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Comments welcome. DCDuring 17:44, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


Taxonomic entries

Hi. I only recently became aware that there was a problem. My first thought was to dig into Category:Uncountable to see just what sort of problems might be present. That was when I realised that we have a grave problem, given that we cannot really keep track of anything if the templates are not working. I think EP is right.

  1. Step 1 is to rename the category.
  2. Step 2.IMHO is to modify the {{uncountable}}, {{pluralonly}}, {{singularonly}}, templates so that only the senses are marked as uncountable, plurale t, and singulare t respectively, and the {{en-noun|-}} template option to simply not put plural forms only. That is, disable its automatic "uncountable" label and categorisation.
  3. Step 3. I hadn't thought about "pair of" Perhaps a new template and category?
  4. Step 4. A bot to find and list entries that need to be checked out. (Might turn out to be a huge list :-/)
  • We could then encourage the correct use of the templates. In any case, I see this as an urgent "to do" before it gets completely out of hand. I wish I knew how big a problem it really is! - Algrif 11:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Your plan looks pretty good to me. The wording of the display for "plurale tantum" and "singulare tantum" and of the WT entries for those phrases needs work. It needs to be more accessible to ordinary users and not just technically correct.
I am appalled at the number of entries that have no templates and no categories. I spend time looking at frequency lists and filling in missing inflected forms. Probably half of the associated lemma entries are missing or significantly defective - and I don't mean missing senses, I mean missing PoSs, missing templates, obsolete headers, erroneous statements of comparability or countability, and structure problems. One hardly knows where to begin.
Are there good tools for counting entries with various characteristics and, especially, combinations of characteristics? I often wish that I could just do queries (not necessarily real-time) on the WT entries to get info on combinations of headers and templates (and parameters of templates). I guess bots marking or listing entries is as good as it gets. I am in need of getting up to speed on the capabilities of templates, bots, etc. What is a good place to start learning? My computer skills are not very up to date, but I am still capable of learning and willing to do so. DCDuring 15:15, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I need to think more carefully on your program. Whatever we do should be linguistically correct, consistent with good wiki-tech-practice, and sufficiently user-friendly as to help WT benefit from and handle any extra users we get from improving WT visiblity on Google. DCDuring 15:20, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm quite good at suggesting, but not very good at doing. I wish I knew how to write bots, but my (modern day) programming skills are limited. I would need someone to write, or help to write, said bot. I don't even know what could be possible, although I expect it wouldn't be too hard to seek and list all entries with certain tags and bracketed words (uncountable). As for going through any generated list; like all the other listed tasks on Wikt, it could never be a one-man job, although I would see myself being heavily involved. Can we put together a brief proposal about all this for GP consideration? - Algrif 10:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Is this word ever used to refer to more than one golf course? One can find usage of both "The links is ...." and "The links are ...." but every case I've looked at seems to refer to a single course. Also, an etymology is that it is a shortening of "linksland". DCDuring TALK 03:31, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Found usage: "links" (with either is or are) can refer to a single golf course. "Links are" can also refer to multiple courses. What is that called? DCDuring TALK 04:16, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what name this phenomenon goes by, but it's the same as deer, where the singular and plural forms are identical. --EncycloPetey 04:23, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Based on our Category:English invariant nouns, they are "invariant nouns". Thryduulf 18:17, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, yes. I've been to that page. Could someone clarify it? I'm having trouble understanding the distinction made there between invariant nouns and invariant use of non-invariant nouns. There is certainly too much "ink" spent on the second case without making it clear exactly what the difference is. I'm too simple-minded to take on that challenge myself. I also don't understand the relationship of that to plurale tantum. I'm beginning to suspect that it would be useful to have an article somewhere (Wiktionary Appendix or WP?) explaining the various non-standard plural phenomena: invariant nouns, plurale tantum, singulare tantum, uncountability, semantic singularity, invariant use of non-invariant nouns, pair-of nouns, and collective nouns with special focus on the simple usage questions of greatest potential interest to our anon and even not-so-anon users:
  1. How does a speaker/writer use each type of noun with respect to a single referent ? and
  2. Does it (always, sometimes, never) take a plural verb when referring to a single referent?
Consistent nomenclature and corresponding categories for the technically adept wouldn't hurt either to assist the flow of wisdom from adepts to contributors to lowest common denominator. There seem to be some bottlenecks in the flow. DCDuring TALK 19:43, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Regular, non-invariant nouns can be either singular or plural with different forms, e.g. "one ship", "two ships"
  • Invariant nouns can be either singular or plural, but have the same form for both, e.g. "one sheep", "two sheep"
  • Invariant use of non invariant nouns is using one form, usually the singular form, of a noun that has different forms for singular and plural as both singular and plural. e.g. elephant is a non-invariant noun ("one elephant", "two elephants"), but the singular form can be used for the plural (i.e. invariantly), e.g. "I shot three elephant today"
  • Pluarlia tantum can only be plural, e.g. tongs - you can say "pass me the tongs please" but not *"pass me the tong please".
  • Singularia tantum can only be singular, e.g. crack of dawn.
Does this help? Thryduulf 21:17, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
It helps because it gives real cases. I seem to try to avoid using many of these expressions as do many of the folks I listen to, so my ear doesn't seem to have been getting much practice.
OK: "One sheep is"; "Two sheep are"
Help me here: "Three elephant are approaching" ?; "Three elephants are approaching". I'm not sure this comes up much in US. You must have more elephant in the UK.
OK: "Three cannon are firing", "Three cannons are firing", "The cannon are firing".
Help me here: "The cannon is firing" How many cannons may be involved? Only one?
If only one cannon can be involved, why would we bother calling this "invariant" rather than a noun with two plural forms?
OK for pairs-of words: "These tongs have rusted" (whether referring to one pair or more than one pair).
How does this work for p.t. nouns that are not pairs-of?
Help me here: Is it simply wrong to say "The experience of cracks of dawn differs by latitude and season"?
Confirm: "The fleet is passing through the channel". (US) "The fleet are passing through the channel". (UK)

DCDuring TALK 01:45, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

So links (golf sense) is an invariant noun, plural in form (by coincidence only), with the added quirk of being optionally used as a plural to refer to what is normally considered a single place (a golf course). Oof. Do any other words behave this way? -- Visviva 23:39, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Come to think of it, I guess all pair-of words behave this way; glasses, scissors, jeans, etc. -- Visviva 11:04, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
I started an entry for linksland, but was struck that this term is used only in golf-related literature. On the other hand links/lynkis is a valid Scots word for rough open ground, so linksland seems like a pleonasm, perhaps invented after "links" had begun to refer to golf courses themselves. [1] -- Visviva 23:39, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Please be careful here. For example all the hits for "more nitrogenized" seem to have "more" modifying the noun rather than the adjective.[2] This is also borne out by the 0 hits for "more nitrogenized than." In general "more X than" is a better search, but still may result in false positives. -- Visviva 04:41, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. For nitrogenized, I also looked at the superlative and found nine in gbc. I reasoned that if a sup does exist, there is no reason for a comp not to exist. Is that too racy?
I am using "more-X-than" as my search term and reading until I find real comparables (not more modifying the same noun that the X modifies, first books, then scholar, sometimes then news, rarely groups. I look for 3. I'm trying to do it right so that I can meet challenges.
Many of the other adjs are logically capable of forming comparatives, but the number of uses is too low (0-2). I think editors are fooled by their own absolutist definitions. Someone defined worldwide as meaning applicable "everywhere". Clearly not how the word is actually used. DCDuring 04:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You're certainly right that people tend to go overboard with prescriptive definitions. However, for cases like this, IMO very close attention to use is needed. Eight of the nine hits for "most nitrogenized"[3] seem to be modifying the noun rather than the adjective, as in "most nitrogenized compounds are..." The only exception is the 1881 use, and frankly I can't make head or tails of that one. -- Visviva 12:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
If your google yields the searches in the same order as mine 1 and 4 are the right cites. This is most marginal of all the cases. Frankly I am skeptical about many engineering-process words being non-comparable even without the cites. If you would like to challenge it, I will see if I can use print sources to located some additional cites beyond the two clear ones for the superlative. I must say that I thought that the situation would be even worse than it has turned out to be. I thought it would be as bad as with uncountability, but it isn't. The a-/an-, in-, non-, and un- adjectives are rarely comparable in practice. I had estimated 15-20% non-comparability, but find that the negative prefix adjectives reduce the ratio to closer to 10% opposable claims. If it weren't for the proscriptiveness of the "not comparable", I wouldn't care as much. Do our editors find that, given a permissive environment, free of received rules, they must use the freedom to create new rules and restrictions?
That is indeed a common reaction, though mercifully much more muted here than on the pedia. No worries, anyway; looks like you've got a notion for what you're doing. I just happened to notice the activity on RC and think "hm, that seems odd," so I went in for a closer look. It does seem odd that the only two uses of "nitrogenized" in a comparable way on b.g.c. date from the 19th century; but perhaps that's just a fluke. Happy editing! -- Visviva 15:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I have noted the wantonness of Victorian word invention (crash of rhinoceroses) and morphology (-ical when -ic would do). I have tried editing some of the 1913 dictionary entries and 1911 Encyclopedia entries. They were developing a more Germanic language for a while. Perhaps the comparatives were part of the same syndrome. When I engage in chains of similar edits, there is a risk that I will go over the top. I think nitrogenized was the edit with the least support, though I have faith that more could be found. I have often been chastened by confronting the goggle evidence that my a priori assumptions are often wrong. I just wish that some folks would test their assumptions more often. Thanks for the chat. DCDuring 16:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Hello there, I noticed that you have amended the inflection lines of many nouns so that they are countable e.g. adipic acid - in this instance the the chemical itself is not countable but only if there is more than one type of adipic acid e.g. isomers - if that is the case then the definition may need revision to make that clear.

I'm also curious as to what g.b.c. is? - Do you mean Google - in which case many of the changes might then reflect incorrect or at least dubious usages and should not be included in Wiktionary unless they are noted as such.--Williamsayers79

Thanks for following up. I was aware that those changes were incomplete. Since the entry remains on my watchlist, I was hoping someone would come along, make the appropriate changes, and thereby provide a good model for other entries. Yes, I have altered them based on the books.google.com (which ought to be abbreviated b.g.c. not g.b.c. (my mistake)). I certainly wouldn't rely on google web search results given the need to sift through even the supposedly edited works on b.g.c. (let alone the older scanned material). I try to look through the first few pages of a b.g.c. search to make sure that not everything is spurious. I have noticed that folks are inclined to claim that something is uncountable when it is not (not just in chemistry). It wouldn't be so bad if uncountability were marked only at the sense line. I am generally aware that structural differences are abundant in complex molecules, that atoms have isotopes, that there are many Marxisms. However, my chemistry is not so good that I trust myself to add the appropriate senses. If you would point me to a good example of an entry for a chemical with both countable and uncountable senses and let me know the approximate limits of applicability of that model, I would henceforth apply only that model in my effots and would hope to be able to call upon you for cases beyond the scope of the model. DCDuring TALK 19:25, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I would say that methane is a good example where the chemical itself (CH4) is uncountable as it has only one form, and where the word is also used to refer to other chemicals based on that compound therefore haveing a countable sense to.--Williamsayers79 13:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Comparablility has similar issues. I am somewhat numerate so I am sensitive to the fact that most natural phenomena are matters of degree. Folks who engage in selling, making, or studying things usually are making comparisions of types, grades, and lots in terms of various attributes which are sometimes popularly deemed incomparable. Maybe I have been wrong about believing that we should reflect the practice of "experts" in comparing and pluralizing what the laity do not, but the opposite presumption does not seem to have been based on much more than whim or limited experience in most cases, certainly not consultation with references or b.g.c. I am open to (and enjoy) argument on this as with most Wiktionary matters. DCDuring TALK 19:37, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad you are open for discussion in this area. We often have a bun-fight here over such things when all that is needed is good discussion and clear explanations (use of Usage notes are definitely welcomed from my view point). Regards --Williamsayers79 13:16, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
From context I assumed that bunfight meant dust-up, but the sense entered and defended by SB is different. Did you mean something like tempest in a teapot? I think the heat generated has to do with the missing side-channels of communication (facial expression, posture, gesture, tone of voice, clothing, tics}} - not that folks don't get into pissing matches in the real world. Internet communication is good for paranoid reactions. I've noted it in my own reactions from time to time. I'm wondering how to defuse some of the negative interactions between important contributors. Humor is a little risky without the side channels. DCDuring TALK 15:08, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
If you're addressing the idea of what is countable (a slippery concept to be sure) Arnold Zwicky does a good job of laying out the issues here. You might also check out Reid's 1991 book Verb and Noun number in English.--BrettR 13:36, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the references. DCDuring TALK 14:15, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Following is a initial dump of "issues". Perhaps it could become the start of a guideline for handling the occasional abbreviations that are not well handled by the default features of the existing system:

Apparently c. is considered to be the cutting edge of forward thinking about abbreviations. I has PoS info optionally at the sense line. Perhaps that is all that is required, given that probably 99% of abbreviations are of proper nouns or nouns. Also an abbreviation that gets used as a verb is often not considered an abbreviation ("RVing" is not "recreational vehicling"). The PoS info is a gloss that may eliminate the need to click through to the entry underlying the abbreviaton, if there is an underlying entry.

Some abbreviations have no underlying entry (it would not meet CFI). For such entries there is more need for PoS info, WP links.

There would be some value in including the plural form of an abbreviation to that a user who typed in a plural for "apts." or "apts" was directed to "apt." or "apt."

Periodless abbreviations are acceptable, following European convention. It would be handy it the search engine given eihter "apt" or "apt." would yield both "apt." and "apt".

Now folded into characterization as "initialism" or "acronym". As Agvulpine pointed out, some are pronounced both ways and some are pronounced in a combination. Some are rarely spoken. Some seem unpronounceable. Some fraction of Abbreviations are not well served. DCDuring TALK 19:07, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for actually addressing the original question. Interesting that there was so much pent-up energy about the overall interface. Until there is some more radical advance on the user-interface front, we just have to do the best we can. I don't like to make unilateral changes, especially in something like first-screen appearance, especially if there is a more general issue involved. Are there other instances like OK that you know of? DCDuring TALK 11:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I also noted that the heading in "OK" is "Alternative forms". There are certainly other instances, arguable even rock and roll, where the content under the header is not "spellings" {u.c./l.c., hyphens, -or/-our, -ise/-ize, and/'n') but other closely related variants. Those variants don't always have a good home on the page. Do you think that we should make that the universal header in that position or an allowed alternative, either documented or undocumented? DCDuring TALK 11:32, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I think in all cases in all entries, we should work to present entries that give the clearest information about a word in the format that is most effective and appropriate to the specifics of that entry, while obviously being subject to the limitations of the Mediawiki code and remaining loyal to our strict formatting precedents, but not obsessively so. The entries should cater first to the reality of that particular word, and second to some overly rigid arbitrary format. For example, if rock-and-roll and OK really don't have "alternate spellings", but more appropriately "alternate forms", well we should be able to make that minor distinction without much fuss. If the list of four or five alt. forms takes up too much vertical space, well then, golly gee, just put 'em side by side. Not too difficult. The formatting conventions are arbitrary, and many believe something is emphatically a necessary formatting convention when it's just some pedant with Asperger's whose brain fights for routine rather than effectiveness.

