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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Doesn't the spelling aluminum predate aluminium?
A: Yes, and alumium predates both. However, IUPAC uses both, but prefers aluminium.
Q: I still think aluminium sounds funny/odd/jarring.
A: Someone from another country would say the same about aluminum.
Q: I have new, pressing information that leads me to believe the spelling should still be changed.
A: Feel free to start a new section and make your case, but please check to see if your point(s) have been raised in previous closed discussions.
Q: Are you people seriously arguing about a single letter 'i'?
A: Yes. Alternatively, no. It depends on whom you ask.
Q: How about a compromise with alumin(i)um?
A: A house divided against itself cannot stand. (For those unfamiliar with US history who may not understand this, see Lincoln's House Divided Speech)
Q: Would searching for "aluminum" not turn up results effectively giving priority to the English spellers over the American spellers?
A: No, because Wikipedia provides a redirect to the correct article and most search engines will be able to recognize (or recognise) alternative spellings.
Aluminium Sulfur Caesium



The only problem I see is that searching for aluminum won't turn up results, so the English spellers are arguing with the American spellers over who gets the convenience of using the spelling they're familiar with when searching for the article. I'm sorry if this is already allowed but why not just add a redirect and a little message saying something to the effect of "This page redirects from aluminum, to see why the spelling is different see the talk page.". I can't believe I'm the first person to suggest this! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:37, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

New person here, a Brit. If the English population were to change their spelling of a word to one of a SECONDARY BRANCH OF THEIR OWN LANGUAGE, it would BARSTARDISE the RICH HERATIGE of the language in the way that the American population has purposefully done to spare the less intelligent among them. The way I see it, the AMERICAN DIALECT OF THE BRITISH BORN English language originating from the EUROPEAN German and Latin languages is in no way inferior to the pure version but is however a gift from GB that should be respected. Also to a person further down who mentions NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS IN AMERICA is contradicting himself on the fact that NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS ARE FROM ENGLAND HENCE THE NAME. If Americans wished to call it their native language they would need to ackknowledge their British roots and though they they have no need to change their DIALECT OF ENGLISH they should respect when the TRUE ENGLISH SPELLING is recognized as international standard just as I as a Brit except that SULFUR IS A WORTHY STANDARD OVER SULPHUR. The Americans need to accept that "AMERICAN" IS NOT A LANGUAGE in its own right but MEARLY A FOREIGNISED DIALECT, even if it is one RECOGNISED BY ITS ROOT COUNTRY FOR RELEVANCE. P.S. the phrases in caps are there soley to aid skim-readers in their quest to find the most important opinon and is not to express shoutiness. :P American response: first of you spelled bastardized wrong (particularly weird because you brits don't pronounce the R you write), then it's heritage not heratage, merely not mearly (learn to spell wikipedia prefers British spelling to American and you still screwed it up) then American English can be referred to as a foreign dialect not a "forgeignised dialect", furthermore in linguistic studies it has been shown that American English is closer to old English because we neither removed our R nor tried to change the language, moreover over two-thirds of native English speaking people are American, and I ask you now, who doesn't know their own language?

i say and spell the word "while" and never use the fey, effected sounding word "whilst". i think that is an improvement upon the english language because it just sounds better. that is why american english is a more efficient and just all around cooler sounding version of the language. do you say twerpy sounding things like "verrily thou hast" because you want to protect the rich heritage of the english language? fine, be a silly ass, but dont expect other people to to — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:558:6017:38:7899:2896:BACA:D16B (talk) 15:05, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Final Solution[edit]

By the power vested in me by the state of Cincinatti, I have henceforth, soforth, and sidewise renamed the elements "Aluminum" and "Aluminium" to the Stately and Refined Term "Aluminuminum". ENGLAND PREVAILS. Ilurker 20:59, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Agree, partially. I cite the ignore all rules policy and suggest a move to bonkers argument. Anyone with me? -- (talk) 01:43, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

it's obviously spelled alminumniumumumagnesiumite. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:34, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Move to AllumiNUM[edit]

While it may be true that more english speaking COUNTRIES use the "British" spelling, A greater number of the world's overall english speakers use the "American" spelling. More people equals "more common", and thus should be the spelling used on Wikipedia. "Alluminum" is the most commonly used spelling, regardless of the preferences of the inhabitants of some tiny island. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:01, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

When last have you looked up the population of India, just ONE of the "tiny islands" you mention? Roger 16:15, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
There is only one ' l ', not two. 1.) Aluminum. 2.) Aluminium. Two Ls is a mis-spelling of the word, either in American or British English. Aluminum is the more "common" perhaps, but the consensus was to use Aluminium. Either way, the anon editor's spelling with the double-ls is incorrect. ArielGold 16:22, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
A tiny island with 1/5th of the population of the US despite only 1/40th of the land area. SpaceLem (talk) 11:27, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Move now!![edit]

I AM american i am the best lol just kidding i'm not american no this shouldn't be moved to the american spelling lol but why should i be commanded to tread lightly? its not fair perhaps i'm heavy huh did u consida dat? lol k cyaz peeps

I agree it also seems very POV to have that as a warning. -- 22:24, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

I also agree and will remove this POV warning.-- 23:40, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Article changed over to new Wikipedia:WikiProject Elements format by maveric149. Elementbox converted 10:17, 23 Jun 2005 by Femto (previous revision was that of 02:33, 20 Jun 2005).


At the bottom of the article it mentions that Canadians call it aluminum (as opposed to aluminium). While this may be practically true due to the influence of our southern neighbors, the official spelling in Canada IS aluminium. Should the article reflect this? lommer 19:32, 5 Feb 2004 (UTC)

An official spelling? Under which minister is this Dep't of How to Spell Things? =) (Dang, can't find my The Canadian Style right now...) 19:22, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I think the reasoning is probably quite simple - we use mainly US scientific texts at Canadian universities. In my 3 yrs of chemistry at the University of Victoria, it was only referred to as aluminum in spelling (although one British prof I had referred to it as aluminium in speech). None of the supplementary texts published by the university (lab texts, etc) used the spelling aluminum. So in my personal experience, I think it is safe to say Canadians spell it (and generally say it) as "aluminum."DonaNobisPacem 05:09, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
As a side note, Canada has two official language, and in all french textbooks and class material, we use aluminium as well. So at best, Canada uses both spellings.

Also mentioned below (By me!), Canadians would find british spellings much more frequently on things influenced by the government (due to strong british ties). Education would be one good example. They would find american spellings on things more influenced by america. This is due to close proximity as well as much trade between the two countrys. Crayola colors are one example, because changing the spelling is expensive and unnessecary. Websters English Dictionary abridged edition (1999) lists both spellings (british first). Aluminum is more widespread, but defenders of Aluminium are much louder, so no one argues if they have something to lose.

From my Ontario experience (I live in rural Ontario mind you) we spell it with two 'i's as in the British but pronounce it with only one 'i' as the Americans do (the tourists notice we spell it this way and correct us constantly to 'proper' American English!). Never hurts to have another viewpoint. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Danjdoyle (talkcontribs) 19:32, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

this is a load of bull it dont even tell u about Aluminium i need to know for homework !!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

I can get my receipts together from Canadian Tire, and verify it IS spelled "Aluminium" and not "Aluminum", But as mentioned earlier, it is usually pronouced the American way — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:23, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Stop moving the article[edit]

For the love of Mike, please stop moving the page to a non-standard spelling. The word is "aluminium". Read the article for clear and explicit evidence of this. The variant usage "aluminum" should certainly be mentioned and a redirect from that page to the main page is appropriate. Constantly moving the page to the variant spelling is not appropriate. Tannin

Isis said: "we use the more common spelling, and on google that's aluminum, 2 to 1"

The official policy on British vs American spellings here in wikiland is to go with what the article was originally created at and mention and redirect the other spelling to it. The case for the British spelling here is even more concrete because IUPAC has standardized on the ium spelling. --mav

I notices that some of this article had the North American spelling, while the vast majority was had the International spelling. I have changed the 6 or so 'num's to 'nium's. I take it Wikipedia follows IUPAC conventions? - Mark Ryan 12:18, 16 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I do at least. But I'm also an American so I might slip-up once in a while and write -num. --mav
Since there is a standard and even historical reason, there should be no question at all about the preferred spelling in international text. --blades 01:02, May 16, 2004 (UTC)
the "historical reason" favors -num. i say the idea of ending it in -ium was always, well, worth its weight in platinium (hint: ideas lack significant mass, and "platinium" is not the name of an element) - what name was the article originally created with anyway? --Random|832 10:42, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It's worth more than its weight in platinium -- it's worth its weight in rhodum! --Anonymous Coward — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:55, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

Neither Borg-Word nor recognize "chlorure". Searching the Web for it doesn't generally produce English-language sites. My Longman Advanced English dict. doesn't have it either. Maybe it should be "chloride"? Er, Niteowlneils 17:00, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I've never understood why the "precedent set by potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and strontium" is used as opposed to the standard set by platinum, molybdenum, lanthanum, and tantalum [not to mention the original latin aurum, argentum, cuprum, plumbum, etc, none of which end in "ium"] --Random|832 10:42, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)

There is a correlation with German: Kalium, Natrium, Magnesium, Kalzium, Strontium and Platin, Molybdän, Lanthan,Tantal. BTW, it's Aluminium in German. I don't understand 'precedent'.

The first paragraph of the 'notable characteristics' section states that aluminium is both soft and strong. This seems unlikely to be the case. In the case of pure aluminium the yield strength is in the region of 10 MPa which certainly isn't strong as far as construction materials are concerned (Al alloys may have yield strengths in the region of 200-500 MPa). As a result I have removed the word strong (alloying is mentioned later anyway).

Surely aluminium is not resistent to magnetism but is simply non-magnetic? I have altered the 'applications' section to reflect this (and hopefully I'm right).

The term 'weak' is ambiguous (strength, stiffness, hardness, toughness, fatigue resistance?). I replaced it with a link to tensile strength as this is probably the most familar mechanical property.

The Engineering use section needs major revisions. I removed the second paragraph about fatigue failure, as this applies to any structural material, not just Al. The section should focus on the different aluminium alloys and their mechanical properties, manufacturing techniques and more examples of use.

Moving to "aluminum"[edit]

The "use common names" policy applies to all articles. The most common name for this element is "aluminum": [1]. Blindly obeying IUPAC conventions is a violation of NPOV. Nohat 23:59, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Leave it, less for the anti-Americans to compalin about. RickK 00:16, Oct 6, 2004 (UTC)

It doesn't seem that appeasing anti-Americans is a good reason to something, either. Nohat 00:27, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Many other metals use -ium suffix titanium, rhodium, not titanum or rhodum. -- IEEE 13:03, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Many metals use the -um- suffix too. e.g. lanthanum, platinum.--HawkFromHell (talk) 14:17, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Isn't the pronunciation different for the two words. (a-lum-in-ium vrs a-LOO-mi-NUM)-- (talk) 01:57, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Those darned Yankies just stole the contraction, nothing more. -- 18:48, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

It's nothing to do with contractions. There's just a correct spelling and an American variant. Chameleon 20:09, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Both spellings are correct, just in different forms of English. Since we have the American spelling "sulfur", just let it be. This spelling debate about aluminium is just a waste of time. (And don't accuse me of being anti-American--I faithfully recite the Pledge of Allegiance every Monday morning). ChromaNebula (talk) 17:10, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Never said it was anything to do with 'official' contractions. I meant a sort of invisible contraction, only present in the pronounciation, which- ach, what's the use explaining, it's not going to gain me anything. --AdamM 21:17, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)
It's not present in the pronunciation. Americans generally pronounce it alumi-num, not "alumin-yum". There is no trace of an i/y sound in the pronunciation of the ending. For the record, I think the title should remain aluminIum. --SodiumBenzoate 21:22, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

This proposal, I think, is without merit. The Google Test is simply not relevant in this case: all it establishes is that "aluminum" is more common on the Internet. It ignores the official usage endorsed by the IUPAC, as well as the International usage. Note that I do not have any objection to sulfur (though the International spelling is sulphur); to keep this at aluminium seems, at the very least, to be a reasonable compromise. -- Emsworth 13:35, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Agreed; it would be somewhat odd to label the IUPAC's decision as NPOV, certainly (I think that "sulfur" is a terribly shoddy compromise), but "aluminium" or a similar inflexion is used on every country on Earth (if only rarely in the US and Canada); "aluminum" is, well, not.
James F. (talk) 14:17, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Currently the Wikipedia:Manual of Style says:
In articles about chemicals and chemistry, use IUPAC names for chemicals wherever possible, except in article titles, where the common name should be used if different, followed by mention of the IUPAC name.
Unfortunately, what is meant by 'the common name' is undefined. Clearly both 'aluminum' and 'aluminium' are common names for the metal. If all else fails, consider following the spelling style preferred by the first major contributor (that is, not a stub) to the article who used a word with variant spellings in the article or the title. The Manual of Style does, however, offer the advice:

If all else fails, consider following the spelling style preferred by the first major contributor (that is, not a stub) to the article who used a word with variant spellings in the article or the title.
This way forward has proved to be the best approach for all areas where there are differences in spelling between U.S. and non-U.S. forms. There is no reason not to apply it here. It also allows the article to be consistent, as under the terms of existing policy, the IUPAC term 'aluminium' should be used in the body of the article itself. Leave the article where it is.
Also I deeply resent the suggestion that preferring non-U.S. terms over U.S. terms is anti-American. It's as ridiculous as suggesting that those preferring U.S. terms are trying to impose some linguistic hegemony over the rest of the English world. We all prefer reading English in a style we are used to, Americans and non-Americans are no different in this respect. We reach a reasonable compromise between the competing styles and move on. jguk 15:00, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I present a (biased) google test to counteract the one above: Aluminium (>2 million) vs. Aluminum (<300 thousand). Not that that influences anything, especially as the above arguments for keeping it where it is works for me. violet/riga (t) 13:02, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I present ten, unbiased google tests to satisfy both parties:
Aluminum Search ( 108,000,000
Aluminium Search ( 74,000,000
Aluminum Search ( 98,400,000
Aluminium Search ( 72,900,000
Aluminum Search ( 99,000,000
Aluminium Search ( 74,400,000
Aluminum Search ( 97,000,000
Aluminium Search ( 72,900,000
Aluminum Search ( 96,900,000
Aluminium Search ( 72,900,000
I think my point has been illustrated, cacophony 16:03, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure I see how a British English/North American English difference is a POV issue! By my understanding, aluminium is used in North America as well as the (more-common-there) aluminum, where as aluminium is used almost without exception elsewhere, and used to be used in the US:
"You probably noted that the title uses "aluminium" instead of the American "aluminum," which I did purely in futile protest. Until 1925, the word was "aluminium" even in the U.S., but in that year the American Chemical Society decided to change it. We also got "sulfur" in that same year, which still looks silly, and was not universally adopted by the engineering world. It's the Latin spelling, as is "sulpur." [sic] Fortunately, the urge for simplified spelling did not result in Fosforus or Thorum, or even Jermanum, combining both types of change. The -ia ending of a refractory oxide, such as alumina or thoria, usually named the metal with an -ium ending. Why aluminum had to be different, I do not know. A divergence in pronunciation also results, "alyouminium" versus "aloominum." The latter may have been a vulgar pronunciation. It is usually the English who have trouble pronouncing more than three syllables in a word, not the colonials."'
(James B. Calvert, an American chemist, from Elementymology)
I'm with just about everything jguk wrote. — OwenBlacker 18:33, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

On American English vs. Common English I say that if the article is America related the spellings should be in the American style and if related to a country which uses common English in that style. With neutral articles such as this I too would say it should be in common English due to this being and not --Josquius 18:05, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
It is interesting, though, that the areas where the so-called "common" English usage "Aluminium" is preferred comprise less than 30% of native English speakers (less than 25% if you count Canada, which also has a preference for "Aluminum" [2]). Nohat 18:57, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
That pie chart has missed out India where English is spoken by about 200,000 million people (very conservative guess) and then the countless others who speak English as a second language --Josquius 19:17, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Josquius, that it should be "aluminium". Not only is it the IUPAC endorsed convention, but also very common in other major languages like German, French and even in Japanese it's written "aluminium" in Katakana. --Iwaki 16:56, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
"Aluminium" in China and Australia. Also regarding the comment by Iwaki above, taking into account that Japanese katakana borrowed words tend to use American pronunciations (such as "privacy"), I think it is quite significant that even Japanese uses "aluminium" in its katakana. KittySaturn 09:25, 2005 Feb 17 (UTC)
Yes, but the Japanese also drive on the left side of the road, the opposite of Americans.
Why not just change the title to Aluminium/Aluminum, with both Aluminium and Aluminum redirecting, to reflect both common names?

"US English is well known for spelling things how they are pronounced, because the stupid idiots can't understand anything el- I'm sorry. What I mean to say is, here in Britain I have said 'alumin-yum' many times, but that is merely a contraction. The proper way to pronounce it is 'alumin-ee-yum', and the spelling should reflect this.

Those darned Yankies just stole the contraction, nothing more. -- 18:48"

We don't pronounce it "alumin-yum", we pronounce it "a-lu-min-um". But anyway, we didn't steal a contraction, it was originally aluminum, as you would know if you read the article..

If you spell aluminum backwards, it's Munimula, the name of the planet in the bad science fiction movie, whose name I thankfully forgot. You can't do that with aluminium. Gzuckier 02:43, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

Please see Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars ever#Spelling.

Actually it was originally Alumium... Ask Sir Humphrey Davy (a Brit). If Wiki is primarily an American based site, then I say stick with the US spelling.
And lets now talk abotu Platinium and Molybdenium...
I second all that jguk wrote above (at 15:00 GMT on the 23th Oct 2004). Keep it here. Commonwealth spelling may be different to US spelling but it's certainly not anti-American spelling: what nonsense. I'm not about to go to Talk:Sulfur and complain that it's anti-Australian-New-Zealander-British-etc. Both names are common; just one is more common in the US and the other is more common outside. "Aluminium" is the original spelling, the IUPAC spelling & the first (nonstub) spelling used at Wikipedia. Jimp 21Nov05

Incorrect. The original spelling was "alumium", followed by "aluminum". The spelling "aluminium" was given later by an anonymous contributor to a British literary magazine, not by the discoverer. All of this is, of course, explained in the article. Nohat 05:48, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Move to AL?[edit]

perhaps as a way to end all title wars we should consider moving it to its Atomic Symbol? then just have redirects from both Aluminum and Aluminium. Alkivar 02:21, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No. Chameleon 08:51, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Definitely not; that's an everyone-loses solution, n'est-ce pas? — OwenBlacker 18:21, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
This is the English Wikipedia, try not to speak French if you can help it. Reelcheeper 19:59, Oct 7, 2010 (UTC-5)
Check out Al, and then think again. And then, what would be do about Hahnium? --Elektron 22:40, 2004 Nov 16 (UTC)
you could move the content at Al to Al (disambiguation) and since Hahnium is not an "official" element name and does not have an article except a redirect to Element naming controversy that subject is moot. Alkivar 00:37, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I still think it would be odd to have only this element at its symbol name (especially given there are so many transuranics with disputed names held under their IUPAC names!). And, as Alkivar pointed out, Hahnium isn't a name used very widely any more, as IUPAC finally got (near-)agreement to rename it Dubnium in 1997. — OwenBlacker 03:31, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)
No way, the title is fine as it is. 16:15, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I'd say the redirect for hahnium a good idea as hahnium could refer to either dubnium or hassium. But why not resolve this dispute by calling aluminium aluminum aluminium aluminum the thirteenth element on the periodic table "niluntrium" (derived from the IUPAC systematic element names. And it would have the symbol "Nut", which is pretty much how I'd sum up this dumb debate. -- (talk) 14:32, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
That's the funniest idea I've ever heard. Professor M. Fiendish, Esq. 12:46, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd say this is really a good idea! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:22, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
That's a terrible idea, more people know the elements' names than their atomic symbols. --Reelcheeper 20:03, 7 October 2010 (UTC-5)


Can anyone confirm the edits by User:The Noodle Incident (12:07, 2004 Oct 29 and 12:08, 2004 Oct 29) ([3])? Surprisingly, all these were marked as minor. I'm adding the missing bit about "alumium", anyway. --Elektron 22:35, 2004 Nov 16 (UTC)

Perhaps I should preview; diff --Elektron 22:42, 2004 Nov 16 (UTC)
Those edits look quite similar to the content at the Elementymology link I posted earlier today. I haven't scrutinised them in depth, but they look ok to me. — OwenBlacker 23:45, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

I've just cleaned up the spelling history, but removed the alternative theory

Another theory on the difference in the spelling of the word is that the first shipment of aluminium to go to the US came from the UK, but the clerk spelled it 'aluminum' on the manifest, and that spelling has stuck ever since.

until we can find a reference for it. -- Solipsist 14:19, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Incidentally, whilst checking references, I came across a prediction on a discussion forum that America will finally conform to the IUPAC spelling sometime around 2050, at which point the argument will move on to sorting out Platinum :-) -- Solipsist 14:26, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

General spelling[edit]

Over the past few of days there have been a couple of edit and reverts changing the general spelling throughout the article between British English and U.S. English.

I hope this isn't going to continue — its enough trouble keeping a lid on the choice of IUPAC spelling of the article title. The Manual of Style at WP:MoS#Usage_and_spelling is quite clear on these issues. As far as I'm concerned, this is an international article with no prior preference for one version of English over another. As such the spelling should conform to whichever version of English was used when the article was created (I haven't checked but I would imagine that was U.S. English in this case). The choice of IUPAC spelling for the word 'aluminium' itself, is an independent decision and shouldn't be taken as an endorsement to convert to British English spelling for the rest of the article. -- Solipsist 17:33, 13 July 2005 (UTC)

The article was inconsistent in spelling, as the title of the article uses British English ()and indeed was begun using the British spelling the article should be consistent and follow with British English spelling. Jooler 22:06, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
Asserting that title of the article is British English is misleading. It was chosen because it is the IUPAC preferred spelling, as otherwise discussed on this page. Use of the IUPAC spelling does not equate the article being written in British English. Your changes in spelling are not warranted. Dforest 00:51, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

It is not the strongest proof, but the original revision as of 15:09, 30 October 2001 uses the phrase 'silver-gray appearance', which if anything would be American English. -- Solipsist 05:42, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

Since the original author of the article (User:Sodium) was an English medical student, I think it's unlikely that the first version[4] of the article was intended to be written in American English. Really not worth getting exercised about though, as the spelling of "aluminium" used throughout the article is the correct one. --Andrew Norman 07:35, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree strongly with Dforest that if the spelling used in the title is bases on IUPAC recommended spelling, then it cannot determine whether the article should use British or U.S. or some other national variant of spelling. Furthermore, who the first contributor was is immaterial; it is the first use by a significant contributor (not a stub) that matters, and the "gray" spelling is as good a clue as any for determining this.
Check the link above - User:Sodium's initial article (which uses the spelling "gray" for some reason despite his being English) was not a stub. Regarding the variant spelling of the element name itself, it's a mistake to see "-ium" as the British form, it's the international form and historically the most common form (as the article explains). "-um" is parochial to North America in the last hundred years. The IUPAC recognises "aluminum" and "cesium" as optional alternative spellings, and I can't find either being used in a modern IUPAC document on their own, as opposed to in brackets after the preferred spelling. --Andrew Norman 13:31, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Google "aluminum" 15,200,000 hits; "aluminium" 6,420,000 hits. It's not just "parochial to North America"; if it were, you'd have more than a 1.7:1 ratio for aluminium to aluminum when you limit it to (e.g., litre:liter is more than 12:1 on Some of that, of course, is North American usage, but you will also find lots of examples of native usage of "aluminum" there and around the world, Australia, New Zealand, wherever. Gene Nygaard 14:06, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Absolute Rubbish - No-one in Britain pronounces the word as "aluminum" let alone spells it that way. This is where the Internet throws things skew-whiff. A lot of pages that have a .uk suffix are simply cut and pasted by large American organisations from their international corporate site to the sites they use for marketing their products in the UK. This is why Google is a complete waste of time for making these kinds of decisions. Jooler 15:56, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
Furthermore, IUPAC often uses both spellings, and sometimes only aluminum. Can anybody actually point us to a specific IUPAC rule actually prescribing a certain spelling? Is it like caesium/cesium, where the alternative spelling is officially recognized as well? Gene Nygaard 12:30, 14 July 2005 (UTC)
That latter question was answered in the article itself, with the 1993 official recognition of "aluminum" as a variant spelling by IUPAC. So it isn't quite true that IUPAC prescribes the "aluminium" spelling as is sometimes argued, nor as Andrew Norman claimed that it is the "correct" one in any absolute sense, though if we read his comment as "the correct choice for use in the Wikipedia article" it makes sense as a validly held opinion shared by others including some who'd spell it aluminum themselves. Note that a Google search for aluminum and not aluminium on gets 171 hits. Gene Nygaard 12:37, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

The article title used British English, the reason, which is entreily irrelevant. The article itself contained inconsistent BE/AE usage. like the word "labourer" and the word "favor". I made it consistent with the BE used in the article title. Jooler 15:56, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

The title was not chosen because it is "British English", but because it was considered the dominant IUPAC spelling. You may not think it is relevant, but it does not make this a British English article nor justify your changes in spelling. The word labourer was perhaps the only CwE spelling in the article prior to your edits. Nowhere in the style guide does it state that the title should be the deciding factor in spelling disputes. Dforest 04:03, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
For Nth time spellings should be consistent that IS MoS policy. Jooler 08:11, 15 July 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but what they should be consistent with is debatable. (And technically it's a guideline, not policy.) Better to stick with neutral English. Dforest 02:44, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Dforest. I think going with neutral English is probably the best compromise, and those wording changes look quite successful. -- Solipsist 06:15, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Dforest - please stop changing the the spelling of the only remaining word on this page which has a different spelling in BE and AE. The choice of spelling of the words within the article should be consistent with the article title -as per MoS. The reason for the choice of one spelling over the can be for numerous reasons. In this case it has been decided to use the BE spelling and therefore the choice of spelling and idiom within the article should reflect BE usage - You and others (to the detriment of the value of the article itself) - ) have taken it upon yourselves to rid this article of words which have different spellings in BE and AE. Please stop disrupting this page. Jooler 22:05, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Jooler, you took it upon yourself to change all the so-called AE spellings to BE. Others agreed that the choice of IUPAC spelling does not mean the article is British English. Following Darrien's lead, I tried to compromise by rewriting the contentious words in neutral English. Anyway, the spelling you edited is irrelevant as Kaopectate does not contain Al. [5]. Dforest 01:26, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

The Google Test[edit]

A few days ago I added this comment to the spelling section of the article:

"As of 2005, a Google search on the words shows a popular preference for the aluminum spelling, more than twice that of aluminium. However, such a test may be considered biased. See Google test."

