Talk:Al-Lat

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== God-dess meaning controversy ==

From the [Akkadian Dictionary]:

  • iltu : [Religion] goddess
  • ilu : [Religion] god , deity

-tu being the feminine ending in Akkadian, and -t being the ending in Egyptian as well. Even the article Ilah states "there is no ʾilāh but al-Lāh". Add a t, have a Goddess. Highly disputed by whom?

--31.150.176.35 (talk) 19:58, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 20 April 2016[edit]

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

The result of the move request was: Moved to Al-Lat —  — Amakuru (talk) 06:30, 28 April 2016 (UTC)



Al-lātAllat – Standard English-language references use Allat, which is also used within the article text. It would also be consistent with Wikipedia's treatment of Allah, which is not hyphenated, and Elat, the north Semitic equivalent of the name. Most English speakers cannot type macrons in the search window. Thus, Allat is the simplest, most neutral form, and the easiest to type in the search window. The move could not be performed due to a pre-existing redirect. P Aculeius (talk) 20:42, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

Oppose. Some sources do use "Allat", but we see the hyphenated version in two really standard references: Brill's Encyclopaedia of Islam and The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. The analogy with "Allah" is not valid because the two words are spelled and pronounced differently. Since "Allat" and "Al-Lat" redirect here, there should be no difficulties with search. Eperoton (talk) 01:51, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
This Google Google Ngram shows that "Allat" is far and away the most common spelling in literature past and present. I searched for Allat, Allatu, Alilat, Al–Lat, Al–lat, Al–Lāt, and Al–lāt from 1800 to the present. Until the 1870's, the only forms regularly encountered were Allat and Alilat. Al-Lat first appears in third place during the 1870's, but from 1889 onward Allatu became as common in literature, and remained more common than Al-Lat until the 1960's. For the next twenty years, the two occurred at roughly even rates. Currently, Al-Lat occurs more often than Allatu and Alilat, which are about even in usage; but Allat continues to occur roughly two and a half times as much as Al-Lat. The hyphenated form Al-lat barely registers, and the two forms with a macron do not register at all.
Surely people are most likely to search for a word or name in the form they encountered it. In this case, anyone studying pre-Islamic deities in English-language sources published over the last two centuries is more likely to know the form Allat than any other; at least as likely to know Allatu or Alilat as Al-Lat, and least likely to know Al-lat, Al-Lāt, or Al-lāt. Why keep the page at one of its rarest variants? As for the argument that a different treatment is warranted for Allah and Allat because they're spelled and pronounced differently, the same could be said of any two words that aren't perfect homophones. But since they're both formed through the same etymological process, pronounced similarly, and at least grammatically speaking could be considered masculine and feminine forms of the same word, it makes little sense to subject them to radically different typography. P Aculeius (talk) 15:24, 21 April 2016 (UTC)
Ah, but they're not pronounced similarly. In al-Lat the al is pronounced like a definite article; in Allah it has a velarization that doesn't appear anywhere else in classical Arabic. That's why Allah is always written together.
I'm not sure what Google Ngrams is counting, but I know what I see in RSs. Rounding up tertiary sources, it's fairly clear that the hyphenated spelling is standard in Islamic studies, medieval studies, and "religion":
However, "Allat" is preferred in the context of archeology, classical studies and "mythology":
To oversimply, the pre-Islamic deity known from Arabic literature is called al-Lat, while the post-classical deity known from near-Eastern archeology and other languages is called Allat. Popular usage may differ; for example, one finds the hyphenated version is recent reporting on Palmyra from BBC, NYT and Al-Jazeera. The article shows artifacts from outside of Hejaz, since that's all we have to show, but it's still mainly about the deity known from Arabic sources, so I stand by my opposition to the move.
More generally, I'm just noticing that the article has plenty of serious problems. I hate to think that I've spent a couple of hours on a trivial point of spelling, so I'll try to join you in improving the article in a bit. Eperoton (talk) 01:24, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
There are many other notable sources; for example Who's Who: Non-Classical Mythology (Oxford) and The New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, which also prefer Allat and Alilat, and which I happen to have at handy reach. I almost didn't check the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, not because it's focused on the Classical World (because in fact it does include a lot of Levantine and Arabian material due to the interaction of the near east and Roman world), but because it's on a shelf that's hard for me to reach ATM. But the on-line version does have an entry for "Alitta or Alilat", albeit a short one, identifying the Arabian goddess who was regarded as the equivalent of Aphrodite Urania.
