Talk:Arabat Spit

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Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus to move the page, per the discussion below. Dekimasuよ! 21:48, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Arabat SpitArabat Arrow – Looking into this some, it looks like it really is named the Arabat Arrow. This is not idiomatic but rather idiosyncratic, but it is what it is. I surmise that Arabat Arrow is the preferred name -- the Russian Wikipedia article is named Арабатская стрелка, and the Ukrainian similarly and most of the sources seem to follow this. "стрелка" does not mean "spit", it means "arrow" (it can have other meanings depending on context but "arrow" is most common and what is meant here I think). "коса́" does mean "spit" and "Арабатская коса́" is given in the Russian article as an alternative name.

Translation is tricky and it would be possible that "стрелка" is used, in Russia, to mean "spit" even if it literally means "arrow" -- you see stuff like that a lot -- and in that case we would not be pedantic and would translate "стрелка" as "spit". But I think that this is not the case here: Arabat Arrow is just an idiosyncratic name for this particular bit of land. Here a person speculates it's because it's kind of arrow-shaped, but that's just speculation.

"Arabat Spit" makes more sense than "Arabat Arrow" and is more correct geographically but if that's not what people usually call it we can't make them. You do see this in English too, where something is named XYZ Bay when it's not really a bay and or ABC Mountain when it's really only a hill and so forth. You have to go with common name and I think that Arabat Arrow is that, although I'm willing to be educated otherwise. Herostratus (talk) 14:36, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

It's not an arrow. Hell Gate is not a gate. The Torridon Hills are not hills. The Great American Desert is not a desert. The Salton Sea is not a sea. Jigsaw Rock Gut is not a gut. What're ya gonna do? People call things what they want to.
As to English sources, yes Google Ngram gives this, however the sample size is probably too small to be meaningful, as demonstrated here -- that is, while Arabat Spit "wins" the English-language Ngram race over Arabat Arrow, it's less common than "rubber biscuit" or "golden shovel", two word pairs I picked at random.
While in Russian, we get this. "Араба́тская коса́" (literally "Arabat Spit") does not appear, while "Арабатская стрелка" (literally "Arabat Arrow) does.
Now, for entities which have a common English name we use the English name. That is why our article on the capital of Italy is "Rome" and not "Roma" and so forth. English speakers write about Rome all the time. What about this particular bit of land? Not that I can find. Even giving that travel guides mentioning the most out-of-the-way places are popular, as well as miscellaneous books such as histories and ecological studies and whatnot in English, it's still referred to less than rubber biscuits or golden shovels, two fairly outré concepts (pick some others if you like). In other words, not at all, in English sources, for all practical purposes. So it has no English common name. So in that case we fall back on the local name.
FWIW if I'm reading the numbers correctly, Арабатская стрелка is mentioned in ten times more Russian books than Arabat Strait is in English books (which makes sense). And here is a comparison of "Arabat Arrow" with "Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation", which obviously the Ministry of Transport is going to win hugely -- they oversee the airports, highways, and railroads in a very large country -- but by no more than a factor of ten. So it's not like Арабатская стрелка is just a throwaway term.
Here's some guy called Y. Shutov writing in 1983:
"Now as to why this spit is called an arrow. The reason is not entirely clear. We only know that the name already existed in the middle of the [19th] century: N. Zuev in his book "The Sea of ​​Azov with its Coastal Port Cities and their Inhabitants, Crafts and People" (St. Petersburg, 1885) calls it an arrow, the Scythe. Released at the end of the [19th] century the Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopaedia [English translation of Britannica, I think -- ed] already gives only one name - the Arabatsky Arrow. Nowadays, it has become firmly established in all reference books, encyclopedias, and scientific works, and is present on all maps. It is assumed that this arrow, this narrow sandy strip of is land named for the elegance of its shape... A little imagination - and one can imagine a giant yellow arrow as it dug into the mainland and is forever frozen in the blue waters of the sea..."
Don't know who Shutov is -- he could be squeegee guy for all I know -- but this is what I've got. And after all the Russian Wikipedia article is named "Арабатская стрелка" and Ukrainian one is named "Арабатська стрілка" both translating as "Arabat Arrow".
As to your Google search point, I don't really know to use Google very fancy, but it is true that "Arabat Spit" gives about 10,600 results, and "Arabatsky Spit" another 814 = 11,400 while "Arabat Arrow" gives 769 results and "Arabatsky Arrow" another 1,730 = 2,500. But 1) these are low numbers, and 2) Google results are not thought of as meaning much what with duplicates and all (our own mirrors may account for lot of the "Spit" results for instance) and 3) doesn't matter much if there is no common English name for this thing, which these low numbers just serve to reinforce my feeling that this the case. Herostratus (talk) 18:39, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
This is English Wikipedia. Giant Haystacks has little connection to "Giant Haystacks". Never-the-less we try our best to help things make sense when we can. Gregkaye 22:33, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Sort of. The Russian Wikipedia article for Mr Haystacks could be Гигантские Стога (literally "Giant Haystacks", and pronounced more or less as "Gigantskie Stoga" in Russian) or Гиант Хаыстацкс (literally meaningless in Russian, and pronounced more or less as the meaningless sound cluster "Giant Haystacks" in Russian). It would have to be latter because we don't translate personal names, otherwise we have Mr Miller rendered as Mr Graingrinder and Mr Burns as Mr Is On Fire and that wouldn't do.
With geographical names it's more complicated. The crux of the matter is whether an entity has, or has not, a common name in English. There's no "it's a spit, so let's use Spit in the name". That's beyond our power. The only question is whether other English sources do this. I'm saying no, not in sufficient numbers or sufficient preponderance to override the local name. It's arguable.
You could also name the article "Arabat Strelka". "Strelka" is the pronounciation of "стрелка" and sometimes we do stuff like that. "Arabat Strelka" returns only 56 Google results though, although "Arabatsky Strelka" returns 7,000, which makes sense since "Arabatsky Strelka" is the direct transliteration of "Арабатская стрелка" (we drop the "-sky" since it's an inflection meaning "belonging to" and English doesn't inflect like that). ""Arabatsky Strelka" is an indication that someone is being lazy and just transliterating rather than translating so I wouldn't give much weight to that 7,000. Herostratus (talk) 01:23, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Oppose. Arabat Spit seems the most common name in English. Rothorpe (talk) 01:33, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

  • To most people around where I live, the first meaning of "spit" is "expectorate". Anthony Appleyard (talk) 07:13, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Lol, But I think that Arabat Spit sounds sufficiently bizarre to cast doubt on a potential salvatory interpretation. An Arabat Arrow sounds like a comparatively likely candidate to fit in a quiver. Gregkaye 14:38, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
It's not like English speakers don't do this. Heck, in England you can't go five miles without bumping into some geographical feature called The King's Snuffbox or some such. The Wash, whatever. Americans tend to be more direct (e.g. Squaw's Tit). Point being lot of the time you can't get people to name things "properly", anywhere.
How are the Russians supposed to deal with something like Norman's Woe, supposing they wanted to make an article on it. It's not even a noun for chrissakes. Hopefully they'd translate it ("Горе Норманна") or they could transliterate it instead, but what I wouldn't expect them to do is be like "WTF is a 'woe'? It's a reef. We'll name the article Norman's Reef (Риф Норманна)". Let's not be like that ourselves. Herostratus (talk) 22:07, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.