Talk:Latin language/archive

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Should this be at "Latin"? "Latin" as a word on its own means "Latin language", as far as I'm aware. -- Oliver P. 20:33 Feb 18, 2003 (UTC)

We seem to be differentiating all languages -- Spanish language vs. Spanish, for example. -- Zoe

I think it's best to leave it as it is. "Latin" can mean other things, as in "Latin American". Deb 20:39 Feb 18, 2003 (UTC)
But Latin redirects to it anyway... Perhaps that should be a disambiguation page, but it would mean correcting hundreds of pages that link to Latin in the sense of "Latin language", which would be quite a horrible task... How would people feel if we had it at "Latin", but put a disambiguation note at the top, clarifying that the term is also used to mean "Latin American" and whatever else, with links to the relevant other articles? -- Oliver P. 20:46 Feb 18, 2003 (UTC)
I've made an attempt at turning "Latin" into a disambiguation page (probably not very complete) along the lines of what's already been done for English, French, etc. -- for consistency's sake. Deb 19:43 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
No, no, we'll have none of that consistency malarky round here! ;) If we did that for all languages, we'd end up with articles at Esperanto language and Volapük language, too, and I hope no-one is suggesting that we do that... We went through the argument with Sanskrit and with programming languages quite recently, and it was decided that if the name on its own made it clear what was being talked about, the disambiguator "language" or "programming language" wasn't needed. In this case, I admit, it is true that the word "Latin" is sometimes used to mean other things, but Wikipedia is not a dictionary, and I don't think we need to cover every way in which a word may be used in the article for that word. As a topic to be discussed, "Latin" means "Latin language", and nothing else, as far as I'm aware. Of course, "Latin America" is also a topic to be discussed, but I honestly can't imagine anyone looking for that anywhere other than at Latin America, so I don't see the need for a disambiguation page. I hope I'm not causing you offence here, Deb, as your disambiguation page is very nice and all that, but it does just look like a dictionary entry. -- Oliver P. 21:20 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
Well, yes, but like I said, it's not complete - I think there may be other connotations that have passed me by. After all, the Romans called it "lingua latina", not "latina". Deb 22:25 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
Erm, but this is the English-language Wikipedia... :) We always called it "Latin" at school, not "Latin language"... -- Oliver P. 22:33 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
Didn't you do any Latin literature? Deb 22:40 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
Yup. Latin literature is literature written in Latin. Note that it's not called "Latin language literature", although that's what it means. It's not analogous to "French literature", because French literature (in the usual usage of the term) is literature from France, rather than literature written in the French language. The term "Latin literature" refers to the language of origin, not the country of origin, because "Latin" (in this sense) refers to a language, not a country. -- Oliver P. 22:49 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
Ah, but by the same token, the language was called Latin because it was spoken by the Latin people. Admittedly the use of the term Latin to refer to the culture is not nearly so common as that of English, Spanish, and the like. Still, isn't consistency something to aim for? Note that languages like Esperanto do not have comparable groups to refer to, so aren't the same thing.
Hey, where were you during the great English literature debate? Deb 22:54 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)
Nobody was at the great English literature debate. :) Atorpen 22:57 Feb 19, 2003 (UTC)

This is effectively the same argument (reversed) as for British. That's not a disambiguation page because, unlike many other nationalities, there is no confusion with a language. I don't think we need consistency at all costs, different words need different treatment. Personally I would prefer Oliver's suggestion of having "Latin language" as the redirect and a short disambiguation note at the top of "Latin" to cover the use of the word in other phrases. But I think either as the redirect would work. Just to explain my interest - I've been working at removing links to language disambiguation pages and changing all the pages linking to "Latin" would be a lot of work (but I'm prepared to do it if that's the way the consensus ends up :) - sannse 17:19 Feb 20, 2003 (UTC)

My point is that the situation isn't analagous, because unlike Esperanto or the like, there is a Latin people that one could be referring to. They don't exist any more, having been absorbed into the Roman Republic fairly early on, and to be fair aren't as often mentioned as the language - we don't have an article on them yet - but decisions of importance are not so straightforward as ones of existance, and I think that ultimately the people should get the priority. I suppose, though, there's no need to worry about that now. Maybe what we should do is move the page for the time being, and then consider whether or not to move it back in the event someone adds more discussion about the Latins themselves?
OK, I see your point. I always thought of "Latin people" as another way of saying "of Italian descent", I didn't realise it was (or had been) the name of a people in itself. I think your solution would work well for now, but maybe a better solution would be for someone to write the necessary article so dumbbells like me would know these things ;) -- sannse 15:18 Feb 21, 2003 (UTC)

It looks as though no one dislikes the current arrangement enough to change it (yet at least), so I thought I'd make a start on changing the links to the Latin disambiguation page tomorrow (there are only 500 ;). It won't affect anything if we do make the change above later of course, as Latin language would be a redirect, but please let me know of any objections to this.