Vsmith quickly reverted this, claiming it is irrelevant. Yet it keeps coming up on the talk page... I'd like to hear what other WPs think. Dforest 15:25, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

It's irrelevant to an encyclopaedia article on Aluminium. It is relvant to the naming of an article on Wikuipedia. so it should not be in the article, and it is no suprise that it comes up on the talk page. Jooler 15:48, 14 July 2005 (UTC)

IMO, a mention of the Google test is relevant as a footnote in the section of an article specifically concerning the spelling of "aluminium" vs. "aluminum". Dforest 02:36, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
As far as I can see, the only point in mentioning it is to establish the relative frequency of use of each spelling. In the past I've worked with someone developing word counting/indexing software for use by dictionary editors (I can't now remember whether it was the OED or Collins). They pay careful attention to source of text that would be considered relevant and I doubt Google would pass muster (for example you don't include data from the language used in the 1911EB to determine current usage). They were actually using vast collections of electronic texts - I have a vague impression that collections of newspapers were considered particularly fruitful, but I can't remember the reasoning - possibly because their daily timestamp was useful for tracking the historical variations in word usage.
So if we don't completely understand the biases of Google, it shouldn't be presented as fact in the article. However, I saw a news story suggesting that Google had started a project to put a large number of books online, so that might produce a dataset that could be used. -- Solipsist 05:40, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Actually, use of Google hits counts is a fast-growing area of real (albeit informal, but done by professionals, not just amateurs) linguistic research. Second, I don't see anything wrong with including the fact that Google has more hits for aluminum than aluminium. It's a verifiable fact, something that is perfectly acceptable for inclusion on Wikipedia. It would be a step too far to say that the Google results necessarily mean that aluminum is more common than aluminium in English usage overall, but there is nothing wrong with saying that Google has more hits for aluminum than aluminium, and in a section describing contention over the spelling of the word, such a fact is perfectly relevant and demonstrative. Nohat 06:37, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Google means nothing in terms of usage. Absolutely nothing. Usage on the Internet is dominated by American usage because American companies cut and past their pages to UK sites as described above. For example Look at a supposed UK site but on the front page we find "Find the best price on your favorite music". Google also provides very many false positives. For exampe go to Google and type in 'aluminum site:uk' look at the first site "Aluminum Packaging Recycling Organization&;;;quot; - if you click on the cached version, what do you find? "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: aluminum" -the google test is bollox. Jooler 09:57, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
The points you bring up have no bearing in aggregate. Google indexes over 8 billion pages. The relative distribution of spellings may be biased;however, they make up for it in volume: the sheer vastness of the quantity of matches makes the results necessarily relevant. It is a fact that Google reports that more pages have the aluminum spelling. What purpose is there in suppressing the presentation of actual, verifiable facts on Wikipedia articles other than to further some hidden agenda? Since it's disputed, why don't we let the readers decide how to interpret the facts concerning the spelling of aluminum? Nohat 05:04, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
"It is a fact that Google reports that more pages have the aluminum spelling.' - No it is not. The very top hit for 'aluminum site:uk' does NOT contain the word 'aluminum'. In any case "pages cached by google" does not reflect International usage, it merely reflects the american domination of the Internet. how many exammples of American corporations using sites with a .uk suffix and cutting and pasting content from pages written with american English do you want me to provide? Jooler 08:01, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Nohat's comment. Jooler, you write "It is relvant to the naming of an article on Wikuipedia" but "Google means nothing in terms of usage." There appears to be a contradiction here. Google is not perfect as a method of determining popular usage, but it is a good rule of thumb, and often used as such. Note that Google News, which indexes many newspapers around the world, has a ratio of 4:1 of aluminum:aluminium. I suggest that if you have objections to Google's results, find a more accurate source of usage statistics and add it to the article as a rebuttal. Dforest 04:31, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
I have just demonstrated that the very first hit on google for 'aluminum site:uk' does not even contain the word 'aluminum'. What more evidence do you need to prove that Google provides false positives? Jooler 08:01, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, but your attacks against Google's relevance just don't hold up. If you search using "allintext: " at the beginning of the Google query, it ensures that the pages include the search terms. The results are unstartlingly parallel to the searches without "allintext". Nobody is claiming that Google is an exact mirror of all usage, but it does provide some data, and your minor complaints about possible problems do not stand up against the vast weight of millions of real examples of usage that it provides. Nohat 08:20, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

The Google comment amounts to original research in addition to being irrelevant and biased. It does not belong in the article. Vsmith 12:05, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

Hear hear. I fail to see the relevance of this original research. — OwenBlacker 12:24, July 19, 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. James F. (talk) 15:07, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
It is not original research, in fact it is mentioned on the Google test page. (see: Idiosyncratic usage). A link back to that page is perfectly reasonable. --Dforest 00:40, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
It is original research, and that page is not an article, it's in the wikipedia namespace. We should not use an article in the wikipedia namespace as a reference, nor should we link to articles in the Wikipedia namespace from the main namespace. -- Joolz 02:38, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Well, I recently excised a statement in the Spelling section of the main article which claimed that aluminium is the more widespread usage, with no source to back it up. The "Google test" gave me a good reason to delete that claim. That isn't original research; it merely checks out a suspicion about an unsourced statement in a WikiP article. (It was actually a "Yahoo" test, which found 72.5 million examples of the American version and 19.9 million for the British usage.)

Sincerely, your friend, GeorgeLouis 05:52, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Well that just shows you how meaningless and unreliable Google/Yahoo tests are in this kind of situation. All that tells you is that it is more common on the pages indexed by Google. And funnily enough the majority of those tend to be US. Secondly and more importantly Google indexes pages not by the content but by the links. So a page with the word "aluminium" in it but not "aluminum" will show up when you search for the later IF other pages link to it. For example 10th hit when I search for "aluminum" - [6]Jooler 07:18, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I restored the text. GeorgeLouis don't remove citation-needed tags without finding the required reference. And don't delete verified text without checking the cited references. I fear it's time for the bi-annual aluminium spelling argument to restart... *sigh* Wiki-Ed 09:48, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Put down the I, and step away from the word[edit]

The extra I fails the Google test and the population test. Let's please just be reasonable, and move this to 'aluminum'. -Litefantastic 17:07, 24 August 2005 (UTC)

Yawn. Do we have to keep putting up with ignorant comments like this? Jooler 21:07, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
I've taken it up with the manual of style. I'm not trying to give you a hard time (I briefed myself on some previous complains akin to my own for reference), but the fact remains that the manual of style disagrees with popular opinion... Aside from the fact that you're sick of hearing dissenters, what are your thoughts? -Litefantastic 23:59, 24 August 2005 (UTC)
What are you claiming to be popular opinion? The spelling of aluminium? For the love of Mike, that spelling is almost exclusively used by Americans. It is popular in America. The Internet is mostly American. The world mostly isn't. Jooler 00:04, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes. If the Internet is mostly American, it will be mostly Americans viewing the 'Aluminium' page. Correct me if I'm wrong - please - but I think I'm just reconfirming what you said. On a side note, I'd like to apollogise for the hubris I took when I started this thread; it was the wrong way to approach this. -Litefantastic 00:10, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
Well. No I think most American internet users are too busy downloading porn. The IUPAC use Aluminium, so that is why this page is at Aluminium. That is an end of it. But I imagine you would want to use US spelling throughout Wikipedia for the reasons you state. Using your argument we should only use Chinese. The fact that most of the Internet is written by American speakers is because America is rich and rich American corporations and rich American universatives put together most of the content. Most readers are not American. This has been argued countless times. See for a lighter take on it. Jooler 00:30, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
Bland Marxism and anti-Americanism. Please stop embarassing yourself and comment on the actual content of the actual page, not things about which you obviously have no idea. 22:15, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

OK. I'm an American and I teach chemistry in the good old USA. My textbooks spell it aluminum and with my students I use it as aluminum (although I point out the IUPAC spelling). Aluminium is the IUPAC reccommended spelling just as sulfur is - and wikipedia chemistry project made the decision to go with IUPAC. It's been bashed about too many times, give it up - on wikipedia it is spelled aluminium. When I find aluminum on wiki, I change it to aluminium - just as I change sulphur to sulfur (Historical/archaic usage and place names aside). So cut the google/American snobism and accept it. And note, please refrain from using the stupid porn slur. Thanks, Vsmith 01:15, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Nonsense. Total, utter nonsense. Wikipedia has no "official spellings". Each article is spelled according to the national spelling style used for that article. If an article otherwise uses American spellings, then there is no reason why it should use the non-American spelling aluminum. AFAIK there is no policy which supports changing all instances of the word aluminum to aluminium, so I suggest you stop that. Furthermore, the fact that IUPAC chooses some particular spelling should have no bearing at all on how Wikipedia chooses to spell an ordinary word like aluminum. I accept that community consensus supports spelling it aluminium at the moment, but I definitely do not support Wikipedia's acceding to some foreign spelling authority. We decide our own spellings around here based on our own policies which are decided using the NPOV. To do otherwise would be a flagrant violation of NPOV. Nohat 02:35, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
"Foreign" to whom exactly? Bad attitude. "We" do not decide our own spellings - that's nonsense. This is an encyclopedia and it is supposed to reflect the world, not shape it. In this case the article explains the etymology and adequately covers the fact that in the American branch of English sub-dialects there is a slight deviation from the normal spelling. The view of the international body simply reflects the status quo. Wiki-Ed 12:32, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
IUPAC is foreign to Wikipedia and they have no authority to legislate how we use the English language, nor is there any policy that says we should obey IUPAC's preferences. A majority of native English speakers are speakers of American English. Calling American English a "branch of sub-dialects" makes it seem at though American English is some uninfluential minority dialect. It is not. And furthermore, if you want to accurately "reflect the world", the reality is that a giant fraction of English speakers, if not a majority, spell and pronounce this word "aluminum", and I see no Wikipedia policy that says valid American spellings should be dispreferred. Nohat 06:00, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree that the IUPAC has no authority to *legislate* over linguistic usage. But the suggestion that its approach "should have no bearing at all" is completely lunatic. Again, I agree that since langauge is a matter of convention, the *primary* consideration should be working out what that convention is: ie do a greater total of English speakers say Aluminum or Alumimium? But if this long debate has proved anything, it's that none of us has any particularly good evidence of this - especially on the issue of which form English-as-a-second-language people tend to use. Given that the evidence as to the global convention is so hopeless inconclusive, then the fact that the international body that chemists (the professionals in the field) rely on to set standards has adopted a particular approach to spelling is surely a very good tie-breaker in the circumstances. The people above seem to mistakenly believe that Wikipedia must either treat an IUPAC policy as conclusive or ignore it entirely. --Danward 18:18, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
I am American, but let me share a small anecdote. One time on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", the questions was "What is the capital of Australia?" The choices were Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and some other city. The contestant decided to use his ask-the-audience lifeline and I knew immediately he would lose. Sure enough, they picked Syndey and he went with them. The moral is: the majority is not always right and Americans are bad in geogrpahy. Nelson Ricardo 03:18, September 2, 2005 (UTC) (edited: Nelson Ricardo 11:34, September 2, 2005 (UTC))
Sophistry. The point of this anecdote is to impeach Americans' intelligence, and then by implication impeach their authority to decide how to spell words. Spellings of words are not "facts"; they are conventions. Conventions are established by usage or custom. If a large fraction (or even a majority) of users of a word spell it a particular way, then that spelling is by definition conventional. This story has nothing to support the theory that "aluminium" is somehow "more correct" than "aluminum". Nohat 06:00, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Nohat; Vsmith's comments are nonsense. Note that even the French Wikipedia featured article (see notice at top of page) sometimes uses "aluminum" spelling, as do several other French Wikipedia articles, mixed in with aluminium spellings.
IUPAC accepts both spellings; their choice of one of them in their "house rules" for in-house publications isn't particularly relevant to anything, and even the IUPAC website has a great many articles using the "aluminum" spelling. Gene Nygaard 06:16, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Probably wirtten by French Canadians - put "aluminum site:fr" into Google. How many pages do you have to go through till you find an article written in French? What does the point about French Wikipedia prove anyway? Jooler 06:41, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
It is worth noting some usage statistics in the article. I added a mention of the Google test. If others find this biased, I suggest you find another source and add it as a rebuttal. --Dforest 06:49, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
The Internet is inherently biased as I have pointed out before and Google reflects that as well as emphasizing it. Saying that aluminum is more popular on the Internet is like saying aluminum is more popular in the New York Times. Jooler 06:52, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
The internet may be inherently biased, but it is sophistry to compare the results from an unregulated global medium to a heavily regulated and nationally-oriented newspaper whose style is mandated from above. The two are not comparable at all, and the suggestion that statistical results on usage of the two are in any way comparable is symptomatic of what I perceive to be a desperate attempt to cover up interesting facts. Indeed, I'd say that the fact that IUPAC's official style guide prefers aluminium is less relevant to the topic of aluminum in general than the results from Google. The statistical results from the web's largest search are perfectly reasonable to mention on this page. Nohat 07:26, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!? The NYT is an American newspaper, butI would imagine, like all newspapers around the world it carries syndicated stories written by international news organizations like Agence France-Presse and Reuters. Likewise the Internet is predominantly an American entity, the rest follows. Statistics without context are meaningless. The context is that Google both reflects and and enhances the American English bias of the Internet (which is a no-brainer). With this in mind the fact that Google prefers aluminum over aluminium is no more interesting or relevant to this page than the fact that Google prefers humor to humour. Jooler 08:07, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Newspaper that carry stories from international news organizations copyedit them to adhere to their house styles. All articles published in the NYT follow NYT house style rules. If you didn't know that, fine, but the analogy remains totally inept and unapt. Second, it does not go without saying that the internet is inherently biased in favor of the U.S. It has been a long time now that the U.S. does not constitute a majority of the internet. Information about relative sizes of usage groups is not necessarily a given, and we mustn't lose sight of Wikipedia:State the obvious. It may be obvious to you that a Google search will show more hits for aluminum than for aluminium, but that's not true of everyone else. I don't have any problem with tempering the information with caveats about potential biases and so forth, but I don't really see a reasonable argument for completely suppressing it. Furthermore, the interesting fact is that even though "aluminium" is the "official" spelling of IUPAC and is the supposed "international standard", Google still has more hits for aluminum than aluminium, but that the number of Google hits for aluminum is about 13.5 million and the number of Google hits for aluminium is about 5 million; that ratio on the internet is about 2.7 to 1 in favor of "aluminum", which indicates that yes, "aluminum" has a majority of usage on the internet, but that "aluminium" also constitutes a significant minority usage, not a marginal spelling. The statistics serve as a counterbalance to the other descriptions of usage, which seem to "favor" the spelling "aluminium". Nohat 08:33, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I want to add that the comparison with "humour" is also an incredibly unapt analogy. That spelling is simply a regular difference in spelling only between the BrE and AmE. Aluminum/Aluminium, on the other hand, is a completely unpredictable and idiosyncratic difference that is represented in both spelling and pronunciation. The two are not even remotely comparable. Nohat 08:58, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
The Internet is not "predominantly an American entity"; read this excerpt from the Internet article. Note "a majority of the population".
"Countries where Internet access is a commodity used by a majority of the population include Germany, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Australia, Denmark, the United States, Canada, the UK, The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Norway." Dforest 08:29, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Re NYT - try looking at [7] - what happened there!? - did the spellchecker break, or was the copyeditor having a coffee break!? - But this, along with the pointless bashing of the humor/humour analogy, (unapt?) is irrelevant. The notable thing about a commodity' is that there are producers and there are consumers. The majority of producers of websites on the Internet and the software products that are used to produce them are American. In this sense it IS without question a predominantly American entity (certainly from the perspective of the English language). The reason for this imbalance is primarily the economic power of American IT corporations. If you load up Microsoft Word using the default installation for English, what do you get? You get English (U.S.), how many non-native English speakers in Germany, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Norway change this to English (British)? No-one - that is no-one - in the UK pronounces the word as aluminum, and consequently no-one - that is - no-one - in the UK spells it as aluminum, and yet we find that a huge number of web-pages sited within the .uk domain use the American spelling!? What is your explanation for this ? Is it that suddenly we have decided to adopt the US spelling? No. The reason is that these web-pages are almost mostly written by Americans and have been cut/and pasted to .uk sites. It is thus a prime example of the pro-American bias of the Internet and displays that Google hit-counts are entirely meaningless in the real world. Jooler 13:50, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
All of those .uk websites are not written by Americans or copied from them.
Of people whose mother tongue is English, 69% are in the United States and 5% in Canada;[8] North Americans outnumber the rest of the world by 3 to 1 when looked at this way. Gene Nygaard 14:22, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
That's funny. The Wikipedia article on English language says there might be up to 2000m people speaking English worldwide. I make the total population of the US and Canada to be about 330m (according to Wikipedia) which equates to about 16.5% of people speaking English. Of course I don't think any of those articles are completely accurate, nor do I think that all the other English speakers would necessarily use the non-American spelling, but hey, statistics are fun right? Wiki-Ed 18:42, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
And yet again we have the same rubbish trotted out. Is Wikipedia for native speakers only!? The majority rules and damn the rest? Is this what Wikipedia is about? 300 million people on the Indian sub-continent say no. You say "All of those .uk websites are not written by Americans or copied from them" - what percentage then? - I can tell you for sure that Britons do not pronounce or spell the word as aluminum - so why the hell would we write it? Jooler 16:54, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Regarding English speakers on the Indian sub-continent, if you include 'English as a lingua franca' in the above statistics, counting India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, you get 48.4 million, a far cry from the 300 million you state. Dforest 19:07, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
American English *is* a branch of English. It may not be uninflential but it is certainly a minority as the majority of people speaking English do not reside in the US (nor do they spell aluminium without an 'i'). Fact checking needs to be done... and not through use of American internet sources like Google. This is a fundamental stumbling point. I believe the point of Nelson Ricardo's anecdote was not to impugn the intelligence of Americans, but to illustrate that just because one group sets a convention does not mean that it is correct, either in absolute terms or in relation to the rest of the world. When perception is coloured then facts will be confused. This topic is a case in point. Wiki-Ed 09:45, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
If you disagree, then cite some counter-evidence. But you can't just delete valid information just because you think it may be biased. Show us some evidence. The Google results are a fact, and they have a caveat. Both the fact and the caveat are on the page. There is no valid reason to remove them. Nohat 17:36, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
The "evidence" is extraneous when the article already explains the etymology quite thoroughly. Google results are not factual because there is no way of telling whether they are accurate or representative. Also, you can tailor them to suit your argument. For example if I remove all US-sourced domains from the search criteria I end up with "aluminium" outnumbering "aluminum" 2:1. Bit contrived, but it seems to support Jooler's hypothesis. Try it. That's "counter-evidence" isn't it? Wiki-Ed 18:42, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
So, information on how a word is spelled on 18.5 million web pages is completely irrelevant to a discussion of how a word is spelled. Nohat 18:02, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
It is relevant to this discussion on this talk page, but it is not relevant to the encyclopaedia article, and frankly I'm staggered that you still think it is relevant. BTW I strongly object to the accusation of vandalism that you have used on the edit summary. The Google results are a 'fact and they do have a caveat, the caveat is that it is and entirely bogus statistic that proves precisely nothing. Jooler 18:16, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Why is it entirely bogus? Is how people spell things on the internet not relevant to the topic of spelling? What exactly is the harm in including this information? Are people in some way misled or lied to if they are informed about the Google results? I understand that you think that it's entirely bogus and that it proves nothing, but others here, including me, disagree that it's completley bogus and think it's informative and relevant. 18.5 million web pages is a significant data point, whether you like it or not.
What happened to the spirit of NPOV? We're perfectly willing to explain that the information comes with a caveat, but you appear to be totally unwilling to budge on the point that it be included in any form at all whatsoever. There is a disagreement; Wikipedia policy when there is a disagreement is to compromise by contextualizing disputed points, not to completely remove them. Where's your spirit of compromise? How can you completely discount 18.5 million web pages as not being relevant? That's approximately 18,499,999 more opinions than yours, and yet you would silence them. For shame. Nohat 18:36, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
BTW, when you remove information from an article when there is no consensus to do so, especially where there are a number of people on the talk page who disagree with that removal, then that's vandalism in my book. There is no consensus that this information should not be included, so removing it constitutes vandalism. If you don't want your actions described as vandalism, then I suggest you not vandalize articles. Nohat 18:41, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I think the best way to solve this is to follow the relevant authority where there is one. In the case of chemical names, go with the IUPAC primary spelling, as we have for the elements Caesium and Sulfur. I am from the United States, so that will mean using something other than what I was taught in grade school for this article, but so be it. Jonathunder 18:18, 2005 September 2 (UTC)

The information about the official IUPAC spelling is already included in the article. The question now appears to be whether information about the number of Google results for the different spellings can be included in the article at all. Nohat 18:36, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
If I went out and wrote a virus which changed the spelling on all those pages would the "results" still be relevant? No. Are they now? No. Above you claim that IUPAC is a "foreign" entity which we should ignore because it has no authority over Wikipedia. However, it seems to me that instead you are trying to use the authority of a tiny number (relatively speaking) of non-recognised "foreign" website authors to justify how a word is spelt. Hypocrisy? Yes. Wiki-Ed 18:42, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

You misunderstand. There are two different issues here. The first is how Wikipedia articles in general should spell the word "aluminum". The second is whether or not the article about aluminum should include information from Google about the number of pages that use different results. Furthermore, there is a qualitative difference between making linguistic arguments based on some what self-appointed authority says is correct and making linguistic arguments based on preponderances of usage. The former is called "prescriptivism" and the latter is called "descriptivism". The former is not really accepted by professional linguists as a valid argument for pretty much anything, but the latter forms the basis for how all scientific study of language is undertaken. Nohat 19:15, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
So is that what you kept adding to the article--a "scientific study" of spelling? Looks like original research to me. By the way, you clearly broke the three revert rule in adding it back over and over. You can be blocked for that. CDThieme 20:13, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
The ban on original research does not mean that one can't present simple facts gleaned from a pair of Google searches. Trying to apply that policy here smacks of desperation. Saying that you can't include results from Google searches would mean that almost everything on Wikipedia would be "original research". As for the 3RR, it doesn't apply to vandalism, which is exactly what continually removing valid information from an article despite a lack of consensus is. Nohat 20:52, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Lol. I was just about to say that! I understood there are two elements to this, but the threads are a little confused. On the first point, as I have said, I think the article covers the fact that there are two spellings adequately. It even gives quite a detailed history. The second points seems like primary research to me too. I suspect you may disagree, but I haven't been able to find a policy line on the use of Google. Wiki-Ed 20:20, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

The article doesn't given any statistical information on distribution of usage, which, if you ask any linguist, is absolutely the most important information in any kind of linguistic analysis. Nohat 20:52, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Get over it you guys! The non-US contributors to Wikipedia have to put up with an enormous amount of US linguistic imperialism. Let's go with the internationally recognised standard and go on to something useful. DJ Clayworth 21:00, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I'm sorry, what? What does American linguistic imperialism have to do with presenting some simple facts about usage in the article? Are you suggesting that the fact that according to Google "aluminum" is 2.7 times more common on the internet than "aluminium" should be suppressed as some kind of "compensation" for alleged American linguistic imperialism? Nohat 21:13, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't think this is a U.S. versus anyone else issue: opinions from American editors above have been on both sides. I really don't think the charge of "imperialism" is helpful in finding a solution. Please withdraw it. (This request is from an American who probably agrees with you otherwise.) Jonathunder 21:08, 2005 September 2 (UTC)

Nohat. I was in fact following the consensus that the Google statistics were not relevant and should not be included on this page that had been established quite some time ago, when Dforest last went about trying to include them back in July. So your alleged vandalism charge is unwarranted and disengenous. You were the one making continuous reversions against that consensus. Jooler 21:57, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

What consensus? I don't see any consensus. All I see is acrimonious debate, with one side logrolling their POV through without any attempt to compromise. Nohat 22:09, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
You say "what consensus?" - back in July along with myself, we had
  • "Hear hear. I fail to see the relevance of this original research." — OwenBlacker
  • "Agreed." James F.
  • It is original research -- Joolz
And the debate ended there until DForest re-ignited it, and you fanned the flames. Jooler 22:26, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, and back in July neither Dforest nor I agreed but moved on temporarily to other issues while we let the issue sit. There wasn't a consensus then and there isn't a consensus now. Nohat 23:53, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
For the record, I was on holiday. Dforest 01:08, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Dforest. Those figures are well known to be hugely inaccurate for several reasons and were in fact the subject of some debate on the talk:English language page. See [Talk:English_language#Pie_Chart] and then see [Talk:English_language#Indian_English_Speakers] which states "a 1997 'India Today' survey suggested that about a third of the population has the ability to carry on a conversation in English you end up with around 350 million English language speakers in India" - I was being conservative. Jooler 21:57, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