It's clear some formatting is important to the future of the project, to some preference skins and analysis tools, and to Wiktionary's ability to be understood by potential third party software. However, if a change is necessary, it should be simply made rather than fought. If "alternate forms" (or another useful heading) is currently not a valid heading in some skins, it should simply be made valid. If our software can't properly report to third parties a list of alt forms if they are horizontal with commas, well we should fix that. It's really people's personalities, not actual limitations that sometimes prevent success. -- Thisis0 21:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

This place seems to have more justification for format rigidity than WP. I've been cautious because I'm new and because folks can be touchy about things I don't expect them to be touchy about. The alt spellings format "issue" connected with the homophones discussion a bit and with the general problem of the low useful-info content of the first screen users see for many entries. I also am disappointed by the lack of knowledge about design-relevant user behavior characteristics. We do this for love, but I personally would love to have happy end users. I am optimistic that perhaps we can allow customization of the user interface so that editors and members of the language community can have useful interfaces without jeopardizing the experience of our presumed client base. I would be willing to submit to format rigidity if it sped up the achievement of user-interface customization. DCDuring TALK 21:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, simple solutions. Extra trivia like Homophones (and Anagrams, for f's sake) really just need to go after the definitions (like near Synonyms and See also). I'm assuming the Anagram/Homophone junkies fought so hard to be included, the momentum of their cause overshot itself and pushed right up to a prime real estate location, when they really belong down among the trivias and see-also's, if at all. -- Thisis0 22:05, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Hompohones at least might be justified on the grounds of helping someone to pronounce something or at least to stop looking for non-existent/minimal pronunciation differences. My fear is that the phonetic alphabetic knowledge (or working software for the audio) required to benefit from most of the Pronunciation section isn't there among most (many) of our end users. Simple solutions are all that we are likely to achieve. Because WMF doesn't have vast technical resources, technical solutions at all but the most basic level will be few and far between. I hope that it isn't all duct tape at the server farm. DCDuring TALK 23:01, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Having IPA here to encourage learning something new is cool, however, I wish we employed classic dictionary pronunciation, or better yet, simple pronunciation (pro-nunn'-see-ay'-shun). Wouldn't that be useful? I also wish we had a better way of showing syllabic hyphenation. As an arranger/editor of sheet music, that is my frequent utility of a dictionary, and sadly, Wiktionary is no help in that regard. I currently hafta take my business elsewhere. It would be a huge change, but I think it would be appropriate where the entry name repeats in bold just under the PoS headers. You know, where the en-noun templates and such are used. That's just a repeat of the entry name, why not make it use·ful? -- Thisis0 23:19, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Anything that increases the density of useful info on the first screen without setting back a user's ability to find things on other screens is good. In particular, both of your ideas seem good.
  1. Hyphenation at the inflection line would either give more info than is now in the entry or save a line in the pronunciation block for those entries that have it. Hyphenation skill is becoming less broadly useful as word-processing software absorbs that function so there may not be much energy for implementing it.
  2. A pronunciation scheme that an amateur could use without a reference would be good, even if it was not as useful for linguists and not as correct. Horizontalizing it seems like a good idea, but I don't know whether it interferes with someone's grand scheme for the section.
Today someone was removing the Shorthand section (well formatted and apparently correct) of some entries and could not understand what use that could be. That seems like another skill (like Morse code) that will soon disappear. DCDuring TALK 23:39, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
What entries? I'd like to see (shorthand sections). Regarding horizontal pronunciations, apparently it's already being done fairly effectively (and simply -- the key to greatness!). Look at attribute. I'd just like to add simple pronunciation to the beginning of those lists. Wouldn't that be a neat way to promote learning IPA anyway, to see the equivalents side by side? -- Thisis0 23:48, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
There are perhaps 40 entries with the Shorthand heading, appearing at the bottom of the page. They mostly begin "ab". abash should be one. I assume that the person entering them ran out of gas. You can search for "shorthand" and find them by the bottom of page 3 of the search results. There might be more to found by serching the same way for "Gregg" or even "Pitman". If you want to test on a user who knows no IPA, I'm your test subject for alpha testing. DCDuring TALK 00:06, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

We can't be the only people wondering about this - perhaps we ought to set-up a project page somewhere on WT and let the Wikispecies people know about it? Maybe there will be some people on Meta interested in cross-project stuff? Thryduulf 23:29, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

It could be, but I'm interested in the specific way that we could get some content and get some impossible stuff off our plate. I think everything really constructive tends to be bottom-up rather than top-down in Wikiworld. We can offer WSP traffic and etymology on taxonomic words. We can get a little traffic and perhaps a lot of words (many thousands?), mostly Translinguals and Latins. We'd probably get some (hundreds, thousands?) additional vernacular names. We might be able to get many entries we don't have, blue some links and not embarass ourselves with amateur handling of taxonomy. IF you can find somebody at Meta for support that would be great too. I'm thinking about working on our classicists. EPetey, and Ataeles, HarrisMorgan because the offer of ety help (if WSp even cares) would depend a bit on them. DCDuring TALK 00:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

| Phylum phylum || Phyla |- | Classis classis Classes |- | Ordo ordo Ordines]] |- | Familia familia Familiae |- | Divisio divisio Divisiones |- | Cohors cohors Cohortes |- | Sectio sectio Sectiones |- | Tribus tribus Tribus |- | Genus genus Genera |- | Species species |- | Forma forma Formae


I agree with you that we need to focus more effectively on core-entry quality. I'd been thinking of some sort of process that would focus on bringing entries for core vocabulary words (and particularly the senses and examples) up to the best achievable level. It would have to be sort of the opposite of our existing "Requests" processes, which do a reasonable job of enforcing compliance with minimum standards but aren't really equipped to go beyond that.

Specifically, I was thinking of something

  • slow (maybe a 30-90 day timeframe?),
  • fairly structured and deliberative (with a durable subpage structure, maybe including something like Appendix:Dictionary notes),
  • focused sharply on key words (maybe the Academic Word List and/or GSL), and with
  • restricted throughput (perhaps 10 words per month to start?).

Ideally, upon completing the process, entries would be raised to a high enough standard that they could be used as models of excellence. Truly model entries are something we currently lack, a fact which in turn discourages any serious work on quality, leaving us in the viciously circular place where we find ourselves.

Anyway, I was wondering if you've had any thoughts along these lines. This is another one of those things that I've been meaning to put together a more serious proposal for, but I keep distracting myself with various other shiny objects.  :-) -- Visviva 07:34, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Let me start by rambling.
I certainly think that we have numerous articles that have quality issues. Some of the issues are:
  1. insufficient modernisation of Websters 1913 imports.
  2. missing senses
  3. poor grouping of senses in entries with numerous senses
  4. redundancy of senses due to hyperspecific senses, especially in fields such as sports, computing, equestrianism, perhaps some scientific fields (eg, mycology).
All of these are fixable within our existing rules. Fixing them would seem to not fit well with our wikiness in that they require the intense efforts of a very few dedicated, experienced users and benefit hardly at all from the active participation of newbies, at least given current modes of participation.
I've been reading some older (1968) essays by Sir Randolph Quirk (Longmans Grammar). He cited Murray talking about the need for his contributors to go back over many entries (closed categories like prepositions especially) and make slips out for the usages that they did not find extraordinary. Quirk believes that non-literary-corpus-based analysis, barely feasible at the time of his essays, was the answer to the underlying problem. That would suggest that we need to have more recourse to the on-line corpera to improve those "core" entries.
To some extent our wikiness seems to give us disproportionate interest in "hard words" or "interesting" words. Though I should know better, I fritter away time on words like griffonage, which happened to be on the "uncategorised pages" list, instead of words like by, bill, defy, or set, just to mention words that have some degree of problem like missing definitions.
I know that lists are motivating. I don't think that the "collaboration of the week" idea worked. WotD creates some motivational pressure due to deadlines, but directs it at "interesting words" (=shiny things). Perhaps we need to have a sequence of lists aimed at intersections of maintenance categories, what-links-here, and other categories. An example might be English prepositions with Webster 1913 templates or used in 5 prepositional phrase entries. Perhaps we could have a page of lists of such lists.
And ultimately we could have featured entries and quality ratings as WP has.
I just don't know what is both motivating and truly useful. I continue to be desirous of ways of addressing the "needs" or "wants" of users, which may themselves be for "shiny objects". DCDuring TALK 11:29, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, there's no denying the motivational power of shiny objects. :-) On the other hand, there are a lot of structural needs that IMO are best addressed by focusing on a fairly limited set of "boring" core and near-core words. The need that's been most painfully apparent to me lately is to avoid "lost work" on translation sections -- there are far too many cases where a sloppy original entry has attracted lots of good translations, which have then all been dumped into TTBC when the entry was cleaned up (and if the cleanup itself was flawed, this process may repeat itself several times over). But that's not all; there's also the need to inform compositionality debates -- I think my most common rejoinder on RFD has been "if this is sum of parts, we're missing a sense at [X]" --; the need to support comprehensive treatment of 'nyms and 'terms; the need to delve into those issues of sense-grouping and -splitting that we keep touching on but never really hashing out; and so forth. Poorly-constructed definition sets have all sorts of undesirable side effects.
More cleanup lists would be an excellent thing, as would some kind of central, annotated list of lists (at least, I don't think there is any such list currently maintained). I think we often underestimate the amount of potential newbie and non-newbie energy that goes unchanneled. But still, cleanup lists focus more on the floor (minimum quality) than the ceiling; that is, while reducing the number of "bad" entries is a worthy goal in itself, it won't necessarily lead to more "good" entries. This is particularly the case for the lexical core, where the difference between "adequate" and "good" is particularly noticeable. To really do justice to a GSL word like by or one, or even an AWL word like analyze, requires a major collective investment of thought and effort. That's why I don't think we can do much more for these entries than we are doing now, without some genuinely new process -- perhaps something like a blend of Wikipedia's FA and Peer Review systems with their Core Topics collaboration. Maybe this process could harness the motivational power of to-do lists as well -- for example, the initial phase of review for an entry could involve outlining a list of individual, bite-sized tasks that need to be dealt with.
I think the biggest problem with the CotW approach has been that a week is too short a time to really gather even one person's energies to confront one of these words. I can say from personal experience that, when faced with an entry like do, 40 hours is barely enough time to lay the groundwork for an approach -- and I dare say few of us ever actually have 40 hours to spare in a single week. That's what tends to make these entries so discouraging to work on, and it's why I was thinking of a longer, flexible timeframe. Perhaps the process should be throttled with this in mind -- not 10 entries per month, as I initially suggested, but a maximum of 10 (or X) entries under consideration at one time. When consensus has been reached that the senses for a word are optimal, it could then be removed from the queue and a new word added. -- Visviva 12:29, 1 February 2009 (UTC) I'm having a hard time keeping my thoughts to less than 3 paragraphs lately, sorry. :-)
I guess I am of the opinion (and temperament) that wiktionary needs to be more checklist-oriented than WP. WP articles seem to attract fans, fanatics, learn-by-teaching types, and professionals with teaching inclinations, with narrow subject interests (though sometimes just eclectic). Wiktionary seems to attract serious effort mostly from language fans. Many of us seem to like short-attention-span work, for which checklists are very good.
The longer entries are overwheming. Perhaps the process would be to go through some high-likely-problem-ratio lists and
  1. leave a bunch of tags (including new ones) OR
  2. leave a tag on the talk page and an entry-specific checklist.
Perhaps the tags or checklists could be harvested for bot or template ideas that would make the process work faster. (I do not yet have a good feel for what can be done by bots or even templates, though a talk-page-checklist template that provided a formatted improvement checklist and entry-improvement log and some invisible maintenance-category membership does seem feasible though ambitious).
Maybe we need some simple focus-generating lists like "Preposition of the Month", "Determiner of the Month", "Pronoun of the Month", "Letter of the Month", "Symbol of the Month". (By the time we progress through each of these we could just start over, because there will be new issues.)
Maybe we need to mark senses that are in the opinion of some ready for translation. (Perhaps we could delete trans tables for those not ready and insert them for those that are.)
Senior contributor tasks:
  1. Sequence X-of-the-Month lists (easy ones, test ones, important ones, bad ones)
  2. Review entry for tasks to be done
  3. Review senses for translations
  4. Create short help pages for structured chunks of work
  5. Identify exemplars for each L3 and L4 Heading
Meta-tasks include some consensus- and enthusiasm-building.
Shiny objects might be a talk-page maintenance-task template, a page about determining the adequacy of a sense, a help page about how to write some class of definitions, and a proposed list of exemplars.
I'm almost getting enthusiastic myself. DCDuring TALK 14:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

... is likewise commended to your attention. Needs aggressive editing; Dan and I have done a bit, but it still fairly reeks of Wiktionary-circa-2005. Anyone else reading this page should also consider themselves invited. ;-) -- Visviva 14:29, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

As you know, I don't see why encyclopedic stuff can't also have a dictionary definition. I guess there's a difference between "purely encyclopedic" and "primarily encyclopedic". Maybe I should reread WT:CFI. Again... Mglovesfun (talk) 17:32, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that encyclopedic is a sufficient condition for deletion. It is only a suggestion that in our hubris, our efforts to make wiktionary a Leibnizian characteristica universalis or calculus ratiocinator or a universal translation lexicon, we not forget that our first task is to be a great dictionary of actual words, including core idioms, especially of words of general use. We are constantly biting off more than we can chew: Wikisaurus, shorthand, gazetteer entries, duplication of wikispecies content, and the Pawley list of 20 ways that something might be deemed idiomatic.
What a linguistic who studies idioms (eg, Pawley) wants to include within his purview is not a reliable guide to what is appropriate for a dictionary, especially at an early stage in its development. It is particularly not appropriate for what wiktionary should be doing now. The quality of the majority of our basic entries is terrible, being a whimsical accretion of additions of a few specialty senses (especially in sports, linguistics, computing, and video games) on Webster's 1913 basic definitions, mostly not even modernized in wording and not conforming in format to WT:ELE. Just as Murray ended up pleading with the contributors to the OED to send him more examples of unusual uses of the most common terms instead of more obscure "hard" or unusual words, we need to direct contributors to improving core entries.
Why don't we have the right sense of "harrow" or "harrowing"? Why should "harrowing of hell" or "Harrowing of Hell" be in a dictionary? The problem is mostly that "harrow" is not a word whose meaning is now understood in any context. As a dictionary our core contribution would be to define the constituent terms and pass folks on to Wikipedia. DCDuring TALK 18:05, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for not reply sooner. Yes, I mean religion is primarily a encyclopedic words but we're not going to delete that. Similarly it would be difficult to write an encylopedic entry for cute, but for cutely, cuter and cutest it's just impossible. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:09, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello DC -- Re this edit, maybe you should provide an example. Hey, wait a minute . . . . -- WikiPedant 01:30, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Yea. I knew I was being cute. See also aside. Yes, there should be examples not so "cleverly" inserted where the reader could miss the point. I just couldn't resist the chance for some in-line more-or-less-appropriate humor. Thanks for noticing. DCDuring TALK 15:46, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
We desperately need some humor around here. :) L☺g☺maniac chat? 15:55, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
I second that emotion. -- WikiPedant 03:51, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
The pent-up humor usually breaks out around December, when the holidays put everyone in a better mood. --EncycloPetey 03:59, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for fixing up the adjective forms of these entries. I just got up this morning and realised my mistake! Cheers, Tooironic 19:23, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I think I overcorrected. I'm not sure that open-book (attributive form) is more common than open book (predicative form). "This is an open-book exam." vs. "This exam is open book." In any event open book should appear as an alternative form at open-book. I had them linked with {{also}}, but that doesn't seem good enough. DCDuring TALK 19:32, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

It looks like I made a mistake. I don't see own as a determiner.--Brett 13:24, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Hello DC -- Re this edit, what did User:Jonathan Webley do here that need reverting? What am I missing? -- WikiPedant 01:27, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, that settles it. Time for to stop using the touchpad on my laptop. I have a button that sometimes gives me two clicks when I want one. The second may come when my cursor is already on the move, for example, on my watchlist. I will apologize and also revert if someone hasn't already. Thanks for letting me know. DCDuring TALK 01:38, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

This is sort of what I was talking about when you go against WT:CFI because you think it should be changed. Do you see what I mean now? Mglovesfun (talk) 19:07, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand your point. Are you saying that I should be opposed to the well-known word exception for attestation? I have spoken out on that. What would you like me to do? DCDuring TALK 23:55, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Sorry yes, that was really unclear what I said. I was thinking about roof tile where you said we should change CFI first and then restore roof tile (assuming it got deleted) but for these two you seem to want to delete them even though it go against CFI. I'm not 'having a go' as we say in the UK, I'm just trying to open up a little bit of debate. Yes, it's kinda hard to balance CFI with one's own personal feelings on articles. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:47, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
My comment on this "word" was entirely directed at the desirability of changing CFI with respect to the well-known-work exception to our attestation requirements. OTOH, I cannot bring myself to vote for such nonce-sense as this one. If someone else were to come up with a good CFI-based reason to delete it, I'd be happy. DCDuring TALK 11:22, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I know there's lots of leeway on what goes in appendices, but how is this at all dictionary-worthy?​—msh210 17:54, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

It's like a table of weights and measures. It is a system of meanings. See silver jubilee, silver, WT:RFD#silver jubilee. I think we need many of such tables, in some cases in lieu of entries. DCDuring TALK 18:03, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Hm, okay. (Incidentally, we lack the relevant sense ofsilver AFAICT.) (Even more incidentally, do you really use "many of such", or was that a slip of the fingers?)​—msh210 18:09, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
As to "many of such Xs", I consider my self a trendsetter: There is only one 2009 hit for the construction in COCA vs 489 of "many such Xs". It is a back-formation from "many of them". But, alas, it is actually retro: about 60% of 2080 bgc hits are pre-1920.
An alternative presentation would be to have all of them as Coordinate terms at each headword with the appropriate sense. I don't know how to draw the line between the ones that are widely recognized silver, golden, diamond and those that are less so home appliances. That I thought I would leave to the actual definitions. It is a quaint but of materialistic bourgeois folk culture, which has left a mark on the English language. DCDuring TALK 18:28, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I checked the translations and found them to be correct. Why the revert? Eipnvn 12:25, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry. It was a mistake. I was working on the entry, got an edit conflict and thought it was only with my own prior save. It is very rare that I get a conflict with someone else on an entry (as opposed to on a community discussion page). I will attempt to restore your changes. DCDuring TALK 15:37, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to start a move to vote on better management of the TOC (I've spent too much time on large pages like "a" recently). First off, do you know if there's any systematic problems still with RHS TOCs (there was some vague mention of CJK issues earlier? If there are specific templates that just need there style fixed, that's fine, and shouldn't stop a vote. I see three different solutions that could be implemented in two different ways. I'd appreciate input into how to present it. The first solution is to use RHS ToCs. These fix the obvious problem of wasting so much space that entries don't start on the initial screen. If the ToC is longer than the first entry, however, RHS ToCs push language-specific RHS elements from that entry down below. The other avenue is to use fixed-height, scollable ToCs. When on the right (solution #2), they make sure content isn't pushed out of a language entry, and when on the left (solution #3), they make sure an entry starts at least on the initial screen (not too much room is wasted). Are there any other solutions you can think of?

