Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2012 April 13

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April 13[edit]

Seraiki Sindh Punjab pakistan districts[edit]

Which districts of Sindh speak Seraiki and which districts of Punjab speak Seraiki? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.95.104.103 (talk) 02:30, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

There are no majority Saraiki districts in Sindh. In Punjab, the Saraiki-majority districts are Mianwali, Bhakkar, Layyah, and pretty much most of the area south of that. It is also the dominant language of Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. saɪm duʃan Talk|Contribs 16:44, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

Water Tankering[edit]

can i get more details about this word "water tankering"? we are using this word during emergency response. but still its not available in english language. we need to include this word to be part of language. how can we do it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.12.173.9 (talk) 11:13, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

The fact that you've used it shows that it is part of the English language. What would you like to see happen? --TammyMoet (talk) 11:34, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the fact that he's used it doesn't show any such thing. I could use the phrase "My flubducket is beeshed", but it wouldn't help those words become English. In this case, there is not currently any such word as "tankering", since "to tanker" is not a verb. What we have here, therefore, is a neologism. I think the OP is asking how a neologism – a word invented out of necessity – can become a generally accepted term. And the answer is, only through widespread usage. You can't make it an English word on your own. --Viennese Waltz 12:32, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I was referring to his phrase "we are using this word". Guess I shouldn't respond while under the influence of prescription drugs! --TammyMoet (talk) 08:56, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, "tankering" (meaning to convey by tanker) does seem to have quite wide use, at least in the UK haulage industry. A Google search for "tankering" brings up pages of results. Andidrain, Watling Hope, Harpers Environmental Services and many others appear to have no need to explain the meaning of the word to their customers. There was a bit of a row a few years ago because the BBC said that the Queen had been "helicoptered" to Northern Ireland. The concensus seemed to be that if nobody used new words, then the language would stagnate. Alansplodge (talk) 12:58, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yeah but the problem with that is that there was no need for the BBC to say that she had been "helicoptered", since they could just as well have said "taken by helicopter". It's just a silly and needless attempt to make the sentence sound more snappy and dramatic. The same goes for "tankering". If I was a haulier I would only ever say "brought/conveyed by tanker". --Viennese Waltz 13:21, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Such a haulier than thou attitude...for shame!Matt Deres (talk) 14:24, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, to those who wish to improve the language, we should be eternally tankful. StuRat (talk) 18:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
"It's a silly[citation needed] and needless[citation needed] attempt to make the sentence sound more snappy and dramatic[citation needed]". --ColinFine (talk) 15:19, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
In both those examples, the new word replaces a series of words. This seems like a valid reason to create a new word, provided the word would be often used. By contrast, coining a new word which is rarely used or longer than what it replaces would be a poor reason. StuRat (talk) 18:25, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Exactly why "transition" will never, ever be a better choice of verb than "move", "go", "change" etc. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 21:58, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
It may be a neologism, but it's already in use in Wikipedia. Nestlé Waters North America#Regional brands tells us that a product contains "spring water tankered in from Cedar Valley Spring". As an Australian I'm certain I've heard folks who live out of town tell me they'd had "water tankered in" during drought periods, so I Googled that expression, and got 1740 hits from all over the place. The meaning is clear. It saves words. My old English teachers would turn in their graves, but hey, it's a living language. HiLo48 (talk) 18:35, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I see potential confusion between "tankered" and "tankard". StuRat (talk) 21:36, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Not as much confusion as Winston Churchill, who used the verb "to train" meaning "to convey by train". When, in his The Second World War, he wrote about training troops, he sometimes meant that they were moved by train, rather than undergoing training. The standard military jargon of the day was "entrain". Alansplodge (talk) 16:39, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Ramayana etymologies[edit]

Hi, I am looking for the etymologies of the principal places mentioned in the Ramayana. I have found some on Wikipedia but not others. Can anyone help me fill in the list. Thanks, 184.147.123.69 (talk) 12:33, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Some of the names might well be Dravidian rather than having Sanskrit (or in general Indo-Aryan) roots. —Tamfang (talk) 21:29, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Hmm that's interesting, but I would still want the etymologies. Have changed the title. 184.147.123.69 (talk) 22:05, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Grammar dispute[edit]