But it's comparing apples and oranges. Certainly it is quite a lot different being able to carry on a conversation and using it as a lingua franca. Dforest 01:08, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Apples and Oranges, yes Apples are native speakers and Oranges are people who read web pages. There are a lot more of the latter. Jooler 08:46, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
But it is the former which set the standards for the use of the language. The latter are followers only, not leaders, in this regard. Gene Nygaard 15:07, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
My goodness this must be where I must have got it all wrong. I didn't realise that I was a follower, an obedient servant who is humbled before his master and leader who is there to teach me the proper way to speak English. I live in the country that invented the language. Listen! Your standards are NOT my standards. This is not YOUR Wikipedia and you are not here to dictate how the rest of the world should speak English. This is our Wikipedia and it is pluralistic. There are no leaders and there are no followers. Jooler 16:08, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
My point was that you shouldn't discredit the data just because it doesn't fit your criteria. Dforest 11:05, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
This still doesn't address the issue of how statistics of usage on the internet are invalid. They don't represent all written English, sure, but the internet is a large and important subset of written usage, and has the added benefit of being measurable. Imperfect data shouldn't be suppressed; it should simply be presented with its imperfections. With the exception of cold, hard, data that directly contradicts the Google data, there is nothing you can say or do to convince me that it's invalid.
However, given that, I disagree that the data is as useless as you claim, and until anyone provides any kind of data or evidence; anything at all whatsoever that directly contradicts the Google data, I don't see any reason to discount it. All these theories and arguments about how Google may potentially be biased or unreliable are just that: theories and arguments. Unless hard facts can be shown that directly contradict the data, the data cannot be denied. Nohat 22:09, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Ok try to convince me - what exactly' do 18.5 million Google hits actually tell us? (BTW I get 13.5). What do 389,000 "aluminum site:uk" hits tells us? That's the clincher isn't it? 18.5 million hits for aluminum proves that a whole bunch of people wrote the word aluminum on the Internet, and Google counted 'em and added a whole bunch of other false positives (see above) and came out with a figure of 18.5 million. Nothing more nothing less. What do 822,000 hits for "Guiness"(sic) tell us?, What do 2,960,000 hits for "seperate" tells us? what do 4,910,000 hits for "millenium" tell us? It tells us that a lot of people don't use a spellchecker when they write stuff on the Internet (myself included, but my main problem is my inability to touch type). Jooler 22:20, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
What does 4,780 hits for "analogue disc record" tell us? It tells a that term invented on Wikipedia and now discarded has spread to 4,780 websites despite the fact that virtually no-one in the real world would ever use it. Ohh and before you start to bang on about the "unaptness" of these analogies - I would like to point out that all analogies are subject to failure if you attempt to take them too far. As it might say on a the cover of a TV dinner, they are for illustrative purposes only. Jooler 22:59, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Aluminium is not a misspelling. It's a variant spelling. So making comparisons to common misspellings is not a very illuminating analogy. Besides, none of your examples show anything interesting. All of the misspellings get significantly fewer hits than the correct spelling: "Guinness" gets 3,170,000 hits and Guiness gets 822,000, a ratio of 3.8 to 1. Same for seperate/separate: 40.8 to 1. And so forth. Google shows us that misspellings are not as popular as the correct spellings, and that's not a particularly interesting or unexpected fact. One would expect that correct spellings are more popular. On the other hand, the aluminum article says that IUPAC's official spelling is aluminium and that is the spelling used in most English-speaking countries except the U.S. and Canada. And yet, despite the official preference by IUPAC and the apparent popular preference by so many countries, the American spelling still has dominance on the internet. This is where the Google search shows evidence that is contrary to what someone might expect. That's an interesting fact, and that's something that should be included in the article. Nohat 23:03, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Nohat, your interpretation of selected data from Google could indeed make a most interesting article... but it is original research and has no place here. Wiki-Ed 23:20, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting my interpretation should be included on the page, just the facts. But even just the facts are being censored because they're "irrelevant", which I dispute, and I explained here why I dispute it. We should let the readers decide for themselves whether or not it is relevant. Nohat 23:35, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Right - so as far as I can see you have just proved my point. You say "And yet, despite the official preference by IUPAC and the apparent popular preference by so many countries, the American spelling still has dominance on the internet." - well what can be the explanation for that? What can be the explanation for 389,000 "aluminum site:uk" hits? If you don't accept my explanation, what is your explanation? Oh and again, the analogies are for illustrative purposes only, i.e. they illustrate that Google hit counts are generally not particulary interesting usefull or informative, which is precisely my point with regards to Aluminium. Maybe an article on it's own, but then we have Wikipedia:Google test and the caveats with its usage should be listed there. The number one caveat being that there is an inherent US bias on the Internet. Jooler 23:27, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I think the data is relevant and you don't. Why don't we just include the facts and let the readers decide for themselves whether they think it is relevant instead of you deciding for them? Nohat 23:35, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
It these are facts you can cite a source for they may be relevant. If it is the original research of your own analysis of certain selected google searches you did, it is irrelevant and fattening. CDThieme 00:16, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but entering a URL and then reading information from the resulting page does not count as "original research". It's just "looking something up on the web", which is how the vast majority of information on Wikipedia gets here. Nohat 00:31, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
I note how you fail to answer the question. What are the facts? As far I can see the "fact" is that US spellings are generally more common on the Internet. What relevance to a light shiny metal is that? Jooler 23:37, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I thought I explained this. The way the article reads without it makes it seems as though "aluminium" would be the most common spelling. The Google evidence counterbalances that. You know, NPOV and all that. Nohat 23:51, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
This was precisely the reason I added the Google comment to begin with. We are religiously following what we consider to be an international standard--but one set by scientists, not by linguists. (Not to imply they cannot be both, only that their choice is as arbitrary as anyone else's, especially considering they accept both spellings.) The article seems to imply that it is the correct or "preferred" spelling, and thus it seems relevant to me to show some contradicting evidence of how the language is actually used. Again, prescription and description. Neither spelling is more correct than the other. Dforest 01:08, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry I still don't get it. How does the Google "evidence" counter anything? All that can be judged from the "evidence" is that "aluminum" is used on the Internet more than "aluminium". So what? I don't find that in any way suprising. Jooler 00:23, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Well I do. And besides, when did the criterion for relevance only include "surprising"? "Aluminum" is used on the Internet more than "aluminium"—why should that information be suppressed? A short sentence indicating that fact, with the Google results as evidence is all that is necessary. At least two people think it's relevant and interesting. I think most of the other facts in this article are unsurprising and uninteresting, but you don't see me suggesting that they be removed. Why is this fact, which clearly concerns the topic in question, being so vehemently suppressed? Nohat 00:31, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
It irrelevant, it doesn't prove anything. It is not unique and it can be easily be explained away. It doesn't enlighten the reader in any way shape or form. You say you find it suprising, I cannot fathom why? I've given you a clear explanation of the reason behind it, and you cannot refute it. I think you're just trolling now. Goodnight. Jooler 00:42, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
You're continuing to miss the point. The fact that you can explain the results does not mean that the results aren't true. It just means that there is an explanation for them. The fact that there is an explanation doesn't mean that the facts aren't true. I explained why I think it's surprising. I think it's perfectly valid for you to not find them surprising, but being surprising is not the criterion for inclusion or relevance. It's related to the topic in question and it's verifiable. There is no reason to suppress the information. Nohat 00:57, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
They are true in a very narrow context, a context which is not particularly interesting in this case, or indeed in any other case regarding US English usage. Why can't you see that? It seems perfectly obvious to me. If it is not obvious to you then fair enough, make your "interesting" point about usage, but make it somewhere else where the context is right. It has no relevance to this article. This really is the lamest article dispute I've ever come across. Jooler 08:42, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
This article has an extensive section on "spelling" of the word aluminum. It contains information about which organizations have an official spelling for the word. It contains information about which countries generally prefer which spelling. It even contains information about how the word is spelled in Finnish and Estonian! I don't see any reason why it shouldn't also contain information about which spelling is more popular on the internet. I don't understand how you can say that how the Estonians spell a word in Estonian is relevant to the English Wikipedia, but which English spelling is more common on the internet is irrelevant. That is blatant and POV preference for prescriptive information, while descriptive information is being suppressed by being called "biased" and "irrelevant" without any actual proof of it, just a lot of speculation and blubbering. This discrimination against valid linguistic information is unjustified and intolerable.
If you want this article dispute to go away, then you should stop being so incredibly obstinate and make a proposal for some kind of compromise that might appease everyone. I've tried to make suggestions for how the wording might be adjusted to be acceptable to everyone, but so far all the suggestions and proposals for including any kind of descriptive usage information have been rejected without any valid justification. Nohat 19:24, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps you could propose something other than your own analysis of one search engine's results, some independent work which could be cited. Just a suggestion. Jonathunder 19:32, 2005 September 3 (UTC)
I'm not proposing any analysis at all anymore. Just the simple facts that Google returns 13.5 million for "aluminum" and 5 million for "aluminium". All I propose is to just use Google as a primary source to give two facts, and let the reader decide for himself whether the facts are interesting or relevant. I note that WP:NOR says "... research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is strongly encouraged. In fact, all articles on Wikipedia should be based on information collected from primary and secondary sources. This is not "original research," it is "source-based research," and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia."
I recognize that not everyone is linguistically savvy and capable of comprehending the importance of descriptive linguistic data when discussing usage; however, linguistic naïveté should not motivate the suppression of valid and relevant information. Where else would be a better place to put descriptive linguistic information about the relative frequency of two spellings of the word "aluminium" than in a section called "spelling" of the article called "aluminium"? Nohat 20:16, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
"If you want this article dispute to go away, then you should stop being so incredibly obstinate" - I'm being obstinate? You are in a minority of two and I am being obstinate!? Get real. I agree with you the details regarding Estonian spelling etc should be trimmed. It's not useful or interesting to list these languages, some will inevitably be left out and some readers will inevitably feel aggreived that their language isn't included and add it to the list. Where would we be then if this page listed the speeling in "all known languages in the galaxy (including Welsh) [that's a reference to Red Dwarf in case you didn't get it]. You think Google hit counts are relevant, I don't think they are, I have explained why I think they are not relevant and all you have done is quote the hit count, and not tried to offer any kind of explanation defending the relevance of the hit count other than "it must be significant because it is so big" or words to that effect. I repeat - statistics (in this case the hit count) are meaningless without context and in this case the context is that the hit count reflects the nature of the Internet, nothing more. Put this information on a page about the Internet and spellings where the context is meaningful, otherwise you should set about initiating a campaign to add the same bogus statistical information to all of the Wikipedia articles that use an American spelling rather than a British spelling or vice versa. Jooler 22:02, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
More sophistry. You keep retreading the same tired arguments. Again you seem to be claiming that the Google statistics have no context, which if course is a statement that couldn't be further from the truth. The context is that this is a section "spelling" of an article called "aluminum". The context is that there is a heap of prescriptive information about English-language usage without any descriptive information to counterbalance it. I can't imagine a situation in which these statistics could have more context.
Your slippery-slope argument about adding statistical information is yet another inapt analogy that you seem to be so fond of. Obviously statistical information about frequency of usage would only be needed in articles that already have extensive linguistic usage information, such as this one. No one is proposing or suggesting that these types of statistics are needed on any page.
I recognize that you don't think this information is interesting or relevant. I think you're wrong; it is both interesting and relevant, and necessary to maintain balance and NPOV. You still have not given any compelling reason why readers should have it decided for them that this information is irrelevant rather than allowing them to decide for themselves. You do Wikipedia and its readers a great disservice by unilaterally removing information for which there is clearly no consensus to remove. Nohat 23:32, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Quoting Google search results for the two terms would be both original research and misleadingly unscientific. For example, the Google results could be heavily skewed to North American Internet references in English. The internationally recognized name of this element, in English texts, is aluminium. The American spelling aluminum should be a re-direct. Wyss 22:04, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. However, I believe there is some misunderstanding. Wikipedia:No original research explicitly states "... research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is strongly encouraged. In fact, all articles on Wikipedia should be based on information collected from primary and secondary sources. This is not "original research," it is "source-based research," and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia." Google is a primary source and including statistics from Google is simply "collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources". Had I attempted to count the usage of the different spellings on the internet myself, then that would be original research. Simply consulting an established primary source for usage statistics does not constitute original research.
There is already a multiple-years-old tradition of using Google statistics for scientific inquiry among professional linguists. Your speculation that Google results are heavily skewed to American sources is unsubstantiated and likely false. Google indexes web sites from every country and every language and it has been a long time since American interests have held a majority on the internet.
Furthermore, the English language is not legislated by any body, and there is no such thing as an "internationally recognized name" for anything. However, if there were, such a name would be recognized by all countries. Seeing as how the United States is a nation in the international community like any other, and the spelling "aluminium" is not recognized in the United States, either popularly or officially, even if there were such a thing as an "internationally recognized name", it couldn't possibly be "aluminium", which is not used by a majority of native English speakers. The suggestion that the title of this article should be based on an "internationally recognized name", which doesn't exist, is not a particularly helpful or well-informed one.
Finally, if you had actually read this discussion, you would know that the title of the article is not currently under debate. What is being discussed is whether information from Google should be included in the article. Nohat 23:32, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

First, I read the discussion and responded to it. Did you read my post? Second, if linguists have used Google searches for statistical research, It's highly likely their studies had strong controls and were peer reviewed. Your quick and dirty keyword search on Google doesn't compare. Third, I never said the English language was legislated by anyone. Please re-read my post if you have any questions about what I said. Fourth, I think you are being needlessly confrontational and certainly unscholarly about this whole discussion. I was amazed to find the article protected over something so trivial. So...

  • Your argument is unscientific
  • Your cite is original research either way
  • Your behavior on this page has been somewhat disruptive and unhelpful Wyss 23:54, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you again for your comments. However, your points are neither valid nor germane. The proposal is only to report the facts of how many results Google reports for two searches. There is nothing unscientific about reporting facts. Nevertheless, there is no reason to believe that conclusions about English usage on the internet drawn from Google search results, especially when those results number into the millions, are in any way unscientific or biased. Google indexes all of the internet. However, if there is substantial concern that Google may be biased, we can certainly collect and organize information from other search engines. Furthermore, it is not original research to report facts collected elsewhere. As Wikipedia:No original research says, "it is "source-based research," and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia." Finally, thank you for your observations about my behavior. You can rest assured that I will give them all the consideration they are due. Nohat 00:57, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I've already explained why your approach is unscientific. Further, as an interpretation of a primary source you are citing your own original research. Your suggestions about collecting data from other search engines would raise further problemtic issues and also, would be more original research. Wyss 01:06, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Reporting facts is not original research nor is it an unscientific approach. What could possibly be unscientific about reporting facts? You fail to explain what "further problemtic issues" there would be with collecting data from other search engines other than claiming that it would be original research, which, if you read WP:NOR, you will see it is plainly not. It clearly and unambiguously says "... research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is strongly encouraged.... This is not "original research," it is "source-based research," and it is fundamental to writing an encyclopedia." You can't just ignore this statement in the official policy page and claim that reporting facts constitutes original research. It is not original research, and the policy page on no original research makes this quite clear. Nohat 01:38, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I already said it's your interpretation of them (by inference, presentation or otherwise) that makes it original research. Wyss 01:47, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't understand. How is including facts in articles original research? It seems to me that including the information about number of search results constitutes "collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources", which is not only not original research, it is "strongly encouraged". Nohat 19:10, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
The difference between interpreting data and collecting and organizing it is stark. Wyss 19:18, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
The difference is not stark. It's quite muddled, actually. Organizing data is a form of interpretation, is it not? And yet, organizing data is explicitly encouraged in the no original research policy. However, the proposal to include information about Google results is quite starkly on the "collecting and organizing" side of the line. Where's the interpretation of data in "As of September 2005, a Google search reports 13,200,000 results for aluminum and 6,320,000 for aluminium"? I don't see any interpretation; all I see is facts. Nohat 19:33, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
One indication showing how interpretive it is, in presentation and inference (and hence original research), is that such an unqualified statement could lead the reader into thinking such a Google search has any meaning or sway as to the scientifically, industrially and commercially recognized name for this element, which is aluminium. Google keyword searches in themselves are entirely unscientific, and any conclusion or inference drawn directly from them and cited or included in an article would be original research. This differs from the rough "Google tests" we might run to help reach consensus on an article's status on VfD or whatever. Wyss 19:50, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Readers make all kinds of conclusions and beliefs based on things included in Wikipedia. If it is believed that the inclusion of some fact will mislead (and there is absolutely zero evidence at all whatsoever that Google results are in any way misleading), then a caveat can be included with the statement of fact. It is possible, sure, that the Google results are biased, but no one has shown even the tiniest scrap of evidence that they are, and what is known about how the Google search engine works strongly indicates that it is not. The mere possibility of being misleading is insufficient cause to not include a fact. At most, the fact should be noted with a caveat. Wouldn't it be better for readers to get all of the available evidence and allow them to draw their own conclusions, rather than withhold information because you think it might be misinterpreted? To do otherwise is simple censorship, and Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not censored.
Furthermore, being "scientific" is not a criterion for inclusion of information at Wikipdia, not only because only including so-called "scientific" information would be a blatant violation of NPOV, but for the simple reason that we would never be able to come to an agreement on what is and is not scientific. The argument that the Google searches are "unscientific" is inapplicable. However, the fact remains that Google searches are the only descriptive linguistic information we have concerning spelling of the word "aluminum", and including descriptive information is important for maintaining a NPOV balance from all the prescriptive information already included in the article.
If readers draw conclusions based on information presented to them on Wikipedia, then that is their business, and it's not our responsibility to withhold information from readers in the fear that if, God forbid, they find out a piece of factual, verifiable, and relevant information, they might draw a conclusion from it. The "no original research" policy only applies to editors, not to readers. Our duty as editors is to present all of the facts and let the readers decide for themselves. The exclusion and suppression of this valuable, factual, and verifiable information is a flagrant violation of the NPOV policy. The claim that Google keyword searches constitute original research is laughably false. The "no original research" policy does not apply here, and this is made clear by the explicit mention in the policy that it is highly encouraged to collect and organize facts for inclusion on Wikipedia. Your bizarrely twisted interpretation of the policy is plainly sophistry devised to suppress valid, verifiable, and relevant facts from the article.Nohat 20:49, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry you find my attempts to help you understand original research "laughably false... bizarrely twisted... sophistry." Wyss 20:53, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
It seems that it's you who needs help understanding original research. You could start by reading the actual policy. Nohat 21:22, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I cannot believe that you are still banging on about this. Please accept that you have lost the argument and walk away. You are now demonstrating the behaviour of a troll, although you may not see yourself as one. Only you and Dforest wish this dubious information to be included, and given Dforest's edit histroy on the Breatharian article I have to wonder whther you are not both trolls. I see no point in continuing any further in this discussion. Jooler 21:37, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
This comment is completely uncalled for. I take strong offense at being alluded to as a troll, particularly after standing up for you against accusations of vandalism. If you have objections to my edits of Breatharian, I suggest you discuss them on that article's talk page. See Wikipedia:No_personal_attacks. Dforest 03:13, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments on my behavior. You can rest assured that they will be given all the consideration they are due.
No one has :
  • Presented any evidence that the Google search results information is in any way biased or false, other than unsupported conjecture
  • Provided any reason why this information should be supressed from readers rather then letting them decide for themselves whether it is useful, interesting, or relevant
  • Presented any other counter-proposals for balancing the POV of the spelling section
  • Provided any other compelling argument for why information which is directly concerned with the topic in question should be deleted
Unless these points can be convincingly answered, in my estimation the argument has been lost by the censorious prescriptivists who hope to silence me by bringing up the same tired and fallacious arguments over and over until I submit. I will not. The truth must be told. Nohat 22:07, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Help, I'm being oppressed by censorious prescriptivists! Get over yourself, please. Apparently, no one else agrees with you that your google searches are serious research that should be included in an encyclopedia. So, if you want the information included, find it in some published science and cite it. CDThieme 23:13, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Just keep everything as it is. And see this:Aluminum and Aluminium It doesn't matter what it's called, what is important is it's properties and the like.--Jetru 15:58, September 5, 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps it doesn't matter to you what it's called. But some of us actually do care about English usage and actually do care to see that valid information about usage doesn't get suppressed. If you don't care about something, you are not likely to spread your apathy by claiming that things that people do care about don't matter. Nohat 20:37, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
The thing is that this is a Chemistry article, there is a link to North American English for anyone interested in the usage of English dialects (unless it's been "suppressed" too). It can be inferred from such pages that the majority of the English speaking world resides in North America, so if you're going to mention usage then mention that, not half-arsed original research using Google.
Inane usage ramblings just seem out of place in the article and are little more than trying to say "I can't get my way but I'm right anyway". A decision has been made to stick to IUPAC conventions, there is no need to complicate the issue. StuartH 01:17, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

A Compromise[edit]

I suggest that American users, who spell it aluminum, follow the example of the United States Government in arms control treaties. One of the categories of equipment subject to reporting in these treaties consists of fighting vehicles having a heavy protective covering. In the United States, they are known as "armored combat vehicles", except for treaty purposes. In the United Kingdom, they are known as "armoured combat vehicles". The English text of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which is ratified by the United Kingdom and the United States (as well as Canada), refers to "armoured combat vehicles". The reason is, simply that the United Kingdom is the mother country of the English language.

Wikipedia is international, and the English Wikipedia has editors from various English-speaking countries. Why can't Americans simply compromise by recognizing the British spelling on articles of international interest? Wikipedia guidelines say to use American spellings in articles about American places or people, and British spellings in articles about British places and people, and to be consistent within each article. Wikipedia guidelines also say to try to reach agreement by consensus and compromise. The compromise appears to this American editor to be either, first, to accept IUPAC, or, second, to recognize that the United Kingdom is the mother country of the English language. Robert McClenon 22:43, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I wouldn't go quite that far; I don't think we need to go that far. But already in practice Wikipedia follows IUPAC for the names of all chemical elements in the article titles for those elements. Since that is already the practice, maybe we can agree it should be policy, just to end the arguments and move on. Jonathunder 22:55, 2005 September 4 (UTC)
You wrote: "Why can't Americans simply compromise by recognizing the British spelling on articles of international interest?" Your idea of a compromise asserts British hegemony of the English language. Why should British spelling be considered more international? As far as I'm concerned, we already came to a compromise, to use the IUPAC preferred spelling of "aluminium". The current discussion is about whether to include a mention of the Google results as a measure of popular usage that appears to contradict the IUPAC 'standard'. It is unfortunate this discussion is taking place in a section started under different intentions. Dforest 20:40, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
"Why should British spelling be considered more international? " - because for the most part - it is more international. Not only is British English used in nearly all of the countries of the Commonwealth, it is an official language of the European Commision - see [9]. It's as simple as that. Jooler 21:54, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
It is natural that British conventions of English usage tend to be dominant in its sphere of influence (chiefly, the EU and the Commonwealth) and likewise, U.S. conventions tend to be dominant in its sphere of influence (chiefly the Americas, its former colonies and protectorates, and countries with close economic or academic ties). This does not make one more international than the other. Dforest 07:06, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

the British sphere of influence covers a much larger area than that of America —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:40, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Depends on if you include those 10 million square kilometers we call "Canada" in one or the other, but I don't see how it's relevant anyway :) (talk) 16:44, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm impressed. This 'Put down the I' section and the immediately following one has rumbled on for quite a while. With this comment I should be able to push the total word count over the 10,000 word barrier. That's 10,000 words of effort arguing about whether the letter 'i' and associated Google tests should be included or not — over twice the number of words contained in the whole main article on aluminium.

I should think that is quite a bit more time and effort than I spent re-writing the history/etymology section. I should think it is far less likely to ever be read in full by anyone and almost certainly a lot less interesting to research.

It is important that these things get thrashed out on talk pages, but given that this has been discussed a couple of times before, I can't help think that all this effort is misplaced. Are we drawing to a conclusion now? -- Solipsist 19:13, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

IMO (and experience) this is what happens when users attempt to edit by attrition rather than by consensus. I'm still amazed one or two editors have been able get the article literally locked into such an unproductive discussion when the consensus so clearly goes the other way and worse, when it has been discussed before. Wyss 19:45, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
It's obviously a sticking point. Also, some recent visitors have got confused. I believe there is consensus over the article naming. The issue here now is that one editor believes we should have the results of his Google test on the page as it shows a prevalence of the use of the aluminum spelling on the internet. Other editors think the test is biased and constitutes original research. Although I agree that Google is not accurate and the test results are not representative, the test itself is not. A basic non-filtered search on any engine will confirm these proportions. The etymology is actually quite interesting and if we block the bit about the internet we would probably have to remove the material about the other languages too. As a compromise I propose we allow a single sentence that does not use figures (since they'll change daily) and does not attempt to infer anything from the "results". What would people say if we inserted something like this at the end of the paragraph?
Unfiltered internet search engine results show the "aluminum" variant is currently used more frequently on webpages.
It's doesn't take up masses of space, doesn't infer anything about the real world and is actually true. I think the use of Google shoud be discussed (again) more thoroughly elsewhere as this is clearly a policy issue. Wiki-Ed 20:01, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Consensus means agreement that all reasonable people can live with. I have made numerous compromise proposals and yet several perfectly reasonable points have yet to be addressed by those who would censor this information. I'm still waiting for compelling answers to these points:
No one has :
  • Presented any evidence that search engine results are in any way biased or false, other than unsupported speculation
  • Shown how any part of the WP:NOR policy applies to this information in any way other than its inclusion should be strongly encouraged
  • Provided any reason why this information should be supressed from readers rather then letting them decide for themselves whether it is useful, interesting, or relevant
  • Provided any other compelling argument for why information which is directly concerned with the topic in question should be deleted
I will not accept the censorship of this valid information unless substantially compelling argument for the points above can be presented. Unless these points can be convincingly answered, in my estimation the argument has been lost by those who wish to remove the information.
Answer my points in a compelling way, and then we can come to a consensus. Wiki-Ed has made a reasonable proposal that I accept. Nohat 20:37, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
- "suppression" and "censorship" are strong words which simply do not apply here. It is not suppression or censorship to omit irrelevant and flawed statistics. The inclusion of flawed statistics, even if they are qualified in some way, gives the impression that they are of some value. In this case they are not. I have already presented the evidence you request above, but you have chosen to ignore it. - Answer these points.
  • "Unfiltered internet search engine results show the "aluminum" variant is currently used more frequently on web pages"
    • So what? Why is that important to the study of aluminium? Who cares?
    • What value are unfiltered internet search engine results?
    • Does any official body consider that the use of such 'unfiltered' results have any real statistical value?
    • What is the actual context of the suggested 'unfiltered' search result?
    • It it influenced by the way that the search engine caches, or catalogues web pages?
    • Do web pages reflect usage in general or or is it skewed to those who possess the technology?
    • Is this technological advantage skewed in favour of particular nations?
    • Does the search engine in question favour pages generated by certain institutions?
    • Does the fact a high proportion of the English language pages on the Internet are written by Americans have any influence on this?
    • Does the fact that there are a very large number of academic and scientific establishments in the United States influence the number?
    • Does the fact that these institutions generally have a larger IT budget than institutions outside of the USA influence the results?
    • Does the fact the products used to produce electronic texts are mostly produced by companies from the United States influence the results?
    • Does the fact the product like Microsoft Word default to installing in English (U.S.) rather than English (British) affect the results?
    • Does the fact that Americans are less aware of non-American spellings, whilst Britons and others are generally more aware of American spellings mean that people who would naturally write using British spellings find that in order for their page to obtain a larger number of hits they must resort to using American spellings to attract American customers?
    • Why do we get 509,000 hit counts on pages with a .uk domain when aluminum is not used by Brits?
    • Why do we get 47,000 hits on pages with with a .fr domain?
    • Is it significant that when you filter those 47,000 hits on site:fr to restrict to English language pages, half of the hits go away?
    • Is it significant that of the remaining half (the French half) most of the pages still seem to be written in English? How many were written by Canadians?
    • How many pages are written by Chinese authors using their default MS Word installation, which the spellchecker corrected for them?
    • How many of the hits are pages saying things like "Americans spell it aluminum, but I prefer to spell it aluminium and so I won't use aluminum on the rest of this page"?
    • Are the results of a web search any more significant than going onto the street somewhere in California (where a large fraction of the websites on the Internet are actually produced) and randomly asking 100 people how they spell a word?
    • Would it be any more significant than looking at how a bunch of 12 year old kids would spell it?
      • If you have to answer "I don’t know" to any of these questions, (and a whole host of others I can't be bothered to list) then the Google statistics have no place in this article because the value and significance of the results cannot be judged. Jooler 21:43, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Even if I were to answer these inane questions (which I could, but won't because they're irrelevant and inane), they still fail to address my points above, and as I explained earlier, are all speculation based on not a shred of evidence. When you're talking about corpora in the billions of words, biases such as the ones you speculate aren't sufficient to change the results of simple searches. Also, you vastly underestimate the diversity of the internet. Even if it were true that a "large fraction" of web sites are produced in California (which is completely untrue), the reality is that the vast majority of content on the internet is not "produced", but is the result of people all over the world communicating with each other. Messaging boards and wikis and so forth contribute many orders of magnitude more content to the archived web than "produced content".
Secondly, even if any of your alleged biases are significant, that's still not a sufficient reason to exclude the information. If there were better information, we would use that. But we don't have better information, and it is better to provide some statistical information about usage, with any relevant caveats explained, than to provide no information at all. Do you really think that "aluminium" is actually the more commonly-used spelling on the internet and that Google is simply wrong? Or do you think that the search engine results are too affected by bias and that in some unmeasurable ideal consideration of the world, "aluminium" is in fact more commonly used? I think it's really actually the case that "aluminum" is more common on the internet, and I think that it fits in quite well with all the other vaguely-relevant pieces of information about usage. In general, more information is better than less, and since we can't agree that this information is valid and relevant, we should let our readers decide for themselves, rather than having you decide for them. Nohat 05:40, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Put down the I P2[edit]

