Talk:Chinese characters

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Chinese characters -> Chinese character?[edit]

Is it not standard that Wikipedia articles be in the singular? Should this article not be named "Chinese character"? Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:32, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Ideogrammic compounds 会意字 / 會意字[edit]

This sub-section contains two arguments offered in support of the notion that certain of the compound characters created in ancient times were devised as ideogrammic compounds. Both arguments are problematic.

First: However, there is evidence that 女 was once a polyphone with a secondary reading of *an, as may be gleaned from the set 妟 yàn "tranquil", 奻 nuán "to quarrel", and 姦 jiān "licentious".

I submit that regarding 妟 as an abbreviated, variant form of 晏, 奻 as 女 + an abbreviated form of phonetic indicator 安, and 姦 as phonetic indicator 奻 + 女 is much closer in line with the formative and transformative principles governing compound characters. Which of course contraindicates the supposition that 女 serves as the phonetic indicator in these three compounds.

That said, if an authority acceptable to the editors is on record as maintaining that the presence of 女 in 妟, 奻 and 姦 constitutes evidence that 女 was once a polyphone with a secondary reading of *an, so be it. But the statement requires sourcing, does it not?

Second: It is doubtful that secondary readings can be found for many cases, and the characters 明, 休, and 好 are all attested in oracle bone script, with the same components as the modern forms.

While it's true we find 月 paired with 日 in oracle bone script, we also find examples of 月 paired with 向. Here, 向 functions as the phonetic indicator via consonant shift in the initial, making the character a standard phono-semantic compound.

Two considerations weigh in favor of the precedence of the 月 + 向 form.

First is the overwhelming statistical preponderance in favor of phono-semantic compounds in the Chinese character corpus. And that's assuming for the sake of the argument the possibility that some characters were in fact devised as ideogrammic compounds. The phono-semantic model is normative.

Second, the sheer numbers aside, one-by-one inspection of the forms and sounds of characters alleged to be ideogrammic compounds reveals that all lost or had their phonetic indicators obscured according to various processes. Among these processes are those seen in 妟 (entire character is an abbreviated variant of a more complex one), 奻 (use of an abbreviated form of an element) and 明 (replacement of the original phonetic indicator). Other processes include consonant shift in the initial or final, one character being subsumed by another with a similar/identical meaning (as in 子), an element lost in character simplification, a character being created from part of a phono-semantic compound, the dying out and subsequent lack of recognition of a phonetic indicator etc.

Accordingly, it is simplistic, to say the least, for the article to present 明 as an ideogrammic compound in the absence of a certain amount of background information.

That leaves 休 and 好. These are among a handful of characters traditionally regarded as ideogrammic compounds that are attested in the oracle bone script solely with their modern forms. That fact no more supports designating 休 and 好 as ideogrammic compounds than does the presence of 明 in the oracle bone script, the reason being that 休 is consistent with the transformation pattern observed in 奻 (use of an abbreviated form of an element) and 好 is consistent with the secondary readings phenomenon.

In sum, the two arguments discussed here lack substance and/or require clarification. If there is consensus to amend portions of this sub-section, I will return with specific proposals for a partial rewrite. Lawrence J. Howell (talk) 05:12, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Whether it stands as-is or is rewritten as you may propose, it'll need citations. If you've got the cites, just go ahead and do it. It doesn't really require discussing here unless there's some kind of dispute—say, if two reliable sources contradict each other; even then, both sources/theories could/should be stated noting the discrepancy. Curly Turkey (gobble) 05:35, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
OK. Didn't want to step on any toes. I'll upload something soon. Lawrence J. Howell (talk) 02:27, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
As Curly Turkey says above, this needs citations to the literature. Where the scholars disagree, we need to report that as well, e.g. the source for 妟/奻/姦 is Boltz (1994), pp106–110; not everyone accepts it, but it's an influential view. The mention of "consonant shift" is alarming as well. Kanguole 20:17, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Ideograms[edit]

I'll be modifying the Ideograms sub-section to clear it of characters whose applicability is dubious or clearly lacking. It will make for a disconcertingly short sub-section, but there's little else to say.

上 and 下 can remain. 林 and 刃 do not withstand close inspection, IMO. 森 absolutely does not belong.

林 is not a doubling of 木, as I pointed out in the Talk Page post above this one. 林 may be regarded as a pictograph representing two trees (and by extension suggesting a larger number of trees that encompass certain spaces/places), or as an ideogram functioning for the same purpose. I incline to the former, and am removing 林 from this category.

森, as I noted in the earlier Talk Page post, is a phono-semantic compound. The article suggested it is interesting to note that 林 and 森 have the same reconstructed Old Chinese final *-ǐǝm. What interests me is that somebody would find that interesting. Consonant shift in the initial is a common factor in compound character formation in Old Chinese; in this case, the initial *l- of 林 became initial *s- in 森.

Consonant shift also hints at the proper category for 刃. At present the article explains 刃 in terms of the marking of a blade. I submit that the (phonetic) evidence strongly suggests the single-stroke element was a once-independent character indicating adherence. The element is also present in 千 (added to 人) and may well be identical with the single-stroke source character seen below 日 in 旦 and above 大 in 天, the function in the latter two characters being to indicate adherence to the horizon. Note how 刃, 千, 旦 and 天 have in common the final *-n. (For the record, the initials for 刃, 千, 旦 and 天 are *n-, *s-, *t- and *t-, respectively.) In short, 刃 should be regarded as having been devised as a phono-semantic compound, with 刀 the semantic indicator and the remaining stroke the phonetic indicator.

If someone presents a compelling argument for the ideogrammatic nature of 林 and restores it on that basis, fine with me. The same for 刃, though I imagine a compelling counter-argument will be hard to find. Lawrence J. Howell (talk) 04:25, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

Classification of 酵[edit]

The article says 酵 is a Japanese kokuji, despite it appearing in the Kangxi dictionary (compiled in C.E. 1710). This seems to be a mistake. Note that 醗 is not a kokuji either (酉 + shinjitai 発) as 醱 exists with the kyujitai phonetic 發. 130.216.218.72 (talk) 10:01, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Done.  White Whirlwind  咨  21:55, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Map in "Adaptation to other languages"[edit]

There are four similar colours in this map :

Dark Green

Medium Green

Green

Light Green

Everybody has not a perfect eye-view like a machine ! Why use colours that are not distinguishable ?

--AXRL (talk) 17:12, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Move back to "Chinese Characters"[edit]

On 6 May 2013‎ Curly Turkey with no discussion moved page "Chinese characters" to "Chinese character", giving the reason "Singular is standard."

This was a well-intentioned misunderstanding.

Reasons to return to the long-standing "Chinese characters" in ascending order of importance:

  • The move resulted in the first sentence: "Chinese characters are logograms," not following the rule that the title of the article should be in the first sentence (it would be almost impossible to fashion a lead sentence which does follow the rule).
  • WP:SINGULAR specifically exempts "the names of classes of objects (e.g. Arabic numerals or Bantu languages)."
  • The guideline WP:NCWS#Unspecified says "Exceptions may also occur where a different technical term is widely used," and lists the specific example "Chinese characters" as acceptable.

Since "Chinese characters" is specifically mentioned as acceptable, there doesn't seem to be a need for discussion, so I moved the article back to the longstanding title, "Chinese characters." Cheers ch (talk) 18:09, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

A number of issues with this rationale:
  1. There is no "rule that the title of the article should be in the first sentence". See WP:LEADSENTENCE.
  2. When a title is not in sungular it causes unnecessary extra work for editors. For eample, if an edit were to wrtite a sentence such as "X is written with the Chinese character Y", they have to link thus: [[Chinese characters|Chinese character]]. Whereas is the title were singular, one could write "LANGUAGE X uses [[Chinese character]]s", and not have to type a single extra character—which I believe is why singular is standard in the first place.
  3. The talk page of WP:NCWS#Unspecified has someone raising concerns that WP:NCWS was raised to guideline status with little broad discussion. It also shows that Chinese character was originally singular before the guideline made it plural.
Curly Turkey (gobble) 21:07, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Your second point doesn't work, as [[Chinese character]] works fine. I don't think you've addressed CWH's point about WP:SINGULAR, as "Arabic numerals" or "Egyptian hieroglyphs" seem closely analoguous with Chinese characters. Kanguole 22:25, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Chinese character "works fine" because the page has been made a redirect to Chinese characters. There are bots that go around "fixing" these redirects so that we end up with [[Chinese characters|Chinese character]], when [[Chinese character]] and [[Chinese character]]s are cleaner and easier for later editors to parse.
  • Exceptions to WP:SINGULAR should be a last resort: in the case of Bantu languages, if it were Bantu language it would give the impression of a single language called "Bantu", analogous to Japanese language. There are no such extenuating circumstances with regards to "Chinese character".
  • Are there any advatages to this article being in the plural? I've not seen one put forward.
Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:01, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there are any bots that do that – which ones are you thinking of? Any bot proposal doing that would not get approved, per WP:NOTBROKEN. Kanguole 01:34, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I've had any number of redirects "fixed" for me. Whether they were bots or not, in the end, is irrelevant. I'd argue that Chinese character wasn't broken when it was originally or subsequently moved. Curly Turkey (gobble) 02:12, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Glad to respond.

Policies and guidelines should not be passed over easily, but I completely agree that they can be trumped by WP:COMMONSENSE, so I take your argument seriously now that you have stated it (it would have been helpful if you had stated it to begin with before summarily moving the article).