Top of the mornin', all. A friend and I just had a rather nasty grammar dispute (laughable as it might seem). The sentence in question was: "Giant pandas are by nature extremely solitary animals." and the dispute was whether parenthetical commas were required to surround "by nature." It was my opinion that they are not needed but optional, as "by nature" is merely an adverbial phrase that modifies "are," and if replaced by a one-word adverb (such as "naturally") no commas would be needed; moreover it was my stylistic opinion that they ought to be omitted to avoid disrupting the flow of the sentence. My friend argued that they are mandatory as "by nature" must be treated as a parenthetical and that my substitution of "naturally" was fallacious. Now, I know no normal person would care and this is straight-up prescriptivist pedantry, but who is right in this case? Thanks. 24.92.85.35 (talk) 21:24, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

You are. Requiring commas would be extremely silly prescriptivism. I'm quite sure you can find thousands of cases of respected writers using adverbial phrases after verbs without commas, so the English language as it actually exists allows this. Incidentally, I would say that the effect of using commas is to draw more of the reader's attention to the adverbial phrase. Duoduoduo (talk) 21:51, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
(ec) Tne usual test of whether a phrase is parenthetical is to remove it and see if what's left makes sense (and not just any sense but the same sense as before): "Giant pandas are extremely solitary animals" makes the original sense, so "by nature" is officially parenthetical. The pedant in me is wanting to agree with your friend, but I know in my heart that, if I were writing the full sentence, I would not use commas.
Now, if it had been "by their very nature", rather than just "by nature", the commas would definitely have been there. The only difference seems to be the length of the phrase. They're both parenthetical, and the comma rules should apply equally regardless of their length. But maybe that's taking pedantry too far. I think there are cases where a pedant would be completely justified in their position, but we can quite validly choose to override the official rules for reasons of stylistic or aesthetic preference. The rules are there to help and guide, but we are not their slaves.
So, let your friend write it his way if he's writing it, and you write it your way if you're writing it. There's room for both versions in this crazy mixed-up world, and thank God people have different preferences about things. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 21:54, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I would add the commas. StuRat (talk) 22:04, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Wtgpr, I can't see how that's a useful contribution, Stu. All you're saying is you're on the side of the OP's friend, but you don't say why. The OP wants to know why. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 22:37, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
"WTGPR" ? The reason was already stated, that the sentence could stand alone without it. StuRat (talk) 23:22, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
This being the language desk, perhaps the Aussies here could inform us approximately what "wtgpr" stands for? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 07:15, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
It's not an Aussie thing. Seems I just made it up, but I did so assuming it already had a life. It means "With the greatest possible respect". -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 09:11, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Kudos. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:34, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
...man is by nature a political animal... etc. etc.--Luboslov Yezykin (talk) 22:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
To my eye, it isn't that even the commas are optional -- they actually degrade the readability of the sentence and ought to be omitted. Certainly if I were copy-editing a text with that sentence and the commas were there, I would remove them. You wouldn't pause there when speaking, so you shouldn't put commas in when writing. Angr (talk) 22:53, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Mind you, that's not always a reliable rule of thumb. There are many cases where there's no pause when speaking but a comma is absolutely mandatory. Also, how people speak is very individual and is not always a reliable guide to anything. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 23:03, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't even think the by nature is a parenthetical phrase here. I'm pretty comma happy myself, but here the "by nature" is an explanation as to why they are extremely solitary, if not a satisfying one. In my mind, the by nature shouldn't be in commas because it's an important part of the sentence. Mingmingla (talk) 00:51, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I disagree with that, Mingmingla. It can safely be removed without doing any damage to the sense of the sentence. It's virtually tautological, because to what else could the solitariness of pandas be attributed if not their nature? The underlying question is, Why is it their nature to be that way?. Just saying it's their nature is already obvious, and answers nothing. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 09:18, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I suppose you could have rather social animals which are forced to live solitary lives most of the time, to find food. That is, the food density is too low to support more than one adult in a given area. StuRat (talk) 14:25, 14 April 2012 (UTC)