Where's the policy that says that the only information that can be included on Wikipedia has to be from "published science"? WP:NOR says "... research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources is strongly encouraged. " Google is a primary source. Collecting and organizing information from primary sources is "strongly encouraged". Where does it say that this policy doesn't apply to this article? Nohat 01:08, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Google is not a primary source, it's a search engine. Anything you infer statistically from a keyword search of Google is your own original research, never mind the raw comparison you've discussed above is unscientific, for the reasons outlined above. As for scientific publications, because they're peer reviewed their reliability tends to be rather high. Since we're dealing with a basic article about an elemental metal whose definition depends wholly on peer reviewed science, I'd suggest that peer reviewed scientific publications can be reasonably asserted as the only acceptable sources for this article. Wyss 01:51, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

Google most certainly is a primary source. I ask it how many internet pages that it has indexed have a particular word, and it tells me. I can't imagine a more prototypical primary source of usage information than Google. There's no original research going on when directly comparing two numbers. 16 million is a larger number than 6 million. That's not original research; that's a fact. If doing a comparison using these methods were some idea that I just dreamed up, then I could understand calling it original research. But the method itself does not constitute original research; it has long been established by linguists and also on Wikipedia:Google test. Neither does the particular data constitute original research—it's just collected information from a primary source. Of course, other information has to be taken into account when making decisions about usage, but there is no reason not to report the data as collected in the article.
Secondly, we're not talking about the element per se; we're talking about English usage of the name of the element. The criteria for information about English usage is not the same as the criteria for the information about the element itself, for the obvious reason that linguists are the experts on usage, not chemists. When discussing English usage, the methods used by usage commentators are appropriate, which in this case means consulting large corpora for statistical information. Seeing as how Google is the largest corpus of English text available for general searching, it necessarily is the most precise source of such information. Accusations that Google is somehow biased are unsubstantiated and irrelevant, as the proposed information specifically indicates that this is information from Google searches. The idea that this information could only be included if it were part of some scientific study is laughable. It would be like saying that you have to cite a scientific study that says broccoli is green. You look at broccoli—you see it's green. You consult the largest corpus in the world of English text, and you see that "aluminum" is more common. There is no scientific study that will say that aluminum is more commonly used on the internet and there never will be, because scientists don't fill their publications with such trivialities—it's just a given that the information is trivial to glean from the corpus if it is desired. The fact that the people here have been unwilling to accept statistical information from Google is just an example of the masses being slow to catch up with the paradigm that professionals have already been using for years. Nohat 02:47, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Hmm ... the professionals use the transient, unreliable and essentially meaningless Google search stats. Wow! Professioanl what? To use it as you would want to do is original research and quite meaningless at that. If only we could replace all the wasted blather here with some real editing, think what we might accomplish. Get over it so the page can be unlocked. Vsmith 03:27, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I've already explained how it's not original research and how the policy on WP:NOR explicitly encourages information of this sort. It's not original research and excluding the information on the grounds that it is is completely bogus. Nohat 20:13, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Yep... and there is a difference between use and misuse. Wyss 03:42, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, what? Please explain what is being used and misused. Nohat 20:13, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
Google. Wyss 20:47, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I just want to state my viewpoint on this mess. Aluminium is the official IUPAC spelling. I am British and I feel a certain pride in seeing it spelled that way. I also find the spelling of sulfur vulgar but i'm not going to go changing that. When or If the IUPAC ever decides that Aluminum is the correct spelling, I'm sure every sensible Brit (and other fighting for the IUPAC spelling) will happily drop the i. i also found this page that i havent seen listed in theis discussion. I hope this doesnt fuel an edit war on that page too :p 09:00, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


This is a fine mess. The discussion above appears deadlocked and the participants have resorted to a revert war leading to this. By my count two editors feel the Google statistics on spelling are important and deserve a spot in the page. Another seven or eight editors feel the info is either irrelevant or original research (that count includes me) and inapropriate for the page. Perhaps the matter needs to be referred to an RFC concerning the original research bit, or concerning the rudeness and name-calling indulged in by one of the editors involved. Refering to those who disagree with you as vandals is against wiki policy. Can we resolve this amicably here please. Vsmith 01:23, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

While it may seem like a silly edit war, there are valid points being discussed here that could serve to the betterment of Wikipedia. Let me give some credit to Jooler and the others for bringing up some (but not all) valid criticisms of the Google test. I think they may be valuable additions to Google and Wikipedia:Google test (which I suggest be linked from this article once a compromise is reached). However, I strongly disagree it is completely 'bollox' (to use the word Jooler once wrote) or that it is original research. Google, in practice, falls something between a reference work (albeit vast) and a search tool. Further, I don't think rules of thumb like comparing Google-supplied page counts should be considered original research, just as patents are not granted to obvious methods. Note there are many, many references of this method here in Wikipedia and elsewhere on the Internet, some of which reference this exact comparison. Also, let me say I disagree with the vandalism accusations; as I personally think Jooler was acting in good faith, though I do take offense at his (and others') jabs on Americans. But I can take them in good humo(u)r so long as we can come to a suitable compromise. Dforest 05:21, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
I think "bollox" must have been used in some other debate. I can't see it here. What jabs do you mean? The reference to Internet porn? That's not a jab at Americans it's a jab (and even a joke) at the expense of Internet itself and what the majority of people use it for, but I'm not suprised that you take offence. On Wikipedia I consistently see accustations of "Anti-Americanism" been thrust at editors who expresses apoint of view that disagrees with an American one. Jooler 16:01, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
What the @#%@^! is wrong with these people? Just put a re-direct at the "American" version, keep the article under the International version and NOTE THE DUAL SPELLING AT THE TOP OF THE ARTICLE. Yeesh. And I thought the US Congress was bad... Zotel - the Stub Maker 00:47, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
It's not bad anymore since the Republicans left office.-- 20:51, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. The world recognises Aluminium and America recognises Aluminium and Aluminum. Seems like a pretty obvious conclusion to me. Garglebutt / (talk) 06:16, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
And that's what the article says. This seems to me to be one of the most pointless debates on the whole of Wikipedia, way worse than the naming of Polish cities. What we have is good - let's leave it and move on. DJ Clayworth 18:32, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
It has been about including raw Google keyword search data in articles. Pointless, I agree, but maybe a learning experience for someone? Wyss 18:58, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

What is going on in this picture?[edit]

A piece of aluminium metal, approximately 15 centimetres long.

Alright, exactly why is there a size comparison for an arbitrarily-sized chunk of aluminium? Is this the standard size that the metal forms in? Maybe I'm missing something, but the picture and caption seem unintentionally humorous. --Poiuyt Man talk 14:00, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree. The caption is odd, and the penny doesn't add much to the reader's understanding of the subject (other than showing the scale is not microscopic, I suppose). Jonathunder 19:07, 2005 September 2 (UTC)
I've cropped the image, and made an alternate caption to rule out a microscopic scale. The size was roughly figured by comparing with the penny. --Poiuyt Man talk 19:49, 3 September 2005 (UTC)
It's on commons so please work there on it. --Saperaud 19:12, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

My opinion:[edit]


Reading the discussion on this page, I just have to wonder one thing... Why is everyone arguing over aluminium? Not only have you stopped other people being able to access the edit function on the actual artical, but you're also wasting your breath trying to get your point across. So stop ruining it for everyone else & stop bickering so we can edit what ever page we want to...


Spawn Man 01:57, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

I'll give you a hint. StuartH 00:09, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I think you meant another hint.
I said a hint, that's cheating. StuartH 12:38, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

raw Google[edit]

Here are three keyword searches... which do you think is the most true?

Hitler loved the jews - 241,000 hits [10]

Hitler hated the jews - 165,000 hits [11]

Hitler was a genocidal sociopath - 438 hits [12]

How does this reflect on the argument for including the raw results for similar searches on aluminium and aluminum in this article? Wyss 17:09, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

"Godwin" + "Law" 841,000 Google hits. Jonathunder 17:10, 2005 September 6 (UTC)
Doesn't apply, but funny. Wyss 10:10, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
I agree with Jonathunder that Wyss has conceded the argument by involving Hitler and/or the Nazis. In case it wasn't clear, please see Godwin's law.Nohat 01:55, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
That is opportunistic sophistry, Nohat, I didn't involve AH in the argument at all and I doubt you're even offended. I used it as an example of the unreliability of Google keyword searches, which I copied directly from the AH talk page. I strongly suggest you know the difference between having used this example and calling someone a Nazi, and further suggest perhaps you have conceded the argument through your blatantly disingenuous and insincere tactic. Wyss 10:06, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
The point is not that anyone was offended, but that you regressed the conversation to a comparison using Hitler. If you actually read Godwin's law, you would have seen that it says "The law states that: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1. There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress." That's all I was referring to, and really only in jest. However, you should know better than to involve Nazis in a coversation that has nothing to do with them. Even if you didn't think it would actually offend anyone, it was certainly in poor taste. Furthermore, as was explained elsewhere, it's a disingenuous point to make: our proposal is not to use Google as a method of fact-verification, but as a method of revealing patterns of usage. There's a big difference, and the two are not comparable. Nohat 15:13, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
One way or another, you're wholly mistaken. As I've previously explained, I created the comparison earlier that same day on the AH talk page (see the page's history if you like), was struck by the similarity of issues and pasted it over. You then opportunistically attacked it as a debating point (which by the bye is a rather telling example of what I'd call sophistry but that's so wonted on WP, never mind), ignoring the content and intent. I did not involve Nazis in the conversation, I did not use the word, I did not compare them to any editors or aluminium or anything else (and I think you know that, although perhaps you don't, in which case I'm at a loss). As I have lengthily explained, your proposal to use Google as a method of revealing patterns of usage is deeply flawed and unscientific, aside from requiring original research. Wyss 16:05, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
Actually, it is you who is mistaken. Your example was not only unnecessarily inflammatory, but it was completely inapplicable. Furthermore, saying that you did not involve Nazis is patently false. Adolf Hitler was a Nazi; indeed if there were one person to embody the idea of Nazis, Adolf Hitler would be it.
The Google results are not being used to measure truth, but to measure usage. They are completely different, and an example that shows that Google results contain false statements has no bearing at all on whether Google results contain valid information about usage. I don't see any point in your continuing to defend this farcical argument. Nohat 20:19, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
  • IMHO if you think (or insist) I involved Nazis in this conversation you've rather proved, one way or another, all the points I've been making.
  • I've repeatedly explained why your notion is flawed (and the difference between "usage" and "truth" searches is not relevant to that). Wyss 06:58, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Fallacy. When I search for those phrases I get a 20x relationship in favor of the latter.

Hitler loved... = 64 Hitler hated... = 1290

Surely you are aware that by conspicuous omission of quotation marks, you are not searching for the phrase, but for the relative frequency of the individual words. Similar to your queries, loved gets more hits than hated. (about 5x at present)

Further, it is completely different to search spelling variants to compare their relative use and to search phrases to compare their truthfulness. Google is not a measure of truthfulness, but it is a good measure of relative use. Dforest 00:33, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

That rather proves my point. Extensive qualification is involved, which quickly seeps into original research, never mind if there's any truth to its results. Wyss 00:34, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

I disagree that extensive qualification is involved. Comparing the relative use of spelling variants does not infer truthfulness. Dforest 00:45, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Hence, it is not helpful. Wyss 00:54, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

This line of reasoning is not only unnecessarily inflammatory by involving Hitler, but is also complete sophistry. The question is not "which is more true: aluminum or aluminium?". The question is "which spelling appears more frequently on the web?". Nohat 01:55, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Again, you're further proving my point: 1) How often either spelling appears on the web is irrelevant to either the naming of the article or its content, 2) raw data from a Google search doesn't tell us how frequently a spelling appears on the web, it tells us how many pages on the web it has indexed with one or more occurences of that word. Opportunities for skewed results and misinterpretive original research abound.

As for the example I used, I originally came up with it on the Adolf Hitler talk page and thought it would be helpful here since it so clearly shows the pitfalls of raw Google word counts, so I copied it over. If you think it's inflammatory I apologize. Most readers have at least a fuzzy idea who that person was, so the example is rather stark and plain to understand.

Lastly, please do try to be more polite. Luzzing around the word "sophistry" the way you wontedly do sounds more and more like a personal attack to me and truth be told, is not helpful towards swaying me. Wyss 02:28, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

You wrote "How often either spelling appears on the web is irrelevant to either the naming of the article or its content,"
This appears to contradict your user page: (emphasis mine)

I can learn from and be swayed by:

  • Verifiable peer-review and scholarly references
  • News reports and commentary on credible web sites
  • A few dozen unique Google hits

Is there a reason this article is exempt from your philosophy? Dforest 08:50, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

In simple terms, you're comparing "apples and oranges" (so to speak), much as raw Google keyword searches might do. Wyss 11:32, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Seeing as the discussion has been Godwinned, can the article be unlocked? Seriously, though, I don't even see the point of including original research usage statistics - are we going to dedicate half of every article which has different spellings in US and Commonwealth English to mindless bickering about which version is more popular? Why not have different statistics for each relevant country, then adjusted for race, educational status and age? The very first link in the article is to North American English, hyperlinks are extensively used in Wikipedia for a reason - so that users can easily jump through to related topics without cluttering the main page with irrelevant information.
If someone is really insecure enough to think that the French have suppressed their word for a metal, they can just click through one or two pages and reassure themselves that the U.S. makes up the largest proportion of English speakers, and by extension, the U.S word for aluminium is more common. I wouldn't worry about Nohat's overuse of the word "sophistry", he probably just learnt what it means and thinks it's a general purpose "your argument is convincing, so you're trying to trick me and I'm still right". That and, ironically, to use smart words to distract from his argument (you can't really blame him for trying to distance himself from his argument, do you?). StuartH 06:46, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
It was Nohat who asked for article protection. So it's up to Nohat to be the big man and make an assurance that he doesn't go against the majority view and re-add the useless Google stats when the page is unprotected. Jooler 07:03, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
The majority view according to whom? I don't recall there being a vote. Dforest 07:35, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
You think you are in the majority then do you? Do you really believe that you are in the majority, when you look at the views expressed here? Do you want to have a vote to confirm it, or do you just want to scan the page and judge for yourself? Jooler 07:55, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
This isn't of much relevance to a U.S. vs. Commonwealth English discussion in other articles, and not just because Canada is part of the Commonwealth. It is because of the oft-repeated claims that this doesn't deal with U.S./Commonwealth differences, but rather with an "official" international spelling.
The Google statistics should be included in the spelling section, because of their highly probative value in explaining why the IUPAC isn't willing to hinge its reputation on its ability to enforce this spelling rule. That's a damn good indication why they have officially accepted the aluminum spelling, something which should also be included in the first paragraph in the spelling section.
I'd also like to note that there is a huge difference in single-word Google searches compared to the multiple word searches (with many possibilities in the Boolean operators and other limitations applied to them) which we saw in the Hitler nonsense on this talk page. Gene Nygaard 13:54, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
What? I wish I could understand what you are trying to say. You are saying the IUPAC doesn't enforce the spelling aluminium because of Google!? Not because most americans are not even aware of the spelling aluminium? Jooler 21:40, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Jooler—I wasn't making that assumption. But regardless, according to WP:NPOV we are not supposed to represent only the majority point of view:

Articles should be written without bias, representing all majority and significant minority views fairly. This is the neutral point of view policy.
The policy is easily misunderstood. It doesn't assume that writing an article from a single, unbiased, objective point of view is possible. Instead it says to fairly represent all sides of a dispute by not making articles state, imply, or insinuate that only one side is correct. Crucially, a great merit of Wikipedia is that Wikipedians work together to make articles unbiased.

So let's work together, shall we? I think it's time we stop bickering and settle on a compromise. Wiki-Ed's proposal sounds reasonable--what do you think about it? --Dforest 08:21, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

This isn't an NPOV issue about how to balance one opinion against another. This a matter of the inclusion or exclusion of unfiltered stastistics. In article disputes of this nature having a vote to decide on inclusion is far from uncommon. Wiki-Ed proposal is not acceptable. If any kind of reference to Internet search engine hit counts enteres this article it must be qualified by a great deal of text explaing the context and in all honesty I would rather not do this or I would be accused of disrupting wikipedia to make a point. Jooler 21:40, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
It is completely an NPOV issue. There is a dispute concerning whether this information is accurate. Furthermore, there is no information already existing in the article about the actual distribution of usage to explain and/or contrast with all the prescriptive information about who says which spelling is "preferred". We'd like to include the information; you'd like to not include the information. It seems like the compromise would be to include the information, but include any relevant and non-speculative caveats. This is what we have suggested from the beginning, but have been continually rebuffed. I still haven't seen a good reason why it is of paramount importance that this information be excluded from the article rather than included so that readers can decide for themselves whether or not it's valid or relevant. Obviously there are some people that think the information is interesting and relevant, and there are likely readers who would agree. We should have enough respect for our readers that we give them information that they may find useful. Nohat 23:36, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
My point, which some people got and had some fun with, and others didn't (or didn't want to or whatever) is that this would be "non-information." Why can't one mention that aluminum is a spelling widely used in North America and leave it at that? The rest of the world (and the professional community in the US for the most part) calls it aluminium. Wyss 07:53, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
It's not "non-information". The Google results are valid, verifiable facts. The facts are related to the topic in question, and inclusion of these facts is necessary to maintain a neutral balance in POV. Furthermore, given that the relevance of the facts is disputed, I have yet to see a good argument for why we should repress this information rather than give it and let readers decide for themselves if they think it's useful. Several people in this discussion have said that they think the information is useful. Why is it so important that we infantalize our readers and withhold the information on the mere possibility that they might be misled on the unproven speculation that the information is "biased" in some vague and unconvincing way? On the one hand, we have valid, verifiable facts. On the other hand, all you have is unproven speculation. I don't see that conjecture that there might be a problem with the information is a valid reason to suppress the inclusion of actual facts. Why can't we respect our readers enough to include the information and let them decide for themselves if they think it is interesting and relevant? Nohat 15:13, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

More Google raw-stats nonsense[edit]

What can we conclude from Google if no qualification is used

  • "Americans are stupid" - 47,100
  • "Americans are not stupid" - 508
  • "Americans are clever" - 354
  • "Americans are intelligent" - 510
    • conclusion according to Google - very many more people think Americans are stupid than don't
  • "dog bites man" - 62,400
  • "man bites dog" - 262,000
    • conclusion according to Google - men bite dogs more often than dogs bite man
  • "Bush is hetrosexual" - 0 "Bush is heterosexual" - 6
  • "Bush is not homosexual" - 30
  • "Bush is homosexual" - 1,360
    • conclusion according to Google - according to those who have declared on the matter, an overwhelming number of people think that bush is homosexual
  • "dolphins are more intelligent than humans" - 152
  • "humans are more intelligent than dolphins" - 27
    • conclusion according to Google - Dolphins are more intelligent
  • "the world is flat" - 953,000
  • "the world is not flat" - 17,600
  • "the world is a globe" - 234
  • "the world is a sphere" - 906
  • "the world is spherical" - 582
    • conclusion according to Google - most people think the world is flat
  • "the capital of australia is sydney" - 401
  • "the capital of australia is canberra" - 457
    • Conclusion accordign to Google - It's a close run thing...
  • "Bush is a heterosexual" - 6
There, fixed it for you. StuartH 07:27, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

These results only demonstrate that the citing of Google to verify the truth of statements is a false heuristic, for obvious reasons. No one was arguing Google should be used in this way. This does nothing to invalidate the use of Google to compare the usage of spelling variants in the searchable web. If you base your hypothesis on nonsense, it only follows you will get nonsensical results. Dforest 01:15, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Untrue, they could be quoting another person saying "The world is Flat". The Google search is only for sites which have that sentence (or part of it) in the web site. I'm pretty sure you're right bout the "Americans are stupid" tally though. I'm not going to argue with that. (he he he heheeeeeeeeeeeeeee). Spawn Man 07:13, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:No personal attacks. Dforest 01:20, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Google indexes public web pages on the Internet. This is an inherently limited and skewed sample (mirrors, no access to private sources, libraries, books, on and on and on). Reliable comparisons between usage of UK and US spellings are not possible with raw keyword searches. Finally, it's not relevant, since aluminium is the internationally recognized and professionally preferred term (even in the US). I'm gobsmacked you guys are hanging on to this argument. Wyss 01:27, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Got it in one (about "the world is flat")! You have had to qualify it, and give the context - that is precisely my point! Jooler 07:50, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Watever man....lolSpawn Man 09:55, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
I think we can agree that search engines are not reliable. This is not in dispute. However, someone using an unqualified search would find more "aluminums" than "aluminiums". This is not in dispute either. Given that this Wikipedia article asserts that the standard spelling has an 'i' we ought to acknowledge the discrepency or certain visitors will continually question whether the article is complete and accurate. Hence my suggestion for a short neutrally worded sentence. Wiki-Ed 08:45, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
I would probably be fine with a brief clarification sentence if it is from a citable source (i.e. not just a snapshot of Google results someone has taken), but there should be no question of the accuracy of the article if it is clearly stated that the word aluminum is more popular in North America (as it does now). StuartH 09:43, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Yep, with no mention of meaningless Google keyword searches. Wyss 09:02, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Well just cause I wanted to, I conducted my own Raw Google Experiment:

  • Spawn Man= 3,500 hits.
  • Jooler= 586 hits.
  • Cheese= 43,800,000 hits.

From this we can assume that I'm more popular than Jooler & that Jooler is less popular than cheese?

  • Arguing is stupid= 1,240 hits.
  • Arguing is good= 2,070 hits.
  • Arguing is not good= 269 hits.
  • Arguing is bad= 708 hits.

From this we can judge that people want to have early heart predicaments in their life?

  • My buttocks hurt= 291 hits.
  • My buttocks don't hurt= 1 hit.

From this we can gather that more or less most of the world's population struggles with silent gluteus maximus maximus problimius?

  • My dog ate my homework= 15,400 hits.
  • My cat ate my homework= 206 hits.
  • My fish ate my homework= 143 hits.
  • My bird ate my homework= 70 hits.
  • My ferret ate my homework= 11 hits.
  • My chinchilla ate my homework= 35 hits.
  • My bed ate my homework= 1 hit.
  • My dad ate my homework= 13 hits.
  • My grandma ate my homework= 14 hits.
  • My grandfather ate my homework= 3 hits.
  • My mom ate my homework= 134 hits.
  • My mum ate my homework= 2 hits.
  • I ate my homework= 625 hits.

From this we can verify many things; We could say that children should throw away the old "My dog ate it" excuse & instead turn to "My dad was hungry" or "My fish ate it over the weekend". Or in extreme cases, the student should simply eat the homework in front of the teacher. Another thing we can say is, that American mothers eat more homework than British mothers do? Or that only on very rare occasions has a bed actually eaten homework (I believe it was an essay on Hamlet).

And finally:

  • Aluminum= 36,200,000 hits.
  • Aluminium= 13,600,000 hits.

This is all very irrelavent, but if you guys can do it I wanted to do it to (with a splash more humour). Thanks for reading my results. Spawn Man 10:49, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

I can't hear anyone laughing....I found it funny....I guess I should stick to my day job?Spawn Man 13:33, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
  • homework = 51,100,000 hits
  • "home work" = 2,150,000 hits (many of them things like "Stay at Home, Work at Home")
Gene Nygaard 13:47, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't see your point gernard?Spawn Man 13:59, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

All of the examples given here are completely inapplicable. I guess this is difficult for some people to understand, but there is an essential difference between using search engine results to gather information about usage and using search engine results to evaluate the truth of various claims. Usage is by definition a descriptive measure. There is no such thing as a "false" or "true" spelling. So, making comparisons to searches for false statements are completely inapplicable, and a straw man for what is actually being proposed.

I ask again: please give a good reason, given that there is dispute as to whether this information is useful, why we shouldn't allow our readers to decide for themselves whether or not it is interesting or useful information. Nohat 19:46, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Cause you're boring with no sense of humour... Spawn Man

What The Heck Is Wrong with You people?[edit]

What the heck has Hitler got to do with aluminium? It's just not right! Please in future can you keep all frenzy-driven, phsycotic comments etc, to your self? It has nothing to do with aluminium!

Godwin's law. Does that mean I win?-- (talk) 01:46, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Regarding Spelling[edit]

I work for the UK Aerospace industry (what's left of it), and have worked with Aluminium every day for the past 10 years, and i can assure you that the card it comes wrapped in, is labelled Aluminium Alloy - and the metal itself (depending upon manufacturer) is often marked in the same manner. IUPAC states that the British spelling is official, with the US spelling as an acceptable alternative. Can we please have an end to this? Just accept the 'ium' and acknowledge the 'num'.

Grey Area 09:05, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I do think consensus has spoken on both the spelling and including raw Google keyword search data in an article. I do apologize again to anyone who was actually upset by the AH example I used. I'll make it up to anyone by doing some chore on an article if they like... leave a note on my talk page. Now, on the AH talk page, someone had brought up Google search results with a similarly mistaken notion, I did some comparative searches on that topic and thought to myself it was such a clear (general) example of the pitfalls, I copied it here too. Maybe my familiarity with 20th century western European history does desensitize me to some topics others find incendiary. Wyss 10:19, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Is there a consensus? There's still an ugly great lock on the front of this article, and the content seems perfectly fine...

