Wiktionary talk:Main Page/Archive 1

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Wiktionary has been upgraded to the current stable MediaWiki software[edit]

I like the TOC feature, per-section-edit feature. That's very nice. Only, I feel a bit uncomfortable the changes in fonts. It looks a little ugly in my browser, especially the kanji characters. I have try with tuning my browser preferences but can't get it back like previous software's appearance. Am the only one? Petruk 09:21, 17 Aug 2003 (UTC)

The standard stylesheet doesn't specify any fonts, so your browser defaults are always used. The new version does slightly alter the font sizes used for some parts of the screen: the topbar and sidebar are at 95% of default size. But body text should not be different at all. --Brion
After doing some hacks, it looks like the tag <html lang="en"> is the cause. When I change it to <html>, they got it normal again. Petruk 11:06, 17 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Your browsers probably has different font settings available for various different writing systems / languages / language groups / encodings / something. With no language set, it may be using some sort of generic "unicode" setting, while with English set it may be going for "Western" or "Latin" or "Latin 1" or something of that nature. Try fiddling with these until you've got the fonts you want... (Why do browsers have to be so difficult!!!??) --Brion
You are right. I got the same good result when I change the font setting for 'Western' -- I use Mozilla 1.3 . I could't get these result when tuning font setting for 'Unicode'. So maybe the Lang attribute fixed it to 'Western'. Thanks a lot for the explanation. Petruk 11:50, 17 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Database Dump[edit]

Good News... Finally!! Wiktionary DB dump can be downloaded now. http://download.wikipedia.org Press RELOAD if it still shows you 0 bytes (that was what happened with my browser). Now all of you can start doing experiments :-) Thanks to Brion. Petruk 13:52 Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)

ref: http://mail.wikipedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2003-August/011322.html

RESOLVED: Wiktionary namespace issues[edit]

Is something wrong with the Wiktionary namespace or something?

see: Wiktionary:List of pages in Wiktionary: namespace...

It looks to me like Wiktionary: redirects to the Main namespace as it would from Wikipedia, but this is not how it is supposed to behave here in Wiktionary...

Emperorbma 00:19 Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)

Oops! That should be fixed now. --Brion 18:51 Aug 15, 2003 (UTC)
Yup, thankee... -- Emperorbma

Importing the WikiProject concept[edit]

See Wiktionary:WikiProject

Free Online Spanish Language Course[edit]

One of the links on the main Wiktionary page is to Language courses. I'm offering for adding there my free, online course in Reading Spanish. The preferred way to link to this resource is to http://bigfoot.com/~daniel.eisenberg OR http://bigfoot.com/~daniel.eisenberg/readsp/spcourse.htm, and NOT anything involving users.ipfw.edu.

Daniel Eisenberg

Just in reference to language courses, should these be put into Wiki Textbooks? or should language based Textbooks be put into Wiktionary?
I would prefer putting *all* courses into Textbooks and then linking from Wiktionary, as people wanting courses of any kind would be more likely to go to WTB than they would to come to a dictionary. The TB can link to the Wiktionary for specific words, but the course itself should be in TB.

Neolux 16:35 Jul 27, 2003 (UTC)

This certainly should be done, but it could not happen before WTB was started. WD already has some good material on Polish. Eclecticology 18:02, 17 Aug 2003 (UTC)

1913 Webster's[edit]

I have been in recent contact with the project leader of Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) which is hosted at http://dict.org. He seems to be interested in collaboration although I think he is a bit warry about wiki. --Either way we could get a huge head-start by using the 1913 dictionary. I'm sure Ram-Man would love to sick his bot on the data. --Maveric149 03:04 Nov 26, 2002 (UTC)

Other projects[edit]

For comparison/thought-provoking, here are a couple of non-wiki, purpose-built one<->many language dictionary projects:

What I've been wondering about, is what to do about words that only a small number of people use (or words I make up)? I mean to my knowledge there is no official english language, just various versions of it. So, why shouldn't I be allowed to add an entry for my favourite new word "Fushtakkiganya". Now, obviously you're unlikely to find this in any dictionary, but could I still add it here if I wanted to. There doesn't seem to be any policy on this yet. I mean who decides what is a word and what isn't? Smelialichu 18:58 Dec 13, 2002 (UTC)

Well obviously you jsut cant make up a word. But if it is used in a local area, the yes it can be added and said where it comes from. - fonzy (example:Apples and Pairs can be added)

