Wikipedia talk:WikiProject France/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Archives from November 2006 - January 2007

Proposal: WikiProject France


A few have undertaken the task of "Anglicising" French terms in Wiki articles (eg/: "Région => Region"; "Département => Departement") - there doesn't seem to have been any discussion about this, so any point of view would be welcome. THEPROMENADER 16:54, 18 January 2007 (UTC)


I am all for using English terms in the English language Wikipedia when the English term exists and is used. This is not equivalent to dumbing down Wikipedia, but simply using English. --Bob 17:27, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, but "department" in English is not the same as département in French, nor is préfet in French the same as "prefect" in English. Please provide a better argument. Physchim62 (talk) 17:43, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
No, it is. Look at the OED entry : here --Bob 18:59, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Also, for me, the biggest thing is that the French use the english words in official english language websites/brochures etc. See: [1], [2], [3], [4]. This is besides them being in common use and appearing in the OED. --Bob 19:25, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
The idea is to find something similar. Préfet is very damn close to prefect. In that case, nearly all country articles have to be rewritten to take into account such variations. In any case, prefect and department are used by many major news organizations to describe whatever specific intonation "préfet" and "département" might have. That's the whole point: most common name in English should be used, not to mention the fact English should be used in the first place. There is no way that you can argue that "préfet" is somehow so different than "prefect" that it cannot be used, unless of course, we want to confuse uninformed readers into saying "WTF?"... Région is nearly 100 percent close to region, and department and prefect are very close to préfet and département to be used as adequate English translations. Again, if we are going to make an exception because this is French, then we would have to rewrite tens of thousands of articles for nearly all non-Anglo-Saxon countries, since all languages are equal, right? :)) Baristarim 18:06, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The OED disagrees with the claim of difference; one of the definitions of "prefect" is "representing préfet" prefect, sense 1d. Prefect has other meanings, but so does préfet; and they are largely the same other meanings. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:16, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Are we discussing the use of English in the body of the article, or simply in the article title? WP:UE is specific to naming conventions, not the article itself. If we're discussing the body, then significant judgment must be exercised when making "translations." For now, I'll just say that one shouldn't auto-replace a word just because it "looks like" and English word. There's no obvious reason why a French Région should be treated differently from a Swiss canton (or an Ecuadoran canton, for that matter). Canton is not commonly used in English, but it's not "translated" as state or county or some such. Région is a French word, and when used in a French context, it has a "French" meaning that may be quite different from the English word Region used in an English-language context. WP:UE already gives latitude for non-English article titles, and logically, even more latitude should be given for the body of the article, in which it's easier to provide additional context, links, etc. --Ishu 17:43, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The word Canton is used in English and is in common use already. --Bob 19:25, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Maybe you could provide some examples. Wiktionary and do not seem to agree that canton is an English word in an equivalent sense. --Ishu 21:37, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Easy, look at the second link you gave me: 2. (in a department of France) a division of an arrondissement. they even used the english spelling of department, furthering the usage of the english words. Also, look at the OED definition: [5]--Bob 23:18, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
No it doesn't. There is no way that someone can argue that "région" is somehow so different than "region" that it cannot be used. Open up a dictionary and search for the translation of Région to English.. What do you get? As for the French regions, what is important is how they are referred to in English. Nearly all encyclopedias and news organizations are likely to say "the Lower-Normandy region of France" and not "the Basse-normandie région of France". I actually ran into someone who tried to delete my addition of the translation of Basse-Normandie since he said "that's an administrative region, there is no need to say that it means "Lower-Normandy"".. Go figure.. I know French, I wouldn't have problems, but unfortunately not everyone knows French, and they don't have to in any case. This encyclopedia is for people who can speak English, not for French school children. :) Baristarim 18:06, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
And "région" doesn't have a different meaning when used in the French context. It is the French word for "region". I have been running into this problem ever since I came to Wikipedia, and that's why I find a bit annoying that such an obvious fact needs to be explained in the first place. I heard the fact that "région" can refer to the administrative regions in France, and that's why it might have a special meaning. I am sorry, it doesn't. In French, when people refer to the regions of Italy, they also use the word "région" and not regioni. Région is the common name used in French to refer to what region might and does refer to in the English language. In that case, we can modify nearly every article about non-Anglo-Saxon country, place, biography etc. Republic in French doesn't mean the same exact thing as in English either I suppose, but it is 99 percent the same. Heck, even "human rights" might carry a different meaning philosphically in French than in English, so should we say "Droits de l'homme in France" instead of Human rights in France? :) That's all. Baristarim 18:14, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Ishu does make a valid distinction. Article titles are intended, as WP:NAME says, for readers rather than editors; for a general audience rather than specialists - the distinctions of the specialists should be introduced in the text. There's no reason an article can't begin by saying the "prefecture (Fr. preféture), or capital, of the department (Fr. départment)"; then, having defined the term for the monoglot, go on to discuss the preféture and départment (italicized). What would be wrong is to use "prefecture" (in France; Rome and China are different) without explaining that it's not a territory.
On the other hand, there's no great harm in using "prefecture" and "prefect" throughout; many English books do. To do anything clumsy in order to avoid the English words is wrong; and we really do want to avoid sounding like the Victorian travel books that use gare and rue and au pied de la lettre to show off that the author has actually Been Abroad. What both Twain and Fowler mock should be avoided. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:20, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
This is a reference work in English. The articles in it should use English vocabulary whenever possible, regardless of whether a few people might consider the specific use of a certain term to be not "common." If, in a major English dictionary, a term has among its meanings a sense that is equivalent to that of its cognate in another language, there is no question that the English term is valid and preferable. We should not use foreign terms to describe something for which there is a perfectly good English word, merely out of fear that anglophone readers might balk at gaining new awareness of the scope of a word's meaning. If people want to limit their awareness of the diversity of the English language, they have only to watch, listen to, and read major media sources in the U.S., who all work tirelessly to reduce the public's vocabulary.
As for French terms, a huge portion of our English vocabulary comes directly from French, so many of our words naturally have the same meaning as their French cognates. Readers who are interested in French topics will likely already be aware of this fact or willing to accept it. Those reading about administrative divisions in France, for example, are not going to flounder in the middle of an article when they encounter the word "department" being used for "département." If they're not already familiar with that English use of the term, they're going to adapt on the fly--say to themselves "Oh, our word means what the French word does--whaddaya know!"--and continue on their merry way in the article. This epiphany will be quick and painless, I promise. Some examples of EN-FR cognates:
-Eric (talk) 19:01, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
It's all a question of context. What struck me most in the above was ' Nearly all encyclopedias and news organizations are likely to say "the Lower-Normandy region of France" and not "the Basse-normandie région of France" ' - not only is this an unfounded assumption, this outlines exactly the potential problems of French terms "Anglicised" into words commonly used and understood in a way typical to the English language. The point is that, in the first phrase I cite, an English speaker will most likely not recognise the word "region" for what it is: a real and fixed political entity. One can just as easily say "the Lower-Normandy area of France" and it would have the same meaning to the uninformed reader. Yet writing "X in the Lower-Normandy région", with "région" properly italicised to boot, leaves no doubt that "région" is a real and existing French administrative district with its own distinct meaning. Apply the same argument to "département" if you will. THEPROMENADER 20:22, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Anyone who understands the finer points of English and French will be able to tell you that région and region have two very different meanings. Dictionaries (and the OED is not the only one) define region as a general geographic area without fixed boundries. The French sense of the word région is a very fixed administrative division ; as such, pasting the English term on top of the French one invites ambiguity and dumbs-down wikipedia. The difference between département and department is even greater, since in English a department isn't at all territorial. Departments in English are used to speak of gouvernment bureaux or parts of large stores or companies. I'm shocked that I have to explain these differences to a group of people who claim to have fluent knowledge of French. --Aquarelle 20:39, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
This user has just obfuscated both the English definition and use of department and the French definition and use of département. The same applies to region and région. --Bob 23:16, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I am not involved in this project, and came across this discussion by accident, but I would like to add my two pence' worth to what is a significant debate. I would expect any editor to respect the use of foreign language words when they: (a) are relevant in context, or (b) differ in meaning and/or usage. The above comment explains that very well. I would consider that to be a logical extension of the approach taken by Wikipedia's guidelines on British versus U.S. English: the appropriate, relevant, and necessary usage of French words and spellings in their proper context deserves the same respect. Adrian M. H. 21:29, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) I was invited to join this conversation, which probably means that a prior participant expects they know what I will say. I don't usually edit French geography articles, so feel free to ignore me if you wish. My preference would be to use the local words for proper nouns, and common nouns words that don't have an exact translation in English. As someone noted above, région and département have well-defined French meanings that are not what an English speaker would expect region and Department to mean out of context. We also use "Oblast" in some Russian articles, presumably as the word does not translate neatly to English. I'd say be careful that you don't lose an anglophone by using too many foreign words, but this is the English wikipedia - there is a Simple English wikipedia for people less literate in English, so precision should be favoured over simplicity. --Scott Davis Talk 21:36, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
The English word "county" doesn't have the same meaning when you are talking about a "county" the UK as it has when you are talking about a "county" in the U.S. That doesn't keep us from using the word, doesn't keep people from understanding that when you are talking about administrative subdivisions of a country, the context of the local practices provides part of the meaning of the word. Thus we get along quite well using "department of France" as having a more specific meaning than just the word "department" in general. Gene Nygaard 22:30, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, for lack of a better word editors have had to settle for over-extending the usages of county, but when a better option exists we take it. For example the term "parish." Are you proposing that we fill all the France-related articles with the repeated use of "department of France" instead of just saying département ? That strikes me as going out of our way to be English-only. Unfavourable ! --Aquarelle 22:38, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Sorry, Gene Nygaard: I don't see the relevence. "County" is recognisable as an administrative entity in all languages and usage; English "region" and "department" can be many things, even a descriptive noun. THEPROMENADER 22:43, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I will also point out that the French terminology is used in English-language texts such as those written by the French government's statistical agency (the INSEE) and by several France guidebook (such as the one sitting in front of me on my desk). IMHO, Wikipedia should not be tailored to xenophobic readers, and these French words flow very nicely with the English article (I couldn't care less what Mark Twain thinks about it. He made a living from complaining and mocking everything he came across). --Aquarelle 21:55, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The English words are used by INSEE in recent reports. Just take a look at these reports from INSEE:

