Wiktionary talk:Votes/2022-01/Excluding trivial present participal adjectives

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Other dictionaries[edit]

I believe the OED does include these, for whatever reason. Equinox 13:49, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, they do. (I pointed this out at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/English § growing.) This means that the vote is contrary to the lemming principle. (Is the latter policy, though?) — SGconlaw (talk) 20:42, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
WT:LEMMING clarifies: "However, there is no consensus for automatic application of this test[1]." — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 20:51, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for finding that page. — SGconlaw (talk) 20:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Fytcha Would exciting fall under this proposal? If so, it'd be rather weird to not have that be under the "Adjective" header, as I'm sure a lot of folks would consider it an adjective, including the OED, Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, Cambridge Dictionary, and Collins. Additionally, it can be used very easily as an adjective in sentences like "It's very exciting" or "It's the most exciting place I've been to", which can't be said of all present participles. I get the concern that brought upon this proposal, but I'm concerned that it's way too sweeping and can lead to confusion for the everyday user, along with leading to less information compared to other dictionaries. Moved below under a new header. AG202 (talk) 21:21, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I do think that some participles should still have their adjectival entries (which is why I think the term "trivial" was used...) - however I think it's WEIRD that OED has the ones found in the RFD as adjectives. Vininn126 (talk) 21:40, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Present participles that do act like true adjectives[edit]

@Fytcha Moving my comment here for more clarity and adding more examples (sorry for the double ping). Would exciting fall under this proposal, looking at the top criteria? It's pronounced the same, is a homograph, has the same etymology as the present participle, and could theoretically be replaced with "that excites." If so, it'd be rather weird to not have that be under the "Adjective" header, as I'm sure a lot of English natives would consider it an adjective, including the OED, Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com, Cambridge Dictionary, and Collins. Additionally, it can be used very easily as an adjective in sentences like "It's very exciting" or "It's the most exciting place I've been to", which can't be said of all present participles. I get the concern that brought upon this proposal, but I'm concerned that it's way too sweeping and can lead to confusion for the everyday user, along with leading to less information compared to other dictionaries. Some more words that this could apply to interesting, amazing, surprising, annoying, charming, frightening, and more, so I think there needs to be more specific of a rule to apply, maybe the "It's very x" and "It's the most x that..." tests that are sometimes used to stop attributive nouns from having an adjective header? I'd also be concerned about the translation hubs that are connected to those actual adjective senses. AG202 (talk) 21:42, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@AG202: That's a really good point, one that I don't have an impromptu answer to. I'm glad you brought this up before the vote started.
I still hold that attestable adjectivity cannot be our measure by which we include or exclude present participles from having a separate adjective section (spiring really doesn't need an adjective entry; we also don't need thousands of translation sections in random verbs' present participle entries, all filled with nothing but the respective languages' present participle equivalent of the base verb), but I of course acknowledge the utility of having translations for those words that you've listed available. I see two solutions at present:
  1. Have the community collaboratively define a set of exceptional adjectives (via the BP which also can always be updated with a BP consensus). This is still an improvement compared to the status quo as it shifts the default position from inclusion to deletion, which is how it should be.
  2. Try to come up with something along the lines of a WT:THUB criterion, where a present participal adjective may be entered if it has a certain number of interesting translations. What constitutes interesting exactly would still have to be hammered out, but I think "having N translations that are not the present participle equivalents of the respective translated base verb or any verb that is synonymous (in this specific sense)" would be a starting point. What should and shouldn't be counted towards these N would, as is the case for WT:THUB, be subject to appeal; we don't want e.g. the collective of all Arabic lects to be able to unilaterally meet this criterion. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 22:13, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I also just noticed that annoying has a translation box on a non-lemma. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 22:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Fytcha Re: annoying, I have no idea why that translation box is on a non-lemma tbh, it should definitely be under the adjective definition as it matches that. In terms of finding a community census, I'm not sure honestly, I don't feel that the T-hub criteria should be the end-all be-all, because even if frightening were to have fewer translations, imho it should still be kept, because it does act as a true adjective. So maybe the first option could work better. AG202 (talk) 23:55, 12 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@AG202: Generally, the number of interesting translations correlates with how widely used / important the word is. Important and interesting points in the semantic space are generally occupied by more words. Going by this logic, the presented THUB-analogous procedure is a good proxy to determine whether some adjectival use of a present participle is notable enough to warrant separate (duplicate, because it really is duplicate and redundant) inclusion. Apart from that, the translations are really the main selling point (for me at least) to include such predictable adjectives (like surprising), so the THUB-analogous procedure tracks not only by proxy.
I (backed by community consensus; see spiring) strongly disagree (for the arguments presented in this vote's rational section) that all present participles that can be used adjectivally should have an adjective POS header. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 16:00, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Fytcha I mean, to be honest, spiring doesn't pass the tests to begin with, because as sche mentioned, searching "very spiring" doesn't produce any cites, and it sounds very awkward to me and makes no sense to say "it's very spiring" or "it's very spinning". And so, they wouldn't be considered true adjectives, similarly to solely attributive forms of nouns, which is the test that I suggested at the beginning. AG202 (talk) 16:57, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@AG202: "became spiring", another adjectivality test, yields hits though. I don't think the impossibility of "very __" and "too __" is evidence for anything to be honest; the test goes like "usable with very -> is an adjective" but concluding "not usable with very -> is not an adjective" is the denying the antecedent. More concretely, I don't think the "very" and "too" test work for most uncomparable adjectives ("too dative" sounds nonsensical too, but there's no doubt that dative an adjective). — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 17:10, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Fytcha Pretty much all of those are scanno errors it seems with none of them actually having "became spiring" when you look at the texts, so it'd still fail that test as well, though I see your point with dative. But still, I think that it'd be better to have a list rather than basing it off of T-hubs because those are still dependent on how many people add translations to begin with. AG202 (talk) 17:42, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@AG202: You're right, my bad, should have checked the results before posting them. I only find a single use: [1]. I also want to point out that all present participles trivially pass the predicative position test. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 20:23, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
A statement can excite fear and loathing, or pity, or indignation. One wouldn’t say, then, “That was exciting!” In its sense as adjective, the term is reserved for arousal that is considered pleasing, which distinguishes it from the mere standard adjectival use “that which excites”. Also, one can say “very exciting”, which one cannot normally do with adjectivally used participles: a very flying insect, a very begging pauper, a very departing train.  --Lambiam 20:28, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps one test we can apply is checking if it can be used as a predicative adjective. If we look at exciting, we see that "was exciting" is not being used as the English continuous structure, as opposed to "was growing". Vininn126 (talk) 16:03, 14 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Inclusion rules[edit]