I take your primary argument to be:

When a title is not in sungular it causes unnecessary extra work for editors. For eample, if an edit were to wrtite a sentence such as "X is written with the Chinese character Y", they have to link thus: Chinese character. Whereas is the title were singular, one could write "LANGUAGE X uses Chinese characters", and not have to type a single extra character—which I believe is why singular is standard in the first place.

This by your own evidence is not the case: "X is written with Chinese character Y" simply redirects to "Chinese characters." An editor can write either "Chinese character" or "Chinese characters."

Next, a few comments on the rules and guidelines:

  • I agree that it is not an overriding argument, but WP:BEGIN does in fact say "If possible, the page title should be the subject of the first sentence. However, if the article title is merely descriptive—such as Electrical characteristics of dynamic loudspeakers—the title does not need to appear verbatim in the main text."
  • WP:SINGULAR says nothing of "last resort" but clearly describes this situation, that is, "classes of things."
  • "The talk page of WP:NCWS#Unspecified has someone raising concerns that WP:NCWS was raised to guideline status with little broad discussion. It also shows that Chinese character was originally singular before the guideline made it plural.
I don't see the relevance of this comment.

The positive advantages to "Chinese Characters":

  • It is the subject of the article in both common and specialist usage.Search Wikipedia for "Chinese character", that is, search for the singular, finds even in Wikipedia the use of "Chinese characters" is predominant, with the exceptions being, for instance, "Chinese character dictionary." In those cases, as you point out, "Chinese character" redirects to "Chinese characters."
  • "Chinese character" is meaningless in this context.
  • Avoids confusion for readers who might think it concerns Chinese psychology (Chinese national character).

In short, 1) There is no advantage to "Chinese character." 2) "Chinese characters" is completely acceptable.

Hope this helps! ch (talk) 00:20, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

  • "An editor can write either "Chinese character" or "Chinese characters."": How is this an argument in favour of either form? If your argument is that it makes no difference to you, and my arguement is that it does make a difference to me, then how is it rational to move to the form that hinders me without helping you?
  • WP:SINGULAR at no point says that groups must, should, or would be good to be in the plural. They are granted as an exception, and should only be used in exceptional cases. "Chinese character" is not in the least bit exceptional.
  • "I don't see the relevance of this comment.": Then I suggest you read it again and give it some thought.
  • "It is the subject of the article in both common and specialist usage.": What is the point of this? That specialists commonly use the plural in contexts that require the plural? Specialists normally refer to "dogs" rather that dog as well, for obvious reasons that have nothing to do with Wikipedia article titling.
  • "Avoids confusion for readers who might think it concerns Chinese psychology (Chinese national character).": Has this ever been an issue for anyone? Even once? Reality and plausibility trump fantasy—in reality linking to this article is a frequent issue for me.
  • "In short, 1) There is no advantage to "Chinese character."": Seriously, this is the attitude you've chosen to take? Normally one would weigh the advantages and disadvantages, not pretend there are no advantages. Myself, I never claimed there were no advantages; I only wrote: "Are there any advatages to this article being in the plural? I've not seen one put forward." At that point in the discussion none had been put forward, only misreadings of guidelines, including a guideline that never existed—no argument specific to why this article should be an exception had been given (that's an empirical fact). Please change your attitude. Curly Turkey (gobble) 02:12, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
The guideline WP:NCWS#Unspecified says "Exceptions may also occur where a different technical term is widely used," and lists the specific example "Chinese characters" as acceptable. Q.E.D. ch (talk) 02:36, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
This "argument" is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going "LALALALAAAaaa!" Curly Turkey (gobble) 03:23, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't see how Wikipedia:Naming conventions (writing systems) applies. The writing system is not "Chinese characters". It's Written Chinese, for which you use Chinese characters; depending where you are these are either Simplified Chinese characters and Traditional Chinese characters. Those are plural as they are particular sets or systems, two different ways of representing Chinese characters. But "Chinese characters" here is just a plural, not the name of a system. Many other English terms are normally used as plural but their article is singular lentil, ant, byte. Chinese character is consistent with this and WP:SINGULAR would seem the most appropriate guideline.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 03:00, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Dear JohnBlackburne -- You pose a useful question. Wikipedia:Naming conventions (writing systems) applies because it specifically gives "Chinese characters" as a Common Sense exception to the general rule, one which is used in parallel to Arabic numerals, among others, including your examples, Simplified Chinese characters and Traditional Chinese characters. I do not think they should be moved to the singular but that "Chinese characters" needs to be plural to be parallel and consistent (among other reasons). ch (talk) 03:36, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Again I don't think that guideline applies, for the reasons I gave, so the example there is misplaced. Looking at the talk page there is also some doubt over what support it has a a guideline. Another example: one might remark, on reading some text, that "those are Chinese characters, but I don't know if it's written in Chinese or Japanese". Here the writing system is (written) Chinese or (written) Japanese. "Chinese characters" refers to neither system but the Hanzi or Kanji that they include.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 12:59, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Dear CurlyTurkey: You say: "This "argument" is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going "LALALALAAAaaa!" Since you are an experienced and caring editor whom I respect for trying to improve Wikipedia, I expect an apology for this uncivil outburst. ch (talk) 03:45, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
What is uncivil is your condescending tone and refusal to consider the concerns of your fellow editors who have been put out by your move and your refusal to take the points they've raised seriously. What I wrote was a statement of fact, and not anything to apologize for. Curly Turkey (gobble) 03:55, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly apologize if I have given the appearance of condescension, though for future reference it would help if you could point to specific examples. My intention was to reply to your original point that policy required that articles be named in the singular, which appeared to me to be a misunderstanding. I characterized this as well intentioned, but the policy allows for exceptions, and the guideline gave "Chinese characters" as one. You then mentioned that the singular title "hindered" you, which Kanguole and I pointed out was not the case. An editor does not have to type extra input or rely on bots. This appears to me to be responsive to your concerns and, more important, in line with Wikipedia policy and the needs of readers. An article about Chinese characters should be titled "Chinese characters." Again, if you can point me to where I have been uncivil, I sincerely apologize. ch (talk) 04:28, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Let's be absolutely crystal clear on this, as there are editors who pull these mind & word games all the time and it drives me up the wall that they are allowed to get away with this behaviour: never in my entire life have I been in a real-life[a] conversation with anyone in which "Q.E.D." was intended to mean anything but "So, F.U." The game? If anyone calls you out on it, you can respnd by linking to Q.E.D., a cute dodge which allows you to appear superficially to have been "the civil one" in the conversation and humiliate your "opponent" at the same time.

My response to this mind game was to point out that you were ignoring valid arguments: This "argument" is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going "LALALALAAAaaa!"—pretty spot-on exactly what you did. Not nice to pull open the Wizard's curtain, but certainly not anything like the "incivility" you demanded I apologize for.

As to the validity of the "argument" itself, I'd like to point out a very recent discussion at Talk:Claude Monet. Not long ago, there were extensive galleries in the article: 28 images in one gallery, 40 in another. Attempts to do something about these sprawling galleries were met with resistance from editors who insisted the Visual Arts Manual of Style used the Monet article specifically to excuse such galleries[b] (déjà vu?) After several long and often acrimonious discussions involving over a dozen editors the consensus fell strongly in favour of reducing the number of images and rearranging the remaining ones into smaller, easier-to-navigate and higher-context galleries.

The fact that "Chinese characters" has been chosen as an example for the guideline in and of itself means little, especially given there is little evidence that much discussion went into its selection—the fact that it was moved specifically to be made the example sets an awful lot of bells ringing (Merry Christmas!). Just how valid, or even thought-out, was that decision?

Now if you could get around to responding to my concerns, we can let this ugly tangent die an ugly death. Maybe you can even get consensus on the side of your argument—as it stands, that's not the case.

  1. ^ that's real-life, not imaginary or historical
  2. ^ "In a single artist biography, it may be more appropriate to include one gallery at the end of the article, such as in Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Claude Monet has two galleries within the text, one for earlier and one for later works."

Curly Turkey (gobble) 06:15, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

I'm struggling to see any pertinent considerations in the above discussion, and I'm not too worried about what may be written in various guidelines (where examples tend to be picked after the fact), but I would note that Letter (alphabet), Symbol, Character (symbol) all have singular titles; this one seems to be more or less analogous. I would be happy to draw what is admittedly a very fine line, between Chinese character, which is the English name for that type of object, and Simplified/Traditional Chinese characters, which are slightly more descriptive names for what are slightly more like sets of objects (more like Arabic numerals). That said, I'm not even totally convinced by my own arguments, and it maybe doesn't matter very much. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:30, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I'd be happy w those in the sg. But for some of the others the sg seems inappropriate. — kwami (talk) 07:04, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
The problem there is, if it "seems" inappropriate to you, but it "seems" appropriate to Joe Bleaugh (or Curly Turkey), then what basis do we have for determining which is correct? When new to Wikipedia (I remember those times) it "seemed" inappropriate to me to have, say, "dog" in the singular—after all, if I were to write a book or article on the subject, I'd be certain to put "dog" in the plural. Curly Turkey (gobble) 08:49, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Post-nominal letters and Code letters ought to be plural since they are specifically used in groups of more than one. Latin letters used in mathematics is obviously a descriptive title, where the plural is natural. Claudian letters, Hillside letters, ASA carriage control characters and Unicode compatibility characters are delimited sets of objects. Block letters is more about that style of writing than the letters themselves. I don't quite see that Chinese character(s) satisfies any of those criteria for being pluralized, though I admit the criteria as I've expressed them aren't very rigorously defined, and views may differ. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:56, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Friends--

Here is a summary of what I take to be the state of discussion. Since the discussion has clarified policy and changed my thinking on several points, I will leave out intermediate steps.