Also, I've left a more general disambiguation notice in the place of the disambiguation of Latinus and Latins to Latin, I wasn't sure how to word it, so please check and change if there is a better way. Thanks -- sannse 21:26 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

Sorry, I think I missed something by not keeping an eye on "Recent Changes". I noticed that there was an entry for "Latins", which appeared to break the rules for article naming, so I just plunged in and moved the content to the disambiguation page (singular). But I see it's already been improved, so I assume I haven't offended anyone. (Hope not, anyway.) Deb 21:36 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)
Not me, and I'm sure no one else. You just beat me to finishing the job :) -- sannse 21:42 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

Surely the statement 'Latin grammar is not reflected in English' a bit of a contentious one? Olivia Curtis 21:49 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

Could you elaborate on why you think it is contentious? soulpatch
Sorry if I intrude, but there are some obvious parallels, for example the existence, in both languages, of present and past participles (and participle constructions in general). Of course you could argue that this does not affect the surface structure of the English language and, accordingly, should not be mentioned here. --KF 22:08 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)
There are similarities, of course, largely since both are Indo-European languages. But the rest of the paragraph makes it clear that it's just saying that English grammar isn't just a corrupted offspring of Latin grammar, this being a strange idea which some attempts to "improve" English grammar seem to have been based on. -- Oliver P. 22:22 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)
But they failed to really improve the language, didn't they? KF 22:33 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

I still object to the page on Latin being at Latin language. What is the purpose of disambiguation pages? As far as I'm aware, their purpose is to catch different people who are linking to a term but with different meanings, to draw their attention to the conflict of meanings, and to allow them to correct (disambiguate) their links as appropriate. The point of disambiguation pages is not to act as dictionary definition pages just listing every conceivable way in which a term is used.

So a disambiguation page is needed at Latin if and only if there are significant numbers of people linking to the term but using it in different senses. So the question is this: Is there a significant number of people linking to Latin, but in a sense other than the language? As far as I can see, there is not. In fact, are there any pages linking to Latin that don't mean the language? I can't find any.

Anyone new to the Wikipedia who didn't know about our strange naming conventions would link to the language by writing "[[Latin]]". I honestly couldn't dream of anyone ever linking any other meaning of "Latin" by writing "[[Latin]]". If they were talking about Latin America, they'd link to Latin America, obviously. And the argument about the Latin people doesn't count for much, because as the above comments make clear, (a) they don't exist as a distinct people any more, and haven't done for several millennia, and (b) most people aren't even aware that there ever was a distinct people of that name. So who's going to accidentally write "[[Latin]]", meaning the people rather than the language?

There are about 500 pages that link to Latin, and only about 300 that link to Latin language. Why not just move Latin language to Latin? It's a lot less work! And it will save everyone work in the long run. Why should we have to type "[[Latin language|Latin]]" instead of "[[Latin]]", every time we want to link to the language? -- Oliver P. 22:05 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

P.S. - In any case, disambiguators are better in parentheses (e.g. "[[Gloop (language)]]", for consistency with other disambiguators, and to allow people to use the pipe trick. -- Oliver P. 22:06 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

I must protest -- I just amended the links to "Latins" (meaning the people), which I had changed to the singular, "Latin". There were about fifteen of them. Deb 22:13 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)
Well done for doing that, Deb! But is fifteen a significant fraction of five hundred? I'm not entirely sure that it is, although I suppose the word "significant" is not very precisely defined... -- Oliver P. 22:22 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)

OK, so where are we at the moment? The proposals seem to be:

1. Move the text currently at "Latin language" to "Latin" and have a short disambiguation notice at the top, perhaps something like:

As an adjective, Latin can be used to refer to those of extraction from the Romance-speaking peoples of the Mediterranean, such as in terms such as "Latin America" and "Latin lover." For the use of the word Latins as jargon in linguistics see Romance languages. For the ancient people known as the Latins see Latin (people).

"Latin language" would become a redirect. We would have a new page at "Latin (people)", "Latins" would be a redirect to there.

2. Leave "Latin" as a disambiguation page and leave the current text at "Latin language" where it is. Links to "Latin" will have to be disambiguated (but I volunteer to do this if necessary).

3. Leave "Latin" as a disambiguation page and move the text at "Latin language" to "Latin (language)". Again links to "Latin" will have to be disambiguated.

My personal preference is for the first option. I think Oliver's arguments make sense, "Latin" on its own almost invariably means the language and the disambiguation notice would cover all other meanings without interfering with the article on the language. Opinions?

I've moved the article to Latin with a disambiguation block to make the links work. I don't have any major preference as to whether it should be at "Latin" or "Latin language", so I'm open to having the main article there if people prefer it. Enchanter

Latin Scholar Needed!

See: Talk:Greek numerical prefixes Leonard G. 14:47, 20 May 2004 (UTC)