Wiktionary talk:Votes/2007-10/Lemma entries

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Listing the lemma on the headword/inflection line[edit]

User:Opiaterein makes a good point in saying, I think the "form of" information should be on the main inflection line, as with lemma entries, with a brief definition below. I like the form of entry that produces. It's not how we've been doing things, but perhaps this is the time to change. Does anyone else have any opinions about moving the lemma link and the relationship to the lemma onto the inflection line, presumably within parentheses? Rod (A. Smith) 02:05, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

That's basically exactly what I was saying. It might not work as well in English entries, like
hands (plural of hand)
  1.  ??
but with other languages, it should be fine.
manos f (plural of mano)
  1. hands
Encyclopetey pointed out that with verbs this could get crazy, but we don't need to add every definition, just enough to give an idea of the way the word is generally used, maybe with a note pointing toward the main article for more definitions or something.
By the way, sorry for jumping into the vote half a month early, I was focused so hard on reading the actual content of what the vote was on that I missed the "Green means go" part. :o — [ ric | opiaterein ] — 02:24, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Glad to get feedback. Looking at hand, I can understand why you had some difficulty determining what to give as the English gloss. It comes out as something like this:
hands (plural, singular hand)
  1. specific body parts or things that resemble them
  2. multiples of three or of four inches
  3. Sides
  4. Powers of performance
  5. (archaic) Actual performances
  6. agents
  7. Handwritings
  8. Personal possessions
  9. things held in a hand at once
  10. Agencies in transmission
  11. (obsolete) Rates.
  12. pointers on analog clocks
  13. (firearms) small parts of a gunstock
  14. bunches of bananas
Or, condensed like the following:
hands (plural, singular hand)
  1. specific body parts or things that resemble them; multiples of three or of four inches; sides; powers of performance; (archaic) Actual performances; agents; handwritings; personal possessions; things held in a hand at once; agencies in transmission; (obsolete) rates; pointers on analog clocks; (firearms) small parts of a gunstock; bunches of bananas
There are currently fewer definitions for mano, so I think it would look like this:
manos (plural, singular mano)
  1. (of a person, game, or clock) hands
  2. (of an animal) front feet
  3. (of paint) coats
Or condensed:
manos (plural, singular mano)
  1. (of a person, game, or clock) hands; (of an animal) front feet; (of paint) coats
Right? After typing all of that in, I'm weary about how easily non-lemma semantic definitions will scale. It seems like we might encounter some problems consistently implementing it, especially for languages that are more highly inflected than English and Spanish. Rod (A. Smith) 04:39, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
See, that's what Petey was getting at. But the thing is, we don't need to include every possible definition of a word in the non lemma entries. For instance, I've never heard the word hand, plural or singular, used to mean "personal possessions." In the form of entries, we only really need to give one or two of the most common uses, and if there are others, we can put in some kind of note to see the main article I'm not sure, something like:
manos f (plural of mano)
  1. hands
See mano for more details
Or something like that; not sure how what the best wording for the see x for more part would be. Keeping all the definitions in line may take some fingerwork, but in the end I think it will be better as long as we keep it simple, but not too simple. — [ ric | opiaterein ] — 06:19, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

The proposal above has some promise, but it needs refinement and significant trial use before we can reasonably consider adoption. That belongs as part of a separate proposal, so I am going to allow this vote to open as a simple codification of existing practice. Please feel free to open another discussion (probably on WT:BP) to propose this new format, but not as part of this vote. Rod (A. Smith) 15:44, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