1) WP:SINGULAR specifically exempts "the names of classes of objects (e.g. Arabic numerals or Bantu languages). The guideline WP:NCWS#Unspecified says "Exceptions may also occur where a different technical term is widely used," and lists the specific example "Chinese characters" as acceptable.)"
Reply: This guideline was not widely discussed.
2) Linking to this article is a frequent issue and "Chinese characters" creates unnecessary extra work.
Reply: Linking the phrase "Chinese character" links to "Chinese characters" article, with no extra work.
3) This article should be an exception to the general rule on plurals. There are several reasons, in addition to the guideline:
* An article about "Chinese characters" (and which uses that phrase in the lede and throughout) should be titled "Chinese characters."
* "Chinese characters" is the common phrase or term for this meaning, both in Wikipedia and in general usage; "Chinese character" in this sense is hard to find, though it is used adjectively, as in "Chinese character dictionary."
Reply There should be exceptions only in extreme circumstances, and this is not extreme.
4) The exception is not unusual: plural is used for parallel articles Simplified Chinese characters, Arabic numerals, and a number of other.
Reply: 1) Many parallel articles are in the singular. 2) Exceptions do not justify further exceptions.
5) "Chinese character" gives the impression that it concerns Chinese psychology (Chinese national character).
Objection: This is not a common confusion.
Reply to objection: Several editors said that they had this impression.
6)"Chinese characters" was the long standing title, 2011-2013.
Reply: For many years it was not.

My own view at this point is that #1 is not as strong an argument as I originally thought, though still clearly in favor of the plural; #2 is a reasonable objection but has been met; #3 & #4 are the strongest arguments & leave me in favor of the plural; #5 is not powerful, but still in favor of plural; #6 is not powerful either way. Therefore, on balance, I am still in favor of the move to the plural.

Respectfully submitted ch (talk) 23:03, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

You seem to have omitted all of my arguments - is that just because they tend to lead to the opposite conclusion from the one you want to draw, or because I haven't expressed them well enough to make them look like arguments? W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:55, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
Apologies. My "summary" was too condensed. I meant to briefly represent your argument by saying "many articles are in the singular." I would be happy to add or to have you add a few more words indicated by something like "added". Would this be ok? ch (talk) 15:47, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, I guess my position is already reasonably summed up by "There should be exceptions only in extreme circumstances, and this is not extreme." Although I wouldn't myself say "extreme", just that there should be exceptions only for specific reasons, and I haven't yet seen anything sufficiently specific (that wouldn't also take in a whole lot of other articles that Wikipedia routinely titles in the singular). But as I say, I don't have very strong feelings about it. Happy New Year everyone! W. P. Uzer (talk) 16:24, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
That pretty much echoes my sentiments, the question I posed to Kwakikagami: is requiring the plural not just a case of instruction creep? Was the singular causing any editor or reader any practical problems whatsoever? What does the requirement seek to resolve?
I can sympathize with the alleged "Chinese national character" confusion, but it appears to me strictly hypothetical: when linked, the surrounding context makes the meaning obvious ("X is spelt with the Chinese character Y" will obviously not be misunderstood as having anything to do with psychology), and I would predict that the ratio of those searching "Chinese character" who intend the written characters to dwarf by enormous margins those who are searching for the psychological concept, assuming there is a significant (or even existent) number of readers who would use those search words at all for the psychological concept. Given the number of readers who come to Wikipedia for pop culture trivia, I would expect "Chinese characters" (read "Chinese fictional characters") to be at least equally problematic, anyways. Curly Turkey (gobble) 22:46, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Lets involve an administrator or have a vote[edit]

I have not been involved in the discussion over name changing before this point.

When I first noticed mention of "Chinese character" it occurred to me that most people would interpret it to mean the moral, ethical, etc. characteristics of Chinese people.

If a reader opens a book in Chinese on Chinese culture or something of that sort and notices a chapter entitled 漢字 hàn zì, that reader would be surprised if it turned out to be a chapter about a single Chinese character, even if that character turned out to be 漢. A translator would quite naturally make the English title "Chinese Characters."

I think there has already been too much heat in the ongoing discussion on this topic. Rather than producing any more virtual smoke I think it would be better to get the people previously involved in this Wikipedia article to vote on the issue. P0M (talk) 18:30, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Please have a look at WP:VOTE. Voting or polling isn't how things are done on wikipedia if they are done right. I understand your frustration with the long and sometimes heated discussions about small, but important name changes, but reaching a concensus through discussion is superior to polling in most ways. Most importantly, the vote will have no authority over the future. A vote is held and a change is made, but the first editor who didn't participate in the vote to come a long will have no reason to respect it's result and will be right to reopen the discussion. Nothing will have been accomplished and the process of developing consensus will have been disrupted. Basically, m:Polls are evil. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 18:46, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
The WP:Requested moves procedure tends to become very vote-like, nonetheless. Anyway, that's probably the procedure we ought to follow if we want to get a resolution (at least temporary) to this issue. As to Patrick's argument, that's true, but encyclopedia article titles are not the same as chapter or book titles - Wikipedia uses the singular in titles much more often than would be found in such titles (much more often even than would be found in Wikipedia section headings). This one seems to me to be very close to the border between those that ought to be plural and those that ought to be singular, we probably just need to solicit more opinions about which side of that border it lies (assuming someone is sufficiently dissatisfied with the present title to want to go through the requested move process). W. P. Uzer (talk) 19:39, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
There seems already to be a noticeable lack of civility in discussion. Edit warring by changing the title back and forth is not going to work either. P0M (talk) 20:45, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Nobody's edit warring. There was one move (by me) back in May, and another yesterday. The discussion I requested in May (scroll up) finally seems to be taking place. Curly Turkey (gobble) 21:29, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion has been thoroughly poisoned by a couple of outbursts that apparently arise from a cultural misunderstanding. Where I come from, "Q.E.D." does not mean "so fuck you", and from my past observations of discussion by CWH, I don't believe it means that to him either.
Since this discussion has been derailed, I'd recommend dropping it and opening an RM at some point in the future. Kanguole 22:24, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Or we can ignore these attempts to derail the discussion and treat each other and each other's concerns with respect. Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:12, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Since your move has been disputed, the only way to get resolution is for you to make a {{requested move}}. My advice would be to wait a bit, but it's up to you, of course. Kanguole 00:57, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
"My" move was never disputed—the proposal went nearly a week without comment, and the move itself stood nearly eight months before CWH raised a fuss. Technically, since there is no consensus, the move should be reverted to the status quo until consensus is achieved. No, I'm not propoing doing that—I'd prefer to discuss it. Do you intend to return to the discussion? Curly Turkey (gobble) 02:01, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
Just so we're all clear, It's disputed. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 11:00, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
"It" refers to what? Curly Turkey (gobble) 11:19, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
The move you are arguing for, what you call "'My' move", it has been totally disputed, for the record. Meaning, I agree with W.P. uzer, requested move is appropriate next move IF someone wishes to continue this move process. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 11:23, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
Have you gotten the users backwards? I didn't make the unproposed move, CWH did. That is the move that is being disputed. What Kanguole (not me) called "my" move was the one I proposed eight months ago. There has been no debate about that move—the thread remains empty to this day. Curly Turkey (gobble) 11:31, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
Not even a little backwards. Are you proposing that the above discussions don't count because they happened outside of the subheading you created on this page. I am referring to your suggestion that this page be moved to "Chinese Character". Above and right here is dispute of such a proposal. I don't quite understand why you don't think there has been debate about it. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 13:02, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
There was no opposition for eight months to the move I made. What are you trying to accomplish by trying to make the move I made appear to be the centre of the debate? Curly Turkey (gobble) 21:48, 30 December 2013 (UTC)]
This line of discussion is not going to get anyone anywhere. Reasons, please, why we might prefer the singular or the plural form as the title of the article. W. P. Uzer (talk) 22:11, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Another title that's on my mind is Chinese classifier. I would have thought that, if anything, that one ought to be plural and this one singular. Because "Chinese character" is a name (though composed fairly transparently composed of two parts) for this type of object (whose common use is certainly not limited to China or the Chinese language(s)), whereas "Chinese classifier(s)" is much more of a descriptive title - it means just those classifiers that are used in Chinese. W. P. Uzer (talk) 22:16, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

