase', etc. are not parts of speech. As an example consider the sentence When the boss assigned the project to Tom, the rest of us were relieved to be off the hook. Here (and generally when having the same meaning) the prepositional phrase 'off the hook' is an adjective. A mistake I too used to make till only recently (see, e.g. the history of off the hook). I also think that the second meaning given for 'off the hook' is in fact a meaning for 'to let (someone) off the hook', hence should get a separate page, and be classified as a verb. The importance of clearly indicating the part of speech of entries becomes even more evident when considering the great confusion they cause even among native speakers. Ncik 15:48, 19 Jul 2005
Other times, it is very hard to pin down a part of speech, and it is awfully helpful to have "idiom" as an out for those situations. --Dvortygirl

Here are some points to think about:

  • 1. "Part of speech heading" is a name of convenience rather than a rule set in stone.
  • 2. Idioms, abbreviations, initialisms, and acronyms can all have a part of speech as well independent of this other label and both need to be recorded.
  • 3. We can always learn by studying what quality dictionaries have done before us.
  • 4. The POS heading when it is used for POS shouldn't allow elaborate terms on the one hand and disallow major parts of speech such as "article" on the other hand.
  • 5. Elaborate POS labels have always had little value to me. They are too fuzzy and editors seem to use some amount of guesswork when chosing them.
  • 6. "Phrasal verb" as a term is a subject of debate among linguists and as such lacks the clarity required of a dictionary. See Wikipedia for a rundown of the debate.
  • 7. Print dictionaries mostly use vt, vi, and vti. This works well for them but less well for us due to our limiting our use of abbreviations, for which our reasons are quite valid.
I indicate grammatical attributes like transitivity, countability, plural forms (if several meaning specific ones exist), etc. in italics (including the parentheses) and right after the hash. Usage related stuff like 'slang', 'archaic', 'biology' goes in italics between parentheses after that. But maybe it's a better idea, at least for (in)transitivity, to have two sub-headings to the 'Verb' header. I don't like the '(In)Transitive verb' headings. (In)Transitivity is not a POS relevant property. I like having the POS headers in alphabetical order. Meanings of a verb split by noun meanings is unelegant. I' inclined to mention that something is an abbreviation in the inflection line as well as in the etymology. Ncik 15:48, 19 Jul 2005
  • 8. We can make abbreviations more user-friendly by using the HTML "title" attribute to create tooltips. I've used them above. Templates would work well for this and we could do the same for our existing approved abbreviations.
  • 9. We might need to think about whether some acronyms and abbreviations should have regular "word" entries with the fact of being an acronym covered in their etymology. Scuba and laser are examples. Others might work better as "acronym/abbreviation" entries which cover only what they are short for and point to a full article. Seeing what reliable print dictionaries do would be worthwhile.
  • 10.Transitivity is an attribute, much like gender, countability, etc. There is an argument for all attributes to be treated in a like manner.

Hippietrail 07:44, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

I can agree with a lot of that. We need to have some flexibility with the POS labels, but without having an array that is so wide that we can't recognize what is meant. I habe no problem with abbreviatio as a POS heading. "Tooltips" are only useful if people know that they are there; the average passive user may not know it.
I have also had thoughts about how we could allow the "language" headings to have other uses such as describing transliteration. Eclecticology 07:52, July 19, 2005 (UTC)

I'd prefer not to get too detailed for parts of speech because they're suggestive of grammatical rules that aren't really rules at all, only patterns that fit a wide range of situations. The evidence of this is the difficulty in agreeing on the grammatical parts, in particular the unification with foreign languages, especially Asian languages. And it's impractical. For the narrower cases you'd have to resort to unfamiliar terminology if you have any luck at all. I'm only as familiar with these grammatical terms as most people. For instance, I wouldn't know how to differentiate the following:

  • He wrote a letter to his friend.
  • He wrote his friend.
  • He wrote his friend a letter.
  • He wrote, "The truth is, I'm doing well."
  • He wrote truth.
  • He wrote the truth.
  • He wrote how he's doing.
  • He wrote he's doing well.

The first three are clearly transitive. One and two are distinguished by meaning, the first having an optional indirect object. But the transitive label doesn't distinguish the third type, which appears to have two objects, which furthermore must appear in that order. I haven't got a clue on the quotation, and I'm not sure if the mention of truth should be considered a quotation or, as in the sentence below it, an object. The last I would consider to be intransitive because it's an ecliptic elliptical form of "He wrote that he's doing well." However, it's not clear whether the second-to-last is transitive, as is the one before it, or if it's an ecliptic elliptical form of "He wrote about how he's doing." Here are some other verbs that I wouldn't know how to categorize:

  • I think him a good man.
  • He looks nice.
  • They made a clean room messy.
  • We bathe ourselves.
  • Go help clean the car!