Also, it used by the French government in brochures about France:

Besides this, the term département also has other meanings in French outside of the administrative subdivision context, just as the English term does. I am very surprised that User:Aquarelle is unaware of this, especially as he speaks fluent French. --Bob 22:53, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Also, the term région does not only mean a fixed administrative definition in French, as it can be used to define many different things. One should not obfuscate... --Bob 22:56, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

I did make mention above about context. When browsing through an INSEE document or website, we can be sure that what we're reading about has something to do with French demographics or administrative divisions. One already has a context (or pretext) for understanding even before reading such documents, as it is dictated by the locale he is reading in. English "region" and "department" in generalistic Wiki articles do not have this context. THEPROMENADER 23:04, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

And my argument is that there is context on a page such as Vaucluse. To the average reader, do you think that using the French term département is any better than the English term? the French government doesn't seem to think so. This Vaucluse article states:

The Vaucluse is a department in the southeast of France.

To the right there is a map with the location. Using the term département does not aid in the understanding.

The French government describe their administrative setup as [6]:

The French Republic comprises:

  • Metropolitan France, divided into 22 regions and subdivided into 96 departments
  • Four overseas departments (DOM) - Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane (French Guiana) and Réunion
  • Five overseas territories - French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories
  • and one territory with special status: New Caledonia

--Bob 23:11, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, explaining things here is not explaining things in the article itself - even that list has its own context (you don't even need proper nouns to understand the signification of each term explained like this - In even "divided into 22 wonks and subdivided into 96 weevils" we would understand what wonks and weevils are) - even this discussion has its own context to help our understanding! Yet place a word without context or further explanation, or worse still one with recognisable multiple meanings in its use in its own language (worse still: if the same has (an)other meaning(s) than its native-language counterpart), and you've added a level of ambiguity to what should normally be a straightforward label for a precise thing.
Your example is a good one: as far as ''The Vaucluse is a department in the southeast of France.'" is concerned, I'd have to say that, again, the meaning and purpose of the word "département" in "The Vaucluse is a départment in the southeast of France." is much much clearer to any and all readers. Département in French, in this context, has a precise use and meaning, used like this it is even labelled as such, and for clarity it should be left that way if at all possible. THEPROMENADER 00:06, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you and, specifically, with Aquarelle's point that "Dictionaries...define region as a general geographic area without fixed boundries. The French sense of the word région is a very fixed administrative division; as such, pasting the English term on top of the French one invites ambiguity and dumbs-down wikipedia. The difference between département and department is even greater, since in English a department isn't at all territorial..." I think most English readers completely unfamiliar with French, upon encountering "department" in a sentence where département is meant, would get the vague sense that it was simply someone's poor vocabulary choice, because no native English speaker would use "department" in that way. Upon encountering "region" where région was meant, the same reader would emerge with the wrong understanding that an official, precise administrative unit is, instead, an unofficial, imprecise geographical area. Despite their superficial similarity, the words are sufficiently different in meaning to be false friends. In such cases, the simplest solution is best and briefest: use the French words in lieu of the English words. If that would leave the reader unclear, then resort to English, adding sufficient context to clarify meaning. The argument that "only English should be used in an English encyclopedia" doesn't fly because English encyclopedias have never recoiled from deploying a foreign word when no English term conveys the same, well, nuance -- that's how English enlarges itself, by naturalizing foreignisms. Vive la différence -- et l'assimilation! Lethiere 05:33, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

One shouldn't cherry-pick definitions to fit your own POV. If you look up the word region in any decent dictionary, you will find another definition that states something to the effect: an administrative division of a city or territory. [7]. Are you aware that England is divided into regions and Scotland was 11 years ago? These regions had/have very specific boundaries. For department see elsewhere. Therefore, your entire argument is baseless. --Bob 20:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but if context is what we require, then using the French word adds nothing to that phrase and is just as ambiguous, probably more so IMO. Especially as département means many other things outside of the administrative setup, something which is being heavily overlooked in this discussion. --Bob 00:15, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Mais non, mon cher. Using the French proper noun for a specific French appelation practically brands it into the reader's mind that that word either is a precise object, is a name, or has a precise meaning and definition - in its own language. We are not seeking to "Frenchify" adjectives or descriptive terms here; we are discussing the translation of precisely-named French administrative entities. THEPROMENADER 00:28, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Wow——amazing that this has become a debate! Here we go: the English word “department” comes from the French word “département,” and means in English what “département” means in French, especially when you make that clear in the context of your English Wikipedia article at the first instance of the word in that article. Look in good English dictionaries for confirmation. Whew, can we go back to work now?
I think the raison that some personnes are résisting the anglicisation is dû to the possibilité that they are incapable of making the observation that a vaste——is it possible prédominante?——proportion of English words came into the langage directly from French. As a conséquence, these personnes have difficulté in using the application of logique in an argument seeking a résolution to a problème, a problème that should not éxiste because it is évident that editors of the anglophone Wikipédia should compose their articles in English, and those on the francophone Wikipedia should composer their articles in French.
Do I finally make myself clair, or should I composer the reste of this in français as a démonstration that I am not content to go under the appellation of “xénophobe”? When you keep présenting illogical arguments in the face of multiple démonstrations that your idées are fausse, it might forcer us “xénophobes” to supposer that you have not read the simple raisons we make clair above, or that you refuse to accepte that termes can have multiple connotations—and that in a properly introduced contexte a lesser-known connotation can servir admirablement in that article. Your refusal to confronter the réalité that your insista(e)nce is illogical risques to exposer a penchant for faux jugement. (Note: I’m not sure if the words in italics are in English or French). -Eric (talk) 00:43, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
lol Je partage la même opinion que PMAnderson et Eric. Use English. Any possible ambiguity would be set aside at the first mention of a term, along the lines of "a department (Fr. départment)". If one of our readers is unable to properly contextualize words even after such a clarification at the first mention of a term, he won't be able to understand the rest of the article anyway. - Regards, Evv 01:22, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

We are not translating "chien" into "dog" here. Départment is more than a noun - it is a proper name for a very particlular thing. Same with région and canton - each is an appellation for a fixed and very definable entity. Again, the English translation may not be recognised as such if the "translated word", should its real definition be unknown to the reader, has several meanings - this is the very reason that the overwhelming majority of concerned article contributions have used the original French version, and this is most likely why none until now have proposed any Anglicisation of such "proper name" terms. Again, is is most 100% certain that an italicised département is not the "department" that most English-speakers know and use every day. Flip the word into an ambiguous but imprecise English translation, and you remove that certainty of comprehension. Let's keep it simple.THEPROMENADER 16:06, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Fate of Wikipedia:France-related topics notice board?