It might be better to move this comment to the above thread, which is still active and focused on the subject. This thread's purpose appears to be to detract from the productive discussion. It would be best, I think, to see it collapsed. Curly Turkey (gobble) 22:49, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
The purpose of this sub-topic is to clarify about the process. You may not think that my comments are any more than a distraction, but whether we hold a vote, stop all discussion, make an actual move request or continue to debate the issue in a less organize fashion is actually quite important. I think I understand where you are coming from, but I look at this process differently and I think it might help if you humor me for a moment. I see this as by the book WP:BRD. Your move was bold, it was then reverted and discussed. Instead of focusing on the surprising, but ultimately not that meaningful length of time which passed between the move and it's reversion, I think it is better to follow the current course of events appropriately. Since the move to "Chinese character" is disputed, someone should formally request the move, or we should all forget about it. I think the request is ultimately more productive. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 06:07, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
That interpretation of BRD stretches credulity. I solicited discussion, nobody showed interest, I moved, again nobody showed interest for eight months. By the exact same token, we could interpret this discussion as a dispute over the 2011-08-07 move from the singular to the plural, which was never even proposed on the talk page, and lasted less than 22 months of this article's 11-year history. Will you support such an interpretation? Because I won't. Curly Turkey (gobble) 06:53, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
Its a discussion of the move you made because of the title heading the discussion and because it starts out by specifically mentioning your move and then disputing the rationale. Since you are the only one who has mentioned the previous move, it is not a discussion of that move as you correctly suggest. The discussion didn't happen earlier because it didn't happen earlier, just because it is happening now doesn't make it any less valid or less related to the move you made. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 07:04, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
The title of the section is "Move back to "Chinese Characters""—the subject of the dispute. If the subsequent discussion is a to be interpreted as a dispute over the previous move, then how is the previous discussion not to be interpreted as a dispute over the first move? Because I saw no need to name names and point fingers? Is that seriously your argument? I could easily scroll up and add, "Oh, by the way, folks, Kwakikagami moved this on 2011-08-07!" and POOF! we'd suddenly have changed this entire discussion into a dispute over the first move—by your logic, anyways. The rest of us wouldn't buy it, and even if it were that easy I would never do such a thing. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:37, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
Can we not agree that the discussion - if it is to be in any way productive - should not be about any move or moves that were made in the past or about any person or persons who may have performed such moves, but about whether this article should have a singular or a plural as its title? W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:52, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
The above thread, where the actual discussion is taken placed, has managed to do exactly that. I don't know why editors are hung up on pointing fingers in this thread, but it's clear that nothing in this thread has contributed in any way to forming a consensus, only to finding ways to increase the level of personalized acrimony. Can someone uninvolved please collapse it, as I've already suggested? Curly Turkey (gobble) 09:29, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
This is also an "actual discussion". There's room on the talk page for more than one idea to be discussed. The article currently is titled in the plural and a discussion has begun about whether or not that should change. There doesn't appear to be a consensus yet about changing it to "Chinese character". I believe we can all agree on that, I hope. From there it seems clear that a move request should be made if someone thinks a move should be made. We aren't discussing the first move because it appears no one is interested in discussing it. I am not here to win an argument. I am trying to make sure that as we proceed we don't have two wildly different ideas about what is going on. Saying that the move from "Chinese characters" to "Chinese character" is not and has never been in dispute seems like the beginning of just such a situation. Collapsing this discussion because you don't agree with me is not helpful.
It seems to me that the current naming discussion is not advancing towards consensus and that the format for the discussion should change, as POM suggests. I don't think putting it to a vote is helpful. A move request would be more appropriate. Note that I'm not the only one, nor the first to make such proposals. As W.P. Uzer suggest, lets not focus on previous moves and the discussions that did or did not occur. also, Who's pointing fingers?
From WP:Requested moves - "The Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle applies to uncontroversial moves (see Wikipedia:Be bold) and reverts of undiscussed moves. The discussion process is used for potentially controversial moves." Your move wasn't discussed and appears to be controversial, whether or not you intended it to be. Am I really stretching credulity?
Request a move or move on. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 10:15, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
Your interpretation of BRD stretches credulity beyond breaking. A discussion was opened. Nobody bothered to participate for a week, nor did anyone raise any kind of concern for eight months following it. Under what definition of "controversial" does that move come even within sight of controversy? It takes a mighty fine brush to paint it in that light.
  • Re: this "actual discussion": the thread that you've been perpetuating appears to have had no further aim than to antagonize, personalize, slant, and derail the constructive discussion that is still continuing above.
  • "There doesn't appear to be a consensus yet about changing it to "Chinese character"": nor has there ever been a consensus on changing it to the plural. This is why we are discussing it above. Personalizing it seems to be your hobbyhorse, and the only "contribution" you've so far made to the discussion.
  • "lets not focus on previous moves": those are my sentiments. You're the one who insistently beats the horse that this is all about one specific previous move to the exclusion of all others. Somehow this imaginary "issue" isn't even an issue to those in the real discussion above. Your insistence on personalizing it is a total mystery.
    • Here's a laff: "Who's pointing fingers?", followed almost immediately by "Your move wasn't discussed and appears to be controversial". the answer to your own question? You. You are pointing fingers.
  • "I am trying to make sure that as we proceed we don't have two wildly different ideas about what is going on." "We" (those of us involved in the real discussion above) do not. We're not discussing whose move was the evilest, we're discussing which version of the title is more appropriate.
  • "Request a move or move on": posturing, personalizing, and slanting, as well as missing the point. No move has been proposed. We're discussing. Only in your distortion of the facts is the discussion about any particular move, past or present, or about any move request.
  • "It seems to me that the current naming discussion is not advancing towards consensus and that the format for the discussion should change, as POM suggests.": So after eight months, the discussion I started is still "open", but after two days the new, and still active, discussion has been going on for too long? Watch out, your hypocrisy is showing.
Here's an idea: drop the all-out assault on the guy you disagree with, allow this vicious, dishonest garbage to be collapsed, and allow the active discussion above to play itself out. Nobody actually involved in the discussion above has agreed yet that it should be brought to end. No, I don't expect you to give up your vendetta—your personal animosity has been expressed far too clearly and persistently, and I fully expect your every response to consist of a larger number of paragraphs so as to completely bury the productive discussion above. Curly Turkey (gobble) 11:36, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
If you feel that I have personally antagonized you by addressing you as "you", know that that was not my intention. There is nothing to be gained from personal attacks. I only wanted to address directly some of the points you were making. I do not mean to imply that the discussion has gone on too long, but simply that it should advance in a new fashion. Why would I want to end the discussion? I only wanted to suggest that someone request the move because I thought a slightly more formal process would be helpful. Since you have come to the conclusion that I have some vendetta, then there is clearly not any productive discussion possible here. Something has gone terribly wrong here and I will exit so as not to interfere with the well-functioning of this process. I sincerely hope that whatever misunderstanding has occured will evaporarate with my leaving the discussion. good luck. I hope you find what you are looking for. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 20:29, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

<---(out) P0M, that was my thought (and I'm equally not previously involved here); "Chinese character" refers to the psycho-social characteristics of either the Chinese people or a Chinese individual. "Chinese characters" in my mind first refers to ethnic casting decisions, then to persons in works of fiction. I understand why they're not "Chinese letters" (written Chinese not being a language with an alphabet.) I'd suggest "Chinese glyphs" as less likely to bring up those incorrect associations. All y'all could then furiously debate "glyph" vs. "glyphs"; I'd prefer "glyphs"; having said that, I'll shake my head, being involved in too many squabbles already and delete this from my watchlist, wishing all of you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. htom (talk) 21:16, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

As somebody who has been studying Chinese language and also Chinese socialization, character structure, etc., since around 1960, I think I have heard a great number of people discuss things related to China. Most of them have been either students, teachers, or reporters. "Chinese characters" (outside of certain definite contexts such as movie reviews) has always referred to 漢字。 "Chinese character" is almost never used for anything unless it comes in a sentence such as, "This Chinese character is extremely difficult for me to learn how to write." What one does hear, from time to time, is something like, "The character of individuals groomed to become members of officialdom was generally....."
The idea that there might even be something definable as "Chinese character" to look up in an encyclopedia is highly suspect. Character is something formed on the basis of many factors, most or all of which vary from individual to individual. So the idea that all Chinese people are of one "character" is not likely to be accepted as a fit subject of discussion in any academic environment unless it is discussed just to tear down prejudices. P0M (talk) 03:17, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Within the context of Wikipedia itself "Chinese character" in running text is frequent---as in "such-and-such is written with the Chinese character such-and-such". Does the sociological/psychological version ever come up in running text in a way such that it would be appropriate to link it? Is it likely that a reader would search for "Chinese character", expecting to find the social/psychological concept? Context is everything. Curly Turkey (gobble) 05:07, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
It is unlikely that a reader would ever search for "Chinese character" for any reason.P0M (talk)
Then that is a context that can be ignored. Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:54, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I had a look at strict google results for +"chinese characters" and it found 1.5 million whereas a search for +"chinese character" found 15 million. So it seems the singular is used 10 times more often. Of course google results are a rough estimate.
All of the top results referred to "character" as chinese symbols and not the nature of chinese citizens. So I believe confusion of the singular "character" is overblown.
In my opinion it is important to always push towards singular rather than plural. In software development the push has been there for more than a decade and the result is quite elegant. Sure some phrases don't read naturally but that is a small price to pay for getting rid of the whole system of pluralization.
I think this whole argument shows the tension between those two points of view regarding keeping or removing pluralization in general. Because it is effectively trying to change the english language which will naturally cause conflict. LegendLength (talk) 01:50, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
I just searched for "Chinese character" and Google had 743,000 finds. Of those, many were in paragraphs that also included "Chinese characters." Something like, "Beginning study of Chinese characters usually involves learning the Chinese character for 'bright.'"
Google seems to choke when requested to provide materials that include "Chinese character" but not "Chinese characters" or vice-versa. I don't think you can convince anyone with this kind of evidence.P0M (talk) 01:45, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
This is choking?! Curly Turkey (gobble) 02:41, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
POM: You need to use the plus symbol before the search phrase otherwise google tries to help out with plurals etc..
Again, I don't think google's result count is very accurate or useful but in this case it should show a fairly accurate number for the two results because it is comparing a search term to a search term. Without any other kind of quantification (a survey perhaps) there's not much else to go on. LegendLength (talk) 01:57, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived 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: Not moved. (non-admin closure) DavidLeighEllis (talk) 02:18, 20 March 2014 (UTC)