Besides this, there are already enough issues to work out, such as problems with pronouns treated as nouns (she, him, ours) vs. adjectives (its) and probably a host of others. Davilla 16:40, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree that one cannot be too rigid about parts of speech, especially when a word is cited in isolation. English depends as much on syntax as it does on inflection, if not more so. Many of our parts of speech depend on the work of classical philologists who saw Greek and Latin as embodiments of the standards which should be applied to all languages. Even if we add biblical Hebrew to that mix there will still be languages where the pattern will not fit. In English there is often no clear line between a word as a past participle or as an adjective. There are other factors that matter. Even from the above how do we distinguish between "He wrote truth", "He wrote truth," and "He wrote 'truth'." Or we can change punctuation and have "He wrote, his friend." There is also the title of the recent book "He eats, shoots and leaves", which has a completely different meaning when the comma is omitted. Even though generally regarded as not a tonal language there are places where it can make a difference. I believe it was Gleason who introduced the linguistic classic "What are we having for dinner tonight, mother?". Try saying that with a rising tone on "mother".
I don't like to put too much emphasis on misused words in a person's discussions here, unless I think it could be helpful. The term should not be "ecliptic" but "elliptic", or better still "elliptical". "Ecliptic" relates to astronomical eclipses, while "elliptic" relates to mathematical ellipses. "Elliptic" carries the connotation of overshooting or bypassing something in a manner that reflects the shape of an ellipse. "Elliptical" with its additional suffix give the idea of being abstactly similar to an ellipse in effect. Eclecticology 20:14:35, 2005-07-25 (UTC)
By your second use of "an ellipse" you mean "...". Thanks, corrected. Davilla 20:28, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

translation section[edit]

moved here from BP; inserted in chronological order --Stranger 02:21, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Formatting of the ===Translations=== section: templates?[edit]

I have noticed the the format of the 'translations section is not very consistent across pages.

There are 3 formattings that I have witnessed in use in the "wild":

  1. Swedish: [[swedish_word]]
  2. [[Swedish]]: [[swedish_word]]
  3. {{sv}}: [[swedish_word]]

The current entry layout guidelines (Wiktionary:Entry layout explained#Translations) suggest that the best way is to not link the language at all (example 1), unless some somewhat confusing criteia is met, like it's a dialect or word that might be confusing, and in that case to use (example 2).

However, there also exists a list of the templates for all lanuages: Wiktionary:Index to templates/languages which suggests that the purpose of these templates is to be used in the translations section of an entry.

The end result is that i am confused about the preferred method of formatting translations entries. Personally i feel that the templates seem the best idea, as we can then link the templates to wikipedia articles about the language, as the template page suggests.

Please comment. Fudoreaper 08:37, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

I can imagine you get confused. The standard way of doing it is the first way you mentioned. For languages that are exotic in some way, i.e. it's hard to determine from the name of the language where it might be spoken, we also accept wikifying them. We started out by wikifying (linking) all of them, but there tend to be many language names on a page and determining whether the link has to be coloured red or blue is needlessly done over and over again by the servers. Right now the servers hold up reasonably well, but there have been times editing was a nightmare because of the slowness of the servers.
The templates you see were introduced when the other language wiktionaries got started. Many more people got interested and they all carried other backgrounds and knowledge about the possibilities of the software. Notably GerardM worked out an entire system of templates for headers and language names. It adds a layer of abstraction and makes it possible to transfer entries from one language Wiktionary to another. This is a nice feature, but I think the way the templates were devised also makes them inflexible (for headers, that is. There is no way to add the level of the headers and that's a pity. They could be altered to become flexible again though, but that's another discussion).
On the English Wiktionary it has been decided very early on that the iso abbreviations were not very transparent and that the English language names should be used. I happen to know quite a few of those ISO abbreviations so I'm impartial as far as that is concerned. By now, I also learned quite a few language names in English. For the end result it doesn't matter, only sorting the languages takes a bit more thought. For editing it doesn't really matter either, since people who contribute a language can easily learn the codes for the languages they know.
One advantage they do have is that they help as far as spelling is concerned. No need to remember how exactly Ukrainian is spelled. GerardM has been exporting those templates to a lot of Wiktionaries. Quite a few have accepted the entire set of templates he devised. Some have incorporated ideas from them in the set ups they had already started to develop.
It would be nice if the English Wiktionary would adopt them as well, but it will take time. Lots of it. Entries start looking totally different when a lot of templates are being used. At first I was concerned about server load as well, but many Wiktionaries seem to be using them with no (obvious) ill effects. Polyglot 10:10, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