Instead of formulating the rule as “[bad cases] shall be excluded”, I prefer an approach in which we first give positively formulated criteria for the inclusion of adjectives that originated as participles. The leading principle should be that there is some aspect in which a term departs from the standard adjectival use that can be made of any participle. Compare the way the outcome of Wiktionary:Votes/2019-05/Excluding self-evident "attributive form of" definitions for hyphenated compounds is reformulated in the last paragraph of WT:CFI § Idiomaticity. I see no need to specify that spotted instances can be killed on sight.  --Lambiam 20:52, 13 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Lambiam: I agree with this. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 01:36, 14 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
We have in practice used the CGEL (2002) tests for adjectivity. The only problem with the tests is that they are time-consuming to apply. If contributors who can't be bothered to attest PoSes and definitions and simply use RfV and RfD to level the richness of English to the relative poverty of their idiolects can get draconian proposals such as this through a vote, this project is doomed. DCDuring (talk) 15:11, 14 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@DCDuring: Where do you stand on adding an adverb PoS header to the majority of German, Romanian and Turkish adjectives? Attestation for such is a cakewalk. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 15:16, 14 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I don't care about them. My main concerns are English lemma entries and Translingual taxonomic name entries. But, if there are meaningful tests (syntactic and semantic) that would serve to distinguish trivial definitions from non-trivial ones in a given language, that would seem better than a naive rule, such as the proposal under consideration, that treated all languages or all except English, the same. Those who "know the language well enough" could find the rules. (BTW, trying to identify trivial entries solely by their wording is likely to simply lead to rewording.) DCDuring (talk) 15:37, 14 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
As I interpret this proposal, the criterion is not the wording of the definition of some term under the heading “Adjective”, but its actual range of meanings. And the proposal is at least as much about only adding new entries (abbreviating ... zizzing) under that heading if they pass an adjectivity test, as it is about deleting entries that have been spuriously classified as adjectives.  --Lambiam 13:38, 18 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

How many trivial present participial adjectives are there?[edit]

Can anyone answer this question? I strongly suspect that there are not very many. I wonder why we need to introduce new rules when the existing ones have limited the number of instances of "trivial" ing-form adjective PoSes to the current small number. DCDuring (talk) 15:24, 14 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Using the following search string " incategory:"English lemmas" incategory:"English verb forms" incategory:"English adjectives" intitle:/[a-z]+ing/ ", I identified nearly 1400 English lemma entries with headword containing "ing", in both verb form and adjective categories. Of the few I've looked at so far, they mostly seem to me to have arguably valid English adjective sections. Some adjective sections, however, include "trivial" definitions (not always well worded) that seem to serve to remind users of the possibility of the "trivial" uses. DCDuring (talk) 16:12, 14 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The proposal is inspired by the Keep votes for the entry falling as an adjective at RfD, with arguments such as that deletion will be “a massive slap in the face for the many users who believe they are adjectives”. While we do have tests for a term being an adjective (which do not involve potentially hurt feelings), I can find no rule against including terms failing the test under the spurious PoS.  --Lambiam 14:10, 18 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]