After that we move onto to where to implement these solutions. It could be on all pages by default (WT:PREF for something else). Alternatively it could be done only on pages with big ToCs. For instance, a bot could find all pages with >~15 headers and automatically insert one of the solution templates ({{tocright}}, {{scrollable-tocright}}, {{scrollable-toc}}). I'd personally prefer to have scrollable, RHS ToC's on all pages (this is how I browse). The only downside is that they're a bit forgettable, but maybe this is fine, or we can spice it up with some colors or something. What's your preferred?

How do you think we should structure a discussion/vote. Present all 3x2 solutions? Present ~2 and see what BP says, and then move for a vote? --Bequw¢τ 22:17, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

For my own needs I am satisfied with rhs ToC. (I think my issues with rfp and rfap may have been due to putting a * in front of those templates. That Visviva seems to even have an alternative for "gallery" suggests that few such problems cannot be overcome.) I often use the ToC to locate structure errors: heading order and level. The scrolling, if mandatory, would slow that down. OTOH, the English language stuff would mostly appear in the window. I think any lhs option is silly and both rhs have advantages and either would be fine. I don't know whether it would be desirable to over all three options to overcome opposition, but that might be a maintenance nightmare.
There isn't that much of a constituency for non-registered user needs. I would ask Conrad or RU or Hippietrail or Visviva or Ruakh (or ?) if they think the rhs ToC is ready to be made a default or what the barriers to doing so might be. Some of them may have other ideas which might be implementable under some new MediaWiki software or when they have more time. I don't know how much of a voting issue this would have to be. But without most of our tech opinion leaders on board, I don't think anything will get implemented. The scrollable ToC would need to be tested for some length of time by some of the regulars before anyone would want to let that loose on others anyway, unless it is only trivially different from rhs non-scrolling.
I think this means that, if there is consensus among the techies that rhs ToC is ready, we could have a vote on that, if required. If you think scrollable is low-risk, then you could skip the non-scrolling, get the scrolling running, convince Conrad or someone to offer it as an option and get people to test it for a while. Then we could either implement whatever the techies thought was good without a vote or put their favorite up for a vote. I think multiple choice votes are somewhat less desirable and preferably avoided.
Those are my thoughts. I defer to the judgment of my tech betters on all tech issues but strongly favor some rhs ToC as a default. I think it is the single best change in our user interface that we are in a position to offer without radical and/or controversial layout changes. DCDuring TALK 02:30, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

When you add translation requests, please insert a space between the *-sign and the trreq-template. If the space is missing the assisted translation does not work properly. Depending on the browser, the system may produce two translation lines for languages that have more than one translation or place the attempted translation into the end of the table. Regards, --Hekaheka 20:07, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. I didn't know it was a problem, but usually (I think) insert such a space. Have you noticed me doing it more than once? DCDuring TALK 20:21, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Yep, but that's not a major problem as they are quick to fix. The latest I encountered was under one's belt. --Hekaheka 16:59, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
2 days ago I finally realized that I hadn't made a change (to prevent the problem) in what I was cutting and pasting for entries that seemed worth translating. I made the change. There should be fewer of the offenders around. I may go back and change the ones I can find. DCDuring TALK 17:37, 31 October 2009 (UTC)


I thought you might find these interesting.--Brett 17:25, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Excellent, thank you. It still leaves the ugly task of reconciling the irreconcilable: H&P vs categories users may have. We don't have a "tabula rasa", or even an erasable tabula. DCDuring TALK 17:32, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Could you take a look at the definitions for this entry? I've decided the first definition is a bit suspect, and would like a second opinion. I could go through RfV, but I'd like to run this as WOTD on the 3rd, and RfV doesn't always produce quick results. --EncycloPetey 03:36, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

I've reworded the suspect def. and added a biology def. The main idea is throwback. I didn't find the behavior sense in COCA except in reference to reversion to "ancestral" primitivism. I haven't seen it refer to, say, restarting smoking after having quit for a few years. The word habit (learned behavior) seems inappropriately Lockean. This is a more Hobbesian word. I also added some etymology. Feel free to edit. Most dictionaries just show this as a related term of atavism. DCDuring TALK 04:22, 1 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. --EncycloPetey 04:29, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Dude – I just found a cite of this in Davy Crockett's autobiography, so removed the UK tag – but the definition was incredibly specific. I've rewritten it in more general terms, but just wanted to check where you got the original def from. Ƿidsiþ 17:40, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

In my first conscious encounter, the term was used to put me in my place at my job by showing my ignorance of non-US securities markets. When I worked on the definition, I followed the links to WP and did a cursory b.g.c. search. I don't think the term is currently much in use in the UK because of the consequences of the Big Bang reform of the markets there, but I'm not sure about that. I have never heard the term in use in the US, except in reference to the UK. I'd bet it is certainly much more dated in the US than in the UK. As to the specificity, I confirmed it from the frequent occurrence near "stock(s)" and "share(s)" and not near other words like "bond(s)". I don't know whether redoing the work would lead me to the same conclusions in every regard. Do you know for sure from the context (not visible in the quote) whether the author was referring to securities or cattle? DCDuring TALK 18:58, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
He was referring to stocks and shares. But I've never heard the term myself, so I'm assuming it's fairly dated everywhere – though still, it's interesting if you've heard it in reference to the UK. Ƿidsiþ 19:24, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
The UK financial markets Big Bang was in 1986. I'd have to do more work to find out whether the term had diminished usage after then in the UK and whether the term was much in use in the US in the 20th century. I'll get to it shortly. DCDuring TALK 19:32, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi DC. I've brought this here in private as I don't think for one moment you want to delete this, simply discuss around the topic a bit. One of the thoughts in my mind is something I cannot seem to define well. In the example: "Rescuers worked against the clock to find possible survivors." there is the sense of urgency in the phrase which makes against the clock about the only possible collocation. It is this kind of thing that leads me to believe that it is idiomatic. Apart from the "figurative sense of clock" argument, which is also supportive. What d'you think? -- ALGRIF talk 12:28, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't mind being publicly "wrong" on an RfD. I'm not at all sure it is truly idiomatic. It is not in dictionaries. "Against time" is almost a synonym. "Race against the deadline", "race against death" give the same urgency. I am a bit surprised to not find more dictionary support for the figurative sense of "clock" as meaning time itself. More importantly, I don't believe that there is any reason to exclude figurative senses of the constituents of a putative headword when considering its SoPitude. For a word like head, probably the majoroty of the usage is in a sense other than the literal one (head of a living creature). DCDuring TALK 14:17, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
It isn't for the "publicity" so much as for not wanting to nominate it on RfD, ;-) My argument on figurative senses stems from the fact that SoP is not ipso facto a reason for deletion. SoP merely supports other, stronger arguments. SoP tends to assume that there are only one or maybe two senses possible. Figurative uses will blur this assumption, turning the SoP into a series of possible Parts, leaving us with the fact the the sum of the parts is less specific, less identifiable, than the whole. -- ALGRIF talk 14:45, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
That line of reasoning means there is not credit for meaning derived either from context or dictionary. I would like there to be positive argument for idiomaticity. We have a great number of "idioms" that not even idiom dictionaries have, when that is their stock in trade. The line of reasoning you propose led EP to the position of saying that, for a two-word collocation with each word having two senses, we would need to have definitions for as many of the combinations as might be attestable, if any one combination of senses were not attestable. This seems absurd and useless, especially with the widely uneven and often poor quality of our definitions and attestation for even single-word headwords.
I find untenable the combination of entry complexity, inadequate learning tools or software assistance, small number of active English contributors, and unwillingness to make any concession toward usability for new/inexperienced/infrequent users, while constantly looking for new virginal playpens (eg, Gazetteer/toponyms) and marginal entries. We need to offer some kind of guidance toward what a good entry and, especially, good senses should look like, especially for polysemic words. Once we have done that, it might be worth considering the full Pawley program by which almost anything that anyone proposed as a worthy multiword entry would be deemed worthy, virtually eliminating any RfD for multiword entries of valid constituents.
My inclination is to nominate every multiword term not in a OneLook dictionary serially to both RfV and RfD, forcing explicit definitions in line with citations and explicit idiomaticity arguments. If we want to do more than mimic the inclusion practices of other dictionaries, we can't expect that to be without explicit policy or guidelines or consensus. DCDuring TALK 15:53, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Meanwhile, we have to work within a flexible, multi-user framework built up from a type of case law debate. This is not an untenable position. Patent and trademark laws work that way. My position, as you are aware, is that I assume the user is looking for a "meaning" because s/he does not usually know what s/he needs exactly. This means that for a dictionary to be useful, it should provide as many access points to the "chunks" of meaning that make up the language. This project in particular needs this multiplex approach due to the translation aspect being so very high profile. I suspect that the "how to translate this into Russian / Chinese / Innuit / etc" argument should be more important than it is at the moment. It is quite likely that a "chunk" such as "against the clock" could have very specific translations. Thinking about Spanish, the translation is "contra reloj" which is fairly direct. But wait ... contra reloj itself has more than one meaning, so it needs to be able to link to against the clock. As you see, my argumentation is not really aimed against what you say, as I understand your stance, but I believe there is more to this project and that your "explicit" argument could be somewhat limiting at the end of the day. I don't quite see the benefits in being so exclutionist. -- ALGRIF talk 16:36, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
Lexical imperialism is the affliction of the lexicographer that says that any collocation typed in to a search box needs to find an exactly corresponding entry. I'm happy if we have usage examples, unlinked "related terms", or simply well-written constituent entries. Language users seem quite able to make inferences about meaning if they take the trouble to look at the constituents. Their experience with dictionaries generally (print and electronic) pushes them in the word-by-word direction. I find it particularly galling that the lexical imperialist argument is not based on anything factual and sharable about how users and language learners behave. It would be lovely to see what English terms idiomatic or otherwise definers of non-English terms actually choose. In the absence of those facts or other facts the translation-target argument is unsupported. Explicit standards are enabling. If the standards are loose, then we can have endless inclusionism. I would like us to fully contemplate and accept all of the consequences of that.
Do folks really believe that Wiktionary is a good English dictionary? My casual experience with serious writers suggests that they don't use Wiktionary, preferring Dictionary.com (thesaurus) or MWOnline (comprehensive US english) or Encarta (modern) or specialized dictionaries (eg business/finance) or OED (scholarly depth and uniformly high quality). The user numbers are consistent with that, AFAICT. DCDuring TALK 18:38, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I've responded at my talkpage. Thanks.​—msh210 21:51, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

So, can we just leave the edits that I've already made the way they are and leave the whole mess behind us now? Razorflame 15:03, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes. I hope you see that we have a lot of thoughts about the way things ought to be. We don't always agree, but would like to have things thrashed out before there are mass changes. A mass change (such as, say, eliminating a few languages !) can get folks excited. This question of etymology notation has come up before ("<" vs "from", specifically). If you like working on etymologies, there are many places where {{term}} is not used and should be.
What I find is that, if an entry has one departure from our current practices, it probably has a few. This rapidly correcting one specific format problem and not correcting the other problems has the negative effect of removing the item from a cleanup list that might have led to multiple improvements. This diminishes the net benefit of using tools like AWB and might occasionally turn it negative. DCDuring TALK 15:17, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I already learned from my mistake, and I won't do it again without community approval. Thanks for the message, Razorflame 15:20, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

The reason why AutoFormat was having problems with is is that it wants Pronunciation sections in numbered Etymology section to be at L4, not L3 as you were placing them. It makes that correction, but since it can't figure out if the Pronunciation section should instead be bumped before the numbered Etymology sections to apply to all of them as an L3 header, it marks it for cleanup. The error message it gives could be clearer, but I've run across it before. — Carolina wren discussió 19:51, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, so have I. As I remember (misremember ?) it doesn't like L4 either. DCDuring TALK 20:34, 6 November 2009 (UTC)`

Hi. You're good at this sort of thing, so I thought I'd bug you. Hope you don't mind; if you do, then, well, kick me in the direction of the TR or something.

Genotyped is certainly a past tense and past participle (of genotype, of course). Is it also, as our entry currently claims, an adjective? Thanks.​—msh210 18:01, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd be surprised if it were an adjective. I did a quick look for "very genotyped" and as "more genotyped than". No joy at books or scholar. As a past participle it can be expected to show up as a passive after a form of "be" which superficially resembles predicate use. The instances I looked at certainly look passive to me. And, of course, though the OneLook references don't show it as a verb, "genotype" is clearly being used as a verb in all forms, though I have only confirmed -ed, -ing, and to forms. I inserted the past and rfv'd the purported adjective sense. DCDuring TALK 20:42, 10 November 2009 (UTC)
Thanks.​—msh210 20:43, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi DCD. A neat, concise appendix. Good. One question though. The category "To be classified/labeled", apart from the first entry, which I am hard put to classify also, the rest are all nouns which mean "the activity", imho. Certainly in "to go + -ing", the gerund has always been described as being the noun for the activity. And by extension, the following 3 entries are the same use, it seems to me. -- ALGRIF talk 15:20, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

I had run out of gas and enthusiasm in media res when the text of that appendix was put into Appendix:English grammar which Appendix title struck me as a tad overambitious. I have no interest in or capability for such a monumental task. I haven't worked on gerund-participle since except to copy the text that had been merged out into the current appendix. Since the restoration of the appendix didn't bring down any wrath on my head, I am ready to go at it again some time. If you would like to have it, feel free.