I just added something here but it disappeared...what happened? Anyways I was suggesting that we DO allow newly coined terms (even those newly coined by just an individual) since words are a great human invention enabling us to more readily express our thoughts. The categorization pages such as By Topic (particularly if one can sort by category, say by viewing multiple categories at once such as newly coined science words) should help with this. Words like Sniglets or a recent Saturday Night Live sketch, though made originally in jest, could become points of reference in the future. To me, Wiktionary is the ideal for this given that it is not limited to formally reviewed definitions, but allows (with collaborative refinement) anyone to add to a body of knowledge. This would be particularly true if one could search more authoritatively recognized words separately from these idiosyncratic coined terms (though allow a combination search as well). user:brettz9
Although new words may usually catch on in a haphazard manner of people diffusing the new word among friends, or authors risking putting their new word in print before it is widely known, it seems to me to be a great potential of Wiktionary--if not the essential advantage Wiki technology can offer when applied to dictionaries (besides offering a wholly free alternative to advertisement-supported dictionaries)--to allow accelerated proactive linguistic development through deliberate discussion, and collaboration and refinement of terminology. Though linguistics (American anyways) has, to my awareness anyways, focused largely on the "equality" of languages, there is no question that languages can progress in terms of becoming more expressive, at least within specific domains by offering nuanced alternative vocabulary, more terms which allow specificity or ambiguity, etc. It seems to me that this process can be advanced by having a central location for focusing a debate/collaboration. In this way, if someone perceives a need for a term, Wiktionary (or something like it) would in my mind be an ideal central location to advance this. For example, if let's say some English speaker (or translator) felt deprived by not having a word for male or female cousins, he or she could suggest "cousina" and "cousino". Someone might present "cousinette" as an alternative (of course, this feature might be easier regularized to apply for all words in an invented language, but we are, for the time being at least, "stuck" with English). Or, maybe I am frustrated that "and/or" does not allow the possibility to imply that one of the items should at least be included--Maybe I will invent the word "ayor" to substitute for "at least...and possibly also" (e.g., "I would like rice ayor chicken.") Where else besides a site like wiktionary might I as a common Joe be able to go to ensure I had a central forum to be heard, where other people interested in words in general (i.e., those watching the "recent changes" list (i.e., language news) or those specifically interested in new conjunctions (i.e., those watching the conjunctions pages) could consider the suggestion, and possibly start diffusing the idea into widespread acceptance by trying it out themselves in their own speech/writing. And although others might otherwise be too afraid that others would not accept the term, they might have more confidence that people unsure of a meaning for a word they use (or a standard spelling, etc.) could check the vast Wiktionary database (I'm projecting in the future here) for this new obscure word's meaning/spelling. Wouldn't that be awesome? Haven't other people here felt frustrated by the limits of language (just like the limits of computer software) and wanted a mechanism for giving feedback to improve it? Why should coining new terms be limited to those who own national magazines and journals or television stations? Granted, anybody can coin a term as it stands now, but there is no real forum to diffuse it into acceptance. Now, I understand the founders of Wiktionary might not see this as the direction they would like Wiktionary to go and would like to keep word contributions restricted for whatever reason, but I would like to voice the argument that some forum should exist for this kind of thing if not Wiktionary, and in my mind, Wiktionary could not be dedicated to something better, at least if it is feasible for contributors and word-searchers/browsers to distinguish between newly coined words and words which are already widely used (for those who only want to know/use the "authoritative" word or spelling--though even that distinction may be unnecessary, especially if we do not ensure that objective means are used to ascertain the frequency of a word's usage (in particular contexts)) user:brettz9

Interwiki links[edit]

I think it would be valuable to find a way to pull interwiki links from Wikipedia pages. They are more or less exact translations of a given English word into several foreign languages.
Perhaps some script to extract the existing ones from the English Wikipedia and also simultaneously add to Wiktionary any future additions of interwiki links.
Kpjas Mon, 16 Dec 2002 10:56:46 +0100

Linking to other dictionaries[edit]

see Wiktionary:Links to other language sites

Indexing by language[edit]

Hi, Could there be a classification of the words by language? By example, if I want to list all French words? And, what about dictionary in other languages? Is there any such thing already? Yann PS: The font is not very readable. (I think.) I think Times is used? Why not the same font as for the encyclopedia?