I brought over some material from the Wikipedia:France-related topics notice board to this project, but I see that the project also has created subpages for new article announcements, attention needed and article requests... which leads me to wonder what the ultimate fate or use of the Wikipedia:France-related topics notice board should be... any comments? -- NYArtsnWords 18:32, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

We could either integrate it as in WP:Germany the new articles with the Portal or as in WP:India as a sub page in the project. STTW (talk)

{{WikiProject France}}

Is it possible to add the above template to talk pages of all France related articles? STTW (talk) 11:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I have made a request for Bot assisted addition at Wikipedia:Bot_requests#WikiProject_France_Bot STTW (talk) 09:47, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

The bot adding this template is adding them to many articles it shouldn't. Please see discussion at User talk:ST47. It has tagged articles like St. Martinville, Louisiana & Navarre national football team (a Spanish football team). I suggest this project's members review all the tagged articles, ensure they are ones that they actual want tagged, and clean-up the ones that are improperly tagged. Thanks. -- JLaTondre 21:44, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

STTWbot has been approved and will be tagging the Category:France articles under my guidance. The current tagging in progress can be seen on the STTWbot page. STTW (talk) 10:01, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

New stub templates

I have proposed new stub templates at WP:WSS/P to further sort the france stubs STTW (talk) 12:02, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

DYK section

I wonder if it would be better if the DYK section -- which features new articles -- should be removed from the main project page and placed with the New Article Announcement subpage? It certainly doesn't demand the same amout of attention as the other sections on the main page. --NYArtsnWords 05:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Soup au Cochon Incident

I can't seem to find an article on this topic, by which I mean the incident in which French charities associated with the National Front began serving "pork soup" in their soup kitchens in order to prevent muslims from accepting their charity. It has supposedly caused serious debate in France and has recently been banned by the Conseil d'État. [8]--Jersey Devil 16:13, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

AFD notice

Possible expansion?

I note that there is currently no specific project dealing with either Andorra or Monaco. Would the members of this project object if the scope of the project were expanded to include articles related to Andorra and Monaco? Badbilltucker 15:05, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Feel free to rip into me, but, being bold, I just expanded the scope of the project to include the two microstates above. Badbilltucker 17:58, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I think that all the ripping-into is being done on the topic above. You might want to steer clear of it :) --Aquarelle 18:01, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Andorra might be better placed within the WikiProject Spain, that, or it become common between the two? --Bob 23:10, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it would be more logical to put Andorra in the WikiProject Spain cause this country is geograficaly and culturaly more closely related to spain than to France. And don't think it's a spanish nationalist point of view, I'm french.--Kimdime69 05:10, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Only added them both here because it's a more recently formed project. Would clearly have no objections to realigning Andorra at request. Badbilltucker 16:20, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Andorra would be best dealt with by a WikiProject Catalonia, which has yet to be created! Until then, I can see no problems with it being looked after here. Physchim62 (talk) 16:34, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I just hope we get a decision soon. As of now, the entire Category:Andorra has all of two articles at B-Class assessment, the highest grade any of them have. Those articles clearly need a lot of work. Badbilltucker 21:15, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I favour Andorra, being at a WikiProject Catalonia as well. If not there, then WikiProject France. Why France? The President of France is also the Co-Prince of Andorra (PS- if 'Madame Royal becomes President of France, will she be listed as Co-Princess of Andorra?). GoodDay 21:59, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
It would make sense for a putative WikiProject Catalonia to deal with Andorra, but until any such project exists I don't foresee any problem with including it here. --ⁿɡ͡b Nick Boalch\talk 10:36, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
For someone how had been in France, in Spain and in Andorra its obvious that Andorra has more to do with Spain than with France geographicaly and culturaly but do as you want--Kimdime69 11:48, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Kimdime69 is right, Andorra is much closer to Spain than it is to France geographically and culturally speaking. Spanish is the most widely spoken language, followed by Catalan (the sole official language and another language mainly used and favoured in Spain) and Spaniards form the bulk of the citizens, Andorrans being a minority. Maybe Wikiproject Spain isn't mature enough to actually help Andorra related articles as much the French one can't, I don't know, but geographically and culturally it is much more in the Spanish side. --Taraborn 12:58, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Stevage's two cents

Ok someone asked me to comment and I don't really have time to read the discussion but:

  • Using "department" as a translation for département is bad. Using "region" as a translation for région is worse. The French riviera is a "region" of France. Britanny is a "region" of France. Languedoc is probably a "region" of France. Centre is a région of France.
  • So if you don't like "département" (etc), and "department" (etc) is a bad translation, what do you use? State? Administrative division (vomit)? Maybe someone can propose something better. Stevage 01:33, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Stevage, as you know, many words include multiple meanings in their definitions. The context of a well-written piece will make apparent which meaning applies. Maybe you should read over the discussion, and you might take a gander in a good English dictionary (Hey, wait--gander?--is that a goose or a glance?). -Eric (talk) 02:39, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the French use the words département and région for many different things other than the administrative divisions... something over looked here. --Bob 07:51, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Certain editor's can't get beyond the fact that the two words look alike. English and French have gone their seperate ways to a certain extent, and a number of very similar words have developed very different meanings in the two languges. I'm still shocked that I have to explain this to a group of people who supposedly speak French and English. BTW, the argument that we can't use foreign terms because this is English Wikipedia is absurd and lacking. Is that all that the anti-French side has left to offer ? Strawman arguments and BS ? I guess I need to repeat that the French government uses these terms when they write in English (to be fair, they use the English cognates as well at other times. They evidently have no official policy on the issue) as well as many publishers (pick up any Eyewitness travel guide, or many others for that matter). Eric, what is your point in pointing out all the cognates ? It's obvious that English has taken thousands of words from French, but this argument is far too vague for our debate. --Aquarelle 06:36, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

No strawman arguments. Simple fact based research. The French government uses the English terms in English papers. INSEE uses the English terms in English language publications. Local governments use the English terms. The English terms are found in the OED, Websters, and other dictionaries with the defintion one of the large districts into which certain countries, as France, are divided for administrative purposes. or similar. You are stating that if the reader possibly does not know every meaning of a word then we should not use it. Now, lets see about publishers... a quick check on the BBC website and we observe the overwhelming use of the English terms. Ditto for CNN and other major news outlets. Even the CIA uses the English terms not the French ones. What is shocking here, Aquarelle, is that you are apparently ignorant of the usage of the term department in both the English and French languages. Either that or you are blatantly cherry picking definitions to fit a skewed POV. It is not that the French and English words are similar, but that they have the same definition for this use. Sure, we use department in English when we would use service in French. In this instance we shouldn't even begin to think about using the word service in English, but that is not the case here. Department and region are fully transposable with their French equivalents. --Bob 07:51, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Such a self-righteous, contemptuous, one-sided man you are, Bob. Save the personal attacks : you know full well that I speak French, so why even make a point of questioning it ? You want to regurgitate simple facts out of context ? Okay here we go : INSEE uses the French terms in English publications. FACT. English dictionaries describe a very different usage of the term department and region than French ones. FACT. Anglophones don't use the words department and region the same way francophones do. FACT. Anglophone authors commonly use the French terms to describe régions and départements to their readers. FACT. Now, shall we take this discussion to the next intellectual level or would you prefer to stick with the basic brutalities ? I'm assuming you're more comfortable with the latter. --Aquarelle 08:16, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

No personal attacks were made. However, the first and last sentences you used above could be deemed as such. WP:DICK may be called in yet again, but I will refrain for the time being. Now, lets see about a nice rebuttal:

INSEE uses the English terms in English publications. FACT. English dictionaries describe many usages of the term department and region including those that the French ones do. FACT. Anglophones use the words department and region the same way francophones do. FACT. Anglophone authors commonly use the English terms to describe regions and departments to their readers. FACT.