I've been having fun trying to find parts of CGEL that don't seem to hard to reconcile to traditional PoSs and I have created some grammatical categories (some hidden, some not) to help me and, I hope, others interpret some of our less conventional entries and those that other dictionaries simply call idioms. I have assigned almost all idioms and many phrases to other PoS categories. The remaining items that are phrases are being but into the grammatical categories (sentences, subordinate clauses, non-constituents, coordinates, etc.) Of course prepositional phrases is a useful category. Most PPs would be both Adjectives and Adverbs, but it does seem a bit of a waste of time to double up definitions under both PoSs. I am also reading up on "zero prepositions" and may add that (possibly under a different name) as a hidden category. DCDuring TALK 22:50, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

You have new messages Hello, DCDuring. You have new messages at Nbarth's talk page.
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Hi DCDuring. Check out Talk:completely. I had some difficulties understanding the second sense you added. Cheers! Tooironic 00:02, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

With the additions, I still don't see any difference between the definitions. Each example could fit equally well under either definition. --EncycloPetey 00:50, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I have a similar difficulty understanding how the "manner" sense applied to "completely mad". "Mad in a complete manner"?
This is still a work in progress. I have created Category:English degree adverbs using lists in grammar books. There are nearly 100 adverbs therein. For each I am trying to make sure that there is a definition that clearly incorporates the degree sense, usually with the words "degree" or "extent". I also remove those words from any definition that has the word "manner" to make as clear a distinction as I can. The degree sense, if it exists, can always modify an adjective or adverb. It can sometimes modify a verb. When it can modify a verb there may actually be no separate "manner" sense, at least not in contemporary English. Finally, there can be a completely generic intensifier sense like "very", a vulgar intensifier like "fucking", or a slang sense like "totally", sometimes marked by use also as an interjection or an agreement response in dialog.
This kind of adverb, a subset of those formed from adjectives by adding "-ly" can be considered to start with a "manner" sense modifying verbs; to subsequently take on a degree sense which can modify adjectives but retains the meaning or, at least the imagery of the manner adverb; and possibly finally become generic. There may be other aspects of the evolution that I haven't noticed, too.
The word "terribly" shows all three senses, I think.
  1. The lion roared terribly (pure manner).
  2. There was a terribly loud roar. (degree, retaining manner association)
  3. (generic degree):
    1. Would you mind terribly if I didn't exactly answer your question? {modifying verb)
    2. I'm terribly late already. {modifying adjective)
A word like complete may never have had a "manner" sense distinct from its degree sense and has not developed a slang sense such as that of "totally". Because the "manner" sense is not worded in a way that works well for adjectives, if there is to be only one definition, it would need to be worded as a degree adverb. DCDuring TALK 01:38, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
My two cents: I strongly dislike most "manner" definitions for adverbs, since they don't really define the term. Instead, a relative definition to another word is given, and this is often inadequate, since the other word may have more than one definition. when that happens, we can't add quotes unless we know whether the adverb's "manner" applies to all the various senses of the other term. The "manner" definitions were created by print dictionaries as a space-saving device, and have little place here except as a temporary measure.
As for the terribly example above, I do see more than one definition, but I wouldn't use terrible for the deifnitions. I might say (1) In a manner that provokes terror. (2) To a degree, especially to a great degree. I do not see this same distinction in completely. --EncycloPetey 01:44, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I think I come to the same conclusions as you on both words. (I'm still thinking about whether there is any useful distinction to be made between the less and more generic degree senses.) I was taking my time in hopes that I would get questions or comments. I got both!.
Tackling all the manner definitions would take a very long time. Working on the degree adverbs will help me find the "manner" definitions that are misleading with respect to use with adjectives. There is also some opportunity to make some of the vulgar/slang intensifiers a bit better. There might also be an appendix and/or a couple of WikiSaurus pages. I also intend to review sentence adverbs. The more semantic categories of adverbs (location, time, frequency, duration, order, domain, evaluation etc.) can provide other ways of carving out some adverbs for definition improvement. DCDuring TALK 02:16, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
If someone could generate a page of links to all the English adverbs that currently have "manner" in the definition line, it could become a community cleanup project along the lines of Mutante's categorization effort. I tried to promote adverb awareness a couple of Decembers ago; maybe it's time to do something like that again. --EncycloPetey 02:27, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the Hippiebot works at that level yet. Perhaps manual cleanup could work even from the adverb list or the adverbs ending in -ly list if folks were allowed to use Swifties as usage examples:
"Running that oven to warm the kitchen adds a lot to my electric bill" said Tom somewhat heatedly.
"Your aunt is cute but the former Mrs. Swift is cuter", said Tom exuberantly.
"I would have been afraid to take on Jakarta" said Tom timorously. DCDuring TALK 03:15, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Feels like a Reader's Digest section... In any case, my suggestion for a page is that it makes the list editable, so that all people know (without having to check each entry) which ones are done. --EncycloPetey 03:19, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
PS, Can I assume you own a copy of The Transitive Vampire? I love the example sentences in that book, although such things are not ideal for Wiktionary. --EncycloPetey 03:20, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Just like edit counters and barnstars. Any motivational device that might stimulate some action would be good. The Swifties could be submitted in an Appendix or Project page, but only if the adverb definition had been cleaned up.
I've just put a hold on the book at my local public library, but titles with Vampire in them are all the rage at the moment due to the recent movie opening. DCDuring TALK 03:44, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
It's a basic grammar with thought-provoking and often entertaining examples. My favorite example sentences in the book are in the conjunction chapter: The robot and the dentist tangoed beneath the stars. or If Lucifer confesses, we'll let the rest of you go. Maybe the Swifties idea could form the basis of our Christmas competition. I've set those up the past few years, but hadn't yet found inspiration for a competition this year. --EncycloPetey 03:50, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
  • I have finished my first run at populating Category:English degree adverbs, mostly with words so classified in CGEL. Most of the words have additional or split definitions to distinguish manner from degree senses. Some of the manner senses have been reworded. I am thinking that it might make sense to have contexts for degree adverbs (perhaps manner and other categories), even if they were eventually rendered invisible to users. They would help maintain the distinctions. DCDuring TALK 17:20, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
    Would you consider clearly, certainly, plainly, etc. to be part of that set? They're not in there at present, and I'm not certain myself. --EncycloPetey 17:22, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Semantically they are prime candidates and fit my intuition. It also seems "clearly", "certainly", and "plainly" true that they meet a prima facie grammar test. I find my intuition and my understanding of grammar tests are not always reliable. There are other semantic categories, like "modal" adverbs, that seem to be other classes into which some degree adverbs might fall. (Isn't "certainly" just the highest degree of "probably", which CGEL calls "modal"?) But, at the moment, yes.
I am going to take a break from this and revisit Category:English sentence adverbs, which is also a grammatically distinguishable class (and one not invented by CGEL as some grammatical classes are). DCDuring TALK 17:40, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
  • Thank you, that does clear it up a bit. Will go and rethink the Chinese trans now. Cheers! Tooironic 22:30, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

May I ask you a favor? Can you please add the revision history of "Appendix:Latin nouns with English derivatives" to the page "User:Dan Polansky/English derivations"? I started the latter page back in December 2008 by copying the former, but by doing so, the revision history of the source has not been included. I'll be grateful :). --Dan Polansky 13:13, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

This is an example of why we've wanted you to be an admin. SB would want you to patrol, but that is not a requirement. I'll do it as soon as I refresh my memory on how to do it. DCDuring TALK 15:40, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

I have been far more patient with him than I am with most users. I have tried to teach him the basics of how we do things here with very little effect. One of the things we don't do is go on major editing sprees in languages we don't know anything about. I'm quite fed up with having to police his contributions and putting up with his tantrums when I undo certain revisions. On top of that, he causes meaningless drama in IRC and on meta.

Numerous regulars have asked him not to make so many edits to languages he knows nothing of, and every time he promises to stop, only to go on to another language. One of the biggest problems with this is that for some of these languages, we have no regular or even semi-regular editors, so potential mistakes (and the potential is high, indeed) may sit unnoticed for years. Tbot entries from 2007 are still floating around, and RF's edits aren't even contained in easily-identifiable categories. Having said all that, I am going to reinstate his ban, but shorten the period to one day. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 18:21, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Long-standing errors are abundant in English as well, and provide plenty of problems for translators who rely on poorly structured and worded definitions for their contributions.
Blocking is a blunt instrument. I have some hope of getting him to take an approach more likely to lead to productive edits. If I could convince you to further shorten or eliminate the block altogether for now, that would give me something to work with. I am trying to recruit him to work on English, which remains deficient in quality in many ways. DCDuring TALK 18:35, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Hiya DCDuring. Just a small request, if I may. When you add trans requests like you did here [4] (and thanks for doing them by the way - much appreciated!), if you could add *{{trreq|Chinese}}: or * Chinese: * {{trreq|Mandarin}} instead of just * {{trreq|Mandarin}} that would make my job a whole lot easier. The consensus now is to put Mandarin under the Chinese section, as opposed to under "Mandarin". Thanks heaps! Tooironic 22:26, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Your wish is my command. Henceforth shall it be so. I've probably done it the deprecated way 50 times or more. DCDuring TALK 12:13, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

FWIW span does work, but I mistyped it, it should be <span id="DCDuring">, so I missed out the =. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:04, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

My error was using "does" (not work) instead of "did". I'm no HTML/wikisyntax expert. DCDuring TALK 12:14, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi! Would you like to provide an example or two of the usage? It would make fulfilling trreq's easier. Regards, --Hekaheka 12:51, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Your wish is my command. DCDuring TALK 13:08, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi DCDuring,

How come you never resolve RFVs, only labeling them as "cited" or "clocked out"? I mean, I guess you don't have to if you don't want to, but I don't get why you wouldn't want to. It's certainly much easier than providing citations, which is something I have seen you do, so I know it's no laziness. :-P

RuakhTALK 22:47, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

As a matter of principle, I don't feel that I should close RfDs and RfVs that I have started or cited, no matter how much experience I've gotten. On RfD, I feel completely out of sync with what folks seem to want on multi-word terms/idioms, gazetteer entries, translation targets, even adhering to hard-but-not-impossible-to-change CFI. (Our CFI is essentially unchangeable and is increasingly ignored. Editable CFI does not have enough active participants to be relevant.) I find it very hard to be an advocate and a closer at the same time.
I have long spent time on cleanup of structure, missing inflection templates, bad headers, trans-table problems, category-less entries, and various other items, in the course of which I have discovered most of the items I have RfDed and RfVed. I have more recently become appalled at the low quality of many of our entries and have devoted my efforts to PoS header-category harmonization, creating and populating grammatical categories (which support entry improvement through facilitating relevant comparisons), and adverb improvement. These seem to keep me out of many of the frays. After (?) those there will probably still be all the obsolete holdover language from Webster 1913. Not to mention some basic grammar and PoS appendices and/or help pages (as soon as the professionals among us show how it's done).
Also, I remain unhappy about the lack of user focus, which has two parts: lack of admin interest in it and lack of statistics about user behavior. I've also long suspected a kind of ivory-tower ideology underlying these. Given that this is a volunteer project, I am at a loss to imagine how any change would come about.
Finally, I do not have the technical skill to develop technical solutions or even understand the technical issues that limit us.
Thanks for giving me this chance to vent and reflect. DCDuring TALK 23:23, 28 November 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm... gives me an idea. How about for the close of the year / start of the next year, we have a special page where each contributor is given an opportunity to make a statement like this. A sort of "state of the wiki" mini-address, with options to reflect on progress, pledge towards personal goals, or just rant about the shortcomings that need to be resolved in the coming year. That is, have such a page where each contributor posts his/her own statement section. --EncycloPetey 02:09, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
I rant on RfD, RfV, TR, BP, and my user page. I try not to on other peoples' user pages. Others might need a special invitation.
But actually it might be useful to have a forum at which folks can put together as coherent and long a statement as they want. No reason to have any limits other than common sense. We might get some ideas that folks haven't wanted to express. DCDuring TALK 02:44, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Do you think such a page should be on-going, or just a one-off for now? Also, should it be arranged by topic (which could result in long threads) or set up by user where each user makes a statement? I kind of envisioned the latter (in both choices) myself. --EncycloPetey 02:54, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I thought that's what you had in mind: one-off (possibly annual) and personal in choice of form and topics. It seems like it might be a good source for topics, especially one's that don't have a good forum at the moment. It might be a good way to understand others better. DCDuring TALK 03:06, 29 November 2009 (UTC)
Do you want to set it up, or should I? I'd rather you did, if it wouldn't impinge on your work, since I have to set up the December WOTD and start this year's Christmas Competition, both before tomorrow evening. :P --EncycloPetey 03:10, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi, but what about the citations at the definition? And the citations at Wikipedia? You are the only one that is questioning the definition, seems to inconclusive to me. If you would like I can email you several Canadian court cases citing the surrogatum principle. Thanks WritersCramp 16:15, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the support that you have given me over the past few weeks. It was/is very helpful :). Razorflame 16:17, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Please try to stay out of trouble. DCDuring TALK 16:34, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm trying very hard to stay out of trouble. The only thing I've been doing lately is Esperanto. Razorflame 16:36, 3 December 2009 (UTC)
I have found this a great learning environment. Many of my edits have been format-oriented. In the course of doing such work, I found that I picked up some of the basics of lexicography and tried more and more adventurous things. One very useful thing is to look at actual usage of words in edited works and in more casual use (usenet, transcribed speech). I don't know whether you can get that from Esperanto. The cleanup lists both help en.wikt and provide learning opportunities. DCDuring TALK 16:56, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

For "in a shocking manner", you changed "He appeared shockingly thin" to "He had thinned shockingly". What is the rationale? In both cases it could be either "so thin as to cause shock" or (the other sense) "to a shocking degree". Equinox 02:37, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