The default skin on both Wikipedia and Wiktionary does not specify any fonts; it uses your browser's default font. --Brion
  1. Hard indexing by language has its difficulties. It's only manageable of the project stays small, and if people consistnently remember to put their entries in the appropriate index. I did at one time suggest adding codes to Wikipedia articles to facilitate searches, but that idea was shot down.
    • See also the Disinfopedia guy's recent inline meta-data proposal on wikitech-l. May be workable, may not be, but it tickles me the right way. --Brion
      • Interesting, now that I read it more carefully than when I saw it on the mailing list. My biggest complaint about it would be having to type in all these long tags. That's a turn off for those who want to keep things simple "weapons of mass destruction" is 27 characters long! I still think that a box for codes on each article would be more workable. for Wiktionary a code search for "jpn" would give all the articles on japanese words. The other difference in our two ideas is in where to do the coding: on the article as a whole or on the links to the article. Putting them at the links means doing so every time a link is made, whether or not the article exists. If you code the article, it only needs to be done once. Yet another idea that I raised some months ago was to use the "what links here function" to create a trace back to the main page. Eclecticology
        • The thing that attracts me about the suggested system is that's it's both human-readable and instantly extensible: if a category or property doesn't already exist, just write it in! Codes are difficult to remember, require a reference table to look up, non-obvious to the first-time viewer, and it's not clear how someone would add a new one if the repertoire is insufficient for their needs. As far as back-tracking to the main page, this is a potentially slow operation that requires spidering every possible link path until we find the Main Page (if we find the main page). --Brion
      • One problem with the write-in categories is that they will vary fom one individual to another; the British and American expressions could lead to different lists depending on what was going on in the mind of the contributor. Nevertheless, your criticisms of a code system are well taken. Of course, no user would be under any obligation to encode, someone else could always fill that in later. The new viewer will no need to concern himself with the codes, but they would be there as a convenient tool when he needs it. We have a lot of Wikipedia articles that have only been minimally wikied; I can't see the contributors of those articles developing any new enthusiasm for putting tags on the wikis they haven't written. There's no getting away from having a reference table, but I suspect that in practice most people will remember a few key codes in their favorite subject areas and forget about the rest. How easily new codes could be added is a function of how the coding system is designed. Even if we stop at a simple 3-letter code system, that potentially has 263 = 17,576 codes. If there was a reasonable chance that a coding system could be adopted, I would be more than happy to work on the details to address that problem. With a coding system there should also be nothing to prevent an article from having more than one code when appropriate.
      • Back-tracking was a completely different suggestion which I originally made at a different time. At the time (before the Ram Man city contributions) I was surprised to find that in a small randomly selected sample, most articles were not that many steps removed from the main page. The spidering would not be such a serious problem once the process is set up. Each article would have a distance factor in its record which would show its distance from the main page. This factor would be 0 for orphans and the main page. In dealing with the "what links here" list the search would only need to pursue paths where a minimum factor. Some tweaks would be needed to deal with traces that end with an orphan or a link loop. Eclecticology
  2. There is broad support for Wiktionaries in other languages. What's missing sre people who are ready, willing and able to put such plans into action.
C'mon. So why have (at least) the French and Polish Wikipedias got so much dictionary type material ? Kpjas.
Evidently these people aren't as committed to the "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" rule:-) I would welcome Wiktionaries in these languages; it would be an opportunity for debugging multi-lingual links. Eclecticology
I would really like to see other language Wiktionaries too, preferably german :).
How would things like verbs (conjugation) be treated ? --Emp
It's up to the people contributing on the German Wiktionary to take the lead. Many of us here are not familiar enough with German conjugations to be of much help. In the short run I would suggest that you choose a German verb with a regular conjugation, and begin developing a model that can be discussed. I've already presented a declension for the Latin noun dies as a start, but declensions still tend to be much simpler than conjugations. Eclecticology 19:39 Jan 12, 2003 (UTC)
So i guess there is no German Wiktionary yet?! What would have to be done to get one up? My personal suggestion would be to use "flags" to distinguish between the grammatical kinds that a word can be. This could be used by the wiktionary itself and the end users for requesting certain info. For example a word flagged as a noun and a verb would request conjugation and declination.

Model in what way?