Quite simple really. --Bob 08:26, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

It must be nice to see the world in black and white. For now, I'm just going to wait and hope that the good judgement of other editors overcomes your intransigence. --Aquarelle 08:30, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
On your end, Bob, no subjective arguments please - it is not very useful to discussion to select only arguments for, and especially provide only selective examples of, an already-decided point of view. I (for one) am doing my best to look at this from all sides of the issue, so please do your best to do the same; you are totally ignoring many points in answering arguments in your effort to promote your own. Perhaps I should make the same critique of Aquarelle's arguments. Hell: subjective arguments just go in endless circles and p*ss "opposing" arguments off, okay?  : )
Stevage puts it rather bluntly, but it is true that both "department" and "region" are simply bad translations: today both words in English do not have the same signification and - most importantly - use as their native-language counterparts. It is a bad practice to take a word that describes a precise thing (or in this case, is a proper name (noun) of a certain type of subdivision) in its own language and to substitute it with another whose applications can be many in the language it is written in. Worse still, one reading a word in his own language will hesitate even less at word if he doesn't know its exact signification: since he recognises the word as one of his own language, he is most likely to just "assume" a meaning most convenient to him and move on - and might I add that this convenience is the very purpose of most translations! Yet a foreign word left as such, and italicised to boot, practically screams that its English counterpart, should it exist, does not have the same use and meaning.
I won't even try to theorise on why news programs and other publications having the same context as Wiki articles (articles not on the subject of the translated word itself) would make this sort of "translation", but since the translated result has a level of ambiguity that the original doesn't have, this makes this practice a worst sort of "dumbing down". I do understand that the "Anglisisation" effort has good intentions at heart, but it is unfortunately a misguided one. THEPROMENADER 09:03, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Let me just note that I was purposely using subjective arguments to show how useless they are. I said outright that the following was a simple regurgitation of facts taken out of context. Like ThePromenader said, these arguments go nowhere. --Aquarelle 09:15, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm with Stevage and ThePromenader. I'd always use département and région when talking about the terms with specific French meaning, partly because they gel the concept as "not quite the same as the English terms" in the reader's mind. A region isn't the same as a région. I quite strongly oppose the current trend to Anglicisation of French terms. Sure, calling Henry IV of France Henry rather than Henri makes sense in an English-language publication, but I think that Anglicising terms that have quite specific meanings in French into more generic terms in English is a really bad idea. — OwenBlacker 10:19, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
To the people who apparently cannot grasp the concept of multiple, flexible word definitions: Will you please consult an English dictionary before your next repetition of incorrect statements? It may help you to break the cycle of incomprehension. -Eric (talk) 15:23, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
It's pretty audacious to say that we would all agree with you if we would just look in the dictionary. Is that really what you wanted to say ? Maybe I misunderstood. --Aquarelle 15:30, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd call it more hopeful than audacious. -Eric (talk) 15:37, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Anyhow, when you look in a dictionary, you already know what word you're looking for. A wiki article does not have this context, and each of its words do not come with explanations and definitions. Best use precision where able - just call things by their proper name when they have one. THEPROMENADER 15:51, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
The context point is addressed several times above. -Eric (talk) 15:55, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
If that is your answer, then you've obviously ignored every single one of them. I suggest you read them again. THEPROMENADER 16:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Promenader, I really shouldn't take the time to, but in good faith, I just went to every instance of the word "context" above. I see nothing there that weakens the pro-English term arguments. If necessary, a writer establishes the use of a given term in a piece, knowing that any head-scratchers need only consult a good English dictionary to confirm this particular connotation. To insist on the French term when the English term's validity is firmly established in multiple sources is to cater to a presumed ignorance on the part of the reader, and further to assume an inability on the part of the reader to broaden his or her understanding of a term's meaning. We should not write out of fear that readers might gain a more nuanced understanding of the language. The English language is vast and rich, having--by the more conservative counts--a couple hundred thousand more words than the nearest contender. I say let's use 'em. -Eric (talk) 16:49, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
The OED has a very inclusive policy of taking every word, technical term, spelling variant and slang employed since the beginning of Middle English to bloat their statistics - this makes for a very poor reflexion of the English language's actual size and scope. What does that have to do with this issue anyways ? --Aquarelle 17:01, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Aquarelle, if you don't see the relevance to the issue, it is beyond my power to light your way. I didn't mention the OED. I mainly use the AHD--it is an excellent, current reference for modern use of the English language (including British). I doubt many people would agree with you that the editors of the OED are motivated by a desire to "bloat statistics." Thanks for the chuckle, though. -Eric (talk) 17:31, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm surprised you aren't familiar with the controversey. It's not a matter of counting words but of defining them, which is inherently biased. Do you know the difference between words and word families ? I take the OED as an example, but many English dictionaries have similar policies. I don't see what's funny about it. Try doing some research. --Aquarelle 17:44, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Eric, why shouldn't you take the time to explain? Would you suggest that some here are not worthy? Anyhow, In fact the only argument for Anglicisation of proper names I've seen thus far is "other people do it". As for the eventual head-scratchers: not that anyone should have to consult a dictionary, but at least with the French version of the word, they will go there if they don't know what a "département" is, as presented in its French version it is obviously a special something in particular. Yet what of the word "department"? What of the word "region"? To the English reader, is this something special and particular? Most often: Not. Stevage is right in his Riviera example - why ignore this argument? Right on the dot. All one would be doing by transforming French proper names into English common nouns is introducing ambiguity and possibilities for error. THEPROMENADER 17:42, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Explain? It's been done many ways by several people above, but apparently without effect (maybe without having been read?)
Not sure what you mean by "proper names."
So, readers of the English Wikipedia should have a French dictionary handy to keep them from having to be aware of English definitions? I am aware of multiple meanings for the word "region." Stevage's point does not invalidate the use of the word region (for the millionth time, once it's been defined in context).
I'm also aware of mulitple meanings for the word "exhaust." I can tell you--in one sentence without any side explanation--that you are exhausting me, and that I have to get the exhaust on my car fixed; you will not stumble for an instant in understanding what I'm saying. I also know that in German, there is a word for car exhaust--Auspuff--that does not include in its meanings "to tire." Do you want me to replace the second instance of "exhaust" above with "Auspuff"? -Eric (talk) 18:38, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
That's really neither here nor there. You're comparing two very different things. --Aquarelle 19:26, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
This is a neutral opinon. Personally, I'd prefer ONLY English words being used on English Wikipedia. Why? Less confusion, less bickering, less linguistic wars. However with countless editors visting English Wikipedia, my views would never be accepted. Too bad this isn't the Canadian Wikipedia, English words would get english treatment & French words would get french treatment (that's how it's done on CBC & Canadian publications). Hope you guys/gals can come up with a compromise. PS, this agrument is similar to the 'Diacritics' debate on Ice Hockey Biography articles. GoodDay 18:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
We're not just reading the simple evening news on CBC. As ThePromenader said, we aren't translating "dog" to "chien." We're talking about a name for a certain thing that exists in France and not in anglophone countries. --Aquarelle 19:26, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
The Mediation Committee could help end this disagreement. I wish you all good luck. GoodDay 19:32, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

We are not talking about a certain thing that exists just in France and not in anglophone countries. Department is used in the English language to describe département in French, departamento in Spanish and departament in Polish amongst others. It is clearly used in English so I see no reason not to use it in an English language article, especially as it is a word which appears in English dictionaries with exactly the description of the equivalent words in the other languages. --Bob 19:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Because the context will be confusing and the French word is more precise when used in English. Please read the above arguments again ; ThePromenader has already addressed this issue several times. --Aquarelle 20:14, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that argument assumes the reader will be stupid and ignorant. --Bob 20:16, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

No, it considers that the reader will appreciate the most accurate description of what he is researching. You've changed your argument : first you rationalised your "anglicisation" by saying that it would make things more simple and avoid confusing the reader, and now that you realise that the French terms are more specific and precise, you claim that the reader will be able to handle the complexity of the obscure English definition. --Aquarelle 20:34, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Your reading comprehension skills seem to be lacking. I have not changed my argument. My argument from the beginning is that these terms are used in English, appear in the English language with the same specifc definition as the French terms. I have now added to that that we shouldn't assume stupidity of the end user, however, this in no way compromises my original position. Where, exactly, have I changed my position? --Bob 21:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I'll to forgo the personal attacks (WP:No_personal_attacks) and just refer you to my previous post which you will find to be very specific. --Aquarelle 21:14, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Take a third-person's (NPOV) advice. Seek a resolution at the Mediation Committee. Why? 'Bob' will never convince 'Aquarelle' & 'Aquarelle' will never convince 'Bob'. Trust me guys, you're too entrenched to compromise. GoodDay 21:24, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Aquarelle- Not complexity. Simplicity. They are the same word. If the English language sees something it can use, it takes it and makes it its own. You cannot stop that--in the case of the terms we've been discussing, it's already way too late anyway. You want French words where English has already adopted terms for them. Many published sources, among them highly respected reference works, disagree with you and will continue using the English terms regardless of what Wikipedians do in our little online universe. You are standing on the bank of a big river and telling it that it's flowing in the wrong direction. We xenophobes are standing on the other bank, rooting for the river. The river--if it takes any notice of us--thinks we're all crazy. -Eric (talk) 21:18, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Your posts make me smile ; you are definately the most figurative fellow around here. However I still don't agree with you, especially the part where you play-down the importance of Wikipedia. I don't see what you mean by saying that complexity and simplicity are the same thing, either. It's not that I have some sort of hidden desire to infuse French terms into English (that job's already been done anyways :) but that I want to use the most precise and direct term possible. I'll say again, the French terms are commonly used in English. Just take a look at any publication about France. --Aquarelle 21:32, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Any publication? Lets look at the stats report of 2004 by INSEE. Oh look, department is in English. --Bob 21:37, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