As I understand it, a "manner" sense really only makes sense when the adverb is modifying a verb. A "degree" sense can make sense with an adjective, adverb, or verb. The example for the manner sense, as it was previously worded, was modifying the adjective "thin". Those few dictionaries that have explicit definitions for adverbs seem to make a point of saying either manner or degree or both in their definitions of most -ly adverbs. Frankly (a sentence adverb), I am not 100 percent (degree adverb) sure that "shockingly" really (sentence adverb) has a "manner" sense illustrated that is distinct from the "degree" sense. Perhaps it should say something like:
He carried on shockingly at the party, making advances on several married women and two married men.
I'm thinking I should write this kind of thing up in an Appendix or a Wiktionary page. The reason I haven't done so is that my control of this subject is still not strong. I have a basic understanding of 3 out of 4 kinds of sentence adverbs and 2 out of 10 other kinds of adverbs. I welcome questions because it helps me be explicit about what I'm doing. I've been trying to classify the degree adverbs into synonym groups. I hope to find additional adverbs that have a degree sense, as "shockingly" does.
The material would make sense in three locations: (1) Help:Writing definitions (for the style points), (2) Wiktionary:Quotations (for the application), and (3) Wiktionary:English adverbs. Of course only the former ones currently exist... --EncycloPetey 03:09, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Yes. I was thinking of Wiktionary:English Adverbs. I don't even have a set of headers yet. I'm thinking that it would include something about grammatical and semantic types (also useful for writing definitions), morphology (mostly -ly, -wise, -s), and tests for discriminating. Also an explanation of the senses in which one can call English prepositional phrases adverbs. DCDuring TALK 11:03, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Butting in: I've started Appendix:English adverbs, with the title modeled on the titles of other grammar appendixes. Feel free to mercilessly delete the page, completely replace the content, copy it somewhere else, or whatever. --Dan Polansky 13:40, 5 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I have inserted various kinds of material into the appendix. The structure includes the elements you suggested. I am thinking that what we need is something that extracts what is lexicographically relevant and is organized around how we present adverbs in our entries. The main issues for any PoS are probably:
  1. How do we tell what is or is not a given PoS for our purposes?
  2. How do we word definitions?
  3. What should our usage examples illustrate?
  4. What should we say about how the words are used with other words in canonical sentences or in discourse?
  5. Are there ways to generate lists with redlinks for additional entries.
This is definitely inside baseball. As such, I think it would go in Wiktionary:English adverbs. Grammarians offer us help with 1, but we will make decisions on somewhat different grounds than they, giving weight to user conceptual schemes (basic PoS and semantically oriented, needing usage examples). They usually have little to say about 2. They have more to say about 3 and 4, but we have to be careful in selecting what to show and how to show it. 5 is also for us. If we do our job in the entries, there should be relatively little that goes in a grammar appendix that is not in a WP article.
For adverbs, the PoS tests are somewhat complex. We also have some gray areas for phrases which are semantically adverbial, but not grammatically in important regards. And there are controversies among grammarians about classifying some function words.
CGEL's semantic classes are somewhat useful with definitions of adverbs, suggesting checklists for types of wording.
Collocations and complementation are important areas in which grammarians can help. But we need to determine how to communicate that usefully, whether through grammatical context tags, usage examples, usage notes, or, yes, grammatical appendices.
Many adverbs have been and are generated by prefixes and suffixes. This affords us some means of checking our coverage. Subclasses may give us some lists that we can compare with those generated by specialists.
Any thoughts? DCDuring TALK 02:40, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
It is me who is thankful that you have shared your knowledge and thoughts in Appendix:English adverbs. Reading your response, I think that you are right in proposing to put Wiktionary-regulating material to Wiktionary:English adverbs, including Wiktionary-specific practical decision procedure for what constitutes an adverb, how to word definitions of adverbs and the other points you mentioned. I am looking forward to see a draft written by you at Wiktionary:English adverbs. I do not have much to contribute myself, I am afraid, but other experienced contributors may contribute once there is a draft they may feel an urge to improve. If you would feel more comfortable at posting your draft to your userspace, that would be better than nothing, although I think we are in a wiki, and even vastly imperfect and incomplete drafts should be welcome as long as they are good enough.
The draft should probably link to Wiktionary:About English in the "See also" section, as that is a page that is (a) specifically on English, and (b) is directed towards Wiktionary editors rather than readers. --Dan Polansky 11:24, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I wanted to do a little more work on temporal adverbs to make sure that I've got that covered. I really don't know this subject; I am still learning it. So much is from CGEL, which takes controversial positions, fortunately well marked. The grammar appendix is a bit like a high-school book report. The Wiktionary piece needs to be more of a translation of CGEL for our purposes. I also hope to have a few grammar textbooks at hand, and an older reference grammar (Curme). This should help me achieve some perspective. I want this to be good enough in outline and structure to become a model for this kind of thing. It is not because it must be perfect in wording or substance that I am slow to start wiktionary:adverbs. It is because the structure must be good enough and populated with enough text so it doesn't get torn apart by someone well-intentioned who thinks they share and understand my objectives and vision but don't. Once it is posted it will be accepted in principle and improved, rejected and moved to an appendix (merged with appendix:adverbs), or go through radical restructuring. The last option has the potential to be the biggest waste of time. I would much prefer that someone pick another grammatical class (proper nouns, prepositional phrases, pro-forms, ergative verbs) to provide us both more coverage and an alternative model. DCDuring TALK 12:24, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Sorry to belabour this. embarrassingly: how is "in an embarrassing manner" different from "causing embarrassment"? Your examples ("He stumbled embarrassingly about the dance floor" and "Embarrassingly to me, my companion soon got drunk") are both using the word in the same way, even though the first one doesn't bother indicating who was embarrassed. Equinox 21:18, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
I appreciate your interest. IMHO, embarrassingly has three classes of usage. The distinctions are mostly visible in what is modified: in the first case, it is a verb; in the second, an adjective; in the third, the whole sentence.
The adjective case is best understood with a definition to an embarrassing degree (subject not specified). The same reading can apply to modifying clauses or verbs. Almost any of the neutral- or negative-valence degree adverbs (very, extremely, awfully; horribly, appallingly, disgustingly) could be substituted when modifying an adjective with little loss of meaning. (As I write this, I am thinking of rewording that sense as "To the point of causing embarrassment; extremely".)
In the verb case, it is the stumbling that might be embarrassing (also to an unspecified subject), but there might not be any actual embarrassment.
In the clause case, it is the entire thing that is clearly being evaluated by the speaker as embarrassing. If "to me" were omitted, the speaker would nevertheless be the one making the evaluation. One could as well substitute "to you", "to him", "to all".
Of the three senses, MWOnline (which usually doesn't explicitly define adverbs) has two, omitting the manner sense. I would be happy to follow them, but there seems a somewhat distinguishable "manner" sense. The other OneLook dictionaries that bother with the word only have the degree sense.
I hope to get better at wording and exemplifying these senses over time. Please feel free to object to any and all of them. Right now, I am still wrestling with the distinctions myself. I will have to compare my efforts with the OED to see whether I am using CGEL in a way that is wrong. DCDuring TALK 22:06, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

I'm not convinced that the first two adverb senses are distinct. We have "working hard" under the first sense but "hard earned" under the second. I don't see the difference. --EncycloPetey 01:37, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

There could be no "effort", but, say, pain, misery, suffering, embarrassment, dishonor. I have already combined five different Encarta senses into the first, which is why there are five usage examples there. Some insist on a nautical sense, which to me is indistinguishable from the sense in the "hard left" usage example in the first sense. I couldn't believe we had only one sense with no usage examples. DCDuring TALK 01:49, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

For fun, I did a b.g.c. search and found four quotes [5]. There seem to be two / three distinct senses (and so not enough quotes yet to support any of them):

  1. In the millionth place
  2. To the millionth degree
  3. Infinitely, infinitessimally

--EncycloPetey 02:40, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I only added twelfthly because there was a break. I don't intend to go to much farther down that track. It's tedious just adding the information to make a real entry for these. It is hard to see how they would be used in the "serial order" sense which got me started, except in jest. Inventive uses, such as you've discovered, suggest that -ly is a pretty flexible suffix. DCDuring TALK 07:03, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Per WT:RFDO#Dialect etymology templates, the separate dialect templates ({{VL.}}, {{ML.}}, {{LL.}}) will be deleted. Please use the more functional and standard {{etyl}} approach ({{etyl|VL.}}, {{etyl|ML.}}, {{etyl|LL.}}). The template parameters work just the same. Thanks. --Bequw¢τ 15:16, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

How are all the existing ones going to be replaced? By hand? If we don't get some automated replacement capability, I'm going to need more convincing to accept such "improvement". It already is a waste of keystrokes (and concomitant risk of RSI and ensuing Sven-like behavior.) DCDuring TALK 15:27, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Oh, goodness, don't turn into him, please L☺g☺maniac 15:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
There were few worse threats that came to mind and my hands have been hurting a bit.
<rant> I am tired of wasting keystrokes to serve technology. I want the technology to serve me more. It's the problem with not having responsive paid technical staff. Not only is our content effort driven much more by our needs than by user considerations, the same seems true about technical efforts. Why do we have so many non-conforming headers (homophones, examples, scientific names, to mention just some common English ones)? A large portion of what I do is push things toward conformity with ELE when the automated tools tee them up on clean-up lists. We don't have enough basic cleanup lists and automated/semi-automated cleanup processes.</rant> DCDuring TALK 15:50, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Have you sent up a personalized edittools yet? I find that it has saved me lots of typing. I have set mine up so that I can insert things like
* {{a|Classical}} {{IPA|//|lang=la}}
with a single click and never have to type all that (I use that sequence a lot on Latin entries). Further, that set of text is set up so that the cursor ends up inside the slashes, so I can then start typing the IPA immediately. Conrad set up the code that makes these wonderful things happen. You can see what I use at User:EncycloPetey/edittools, and can then customize your own time-saving items. Anything I type often (or use, but have trouble remembering) I add to my edittools, and it shows up by default whenever I go to an edit window. This is technology serving the editors. --EncycloPetey 03:52, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I need to try it. As I've been spending more time with my grammar books, I've been spending less time monitoring the discussions. But I still react to change as if I had been monitoring. DCDuring TALK 11:23, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

I am interested in what could be done to facilitate the improvement of the quality of definitions.

The problem of definition quality is most evident whenever I go to our longer entries or any entry that still has the Websters 1913 tag, but also many other entries. The effect carries over to translations. We evidently cannot rely on mere unstructured human effort to improve the quality of definitions. English definitions matter because English matters in itself, because definition content matters more than any other single aspect of an entry, and because definitions are the source of glosses which are the key to organizing other sections of the entry and providing a default target for translations. This means that there needs to be improved definition to reduce wasted effort in the rest of the entry. To do this there needs to be some effort to:

  1. encourage the application of effort toward definition quality,
  2. fit the tasks to what volunteers can do, and
  3. provide tools of various kinds to help.

Some initial steps and illustrative task subgoals are:

  1. Gather advice, guidelines, etc from academic lexicographers and semantic linguists.
  2. Sort headwords into grammatical categories.
  3. Reducing the size of English language definition sections.
  4. Ensuring that there are usage illustrations for all non-obsolete senses.
  5. Inserting information about complements.
  6. Developing guidelines for definitions.

I would welcome thoughts on how these might be carried out and even on the goals.

Some major concerns to me include:

  1. whether we have enough interested English contributors to support an effort.
  2. how to encourage effort in a direction without providing net discouragement of participation in Wiktionary to any class of those who can usefully contribute.
  3. how to avoid getting mired in enthusiasm-sapping controversy.

I have started here because I am not sure of the right forum to advance this effort. A project does not seem right until there is more consensus on the desirability of the goal of quality improvement. BP is cluttered. About English is not used enough. A new Appendix or Wiktionary page does not garner attention. DCDuring TALK 11:23, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

My personal feeling, based on experience, is that coordinated efforts fail that focus on one or a few words over the short term (such as the WT:COW). What does seem to work are linked lists on static pages, where people can pop in and select from a long organized list of choices. I suggest a list of linked English words to be improved, organized forst by (primary) part of speech, then alphabetically. People can put their names beside words they are currently working on and strike them out or remove them from the list when they've reached a pre-determined quality level. This is not a short-term or quick fix, but it is more likely to produce results, in my experience.
It would also be good to have examples of diffs for pages that have been successfully improved, to show people the goal of the effort. I know that listen, parrot, curl, squat, and new have all undergone efforts to polish them to high standards (I know because I personally put a lot of the effort in). The first two also have good Citations pages. For pages with multiple language sections all expanded, I know off-hand only of biceps, which also has lots of citations. There are others out there that I've seen recently (like intempestivity, but because I wasn't involved in the expansion, I don't recall which pages they are. --EncycloPetey 03:44, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the COW experiment suggests that such efforts will not be a large part of the answer. I also don't think we can count of Herculean one-person efforts such as Visviva's on head. Even getting a single sense of a single word can take longer than what many a contributor has the sitzfleisch or opportunity to contribute in a single session. And that leaves many other parts of the job undone.
I have thought of many less demanding segmentations of the work that might be ways of harnessing the kind of time and attention that people can devote. Some examples:
  1. Making sure that senses of a single PoS cover the range of meanings without excessive overlap is a distinct challenge.
  2. Generalizing senses is often needed.
  3. Working across words to their synonyms would be nice too.
  4. I'm hoping that having reasonably good sub-Pos categories (as I am trying in adverbs) can help by speeding the search for synonyms and words with similar function.
  5. Building up our synoyms headings would be worthwhile. Many entries have lists of synonyms as a definition. That presentation is not terribly helpful. Only one or tw synonyms should be in a definition. the rest belong in synonyms.
  6. I've been thinking that we need to incorporate some more information about the complements taken by various words. (At present we have very little systematic information of this type except for transitive/intransitive tags, themselves not complete, not adequate for double objects, and complicated by the ergative tag.)
  7. Usage examples are a way of validating and demonstrating the senses that should take a native speaker much less time than full attestation.

Weren't sure if you saw this from Google. It's a nice analogue of "above the fold" and could be used to modify page layouts. --Bequw¢τ 05:30, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. If there were some kind of consensus to care. I don't think I like the (erroneous) implications that someone could draw for the rhs ToC. DCDuring TALK 23:12, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
I think the vertical rise on the right-hand side of their image overlay is for when the page forces the user to scroll to the right. That usually doesn't happen with our pages, so the RHS TOCs should always stay in the highly visible portion. --Bequw¢τ 01:19, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
You are right. Their display software doesn't support our text-flow and the ToC float. It actually appears in the 90-95% zones, about as good as could be. The problem is that it more or less says that landing page/above the fold good and scrolling down/sideways bad, which we all know, but the implications of which don't seem to motivate too many. Is this just our playground? DCDuring TALK 01:59, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

In light of your participation in Wiktionary:Beer parlour archive/2009/September#SI units and abbreviations, please contribute your thoughts to Wiktionary:Votes/2009-12/Proposed CFI exception for SI Units. Cheers! bd2412 T 21:01, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Just to say that JackPotte doesn't actually want to delete these, he wants to rename them to Category: [] terms. But you can't rename categories so you have to move the contents and delete the old one. I'm not saying to change your vote, just given JackPotte's lack of explanation, you might not have understood. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:03, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

I know. DCDuring TALK 23:07, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Interesting that CFI says almost nothing about idiomaticity. Sum of parts doesn't appear anywhere, for example, but it does say that " [] of including a term if it is attested and idiomatic."

A bit later

"A term need not be limited to a single word in the usual sense."

So, as far as CFI is concerned, I can nominate child for RFD as it is not idiomatic. So we'd keep faster-than-light, but delete child, the, game and stuff like that, because they are not idiomatic. Do you see why nobody ever quotes CFI in deletion debates now? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:45, 19 December 2009 (UTC)

A written document is usually subject to that kind of thing. We don't seem to have that many good writers. Even unambiguous definitions seems to elude us. It is easy to become frustrated at the poor drafting in CFI. Lawyers and legislators who can craft documents that are usable (not just "intelligible") over decades definitely earn their keep. It is not easy to get volunteers to draft good policy documents (consider Editable CFI), but it is hard to dispense with them. It is also silly to constantly go back to first principles or, worse, slogans for every issue.
To overcome poor drafting one must read the document in such a way that any apparent contradictions from different parts of the document are reconciled. Perhaps a principle like AGF, Assume Intelligent But Imperfect Authorship (AIBIA). In this case, clearly, all discussion of idiom relates to multi-word entries (hyphenated terms being an undiscussed gray area). SoP is just a shorthand for the key element in virtually all definitions of idiom: that its meaning not be decodable from knowledge of its parts. (I suppose a really good draftsman would anticipate the need for shorthand and incorporate it into the document explicitly.) "Idiom" itself is not a perfect choice because it has at least two senses in general use. DCDuring TALK 12:39, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
The most common way to get round this is just to ignore it. I mean, how many times a day do you or I break the law? Even police officers and judges know to use their brain instead of applying the law rigidly, in fact they know it better than the rest of us. In the UK for example, it's illegal for a woman to eat chocolate while using public transport. In reality, Wiktionary decisions work on instinct and precedents rather than written rules that have never actually been used. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:34, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I break the law twice a day, every day, when I walk my dog off-leash in a public park where it is forbidden. When in the park I do my best to influence others to control their dogs so that the long arm of the law does not take this convenience and pleasure away from us. Largely unenforced laws effectively force more careful behavior on law-breakers like me and even on those less conscientious than me (by my agency). Many laws are silly, but it is the duty of a responsible citizen to try to change silly laws or accommodate to them. If the citizens are too lazy or indifferent, then it must not be a very important matter to them. Civil disobedience is also an option. If I chose to break our rules, I could simply unilaterally delete terms that I knew to be wrong, trusting my own increasingly informed judgment.
I don't trust intuitive processes without supplementation. At en.wikt, just as in society, we have evolved some policies and are attempting to improve them. The process is analogous to natural evolution. Police officers and judges can't be trusted without a framework. Where the framework (including shared values) is weak, simply trusting the police and judges without training, help, supervision, and sanctions leads to at best error, if not corruption or chaos. I find it particularly distressing when the police and judges do not even pretend to be enforcing laws and advocate their own unfettered freedom.
CFI is hard to change because many of the more committed and knowledgeable folks here don't want to change it in any particular way. Almost everyone has some pet area that they want expanded. Unfortunately, there is no one who has an idea, can draft a proposal, and make arguments that are convincing enough to change what consensus we have. The fact that CFI proposals fail does not mean that it is perfect or even good. It simply means that there is no consensus for any particular change. To expect to change the policy without some effort to test the implications is irresponsible, even juvenile.
What is intuitively obvious to me is that our current mix of contributors does not find much interest in quality improvement, though that is our major deficit. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 16:29, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Dr. Arnold Zwicky recently posted an entry in Language Log that might interest you:

More on comparatives and superlatives

(actually, most of Language Log is interesting, though Dr. Mark Liberman's posts are usually the best).
RuakhTALK 14:14, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. That will be good material for Appendix:English adjectives and Appendix:English adverbs and might generate some ideas for entry improvement. I really like Zwicky's Errors. I don't visit or search Language Log often enough. I know it is a high-quality site. RSS feeds and even group posts are way too time-consuming. I always follow links to the site.
Now that I am thinking about the PoS grammar appendices, I have more reason to search there. I really can only manage one header at a time for the appendices, on a topic I can research, since my prior knowledge is negligible. I work from the bottom up, which is why I like to not work on Appendix:English grammar. I'd rather produce something that was linked to from it and from other useful places like the PoS categories. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 15:42, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