I hope we can get something to work...cheers --Emp
I've brought your interest in a German Wiktionary to User:Brion Vibber; he is the current disseminator of technical wisdom.
I don't understand what you mean by "flags in this context.
By a model I meant a series of tables showing the complete(?) conjugation of a selected regular verb. Something of the "I sing; thou singest; he sings" variety. Eclecticology
With flag i meant a selectable box. You select and do not type whether a word is a noun, verb, adjective etc...I hope i can work out the table as you requested though i am fairly busy now...but aren't we all a little busy ;). Are there plans of introducing a way to show pronunciation like the little pretty picture in the uppper left corner has? thanks --Emp
I'll leave it to Brion to respond about the flags.
Nobody disputes that pronunciations should be included in Wiktionary in some way. SAMPA and IPA systems have both been mentioned. Although I personally favour IPA, not everybody's browser can handle these. SAMPA avoids this problem, but I often find it to be counterintuitive. There are also other possibiliies. The logo has the IPA representation for the British pronunciation of "Wiktionary", but that just brings up another problem: How do we account for the fact that many words are not pronounced in the same way by everybody? If I set up the article for a word, I tend to leave a place for pronunciation, but leave it for somebody else to fill in. Eclecticology 17:52 Jan 14, 2003 (UTC)

Inflected forms/dervied words[edit]

Should we have separate entries for inflected forms and such? e.g. separate entries for dog, dogs and sell, sells, sold, selling. Eric119 06:26 Feb 7, 2003 (UTC)

Sometimes. I think we can safely dispense with them when they are regular and straigtforward, but we should include them if their form is irregular or if there are significantly different meanings to the inflected form. Eclecticology 08:11 Feb 7, 2003 (UTC)~

Other Languages Role in the English (Multilingual) Wiktionary[edit]

There have been many requests to have separate Wiktionaries for different world langauges, a la Wikipedia subdomain fashion. I know Brion is working to get these things accomplished and I add my appreciation for his hard work on this matter.

Some issues related to this include:

  1. Use of indexes in foreign languages under Articles/By Language
  2. Inclusion of foreign languages on the English Wiktionary Main Page links
    1. What languages should be included. (for example Interlingua and Volapuk)
    2. Should it be by active Wiktionary projects or by number of contributors, ???
  3. Individual entries in English Wiktionary
    1. Include a suggested format? What's that to be?
    2. Foreign word descriptions in its own language or only in English.
    3. How does an English Wiktionary get to support multilingual entries?

These are some of the questions I've run into in discussions with other contributors. I'd appreciate any insights that may be submitted in a discussion of these points. Sincerely, User:ILVI (Jay B.) 2003 MAR 03

I've numbered your points for easy reference.
Re #1 - Go ahead with your index namespaces. I've no particular desire to maintain them, and since they don't interfere with the main body of articles, they don't bother me.
Re #2 - A link to each language index is appropriate.
Re #2-1 - Words in all languages are includible. Being an artificial language should not be a barrier except for idiosyncratic fantasies.
Re #2-2 - I don't understand the question.
Re #3-1 - Suggested format should be a matter of developing group agreement. Personally I have worked to encourage a particular format, and it is certainly open to discussion. Although I have no intention to impose it, I intend to continue to use it in the absence of alternative visions that are open to discussion.
Re #3-2 - On the English Wiktionary the descriptions of all words (both English and foreign) should be in English. Similarly, on the Esperanto Wiktionary they should all be in Esperanto.
Re #3-3 - It strives to use UTF-8, and explains multilingual concepts to English speakers. Eclecticology 03:52 Mar 3, 2003 (UTC)

ISO 8601 date[edit]

I suggest include a link to the ISO time and date standard ( to ISO_8601

The date already appears this way on the main page Eclecticology 08:09 Apr 17, 2003 (UTC)

I was wondering why we need to have the date on the Main Page in ISO 8601 format -- or, for that matter, at all. Does it really make sense for a dictionary to have two formats of date on the main page (that must be changed daily)? -- Bdesham 17:42 Apr 27, 2003 (UTC)
If the point is that we should not show two date formats, I would vote for keeping the ISO 8601 format, and getting rid of the other, but having both formats appeals to a wider range of people. Having the date at all (in whatever format) is helpful to a lot of us who have difficulty knowing what day it is. The date changes are done automatically; there is no need for anybody to do this manually. If people had to do this manually, it would not be reliable at all. Eclecticology 18:22 Apr 27, 2003 (UTC)