And as for proof by Google, how can that be in the slightest bit accurate? (unless someone didn't tell me that Google looks at Libraries & other non-internet sources as well =P ) Anyway, i really can't see how this can be such a contentious issue, as there is an internationally recognised way of spelling the word in question and there is adequate information regarding the next most acceptable variant. Ah well.... Back to work i'm afraid :/ Grey Area 10:44, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

The real problems are that insistence of an "internationally recognized way of spelling the word" as if the spelling "aluminum" were not also recognized by the same body, and as if IUPAC has some general language-police authority over the English language like the French language police have.
Then there is the presentation of that in a way that implies that this so-called "internationally accepted spelling" is really and universally accepted, except for possibly some small and insignificant minority who don't follow the rules. In fact, the "aluminum" spelling is not only overwhelmingly the most common spelling in North America, but the most common spelling in actual use in the English language worldwide in almost any way you could possibly figure out to measure it. In North America, aluminum is also the preferred spelling by most professionals in any profession you choose (and, of course, the use of either the metal aluminum or the various names for it are not limited to any particular profession, and in fact is most often used by those outside what would normally be classified as a "profession", however broadly you define that, rather than whatever you call everything else).
It is that overreaching on the part of the "aluminium" advocates that causes most of the problems here. I don't much care which is used in the title here; I do object to misleading claims about usage, and to claims that whatever we use here determines what we use in the rest of Wikipedia. Gene Nygaard 12:53, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Yep! all the above. (By the bye, the "clarify" remark in my last edit comment was only about clarifying something in my own edit- which I guess I should have clarified :) Wyss 11:01, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Remember to clarify your requests for clarification - for the sake of clarity =P

There also seems to be triple posting afoot as well. Some people are just too keen methinks...

The triple posting was a mistake....

Me again:[edit]

As I've said, this dispute over the spelling of things is getting out of hand! Instead making pages 'locked', we should just accept that not everyone is going to say everything or spell everything the same. For example, the word Herb. In most countries we pronounce it herb. But it seems in America they all pronounce it as 'Erb. What happened to the 'h'? Another example is Mom/mum. British spell it mum, Americans mom. Just because of that do we have to create a dispute & lock a page away so the public can't use it? If we do, I think we really have to ask ourselves if it's really worth it? Most people are going to notice the different spelling & alter the word when their making notes or printing it out etc. But then again, most people don't really care if one letter is missing! I personally spell it aluminium. But just because of this I'm not going to detract from other's fun & making this the best site ever. Honestly, if we spent half our time working on the dead ends & stubs on this site, this site would be better than ever before. But that's just my opinion. P.S: (I didn't find your comment about Adolf Hitler offensive, just highly irrelevant to the topic).

Spawn Man 11:42, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

I made zero comments about him. I did copy over an example of another Google keyword search. Wyss 12:00, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

??? (huh?) Spawn Man 12:51, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

I didn't make any comments about AH on this page. If you think I did, you really should re-read my "raw Google" post. I'm blown away that I even have to say this, much less repeat it. Wyss 14:38, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

My my, someone does have a case of aluminium-induced PMS don't they? I was just replying to your comment:"...I do apologise again to anyone who was actually upset by the AH example I used...". So I'm sorry if you had to type out a few extra words to actually make it legible English (or American if you prefer), but if you're going to start a sentence, "I made zero comments about him..." at least add a subject matter to the statement. But other than that, I'm fine. Spawn Man 03:06, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Sorry about the confusion, the PMS wasn't aluminium triggered, though :) Wyss 07:47, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
Oh...sorry, I meant Aluminum triggered.....(hehehee)Spawn Man 07:59, 8 September 2005 (UTC)

Making a point[edit]

I can't believe the underlying argument has anything to do with helping readers learn about aluminium (which because of an historical fluke- likely a "typo"- is called aluminum by the general population in North America). If this has been about creating some sort of a precedent for using Google keyword searches as cites of word usage in future articles then...

  • Such searches are meaningless as indicators of true usage unless they're scientifically designed and controlled. Such a linguistic search could only be cited from a peer-reviewed publication, according to WP policy.
  • Editing Wikipedia to make a point is a violation of policy and this lock has gone on far too long to be anything else IMO. Thanks for listening (and I do understand I likely won't convince anyone who isn't already). Wyss 18:07, 9 September 2005 (UTC)


Ten days should be enough. Be nice. --Tony SidawayTalk 09:57, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

Thank gosh it's now unprotected!!! I was starting to get aluminium withdrawl symptoms!! The argument went on for far too long.... Spawn Man 07:45, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Spelling, con't.[edit]

Currently, there has still been no compelling proof or reasons to explain why information about web search results shouldn't be included in the spelling section.

  • Where is the proof that Google statistics regarding English usage are in any way biased or false? I have seen a lot of irrelevant dithering about how Google shows that there are false statements on the web, but I have not seen even a scrap of hard evidence that Google statistics on usage are in any way necessarily flawed, false, or irrelevant.
  • What is the compelling reason that, given that the relevance of this information is disputed, that it should therefore be excluded from the article? Don't we owe it to our readers to acknowledge that there is information, the information is disputed, but we respect them enough to make up their own minds about how useful is. Why do need to infantilize them by excluding verifiable, factual, and relevant information on the grounds that one can conjecture a situation in which this information might not be completely unbiased.

But yet, my latest attempt at a very weak statement about search engine results has been reverted under the guise that there is some kind of consensus that this information needs to be suppressed. I don't see any such consensus. Those of use who are in favor of including this information have been willing to compromise and alter the wording and add caveats, but those opposing it have been obstinate and completely unreasonable. Where is the spirit of compromise? What happened to the spirit of working together to find common ground? Blanket, instantaneous reverts are a violation of both the spirit and letter of Wikipedia policy. Please let's just try to work together to find a compromise solution that will satisfy everyone. Otherwise, we're just going to get into more revert wars and the page will get locked again. And nobody wants that. Nohat 19:57, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Shut up! Stop playing games. Nobody wants this crap on this page. Live with it. You are violating WP:POINT and we are all sick of it. Jooler 21:48, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
While I appreciate your civility and calmly reasoned argument, I'm not certain that I understand your point. However, thank you for your comments about my behavior. You can rest assured they will be given all the consideration they are due. Nohat 22:38, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
The main reason I oppose it, and it appears than many on this page oppose it, is that it is uncitable original research - explicitly banned under Wikipedia policy. I appreciate your removal of the offending sentence, but stop trying to pretend that it's an anti-Nohat conspiracy to censor anything you have to say. I'd say that the main culprit in getting a page locked completely rewriting the offending section, including comments that are clearly against wikipedia policy and the talk page goes against the spirit of Wikipedia. It wouldn't even have been locked in the first place if the said culprit hadn't violated the 3RR. StuartH 01:43, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
It's not original research. It's source-based research, and that's explicitly encouraged in WP:NOR. It would be original research if I tried myself to count all the occurrences. But Google has already done the counting, and we would just be citing the research that Google has already done for us. The argument that this constitutes original research is invalid, and no one has explained what part of the No Original Research policy forbids this information, whereas I have demonstrated, repeatedly, the part of the policy that explicit encourages research of this type. Nohat 02:48, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
The phrase "original research" in this context refers to untested theories; data, statements, concepts and ideas that have not been published in a reputable publication;. Google is not a reputable publication - it is a search engine. It is uncitable because it is completely dynamic, and you can only take a snapshot at a given instant and infer yourself that one is more popular than the other. You could say the tallies are 15,200,000 and 6,420,000 (as mentioned in this talk page), and cite Google. I could then check for myself and see that the results are 35,400,000 and 13,300,000 (as I just did). If no-one can even get the same results from the same source, the source is not a valid reference. I have no problems with including a valid reference (although I fail to see the relevance), but Google is not one. StuartH 03:14, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
The numbers change but the proportions do not. Search for "aluminium" and "aluminum" on any general web search engine and compare the results. You will invariably find that results for "aluminum" outnumber those for "aluminium" by at least 2 to 1. The idea that somehow this data is a fluke and does not represent the reality of proportion of usage on the web does not really have any evidence to support it. I would think that the fact that "aluminum" results outnumber "aluminium" results on the web would not be subject to debate on its factual accuracy at this point.
Furthermore, a popular search engine is by its very nature a reputable publication and a primary source. The fact that it's the most popular search engine in the world makes it reputable in the most basic way: it is held in high regard by a large number of people. If it weren't, it wouldn't be the most popular search engine in the world. And it's quite obviously a publication in the most essential meaning of the word: information disseminated to the public. The collection of search result quantities from Google quite clearly falls under the "research that consists of collecting and organizing information from existing primary and/or secondary sources" which is "strongly encouraged". Nohat 04:14, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
And you say sophistry is a bad thing...
If it's really that relevant to say that 'aluminium' is less popular than 'aluminum', it should be easy to find a citable reference for it. I have never seen, and do not ever expect to see "Google" appear in a list of citations, and any reputable publication which addresses usage would perform a much more scientific test than a simple Googling. It is clear from this article that 'aluminum' is the usage preferred in North America, and 'aluminium' is the usage preferred by IUPAC and most of the rest of the world. Anyone concerned about usage can just read about U.S. English or other topics on the English language, but a decision has been made to stick to IUPAC conventions so there is no reason to throw in half-arsed statistics on usage to prove a point. StuartH 05:58, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Google is a helpful search engine, an index of publicly viewable web pages. Google doesn't offer its keyword search service as a scientifically rigorous or linguistically helpful guide or reference to word usage patterns in any population and there is no evidence Google was ever designed to do this. Any similarity between two such services is at most a fleeting illusion. Relative to web pages with content containing keywords indexed by Google, it is not a primary source, but a secondary index. Its raw search data is not a peer-reviewed secondary source.

Since Google is neither offered nor designed as a usage reference or guide to comparative linguistics (it's a web keyword index), including any raw Google keyword "hit" data in a WP article's text about comparative, linguistic word usage requires original research, so it's not citable under WP policy.

On the other hand, a linguist's published (and perhaps peer-reviewed) commentary on specific Google keyword statistical output as it might relate to some particular usage would be an acceptable citation, whether or not that linguist's interpretation was meaningful. Finally, as most of us know, Google is invaluable as a pointer for finding citable sources and raw content for articles. Nohat's notions of encyclopedic sources along with scholarly methodologies for identifying and describing linguistic usage metrics, as he has expressed them on this talk page, are deeply flawed. Wyss 07:02, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Google stats again[edit]

Another example of how counting google hit counts can be misleading given the natural US bias of the Internet

  • "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" - 2,150,000
  • "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - 501,000
What does that prove? Jooler 18:48, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
That "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is the more common form of the name on the internet. I fail to see how that's misleading at all. It may not be the original name, anymore than Robinson Crusoe is that book's original title, but it is the most common on the internet. --Prosfilaes 10:58, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Precisely the point I was making. Jooler 11:41, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
BTW I don't think the comparison to Robinson Crusoe is entirely relevant. At one time many books frequently had over long titles like The Book of Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc. – also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort that were commonly abbreviated. And sometimes films like Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb still do. Jooler 11:52, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
You claimed it was misleading; it wasn't at all. The only reason you think it's misleading is because you would judge it as the wrong answer. It's entirely possible that people who write on Harry Potter refer to it, when they do so in the long form, as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". I think that abbreviated names are a most relevant example; there is no right way to abbreviate a title, and hence popular consensus, as can be indicated by a Google search, is the only guide to correctness, just like for the spelling of aluminum.--Prosfilaes 12:03, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Erm... I think you are confused. Firstly we are not talking about abbreviations. The book and film are ONLY known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States. In every other country in the world (including Canada) it is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as the authour intended, even when translated (e.g. Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal in Spanish) it is the former. - However what we find when we do a raw Google hit count is that the former outnumbers the latter by 5:1. You are correct this ONLY proves these specific words, in this order are more common on the Internet. Nothing else can be determined from the hit count because the context cannot be judged. For instance how many times do authors write about the book say something like "... Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States ...". Now the point is that the context of the use of these words cannot be judged from merely doing a hit count. Some naive observers may conclude because the former occurs more frequently than the latter on the Internet that it is more common genrrally throughout the world, and indeed this is what some people were trying to prove with the Google hit counts for aluminium/aluminum. Jooler 12:41, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
It's not known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Spain; it's known as Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal. Whatever that translates to is irrelevant to the normal English name. If it says "... Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States ...", then both hits should show up, but there are at least 1.5 million pages that say Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and never Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. This is even less ambiguous in the aluminum situation. There are serious context issues in saying that there are 300 million speakers of English in India; why are you so quick to toss that number out (and assume they all support Aluminium over Aluminum), but unwilling to let a citied provable fact into the article; put a caveat on it, but let the readers decide for themselves. (I seriously doubt context is much of an issue for words like Aluminum; 95% of the hits are going to be for actual uses of the word.)--Prosfilaes 13:03, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
The Google test applied to Harry Potter doesn't go far to prove whether or how far the Google test is biased in favour of American spellings without evidence of the books sales under different names. If we knew under what English title the book was actually sold in India etc and had some idea of the sales figures, you could then compare the sales ratio to the Google ratio and this comparison would provide some evidence of the Google bias (or lack thereof). --Danward 18:38, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Google "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 67,500 hits, for those using both names.
Subtract them out, and you have about a 4.8:1 ratio of only Sorcerer's to only Philosophers, rather than only 4.3:1.
That name wasn't changed without the "authour's" acquiescence. It is every bit as "correct" as the other, and obviously more common. Gene Nygaard 14:31, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Correctness is neither here nor there. I never claimed in anyway that one was correct and one wasn't. Just that one is used exclusively in the USA and has a higher Google hit count the other. You says "obviously more common" - yes obviously more common on the Internet. Jooler 15:52, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Those stats have nothing to do with usage, only a momentary Google take on the web pages it catalogs which have one or more instances of the given text. Google is a search engine, not a tool for identifying and describing linguistic usage metrics. Wyss 14:37, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Google "author" 828,000,000 hits
Google "authour: 103,000 hits
I'd bet that even Wyss and Jooler could confidently draw some conclusions from the 8040:1 ratio of those searches. Gene Nygaard 14:54, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
You've got my point arse about face. I'm trying to argue that Google hit counst DON'T prove anything. Jooler 15:58, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
BTW I'm not sure what point you're trying to make by illustrating your point with my typo. Jooler 17:08, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Yep. Extremes like that are useful but that's still not acceptable for an article citation in WP, since any inference one might draw from it would be original research. Wyss 16:37, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
We don't need to draw an inference; we simply state the fact. We let the readers draw the inferences.--Prosfilaes 18:34, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
That could give readers the very misleading impression raw Google keyword search numbers mean anything having to do with usage metrics. Besides, WP is not a data dump, it's an encyclopedia. Wyss 19:02, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
We're already giving readers a very misleading impression. Judging by the way this article reads, I'd expect Google search results for aluminium:aluminum something like the 8,000:1 ratio I found for author:authour, not the piddly 0.4:1 we actually find. Gene Nygaard 20:43, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Why on earth would you expect that?!? 21:14, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
With all due respect, that's not the issue. Google is neither designed nor marketed as a tool for describing linquistic usage metrics and citing it as such requires original research. However, if an editor can find a published author (which could include a linguist with a web site for all I care) who cites a Google keyword search of the two spellings and expresses a conclusion about it I'd welcome such a citation in this article. Wyss 20:57, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Yes you are definitely confused. Again - it is ONLY known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the USA and so when people who are not from the USA use those words they are either appealing to an American audience in some way or making a point about the American usage (as per the Wikipedia article at Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for instance). This Google stat is an even clearer demonstration of the very points I was making. Firstly that contextually ambiguous hit counts of themselves have no value and secondly that the American dominance of the Internet skews the figures. Of the 300 million or so converstational English speakers in India few of them produce websites that you might read, but they learn British English (Indian_English#Influences:_British_and_American) which uses aluminium exclusively, despite what the 1 million google hit count for ["aluminum" site:uk] might suggest. Can you explain 1 million hit counts for a word we don't normally use? I have explained it above and can't be bothered to repeat myself. This argument is dead and buried please do not resurect it. Jooler 13:26, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
No, India does not speak British English. India speaks Indian English, which is the whole point of the article you link to. In fact, that article says "American English spellings are also widely prevalent in scientific and technical publications [...] American spellings such as fiber, meter, skillful, and program are considered to be acceptable in the science streams." Which leaves the question of how aluminum is spelled in India up in the air.--Prosfilaes 00:49, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
Stop telling me I'm confused. We can disagree without me being confused. Harry Potter books are not known by any English name in most of the world. And people could use "Sorcerer's Stone" because they find it helps them communicate better to a large audience. Everything is contextually ambiguous; there's no particular reason to disregard these stats because they are contextually ambiguous.--Prosfilaes 14:10, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Lol just found this which illustrates the point nicely. Jooler
It illustrates the point that you know you're "right" and don't care about the facts. The discoverer of an element names it aluminum and it's so hilarious that American spell it that way. Hardy hardy har.--Prosfilaes 14:10, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
And the discoverer of Oxygen called it dephlogisticated air. Jooler 15:52, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Touché! Gene Nygaard 15:01, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
That's totally beside the point that the article blames the Americans for losing a letter that the British added. And if the British still called oxygen that, you would fighting tooth and nail for that spelling, no matter how absurd.--Prosfilaes 00:49, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
Get a grip. The article is a joke. Never let the truth get in the way of a good joke, my old Dad used to say. That's called "Humour" on this side of the pond. Yes it is beside the point, quite right. As for Oxygen - if that other term was still in common usage throught most of the world and if that term was the offical term used by IUPAC and if the original author of the article has used the British term, then yes I would be resisiting any change. And quite rightly. Jooler 21:53, 29 September 2005 (UTC)
I fail to see how that was a good joke. Generally, simply making fun of the way someone else speaks is considered racist and rude. Making fun of Americans for how they spell things isn't funny, especially when blames Americans for losing a letter they didn't lose. Bringing it up here was just tactless; I wouldn't bring up Chris Rock's famous monologue in a heated discussion of the word "nigger". --Prosfilaes 20:50, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
...Fine. Screw it. I'm sorry I ever brought this up. -Litefantastic 22:09, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
User:Prosfilaes == User:Litefantastic - ?
No. --Prosfilaes 00:49, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Try this:

  • Harry Potter aluminum - 535,000 (in quotes, 72)
  • Harry Potter aluminium - 829,000 (in quotes, 73)
  • "Harry Potter and the aluminum" - 1 hit
  • "Harry Potter and the aluminium" - 1 hit

Wyss 19:08, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Hairy Aluminum - 567,000
Hairy Aluminium - 143,000
Hairy Alumium - 627
Hairy Butts - 2,500,000

My google search says Butts wins. From now on Element number 13 is called Butts, by Imperial decree...

A bit more useless googling:

  • "Aluminium sucks" - 208
  • "Aluminium rules" - 1090
  • "Aluminum sucks" - 911
  • "Aluminum rules" - 663

So Almighty Google says that aluminum sucks, but aluminium rules.

-) CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project| 20
43, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

English language demographics[edit]

According to ethnologue there are 309,352,280 English speakers as a first language. Offline The World Almanac 2004 lists 341 million. The total for Canada and the US combined is 227 million. North America has a two-thirds majority then so on English language Wiki I'd think it should either be title "Aluminum or Aluminium" or even just "Aluminum." This is not an argument from Google or even solely the Internet really.
I did become aware of this through "stupid edit wars", but I find their characterization dismissive. Being annoyed by having to use a form of English that is not standard for the majority of the world's English speakers is not "silly" or "stupid." Wikipedia has articles for billionaires, or so I presume, yet most of the world I believe considers a billion to be 10 to the power of 12. Hence there are no billionaires and Wiki should never use the term again. However that's ridiculous. Because billionaire, rather than milliardaire, is a real word that's by most English speakers. Aluminum is also a real word used by most English speakers.(66.5% is dominant enough to be most. That said "aluminium" would likely be correct for Wiki outside English)--T. Anthony 13:31, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

"Being annoyed by having to use a form of English...." - perhaps you understand how most people outside of the USA feel now. Okay. Jooler 06:46, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Most people outside the US don't speak English. Also this case Canada and the Philippines were also relevant. Unless you can show me the Philippines, who was never ruled by Britain AFAIK, uses the British spelling. And as can be clearly shown in several ways the majority of English speakers use North American forms on this issue. The only way you defended otherwise was to say "200 million Indians" speak English, but this is not what most evidence indicates. Nor is "aluminium" universally used in Indian English I've found. Anyway Britain ruled India, but the vast majority of Asian Indians stuck with their own languages. Further as mentioned a search I did at IUPAC itself had "aluminum" as predominant. This was not Google, this was the site you were using as support. All that said I accept the ruling y'all made in this manner. I don't like it and I feel, for an English speaking article, it is a poorly conceived compromise. Still I recognize that calling it "Aluminium or Aluminum" is awkward or upsetting. Also that I just came here a couple days ago so have no right to judge....Now then to get to what matters can anyone find back up for Joseph Needham saying the early Chinese used aluminium? All I could find was that find article already linked to, but I know I've heard the story before. I can't find it anywhere though.--T. Anthony 11:19, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
Gack. Sorry, but I think I've gotten into some weird trivia obsession deal. Anyway IUPAC's official table Here has it listed "Aluminium, Aluminum." So I guess I am more why that wasn't deemed acceptable as the compromise.(Instead of the compromise being "American's have everything, We need Aluminium dammit!")--T. Anthony 11:33, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

That said I won't make any changes. Although I don't see the harm in it being "Aluminium/Aluminum", but I imagine the community has already spoken on this.--T. Anthony 13:37, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Ethnologue listed 508 million English speakers overall when including second-language. This figure was for 1999. In that group it states that 52% of Philipinos know English as a second language and considering who ruled them that would likely be US English. Checking only Philippino news sites on Google News I find no entry mentioning "aluminium", but a few for "aluminum." So that plausibly adds in least 40 million, it would be more than that but I'll agree some Filippinos may use aluminium, to the 227 million. That totals 262 million and so remains a majority, albeit a radically reduced one. I hope this isn't too irritating or snotty. I did mostly try to use academic sources. Added to that I think sulfur really should be sulphur, as it's not unusual to see that spelling in North America, so I can be contrarian in everything:)--T. Anthony 13:54, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Leaving it at Sulfur makes it consistant with the other elements, which are all at the primary IUPAC spelling. Look at how long and silly this discussion became up above. Let's not open another article to that. CDThieme 14:43, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

I guess you're right. Many things at Wikipedia are always going to be biased or outright silly. It's a big community so that's unavoidable. I doubt I'll ever have need to look up aluminum here again so I can just chock this up to the "it's wrong, but the people have spoken so what can you do?" list and move on.--T. Anthony 15:08, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Sorry, but I couldn't resist. I tried to make sure to spell it the official IUPAC way in the article. Also on reading it it turned out there other issues I was interested in. Alas I couldn't find much on the discoveries in 1974 that Needham indicated were possibly linked to Chinese aluminum, but it was discussed in books I've read. Also I think Oersted was getting short shrift in this entry so played him up a bit. Even if it's false he is generally recognized as the discoverer of aluminum/aluminium/muinimula/munimula so it seemed worth mentioning.--T. Anthony 09:19, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
I still vote for 'Butts'
At this point I'm satisfied I guess. The changes I made with both spellings capitalized and the IUPAC table, which has both listed with neither in parenthesis or asterixes, didn't get reverted. Only thing I'd add is for it to be, or stay, "aluminum" in articles dealing with use in North American industry or fiction. (Like the recent edit with the Star Trek movie, Doohan played a Scottish character but he's Canadian, and maybe some others.) I doubt I'll see the word used much in articles I edit, but if I see it spelled "aluminium" in North-American articles I'll remember to correct it for appropriateness. Although I'll try to avoid any rancorousness about that as I'd imagine it's generally done in innocence. If it comes up in any British, French(or former colony of either) article I'll switch it to aluminium. Whichever switch is appropriate. I'm not expecting this to come up much though.--T. Anthony 07:09, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
Since when do we capitalise words that are not proper nouns in the middle of a sentence? Jooler 07:47, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
If you're going to get that petty there's no point. Sure IUPAC doesn't capitalize it, but if you're going to get persnickety like that I'm perfectly willing to move the whole article to "Aluminium, aluminum" to meet IUPAC accuracy. However I've bended, and would rather not unbend, so do the same. Sheesh.--T. Anthony 08:08, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm getting pretty petty? You're the one who changed it to be grammatically incorrect, for no reason other than your petty insistence, that the American spelling deserves "equal billing" at the top of the article. Your arrogance is overwhelmingly distasteful. Jooler 08:17, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
I have no idea if you're "getting pretty." Still I did go too far. I wouldn't move the article and was going to erase the post that said I would. And I'm not some arrogant pro-American caricature. If this were an article about a British or Australian topic I wouldn't dream of changing it. I'll try to remember to spell it, or change it, to "aluminium" if the issue comes up in any Europe or Australasian related topic. I said I would not alter anything else at this point, even stating I was satisfied. However you can't handle that the majority of English speakers getting much of any recognition. (If you doubt that make the effort I did to prove the case) So you whine even though I've accepted a compromise I actually find slightly silly for the English language version. Because it came with even accepting I can't mention the Philippines where the majority speak English and it's an official. This compromise I've come to accept, but you can't. Yeah you're petty. All you've really accomplished is the ability to bully some people here into giving up, but I'm not such a person. However I'll change it again to how it's listed at IUPAC.--T. Anthony 08:38, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
"I'm not some arrogant pro-American caricature" you say. You are like someone who says "I'm not racist but..". It is arrogant in the extreme to assume that ONLY British and Australian articles should use that spelling and that all your base are belong to us because there a lots of Americans who speak English as a first language. Wikipedia is an International effort. Most of the people who speak English are not native speakers, and most of them speak British English. The International spelling is aluminium. IUPAC reluctantly allows "Alumminum" to satisfy Americans and those who follow their lead. You can mention the Philippines if I can mention - Australia, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, Gibraltar, Antigua and Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Cameroon, Dominica, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Micronesia, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Fiji, Ghana, Gambia, Hong Kong, India, Kiribati, Lesotho, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Malta Pakistan Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Sierra Leone Swaziland Tanzania, Zambia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and All of which use English as an offical language. In addition English is and official language of the EU, as they use British English conventions in official documents. But to mention all of that would be to break WP:Point Jooler 09:15, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
You have no idea what organization you likely don't belong to does reluctantly or not. I've been trying to change the spelling to "aluminium" in articles that are about Britain, Australia, etc. I will stop that now. Added to that your list of nations is absurd. It includes nations where barely anyone speaks English, even as a second language, and even includes Micronesia which was mostly US dependencies. (Exempting Nauru and Kiribati) You are a very arrogant or insecure person who needs their variant of English used at all moments. It's nonsense. Prove most en Wikipedians use British English or drop it.--T. Anthony 09:46, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
I never said those nations speak British English. I just listed as many coutries as I could find that use English as an official language. i'm not suprised some use American English, but most don't. As for IUPAC reluctantly allows "Alumminum" , I am inferring that from the fact that it took several years for them to decide to allow that spelling. Why didn't they allow it from the off? Jooler 09:59, 1 October 2005 (UTC)
"You can mention the Philippines if I can mention..." implies these would be on your list. I don't think that was unreasonable of me. However the last edit I saw of yours was fine. Unless you've mucked it up since then I'm more interested in the Needham theory that the ancient Chinese discovered Äŀ.
However on the other point "why didn't they allow it from the off" that's not especially surprising. It's not unusual for it to take years for all spelling issues to be resolved. Look how long it took, or will take if you get some actual Americanist, for this place to come to agreements? Even naming itself I believe can go back and forth for a long time. Look at Niobium or Dubnium.--T. Anthony 10:06, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

There it's like at the IUPAC chart now and there's no capitalization problems either. I also made sure to be consistent in calling them former US colonies or possessions. "Dependencies" was maybe too benign. It's not an entirely satisfying compromise, but it's okay. I know some are likely annoyed with me getting in on this or consider the whole thing silly. However it's not really. The compromise before I came was largely based on the idea North American English was bad or wrong and that's why it got so heated. Ultimately all English we speak is some descendant from the seventeenth century model. Still I learned some and toward the end I think I've tried to simply be factual and based on IUPAC procedures. I'm pretty glad if I made some alterations that improved matters. Especially on mentioning the story of the Chinese possibly having Aluminium,aluminum as I think no other Wiki has that. (Sadly no one could add anything on it) Hopefully nothing further will draw my attention here.--T. Anthony 08:58, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Needham deal[edit]

Looking at Jooler's current edit I'm okay with it. Now then did anyone ever read Needham to know what the alleged discovery that points to ancient Chinese Äŀ, three dots for the three electrons in the outer shell, was?--T. Anthony 09:54, 1 October 2005 (UTC)

Ancient Chinese? Isn't that a Lewis dot diagram? I don't think the ancient Chinese knew about atoms, much less electrons. -- (talk) 14:59, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Sorry Jooler[edit]

I got overheated, I'm sorry. I have no problem with it right now. Also I am going to keep working on changing to "aluminium" for articles describing things in nations that prefer that spelling.--T. Anthony 12:01, 1 October 2005 (UTC)


I still think the google search resulting in Butts ought to be used. That way no one would have cause to complain.