You’re right. All the forms I was thinking of are fairly long-established. My apologies.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:11, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

No problem. It only takes one "real" counterexample and a very few keystrokes to switch it to the other category. I had just been extending the category of words suffixed with "-n't". There must be those who wouldn't call it a suffix. I also don't know how many of them were actually formed in Middle English (or before?). I have put them under the PoS header "Contractions". I should revisit this and check prior discussions. CGEL calls then inflectional forms of the verbs. If another one of the major modern grammars or the weight of scholarship of the last 20 years agrees with CGEL, it should be changed. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 18:32, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

While I'm thinking of it, how do you personally feel about the use of (ambitransitive) in place of (transitive, intransitive)? --EncycloPetey 22:37, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I hate it for users; it's fine for me/us. I've been thinking how well designed is Longmans DCE's terse information on complements for verbs. They have twenty five grammar codes (for all parts of speech), 13 of them for verbs. I'm not especially advocating codes, but for "ambitransitive" they have "[ + obj(i) + obj(d) ]". Some labels seem as helpful as dormitive principles to the uninitiated and to merely occasional dictionary users. (Also pretty much all the semantic category headers except synonyms and antonyms). The only "technical" terms they use in their codes or explanation of their codes are:
  1. "attributive" for "[A]", referring to attributive adjectives.
  2. "countable" for "[C]"
  3. "intransitive" for "[I]"
  4. "plural" for "[P]"
  5. "singular" for "[S]"
  6. "transitive" for "[T]"
  7. "uncountable" for "[U]"
  8. "progressive", used in "[not in progressive form]" (for stative verbs).
They have two other letter codes:
  1. "[F]" for "following" for adjectives that appear postpositively.
  2. "[L]" for "linking" for copulas.
The other codes are similar to their replacement for "ambitransitive". The only other feature of their system to note is that they use strikethroughs to indicate things that are not allowed for the particular word against type for the indicated class. For example, "[T + that; obj]" indicates a transitive verb followed by a clause beginning with "that", but not permitting a noun or pronoun object.
I am not advocating codes, but I admire what they try to convey and the care that went into their notational system. Hats off to Dr. Quirk and the Longmans advisory board and team. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 23:15, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Haha. Well, I have seen this page growing recently, and I agree with most of what it says – it's a really good start. From my point of view, the best way to write a definition is to start with several examples of the word being used and to try to explain them. That usually shows up most of the problems with what you think it means. Anyway, as for the rest, I will have a good look at it when I'm back home (I'm away right now). Ƿidsiþ 15:03, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

I had noted your work today on turn on, which seemed good. It reminded me that you have tackled some of our hardest words. I look forward to your contributions and thoughts on those pages.
Writing dictionary definitions is an extremely unnatural act. Even revising definitions seems hard. (Witness the definitions from Websters 1913 that have not been substantially rewritten despite dreadfully obsolete wording.) I am interesting in trying to conceptualize some of the definition/redefinition work as a series of easy steps because that seems to work better with the way most people usually contribute to a wiki.
I often find Websters 1913 definitions so hard to understand that I cannot tell whether the sense is obsolete or dated or whether the wording just needs to be updated. Sometimes the same sense cuts across grammatical subtypes. To me grammar (complement types, for example, or modificand types (if that's a word)) provides a relatively firm primary basis for subdividing senses. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 15:24, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. A step-by-step guide for beginners to this process? Sounds like a good idea. There are plenty of folks here who know tips and tricks that I would love to know more about, and perhapos having a written "procedure" would tempt them to commit their ideas in writing. Is there an existing page where this could appear, or will we need to start one? --EncycloPetey 17:02, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
In addition to Help:Writing definitions, we might have Appendix:Writing definitions and Appendix:Improving definitionsWiktonary:Writing definitions and Wiktionary:Improving definitons. The step-by-step approach I have been thinking about would be most immediately needed for and applicable to improving the Websters 1913 entries, but also to definitions with other typical errors or error syndromes. Perhaps entries from the Vulgar Tongue slang dictionary and Century Dictionary might merit some special treatment of their characteristic flaws from our 2010 perspective. I think that improving definitions offers more potential for improving Wiktionary for the foreseeable future. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 17:33, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps a subpage(s) of Help:Writing definitions (i.e. /Tutorial or /Improving definitions)? Sounds useful. It might be better to keep it in the Help namespace though? L☺g☺maniac 17:36, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
I was mostly thinking of using the namespace placement as a way to preserve the idea of who the target audience was. I am thinking of Help as aimed at newer users: 0-1+ years. The idea would be to make things explicit and communicate without our jargon if at all possible. We could dispense with those limits to a greater extent in an appendix. Once we had some principles for how to improve definitions (which we don't), we might be able to come up with something for Help space. I was really most interested in getting agreement on specific tasks that met a few requirements:
  1. newer users could do them.
  2. experienced users could do them quickly.
  3. there was no harm or some benefit to them in themselves.
  4. they eased the process of revising definitions. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 19:11, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
Minor comment: You seem to have an unusual view concerning the Appendix namespace. I would never put procedures, guidelines, or advice there. I would use Help: to assist beginning users and to treat technical issues, while using Wiktionary: for meta-information about the editing, functioning, and policies of Wiktionary on a day-to-day basis. --EncycloPetey 20:15, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
You're right. Wiktionary space is, above all, where technical dictionary matters belong, excluding the beginner material. Appendix is for some kinds of content that is suitable for non-contributing users. Should Appendix:English adjectives move to Wiktionary space? Its current content is relatively Wiktionary oriented, though it is a simplified version of the kind of thing one would find in a reference grammar. DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 23:27, 31 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that one could go either way, since it doesn't overly emphasize editing or usage. If it's intended to be an editor's test for classifying entries, then Wiktionary space. If it's going to be expanded to include more grammatical information, it would fit just fine in the Appendix space. --EncycloPetey 23:31, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

FYI, you might wanna refrain from trans requesting obscure words like paremiology for languages which have very few active contributors - Vietnamese for example. Its requests keep piling up but no one seems to be answering them... Tooironic 02:12, 1 January 2010 (UTC

Any others? DCDuring TALK * Holiday Greetings! 02:28, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Do you know what entry title should we use for this idiom? Normally for reflexive-like possessives I use one's, but put one's heads together has serious issues. :-P
Thanks in advance!
RuakhTALK 22:13, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

How about put heads together? That seems to work for AHD/Dictionary.com as the run-in entry for this at "head". They also use it as a redirect-equivalent to "put their heads together" and "put our heads together" (from Cambridge idioms dictionaries). They use different forms for Intl and Amer idiom books. Usage examples or redirects for all three plural possessive pronouns should handle it. DCDuring TALK 22:30, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Done, thanks! —RuakhTALK 23:30, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Possible risks involved in your idea of automating adverbs' definitions using adjective-level synonyms: (i) adjectives have subtly (or less subtly) differing shades of meaning that might become more stark in the adverbial forms (largely means hugely far less commonly than large means huge; freshly means newly far more commonly than fresh means new); (ii) sometimes there are totally different senses of one adjective that might be the dominant sense in its derived adverb (note how smashingly does not mention destruction at all); (iii) we could get mired in circularity, defining two synonymous adverbs in terms of each other. Equinox 17:21, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

I absolutely do not think this can be truly automated for reasons such as those you point out. I am interested solely in using automation to make entries more ready to support more abundant and rapid good-quality (sadly not perfect, but better than nothing and improvable) manual definition work. If we rely on counsels of perfection we won't make much progress.
I have been wondering why I find actual defining work so hard and instead lapse into the more superficially stimulating checklist work. Checklist work provides almost video-game-like stimulation vs. the frustrating aspects of much definition work. That is why I have been wondering how to harness this preference for quick-hit work to make the final task of generating improved and new definitions easier. If the world's militaries are making war more video-game-like, perhaps we can do the same for lexicography! DCDuring TALK 18:00, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
Wiktionary the video game, where you fight vandals, create entries, add pronunciations and etymologies, cite RFV's, and improve definitions to increase your score... Ha ha. What fun.  :) L☺g☺maniac 18:07, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
I thought you'd left! P.S. A few years ago I submitted a snarky LiveJournal: The Game to a silly game contest. Your final score was determined by how many "friends" you had gained by staying on the right side of drama, etc. Equinox 18:10, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
I was hoping to be able to rely on w:Intrinsic motivation ! DCDuring TALK 18:45, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
What do you propose doing, then? Creating an imperfect entry from synonyms with a cleanup tag on it? Equinox 18:10, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
The last step after the cleanup-list operations (manual, assisted, and bot?) would be to list entries that were maximally "ready" for manual definition/redefinition/improvement. Such entries would be good training exercises for more complex entries, among other things. The -ly adverbs seem like a place to start because they are relatively homogeneous. The baseline "in an X manner definitions" are sometimes not to be surpassed, usually, sometimes improvable, and sometimes supplementable.
I don't really know what to do about -ly adverbs derived from highly polysemous adjectives. It seems of questionable value to add "in an X manner" for most of these by individual synonym for the each adjective sense. OTOH, COCA and BNC make it easy to look at a lot of usage examples to help winnow the possibilities. DCDuring TALK 18:45, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Hi DCDuring,

I was looking through Category:English prepositional phrases to try to determine if EP was right that most prepositional phrases are specifically adjectival or specifically adverbial (my provisional conclusion being that most prepositional phrases are listed by us as only one or the other, but that it's almost always easy to find citations for both), when I came across this one, which you added to the category back in June.

The thing is, it doesn't really seem to be a prepositional phrase; rather, it seems like the first part of a prepositional phrase, “in the face of ____”. That makes it a compound preposition rather than a prepositional phrase. (By some analyses, it's not a constituent at all, but rather, just the preposition in plus the first part of its object; but I think we can safely discard those analyses as inimical to lexicography. :-P  )

Normally I would have just removed it from the category, but I saw that you were the one who added it, so I wanted to ask you about it first to be on the safe side.

RuakhTALK 15:39, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure who hijacked my identity to make that change. Perhaps the hijacker had been thinking about the idea of "phrasal prepositions". Perhaps he had the fleeting thought that it would be easier to find them if they were both in Category:English prepositions and Category:English prepositional phrases. Perhaps the hijacker was just trying to discredit me.
In any event, perhaps the hijacker will reverse the change, knowing that we are on to him/her. DCDuring TALK 17:11, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

In re this: I understand your point, but as I explained when I did so, I changed the highlighting method from a pale-gold background to a goldenrod one because the former is too pale for some screens; [I’d hoped it had been] a good compromise between utility and æsthetics — clearly it wasn’t. The present colour is too pale for my laptop computer, but is presumably fine for my desktop one; the goldenrod was perfect for my laptop, albeit garish on my desktop. Emboldenment won’t do; its inadequacy is what spurred the creation of {{citedterm}} / {{q}}. Do you know of any suitable “compromise between utility and æsthetics”?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 03:36, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Customization. The imposition of color on the population at large seems wrong: against the style of WMF enterprises and a throwback to on-line hucksterism. You, the master of typographical variation, are best suited to address a problem that you seem to perceive and feel most strongly. DCDuring TALK 11:13, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
But what do we have for the default? I’m sceptical of customisation, since WT:PREFS is virtually the only means of achieving that. Originally, the background was plain yellow, per Google Book Search highlighting, but that was objected to for being in bad taste. I don’t think my “master[y] of typographical variation” really helps at all in this situation. How about getting some user feedback on different highlighting schemes viâ the main page? I know how you like focusing delivering what users expressedly prefer. ;-Þ  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 23:41, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Sure. Basic web-design guidelines tend to favor less color rather than more for "serious" sites and the use of color only for items meriting it. It would be interesting to see how our contributors come out on this. One of the ways in which Google won is by having a radically clean landing screen and fairly clean search-results pages (in contrast with, say, Yahoo). But "that was then and this is now." DCDuring TALK 23:49, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
No, I agree, a low-colour scheme is what we should strive for. What we need is highlighting that is obvious enough to draw attention to the cited term when a user scans a quotation, but subtle enough not to distract a user when he’s reading some other part of the entry. Do you think we can figure out what the highlighting ought to be by an internal straw poll, or should we seek the feedback of our users?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:23, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't think we have ever gotten systematic information from our users. We would need someone technical and someone market-research-oriented to get together to do it. I could mostly provide always-welcome "management services". I doubt that this is worth it.
A straw-poll not conducted in secrecy (as votes effectively are) would be good enough, especially as changes would be reversible anyway, except for the use of technical resources/time. It would be fine to just direct users to the entries that already have the templates or to hard-code each possible color into one headword page (one page per color). DCDuring TALK 00:36, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
It needn’t even be on different pages; we could just use the permanent links to previous revisions, each hard-coded with a different colour of background-highlighting.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 01:15, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

It seems that our entire discussion has become obsolete, now that Conrad.Irwin has fixed the display of the far-preferable, thin, black outline which we can use instead. BTW, please comment on this at WT:RFDO#Template talk:q, given that you were the nominator.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:39, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Do you have any thoughts on the historical grammar of "the" in expressions like "why the dickens"? The parallel use of prepositional phrases like "in Hell" and "on earth" made me wonder whether "the" was some kind of relic of an oblique case of Old English ancestral "the" that might be interpreted as a preposition or something. Alternatively, are these expressions elliptical forms of some oaths? DCDuring TALK 00:48, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

  • That's a really good question. The earliest type of phrase like this seems to be used with devil (for which dickens is a euphemism). And in the earliest examples there is sometimes no article (eg Chaucer: ‘What devel have I with the knyfe to doo?’). But it appears equally often with an article, and what's more the whole construction seems to be taken from French, where ‘comment diables!’ was a common Old French expression. On balance I think the is behaving normally here – we usually talk about "the Devil" rather than just "devil" – and possibly the definite article got transplanted to phrases like "what the dickens" in imitation. But more digging around in early quotations would be needed to really clear it up. Ƿidsiþ 10:19, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts. It struck me that grammar peculiar to cussing may not have been quite as thoroughly studied as some other realms and may have old or, at least, distinct influences. DCDuring TALK 11:06, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Maybe I'm dense, but would you mind explaining the difference between the categories English imperatives and English imperative sentences?​—msh210 21:11, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, if I'm not dense, I'm at least forgetful. I think it must have been command nouns (eg, attention) that put me off using Category:English imperative sentences, which I had created first. I'd be inclined to fold the sentence one into the other. I think it was one side that triggered it.
What do you think? One category for all imperatives with the imperative (non-gloss ?) definition appearing under whatever PoS header seems natural? OR make imperative sentences a subcategory under imperatives? The first option seems better. Are there other ways of doing this ? DCDuring TALK 22:40, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I agree with your assessment (re what to do, not re density and forgetfulness  :-) ).​—msh210 22:44, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
BTW, all of the relatively unpopulated grammatical subcategories are suspect, especially if I created them. They will need some consolidation or reform.
Also, I'm sure you have noted Category:English phrasal prepositions which effectively reverses some edits you had done. I think it makes sense as it is. There seems to be controversy between the Quirk team and the H&P team about the right grammatical analysis of (some of ?) them and consequently about the utility of the category. Whether we call them Phrases that are semantically (and often grammatically) like prepositions or Prepositions that sometimes behave grammatically like layered PPs doesn't seem terribly important. The first is a closer fit with users, I think, and is the way we do it. Perhaps we can use Category talk:English phrasal prepositions to develop some way to appropriately qualify the Prepositionhood of these. DCDuring TALK 23:12, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
(I'm trying to bear your cats in mind for categorization purposes; to that end, I have, as you may have noticed, a hierarchical list of them on my userpage.) Thanks for heads-up about the suspect ones. Re phrasal prepositions: You'll have, I'm afraid, to remind me what it reverses, if that's important. It looks good.​—msh210 23:19, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Some of the "phrasal prepositions" had been in that category. At some point it seemed that you had considered that a mispelling-type blunder and reversed it. I had been doing something similar more recently and the matter is somewhat controversial, so, one way of the other it is not that big a deal.
The categories that have some population should be appraisable based on the membership in terms of their coherence and consistency for our purposes, but that is only part of the overall question of their utility. I am always happy to discuss questions about such matters and accept any reasoned views or even mere skepticism about them. DCDuring TALK 01:53, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Not obvious why you blocked him/her. Didn't seem like an (overt) vandal. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:31, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Simply an error. I was trying to find reincarnations of evil. DCDuring TALK 20:53, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