Chinese charactersChinese character

  • "Chinese character" was the original title, and remained so from 2004 to 2011
    • It was moved to "Chinese characters" moved in 2011 without solicitation for discussion
    • It was moved back to "Chinese character" in May 2013 after a request for discussion drew no opposition
    • It was moved back to "Chinese characters" later in December 2013 without solicitation for discussion
  • WP:NCWS#Unspecified specifies "Chinese characters" as an example of an article that should be plural—but the article was made plural after the fact to conform to the example
  • The plural form contradicts WP:SINGULAR
  • The plural form has not been shown to solve any practical problem
  • Requiring plurals for article subjects subjectively thought by some editors as "groups" is instruction creep—unnecessarily creating rules that solve no problems, fixing what was never broken
  • In actual linked text, "Chinese character" in the singular appears quite frequently, as in "Such-and-such a Japanese name is written using the Chinese character such-and-such"
  • It is unlikely a reader will come across a link to the page without sufficient context to make it clear what it means
    • neither the psychological/sociological signification of "Chinese character" nor the pop-culture signification of "Chinese characters" are likely search terms

——— Curly Turkey (gobble) 00:23, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Support moving back to original title. Curly Turkey (gobble) 00:23, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Move back to "Chinese Character". Along with the above reasons for the reversion, the current title is also ambiguous as it could be taken to indicate a group of individuals. ► Philg88 ◄ Star.pngtalk 03:09, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • SUPPORT good rationale per nom.--ColonelHenry (talk) 03:23, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose moving back to "Chinese character." To do so would be a case of "a foolish consistency." P0M (talk) 03:26, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose WP:PLURAL Articles on groups or classes of specific things ; -- 70.50.151.11 (talk) 06:22, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
@70.50.151.11: The article deals with individual Chinese characters in the singular, not plural. ► Philg88 ◄ Star.pngtalk 06:35, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
As JohnBlackburne pointed out, the system combining individual characters as a set is at Written Chinese. Curly Turkey (gobble) 06:41, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Read Kanguole 's reply below. -- 70.50.151.11 (talk) 06:11, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
@70.50.151.11: Please read the rationale for plurals at WP:PLURAL and my reply to Kanguole below. Curly Turkey (gobble) 06:44, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
And Skookum1's opinion. -- 70.50.151.11 (talk) 00:19, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support as per reasons in the request. If this was a group or class of things then nearly everything would be so. Pizza is singular even through there are many kinds of pizzas. Likewise for a Chinese character. As other users pointed out, the general grouping is at Written Chinese. A possible alternative is to use the name Chinese script which is already a redirect here and certainly a common name for the subject. Additionally, Letter (alphabet) is singular eventhough all the arguments used to oppose this change would apply to letter/letters. Rincewind42 (talk) 07:11, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, this still doesn't seem to me to fit clearly into any of the categories of things for which Wikipedia articles tend to be titled in the plural rather than the default singular. I explained in more detail in the previous discussion. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:00, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • support Although one will often refer to 'Chinese characters' it's just a simple plural. One writes with Chinese characters, just as one forms sentences with words, forms paragraphs with sentences, etc. But the articles are word and sentence. The names for the sets used are simplified Chinese characters and traditional Chinese characters. as well as less often Kanji and Hanja. But each set is a collection of Chinese characters, i.e. it's just a simple plural.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 11:41, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose – The topic of this article is a set of symbols used for writing Chinese and other languages, which puts it in the domain of WP:PLURAL, like Egyptian hieroglyphs, Runes, Arabic numerals, Dongba symbols and Banpo symbols. Similarly for the companion articles simplified Chinese characters and traditional Chinese characters. Written Chinese is problematic: its content overlaps almost completely with this article (i.e. it's a content fork), and under that title I would have expected an overview of Classical Chinese, Written vernacular Chinese and colloquial writing. Kanguole 12:13, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
    • @Kanguole: Please read WP:PLURAL more carefully—a rationale is given for the exception for certain groups: "one is much more likely to mention the Bernoulli numbers or Arabic numerals than a particular Bernoulli number or Arabic numeral". That is not the case with "Chinese character"—one quite frequently will talk about an individual Chinese character, as in "X is written with the Chinese character Y". Curly Turkey (gobble) 06:42, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
      • Hmm, it seems "Arabic numerals" was added last week to a paragraph about polynomial series. The guideline identifies "Articles on groups or classes of specific things", and that is exactly what this article is. It's about the set and system of characters, which gives individual characters meaning and function. Kanguole 12:35, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
        • @Kanguole: There is a huge difference between Chinese characters and Arabic numerals (and its recent, undiscussed addition is itself an issue). Arabic numerals are the well-defined set of ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Chinese characters are all the possible characters, and different writing systems make use of different sets of them. For example, Japanese writing does not make use of Simplified Chinese characters, a recent addition to the pool of characters; instead, Japanese has its own recent set of simplified kanji. These mass creations of thousands of new characters (including those proposed but retracted) show that "Chinese characters" is far from a well-defined set, or could ever be. Curly Turkey (gobble) 21:54, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
          • Indeed the set is larger (as are Egyptian hieroglyphs) and more dynamic, but it is still the set that is the subject. Kanguole 07:44, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
            • @Kanguole: It is not "a set" in any such sense—it is not merely "a large set". There is no language that makes use of all the available or potential characters. "Chinese character" refers to the conceptual idea that is used to make sets of characters used in e.g. written Chinese, written Japanese, written Vietnamese, written Korean, etc, and their varieties. Not that any of this should matter, ultimately—naming the article "Chinese character" never caused a single editor or reader any practical problem, ever, nor did the two editors who moved the article ever claim intheir moves that it did. It was moved to "Chinese characters" to satisfy a gut feeling. It is "fixing" the unbroken, and inventing imaginary "problems" to justify it, placing the "problems" in contexts that don't actually occur. Curly Turkey (gobble) 08:03, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
              • Indeed neither form of the title presents a problem for links from other articles. It comes down to what best suits the topic and content of the article itself. And this article is not about that "conceptual idea", but about the set of symbols that constitute the Chinese script. I hope no-one will feel compelled to rewrite the opening in the form "A Chinese character is ..." Kanguole 08:46, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
                • As people keep explaining, it is not about "the set of symbols that constitute the Chinese script". It is about a particular type of symbol - and not all symbols of that type are used in (any particular, or indeed any) Chinese script. W. P. Uzer (talk) 09:27, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
                  • That has been asserted several times, but it still does not correspond to the actual content of the article. There is no article about this "type of symbol", probably because it couldn't say much. Kanguole 13:00, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
                    • The article covers all possible characters of the Chinese type, including the obsolete, the redundant, the non-Chinese, the future not-yet-introduced, the fanciful, and the merely possible. Hard to get much more abstract than that. If the article does not adequately reflect that, then the article is in need of work, along the lines of the comics article I've already brought up. Curly Turkey (gobble) 16:41, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
                    • There is such an article, it's Ideogram and it discusses "Chinese characters" [sic].Skookum1 (talk) 13:20, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
                      • @Skookum1: In running text, where the grammatical context demands the plural? You'd expect the same with "dogs" or "socks"---what does that have to do with titling? Curly Turkey (gobble) 13:43, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per Kanguole. The article is about a class or set of characters — Chinese characters — and per WP:SINGULAR, the names of classes (e.g. Arabic numerals or Bantu languages) are not singular. ╠╣uw [talk] 00:54, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    • @Huwmanbeing: Articles such as Bantu languages solve actual problems—the pattern of Japanese language, French language, Thai language, etc has been established to distinguish languages from ethnicities and nationalities, thus Bantu language appears to refer to a language rather than a language family. "Chinese character" doesn't suffer from any such problem. As Rincewind42 has already pointed out, a more apt parallel is Letter (alphabet). Again, I ask a question that nobody wants to answer: What problem is being solved by titling this article in the plural? What issues has anyone ever run into with the standard singular? Curly Turkey (gobble) 06:36, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    The problems retitling solves are that a) the singular might be confusing (which Chinese character?), and b) it's inconsistent with WP:SINGULAR (which says that titles of classes are plural). I'm afraid I don't see anything to suggest that this article is not about a class, so the example of "Arabic numerals" seems like a good parallel. ╠╣uw [talk] 09:52, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    I don't think it's a good parallel, since Arabic numerals are a limited defined set (we can say "the Arabic numerals" - of course there are different graphical versions of them). Any article with a singular title (such as "Hammer") can be said to be "about a class" (the class of tools that we call hammers). Why is Chinese character different in this respect from hammer, or from Letter? W. P. Uzer (talk) 10:11, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    Arabic numerals are a set, but in what way are Chinese characters not? I'm afraid I don't see the difference.
    As for the suggestion that every article is about a class and may therefore be plural, that's contradicted by WP:SINGULAR, which does distinguish that some articles are centrally about a class and others are not. To take your example, Letter is chiefly written about the concept and definition of what a letter is (regardless of set), while Chinese characters explicitly covers a particular set of letters – hence plural. That's the norm:
    ╠╣uw [talk] 16:58, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    Arabic numerals are a limited set: 0123456789. There is no such well-defined set of Chinese characters, particularly as the term "Chinese character" is not limited to characters used in Chinese (and even then, has anyone ever confidently listed all of them that may ever have appeared?) The others in your list are what I would call "descriptive" titles, not specific names, and in that type of title it is natural to use the plural. W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:15, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    @Huwmanbeing: "while Chinese characters explicitly covers a particular set of letters": no, it covers the concept of the Chinese character, and different writing systems use different sets, such as the recent mass introductions of characters in Chinese and in Japanese. New characters have been added throughout history, including very recent history, and there is no reason to believe there will ever be an end to it. No writing system makes use of all the possible characters, or could. As the Second round of simplified Chinese characters demostrates, at times people have been encouraged to innovate more or less freely with Chinese characters, and future reforms will likely spring from vernacular innovations. Curly Turkey (gobble) 22:07, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) @Huwmanbeing: a) "which Chinese character?": is a "problem" with every single last article in the singular on Wikipedia—which dog does "Dog" refer to? Which war does "War"? Which letter does "Letter (alphabet)"? Not a credible "problem"—or if it is, it should be presented to the MoS people to change naming conventions, not targeting a lone article. b) WP:SINGULAR nowhere requires plurals, it allows exceptions in exceptional cases. Nothing is exceptional about "Chinese character"—no real problem that real live editors have actually run into has been presented (such as the Bantu languages problem described above). Either way, how is "Arabic numerals" a closer parallel than "Letter (alphabet)"? Curly Turkey (gobble) 10:21, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    See above. (The Arabic numerals article is explicitly about a particular set of numerals; the letter article is not about any particular set of letters.) ╠╣uw [talk] 17:05, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per various above re classes, repeating someone else's "per Kanguole" and also the bit about Arabic numerals and such. The current title suggests the topic of the concept and range of Chinese characters as a a whole, not an examination of an individual character; thus the google above somewhere showing "Chinese character" as more common is only valid, if at all, if the search excludes items such as "[He, Der, Ng, whatever] is a Chinese character meaning FOO" or "The Chinese character for "tree" is based on a graphic drawing of a tree", i.e. items where the usage is for specific characters, not for the general topic of characters as a whole. Also the singular has other implications in English and is therefore considerably more vague; i.e. Chinese character as in reference to the culture and society and Chinese personality.Skookum1 (talk) 15:33, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    As noted already, yes this is about all Chinese characters. As Dog is about all dogs, not just an individual dog. And as Numerical digit is about all of them, not just one. There is nothing special about Chinese characters as a group, different from other groups such as dogs, digits, etc. If you're looking for them treated as a set, as a system, then there's Written Chinese for the broad topic, Simplified Chinese characters for the set devised and used in China, much as there's List of dog breeds for all the sorts of dogs and Arabic numerals for the widely used set of digits.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 15:54, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    If you look at the content of the articles, Written Chinese is another article on exactly the same topic as this article, the set of Chinese characters. Kanguole 16:09, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    @Kanguole: Then someone botched the article. Obviously one would not use the term "written Chinese" to refer to the characters used in, say, written Japanese. For some reason, written Japanese redirects to Japanese writing system, while Chinese writing system redirects to written Chinese. One or the other needs to be moved, and "written Chinese" (under whatever title) needs to be fixed. A similar problem used to exist with comics and comic book, where the content of the "comics" article was almost entiely about American comic books. The solution was not to merge the articles, as comics is obviously distinct from comic books. The solution was to fix the broken article. Same with "written Chinese". We fix what's broken ("written Chinese") and don't fix what ain't broken ("Chinese character"). Yes, that's more work. Curly Turkey (gobble) 21:35, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
    Chinese characters are the Chinese writing system. It doesn't make sense to discuss the characters in the abstract, divorced from their function as a set, and this article doesn't attempt to do so. Kanguole 07:44, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
    "Chinese characters are the Chinese writing system.": my God, you didn't seriously just say that out loud, did you? Curly Turkey (gobble) 13:31, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Oppose. "Chinese characters" is the common name, unambiguous, and consistent with Simplified Chinese characters, Traditional Chinese characters, Singapore Chinese characters, Chinese characters of Empress Wu, etc. Keahapana (talk) 23:59, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for providing this search link that not only illustrates why WP policies restrict "argumentum ad Googlum" but also answer your question about situations where "Chinese character" is ambiguous. Two of the first ten ghits are book titles using "the Chinese character" to mean "Chinese persona/personality" and not "logogram": Misreading the Chinese Character: Images of the Chinese in Euroamerican Drama to 1925 (#6) and The Remaking of the Chinese Character and Identity in the 21st Century (#7). If instead we follow WP:GOOGLETEST and use Ngrams, this shows that Google Books use "Chinese characters" three times more commonly than "Chinese character", and this shows how many "Chinese character" usages specify "the Chinese character" and "the Chinese character for". For an article about Hanzi, the title "Chinese characters" is more suitable than "Chinese character". Keahapana (talk) 19:26, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Missing the point in the most remarkable way, and demonstrating how poorly you've understood both COMMONNAME and my intentions. COMMONNAME is not a first-past-the-post game. COMMONNAME is used to avoid the silliness of things such as naming the Ringo Starr article "Richard Starkey", where not only is the usage of one is more popular than the other, but also the notability. Nowhere in the guidline is any leeway given whatsoever for different grammatical forms—otherwise we end up with Sock at "Socks" simply because a Google Ngram shows "socks" to be the far more common form. Some notes about the Google results I posted:
  • they were not intended to show "Chinese character" was more common than "Chinese characters" (which returns more hits is irrelevant), but to show that "Chinese character" was not in the least uncommon
  • they were limited to those pages in which "Chinese characters" was excluded entirely from the entire document
  • they were further limited to those pages in which the exact phrase "the Chinese character" was included...and still resulted in millions of hits.
The unfortunate thing is this diversion has allowed you to completely ignore the real question, which requires no Ngrams, and which I will now reiterate: how could WP:COMMONNAME ever apply to any pluralization (or purely grammatical) situation? Remember, if you really intend to stand by your interpretation of COMMONNAME, then your next task will be to open an RfC at the COMMONNAME talkpage to convince the rest of Wikipedia that every article such as "Sock" in which an Ngram shows one grammatical form to be more "common" than another must be moved. Curly Turkey (gobble) 21:14, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Oppose There are good arguments on either side, but the weight is clearly for the plural as the Common Name, that is, the one that an ordinary reader would expect and is most widely used. I agree with Curley Turkey that a general Google search is not dispositive, but the searches below indicate that reliable sources strongly go for the plural: it's the plural for the Common Name out in other reference books and encyclopedias, and even in Wikipedia:

  • Of the references and texts I have at hand, many avoid the question by using "script" or "writing system," but I can't find any that use "Chinese Character" as a topic heading. On the other hand, these use “Chinese Characters” in index or section headings: Wilkinson, Chinese History A New Manual (Harvard 2012) index p. 1106; Cambridge Encyclopedia of China, Index p. 487; Victor Mair, “Language and Script," in Columbia History of Chinese Literature (2001) p. 43; John deFrancis, The Chinese Language (1984), has chapters “Rethinking Chinese Characters”& “Demythifying Chinese Characters” not “Rethinking the Chinese Character.”
  • A search of WorldCat for the plural “Chinese Characters” has more than a dozen books titled "Chinese Characters" and none titled "Chinese Character." In the first hundred titles, there is only one singular use (Chinese Character Dictionary), and that is adjectival. Some of the titles demand the plural (The First 100 Chinese Characters), some refer to people, (Wasserstrom’s Chinese Characters), but the references to the logogram are all "Chinese Characters."
  • A WorldCat search for the singular form “Chinese Character” produced a list with many titles like The remaking of the Chinese character and identity in the 21st century, that is, referring to national character; many in the adjective form (Chinese Character Indexes, Chinese Character Dictionary), some which require the singular (What’s In a Chinese Character), but only one exception Read Chinese: A Beginning Text in the Chinese Character, which strikes my ear as not being colloquial.
  • The Library of Congress Subject Classification is “Chinese Characters.” WorldCat search Subject=Chinese Characters: the first hundred hits have no use in any title of the singular except Chinese Character Dictionary.
  • Google Search for the singular: Chinese Chinese Character comes up with the usual mess, but the only hits that use “Chinese character” for the general topic are “Fenellosa, Pound, and the Chinese Character,” and “The Chinese Character” (which is slightly different, but let’s count it). My eyes lit up when I saw “Chinese Character” as a subject heading at [1] at a Princeton University address, but this turns out to be a copy of the old Wikipedia page. The only well informed use I found in the first dozen pages was “The Chinese Character – no simple matter” at China Heritage Quarterly (June/Sept 2012).
  • Search "Chinese Character" encyclopedia britannica gets hits like “the joyful and carefree sides of the Chinese character” and “the Chinese character for well (jing)."
  • Search "Chinese Characters" encyclopedia britannica gets the usual mess, but headed by “Chinese writing,” “Chinese Calligraphy” and so forth.
  • Search "Chinese Characters" encyclopedia, of course gets a bunch of Wikipedia hits, including Traditional Chinese Characters, Simplified Chinese Characters, Radical (Chinese characters), Singapore Chinese characters, and I won’t count Transcription into Chinese characters.