In the Icelandic version of the article it's just called Ál. I like that, simple and undebatable. There is also no article in Wiki for Ál. Unfortunately it hasn't caught on in English yet, but here's hoping it can. It's the most neutral spelling I can think of.--T. Anthony 08:15, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Unless we refer to every single other element by their symbols, I don't see the need for such an extreme approach. Ideally, the MediaWiki software could replace terms like Aluminium on-the-fly, dependent upon the user's profile settings (maybe even IP address), but until that happens there is no need to cut the baby in half. Outside of North America, gasoline is hardly used at all, but I would never suggest moving it to CH3(CH2)6CH3 or "Refined hydrocarbon fuel for general automotive use" or something equally silly. StuartH 12:02, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Actually I'm personally rather inconsistent on the spelling issue. There are times, like the case of aluminum, where the American useage somehow feels more "right" to me. Or in least I don't see how either is any more correct than the other. However in other things I think the British way does make more sense. For example "petrol" makes more sense to me as it is petroleum. "Gas" is something else entirely. Likewise "sulphur" looks more right to me than "sulfur." Likewise "humour" kind of fits to me. However I prefer the Americanized "gray" to "grey", even though many American writers prefer the British spelling.--T. Anthony 12:22, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Native American-English speakers[edit]

Sigh. This is getting very tiresome. If you insist on maintaining pointless statements then they will have to be qualified. English has many sub-dialects, all of which are different. In the US/Canada people are brought up with the American-English sub-dialect. This is different to other sub-dialects. People in the US/Canada are, therefore, native speakers of American-English, not some kind of unqualified "English". The only people who could possibly regard themselves as natively speaking "English" (without qualification) would be those brought up in England (NB, not Scotland or Wales) where you would have to say "English English" (which is clearly a nonsense) to describe their dialect. Personally I regard the whole concept of "native" speakers as contrived twaddle. However, the statement, as I put it, is accurate. Any other variation is not. Wiki-Ed 12:20, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Your edits were a non sequitur because Canadians do not speak American English. Furhermore, it is when you consider English as a whole that the combination of native speakers of English in the United States and Canada, excluding sizable portions whose native language is French or Spanish plus a whole lot of other languages, that form a majority of all the native speakers of English in all its varieties. Sure, lots of other people have English as a second language; they generally are not very influential in the development of the language, however.
The statement only needs to be there at all because of the "most English-speaking nations" statement in the same paragraph. That statement standing alone, without this counterbalance, provides a totally deceptive and misleading picture, especially since it is people who do the speaking, not nations. Gene Nygaard 12:43, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
Even if you consider there to be a North American English which includes American English and Canadian English, a statement in this article that the "majority of native North American English speakers" are in the United States and Canada would not belong here; it is irrelevant and immaterial—it provides absolutely no information pertinent to the spelling of aluminum. Gene Nygaard 12:48, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
Exactly, it shouldn't be there - any of it. You can't have your cake and eat it. As you have pointed out, different people in different parts of North America speak differently. There is no uniform "majority" of x million that somehow outnumbers any other uniform group in another part of the world. The phrase "wherein reside the majority native speakers of English" is contentious (and offensive to a certain extent) because the word "native" is impossible to qualify/quantify. The sentence would make sense without that contention and would still explain that there is a difference between certain versions of English. It has been reverted enough for now so I am not going to switch it back. I think we should see what other people think. Wiki-Ed 17:32, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
The statement is accurate as given. A native speaker of English is somone whose first language is English. This is standard linguistic terminology. A majority of native English speakers are Americans and Canadians. See Image:English dialects1997.png. Nohat 19:20, 19 November 2005 (UTC)
What is "English"? It is inaccurate to portray English as having an "average" or a "standard" form. All but one dialect of English has a qualifying adjective (eg. "American English", "Australian English" etc). You could perhaps say that American-English native speakers form the largest bloc of the English sub-dialects. But you cannot say that they are native speakers of (unqualified) "standard" English. Only English people can be native speakers of -English- (although that does not mean it is the "standard" form) and what they speak is different to the American variant. I've ignored the pie chart... the source itself discusses the fallibility of the method so it should not be referred to as gospel. Wiki-Ed 01:13, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
The variety of English spoken in England is called "British English", or when it is necessary to distinguish it from Welsh and Scottish English, "English English" or "English as spoken in England", or any of various admittedly awkward but specific terms. "English" without a qualifying adjective means any form of English—people who use the word "English" to mean only English English are being laughably provincial. Synchronically speaking, there is nothing special about English English: it is just a minority dialect of the language called English. The idea that that only people from England can be called native speakers of English is a ridiculous assertion that runs counter to both logic and the reality of how the term "native speaker of English" is used by both laypeople and experts in the field. I have never been to England but anyone who tries to tell me I a not a native speaker of English is mistaken. Nohat 02:04, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
This brings up another question. Which "pure" form of English english is the purest? English as spoken in London? What part of London? What's wrong with Liverpool? Is it Shakespearean English? If the answer is Shakespearean, the purest form of that English is undoubtedly spoken in the isolated communities on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in the United States. As for me, I say the English that endures is the only true test--and as anyone who has ever watched the Star Trek movies knows, in the twenty-fifth century, the metal is pronounced "aluminum". Doovinator 03:30, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

There is no such thing as "English English", that is a completely absurd misnomer. You don't describe a red object as "red red" to distinguish it from a slightly orange-red object. Having to use the same adjective twice to describe something is illogical in any academic field. And I am afraid you are wrong to suggest that it runs counter to the reality of how the term is used, at least outside the US. As for what is "pure"... surely a form that could be understood by everyone else speaking various minority variants and one that encompassed the entire lexicon of all dialects put together? If so I would posit that only English spoken with received pronounciation and based on a full Oxford English dictionary would fit. Other variants often cannot be understood by other English speakers in other parts of the world. An (anecdotal) example of this problem is the US screening of the film Trainspotting which was edited because the American-English speaking audience could not understand the Scottish-English speaking actors. English of the type I speak is hardly "provincial" - to describe it as such is quite ignorant (look the word up in a dictionary). Wiki-Ed 12:16, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, since there are more movies seen in more places using American English, then British English is the "provincial" form, and I would posit that only English spoken as based on a complete American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is the gold standard; anything else is British twaddle--so there! :-P Doovinator 15:02, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
See native speaker (a redirect to the quantity they possess) and English English and, as you said, any good dictionary for "provincial".
Since English standing alone is refers to the comprehensive language with all variants, the term English English is quite reaonable. Gene Nygaard 13:25, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps you don't have a good dictionary? :p "Provincial" means "of the province(s)", i.e. a part of a nation distant from the capital/homeland. As the source nation of the language the English cannot use a "provincial" variant of their own language (although they can/do have regional dialects of their own). Its secondary meaning of "unsophisticated" would apply to dialects which do not share a completely inclusive vocabulary (as per the Oxford English Dictionary) and have unusual pronounciation (eg. Southern US American English). What I think you mean is defined here: Standard English. Thus I think you could say "wherein reside the majority native speakers of Standard English" and still be reasonably accurate. It does need qualification. Wiki-Ed 18:43, 20 November 2005 (UTC)
Well, "of the provinces" is open to interpretation, too. Who determines what is a province? The Romans considered England one of the provinces, and the babbling ("bar-bar-bar") of the natives ("barbarians") not even a language at all. Personally, using the same standards as the Romans, I think England is an American province, seeing as so many Americans have settled there, so "Standard English" is, therefore, what is spoken where I live, in the American South, where what I consider to be the first speakers of what is now my own Standard English settled. I therefore say that "English English" is an unusual pronunciation of my own Standard English, as witness the thousands more movies and TV programs which are in American English shown all over the world, and therefore English English, or British English, is variant. Please explain to me why I should think otherwise. Doovinator 02:08, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
There is no such thing as "English English", that is a completely absurd misnomer. You don't describe a red object as "red red" to distinguish it from a slightly orange-red object. Having to use the same adjective twice to describe something is illogical in any academic field. And I am afraid you are wrong to suggest that it runs counter to the reality of how the term is used, at least outside the US.
There is nothing illogical about "English English". There are two completely separate entries for the word "English" in a dictionary: one as a noun meaning the language and one as an adjective meaning of or related to England. It is true the two words are historically related, but that is no reason why one can't be used to modify the other, especially in a case such as the one at hand, where just "English" alone is clearly insufficient to disambiguate. The situation isn't unique to the word "English" either: one can easily imagine a situation where "orange orange" makes perfect sense. Nevertheless, the point is effectively mooted by the reality that "English English" is actually a term that is actually used by experts in the field. The term "English English" is used extensively by sociolinguists and dialectologists of all national stripes. For example, David Crystal, a British linguist, uses the term in his reference book The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language.
As for what is "pure"... surely a form that could be understood by everyone else speaking various minority variants and one that encompassed the entire lexicon of all dialects put together? If so I would posit that only English spoken with received pronounciation and based on a full Oxford English dictionary would fit.
I'm sorry you have been trolled into responding to claims about language "purity", but your reply is just is as nonsensical as the original claims. First of all, arguments about what is "pure" are completely nonsensical. There is nothing pure or impure about the English language: the unqualified characterization does not apply to languages. Second, your claims about received pronunciation are not based on any evidence. What's so special about received pronunciation? It doesn't maintain more distinctions than other dialects: indeed it certainly levels some distinctions that other dialects maintain: for example "court" and "caught" are homophones in RP, but not in American English. As for the Oxford English Dictionary, although it is respected for being encyclopedic, it is by no means an exhaustive list of the words of English. For example, page 119 of the aforementioned Cambridge Encyclopedia, lists 12 words between "saba" and "sabbaticalness" that Webster's Third New International Dictionary has that the OED lacks. Finally, ignoring the fact that RP and the OED do not meet your own crieteria of being understood by everyone else and encompassing the entire lexicon of all dialects put together, the proposition is a ridiculous one: no one knows all the words in a dictionary, and there are plenty of words used in other dialects that are not used in British English, including in English English. See for example List of American English words not used in British English.
Other variants often cannot be understood by other English speakers in other parts of the world.
This is completely false, as it is well-known that with the ubiquity of American cultural and media exports, American English is just as well understood around the world, if not more so, than any dialect of British English.
An (anecdotal) example of this problem is the US screening of the film Trainspotting which was edited because the American-English speaking audience could not understand the Scottish-English speaking actors.
I fail to see how inability of Americans to understand the basilectic Scottish patois of that film has anything to with anything. Anyone speaking in a regionally-specific basilect is going to be difficult to understand by people from outside of their region, especially by people who are from an area where the culture that spawned the basilect has very little contemporary cultural influence, such as that of Scottish culture upon the United States.
English of the type I speak is hardly "provincial" - to describe it as such is quite ignorant (look the word up in a dictionary).
I was not describing any particular dialect of English as "provincial", and the fact that this was unclear gives me grave doubt that you understood any of what I wrote. What I said what that the idea that "English" by itself only refers to "English English" is provincial. My dictionary gives several meanings for "provicial", one of which is "unsophisticated or narrow-minded", which describes exactly the attitude that a diachronic analysis of Engish has anything to do with the synchronic status of a particular dialect.
Moving on to your second comment:
Perhaps you don't have a good dictionary? :p "Provincial" means "of the province(s)", i.e. a part of a nation distant from the capital/homeland. As the source nation of the language the English cannot use a "provincial" variant of their own language (although they can/do have regional dialects of their own). Its secondary meaning of "unsophisticated" would apply to dialects which do not share a completely inclusive vocabulary (as per the Oxford English Dictionary) and have unusual pronounciation (eg. Southern US American English).
My previous comments apply equally to this. I did not say that any dialect was provincial; what I described as provincial was an idea about dialects. Please understand the distinction. However, given that, your comments here belie a misunderstanding about the nature of the dialect. The idea that English English is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is laughable. Even the people who make it wouldn't argue that. English English is just as flawed, incomplete, illogical, and difficult to understand as any other dialect. The fact that England is the source nation of the English language does not bestow any special status on the English spoken there.
What I think you mean is defined here: Standard English. Thus I think you could say "wherein reside the majority native speakers of Standard English" and still be reasonably accurate. It does need qualification.
"English" by itself means any form of English, "Standard" or otherwise. Look it up in the dictionary. It does not need qualification. Nohat 20:05, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

WP:POINT. User:Noisy | Talk 23:05, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your very thoughtful and poignant comments, Noisy. Unfortunately, in your terseness, you have failed to clarify what exactly the WP:POINT policy has to do with my edits that are intended to balance and clarify the "Spelling" section of this article. Nohat 05:44, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
I explored both meanings of the word "provincial" because both could be applicable given your general derogatory tone. You may have meant only one, but I find your reasoning provincial in both respects. Eg. " is well-known that with the ubiquity of American cultural and media exports, American English is just as well understood around the world" Is that so?!
I am sure the term you use is very useful in the linguistic academic community. However, it is offensive to lay people in England. You are right that English is not "defined" or delimited by the OED. As you say language evolves and a dictionary cannot be synchronic when it has a policy of letting words "bed-down" for a time. (I imagine must be really depressing for dictionary compilers.) I do not think dictionaries are made with the intention that everyone will know all the words. However, they are supposed to be written in such a way that anyone speaking the basics of the language can learn other bits of the language. Without a baseline source we might as well be speaking babble.
The fact that England is the source nation of the English language does not bestow any special status on the English spoken there. And there I think we will have to agree to disagree. The roots are important to the branches for as long as the tree is alive.
Further, my use of the film Trainspotting as an anecdote was supposed to illustrate that the branches sometimes cannot understand one-another, but the root always can. Unfortunately I can only substantiate this with my own experience - I can understand both Scottish and American dialects and they can understand mine.
"English" by itself means any form of English, "Standard" or otherwise. In which case it would not just be "native speakers" - which is contrived (I think that's why WP:POINT was mentioned) - and would require qualification. Wiki-Ed 12:40, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Point of order re: the OED. The OED is descriptive, not prescriptive. It is also (and so many Americans seem unaware or this) NOT a 'British English' dictionary, it is a dictionary that encompasses all forms of English. It has a North American Editorial Unit. Jooler 19:05, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

"where a majority of all native speakers of English live"[edit]

I don't agree with including this statement as it seems to simply be an attempt to show that the AmE spelling is more important. The mention of "most English-speaking nations" is fine because it shows that such countries use that particular spelling. The number of different countries officially using a spelling is more important than the number of people. violet/riga (t) 22:10, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

The addition of the phrase, seems to be implying, that because there are more so-called "native" English speakers in the USA than elsewhere that it is more "correct" in a general sense. This is clearly nonsense, as there are very few places outside of the USA where it is more "correct". 22:22, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
"Nations" don't spell, people do. That statement is there to be intentionally misleading, to show that that spelling is more important, by acting as if correctness is determined by a vote among nations with one vote each..
Not more important; but even if it were, that would indeed be relevant to this article. Maybe more generally accepted by careful users of the language, not but really not even that. More just to balance out the fanatics on the other side.
There is, of course, an even bigger country besides the U.S.A. involved here. Maybe we should do the voting based on the number of square kilometers in each of those "English-speaking nations"?
Your argument isn't based on relevance. Like I said in my edit summary, there may well be good reasons for including both of those statements, but of the two of them, the native speakers one is clearly much more relevant than the most nations argument.
The majority of native speakers are not only relevant to this article in its own right, but also relevant to the fact the the IUPAP is not willing to hinge their reputation on a prescription of the "aluminium" spelling. Gene Nygaard 22:41, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
What is the point of this silly attempt to make a distincion between native speakers and non native. People either speak english or they don't.Geni 05:10, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
There are a greater number of people who spell it aluminum. There are a greater number of nations in which the spelling is aluminium. Both statements attempts to justify one spelling over the other. Both statements are quite irrelevant. The place for such discussions it on pages dealing with the differences between Commonwealth & U.S. English/spelling. Otherwise are we going to have these points brought up in every article about anything the name of which has different spellings in U.S. and Commonwealth English? That would obviously be absurd. These points are no more relevant than they are on Metre, Sulfur, Litre, Color, etc. All that is needed here (as on all those other pages) is a mention that one is the U.S. spelling/pronunciation and the other is the Commonwealth one (plus a mention of Canada's situation). Jimp 22Nov05

There are not a greater number of people who spell it "aluminum", not even in English. The statement that is being contested has been paraphrased in such a way as to make it partially accurate, but it implies more than it says, hence this discussion. I would agree that a simple note to the effect that there are different spellings in different places is the sensible solution... Which is what this article had until recently when someone came in and disrupted it again. Wiki-Ed 09:55, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

I agree with the sensible solution Wiki-Ed suggests above: this is all that is needed here. Jimp 22Nov05

american spelling[edit]

I think this should be changed to the popularly used American spelling, i.e. Loomynum. Gzuckier 20:09, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Note that if you do a Google search for "loomynum", Google asks "Did you mean: aluminum?". Even if you do it on uk Google.[13] Gene Nygaard 22:51, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, and if you put "favrite" in to, Google says "Did you mean: favorite" - which shows yet again just why trying to use Google to state something regarding UK/UK usage has not merit whatsoever. Google is American. Jooler 07:38, 22 November 2005 (UTC)
That would be, English Lite. Gzuckier 15:17, 22 November 2005 (UTC)


I dropped in here to the spelling argument to see if there was anything that said how "aluminium" is pronounced, since I can't remember ever (in 50 years) hearing anyone say it who spelled it that way. I don't want to start another argument, but is it pronounced the way it looks like it should be, Al-uh-MIN-ee-um, or are the 3rd and 4th syllables smeared together to make it sound more like the American pronunciation (uh-LOOM-uh-Num), resulting in a god-awful tongue-twister like uh-LOOM-nyee-um? Or it is pronounced some other way entirely in English English? Aumakua 20:57, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Al-uhm-in-yum. Because the last two are so short I think its four syllables not five. American English - to my ears - sounds like Ah-LOO-mi-num. Quite distinct. (Someone with better knowledge of linguistics might want to correct this - I've written it as I hear it.) Wiki-Ed 21:58, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I'd think I pronounce it as five syllables. I'm English. Something like Al-(y)uh-MIN-i-um. Not sure whether I'd pronounce the "y" or not - probably dependent on whether I was stressing the word. My desk dictionary (The Collins English Dictionary) has it as (IPA: [ˌæljʊˈmɪnɪəm]) versus the U.S. and Canadian [əˈluːmɪnəm]. --KJBracey 08:40, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
I think it is generally pronounced [ˌæləˈmɪniəm] these days, which is certainly the case in Australia, and possibly in the UK. Mark 04:35, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
I always hear people pronounce it [ˌæljʊˈmɪnɪəm]) in NZ and in Malaysia. Nil Einne 15:04, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not so certain as Mark seems to be. I'm an Aussie & I don't recall hearing it pronounced like that. I pronounce it as /ˌæljəˈmɪniəm/. Jimp 08:00, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
It's actually pronounced; al-you-mini-yum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:00, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
The article should at least mention the very big pronunciation difference. The first time I heard Americans say the word (it's not exactly something that's commonly talked about in every day conversation of course) I had no idea what they were refering to. The loss of a syllable and the different word stress completely changes the pronunciation. My two euro-cents (8 years later).--ЗAНИA talk WB talk] 00:34, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Spelling in Canada?[edit]

"However, in Canada both spellings are common, due to the multiple influences on the language of its proximity to the United States, its British colonial past and the large number of native French speakers."

I'm not so sure of this. I grew up in Ontario and never once heard the world "aluminium". Does it vary from province to province?

This belongs in the spelling section, I've moved it there for you.--T. Anthony 05:53, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
I think the US spelling is probably much more common - in my experience, we use mainly US scientific texts at Canadian universities. In my 3 yrs of chemistry at the University of Victoria, it was only referred to as aluminum in spelling (although one British prof I had referred to it as aluminium in speech). None of the supplementary texts published by the university (lab texts, etc) used the spelling aluminum. My highschool science texts used "aluminum" although my Grade 12 chem teacher felt that the Brits used "aluminium" b/c the word "aluminum" is trade-marked in Britian (which I believe it is, by Alcan) - although the article would tend to indicate that is not the reason aluminium is used in Britain. So in my personal experience, I think it is safe to say Canadians spell it (and generally say it) as "aluminum."DonaNobisPacem 05:12, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

The canadian version of Webster's English Dictionary Concise Edition (1999) lists Aluminium first, then Aluminum (US) second. If this confuses you, this is exactly what is written. "Aluminium, Aluminum (US)". However, if i asked someone to spell it, it would be spelt Aluminium. I'm guessing (e.g. no verification) that the offical spellings has to do with british roots. I also think so close proximity, leading to products with american spellings being brought to canada, interaction with americans, etc. etc. has to do with making american spellings much more common.

Anyways, it doesn't matter because the canadian population is of fairly negligable size. But seriously, i'm not arguing one way or another, because i'm nearly throwing up reading this talk page.

Clone Articles?[edit]

What would the viability of creating a clone article at aluminum be? I don't forsee there being much change in this article, which means putting a modified version at the American spelling would be much more viable than creating a clone of some of the other articles on Wikipedia. BioTube 02:22, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Basically it would mean to concede that a collaborative encyclopedia is impossible due to irreconcilable differences. It would eventually result in a breakup of the en:Wiki, which has been suggested before. Doesn't make sense to me. Femto 11:24, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
We could also consider moving it to alumium. We add a simple note at the top that it was the original name and intersperse the various spellings within the article. This way we avoid fracturing and the silly edit wars over where to put the article. BioTube 23:04, 14 May 2006 (UTC) EDIT: I changed it so that Aluminium/Spelling redirects to the actual article. BioTube 01:40, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

This is weird...[edit]

See Talk:International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Random the Scrambled 12:36, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

"Un-Fudgeable Google Results" and "Why Does It Matter?"[edit]

GoogleFight is a website that can be pretty useful in a discussion like this. I'm kind of surprised that no one's mentioned it up yet. This way, you can't just skew the numbers you report on the talk page to make your point. It kinda 'officializes' the Google results, perhaps? Regardless, enjoy.

As for the actual issue here... if there's a redirect page, then why does it matter which name the article is actually stored under? The spelling difference -- whichever side you're on -- isn't adversely affecting your Wikipedia usage. 16:15, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I think it's got more to do with people not wanting to deal with foreign spellings. BioTube 06:01, 20 June 2006 (UTC)


The article used to read, "Aluminum, or aluminium (A vulgar error which should not be perpetuated, see the spelling section)." I removed the bolded text. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Yes, that was a vandal edit from another one of User:'s sock accounts. Thanks for removing the bad stuff; note however that a full revert to an earlier revision is usually preferable in order to also catch any other alterations. Femto 17:22, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

By the way, this straw poll is a remnant of a dubious, already closed WP:RM request. Can't hurt though to let it collect a few more opinions, I guess. Femto 15:14, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Google gives more results for "aluminum" than "aluminium". Voozz45 17:06, 28 June 2006 (UTC) [suspected sockpuppet of Helicoptor]

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation and sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Oppose I believe this is the same idea as color/colour. I don't believe the established form of Englsih for the article ought to be changed. Charles 17:22, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support "Aluminium" is needless long. Helicoptor 17:28, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • comment This vote is pointless the article is at this spelling for MoS reasons. See Talk:Aluminium/Spelling. Jooler 17:39, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Right, this came up often enough that there now is a separate Talk:Aluminium/Spelling. There never (in my opinion) was a good enough argument brought up that justified overriding the regionally independent IUPAC recommendations (aluminium/caesium/sulfur) for international English. The Wikipedia:WikiProject Chemicals/Style guidelines reflect these recommendations. (It also seems that User:Voozz45 is a very new account to propose such a controversial move. Are you serious with this request?) Femto 18:09, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Talk:Aluminium/Spelling Ratarsed 18:34, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment it should be noted that Helicoptor is trolling a number of page moves . See for example recent talk at Cat flap. With almost no new justification, I'd suggest that this proposal is in bad faith. -- Solipsist 19:23, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose We've spent enough time arguing over how this word is spelt Wiki-Ed 19:44, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose +nominate sock puppetry for a ban Fiddle Faddle 19:47, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Fascinating. I am familiar with most differences in English dialects, but I wasn't aware of this one, until now. (was I supposed to have a reason here? ;-) ) Sxeptomaniac 21:32, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support change and support banning the sockpuppet if it is one. The US, former US dependencies, and Canada do make up the majority of first-language speakers in English. Also the "aluminum" spelling even if rarer is far from unknown in India.[14] Somewhat confusingly, both the "num" and "nium" spelling is used by the same Iranian company.[15] Ethnologue states there are 508 million English speakers including second language speakers. Of those 270 million spell it aluminum as second-language speakers in the Philippines use the American variant as they are a former territory.[16] This is the majority of speakers. In first-language speakers American-English is much more clearly predominant. That said the change is not going to happen though. Anymore than Humour or Grey will become Humor or Gray. (Although Color use American spelling) It's likely more useful to just take "aluminium" out of any article concerning Americans or American companies and taking "aluminum" out of British articles.--T. Anthony 14:18, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Standard Wikipedia policy is to leave things how the first author had them, if there are acceptable alternatives. The redirect and discussion of the spelling in the article are sufficient. eaolson 21:24, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It was settled to use the IUPAC spellings for article names. At the present time, I see no compelling reason to reopen this consensus. Shimmin 14:01, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. All standard international chemical guidelines clearly define the Al element to be named as Aluminium. This move proposal is out of the order. Wim van Dorst (Talk) 14:24, 23 July 2006 (UTC).
  • Oppose, obviously, as it was I who wrote the style guidelines! Such a move would violate so many WikiPolicies that I will only mention WP:SENSE. Physchim62 (talk) 15:07, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. IUPAC makes sense. Notice how there's been little fighting on the spelling of Sulfur, as people who use the alternate spelling can accept IUPAC's judgement --Angry Lawyer 08:48, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
That's because it's a spelling and pronounciation issue for aluminium/aluminum, not just spelling. Notice how there's been little fighting on the spelling of caesium/cesium, as people who use the alternate spelling can accept IUPAC's judgement.  :) --Ed (Edgar181) 11:11, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose IUPAC spelling should take precedence.--Auger Martel 03:10, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Let's stick with IUPAC preferred names. Walkerma 16:58, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose Follow guidelines and IUPAC. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:47, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

How about AL (element)?[edit]

That way everyone wins.Cameron Nedland 17:22, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Looks more like everyone loses to me. Femto 15:18, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
ALready mentioned before, bad idea. Look at AL for reason. --Steven 01:16, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

More on spelling[edit]

Hello, everybody:

I have put quite a bit of care and attention in trying to simplify the following two sentences, sticking to the facts:

In the United States and English-speaking Canada, the spelling aluminium is largely unknown[citation needed], and the spelling aluminum predominates[citation needed]. Elsewhere in other English-speaking countries the spelling aluminium predominates.