You can find all our terms starting with hell here. As I said, any reason for nominating one of the SoP ones, but not the others? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:30, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Feel free to add more. DCDuring TALK 11:21, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks very much for your comments. I agree with keeping as few single word, non-idiomatic interjections as possible. Otherwise there could be tens of thousands ("Green!", "Mom!", "swim!"). But I did want put in "well" as an interjection - (idiomatic) Used to acknowledge a statement or situation (short form for "that is well"). It was already an "adverb" in well for "used to introduce a statement that may be contrary to expectations" so I generalized it and put it in as an interjection instead. Facts707 22:23, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I was mostly trying to bring you more or less up to date on the issues as I see them. If you look at Category:English interjections you will see quite a menagerie - and that is after some effort to clean out some of the worst. My own views prove changeable on these things, but clearly there are many items in that category that don't fit the narrow definitions of interjection.
I would prefer the exclude meaningful words sometimes used as interjections out of the Interjection PoS if there were a related sense corresponding to the sense(s) taken in exclamations. I fear that it will not be possible to keep contributors from adding a redundant Interjection section anyway. I wonder, for example, how long it would take before someone would decide that attention needs an interjection section, not matter what the noun section contained. I believe that a wiki cannot sustain exclusionary principles, not matter how inherently desirable they may be, without a substantial amount of conflict. DCDuring TALK 23:02, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

What the hell was this about?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 03:43, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

It was the hell about the square brackets, which, in context, was a good edit. (I've been removing such redundant edit-count brackets myself sometimes.) I didn't see the quotation added, as I couldn't in my remotest imaginings contemplate that one would be added. Sorry. I've been noticing some plurals classified as nouns as I've been scanning English nouns, which is how I came to the entry in question.
BTW, why do you bother to:
  1. insert the quotations header for such entries?
  2. let alone cite them to begin with? and
  3. remove alt spelling of the plural, when that would save the user (most likely a contributor like me) a click in grokking the entry? Some users don't have ultra-high-speed connections and our servers aren't that fast anyway. DCDuring TALK 11:01, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, no problem. Sorry to you, too; my question had an overly-aggressive tone. I added those plurals as obsolete spellings of the singular because that’s how the OED seemed to list them in its entry for scion; it usually lists alternative spellings of inflected forms by explicitly marking them as such, though, obviously, they did not in this case. The spellings listed at scion#Alternative spellings will need independent verification by us at some point. Your questions:
  1. I believe it looks neater; having them separated like that makes the definition easier to spot quickly. In such short entries, there is plenty of space that’s wasted when they’re made too compact, so I add some spacing to make them more pleasing to the eye.
  2. It’s A Good Thing™ for our content to have a solid basis in attestation. (This is, unfortunately, a low priority for most of our contributors, as you know.) I really admire the OED for its plethora of citations. I try to encourage the same thing here. Whilst certain entries definitely benefit from attestation more than others (morphemic monosemic lemmata probably top that list, whereas present participles are the kind of entry near the bottom), attestation is always an improvement; I wouldn’t go to the effort of tri-citing every one of these obsolete spellings, regular plurals, and so on, but adding an independently-verified citation which is given by the OED seems like a reasonable amount of effort to invest.
  3. It isn’t appropriate, IMO, in those cases. Cyens is the plural form of cyen, which is an obsolete spelling of scion, but cyens isn’t an obsolete spelling of scions. This may look like a distinction without a difference, but I don’t believe it is. The same applies to tripod, tripus, tripos, and tripous, which are all alternative spellings of one another (though the relation is a little less clear-cut), whereas tripods, tripi, tripoi, triposes, and tripodes are their plurals, but aren’t themselves alternative forms of one another. In any case, including {{obsolete spelling of|scions}} does not make finding useful information any quicker for the user — the routes are cyenscyenscion or cyensscionsscion — both of which necessitate two clicks.
I hope that serves to explain my actions adequately. :-)  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 01:48, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
I differ with you in that I believe that any form of an obsolete, archaic, or rare term ought to have a link to a word that might be recognizable to someone who knows contemporary English in addition to the link to the obsolete or archaic lemma. To omit or remove them is to waste users' time. I think that users' brains do the meaning construction work. If they are stuck on something like "cyens" and look it up their brain will get the job done more quickly with a current-word reference.
Our desire for consistent presentation based on some esthetic/logical ideal does them a disservice. Saving users from an unnecessary extra click should be one of our highest, most ennobling aspirations. DCDuring TALK 11:29, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
How’s this for a solution? I have found it best always to look for a way of accommodating disparate ideals where possible, rather than insisting that one value be given primacy in all cases. Now, all I want to know is, will my title be hereditary, or will I merely be created a life peer for this? ;-)
BTW, could you leave a space between your comments and others’ in future (except where doing so would break bulleting, numbering, or whatever), so as to improve readability, please? Thanks.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:03, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

rfe-nl removed. Entry is now complete. JamesjiaoT C 09:14, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, it looks good.
There is no need to ever let me know about any changes to an entry, unless it is of very special interest. I have a big (overlong) watchlist and I insert many rfps/rfes and other requests in the course of entry cleanup. I try to police the rfc-structure list, which usually surfaces various problems and needs for updates. I find etymologies helpful in ensuring that an entry has had some level of thought and in making the entry more intelligible, especially for a language I don't know (but can at least read the script of !). DCDuring TALK 16:06, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

...what's with all the trans reqs? Vietnamese already has 400 piled up, Arabic 314, Japanese 381, Korean 309, etc, etc. Methinks no one is going to get to them any time soon, so why bother adding them for (I assume) every entry you come across? Tooironic 05:20, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

I have added them for a relatively few of the entries I have come across. In any event, of what concern is it to you? When someone finally gets around to it, they can do it. In the meantime they can sit there. If you don't like the requests, you can always simply remove them.
Why don't you use the normal request process for your requests for entries? DCDuring TALK 10:51, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The problem with edits like this is that it removes the edition date. The quote doesn't appear on p. 106 of the 1973 first edition hardback, it appears on p. 106 of the Penguin 2001 paperback. This is crucial information. Ƿidsiþ 21:52, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

OK sorry. DCDuring TALK 22:38, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Re: Wiktionary:Information desk#It's an idiomatic, stupid! -- Thanks, done it's the economy, stupid and it's the something, stupid. Cheers. 18:47, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm not 100% sure we should have them, but it's worth a shot. I think they make for ugly-looking entries in some ways. But, thanks for the entries.
BTW, why not register? It offers some customization advantages and it's easier for folks to trust registered users. DCDuring TALK 20:43, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks much for your comments. After looking at the "English rhetorical questions" category I agree that they should all be idiomatic (I did remove two entries from that category because they were not defined as questions). I don't mind have the "English rhetorical questions" (sub)category in with the English idioms category, it should be useful.

Lately I've been to trying to trim down the "English idioms" category to remove unnecessary duplicates such as all 26 of the appendices of the editors' picks (which are included in a separate box, now just one line, at the top).

I don't know if there is a way for anything included in "English rhetorical questions" to be automatically included in "English idioms". There doesn't seem to be a template for "English rhetorical question" as there is with "idiom". Also, one "rhetorical question", who's 'she', the cat's mother? is listed with a question mark at the end, while all the others are not. I think it should probably be one way or the other - I kind of like the question mark at the end personally.

Finally, I agree, the idiomatic inclusion/defn. criteria could be better defined.

thanks again, Facts707 20:29, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I have created several grammatical-type categories that, in effect, serve as subcategories for Category:English phrases and Category:English adverbs. They are quite imperfect and could benefit from someone else's perspective besides mine. I am no professional linguist, nor do I have any formal linguistic training, so there is not much more to these categories than is written in the category text and talk. I have been consulting CGEL and have been reading up on modern lexicography and semantics. I'm just not sure how to integrate that kind of thing with a wiki. To some extent we need to be more inclusive than the most inclusive commercial dictionary to take advantage of the energies of contributors. But we also need to improve quality. DCDuring TALK 22:33, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Hi DCDuring,

Could you help me categorize this? I've put it in the vague Category:English discourse markers, but I suspect it belongs somewhere in Category:English sentence adverbs. I just can't figure out where.

Thanks in advance!
RuakhTALK 01:26, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

I need to think on this. I'm not 100% happy with the adverb categories. This might be a "conjunctive" or a "speech-act" adverb. But "speech act" opens up the question of narrowness or breadth in defining what a "speech act" is. The definition implicit in the adverb category is broad indeed. DCDuring TALK 01:47, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Hi. Judging from recent posts, you seem to have moved further into my wicket (or perhaps you were always there?) , looking at Wikt with the eye of a TEFL. I certainly try to defend this particular wicket, as I feel our users are far more international, with English as L2 or L3, than just about any other dictionary, and hence have difficulty in decoding such items as slipt that you correctly commented on. A dictionary for non-native speakers is an area I would really like to explore more deeply, but as you say, it seems that the discussion is always just out of reach. From an EFL point of view, I believe that the appendices should be more visible, for instance, perhaps with an Appendices header level 4 stating "this word can be found in the following appendices". Usage notes should be ample rather than skimpy, correct use of tags, etc. The EFL point of view is what has guided my thinking in the debates about chemist's and capitals for animals, birds, etc. I think your -'s appendix is good, but still believe there should be an entry at chemist's all the same. I believe that it would be clearer to EnL2 users if animals, birds etc followed the general Wikt policy of "lower case unless capital really is the standard format". (Isn't that why the proverbs start with lower case except for Rome wasn't built in a day and similar?). How to open this debate? How to spur some interest? Where to locate it? Any thoughts? -- ALGRIF talk 17:48, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Actually, I think Wiktionary may fail because the English-language side will not be providing good translation targets. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't make the best of it. I'm still learning English myself and find the common patterns interesting. I firmly believe in the overwhelming importance of English-language definition quality (completeness, writing quality, up-to-date-ness) with usage examples a close second. I know that Appendices are not really accessible unless they are fed by {{onlyin}} and other links or a change in how search works. I agree that the lower case is more common in general use, but our pretensions to being the all-senses/all-words/all-languages dictionary continues to include all dates and all contexts. The dog-breeding industry has non-coercively standardized on capitals. Animal and plant vernacular names may also be or have been (in UK in 19th century) at that point. DCDuring TALK 21:00, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
I raise points like this in specific instances. If someone else takes the subject further, then I take that to mean that there might be enough interest to make a difference. I have taken DanPolanksy's interest in provoking interest phrasebook as a chance to see if we can make it into a useful tool for learners. The progress of that discussion should provide some indication of directions of promise and of some possible consensus of some kind among contributors. DCDuring TALK 21:06, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
This is a good issue to clarify in our basic documentation. Our stance affects things like the inclusion of labels like {{uncountable}}, which are important guides for English learners, but omitted by native-speaker dictionaries because such rules are routinely and intuitively broken in good English.
Recognizing such elements could also let us let dictionary readers to customize their view for their needs. Michael Z. 2010-03-04 23:21 z

(from Facts707 user talk): This would be a worthwhile principle to establish, one way or the other. I think I agree with your approach. But rather than implement it wholesale or in edit wars, it might be better to bring the matter up at WT:BP with a rationale. It could then become a matter of cleanup and be implemented universally (one way or the other). DCDuring TALK 18:22, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, didn't mean to start an edit war. I don't think the others actually had a problem with removing "idiom" from, say, bassackwards when bass-ackwards has "idiom" and is the main entry. I think the problem was when I went a step further and removed the "en-adj" etc. subheadings for bassackwards, etc. My thinking was that since it is only a minor alternative spelling (with a hyphen), the definition including "en-adj", etc. was redundant since the user would just to go the main entry. This would eliminate having to maintain two entries and would avoid inconsistencies, such as the currently existing one where bassackwards is defined only as an adjective, while bass-ackwards is defined as both an adjective and an adverb. I'd be happy to post this subject at WT:BP or where otherwise appropriate as well. Facts707 18:43, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
The difference is that the main form doesn't show the inflected forms of the alternative forms. We don't usually have other content, except tags for register, rarity, obsolescence, etc. at alt forms. DCDuring TALK 19:11, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Grease_pit#Timeline. :p Circeus 04:17, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Would you say these senses coincide?

3. (intransitive, followed by "about," "around," "through," etc.) To attempt to find or get hold of an object by searching among other objects.

Why are you fishing through in my things? [sic in the entry]

6. (transitive, followed by "for") To attempt to get hold of (an object) that is among other objects.

He was fishing for the keys in his pocket.

​—msh210 18:43, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think so. It looks like a case of someone trying to overextend the concept of transitivity. There is something reminiscent of ergativity going on there. I don't think that "fish for" looks like a phrasal verb either, but I don't know of any rigorous test for something being a phrasal verb. Both the "for" PP and the "through/in" PP seem optional with no change in the sense of the verb that I can discern. The adverbs don't seem to make any real difference either. Someone with more discernment-by-training-and-experience or a non-native speaker might detect something that a native cannot though. DCDuring TALK 19:26, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

But for your last sentence I would have simply merged the sense lines: since you express doubt, I'll RFD it. Thanks for your input.​—msh210 16:50, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Hi DCDuring,

Are you satisfied with the result of this? Or were you still planning to try to cite it? Or should I delete it?

Thanks in advance,
RuakhTALK 20:31, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

I have just added a def that makes sense to me, based on a quick reading of the introductory part of online lecture notes. I can't really make sense of the definition that was RfVed. The citation is not particularly helpful either. Thanks for reminding me about this. DCDuring TALK 21:02, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

What do you think of creating category:English tag questions for things like eh, what, yes, no, and innit?​—msh210 16:50, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm not the only one you're asking about this, am I? You won't open that can of worms too wide, will you? Tag questions don't at first blush constitute an inherently idiomatic grouping, all of which should be included, do they? It would be better to not introduce the category rashly if it triggers entry of more unjustified terms, n'est-ce pas? The most common tag questions (and related parentheticals) include many phrases that at first blush don't seem to warrant entry, dontcha know.
It might be better to first prepare an Appendix with a list of the most common tags, including those SoP ones that would probably not meet CFI and include the non-CFI candidates systematically in the form of {{only in}} pseudo-entries, don't you think? DCDuring TALK 19:08, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't concerned that people would add SoP ones, though perhaps I should be. I meant for the category to hold the idiomatic ones, such as the ones I listed, right, and perhaps a few more. (Is n'est ce pas attestable as English?) But never mind, I guess. As for an appendix, maybe it's worth creating, but I have no interest personally.​—msh210 19:14, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
In affected English speech, among people trying to impress others with their savoir faire, and among bilingual speakers, "n'est-ce pas#English" is used and seems to be attestable.
I am not opposed to creating the category, nor did I think you were suggesting that the possibly SoP ones be added. I was just projecting a possibly not-so-good consequence that is likely to happen IMO once the category is introduced.
Tag questions take up a 4-5 pages of CGEL. They are not beneath treatment in a brief appendix, which could cover formation and generic differences in prosody. Once we have even a bare-bones appendix, we should hazard introducing the category, IMO. DCDuring TALK 19:47, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Appendix:English tag questions already exists, as I should have checked. Accordingly, I have no grounds for caution, and may start adding some only-in pseudo-entries. DCDuring TALK 19:54, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Depressingly, not even one comment. Mglovesfun (talk) 00:12, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I've commented further and would love to hear your further thoughts. Or read. Thanks.​—msh210 18:20, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Tea room#who_cares, too.​—msh210 19:34, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, twice.​—msh210 16:06, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Hey, I'm just going through RFDO, and I notice that you're in favour of semantic markers. I left a suggestion in a comment there, which may interest you. See Wiktionary:Requests_for_deletion/Others#Template:tool . Cheers. Michael Z. 2010-03-23 23:51 z

Oops; I see this is discussed in more detail two sections down the page. Ta. Michael Z. 2010-03-23 23:54 z