We've already established that the INSEE has no official policy on this issue as they use both the French and English terms. The French guys at INSEE probably don't appreciate the English sense of the word anyways. --Aquarelle 21:45, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

And you have proof of that I suppose? --Bob 21:53, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Of what ? --Aquarelle 21:55, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
MEDIATION COMMITTEE, give it a try. Before you guys wear yourself out. GoodDay 22:14, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, Aquarelle, I meant to counter your "complexity of the obscure English definition" with what I see as "simplicity of the clear..." -Eric (talk) 22:19, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Look, will you stop ignoring each other's arguments? Of course the meaning of "department" in the INSEE site is clear - its sole concern is demographics and administrative areas, and the explanation for each term is provided everywhere in each article. Wiki articles are not and do not do the same. THEPROMENADER 05:32, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

An article on Martinique from the BBC. [9] It is written in the same style as a wiki article would and yet it uses English language terms. So much for English terminology not being used in English language texts. Also the Columbia encylopaedia uses the english term in its articles (for example). Encarta also uses English terms (an example). Therefore, all arguments that state that department is rarely, if ever used in English are absolutely incorrect. Sure, Britannica uses the French form, but that in no way detracts from the fact that the English form is in common everyday use elsewhere. Even this project states The most general rule of the Wikipedia is that editors should use the most common form of the name or expression used in English. Department and region are both in common usage in English as I, and others have shown. .--Bob 06:31, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Who said that the English cognates were never employed ? Strawman argument. --Aquarelle 06:53, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

It would be good if you could read ALL edits before making such a statement. If you look below you will see this phrase: 'Department is rarely, if ever, used in English to describe a geographical subdivision, so département is the word to use. --Ishu 22:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

--Bob 07:09, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

He didn't say that they were never used, he just questioned the frequency. And it's true, "department" in the sense of a political subdevision is rare and unfamiliar to most Anglophones. --Aquarelle 07:18, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

And Is suppose you have a poll that backs that statement up? --Bob 15:03, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

A poll would be just as non-consequential as a Google search result, since most of the results are from non-notable sources unworthy of being referred too. If you don't like a poll, don't offer a random Google search which shows results which are WP:NOR from non-notable sources. If you do want to take your earlier Google search results for source, then Aquarelle's comments are just as notable. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 13:19, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
By all means, please open one! THEPROMENADER 15:22, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

that would be WP:NOR --Bob 20:01, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

What? Open a vote then. THEPROMENADER 17:27, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
to comment on one of Bob's previous comments, the English version of the INSEE website keeps the accents. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 13:22, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

More context

Nobody is suggesting that we move Prime Minister of France to Premier ministre français. Prime minister and Premier ministre have comparable meanings. Department and département do not in the contexts we are discussing. I don't think anyone's objecting to translating when they are in fact equivalent. In any case, we definitely should not translate when they aren't comparable. Department is rarely, if ever, used in English to describe a geographical subdivision, so département is the word to use. --Ishu 22:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, you are wrong on so many levels regarding this one. --Bob 22:40, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
This isn't much of a discussion when you post responses like that. --Ishu 22:52, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I know, but when statements like that are posted, which basically refuse to acknowledge any of the facts and websites previously posted which refute everything you just stated, then what more is there to say? It feels as though I am banging my head off a brick wall here. --Bob 22:56, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Ishu, have you looked up "department" in an English dictionary? -Eric (talk) 23:20, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
How about a look at Department (subnational entity). Just looking for a compromise. GoodDay 23:40, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Let's decide who's the majority and miniority in this issue before proposing compromises. Keep in mind also that this is the first time, since practically years of French article contributions, that Anglicisation of French proper names has been proposed. THEPROMENADER 05:47, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

And no, selective examples are not "proof" of anything, especially if they do not support objective arguments! This only amounts to "other people do it" - but without any mention of (already-known word dictionary, topic specific organisations) context! It is very clear that inexact translation of French proper names into multi-meaning'd common English terms is a step in the opposite direction of exactitude. Keep it simple. THEPROMENADER 06:27, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

When the word already exists in the English language and is used in many different contexts, including wiki-article type contexts, then maybe we could use the exact translation which exists already... --Bob 07:11, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Because it's ambiguous. This has already been covered. --Aquarelle 07:19, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
As Stevage indicated earlier, the English "translation" is not precise - it is vague and conveys an "easy" message that is open to erronous interpretation. There is no risk of error when the original proper name is used. THEPROMENADER 10:22, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

and that is exactly where Stevage's argument falls flat, as it rests on a false premise. --Bob 15:02, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry Bob, yours is the false allegation! Both points - real English meaning and resulting inaccuracies - have been lain down quite clearly several times in this thread. THEPROMENADER 15:18, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