The -ium spelling is the most widespread version around the world. The word is aluminium in French, Aluminium in German, and identical or similar forms are used in many other languages. Consequently it is the more common of the two spelling methods, as shown by the enclosed list of other-language Wikipedia articles.

This is what I came up with as a substitute:

In the United States and English-speaking Canada, the spelling aluminum predominates. The word is aluminium in British English and French and Aluminium in German.

My changes were reverted, so I'd like to find out why, since some of the statements in the longer excerpt above seem not to be valid or at least unsourced, or at least controversial.

Any comments?

Sincerely, your friend, GeorgeLouis 15:40, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

This section has been reworked several times so, like it says at the top of the page, tread lightly. In the first paragraph you removed the [citation needed] tag for an unproven statement, which you kept. You then deleted a statement which was sourced in the next paragraph, most of which you then went on to remove. Your substitute has two unsourced statements the second of which, by omission, is misleading. As I said in the edit comment, check the edit box when editing and look at the list of other-language versions of this article. Look at the proportion using the -ium ending. This is far more reliable than Google. Wiki-Ed 15:58, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

GeorgeLouis you've been given an answer to your question. Continued blanking of sections of the article is vandalism. Desist. Pfahlstrom the edit note was an instruction to you, not a citation. However, since you seem to be unable to do that, here's the complete list: af:Aluminium, ar:ألمنيوم, ast:Aluminiu, bn:অ্যালুমিনিয়াম, bs:Aluminijum, bg:Алуминий, ca:Alumini, cs:Hliník, cy:Alwminiwm, da:Aluminium, de:Aluminium, et:Alumiinium, el:Αργίλιο, es:Aluminio, eo:Aluminio, eu:Aluminio, fa:آلومینیوم, fr:Aluminium, gd:Almain, gl:Aluminio (elemento), ko:알루미늄, hr:Aluminij, io:Aluminio, id:Aluminium, is:Ál, it:Alluminio, he:אלומיניום, ku:Bafûn, la:Aluminium, lv:Alumīnijs, lb:Aluminium, lt:Aliuminis, hu:Alumínium, mk:Алуминиум, mi:Konumohe, nl:Aluminium, ja:アルミニウム, no:Aluminium, nn:Aluminium, ug:ئاليۇمىن, pl:Glin, pt:Alumínio, ru:Алюминий, simple:Aluminium, sl:Aluminij, sr:Алуминијум, sh:Aluminijum, fi:Alumiini, sv:Aluminium, ta:அலுமினியம், th:อะลูมิเนียม, vi:Nhôm, tr:Alüminyum, uk:Алюміній, zh-yue:鋁, zh:铝 I see no need for further debate about the spelling in other languages around the world. Since the only remaining unsourced comments relate to the spelling in the US/Canada I would suggest those with a problem direct their efforts to substantiating the following section: In the United States and English-speaking Canada, the spelling aluminium is largely unknown[citation needed], and the spelling aluminum predominates[citation needed]. Wiki-Ed 09:50, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I totally concur with Wiki-Ed. Pfahlstrom, if you want a citation for that remark, the explanation is in the next paragraph, so vide infra is enough. If you want that to be referenced, then every other fact in this article also need as {{reference needed}}. This is one of the points which is quite clear, unless you can find proof that it is otherwise. --Dirk Beetstra T C 13:12, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Wiki-Ed seems to be confused about what statement I was saying was unreferenced. I’m not disputing use in other languages at all. I am only talking about use in International English, something which the above statement does not touch on. Beetstra on my talk page asked where I would suggest finding a citation for this. This claim is actually easy to substantiate for British English via the British National Corpus [17][18]. The other countries are less easy. Results from the International Corpus of English for Hong Kong, East Africa, India, and Singapore are slightly harder at [19]--they are downloadable but there is no on-web search interface. The New Zealand corpus is available only on CD-ROM and the ICE corpora for Australia, Canada, Fiji, Jamaica, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the USA are not yet available. The American National Corpus is available only for a $75 fee. There may be easier ways to get a citation, but I haven't found one yet. I doubt there'd even be an entry in the English Usage book I have at work, but I'll check later in the day. —pfahlstrom 14:13, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Edgar181 added references, but his source does not address Canada and is not sufficient on the others—it just says 'aluminium' is "in use elsewhere in the world" and does not explain the usage in the U.S. other than by the American Chemical Society, information which was already included in the article (at one point if not now). —pfahlstrom 14:44, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with you that it doesn't address Canada. But it does address usage in the rest of the world, and though it doesn't explicitly state the US usage (aside from the ACS) it's certainly implied. But anyway, I've added a separate reference that specifically addresses the US use. --Ed (Edgar181) 16:18, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I think a more specific reference would be preferable (also see below). —pfahlstrom 17:02, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Ah, I think I see where you have got confused. This is not about "international English"; at no point does the article say that it is. Your argument seems to be based on verification of usage in countries in which English is the first/official language. I think that is somewhat contrived and, as you will see from the discussions above (all 15 pages), this debate is not just about first-language English-speaking countries. In any case, Edgar181's source is quite unambiguous: "elsewhere" means everywhere. Wiki-Ed 15:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

"at no point does the article say that it is"...? But what the exact sentence I said was unsourced says is: "Elsewhere in other English-speaking countries the spelling 'aluminium' predominates." That sentence is talking about English-speaking countries, and that is the reference which was unsourced. (Though I see no reason to rule out other countries where English is widely spoken as an additional language or as a first language by a minority of the population.) The Los Alamos reference is not specific enough to use as primary evidence, because it would incorrectly imply that Canada also uses the aluminium spelling, and the World Wide Words article is itself unsourced. Now, the question is: Can the sentences in this paragraph be backed up with specific evidence? The answer: yes they can. I already did it for British English, and backing it up for the other countries only requires access to the right datasets. The above reference I provided also gives evidence for the sentence you deleted a month ago (or whenever it was) which you said was improve: that aluminum is almost unattested (in Great Britain, at least; I am unsure whether Northern Ireland is included in the corpus study).
Now, are the sentences in the paragraph phrased in the most suitable manner, and are corpora the best way to back up their statements? Perhaps not. It might be better to simply expand upon (and source) the previous paragraph to say something like that in dictionaries following American[20][21] or Canadian[citation needed] usage give only the spelling aluminum in the root entry and that aluminium is present only in a separate entry stating it is a "chiefly British" variant[22][23], and that dictionaries following non-U.S./Canadian usage similarly mark aluminum as "chiefly U.S."[24]. A statement such as that is quite easy to reference.
The only reason I see to offer corpora as evidence is that they would be a legitimate academic source that would fulfill the same role as the Google Test that has been so disparaged. And unless I am reading the history wrong, the desire to use the Google Test seems to be the only reason the statement about dictionaries isn't enough and why this paragraph is even in the article currently at all. —pfahlstrom 16:58, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I've added a couple more references. Greenwood (Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0080379419. ) refers to "aluminum" as being used in North America, indicating use in Canada. --Ed (Edgar181) 17:59, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I saw a reference like that elsewhere which was problematic—it said aluminium was "Brit/Cdn" and aluminum was "Nor Am." Confusion! I'm not an expert on Canadian English and don't have handy access to a Canadian English dictionary which is proven to be reliable; I see rather unofficial sites like [25][26]; comments from Canadians on this page indicate aluminum is favored, but it would be nice to have an official-ish source like the Oxford Dictionary of Canadian English--assuming it's correct; I've read criticisms by Canadians of Canadian dictionaries.—pfahlstrom 19:16, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Although I like the compromise you have suggested, there would still be a problem determining how many references to include for countries other than the US and Canada. Trying to differentiate between "English speaking countries" and countries in which English is spoken as an additional language is rather imprecise. Should we include countries where it is "official" but only spoken by a minority, like India? Or should we include countries where it is not official and there are a lot of second-language speakers, like the US? Up until now we were assuming Commonwealth English countries (aside from Canada) used the -ium spelling and other countries where English was spoken (one way or another) also used that spelling. This was illustrated by the prevalence of that spelling in the other languages spoken in those countries (as per the list above).
Not sure the spelling in the other languages is the best guideline—the country we're pretty sure about this on, Canada, has French speakers who use aluminium but not English speakers. So while I do believe most/all other Commonwealth countries use aluminium, the spelling in other local languages is weak evidence at best. —pfahlstrom 19:16, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I would tend to agree with your initial statement that it would be better to remove all the tags for this section - we all know the facts. However, it then opens the door to people who would delete things which conflict with their personal POV. Wiki-Ed 18:14, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I would indeed suggest to get it all referenced while we are at it, it would indeed keep people from having conflicts with what is written on the page. The only trouble is to find good references (is there a language-wikiproject that could help us here?). One would have to dig up 'official spellings' from all countries, and for what I know, there even might be internal differences (e.g. for NL see nl:groene boekje/en:Wordlist of the Dutch language vs. nl:witte boekje/en:White Booklet, I hope these do not disagree about nl:aluminium vs. nl:aluminum). --Dirk Beetstra T C 18:34, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
The World Wide Words article seemed to use good sources, but didn't identify them all (such as when it says "a database of newspapers"—which database?). Anyway, it might work just to find US, Canadian, and UK sources (such as the corpora I linked above), and then link to some source which just generally says Commonwealth countries tend to follow UK spellings. —pfahlstrom 19:16, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

The common spelling is Aluminum so why does this article spell it with an extra “i”?[edit]

From what I have read, they are both common spellings. "Aluminium" seems to be used more in the sciences while "aluminum" seems to be used more in general/overall use. "Aluminum" seems to be used by American science associations such as NASA and the AAAS and turns up 89.6 million sites on Google, "aluminium" turns up 72 million. American Heritage dictionary says "aluminium" is 'chiefly' a 'British' term [27], but McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and some other publications [28] seem to call it "aluminum". Overall, aluminium seems to be the more British spelling used by some American English companies/orginizations/people/publications, while "aluminum" seems to be the American spelling that has become more widespread especially as the spelling for the element ([29] v. [30] in site numbers). Considering even some British organizations seem to use "aluminum", this is one of the few cases that I personally think that we should use the non-British English spelling. ~ clearthought 01:53, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

IUPAC, the internationally recognized authority on chemical nomenclature, accepts Aluminium over Aluminum. -- --Villahj Ideeut 20:33, 16 September 2006 (UTC)
This is wikipedia not some journal. The common name should be used. IUPAC accepts and uses both spellings so that should not be an argument for an extra “i”.-- 00:01, 23 September 2006 (UTC)
Aluminium is the spelling preferred in other languages. As this is English-language Wikipedia that shouldn't matter, but we get a fair amount of "English as a second language" editors. Also the "ium" spelling is accepted by the British and when controversy arises on spelling Wikipedia usually goes by British spelling, in my experience, as a way to "make up" for the fact it most often uses American spelling. Color and Skepticism being notable exceptions as there has been debate, but no switching to the British Commonwealth standard at present.--T. Anthony 06:26, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

I don't get it... Why do some people have to make it a US English vs. UK English issue (by the way, it's not exlusively UK's English, but also "Queen's English" or "Commonwealth English" or "Oxford English". It's not as if it "belonged" only to the British), or even a "spelling" issue??? The original word (regardless of geography, long before there was English, and waaaaaaaay longer before there were any USA with people to change spellings) is Aluminium, from the Latin name of the same element. So, there is NO "extra i", because it is supposed to BE there. Period. Also, the correctness of any one spelling is not determined by something as trivial and nonsensical as the number of occurences of it that a Google search returns. Say, if suddenly we were to find that "cuz" appears in more websites than "because" (or "Gawd" over "God", for that matter), does that mean we should change the way we spell these words? I believe the English Wikipedia should reflect English spelling (as in "World's English") and not be determined only in terms of exclusively US cosiderations, spelling or otherwise. Thank you.

You must not have read the actual article "By 1812, Davy had settled on aluminum, which, as other sources note, matches its Latin root." Although another source says "Sir Humphry made a bit of a mess of naming this new element, at first spelling it alumium (this was in 1807) then changing it to aluminum, and finally settling on aluminium in 1812." An "aluminium" company agrees stating "Davy called the metal alumium which has the -ium ending adopted for most metallic elements. But later he decided to change the name to aluminum, and this name was picked up by Americans."[31] Either way your statement "the original is Aluminium" is incorrect. Just as molybdenum was not originally molybdenium, etc. In addition IUPAC has a history of which was preferred when. From 1903-1910 and 1920-1961 period the "aluminum" spelling seems to have been preferred. From 1993 to present the "um" spelling is just seen as optional.--T. Anthony 00:06, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

The reason why the page is at aluminium, not aluminum, is due to the element naming conventions, which states that names of elements should follow the IUPAC international spelling, so the page is at aluminium, not aluminum. Watch37264 01:37, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Other misspellings[edit]

Maybe this shouldn't go here, but I've noticed a huge number of erroneous pages. I'm staying out of the debate, but since wikipedia for the moment has decided on -ium, shouldn't all pages with aluminium alloys and alluminium based products be corrected? eg [32] Triangl 13:35, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Not necessarily. American corporations use the word "aluminum" and there was even an American car called Aluminum. It is not a misspelling, I'm maybe willing to accept that it is merely an optional spelling used in North America and former US dependencies. To switch to "ium" in articles of US/US-dependency concerns would be a mistake and I feel a form of cultural imperialism. However I see many articles there where the "aluminum" spelling is being used inappropriately so good call. I used to try to change to the "ium" spelling in all articles where it was appropriate. Feel free to continue that.--T. Anthony 18:49, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Bear in mind that a decision on the title of this article/spelling in this article does not dictate how the word should be spelled throughout Wikipedia. If the article is primarily about an American subject, it should be spelled the American way. Likewise for British or other country focuses. Where the article is neutral, go for consistency and in line with the original author.
Example - an article about Hershey's chocolate might say "The bars are wrapped in aluminum foil", whereas one about Cadbury's chocolate might say "The bars are wrapped in aluminium foil" - both are the correct spelling for that particular article, regardless of how this article is spelled. An article about alumin(i)um cans might have either spelling, depending on the prevalent style and/or the original major contributor's preference - and that's ok too.
All in all, though, it might be easier to call it tin foil and tin cans ;)
Srpnor 09:18, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes yes, quite right all! Just checking! Oh but you couldn't call them tin. Tin is an element in itself. therefor calling them tin cans when theyre made of aluminium would be like saying "magnesium bars" instead of "iron bars"! Triangl 16:16, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
That part was a joke, he had a smiley even.--T. Anthony 15:53, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Google Trends[edit]

This new google tool has even the history view, so we can trace the usage in time. Very handy.,+aluminum

If you'll check the reverse you'll see "aluminum" predominates in the following languages
  • English
  • Tagalog
  • Korean
  • Hebrew
Not that that matters the decision was made and is irreversible. Still thanks for the link.--T. Anthony 13:14, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Not largely unknown[edit]

The article reads:
In the United States, the spelling aluminium is largely unknown, and the spelling aluminum predominates.
As an American, I can tell you that the spelling of "aluminium" is well know, just not well liked. Like "centre." It grates on the nerves, but everyone knows what it means, and doesn't interpret it as a misspelling, just the way the discoverer wanted to call it in the end. 14:39, 13 December 2006 (UTC)Casey D

Well I'd never heard or seen the "ium" spelling except on British TV. I might have been able to figure it out as an alternate spelling, but if I saw "Molybdenium" anywhere I'd figure it out the same. I did take courses on chemistry and physics of course, but it never came up.--T. Anthony 13:18, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
I hadn't heard -ium until I downloaded early episodes of How It's Made narrated by Tony Hirst, myself. The US broadcasts use -um.

Edit wars over Alluminum[edit]

I read the discussion regarding the AfD, and the decision to re-direct the above article to Aluminium, and I would like to request someone take care of the ongoing redirect/revert wars that are developing, and resulting in duplicate articles here, and at Alluminum. Technically, according to Webster's, there are two valid spellings: Aluminum (American) and Aluminium (British), but with two "L"s, it is mis-spelled from what I understand (fully admitting I'm not a chem major). I have attempted to ask those who continue to remove the redirect to discuss it here, and I'd like to have someone who has more experience with these continued spelling issues take a look at it and intervene, if possible. Thanks so much! ArielGold 23:59, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Present-day spelling - is this really necessary ?[edit]

Greetings, although I understand the role played by the "present day spelling" section in keeping the both "Aluminium" and "Aluminum" camps happy, is this section really needed ? I find it a bit lengthly compared to its very little encyclopedic interest. I mean, there is (hopefully) no spelling section on articles such as "color" or "behavior". Likewise, English speaking people regularly use the word Connoisseur whereas the original French word is Connaisseur. Here again, it is an interesting divergence but this hardly requires an article section about it. Could not we just put a link to American_and_British_English_spelling_differences, and settle for this ? Cochonfou 15:31, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Thoughts On This Subject[edit]

Short Version:

If you are thinking about joining this argument, don't. This isn't an argment that can be resolved, because both sides are basically right. Spend your time more productively elsewhere.

Long Version:

I have to admit I quite enjoyed reading this page. There were times it was funny. Then there were times it was stupid. Then there were times it was insanely hilarious. Then there were times it was simply insane. In many ways, it's a textbook example of how and why people argue. Has it not occured to everyone yet that both sides are right and trying to convince the other that they are wrong? Both spellings are correct. Both sides are right. And the arguments that each side uses to convince the other get wilder and wilder as time passes. That a Hitler example popped up is telling, folks. ;-)

And yes, before someone objects, I read the example. And yes, I understood what the original author was saying - specifically, he was saying that using Google to verify usage and commonality of a word is meaningless, since Google doesn't tabulate usage of words, it tabluates web page content, which isn't the same thing. As the old saying goes, The World Is Not The Web, and The Web Is Not The World. Even citing the number of American versus Commonwealth spellers on the web (which has been done before) isn't valid, because The World Is Not The Web, and The Web Is Not The World.

I know, this isn't going to end the arguments. People are people, after all, and in all my years of life, I have never seen anyone ever suddenly stop in the middle of a heated exchange and go "Gosh, I was wrong. Sorry!" No, it's been my experience that when two sides are right and are fighting to convince the other side they're wrong, nothing short of death will end it.

Here, we see individuals who are now deeply immersed in this argument. They eat, sleep and breathe the "-ium/-um" debate. They will never let it go, ever. They grit their teeth in red-eyed fury as they read the arguments of their opponents, knowing that only they are correct. Their blood pressure skyrockets at the thought of the impudent fools on the other side who cannot see the righteous justice of the presence or absence of an 'I'. It is, literally, an 'I for an I' battle (if one can pardon the pun), and I'm quite sure that several editors here have already instructed in their wills that the "correct" spelling be engraved on their tombstones as a last fillip, literally their final word on the matter.

Still, it's my hope that perhaps someone else perusing this little chat will read what I have written, pause, and think "he's right - there's really no point in fighting, it's not an issue that can be resolved," and instead move on with their merry little life, editing another article instead. Don't join in! It is the Endless War, fought by the Eternal Champions of Correct Spelling! Don't join in, for God's sake! It will suck you in and destroy your sanity, perhaps even your very soul! STOP! THINK OF THE CHILDREN! MY GOD, WHAT ARE WE DOING TO THE CHILDREN?!

Oh, wait - I don't have children.

Nevermind, carry on, then!

Xaa 02:33, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

This should go at the top of the page, in a big box. (talk) 08:03, 7 July 2008 (UTC)


Gosh, I am so glad that the Aluminium Wiki page must be so perfect- if all people can do is waffle and argue for a whole page over spelling!

It is pathetic- I have just read this page, and got bored halfway down. There are also stupid comments about Hitler.


Admins- I think that this page should be shut down immediately.

I'm American. I call it aluminum. I don't care if you use aluminium in the article. It's nice that the article notes there is a spelling difference. Stop arguing; it's pointless. Soyseñorsnibbles (talk) 18:27, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

The facts[edit]

  • Aluminium= correct- international and in use in English (this is English Wikipedia, not American etc.)
  • Aluminum = incorrect - only used in American (and Canadian), originated from a corruption of the English language.

Argument over and out. Stop arguing. It is -ium and it is forever. Get over it!! Full stop.

The INVENTOR used the word "aluminum". How DARE you sit there and insult Americans/Canadians as idiots corrupting the language??? WE are following the inventor's wishes and honoring his intenet. File:The-inventor-honor-his-intenet.png YOU are the one who is not using the correct word & corrupting it by adding as "i" where none belongs. Stupid british. No wonder the Irish hate you. - Theaveng (talk) 16:06, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Your ignorance is pathetic. NEWS FLASH! Nobody "invented" aluminium and the earliest spelling is "alumium". Yes that's right. The element originally had the "-ium" suffix. So the "i" was not added originally but removed by Americans. Please also note that America was founded by the British and that if the Irish hate us so much, we would have so much diaspora that we do now. Parable1991 19:50, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Did you even read the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:23, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
The inventor actually wanted to call it "Alumahnamahna, but an odd quirk of temporal physics led to him getting a copyright infringement suit threat, so he shortened it... True story... ArakunemTalk 01:56, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I say we call it "beercanium". It's descriptive, it tells one of the many uses of the element, and is all around awesome. Aluminum.. Pfft, that was so five minutes ago. Sneakernets (talk) 22:30, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Fantastic idea, but :-0 think of the poor people who speak Jamaican English, who may start eating beercanium! then we really would be in a muddle... :p --Woodgreener (talk) 00:55, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

although we can't say it was invented it was first isolated by Hans Christian Ørsted a danish scientist who called it Aluminium and that is the version used by most english speaking countries and most other languages have two i's —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:41, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

This talk page is the saddest thing I've ever seen. How many man-hours of effort do you think went into all these circuitous spelling-and-Google arguments? If the same gusto had been applied to something useful, we'd all be living on the Moon by now. (talk) 01:48, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

We can at least take solace in the fact that the balls in soccer aren't made out of aluminum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:42, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

The following doesn't appear to have been considered/mentioned...[edit]


"Rutherford (or whoever invented Aluminium in the first place) called it Alumium, from the stem Alum with the -ium ending to follow the metal naming standards at the time.

Then, for some reason, he renamed it and bizarrely chose Aluminum which after he sobered up realised didn't fit the naming scheme he was trying to follow so he renamed it Aluminium.

To be fair he prolly selected Aluminum because compounds sounded stupid otherwise, try saying sodium aluminate and then try sodium aluminiate. This is probably why Americans call it aluminum (although we all use aluminate pronounced alooominaate)

So Aluminium it should be.

However try getting the Brits to use Sulfur, even though that is now the IUPAC spelling.

Platinium FTW."

Also from the same page...

"When I was studying chemistry a few years ago, one of my tutors informed us that Aluminium was now the internationally accepted form of the word, in exchange for the american Sulfur being used in place of Sulphur. However, since in general the americans were ignoring this, he said he was going to continue using Sulphur in protest :)"

Surely, if the above two comments are true, then there should be no argument as to what the spelling should be? However, I forget, this is Wikipedia, and logic and reason is not always what it should be...

-Andreas Toth (talk) 01:32, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

It's Aluminium[edit]

I, on behalf of the billion-strong population of India, hereby vote Aluminium. Yay democracy wins! It annoys me no end to hear someone say "aluminum". It's like calluing a bacterium a "bactirum". (talk) 10:46, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Aluminum was first. Klichka (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 03:53, 21 October 2008 (UTC).

Me too. It really annoys me when I hear someone say Aurum, Plumbum, Cuprum, Ferrum, Argentum, or for that matter Alum. I'm like, "don't you know it's bacterium, you colonial douche bag?" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:05, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

A quiet celebration to mark the occasion[edit]

I would hereby like to thank the community of Wikipedia for going an entire month without arguing over the spelling of Aluminium/Aluminum. May it forever rest in that dark corner of hell where it belongs :) Manning (talk) 14:19, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Let's change it to the original and neutral version[edit]

Alumium, Seriously, we can't agree on the second spelling or the anglophile one so why not go with one that we can both agree to disagree on? Klichka (talk) 03:53, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Ridiculous anglocentric view[edit]

'Aluminum' redirects to 'Aluminium'? Are you serious? Aluminium is not and has never been the primary spelling. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gustave Pennington (talkcontribs) 00:50, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Please blame IUPAC, and take your argument to them. Vsmith (talk) 02:58, 3 August 2008 (UTC) ... and see the note at the top of this page. Vsmith (talk) 03:01, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
'Aluminium' is the correct spelling in English, being as it's the spelling in England. The clue is in the name "English". I don't care if there are more Americans in the world; if there are more copies of a counterfeit than the genuine article the genuine article doesn't become the counterfeit. The only benefit to 'aluminum' is that it has more credibility than the truly cringe-worthy 'sulfur'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:58, 12 November 2008 (UTC)


I found this trash in my inbox:

"Can I just add... I started this argument about Makety-Uppity-Americanese versus Her Majesty's-Correct-English, years ago (nyaaahh it was way back in the summer o' 200 n 1 if i remember)... glad to see the rebel alliance is finally rallying to the call of resistence against the Imperial Dark dialect of the language... (so it's all my fault!)