I fear this will be lost in the mass of text on this page, but I've also been looking at the format of translations, and notice that in the German wiki, they have a very neat solution for linking to the de:wiktionary and the other language:wiktionary within the translations section - they use the format:
"*Englisch: (open double curly brackets)Ü|en|cheese(close double curly brackets)"
which displays as:
English cheese (en)
whereby cheese then automatically links to de.wiktionary.org/cheese and (en) automatically links to en.wiktionary.org/cheese. Ü here is for Übersetzung. It's very easy to enter and clear for the user.

Could we not adopt something similar for the English version? Or do we already have it and no-one knows about it?

wikified derived terms[edit]

On the "inflection line" immediately after a part of speech (POS) header, the words (plurals, comparative, superlative, 3rd person, participle, past) are supposed to be wikified. Perhaps this was never updated after those particular WT:BP duiscussions; I think I got them all now. --Connel MacKenzie 01:15, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

Alternative spellings[edit]

This page doesn't treat the subject of spelling variants and the several names used for the equivalent heading and the several formats used to put variants into the headword line (also known as the inflection line). I just noticed that yet another way of dealing with these has been implemented in passer-by and as we already have plenty we probably need to discuss it again but this time we have this appropriate page on which to discuss it. — Hippietrail 17:54, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

en-infl-foo versus (ir)regverb[edit]

I would like to see Template:regverb and Template:irregverb used instead of the en-infl-foo templates. Opinions? Ncik 13:41, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I modified Ncik's templates and copied them over to Template:en-conj-reg and Template:en-conj-irreg so they comply better with the naming of the other templates. I made them such that it is easy to put the full verb forms in them and that formatting and linking gets added in the template. The advantage to the more elaborate templates of Uncle G is their simplicity and their lower number. Two templates are all it takes. Also it is easy to use them. One can simply put in all the different forms a verb can have. Well, except for a verb like to be, of course. But there it doesn't make a lot of sense to use a template anyway.
I hope people will comment on them. Polyglot 20:35, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

ELE comments[edit]

I made a mistake. I thought I was commenting on Connel's Mediawiki:Nogomatch template as I was reviewing this. Only after I had composed the following and was going to post it to the BP did I realise my error. Not wanting to waste my hour long critique, I decided to post it here.

A (little) more detail.

  1. I prefer seeing a blank line after '''word''' and the beginning of the first definition. I find this makes it easier to see the word when editting, especially if the word has many meanings.
  2. Under "Simple cases", change "with multiple senses in English" to "and is both a noun and a verb in English (like "fish" can mean the animal and the activity)." I think "multiple senses" is rather technical and we can lose the non-English major.
  3. With regard to the "translated plan":
    • I notice there is a line space between hrunk and # A person who furps. - Oh, and I don't think the definition needs to be in sentence format.
    • "Intransitive verb" should be changed to "Verb" since "Intransitive Verb" is not listed as a POS in the following list.
    • Try to fit the different verb inflections on one line; it is easier to visualise that way - if that means skipping one of the tenses, so be it.
    I'll mention this, but I know it's a losing battle. Why do I want to see "also"? I mean, what's so great about "also" that I would want to see it? Don't you mean, "also see"? --> "Also see" makes more sense than "see also".
    Shouldn't "External links" be a fourth-level entry under "see also"?
  4. "If you don't know the etymology, you can skip it . . ." should be replaced with "If you don't know a section (like "etymology" or "pronunciation"), you can skip it . . ." Actually, Connel, I just saw a note you left me under botnet that I was supposed to type "{{stub}}" - when does that apply?
  5. Double-check the alphabetized POS list - there are a couple errors - beginning with "article".

Enough for now. Oh, and put the link to Davilla's hard-worked effort on a discussion page, not on the main ELE page. That only confuses things.


--Stranger 03:37, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback! It is excellent to hear some honest critique.

I try to group stuff within a ===heading=== with whitespace before and after, not within. I don't have tremendously strong feelings about that; that is just my preference. (To me, that conincides with the section-editing concept.) Whitespace in wiki markup has two glitches that I know of: 1) more than one blank line becomes visible whitespace on the rendered page (which can be a Good Thing sometimes) and 2) blank linkes force "#" numbered lists to start over from 1, after each whitespace.