This has been done without any factual basis. Please cite me a source which states unequivocably that the term department is not the same as the term département. Unless you can give me a source that states this with 100% clarity (and a reputable source of course) then any statement in this thread that states that the real English meaning does not include the French administrative department and that using the English word results in inaccuracies has to be discounted as original research. I have already provided sources which define the use the English terms, one being the OED. --Bob 15:26, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Stevage's argument was based on common sense above anything else, but if you must find the "facts" to back up what should be simple reasoning, he already provided you with one: The Riviera region is not a région... but what English speaker is to say whether it is or it isn't if it's written "Riviera region"? Who's to say that to the layman reader that the "Alsace region" is not just an area around Alsace? Do you see the same ambiguity in "Alsace région"? I don't see how this could be put any simpler. THEPROMENADER 15:33, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, still waiting on that reference for departments. Now on to Regions. In French, the term région is used to describe more than the admin. regions, one only has to look at the Région Parisienne to see this. There is no ambiguity. Again, in English, the term region has different definitions. Please provide me with a reference that states that the end user will be confused and that the term region in English does not apply to an administrative area of a country. --Bob 15:43, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Again, Promenader, what do you mean by "proper names"? You're not talking about proper nouns are you?
Now, for this puzzling "precision" concern, using "department" as an example: EN department and FR département are different versions of THE SAME WORD! The two versions express the same concept. I don't know Latin, but I imagine the essence of the word's meaning is something like 'the breaking up into parts'. There is no imprecision, there is no possibility of confusion. Why do you refuse to acknowledge this? The day in 1790 when France split up its territory into parts that it decided to call "départements," the English version of the French word took on this new meaning as well.
As Aquarelle alluded to above, these two very closely related languages have gone their separate ways since 1066, and do share other cognates whose use has diverged considerably, an example being "eventuel" and "eventual." If you look up the EN term in the AHD, it still lists the meaning as it is used today in French, but it's marked archaic. Not the case with department. When the French decided to use the word "département" for their country's subdivisions, there was no confusion for us--we got it! Know why? Because we have that word in our language, too. -Eric (talk) 16:03, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Again to cite Stevage, if translating "départment" to "department" is a bad idea, "translating" "région" to "region" is even worse. English "department" has its origins in French "département", but its modern use differs greatly than it's native-language ancestor. Yet why mention the origins of words - what does it matter in all this? All that counts is the native-native lanugage use and meaning of that word; if they don't match up, "translation" is a bad idea. "Région" is even worse, and its English use is much vaguer, as mentioned dozens of times already.
Yes, I'm speaking about proper nouns - a "région", although rarely capitalised in its native language, is exactly this within the context it is used - it is a definite administrative entity and appelation. So is "département", so is "canton". Presenting them in their native form - and better still, italicised - leaves no room for doubt about this to those who don't already know the "English version" word's use in its native language. THEPROMENADER 17:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Another question for Promenader and others: Do you think that French people use "département" and région exclusively to describe their country's subdivisions, and never in any other context? Oh--and one more thing--you might want to stop citing Stevage as a source to back up your point--he is wrong. -Eric (talk) 17:24, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
(Grinning at the realisation that Eric is just having a ball taking the piss.)
Do you think that French people use "département" and région exclusively to describe their country's subdivisions
Actually, yes. I don't think you know what you are talking about - do you realise that I live here? No, Stevage is not "wrong" if his point of view differs from yours. Where he is unargueably right is where he states that using "region" only introduces ambiguity. THEPROMENADER 19:38, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Possibly you could take a gander at fr:Département as an example. It IS used in other senses, most notably in schools and universities when referring to, for example, the English department. --Bob 20:14, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Erm... The word exists in English and has the identical definition so vagueness is not really a valid argument... Again, I, and possibly others, are patiently waiting references that will dispell my assumption of original research on your part. ---- —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Grcampbell (talkcontribs) 17:38, 20 January 2007 (UTC).
I'm not sure I understand this claim. In the first place, we should not be talking about French people, but about French-speaking people. The word "région" obviously existed prior to the creation of the formal regions, which was quite recent. It certainly isn't only used in the French language to only refer to the first order administrative subdivisions of France. It is also used, for instance, to refer to the first order administrative subdivisions of France's northern neighbor, the Kingdom of Belgium. A search of French language pages for région turns up pages for the Région de Bruxelles and the Région Wallone. I also note a reference to la région de Québec, which appears to refer to the area around the city of Québec, and not to any formal administrative subdivision. There's also a page about the Lausanne-région and another about the Région Nord Vaudois in Switzerland. There's a Canadian page about the Région de l'Atlantique. I see another page about the Région des grands lacs africains. There's a page about the Région Boeny in Madagascar. So, in fact, you are entirely wrong. Even in France you're wrong. I found a page for the Union des Églises Réformées de France dans la Région Est. There is no official administrative "Région Est", so the term is obviously being used in a different way. The word région in French means exactly the same thing that "region" means in English. That word was, fairly recently, applied as an official term for a particular level of administrative subdivision in France, and this tends to be, so far as I can tell, how the word is currently mostly used in France. But it is not what the word means in French, which is an entirely different question. In French, the word means "region," and so we can translate the administrative term "region," as well. One would also note Regions of Italy. Are people proposing that we call these regioni? Or that calling Tuscany or Lombardy "regions" causes some confusion? This applies all the more strongly to the word "department," where there's no real possibility of confusion, and where the term "department" has been used for this for hundreds of years now. When there's not an exact equivalent, I'm all for using untranslated terms, but in this case there is an exact equivalent. john k 20:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Promenader, I'm not sure I understand what you are saying then with the proper noun thing--the words we've been discussing are not proper nouns.

  • Regurgitating Stevage's unsupported assertions from this same "debate," even if you blindly accept them as objective fact, does not constitute a valid support of your arguments.
  • Forgive my French dictionary--it no longer lives in France, so it might not have the authority it once enjoyed--but how do you account for its no. 2 definition of département given below?
Secteur administratif dont s'occupe un ministre. Département de l'Intérieur, des Affaires étrangères.
  • (Silly Micro Robert en Poche, what does it know? Promenader lives in France, making him an authority on the French language! Hmmm, George Bush lives in the United States--that must make him an authority on English...
  • Silly Eric, what does he know? He has only lived in a few European countries, including France, and is merely a professional translator who at this moment is finishing up revising the English translation of a 380-page German book about the architectural history of Burgundy--oops, Bourgogne--in which the italicized words département and arrondissement originally appeared throughout, and which--recognizing these appearances to be an unnecessary distraction to the reader--he replaced with their un-italicized English counterparts. Egads--this is going to be published in a book! Quick, avert your eyes and save the children!
  • Silly translation agent for whom Eric works and who thought it was a great idea to put the terms in English, what does she know? She's only worked in the translation publishing industry in multiple countries for a couple decades!)

I think I'm done here, kids. I can demonstrate reason, but I can't force people to use it. Hope someone will drop me a line if it comes to some arbitration vote. -Eric (talk) 20:40, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Silliness aside, the answer to your question, in spite of all that, is still "yes". The only variation in the French language is that, between those not foreigners, one need not even mention the administrative division, as it is understood automatically - take those speaking of "l'Ardèche for example - they know it is a département and not anything else. If they want to speak of a larger région, or the (vague) area around a city, they will use the precise name of that locale with "région" beforehand. Yet do we expect the layman (to French terms and practices) to understand this? Of course all this could be presented as an argument for "authenticity" - but all that is of concern to the contributor what the (even layman) reader comprehends in what he reads. The "Anglicisation" proposed here is really just dumbing things down - by assuming that the reader is not able to comprehend precise naming conventions in their native form. THEPROMENADER 21:19, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, I can't help myself one more time.
  • To what question are you answering "yes"?
  • I think you will find that Ardèche is also the name of the river from which the department takes its name.
  • You're almost there, Promenader. By the Rove-Cheney principle, I think if you repeat your unsubstantiated assertions a few more times, all the while failing to respond--other than gainsaying--to the diverse array of well-supported arguments put forth above that invalidate your assertions, your assertions will magically become the truth, at least in the eyes of the American media and voters. -Eric (talk) 22:24, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

LOL - Eric, you're using every technique to argue but an argument itself, and your technique is rather "Rovian": ignore and denouce points, even valid ones, opposing your own; declare your own to be valid even if they are not. The only coherent argument forwarded thus far in favour of Anglicisation is "others do it" - yet the examples provided "proving" this have a context that Wiki doesn't. This is rather non sequitur. You can't refer to valid arguments that were never made.

The "yes" was the answer to Do you think that French people use "département" and région exclusively to describe their country's subdivisions - but now that I've seen that I'd misread that, you'll find my answer to that in my summary below. I don't see the point of your second point. THEPROMENADER 17:08, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Eric, you're using every technique to argue but an argument itself... This statement confirms my suspicion that you have either not read or not understood any of the many substantiated arguments I and others have made in vain attempts to get you to re-think the distracting affectation of using foreign terms when English ones exist. -Eric (talk) 17:39, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

The non-French cases

Many Spanish-speaking countries have departamentos as administrative divisions, and yet the word "department" is used in the corresponding articles. Take a look at those cases:

Is there any confusion or inexactitude derived from the use of "department" instead of departamento, is any meaning lost ? Are our readers worse off because the term was translated ? Or should all those articles switch to departamento ?

The same can be said about the Spanish región, the Hungarian régió, the Italian regione:

In my humble opinion, if "department" and "region" work well for the Spanish (and other) cases, then there shouldn't be any problem with the French ones... Best regards, Evv 15:02, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