I would like to see free-online-public language "books", and I guess wiki could be the way. It would be great especially for those, who can't buy such books, because they don't exist in their country / there are no courses / they don't have the money for it / etc. I think learning languages doesn't have to be an expensive commercial thing, it must be free, and it's up to us! 2003-04-16 16:56 UTC

If they can't afford books, how are they ever going to afford computers? Eclecticology 08:09 Apr 17, 2003 (UTC)
I guess computers at their library (though there are books there too...) - Brettz9 03:49 Apr 19, 2003 (UTC)
You don't really see the problem. Can you imagine a country where there are no books for every god damned language, not even in libraries? Simple example is Hungary where you can not learn norwegian if you think you would just learn it as hobby. The only way is to attend the scandinavistic faculty of only one university in the capital. But it's not a course, and not for everyone, not everywhere. And still no books to learn from. 17:16 Apr 20, 2003 (UTC)
Hungary was not a country I had in mind. The significant political influences on Hungary in the 20th century have not damaged an eisting level of appreciation for literacy in that country. On a global scale Hungary is relatively well-off, even if not up to the level of the developed "Western" countries. Perhaps it's a question of bureaucracy, but bureaucrats are likely to be more hostile to the internet than to books, and it does not seem that you have a difficulty with internet access. If it's a matter of having books about Norwegian, why can't they simply be imported; it is certainly easy to find someone on the net willing to sell them. If it's a question of books about Norwegian written for Hungarians it becomes a question of supply and demand. How many Hungarians are interested in learning Norwegian? In a communist Hungary the government could simply decree that 1,000 textbooks on the Norwegian language would be published, and it would happen. In a free market economy if the potential publisher has no hope of recovering his costs he won't produce the book, and he can't make the price of the book so high that nobody can afford it. On the internet there is a significant reduction in costs because there is no longer a need to produce a physical object. Still, given the linguistic uniqueness of Hungarian, it will take a Hungarian speaker who already knows Norwegian to write the book or develop the Web Page; you can't reasonably expect outsiders to do that.
My previous response, which was perhaps a little flippant, was based on third-world countries. Sierra Leone, for example, is officially English speaking, but extremely poor (except for rebel controlled diamond mines needed for weapons purchases) and torn by civil war. The big book that costs a day's wages in the United States, or a month's wages in Hungary, may not be bought for a year's wages in that country. Libraries are not a realistic possibilities. Many villages don't have electrical power so even if you go there as a visitor with a laptop you better have lots of expensive batteries that would be unimaginably expensive for the local population. Eclecticology 18:20 Apr 20, 2003 (UTC)
By the way, the first posting in this discussion was not by me...just thought I'd chip in...It seems that projects like Project Gutenberg may be more suitable for some of these books. It'd be nice to see webspace become enormously accessible such that space would not be a problem for anybody and everybody to put up and connect together their own wiki projects (whether NPOV or not). I know for myself that the internet saves me money over buying a multiplicity of printed books, both while I have lived in more "developed" or "developing" countries, and I know many places are able to use libraries (which of course also have printed books too!) or higher learning facilities to distribute, at least to those with a likely capacity to make use of them, a variety of works as the net can provide. However, yes, power is an issue too. (There was a television piece a little while ago about the inventor who invented those transport vehicles that allow you to get around town without a car (Dean Kamen, I believe); he was also was working on something which might be able to provide electricity in the middle of nowhere with as I recall only something like organic materials being added to it. Let's hope that becomes developed and accessible.) But that leaves in any case the issue of language, and I believe one of the greatest needs of the human race at this time is the global political determination and establishment of an international auxiliary language by representatives and scholars of the world (to be taught alonside each native language in each country) so that we do not need to spend so many limited resources with language learning and translation in the first place. - Brettz9 03:38 Apr 29, 2003 (UTC)

I wanted to add two appendixes I created, but I find the main page is locked. Can somebody else decide whether they have merit and maybe add them:

Requested articles[edit]

Wouldn't it be "Requested entries"? Dictionaries don't have articles, per se. --mav

Great work on the progress you'all have made! --mav


Why is the Main Page protected? Has it ever been vandalized? --mav

I was wondering about that too Polyglot 05:55, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It hasn't even had an edit since June 9. I've unprotected it. Eclecticology 08:21, 28 Aug 2003 (UTC)