Aparently "senses" is too ambiguous. I did not mean noun vs. verb, I meant multiple meanings of a single part of speech. To use an example Dvortygirl pointed out to me, ===Noun=== fly #insect #zipper. That would be two "senses" of the noun fly. What is a better way to say that?

Definitions can be either sentences or fragments; I (and others I informally polled in IRC) prefer senteces whenever possible.I don't think it has ever come up for a vote or anything. I don't think fragments should be encouraged at all though.

"Intransitive verb" IMHO should be changed to "Verb". Yes.

Polyglot also suggested significant tightening of the {{en-infl-...}} templates; I tend to agree with both of you. But I'm not ready to edit Uncle G's templates without a fair amount of support - IIRC, there was considerable support for the verbose format.

"Also see"/"See also" I have no idea why that is the convention. Now that you mention it...

Wording of skipping sections: you are absolutely correct.

{{stub}} applies to an entire article, meaning that there is no definition entered at all. {{substub}} applies to only a section.

Alphabetization: where is it wrong? Which templates? Or here on ELE?

For now, I think I shall just unprotect the various pages, and let you and others edit them for a while. If they get vandalized, they'll be reprotected shortly.

--Connel MacKenzie 14:52, 12 September 2005 (UTC)


No time right now, but here's that alphabetized list I was complaining about, it was here on ELE. And another thing: When giving a critique like this, and then having someone like Allan come along and change it, it's like hitting a moving target. When a policy is up to the Semi Official level I would think a vote before changes is needed; but that's just me. I'm not saying Allan's changes aren't good, it's just disconcerting. Maybe this should be dropped back from Semi Official to whatever. Sorry, babbling. Oh, and is something you, Connel, are still gonna do? I was hoping to procrastinate a little more :-) . . .

The list:

In identifying the part of speech of an entry, such as one of the following. Numerous others are possible, which technically aren't always parts of speech. Note that they are entered in alphabetic order.

Article (example: the) Adjective (quick) Adverb (quickly) Conjunction (and, because) Idiom (great minds think alike) Interjection (wow) Measure word (used in Asian languages) Noun (dollar, money) Number Cardinal number (twelve), Ordinal number (twelfth) Particle (used especially in Asian languages) Phrase (used for set phrases or phrasebook entries) Preposition (from) Postposition (used in some languages) Pronoun (we, this, my) Proper noun (Antarctica) Verb Action words (to kill, to die)

"Article" comes after "Adverb"; "Preposition" comes after "Postposition" on this POS Definition Heading list. There may be others.

Cheers, --Stranger 16:14, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Inflection lines[edit]

Anyone have solid ideas on how to describe using the various inflection line templates, i.e. {{en-noun-reg}}, {{en-noun-reg-es}}, {{en-noun-irreg}}, {{en-infl-reg-consonant|||}}, {{en-infl-irreg|||||}} etc.? --Connel MacKenzie 20:23, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Horizontal lines[edit]

Many pages have horizontal lines between language sections of an entry (see: nana). Is this right or wrong? I noticed there wasn't one in the ELE example but I seem to run across it more often than not. Millie 11:45, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