Cheers, ch (talk) 21:38, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Please cite where WP:COMMONNAME applies to grammatical forms. Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:07, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Rather, let's have the community decide in another RfC, as interpreting COMMONNAME is such an unusual way would have implications for hoards of articles, such as sock (Ngram), woman (Ngram), sport (Ngram), bird (Ngram), and flower (Ngram). Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:51, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Many thanks to CWH for providing these excellent sources demonstrating that "Chinese characters" is the COMMONNAME. Neither pluralization nor grammaticality is pertinent. WP:COMMONNAME means: "Wikipedia prefers the name that is most commonly used (as determined by its prevalence in reliable English-language sources) as such names will be the most recognizable and the most natural." Keahapana (talk) 00:06, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
@Keahapana: The appropriate place for this comment is at Wikipedia talk:Article titles#RfC: Does COMMONNAME apply to grammatical forms?, not here, as such an argument has far-ranging consequences. Please add this comment there so it can be examined by the community. Curly Turkey (gobble) 00:30, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The guide at WP:COMMONNAME does not apply to this discussion. The plural form and the singular form are the same name. WP:COMMONNAME name would apply to a discussion such as "Chinese character v Chinese logographic". WP:PLURAL and WP:SINGULAR make no mention of commonness being a test. Rather they say to use the singular except in a few limited circumstances of which this article is not one. Even if the plural is more common, we still use the singular. Rincewind42 (talk) 05:19, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Comment: The difference between "Chinese character" and "Chinese Characters" is not merely a difference in grammatical form. There is a difference in meaning and usage between the singular and plural. As shown in my searches above, there are many, many uses of "Chinese Characters" as the title for books, articles, index headings etc., while I could find only one of "Chinese Character" in the sense we are talking about (and that was not clear). I didn't list examples of "Chinese Character" in other senses, such as The Nature of Chinese Character: Gifts from the Earth, but others have given them.
And the context makes it obvious what it is about. Context is everything. Just because "Chicken" can mean either the animal or the food doesn't mean we name the article for the animal "Chickens". Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:43, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
The guideline at WP:TITLE in a "nutshell" is "Article titles should be recognizable to readers, unambiguous, and consistent with usage in reliable English-language sources." Again, the need to be consistent is very important, but various guidelines also either allow for exceptions or call for Common Sense.
Question: If "Chinese Character" is a Common Name for this topic, why are there virtually no uses of it among the "reliable English language sources"? If there is no difference between the singular and the plural, why is only the plural used in titles etc.?
Because—WHOOPS!there are. In titles? I see Times Chinese Character Dictionary, Chinese Character Frequency Lists, Integration of a Chinese Character Labeling System Into a Computer Mapping Program, Advanced Chinese Character Text, What's in a Chinese Character, Chinese Character Workbook, Keys to Chinese Character Writing, Read Chinese: A Beginning Text in the Chinese Character, Printed Chinese Character Recognition, On-line Handwritten Chinese Character Recognition, An Approach to Chinese Character I/O Design, Chinese Character Psycholinguistic Database, Concise Chinese character - Korean dictionary, Chinese Character Synthesis: Towards Universal Chinese Information Exchange, A Brush-Pen Chinese Character Output System, The Family of Chinese Character-type Scripts, Toward a Generative Grammar of Chinese Character Structure and Stroke Order, The Simplification of Chinese Character-based Writing, Chinese Character Generation: A Stroke Oriented Method... and on and on. And that's just in book titles. Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:43, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Added Later: I apologize, as I explain at more length below, that I assumed that people would read this in the context of the preceding paragraph and did not repeat the language that when I said "in titles" I meant "AS titles," not "IN titles." I am sorry to have been misleading, but the question still stands. I do not see books, articles, or index entries to "Chinese Character," which indicates that this is not a natural usage for this topic.ch (talk) 19:49, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
The very sensible point has been raised that "Chinese character" appears inline without causing misunderstanding and that nobody comes across this article randomnly. Although this point does not address the need to be "recognizable to readers, unambiguous, and consistent with usage in reliable English-language sources," it is also not entirely true.
Test: When you see the TOC of a collection of Wikipedia reprints, what would you as a common reader expect an article "Chinese Character" to be about?
I'd expect it to be about the Chinese written character, as it is something widely written about and used in several non-Chinese languages, expecially as a TOC would most likely be grouped by subject (thus under "Writing systems" or some such). Most people don't read at random in context-free environments, and those who don't should be expecting to be confused. Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:43, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Among the reprints which include this article are Articles Containing Chinese (Taiwan) Language Text: Montenegro, Republic of China Armed Forces, Chinese Character and Articles on Writing Systems Without Word Boundaries, Including: Thai Script, Chinese Character, Tibetan Script, Burmese Script, Lao Script, Khmer Script. (Hephaestus) (I offer these only as a test of how "Chinese Character" strikes people.) Cheers ch (talk) 19:59, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Just so you know, Haphaestus specializes in reprinting Wikipedia content. And if you are serious about this COMMONNAME stuff, then please take it to the appropriate venue. Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:43, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
You could have a book or article entitled something like "Developmental problems in the character structure of the American male," but you could not have a meaningful article or book title such as "Analysis and classification of Chinese character." That is because there is presumed to be one particular character structure that pertains to "the American male." However, when one is talking about any research that is not restricted to a single character, e.g., principles that guide how Chinese characters are arranged in various kinds of dictionaries, that won't work. It would be silly to try to analyze principles of character formation by looking at a single character. It is necessary to look at a large enough set of examples to pull out for examination all of the ways that people have put components together to create complex characters. There would be similar problems with titles such as, "Common careers of Norwegian immigrant," "The care and rehabilitation of Soviet defector, the WHO perspective," "Innoculation of Idaho Potato for the prevention of rust," "The prevention of mites in honey bee," "Econony and safety characterists of Japanese automobile," etc. Sometimes one can look at a single individual in a meaningful way, "The personality of Harry Truman," and sometimes one needs to look at a whole population to make a meaningful statement. You wouldn't find a title such as, "The average height of American President." P0M (talk) 21:50, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
@Patrick0Moran: Once again: context is everything—in this case, grammatical context. You could have a book titled Lion Mating Habits, but not Lions Mating Habits—the adjunct form of the noun usually requires the singular. Similarly you could have Mating Habits of Lions, but not Mating Habits of Lion, because the grammar requires the plural in that context. Then there are contexts in which both are correct English, but have different meanings: Mating Habits of the Lion (abstract—any lion) vs Mating Habits of the Lions (particular lions, perhaps in a particular reserve at a particular time). In the cases you've given above, "Lions" would be grammatically required—yet the article itself is, of course, at "Lion". Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:10, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
"Chinese Character" still won't work as an isolated book or article title. Even "Chinese character: analysis and classification." The reason is that the subject matter is not a single Chinese character. "Norwegian Immigrant" would not work as a book title. When you are talking about lions in an encyclopedia article you can keep it singular because of the simplistic view that if you know one lion you know them all. If you dig deeply enough you can even handle male and female lions, genitalia included, under the title "lion." You can find the "essence" or the average genome in one specimen. You can tell a great deal about the lion in the wild by dissecting one dead specimen donated by the local zoo. On the other hand, you cannot tell much at all by analyzing one Chinese character. You have to talk about the "population" of characters. P0M (talk) 18:26, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
@Patrick0Moran: Then you'll have to explain Letter (alphabet)—you'll get an awful lot more mileage from analyzing an isolated Chinese character than you will from analyzing an isolated Roman grapheme. You'll also have to explain why analyzing a single Dinosaur gives us all we need to know about all dinosaurs. Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:44, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I think it should be obvious. When you've seen one lion you've seen them all. When you've seen one letter in the Roman alphabet you've seen them all. That's not my prejudice, but it does seem to reflect the thinking of people who like to classify things. I would prefer an article about Lions that includes the atypical ones, e.g., the ones who bond with humans. In the case of Chinese characters, unlike lions, there is not one standard blueprint that is churned out with maybe a little difference in the ornamentations.P0M (talk) 00:35, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
@Patrick0Moran: I didn't aske about lions, I asked about dinosaurs—and did you just propose that the article should be called "Lions"? Curly Turkey (gobble) 00:52, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
So sorry. When you've seen one dinosaur you've seen them all — at least if you are a lumper rather than a splitter. Of course I would prefer to have an article entitled "Dinosaurs," and an article called "Lions," but seeing those articles entitled "Dinosaur" and "Lion" doesn't quite twist my gut as hard as does "Chinese character." To be consistent, an article that talks about the diversity among all species of dinosaurs ought not to be entitled "Dinosaur," and an article that talks about male lions, female lions, man-killing lions, human-lion bonds, lions protecting humans against other lions, etc., etc. is not going to fit the title "Lion" the way a disquisition on the standard genome of P. leo, its standard physical features, general behavior, etc. would. Sorry, I'm not a conformist when it comes to opinions on such things, and I don't respond ingratiatingly to pressure tactics from those who do not like my judgments.P0M (talk) 04:52, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
@Patrick0Moran: Okay, so your oppose comes down to your broader disagreement with Wikipedia's established naming standards. Not interested in arguing with that, but it sucks all the life out of your oppose—whatever admin closes this thing will be free to ignore it. Check out Talk:E. W. Hornung#Requested move for a case where the majority failed to carry the day (which should make a non-conformist such as yourself happy, no?)
You may want to give this some thought, though: the naming conventions may have less to do with "classifying things" (as you've conceived it) than to do with keeping things easy to access—for example, making an article easy to link to in running text (a core feature of Wikipedia), or easy to search for, or simply to keep things simple and clean. There are practical considerations for titling conventions, and I think the conventions should be maintained except and when they cease to be practical. Further, it may help to think like a lexicographer: the singular form is not the same as being singular—it just so happens that the root forms and singular forms of nouns in English share the same form, just as the root forms and imperative forms of Englsih verbs happen to have the same form, but nobody interprets "run" in the dictionary as a command. Curly Turkey (gobble) 05:34, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Letter (alphabet) corresponds with Logogram. Articles about series of letters use article titles denoting a set, such as Cyrillic script and Greek alphabet. Not "Cyrillic letter" and "Greek letter". Similarly, this is about the entire group of Chinese characters, as that group exists now and may be expanded in the future. AgnosticAphid talk 23:54, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
@Agnosticaphid:: the "group" of Chinese characters does not exists as a set that can be used as a set. It is a type of logogram, and a number of sets have been produced from that type: several sets in Chinese, as well as Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc. Pooling all the characters from these actual and hypothetical sets gives us a theoretical abstract "Chinese character" that can be analyzed, where the characteristcs of what makes a Chinese character a Chinese character can be determined, as well as the sociology of its usage in different cultures. Curly Turkey (gobble) 00:48, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the article on a theoretical abstract "Chinese character" that you describe would be viable. But it is clearly not this article—that much is plain from examining the content. Kanguole 07:35, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
@Kanguole: It's clearly not a concrete system of characters—that much is plain from examining the content, not that we should be relying on the content of an underdeveloped article—and as CWH has emphasized, we cannot be relying on Wikipedia as a source. And again, do I have to bring up the egregious example of the comics article? And again, either way, nobody has demonstrated how the years this article spent in the singular has caused even a single editor or reader any sort of problem whatsoever. There is nothing exceptional about "Chinese character" that would require a plural title—there is nothing "pluralistic" about it that would require granting an exception to Wikipedia's well-established naming conventions. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:48, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
The development you describe would involve radically re-purposing the article, and it's doubtful there would be consensus for that. That hypothetical article is not a basis for decisions about the naming of this article. Kanguole 13:04, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
@Kanguole: You'll have to explain why, given that most of the article as it stands was developed under the singular-form title. (Regardless of titling issues, the article itself is in need of a lot of work). Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:20, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
From samplings of the content over the years, it seems this article has never been about the theoretical abstract "Chinese character" you refer to. Kanguole 00:30, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
@Kanguole: From samplings of the content over the years, it seems this article has never been about the concrete set of characters you refer to—not that we should ever consider sourcing a Wikipedia article to itself. Seriously, how many times do I have to bring up the "comics" fiasco? Not that it should matter. "Dinosaur" is an article about a concrete group that appears in the root (superfically "singular") form. Patrick0Moran is consistent enough to believe that article would best be renamed. Do you? Curly Turkey (gobble) 01:44, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
Shall we discuss the reasons why "other stuff exists is an invalid argument"? AgnosticAphid talk 05:35, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
@Agnosticaphid: Instead of ignoring your argument because of OSE, I took your point seriously and responded to it. Why not respond to mine? Curly Turkey (gobble) 05:43, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I didn't respond because it seemed pointless. The focus of this discussion has shifted from "it's just about a character and not a group!" to "maybe it's about a group, fine, but there's other articles arguably about groups that use singular names like 'dinosaur!'" Except you never actually admitted that you were wrong the first time. As far as I can tell you still think this article is about not a group of logograms but an abstract concept (I think?) and we are just having a fun little aside. But however you tie yourself I to semantic knots, this article is still about a group of logograms. Whether or not dinosaur is the proper name given the scope of that reptilian article is entirely beside the point and does nothing to advance this discussion. AgnosticAphid talk 05:54, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