I will have to defer to your expertise on pronunciation, but I doubt most English speakers would notice the difference. The main issue, however, as I think you've identified it, comes down to sources. My interpretation of Wikipedia article and person naming conventions is that established English forms are preferred to technical ones in article titles, although both should be given in the lead, or in a separate section or footnotes depending on the number and complexity of explaining them. And since "Allat" and "Alilat" have a long history in English-language works on the subject, and are still in current use to an extent similar to (and in a more generalized field, mythology, than Islamic studies) other forms, we should prefer one of them. Perhaps the deciding issue is whether we treat this article as a mythological subject or an Islamic studies one. But then I would still argue that mythology is the logical result between those two.
I think we can at least agree that the current title is the wrong one. Nearly all of the sources that hyphenate the name use Al-Lat rather than Al-lat. Usage is divided over macrons, but again Wikipedia article naming guidelines suggest (although they do not require) that macronless forms are preferable for searchability reasons, even with the availability of redirects. If we were dealing with a diacritical mark (i.e. a mark used in the normal writing of a language, rather than for transliteration or teaching purposes) which could easily be typed, I might be less concerned. But most people can't type macrons; they're used as pronunciation guides, but not normally as accent marks, and unlike words that are, say, French or German, macrons aren't used in writing Arabic; they're only used by some sources for transliterating into the Latin alphabet. So I think the choices ought to be narrowed down to Allat or Al-Lat at any rate.
Aside from the article's title, I agree that substantial revisions are appropriate. I would like to see more emphasis on the origin of Allat's mythology and her identification with other goddesses of the ancient near east; I think it's very important that she's the equivalent of Elat/Asherah in Canaanite and Hebrew mythology, and equally important that she seems to be identified with the Sumerian goddess Ereshkigal. Just as Sumerian mythology involved the sisters Ereshkigal and Inanna, Hebrew mythology had Asherah and Ashtoreth, while Arabian mythology had Allat, Al-Uzza and Manat, one of whom at least would seem to be the Arabian version of Inanna/Ishtar. The Greeks may have derived Athena and Aphrodite from the same two ancient goddesses, which might explain why they were so easily assimilated by Greek writers. All of this would seem to be of vital importance to the article. And more so, I admit, than the title. P Aculeius (talk) 05:13, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
We agree on most points. Certainly, current capitalization doesn't make sense. I don't see why diacritics in titles would lead to practical difficulties given approaprite redirects, and WP:TSC doesn't advise against using them, but I don't really have a preference one way or the other. I don't know how to assign a priori weight to mythology and Islamic studies, and I hope it doesn't come to a showdown between the two fields. I do agree that we should look more closely into the nature of this article for guidance. So, I suggest that we work on using additional sources in revising it, and then consider their relative weight in relation to this particular subject. Frankly, I'm concerned that some of these one-volume mythology references may be too cavalier in turning etymological theories into statements of equivalence, which they're incentivized to do by their very format. The NPOV way to address this concern would be to consult sources discussing the evidence in more detail, which I've been planning to do. Eperoton (talk) 14:45, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
No need to worry about a show-down on my part. I know that Wikipedia works by consensus, and if we're the only ones who feel like discussing the issue, then there's not going to be consensus for my original proposal. There might, however, be consensus for a lesser move, such as to Al-Lat. My reading of TSC agrees that there's no official preference in general, but the fact that it notes that diacritical marks may make articles harder to navigate to, and require the use of redirects for user convenience, is an argument in favour of the non-accented version if both are in common use. Again, my feelings would be different if we were discussing an easily-typed mark, like an acute accent or a circumflex, but macrons don't fall in that category. I think the result is clearer under WP:MOSAR, under the heading "Article Titles and Redirects". Number 1 does not apply here, if we are ignoring ngrams and going with a modern Arabic transcription, for which there are two forms occurring in similar proportions. Number 2 expresses a preference for the "basic transcription" in article titles, if it is not clear that another transcription is the most common; Number 3 implies that the basic transcription is the default preference. So if the form with a macron is not clearly the most common, then we should go with Al-Lat in preference to Al-Lāt. P Aculeius (talk) 16:26, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
I think that makes perfect sense. Eperoton (talk) 17:43, 24 April 2016 (UTC)

Conclusion (for the closing admin): there is a consensus for moving this article to Al-Lat. Eperoton (talk) 14:41, 27 April 2016 (UTC)


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