This kind of thing isn't very helpful. OK, so "knighthod" is an older spelling – call it a different language if you must – but that obscures the fact that it's formed from "knight" and "-hood". In exactly the same way as other words which were formed after the 1st of January 1470, or whenever you think modern English began. Ƿidsiþ 21:03, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

It has to do with the productivity of the suffixes at present. Many of the most common words ending in -hood were not formed in Modern English, just as many of the words ending in -ity were not formed in English. In some cases the derivation goes back farther to Old English. Though -hood remains somewhat productive, though often only in jest, poetry, or philosophy, many other suffixes can be shown to be unproductive in current English and often in any vintage of Modern English. DCDuring TALK 21:23, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm confused. What you are talking about has nothing to do with the productivity of suffixes. It was productive when the word in question was formed – that's the point as far as the etymology section is concerned. It is still a word suffixed with "-hood". Ƿidsiþ 06:59, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm interested in whether it is productive now. The way to tell is by subtracting from all those words ending in -hood first those which were formed long ago (OE and ME), then those that were formed in EME days, then those that were formed through Victorian times. It is also of interest to subtract those formed by other processes, such as prefixation (ie, possibly grand- + parenthood). The mass of words that remain enable one to assess something about even a productive suffix. DCDuring TALK 09:56, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I'd favour putting Category:English words suffixed with -hood at the bottom. I remember EncycloPetey saying on someone's talk page about another words "it didn't magically appear in English". —This comment was unsigned.
  • OK, how about this as a compromise solution: "From Middle English foebarre, corresponding to {{suffix|foo|bar}}". This still autocategorises in the proper way, but also makes it clear that the word was formed in Middle English. Ƿidsiþ 11:00, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I've never been a fan of compromise vs. creative solutions or correction. I like to think I am flexible enough to accept correction when I err, which is often enough to keep me in practice.
I don't think that such autocategorization is correct. Something ending in -hood is not necessarily suffixed in hood. As I see it, at [[-hood]] English words suffixed with -hood belong in derived terms, other words ending in -hood belong in related terms. WT:ELE prescribes the order. DCDuring TALK 11:29, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I would rather have -bare appear as a Middle English suffix, with an English descendant -bar and the various ME "derived terms" appear there. We would insert the various ME spellings as required. It would certainly be useful to provide some links among the categories to provide reminders about the existence of ME and OE vintages of suffixation by -bar and its ancestors.
I came across a quote attributed to w:D'Arcy Thompson (On Growth and Form) that seems to bear on morphology/etymology "Everything is what it is because it got that way". The how and when of the getting are of interest to me. For many English word endings there seems to be a mix of derivation from ME (and earlier OE) forms and formation in Modern English. Some, like -hood and its ancestors, have apparently been productive to some degree for more than a thousand years. DCDuring TALK 11:29, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, which I why I find it very deceptive to categorise them differently. This is substantively the same suffix. Knighthood is suffixed with "-hood". That is beyond question. The fact that it first happened in Old English is neither here nor there. Or do you also think unkind is not prefixed with un-? Ƿidsiþ 14:56, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I think it's obvious — not that I have evidence for this — that a big part of why we have knighthood is that we have knight and -hood. If the word knight no longer existed, or weren't spelled with a <k>, then the same would likely be true of knighthood. And it's hardly a coincidence that the many ModE reflexes of ME words in -hod (and variants thereof) all use -hood. So while I don't object to listing the/a ME antecedent, I certainly don't think it's a substitute for indicating the current word-parts. (And if we do list the/a ME antecedent, then we should also give its etymology! Otherwise we may as well give the etymology of 21st-century "person" as “From 20th-century "person"”.) —RuakhTALK 16:26, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Of course I believe that etymologies should be complete. But I also know that I am not always the one to complete them. I had shown a derivation of some entry ending in "hood" as {{suffix|X|hood|lang=enm}}, but that was "corrected". I do not believe that it is accurate to say that words that existed in ME or OE are recoined. Obviously all the words now ending in "hood" provide mutual support for each other's "correctness". Of course, that force did not achieve complete homogenization inasmuch as words like "godhead" and "maidenhead" continue with different endings though believed derived from ME terms ending in "hed", deemed equivalently meaning "-hood". It is the divergence of -head (unproductive in this sense) from -hood (still somewhat productive) that first got me into this.
If we would like to trivialize the etymology of derived terms, as most dictionaries understandably do (treating them as run-in entries with no distinct etymology, we can make it a policy to do so or achieve a consensus of similar force. Instead, we have made it a policy to have separate entries for each derived term (and alternative spelling) and to have all languages with ISO 639 codes (unless explicitly decided otherwise [by an unspecified grouping of voters]). DCDuring TALK 18:34, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
Er...what?? "Godhead" and "maidenhead" have nothing to do, etymologically speaking, with the "-hood" suffix. The two suffixes were mixed up a little in Middle English, but they have different origins. ("-hood" is originally masculine; "-head", although not actually recorded in Old English, was probably originally a feminine version of the same base.) Anyway, even if "-hood" had changed form (which is probably has in some words), it doesn't change the fact that it's there. That's really the whole point of an etymology section: it tells you that you're looking at a "-hood" suffix even when you can't tell. Ƿidsiþ 22:22, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Per WT:RFDO, the context labels that you want to keep, you only want to keep them to help cleanup, right? So if the entries can be cleaned up you're happy for these to be deleted. Michael and I are having trouble understanding what your position is on this. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:26, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Erm, I know you may not be the sole person to blame but I thought I'd let you know that since we already have Mediaeval Latin derivations, creating this has created a somewhat terrible amount of cleanup work to be done. I think this new categories contents should be moved to the old category. What do you think? 50 Xylophone Players talk 10:46, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Damn and blast. Erm, yes are these using two separate templates or what? We should unify them under the most common English spelling. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:51, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
No it's ok I can use AWB to delete the redundant ones. If Palkia you want to create the 20 or so requested categories, I can do the rest. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:54, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
Blame should flow to the person or persons unknown (to me, anyway) that chose the category name. I undertook to make the changes before realizing the full extent of what is required. It is not satisfactory (to me, anyway) that the relatively unused spelling (based on BNC and COCA. I think I put the numbers in my edit summary at Template:etyl:ML.) should be used in anything that is part of Wiktionary's vocabulary, the one place that benefits from prescription in the interest of communication. The "ae" spelling conveys a kind of pedantry and obscurantism that will suck the life out of any en.wikt I would care to participate in. I will put the numbers in some appropriate Talk pages and BP. Can category redirects solve the problem without too much work? DCDuring TALK 11:12, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
(RE:Mg) No, the templates shouldn't pose a problem as I think only the old category has {{topic cat}} subtemplates. 50 Xylophone Players talk 12:29, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

You've added cooking with gas to category:English non-constituents. Is that right? It's a verb phrase, like have a ball, but in the present progressive. Or am I missing something?​—msh210 15:17, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

I think it is never a constituent: it always needs a form of be and only exists in progressive forms (not just present, BTW, eg, at least past and future: "was", "will be", however rarely). Unlike most -ing forms this does not retain its idiomatic sense when used as a noun. That explains why this merits a qualification not applicable in the same way to other -ing forms, though it would be applicable to all progressive forms of all English verbs.

I was just about ready to concede the point and had to reconstruct, not remember my reasoning. Perhaps this should be on its talk page, however the conversation is resolved. I don't know that the "non-constituent" category has ever gotten any discussion. Perhaps this is worth WT:TR. DCDuring TALK 15:34, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Ah, I see; thanks. Yeah, sure, moving it to the talkpage sounds good. I don't see why to TR it.​—msh210 16:02, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Could you weigh in please at WT:RFD#no_nevermind? Thanks.​—msh210 17:02, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Well, I am a little overweight. DCDuring TALK 17:53, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
 :-)  Thanks.​—msh210 19:50, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

The landing page etymology is not redundant. It carries essential etymological information.

  1. That 1996 is the earliest known attestation. Do you think that a reader of the an older version should have inferred that we consider this term new in 2007?
  2. That this term is formed by compounding English landing + page, rather than, e.g., calqued from another language, abbreviated from landing web page, etc. Do you think that a reader looking at an older version of silver wedding should have assumed that the term was an English compound rather than a calque?

There are ten thousand entries where inferring that our earliest given citation is the earliest known is wrong, and ten thousand where inferring that the headword links are etymological is wrong. Neither of these things positively states nor even vaguely implies these etymological facts. Pretending that they do will reinforce these assumptions by editors and lead to misleading more readers. Michael Z. 2010-04-27 16:48 z

You can waste as much time, space, and goodwill as you would like on these things, but the meaning of redundant and the fact of redundancy in this case remains. DCDuring TALK 16:58, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't want your ill will, so I'll indulge in less discussion. But I don't believe that an entry gives the reader an earliest attested date when it doesn't, nor that headword links show that compounds are compounds and simultaneously that calques, borrowings, or elliptical abbreviations are not. The reader is not served when implicit information is identical to its opposite or to nothing at all, so this could come up again in editing. Regards. Michael Z. 2010-04-27 23:32 z
You might be right on the substance, but I have an intense dislike of using space on landing pages. I think that monolingual dictionary users are often looking for a quick answer (usually a definition. We often fail to make them believe that they will get their answer quickly. Actually, I haven't looked at our success relative to other dictionary sites. Maybe we are doing better than we were against MWOnline.
I was beginning to feel quite cranky. Thanks for heeding my warning about my mood. Sorry to have gotten cranky. DCDuring TALK 23:46, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Cheers. Maybe it's a problem of presentation rather than substance. Michael Z. 2010-04-28 04:16 z
I'm here to comment on something else (see next section), but saw this and couldn't resist butting in to agree with Michael. Of course, some of our etymologies allegedly of compounds/prefixeds/suffixeds are wrong (they're actually calqued/derived).​—msh210 17:06, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I too, feel compelled to chime in here. To begin with, many of our multiple word entries have etymologies which are simply sum of parts. However, as Mzajac and msh210 rightly note, there are other complications, such as calques and the like. I think that, in most cases, people are simply guessing (accurately guessing, most of the time, I suspect) that a word's etymology is simply the sum of its parts. In these cases, I think it is somewhat redundant, and just a little dangerous, to put {{compound|first word|second word}} as an etymology. However, in cases where we have any other relevant information, such as the year of coinage or anything else, like we do in this case, then a separate etymology section is certainly warranted. DCDuring, as you know, I share your concern with wasted above the fold space. Whatever Mzajac might say about how most internet users are accustomed to scrolling (information which I believe, by the way), I think that we nonetheless should strive to give our users the most relevant information at a glance. Even if they'll get to it anyway, it's a poorly designed site where a viewer has to go looking for the information they want; it should simply be there, in plain sight. However, we don't want to sacrifice information content for usability. We want both. Instead of slashing worthwhile content, we should be focusing on how we can organize all that info in an intuitive and manageable way. As it turns out, I'm working on something along these lines that I'm pretty excited about (it's not about etymologies, actually but example quotations). Ultimately, I think that the whole Mediawiki engine, while nice for an ecyclopedia, is horrid for a dictionary, and will have to be rebuilt in time. In any case, for the time-being, we have to work with what we've got. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:03, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Sounds intriguing – have anything to show?
I'm not concerned about the fold per se, but I wouldn't doubt that the definition is what most visitors are interested in. I'd have no problem with moving the etymology section down or making it collapsed by default.
I've thought for a long time that Wiktionary should have modes that allow a reader to customize the display for their needs, or persistent collapsing for all the sections. We are a synchronic dictionary, a historical dictionary, an etymological dictionary, a hundred translation dictionaries, etc, etc. But it's not ideal that we're all of these things at once and all the time. Michael Z. 2010-04-28 04:16 z
Ok, try adding 'importScript('User:Atelaes/InlineBox.js');' to your monobook.js, then take a look at User:Atelaes/Sandbox. I am the furthest thing from an expert programmer, and so it might simply cause your computer to insult your mother......but it worked for me, finally. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 14:46, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Will try it. This kind of thing would, in principle, accommodate registered users. Thus our default layout could be more finely tuned to unregistered users, who may find lengthy material appearing before the inflection line, definitions, and translations distracting or discouraging. Having some actual facts about the behavior of unregistered users would be quite helpful in reducing controversy about presentation to them. DCDuring TALK 15:10, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Mayhaps you should re-write some of the feedback questions to get information that you want to appear at [6]. Conrad.Irwin 15:14, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Your particular expertise is needed further....​—msh210 17:06, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks.​—msh210 17:33, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

How would one show that a definition is nonstandard? --NE2 13:37, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Authorities, perhaps. Like Garner's Modern American Usage (2009). But they devote themselves to grammar errors, neologisms, changes in parts of speech. Garner grades usage in terms of where is stands in terms of adoption into standard written English, not whether it is legitimate among some users. Language authorities do not talk much about extensions of meaning or metaphorical use of a word, such as this case. Clearly, the fans of highways have glorified their interest by appropriating an official-sounding word to makes what many consider a mundane matter into something more. It reminds me of the orders and titles in fraternal orders, such as the Elks and Masons. The navy fans might see this as the trivialization of the term to the detriment of the glorification of their hobby and of the military and of military service. But they are unlikely to succeed in preventing use by others. I don't think there is any way to prevent someone else from using a word they way they want, short of force of law. The French pass laws preventing loanwords (at least those of recent vintage) from being used in governmental and legal documents. And still French speakers use the words in speech and in less regulated writing. DCDuring TALK 15:23, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure that really answers the question (which is admittedly semi-rhetorical, as one can't always prove a negative). The issue here is not simply the application of an existing term, but the confusion caused by misapplication. If the term were applied directly, it would mean that the road is closed to traffic and given "back to nature". In fact, I can give several citations of highway agencies using this meaning. But this is a different meaning, one that has limited usage, and has come into the "real world" (newspaper articles and the like) mainly through postmortem study of Route 66. Note the confusion in some of the uses on Citations:decommission, particularly Bryson 2006, where it's assumed that the federal government controls U.S. Highway designations and that they are tied to maintenance. In reality, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials coordinates the numbers, and the only change in many places was the replacement of a US 99 shield with a state highway shield, with no difference in maintenance responsibility. --NE2 04:29, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
We don't deal exclusively in official definitions. If there is attestable usage that is not in actual accord with an attestable official definition, in principle both should be recorded without a value judgment as to correctness. An official definition merits a context tag. We have some exemplars of regulatory definitions, eg ground beef.
As to possible importance of designation: Difference in funding for maintenance and improvements, even if not in who performs the work in the field. Difference in who gets political credit for the funding. DCDuring TALK 18:18, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually there was no difference in funding. The U.S. Highway network is orthogonal to the federal aid network; changing the type of route had no effect on funding. --NE2 03:13, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Before I fix the entries you asked me to fix, I must ask: are we using ===Number=== or ===Cardinal number=== or ===Cardinal numeral=== for entries like disèt? --Rising Sun talk? contributions 16:52, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't know. I would model my entry of the corresponding English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian entries because they have had the most attention. DCDuring TALK 18:08, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. These have adjective, number, numeral, cardinal number, cardinal numeral as headings. I'll put the cleanup job on hold --Soleil levant 18:13, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
There was been much virtual ink spilled on this. I have barely read the discussions. I would rely on WT:ELE which encourages some headers and allows/tolerates some or all of the others.
I think we have more consistency in the conventional parts of speech, at least in English. Those parts of speech may not conform to the latest in grammatical thinking, but they seem adequate for our users, especially as supplemented by additional grammatical categories. DCDuring TALK 18:33, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
As long as there is consistency within each given language, then we at least make some kind of progress. (English, by contrast, is a total mess using at least five different headers for the cardinals alone). My preference is for Numeral, of course, but my least favorite option is to include "Cardinal" as part of the POS header. I don't like the idea of "Cardinal number" or "Cardinal numeral" as a POS header, and prefer that the "cardinal" aspect be covered by a definition line use of {{cardinal}}, the same way we now are marking different groups of adverbs. --EncycloPetey 20:15, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

When you say it is not uncountable, do you mean you would expect "That was a lemming logic" rather than "That was lemming logic"? Equinox 17:06, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

I see. I guess I was wrong. Please allow me the honor of reverting myself. I wonder if I've made such errors before. DCDuring TALK 17:13, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

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