First off, all those lists have context - you'll be damn sure to find the definition for "department", whatever it should be, within the article. Excuse the stress, but I have repeated myself several times thus far: This will not be the case for words appearing within the flow of a text on another or more general subject. And please: "others do it or similar things" is not a justification (insert "friends jumping off a cliff" parable here) for switching French proper names into English common nouns, and neither is it an answer to the points brought up earlier in the discussion about the ambiguities this practice would introduce were it widespread. THEPROMENADER 15:15, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
lol It's not about blindly following others' example :-) but about proving that English readers can understand this specific meaning of the word "department", which refutes the points brought up earlier in the discussion about the ambiguities.
And I'm not referring to the lists themselves, but about all the specific articles mentioned in those lists.
It is true that mentioning the French word département brings attention to the specific meaning the word takes in this context, but so does the wikilink "department" [[Departments of France|department]].
The botom line is, readers are not dumb. They are able to figure the context and apply the appropiate meaning to the word even if that word happens to be a common English noun. - Best regards, Evv 15:33, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Heh - sorry to jump on you but "examples" tend to be used as "proof of what others are doing" ; )
I'm glad that you see the clarity provided by the italicised term, but there are many wikilinked words we never click on - especially if the reader already thinks he (may) already know what they are/mean. So what Anglicisation of proper names really does, expecially in cases like these, is make room for doubt for those readers not already in the know about the "real" definition of the term. THEPROMENADER 15:36, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually, examples are used to compare different approaches, analyse what others are doing, and thus improve one's work by imitating some choices and avoiding others :-)
Personally, for any of these cases, I use the word departamento in Spanish, "department" in English and département in both French and German. So, yes, for me département is as clear as it gets. But I do believe that the simple English word "department" is clearer in the English Wikipedia. And just having the wikilink there, even if you don't click on it, has the same effect of informing that the word should not be understood as a common English noun, but given a specific meaning instead. That's usually the only reason for which a common noun gets piped in WP. - Best regards, Evv 15:58, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
In any case, those are only extreme cases for some readers who might get confused. All these words share not only the same characters, but the exact same meanings too, and almost any person who knows one of them can easily contextualize the other ones (I won't indulge in naming the exceptions that merit the "almost" caveat... let's just say that I'm watching the news). - Best regards, Evv 16:16, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree that there is little place for confusion in the use of English "department" for French "départment", but it does add a degree of "lazy ambiguity" as the uninformed reader will more often or not "assume" the meaning of a word he recognizes and move on. No big deal, right. But "region" for "région", on the other hand, as a "translation", is a complete screw-up.
But why translate some proper names (nouns) and others not? What is to decide what appelation can be translated or not? Talk about adding an extra level of complication to something that is already quite understandable and simple, and that until present is the result of a natural contributions that are based on both a desire to clearly inform and basic common sense.
The "need" to Anglicise, on the other hand, seems an over-zealous "interpretation" of the rule that "all in English Wiki should be English". The principle is fine, but the interpretation of what "English" is is plain wrong: the only rules drafted thus far along these lines concern non-roman characters. With reason too.
Actually the very motivation for doing this is vague and undefined - a "like us" syndrome? Shall we go through all the articles changing all the "Michel"s to "Michael" and "Josef"s to "Joseph"? The proposal of Anglicisation presented here is basically the equivilent of this - it is both complicating, slightly insulting to the native language and often plain wrong.

Readers are intelligent, yes: there is no reason that they should not understand a "local" official appellation presented in its native form. THEPROMENADER 17:39, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Michel and Josef are proper nouns, région and département are not. -Eric (talk) 22:32, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Region exists in the English language with many different definitions, as it does in the French language. Using the English form is no more vague than the French. The only way for there not to be any ambiguity is to say something like administrative region or administrative région, but that is not the question here. why use the French term when the English term is more than adequate and has exactly the same definition? --Bob 17:50, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

For whatever it's worth, I noticed that the Eng Wiki pages for Germany use the word "state" (see States of Germany) to translate "land/länder", (which seems to me to be an even more radical Anglicisation than region/région), and yet they also use the German word "landtag" (representative assembly in a land) in other articles (see Landtag of Bavaria)!-- NYArtsnWords 18:30, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

They use the translation almost uniquely in the title, (which current opinion tends towards; although the choice of translated term sometimes uses province instead of state). Elsewhere they use Länder, (possibly?) because it exists in the English language as the plural for Land, which is defined in the OED as a German or Austrian province. Although I am unclear as to the precise reasoning behind why they do this, the fact that they do conforms to English usage and definitions. Département does not appear, but department and region do. --Bob 18:54, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Region exists in the English language with many different definitions, as it does in the French language.
But as I've said several times already, the common English use of the word "region" is nothing like the French use of "région" as it is used as an administrative proper name for a territory. Aren't the "Alsace" and "Riviera" enough as examples above more than enough to prove this ambiguity? Don't ignore arguments please.
I mean, really. If the original appelation used in its original form until now by most all contributors until present to denote precisely that very proper name use and particularity has posed no problem until now, what exactly is the problem with that practice? Where are all the complaints about it? THEPROMENADER 19:31, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually, the common usage of Region in English is almost identical to that in French. Please refer to your closest Harrap's and OED. Or better yet, look at Region and fr:Région. Are you aware that England is currently divided into nine administrative regions and Scotland was subdivided into 12 regions between 1975 and 1996? Just because no-one has looked at or commented on somehing until now doesn't mean that it shouldn't. --Bob 19:56, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

No, there is no commonly-known English equivilent to the French "région" adminsitrative entity. All the same, I don't understand the motivation to use a term "almost" when it is easy to covey "exact". Wiki articles are not dictionaries, and every mention of the "Alpes-Maritime region" need not indicate that it is in fact an administrative entity we are speaking of, and not an "area around" aforementioned proper noun that a reader need not necessarily know." THEPROMENADER 21:26, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

How can you possibly state that???? It does begger belief that you simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of administrative regions in England and Scotland!!!! region = région in this context. There is no invalidity of the term, nor is it a loose translation. It is an EXACT translation. Good grief! If we take a look at the French article on these regions (which you don't seem to want to believe to exist) we see that they use the french word, not the english word as it is an exact translation! (fr:Régions d'Angleterre. --Bob 23:14, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

What other country has régions containing départements, and an English-speaking one to boot? No, it is not an exact translation because the English common signification is not that of its use - especially for "region" - this makes it a loose, voir inexact, translation. THEPROMENADER 10:52, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Moving toward consensus

The arguments on both sides of the issue seem pretty well put forward above. Is there anyway to move toward some kind of common ground or consensus? Perhaps a vote on the use of the English terms "region" and "department" in article titles? -- NYArtsnWords 20:10, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I second this motion: but I would think it most useful to centre the vote on "allowing proper names to remain in their native language unless they have an exact translation". THEPROMENADER 21:31, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I third this motion: Everyone here knows, I've been calling for a settlement. GoodDay 21:52, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, my aching head! Région and département are not proper nouns! Will someone else please help him with this? -Eric (talk) 22:31, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, they are not proper nouns. Here's the dictionary definitions of "proper noun" at
  1. a noun that is not normally preceded by an article or other limiting modifier, as any or some, and that is arbitrarily used to denote a particular person, place, or thing without regard to any descriptive meaning the word or phrase may have, as Lincoln, Beth, Pittsburgh. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
  2. A noun belonging to the class of words used as names for unique individuals, events, or places. Also called proper name. (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)
"département" isn't capitalized, and isn't a proper noun. It doesn't refer to a specific thing, but to a whole class of things. john k 23:20, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

(According to the AP stylebook, "department", by itself, is not a proper name, but a common noun. In the form "Departments of France" the whole thing becomes a proper name and should be capitalised like that. However, when inversed, ie. "French departments", it reverts to being a common noun again. Therefore, only "Department of XXX" is a proper name. --Bob 00:25, 21 January 2007 (UTC))

If we are to base a vote on allowing common nouns to remain in their native language unless they have an "exact" translation, then there is no need to vote as both département and région fall into this category. Fact. No need to discuss or put forward a POV, because anything stated to the contrary would be false and original research unless a reliable reference can be provided that states the opposite. I await the production of this reference with impatience. --Bob 23:31, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
They do not fall into this category as their English/French translation/usage is not even near the "common" same -especially without definition. How can one assume a knowledge of others that ... forget it, as christ we're digging now. Can someone please indicate the reason for wanting to "dig" for english translations? I really get the impression that we're into draw-the-line ideals now. THEPROMENADER 00:40, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Provide a reference stating that, if not, then it falls under WP:NOR and fails WP:V. I, and others, have provided many examples of the usage of both department and region in this context. Please provide a reference stating that they are wrong. You seem unable to accept the definition provided for the common nouns department and region as given by multiple dictionaries and other reference works. Scholarly articles also use department (such as PMID 16128792 and PMID 15964525), why are you unable to accept this usage? Why? --Bob 01:01, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
To tell you the truth, I don't understand what you are asking. How can any of this be WP:OR? If we were to use "state", this I can understand. The above seems Wikilawyering and nothing reason.
If you would like to provide the same context dictionaries and topics the same as the concerned word have so that its correct meaning can be understood, then there would be no problem. I've said before that some words have less ambiguity than others - "department" is one of these. Again, "others do it" is not an argument; every publication has its methods and practices. Wiki already has its own as far as this is concerned, so if one would like to change it, he is going to have to argue, not through selective examples, but through reason. THEPROMENADER 12:09, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Here from the RfC. I read a great deal of this debate, but stopped a few paragraphs up. I must say that although I understand the issue (I'm pretty sure), I'm uneasy about my understanding of the positions presented. It was a rather confusing read. And I don't speak any french what so ever and so would not even comprehend the differences in the terms mentioned. If I saw département, I'd automatically hear department in my head and keep going. Here's how I see it...