For Spawn man and the rest... my Argument goes like this:

If Norwegian's got Nynorsk and Bokmal, then English should have English and American... it turns out that there's Flemish and Dutch, and various other similarly verissimilitudinous latinate and slavic (and even Austronesian) dialects (like Bahasa Indonesia and Malay) also enjoy the benefits of the "True Way".

[waiting for the Righteous and Humourless Troll SWAT Team in my evil pedantic bunker!... go on block me now and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine! (not really, I'm not trolling, I'm just saying, because like it or not, enough people care about this issue to keep it alive... if you don't like it, be a grown up and just delete it, I've probably got more degrees than you anyway ;P)]" (talk) 13:55, 6 January 2009 (UTC)[MacDaddy] (kindly read my profile before attempting a vanity block)

Are you people SERIOUS?[edit]

I guess I'm just as bad for being bored enough to wander these articles but seriously, just give it up. WHO CARES how it's spelled, and WHO CARES for what reason. It's OBVIOUS what the word is, so just 'cause it's not "correct" in everyday speech over here, DEAL WITH IT. There's bound to be a whole lot of articles on Wikipedia with American instead of British spelling, and as far as science goes why is it such a big deal to use the spelling preferred by the island from which our language originated? Really, is it that hard? Just drop it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:51, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Your on the internet. Someone, some where, will always want to fight someone over something. It never fails. Joesolo13 (talk) 01:20, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


Why does the article use the British spelling throughout when the etymology section says the discoverer preferred aluminum, the North American spelling? Doesn't the person who discovered an element have a say in how an element is spelled?

  • It is spelled Aluminium because that is the IUPAC spelling. That has nothing to do with American vs. British. The Seeker 4 Talk 00:42, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • For a whole load of entertainment see the quite obvious note at the top of this page. Freestyle-69 (talk) 01:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
  • What's even more entertaining is that there was no such note (once it was moved to the spelling subpage anyway. I made one. Polymonia (talk) 07:25, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

FAQ template[edit]

I remembered seeing the FAQ template on another page, as well as the "keep cool" one. I added both to this page. Polymonia (talk) 07:24, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Can we just have a final consensus here?[edit]

In order to return everyone (including myself) to the land of sanity, I decree that this element should be called. alumin(i)um. -- (talk) 14:23, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree.
BTW, there's also these ones to do:
Americium - LOL - a few for our trans-atlantic cousins
Oh, and also
.... sorry about the last one - I couldn't resist - LOL!
... Nurse!, nurse!, the screens!, THE SCREENS! ...

... oh I forgot these:
... wait a minute - Actium's a place - forget Actium then, I must have been thinking of:
... I think Byzantium's a place too so I won't add that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:53, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

I Love This Talk Page[edit]

I nominate this for the most entertaining talk page --Dr DBW (talk) 23:14, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I come back to this talk page every few months just for a good laugh.
I must admit it's a bit strange to have people arguing over a variant of spelling that was introduced originally because so many of that country's inhabitants couldn't spell the proper words. I wouldn't mind, but some still can't even spell the simplified spellings. Still most countries after independence like to distance themselves from their originating country. They also like to re-write history too.
Other good talk pages are:
Luckily I'm a Briton myself so Jesus Christ couldn't make ME feel inferior - LOL!. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:02, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
5 points of 7, pretty good for being a "dispute", but some of the bickering is just quite repetitive. I love the google experiments though. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 19:47, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. This is a blast. GeeZee (talk) 12:50, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

Biblical solution[edit]

I propose that we split aluminum/ium in half, giving half of it to those who use "ium", and half to those who use "um". Since the element has an atomic number of 13, it would be split into 2 utterly impossible creatures with atomic numbers of 6.5 (it wouldnt be fair to create halves of carbon and nitrogen). Then, whichever group of people truly loves the element the most, will obviously give up their claim on the elements name before its sundered in two, and let their brothers in chemistry use the other name for it. We can then award naming rights back to the first group. hopefully, they will then choose the name used by their opponents, in the spirit of brotherly love, so that aluminum/ium can know it is equally loved by all.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 05:51, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

I still think my original suggestion of spelling it Aluminiumnumnum was better - that should please everyone. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:20, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Well, thats even better, and comes close to Aluminomnomnom, which most kitty cats would prefer.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 06:06, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

I have just moved the article back to the title of "aluminium" after it had been moved to "alumin(i)um" without any discussion here. Moves of high visibility pages need to be discussed. Nev1 (talk) 16:51, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

I have protected the page from moves to stop the edit warring. This is the proper place for discussion to see if there is a consensus for any move. PerWP:ENGVAR, for articles not clearly associated with either the U.S. or Britain, the spelling should stay that in the first disambiguating edit, which in this case is "Aluminium" from the article creation in October 2001. A redirect will send here any reader who types "aluminum" in the search box, and the two spellings are explained in the lede. Edison (talk) 17:01, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
As well as move protection, I have added semi-protection to the article after this edit where (talk · contribs) claims that aluminum should be used throughout as "WP:ENGVAR says that articles may be edited to have internally consistent spelling; since both "aluminum" and "aluminium" were used in parts of the article, I'm changing them to all be the same". This is intentionally deceptive as an inspection of the article reveals that the spelling aluminum is only used when explaining the different spellings. Also, from the IPs recent contributions, they seem to be edit warring. The semi-protection expires after a month. Nev1 (talk) 17:27, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Semiprotection should not be in place except when a page is under widespread vandal attack. When one editor is ignoring WP:ENGVAR and repeatedly reverting, WP:3RR based blocking can protect the article against repeated reversions, but still let other new editors make good-faith edits. Edison (talk) 17:46, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I consider editing against consensus when one has been made aware of what it is to be vandalism. That said, the semi-protection seems to have been pretty ineffective and although it will stop that one IP, the edit warring continued. One of the protagonists has been blocked and if you want the protection lifted, I'll happily remove it. Nev1 (talk) 17:52, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The page name follows the convention of IUPAC, the recognized world authority in developing standards for the naming of the chemical elements and their compounds. Some elements have British English spelling, some have US English spelling. There is a quite long standing consensus that this article is at Aluminium. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:36, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, this article is (or at least used to be) primarily written in American English, with the exception of the name Aluminium due to the IUPAC standards. ENGVAR really doesn't apply to the name aluminium here, either to change aluminium to aluminum, or to change other words within the article to British spelling. The Seeker 4 Talk 18:11, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The IUPAC convention is a very good reason for using aluminium. There's a hidden note at the top of the article, perhaps that should be added to it (and maybe the note should be made to stand out more). Also, it might be worth having that, and a link to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (chemistry)#Element names, at the top of this page for anyone is who interested in the reasons rather than edit warring. Nev1 (talk) 18:16, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
User:Theseeker4 says the article is primarily U.S. spelling. Let's look at the balance of U.S. versus British spelling. Besides the primary use of aluminium, I see Brit "grey" rather than "gray." I see Brit "tonnes" rather than "tons." Are there other divergent terms? Edison (talk) 03:52, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I went bold and changed the spelling into British all through. I do realize that was against WP rules, as the article was started in US spelling, and that some confusion remains, as sulfur, sulfide, etc. have to stay with "f" per IUPAC. But. I do believe having the article spelling "consistent" (in the eyes of people who never heard about IUPAC) with aluminium (and tonnes) is more important. Materialscientist (talk) 04:15, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I only noticed "vapor/vapour" as a distinctive change to Brit spelling. Note that the first version of record [33] used Brit spelling of oxidise/oxidiser rather than U.S. oxidize/oxidizer, besides "aluminium." I did not see "sulphur/sulfur" in the initial version. The edit by User:Materialscientist seems consistent with WP:ENGVAR. Edison (talk) 18:59, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, I see "gray" in the original version (first recorded version anyway) as well as oxidise, so I guess it is up in the air as far as what version the original author wrote in. I seem to remember in a previous discussion of the name that this article used aluminium but was otherwise in American English, but that may have been another article that discussed aluminium. I have no problem with the article remaining in British English, I only thought the previous stable version was in American English, which is what prompted my comment above. The Seeker 4 Talk 19:15, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The question would be over what time span was this article in a stable North American English version, including its title, out of the 8 or so years of its history. Edison (talk) 00:23, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
The title is independent from american or britisch spelling! The rest of the article can be either this or that, but the aluminum/aluminium purely based on the IPAC decision to propose one correct spelling in the context of chemistry. A article on aluminium casting might go under a different perspective, but the Wikiproject chemistry decided to follow IUPAC and to use Caesium, Sulfur and Aluminium as the only correct spellings for the chemistry articles.--Stone (talk) 06:43, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
The spelling Aluminium is NOT related to the US/UK ENGVAR issue; IUPAC has designated aluminium to be the official spelling of the element, so the use of aluminium is completely unrelated to the spelling of the rest of the article. You cannot look at the article title and say "well it's been in UK English so that is what the rest of the article should be" when the ONLY reason aluminium is overwhelmingly supported as the correct spelling is because it is the official IUPAC spelling. The remainder of the article should follow ENGVAR without looking at the title of the article. The Seeker 4 Talk 11:51, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I argue that the title of an article is strongly related to WP:ENGVAR. The endless lame discussion over the title related the title choice to national spelling preference. The first editor, User:Sodium was said in that discussion to be a British medical student, and he used Brit spellings: Aluminium, oxidise, and oxidiser. He apparently slipped and used "gray" rather than "grey." "ium" may indeed follow some international technical guide, but that does not remove the fact that it is almost never used in print in the U.S. or Canada. See Maize#Maize vs. Corn controversy, Talk:Rooster#Rooster vs cock, Talk:Color/Archive 2#Page move (not done). There is no policy or guideline which supersedes WP:ENGVAR to say that some international technical body determines article titles, but Wikipedia editors determine the national preference within the article independently of the title. WP:ENGVAR calls for consistent spelling. Edison (talk) 14:54, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Otheres tried it and IUPAC always won!--Stone (talk) 15:14, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree that in general the title is important, but would argue that this is clearly an exception. If it was simply ENGVAR determining the spelling, why do science articles use aluminium even when the rest of the article is in American English? (see Aluminium monostearate, Aluminium phosphide, Aluminium chloride for example)I am not arguing for changing the article, I am happy with it in UK English since most of the evidence available shows that to be the first version, but the premise that using aluminium means the rest of the article should be in UK English is flawed, as the main reason aluminium is used is the same as the reason sulfur is used; because that is what IUPAC does. The Seeker 4 Talk 15:30, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Whatever you decide, do not change the spelling in the references, please130.225.100.79 (talk) 18:29, 4 February 2010 (UTC)


What is the accepted spelling of words like colo(u)r, dis(c/k)s, or any of the s/z words in WP? Maintain consistency within the wiki on usage of American English or British English, no flip-flopping on individual words. I am an American, but if all other wods on the wiki are spelled using the British spellings, then I sadly say use Aluminium. If the majority of articles use American spellings, then AlumiNUM is just fine with me. All posters above me are fools, happy editing!. Lewis06593 (talk) 03:34, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

See WP:ENGVAR, WP:SPELLING and (for chemistry) Wikipedia:CHEMMOS#Nomenclature and Wikipedia:Manual of Style (chemistry)/Nomenclature#Element names for our rules on this. And no, the majority of articles is not written in American English. --Dirk Beetstra T C 07:12, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

WP:RS that "aluminum" is more commonly used than "aluminium"[edit]

By 1900, aluminum was twice as common as aluminium. In the following decade, the aluminium spelling crashed to a few hundred instances compared to nearly half a million examples of aluminum.


--J4\/4 <talk> 17:31, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Not a reliable source and the you've taken the excerpt out of context - it's referring specifically to usage in the USA. And this section belongs on the other talk page. Wiki-Ed (talk) 19:44, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
How isn't it a reliable source? --J4\/4 <talk> 12:48, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
A reliable source might be something like IUPAC's red book [34], (webpage). See WP:RS for more info. User A1 (talk) 12:54, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
If it refers solely to the use of the word "aluminum" in just the USA, then it's a void source. The origin of the word is "aluminium", and without the 'ium' on the end, it ceases to be a metal... which 'aluminium' is. The fact that the USA prefers to use 'aluminum' over 'aluminium' is a moot point, since the rest of the world knows it as the latter, (being 'aluminium'). (talk) 06:05, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually, "aluminum" was used first. And if anything without -ium isn't a metal, what about lanthanum, tantalum, molybdenum, and platinum? Should they be renamed to lanthanium, tantalium, molybdenium, and platinium? --J4\/4 <talk> 12:51, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Maybe. Speak to IUPAC, maybe they can help you. --John (talk) 13:26, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
All I was doing was refuting the IP's arguments that "aluminium" was used first (it wasn't) and that all other metals end with -ium (they don't). --J4\/4 <talk> 17:34, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Understood. All I was doing was reminding you that we use IUPAC spellings on Wikipedia, so there isn't much point in this discussion, as far as I can see. --John (talk) 17:45, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Three-quarters of all native English speakers use aluminum, and most of these do not even know of the aluminium form. IUPAC accepts both spellings. While IUPAC prefers aluminium, they also use aluminum in their own publications...see, for example, this IUPAC document. —Stephen (talk) 18:06, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
Seen it already. This has been thoroughly discussed already. On WP we use "aluminium" and "sulfur", IUPAC's preferred spellings. Unless there is a new argument or new data there is little point in discussing this at present. --John (talk) 18:18, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

The Manual of Style (specifically, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (chemistry)/Nomenclature#Exceptions) states that if a name for a chemical is more common, it may be used regardless of what IUPAC or the other rules suggest. --J4\/4 <talk> 15:48, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Right below the bit where it says: Element names
"Traditionally, the names of three elements have been spelled differently in US and British English. For articles about chemistry-related topics, Wikipedia follows the recommendations of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) as follows:[1][2]
Aluminium not Aluminum
Sulfur not Sulphur
Caesium not Cesium
What would be the benefit of changing it? Because I can think of many, many downsides and once again this has been debated to death already. --John (talk) 16:03, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
The policy I linked to above says that an article can be at a more common name regardless of IUPAC or the other policies. --J4\/4 <talk> 18:42, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Consensus (all except you) is that "aluminium" is the way it should be in this case. There is no compelling Wikipedia policy that says otherwise, so consensus rules. DMacks (talk) 18:45, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
Actually, if you look at Talk:Aluminium/Spelling, I'm not the only one supporting a rename. --J4\/4 <talk> 19:46, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
And the consensus from all those discussions has been Aluminium. Why are we rehashing the same arguments all over again?—Tetracube (talk) 19:53, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
There wasn't exactly a consensus. Many of us who disagreed just got tired of it and moved on. (Granted "consensus" can mean "consensus of the most stubborn people." I'm very stubborn, but was not sufficiently stubborn) The Q&A on this page is vaguely patronizing and IUPAC does deem "Aluminum" acceptable. For that matter IUPAC, as I recall, has preferred Aluminum in times past.--T. Anthony (talk) 06:16, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Reading back I suppose there was a consensus, but some of the insistence I don't know had consensus. Like when I capitalized "Aluminum" Jooler got all wiggy.--T. Anthony (talk) 06:30, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
True. There is 278 kilobytes and three years' worth of discussion there. Consensus does not have to be unanimous. --John (talk) 19:58, 6 May 2010 (UTC)


This article's title is misspelled. It should be aluminum. -- (talk) 22:27, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Please, refer to Aluminium#Nomenclature_history. --Saddhiyama (talk) 22:30, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
You just kind of have to let the Brits have this one, they want it more, is what I got from the arguments I had over it. Although I do think there should maybe be an Aluminum (disambiguation) as the current Aluminium (disambiguation) is mostly not about that spelling.--T. Anthony (talk) 06:06, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Very Well[edit]

"You're all doing very well", as Young Mr. Grace would say. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Aluminum vs. Aluminium[edit]

I know this issue has been talked about and decided on many times before; however, I believe I have a new perspective to bring up. First, there is an argument about whether to use Aluminium because it is British or Aluminum because it is American. According to the Wikimedia Traffic Analysis, more Americans view wikipedia than people from any other country. I would also like to say that the first spelling is irrelevant because Wikipedia should use the most common current spelling. Should Wikipedia use the term "poetick?" This being said, I believe Aluminum should be the correct title of the page. I know everybody will not agree so I propose using the title "Alumin(i)um." Any thoughts? --Ryan Vesey (talk) 00:40, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I don't think anybody wants to fight it out again. We presently go by the IUPAC standards. SBHarris 04:31, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Good enough for IUPAC, good enough for me. --John (talk) 04:37, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Traffic stats are not a reliable method for determining prevalence in this context. --Cybercobra (talk) 08:58, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Traffic stats are a reliable method for determining relevance though. I believe the title should be relevant to the greatest number of users. I was unaware of the IUPAC, so thank you for telling me that; however, when I checked the IUPAC website, I learned that "Aluminum" is as common in their articles as "Aluminium." This strengthens my view that the title should be "Alumin(i)um." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ryan Vesey (talkcontribs) 12:46, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Using how common a term is in articles is a poor method of determining what should be used. More important is the agreed standard - and in this case it is "aluminium". As such, there are no grounds for a change. Cpl Syx [talk] 02:44, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I still don't see why people cannot compromise on "Alumin(i)um." Aluminium is the most recognized word due to the users of Wikipedia and Aluminum is used in about half of all IUPAC articles; however, Aluminium is specifically endorsed by the IUPAC. If compromises have been made in the scientific world I believe it should be made here. --Ryan Vesey (talk) 16:33, 27 February 2011 (UTC)
I think I will give up the fight. You brits seem unable to even consider the idea of compromise. Thank you George Washington --Ryan Vesey (talk) 19:51, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Ryan, what is your problem, man? The community has agreed upon a standard: IUPAC. Doesn't matter what country anyone lives in; IUPAC spells it "aluminium" (which looks silly to me, too, since I am American), and that's the standard. There's really no compromise to be made here; take it up with IUPAC if it's that important. GeeZee (talk) 12:49, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Since the article says its inventor called it alumium and then aluminum, that must trump the IUPAC. We're going to go with aluminium because of some pretentious clown reviewer? (talk) 02:32, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
The compromise is other elements, Ryan Vesey. See e.g. Sulfur (not Sulphur - will you support Sul(f/ph)ur?).
Regarding 'According to the Wikimedia Traffic Analysis, more Americans view wikipedia than people from any other country.' - Yes, but if you sum the readers from countries where UK English is common, vs. the sum of readers from countries where US English is common (and ignore for ease how many US English speakers use UK English for some words, and vice versa) then that sum does not go that far off anymore. That shows how easy it is to make wrong statistics on these things. And if your stats are right, you might want to bring this first at WP:ENGVAR, then the whole of Wikipedia should change to one variation of English. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:51, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

I don't see any reason to change the article name to the American spelling. Changing it to 'Alumin(i)um' also doesn't make sense, because absolutely nobody calls it 'alumin(i)um'. The official IUPAC name of the element is 'aluminium', and as Wikipedia currently uses IUPAC standards to decide article names, 'aluminium' it should be. In the sulfer article, the American spelling is used instead of the British spelling because IUPAC adopted the American spelling.
Even looking past the IUPAC standards and the Wikipedia article naming conventions, this argument is moot in my opinion. 'Aluminum' redirects to 'Aluminium', so any user can enter the common spelling in their region and will be brought to the correct article. It's not like 'Aluminum' doesn't exist. And honestly, most people that use the American spelling won't even notice that extra 'i' in the article title. They entered in 'Aluminum', so that's what they expect to see. If they read the article and do notice the spelling, there is a section right in the article that adequately explains the situation.
In other words...don't fix what ain't broke. Jersey emt (talk) 17:34, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

There seems to be more venom in the aluminium/aluminum caesium/cesium discussion pages than those of the the holocaust denial page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:14, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Koala v Koala bear still generates a surprising amount of heat as well. Manning (talk) 02:32, 2 August 2011 (UTC)


So i'm flying my Aluminum/Aluminium alloy aeroplane/airplane/fixed wing aircraft in for a landing on (the) British Isles/Britain and Ireland/Atlantic Archipelago/Anglo-Celtic Isles/British-Irish Isles/these islands, I'm American, the manufacturer of the plane is British, the airline is Nigerian, and the plane had departed from Puerto Rico with the entire Puerto Rican Soccer/Football/Association football team. which spellings should i use?Mercurywoodrose (talk) 02:13, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Martian. At least everyone will agree on that. :-D Lanthanum-138 (talk) 05:30, 13 May 2011 (UTC)
On second thoughts, make the pilot somehow lose consciousness, let the plane crash, and at least everyone will be using the same spelling of "AAAAAAAAA!" ;-D Lanthanum-138 (talk) 14:47, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Well I hope you realise/realize that within this encyclopedia/encyclopaedia, it is difficult to summarise/summarize various linguistic ideas due to nationalistic sentiments; for some people it would be a sharp blow to their honor/honour, which is why this issue is at the centre/center of such controversy. Since the flavor/flavour of the month would be to argue over and over between people on the internet, sometimes showing their true colors/colours as trolls from their mum's/mom's basement, I'd like to theorise/theorize that it would unfortunately be difficult to come up with a logical solution to the problem. :( -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 07:28, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, is the livery of the plane Orange (color) or Orange (colour)? Manning (talk) 04:55, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
To continue with the airplane conundrum, there are actually many spellings of a scream. "AAAAAAH," and "AAAAAAGH," for instance. Anyway, as far as conversation relevant to this page is concerned - come on, it's an "i", the smallest letter typable. We Americans can ignore it, and the Brits can gaze in ecstasy over it all they want. I'm just grateful that we got our way with "sulfur". Simplebutpowerful 15:03, 11 August 2011 (UTC)


There hasn't been any discussion here since August. Double sharp (talk) 11:07, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Thank god for that. Another PhD dissertation's worth of text arguing over the addition or omission of one letter "i" in an article's nationality of spelling would have made my faith in humanity dwindle even more. And given that I look at the YouTube comments so much...that's SAYING something. (talk) 02:11, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

This is ridiculous[edit]

the guy who isolated it settled on ALUMINUM, therefore it is ALUMINUM, and prissy-pants editors who think they know better should keep their extra i to themselves. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:14, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

The article is mostly chemistry-related, so we follow the recommendations of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), as detailed in Wikipedia:ALUM (part of our Manual of Style for chemistry articles). IUPAC recommends the British spelling (although recognising the American spelling as a variant that is in use), so we use the British spelling. Double sharp (talk) 12:29, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Just for the record the spelling ending -ium is not "British"' it is international. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:38, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
The "num" spelling was more common in Korean and Tagalog looking through that one deal. I found other places in Asia that used the "num" spelling. IUPAC even used the "num" spelling at different points in history. So both have an international usage. The "ium" spelling is maybe Western European, and its colonies, more than British though. And it was decided to go with what IUPAC currently prefers and also that British or Irish, as this is English-language Wikipedia, care more about this than Americans or Filipinos. (For example I tried to capitalize doing "or Aluminum" and this British guy was irritated with me. I imagine if anyone again dared to write "Aluminium (or Aluminum)" there could be an argument even though IUPAC, I don't think, requires alternate names not be capitalized)--T. Anthony (talk) 08:07, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Until comparatively recently Windows only had 'US English' as an English language selection, in addition, this was often the default language for Word spell checkers, etc., so unless the user was computer-savvy enough to change the language region used, they were stuck with US English spellings if they wanted to use English. Later the other varieties such as 'British English' etc., were added to Windows, but IIRC, that has only been since Windows XP.
FWIW, NATO uses British English for all its international dealings in English: [35] its reference being the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. This same reference dictionary is also used by the UN.
In other words, British English usage is rather more widespread than some contributors might like to believe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:16, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Not voicing any kind of opinion here, only to say, "I never knew that" about the UN. Posting with a link for the UN use of British English for anyone who needs it - says also, their spell checker on the website only supports US english: [36] Robert Walker (talk) 02:07, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

AlumiNUM is more popular[edit]

Why are pedants allowed to trump common usage here? The majority use "alumiNUM". No one cares about IUPAC.


The "aluminium" niumbskulls are outniumbered. Doubledork (talk) 21:10, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Well that would be fine if the Wikipedia rules were "thou shalt use American English, as it is the most common form on the internet". Unfortunately for you, that is not the rule here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:22, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Actually, as a first language, American English is the more common form of English period. There are roughly 375 million English speakers and 225 million of those are in the United States, see English_language#English-speaking_countries_in_order_of_total_speakers. The UK-born US population is too small to keep that from being over half. Now if you count secondary you get up to 750 million speakers. American/American-leaning English is mostly the US and the Philippines. Add those up, including second-language, and you only end up with 310 million which is about 41% of 750 million.--T. Anthony (talk) 08:16, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
If you have an issue, please bring it up with the IUPAC. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:23, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

By that logic, we should change "nuclear" to "nukular" or "prioritize" to "priorize" since some people can't pronounce words correctly. Webster is an American English dictionary, put together to put more distance between Britain and the US I think. Aluminum is not used much in Canada, aluminium is correct usage here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Your original statement cannot be considered in anyway correct, the largest population (with majority access to Google) is America so searches are obviously lopsided. Plus, IUPAC is the international committee for what chemistry is, it's basically like arguing that hydrogen has 137 electrons. Just no. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Just so much guesswork here - what about India where the official language of law, the constitution and of science is English and where -ium is the norm: what about all the other languages - German, French etc - where the spelling is -ium - IUPAC is for them too. In fact no US dictionary used the -um variant until 1928 and all the unofficial evidence points to its initial usage being a spelling mistake anyway! Still it's a good fun argument. If majority usage was a basis for a rule for usage then Americans would follow the rest of the world and stop calling the ground floor the first floor, abandon the non-standard MDY date notation, call soccer football, and spell meter as metre! DickyP (talk) 20:19, 24 July 2014 (UTC)


Someone forgot to charge the (or aluminium) to (or aluminum). Some admin should probably fix that (talk) 04:01, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Spelling conventions in different countries...[edit]

In Britain it's spelled -ium.

In America it's spelled -um. Epic Genius 14:50, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Just like lift and elevator? Why not just call it Alu?

still wrong[edit]

cripes almighty, aluminum STILL redirects to aluminium? ... SMH

vote with your wallet[edit]

I won't restate any of the arguments listed above, as they clearly fall on deaf ears. Instead, I will vote in the only meaningful way I can. I refuse to donate to Wikipedia until ALUMINUM is recognized as the proper spelling. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:20, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference bluebook was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2005). Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 2005). Cambridge (UK): RSCIUPAC. ISBN 0-85404-438-8. pp. 47, 248. Electronic version.