No. It is a bad idea and should be stopped now. This works fine only if there are a small number of similar inflected forms. Latin entries would suffer and be rendered almost unreadable by the above format. See alba#Latin, which would require six separate adjective sections. Reformatting that page to the above "promising" specifications would be a disaster, and would make it much harder for a user to figure out what was going on. --EncycloPetey 22:21, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your input, EncycloPetey. With the shockingly strong failure of Wiktionary:Votes/2007-10/Lemma entries, I obviously need help explaining briefly in Wiktionary:Votes/2007-11/Lemma entries 2 why proliferating translations, etc. is undesirable. Rod (A. Smith) 22:39, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Adjectives aren't inflected in English, so the definitions would mostly be the same anyway. If a user doesn't know what "vocative feminine singular" means, they won't be confused by this any more than they would by the old formatting. The old formatting wouldn't kill me so much if example sentences were more common. As it is, the reader is less likely to know wtf the word means, and even less likely to know htf to use it. — [ ric | opiaterein ] — 03:23, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Confusion can arise from content of from formatting. What you are proposing will ensure that the format is confusing, since all the definitions will be identical. It will be difficult for users to detemine what the deifferneces among the six adjective entries are (because they may not even fit into a single monitor screen) and it will be harder for editors to determine which, if any, senses are missing. A format that makes it hard on the editor and hard on the user is a very bad idea indeed. The goal should be to improve the situation for at least one of those audiences, if not for both. This proposal asks us to head in the opposite direction, so I am firmly against it. Consider:
alba f (nominative feminine singular of albus)
  1. white
See albus for more details
alba n (nominative neuter plural of albus)
  1. white
See albus for more details
alba n (accusative neuter plural of albus)
  1. white
See albus for more details
alba f (vocative feminine singular of albus)
  1. white
See albus for more details
alba n (vocative neuter plural of albus)
  1. white
See albus for more details
albā f (ablative feminine singular of albus)
  1. white
See albus for more details
How many forms are there above? How many different genders? How many spellings? It's slow and tedious to answer those questions because of the formatting. Now answer those same questions using the format below for the same information:
  1. nominative feminine singular of albus
  2. nominative neuter plural of albus
  3. accusative neuter plural of albus
  4. vocative feminine singular of albus
  5. vocative neuter plural of albus
  1. ablative feminine singular of albus
It's much esier to get an overview of what's happening because the information is presented in a sensible format. Please don't continue asking the community to abandon good format for a difficult-to-read complicated and confusing one that will make entries difficult to edit and difficult to read. --EncycloPetey 14:02, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
  1. Why do we need to know how many forms, genders and spellings there are? The dictionary isn't about how many words and forms there are, it's about what the words mean. There is also the table of contents that could tell you close to the same information.
  2. Listing only the form of information makes it necessary to "See x for more details" that really won't even be found in the article. "Ok, I'm here. What does alba mean? Something to do with white. But what does that ablative stuff mean?" It's probably a fact that most users will not be familiar with grammatical terms, although the case may be different with Latin, I'm not sure how it's taught. Even with example sentences, without some kind of gloss or link to something explaining the case, it's next to useless for everyday readers.
  3. It isn't difficult to read or edit, there's just more there so there's more to maintain.
  4. We don't have to format every language the same way. See huā. A few or missing but there do seem to be some definitions there, is it not so? — [ ric | opiaterein ] — 15:58, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand half of what you're saying. How will the table of contents help? What happens to users who turn that off as their preference? How will the table of contents allow for comparison between entries? Latin is generally taught with all the cases, anyway. And it is difficult to read and edit because there is so much unnecessarily repeated information.
So... you've said what you don't want to see, so what do you want to see. Show us how you would structure the Latin entry for alba. --EncycloPetey 19:35, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
I think The dictionary isn't about how many words and forms there are, it's about what the words mean is a rather narrow vision of how best to serve our readers. Sure, definitions are a core deliverable for our project, but so are other aspects of lexicography. Minimizing such information would be a disservice to all but the most casual reader. Following is my example from Wiktionary talk:Translations/Noting lemma forms in WT:ELE of how I think the "all definition lines should mainly focus on semantics" camp would want to format alba:


alba (nominative feminine singular, nominative neuter plural, accusative neuter plural, vocative feminine singular, vocative neuter plural of albus)

  1. white.

albā (ablative feminine singular of albus)

  1. white.

Even better would be if we could automatically link specific "form of" labels to a language-specific inflection appendix. Granted, {{see main}} displays more prominently than Ric would prefer, so there probably should be some reader customization options available, but the structure seems sound. So, grammatical details are an important element of our mission, but appears to be a reasonable way to provide them outside of definition lines. Rod (A. Smith) 20:32, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to make it clear now that I'm already irritated by the world outside of Wiktionary, so if I come off as being unnecessarily unpleasant....oh well. :)
"Show us how you would structure the Latin entry for alba." — Being that I don't speak Latin, I wouldn't dare try to format alba or any other non-lemma Latin entry. To someone who isn't already familiar with Latin grammar, that entry is useless, as it will remain without some kind of indication as to how to use the word, in any of those senses. Sorry.
My main issue with this topic is verbs. Let's take "fusesem (first-person singular, pluperfect indicative form of fi)"
Required prior knowledge in absence of definition: First-person, pluperfect, indicative, fi.
  1. First-person - common enough, most people would probably know it.
  2. pluperfeect - I didn't know what this meant until I started studying Romanian. I had studied 3 languages before and never learned what this meant.
  3. Indicative - easy enough to figure out, I suppose.
  4. fi - going to the entry, you'll find that it means "to be". Next
  5. You have to know what the pluperfect "form" of "to be" is in English. The article pluperfect gives examples, but look, now you have to know the past particple of "be", if you don't know what a past participle is.
So instead of looking at fusesem and getting your definition, and fi for more information on the verb, you would have to look at up to 5 or 6 other articles, and even then how could you be sure you were translating correctly? Everyday readers are not linguists or grammarians and will not know what the hell is going on when you tell them that alba is 6 different forms of the word "albus" or that fusesem is the 1st person singular pluperfect form of "fi".
"Granted, {{see main}} displays more prominently than Ric would prefer" — It just sticks out too much for something that's repeated over and over. I also don't want it to be confused with the definition of the word.
"Even better would be if we could automatically link specific "form of" labels to a language-specific inflection appendix." — I was actually going to start doing this if I ever get around to writing up an appendix for Romanian noun declension.
"How many forms are there above? How many different genders? How many spellings?" — Why does it matter? Look at the inflection line. — "It's slow and tedious to answer those questions because of the formatting." — Not half as slow and tedious as figuring out what the hell the word means, in the case of noun and verb forms.
Continue. — [ ric | opiaterein ] — 21:09, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
OR you can create an Appendix:Romanian verbs to explain all of that in one place. Your way, the information has be repeated (and maintained) in every entry about a pluperfect form. --EncycloPetey 21:44, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Appendix:Romanian verb conjugation. Even having that appendix and explaining the formation and usage of verb forms doesn't help if you don't know how to form the different tenses etc. of English verbs. — [ ric | opiaterein ] — 21:59, 4 November 2007 (UTC)