From reading above and doing my own 5 minutes of research, I understand the terms as such

  • department (en) is generally used to describe a part of something larger. Such as the hardware department in a store, or the accounting department in a company. Rarely (if ever) used in english to describe geographical boundaries.
    • Except when it is used to refer to French and other administrative subdivisions, which are called departments in English, and have been since 1790. This definition is to be found in most dictionaries.john k 16:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
  • département (fr) is a defined geographical division. Much like, say, a county or township might be in the U.S.
    • Except that it also means the same thing as the English word. john k 16:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
  • region (en) is generally used to describe an area or locale, being purposefully vauge but still conveying basic information. Such as the northwest region or the abdominal region.
    • True, except that it's also used for administrative regions whose name in the local language is a cognate of "region." john k 16:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
  • région (fr) is just like département, but to my eyes it's use is larger in scope. Not like a county or township, but a state.
    • No, région is not just like département. It means exactly the same thing as the English word "region". The French administrative subdivisions called regions only came into existence in 1955. When discussing the word outside of France, at least, it retains its previous meaning, as I demonstrated above. john k 16:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Even if I'm off, it certainly seems to me that the terms are a) NOT proper nouns; and b) NOT identical in definition. Again, I don't speak a lick of french. If I was reading something and I saw département (fr), I'd just continue motoring along having understood it as the definition I gave above for department. Depending on the context, I may even become confused.

They are not identical in definition, but they are close enough and have always been used as translations of each other. The issue isn't that région in French and "region" in English mean different things. The issue is that the meaning of région in France has been circumscribed more narrowly than its conventional meaning. In terms of department, it's not even that. john k 16:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Close enough?? Ooof. Can't say I'm set as ease with phrases like that. If I come here to Wikipedia to learn something (and I often do), it's rather unsettling to know that editors are shooting for "close enough". Thernlund (Talk | Contribs) 18:28, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

My layman’s opinion on the issue at hand is this

  • When using non-english words in english Wikipedia they should be italicized.
  • Proper nouns should be the ONLY non-english words used in english Wikipedia (the terms in dispute are not proper nouns).
  • English alternatives should be found for département and région, NOT department and region. If no single word translates adequately, use a description rather than a word. As an unrelated example, a city could be called an urban center. Surely there is a string of a few english words that can be put together to adequately convey the correct idea. Yeah?

I'm an english speaker. That's why I'm on english Wikipedia. Should it not be written in such a fashion so as to make it most easily understandable to the most english speakers? Thernlund (Talk | Contribs) 00:52, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Why bother using many words when the english ones are more than sufficient and are used extensively in both scholarly and encylopaedic works already using a definition that is found in every english dictionary that I have looked at so far. --Bob 01:21, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Because it would seem that some would use the french versions of the word intending a certain meaning when the english interpretation would not convey the authors intent. Thus there is potential confusion for non-french speaking readers. I guess it's a question of context, in which case it might just as well be left to editor descretion on a case by case basis.
But that's sort of moot to me. English Wikipedia. Only proper nouns should be left in their native language. Not proper noun, translate to english in a way that will convey the correct meaning. Thernlund (Talk | Contribs) 01:28, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Hello Thernlund and thanks for the input. The English words in question are not merely interpretations; as demonstrated above, they are well-established terms that clearly represent the same concept as their French cognates, and, especially when properly introduced in the context of an article, will convey the author's meaning perfectly. As Bob mentioned, English dictionaries will confirm this. -Eric (talk) 05:47, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
For my part, it is about interpretation rather than definition. The arrearance of the words are so close that I likely wouldn't pause to consider the usage, having taken the english meaning. But I digress... "...especially when properly introduced in the context of an article...". That seems to be the key. Used correctly, with the context made painfully clear, I think I would understand. But that just brings the debate to case by case, and not really one way or the other. Editor descretion appears like a good outcome. <heh heh> Wikipedia was sort of built on that, eh? Thernlund (Talk | Contribs) 18:28, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
The usage of the French terms in English is well-established. Here there is an entry for "département" in an English dictionary. Région and département can both be proper nouns, but not all of the time. --Aquarelle 06:56, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
True when you're talking about terms like C'est la vie. But I can tell you that I had no idea that department was also french. I don't sit and read the dictionary. I only use it when I must. The difference in département and department wouldn't likely prompt me to get a dictionary. I'd assume department (depneding on the context of course).Thernlund (Talk | Contribs) 18:28, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

From that link one must go to the English term to find the definitions.... --Bob 07:32, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Yeah the formatting is bizarre, isn't it ? But see how it refers only to the 7th definition ? That's the precision we're talking about. --Aquarelle 08:22, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Summary Take

  1. "Département" and "région" may not be proper nouns, but in their use in French administration, they describe a precise administrative entity. I don't know what to call them precisely, but they are label, or a classification, for a precise thing and should remain recognisable as such.
  2. Both English and French have other uses for both words, but these "other common uses" don't always coincide for the layman. Again, "region" - its common English definition means "in the area". English "department" describes a heirarchical or subject division before it describes any actual physical bordered administrative entity. French people can easily recognise French administrative labels - Most English speakers can't.
  3. Most Wiki articles do not have the context dictionaries and specific-topic articles have: Most Wiki articles are on the subject of area itself (or its classification type, or the entity that created the classification) that is a definition of sorts for the use of the word in the article. Nor is it possible to include a description at every use of the word. Nor is Wiki a dictionary. Most Wiki articles are on "topic" where we need to describe the area where topic is or happened.
  4. It is probably for all reasons above that the vast majority of French-topic article contributions have used the native-language italicised format until now. I don't understand the motivation to overturn this, nor do I understand how this widespred trend, and the reasoning behind it, can be completely ignored by only a few.

English speaker: Which is the administrative region: "Centre region" or "Centre région"? Go figure. THEPROMENADER 11:34, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

  1. "Precision" misconception has been addressed thoroughly above.
  2. Again, the meaning is easily established in the context (addressed thoroughly above).
  3. There are three assertions of "most wiki articles" here. To the 2nd one: these articles have an infobox that makes everything clear. To the 3rd: use a wikilink and/or brief note at first occurrence of term.
  4. Yes, it's been done that way, so why change? On the same note, 8-cylinder cars, women not being able to vote, slavery, and the Earth-centered universe model were all working fine, too.
I again cite the Rove-Cheney principle from above. -Eric (talk) 16:03, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
  1. You must be speaking of only those in favour of your own point of view. How did you manage to ignore the phrase just above ?
  2. Again, not all subjects treated will lend the proper context to a word. Especially "region".
  3. This shows a lack of understanding of the Wiki media. So to get the "correct" meaning of a word, one is going to have to read the whole of every Wiki article - from the beginning? We might as well get rid of the TOC in that case.
  4. My question was "why have most contributors used this method until now" - I would not be one to use a "it's done already so leave it" argument. So am I to assume that Anglicisation is "progress"? In what way is it this? THEPROMENADER 17:36, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Eric - come on. You are comparing us to sexists and slave-owners ? Are you next going to say that we are Nazis and Satan-worshippers ? You get pretty excited about the Rove-Cheney principle (and rightly so ! those guys drive me crazy) yet you employ other equally false arguments. --Aquarelle 18:18, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I would call the anglicisation more "repair" or "restoration."
Certainly not comparing anyone to anything. Just another attempt to introduce perspective and draw attention to the flawed reasoning. Not getting excited--more bored, really. -Eric (talk) 19:12, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Get off your horse. That would also mean that you think the majority of people who contributed the articles in question are "broken" - or an oft-erring idiots. Since most French-topic Wiki articles were written in this way, that means that most French-topic Wikipedians must be idiots. Hands up, you're surrounded! THEPROMENADER 20:48, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
?? -Eric (talk) 21:02, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

From my point of view, (and in the hope of coming to some sort of consensus), I am quite willing to accept English terms in the following two cases:

  1. In article titles and leads: I see no real problem with the titles Regions of France or Departments of France, or with the use of "region" or department" in article leads, as long as the French word is also parenthetically indicated and that the "administrative division" aspect of these words is explained (and that region is differenciated from "pays", "province" and historic Provinces of France).
  2. In the body of the article, when used in the formula "X departement" or "x region" (e.g. Indre department, Centre region) the English translations should be reasonably clear.

But I can see how, when used in the expression "French department" or "French region", or only as "department" or "region" in a French article, these words could lead to confusion for someone unacquainted with the Administrative divisions of France. It is this last case which seems to me to be the most contentious, but perhaps we could come to some begrudging acceptance on the first two cases? --NYArtsnWords 19:33, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

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