It is correct. Doing so gives a clearer separation between two languages when that would not be so striking with a simple heading. I have been working on a general revision of ELE; thanks for pointing out the omission. Eclecticology 16:58, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
We might want to list the CSS snippet that lets users suppress seeing it. They can put it in their custom monobook.css etc and not affect other users' views. I think I put it in the old Beer parlour discussion. — Hippietrail 18:34, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. This is a recurring issue. Since I consider myself css-illiterate please suggest here what needs to be said, and I will be happy to find the place for it on the project page. Eclecticology 21:44, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Here is the CSS snippet:
#bodyContent hr { display: none; visibility: hidden; }
People who hate the horizontal lines and use the monobook skin need to add it to their User:Username/monobook.css page.
There are side-effects that some other horizontal lines will be hidden on other types of pages. A good CSS hacker should be able to find a better solution. — Hippietrail 17:16, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
You can use .ns-0 as a selector to match only articles in the main namespace, which may be helpful in this. —Muke Tever 18:43, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
At the risk of taking too much pride in my ignorance, would it be a correct interpretation to say that there should be a single line which says
#bodyContent hr { display: none; visibility: hidden; } .ns-0
Eclecticology 20:57, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
No, this would be .ns-0 #bodyContent hr { display: none; visibility: hidden; } (The 'ns-0' class is connected to a higher-level element than the 'bodyContent' identifier, you can check this in the page sourcecode.)
Pbb 11:02, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I regret to say that I totally disagree on the usage of a hard-coded divider line. As a webmaster, I have learned the merits of a strong seperation between content, structure and layout. Content is the actually text you read on the pages, structure is for example defined by the different level headings (= Head1 =, == Head2 ==, etc) and the HTML codes that MediaWiki generates from it, while layout is for example the line underneath every header, the choice of a bigger sized text for the headers, the choice of a sans-serif face, the Wiktionary logo in the upper right, etc. If you look closely at the (generated) HTML-source for every page, you see there are no codes whatsoevery to display a line beneath every 1st level heading. This is done in CSS. I strongly advice to keep all layout in CSS, with the following advantages:
  • As was mentioned by Millie, some articles show the horizontal line above the headers, while others do not. This is inconsistency which easily leads to confusion, plus an inconsistend look is often considered a sign of amateurism. Using CSS, the approriate code only has to be added once, to automatically show up on all pages!
  • How many Wiktionary articles excist at the moment? Who is going to add the horizontal line to all of them? And what if someone decides another layout would be better, is he going to remove the line from all articles and add another element instead of it?
  • All registered Wiktionary users can create their own favorite CSS-based layout, with little dependency on the contents of the page, see m:Help:User style. Seven hours after the first comment on the horizontal line, discussion began about how to remove it using CSS. This is the wrong way around. Instead of creating a custom CSS to remove this line, users who want this line should create custom CSS to add it! The code used could be the following: H2 {border-top: solid 1px rgb(170,170,170);}. (Note that this code is actually shorter than the code needed to remove the hard-coded line.) Another user might prefer another way to accentuate these headers: H2 {background-color: rgb(170,170,170); color: white;}.
  • If consensus is reached that a line above 2nd level headings is indeed needed, it can be easily added to the default Wiktionary CSS.
  • The suggested code for removing the horizontal lines above headers, actually removes all horizontal lines from articles. Also the ones that are placed in articles for other reasons, and might possibly be important.
  • Third parties might want to re-use the information from Wiktionary. They would probably change the layout of the pages, to fit with their own layout. The current hard-coded line conflicts with this possibility.
I will remove the horizontal line from the ELE example.
Pbb 11:06, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
The fact is that the codes are not editable for all skins, and even if they were it would be unreasonable to expect most users, who do not have any particular programming skills, to be able to make those adjustments. Not every skin has the horizontal line below level two headings, and I find the horizontal line a visually effective way of separating two languages. If you think it looks amateurish then perhaps you should begin a campaign to reduce the wages of those who want the lines. I make a point of adding the lines when they are missing, and see no reason to stop doing it this way. Eclecticology 00:12, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback, Ec. I totally agree with you (and most Wiktionarians, as it seems) that there should be a clear distinction between each language. Putting in a divider line is a possibility, and not a bad one either. Please understand me right, I am not against the use of an extra divider line. My point is that instead of manually adding it to every one of the (over 100.000?) multilangual articles, one person could add one line of code to the default stylesheet. That way automatically all articles will show the divider line, no more need to put it in every article manually, and no more inconsistencies if someone forgets adding it or doesn't know about it. And hey, it reduces typing ;-)
I've created an entry on Beer parlour about this, that may be a more appropriate place for this since I don't think many people would come across this page here. -- Pbb 12:25, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Priority of "Translingual"[edit]

Currently we say Second in priority is "Translingual"; this heading includes terms that remain the same in all languages.

I always thought Translingual came even before English since it also covers English and is special. It is essential that English-only speakers see both when both exist. — Hippietrail 17:01, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

It's awful to argue original intents when you're the one who firat introduced the term. That alone is not an argument even though the first vision was to put it after English. Then too, originally English was placed first without a level two heading.
The primary argument for having English first is, "This is the English wiktionary." But Hippitrail's argument is a strong one too. If the translingual form is to go first we should still insist on having a level two heading for that part of the entry.
I am prepared to go along with the community on this point. If there is significant support for either option, so be it. If there is divided support, it should be at the option of the person who first introduces the second of these "languages" to the article. Eclecticology 20:52, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Just for the record, I agree that both English and Translingual should have level 2 headers, and I am also prepared to go along with the community. To me it just "feels" sensible that Translingual should be first. — Hippietrail 21:00, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree that both should be level 2 and Translingual should go first. I like the idea of a general case first then a specific case after. Millie 21:12, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
I also think Translingual should come first. Ncik 02:39, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
Both should be level 2 and Translingual should go first. Gerard Foley 03:42, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
I've adjusted the page to reflect the apparent consensus. Eclecticology 01:27, 2 January 2006 (UTC)