  • @Agnosticaphid: "it's just about a character and not a group!": citation please. Nobody in this entire discussion at any time has ever made even the slightest suggestion of such an idiotic statement. I am frankly astounded that you could twist such an "interpretation" out of anything anyone has written here. You have some explaining to do. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:20, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Oppose – I don't understand the reasoning behind this move. Surely "characters" is correct, as it is a class of items. "Chinese character" to me suggests "the character of the Chinese people" or something.  White Whirlwind  咨  03:15, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

  • @White whirlwind: It's not a "class of items"—different languages use different character sets, dealt with in their own articles, and the subject also covers hypothetical and fanciful characters that may never be used by any language, and officially proposed but withdrawn sets. This article defines the units those sets are made from. "the character of the Chinese people" has already been shot down as a credible interpretation by one of the opposers. Curly Turkey (gobble) 03:34, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Nice try. Still a strong oppose.  White Whirlwind  咨  04:28, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
@White whirlwind:: "Nice try"? How about demonstrating evidence for your position? As per WP:!VOTE, "Polling is not a substitute for discussion"—your !vote counts for nothing without evidence to back it up. There are any number of polls that have been closed in favour of the minority !vote, as Wikipedia is not a democracy—if you want your !vote to mean anything, the onus is on you to back it up. Curly Turkey (gobble) 05:07, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Oppose – for two reasons. First of all, the article is not about just one chinese character or even about the abstract concept of "a chinese character". It is about a set of "logograms used in the writing of Chinese," as is plainly apparent from the first sentence. (And indeed the entire lead, which discusses how many there, what they usually look like, where they are used, and so on.) The infoboxes also suggest the article is about a group of characters ("chinese writing" and "chinese characters"). Second, per WP:SINGULAR, any particular character is "of interest only because it is part of the" particular group of logograms called chinese characters, just like Roman numerals, of which there are also infinity-many, or Egyptian hieroglyphics. AgnosticAphid talk 17:11, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

  • @Agnosticaphid: There is no parallel with Roman numerals—they are only "inifinite" in the sense that an infinite number of numerals can be produced from the base seven characters. There is nothing remotely like that in Chinese writing—a large number of characters have no established radical. There is no algorithm that could predict, for example, every possible character or combination of radicals—the now-common radical "讠", for example, didn't even exist a few generations ago, and couldn't have been predicted by any such hypothetical algorithm or computer program. Further, the different sets (in Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Hanja, etc) define usable sets. "The set" of Chinese characters cannot be used willy-nilly in any writing system—enormous numbers of the characters cannot be used with together in the same document. Are there Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, or Egyptian hieroglyphs that cannot be used with each other in the same document? No, they form well-defined systems. Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:38, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "set of "logograms used in the writing of Chinese," ": notice how your "set" is outside of the quotation? That's because it's not there in the original. The article itself does not talk of them as a set. Curly Turkey (gobble) 21:05, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
    • The fact that there are more radicals and characters than different roman numerals is a distinction without a difference. That's a difference of degree, not kind. And trying to argue that the article is not about the entire group of Chinese characters is totally unconvincing. The article discusses how many there are, where they are used, the different types of characters, what their history is, and how they are indexed, among other things. Noticed how I was forced to use the plural verb "are"? That's because each of those things is discussing attributes of the group of Chinese characters, not any individual character. AgnosticAphid talk 23:10, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
      • @Agnosticaphid: Arguing that Chinese characters make up a single set is as unconvincing as arguing that Greek, Cyrillic and Roman letters are a single set (they do share glyphs). There are Japanese characters not accepted by the Chinese, Chinese characters not accepted by the Japanese, and etc for the other languages that use these characters. The glyphs cannot be used as a single set.
      • Do the Roman numerals or Arabic numerals article talk about how new characters can be added to the set? No, because the can't be. Are there any Roman letters that can't be used with other Roman numerals? Nope, they can be (and are) all used to create the numerals. This is a difference in kind, not degree.
      • "The article discusses how many there are": the article discusses how many have been discovered to date. There are those that have been lost to history, there are others yet to be discovered, there are those yet to be created, and there are fanciful ones that may never enter usage, but are still Chinese characters (though not valid in any of the sets actually used in practice—these sets have their own articles).Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:42, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
        • Explain to me your proposed distinction with Egyptian hieroglyphs? AgnosticAphid talk 23:50, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
          • @Agnosticaphid: Ignoring that Other Stuff Exists is an invalid argument, Egyptian hieroglyphs was a single system used in a single language. Chinese characters are used to make sets of characters employed by different languages—sometimes even mutually exclusive sets in a single language (as in Simplified Chinese vs Traditional). One cannot freely use any character from another set, but any character, even a fanciful or hypothetical one, is a "Chinese character"—even if created and used by someone who doesn't use Chinese. This is why we have articles for kanji, hanja, Simplified Chinese characters, etc—those are actual sets defined and used. There has not been demonstrated "a set" of all Chinese characters except in an abstract sense—they cannot be used, as a whole, in a single system. Curly Turkey (gobble) 00:41, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
            • I'm sorry, but I find your argument entirely unpersuasive. We can come up with all sorts of different reasons why Chinese characters are different from the Roman alphabet, but in the end we are still talking about a group of symbols that are widely used by people to communicate in different countries and languages. We can't just copy it and say "Chinese alphabet," obviously; we go with the substitute "group" name of Chinese characters used in sources. If there was just one Chinese character, it wouldn't be notable. It has an article precisely because it's a large group of symbols with a long history and wide usage, as the article reflects. AgnosticAphid talk 03:25, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
              • @Agnosticaphid: "substitute "group" name of Chinese characters used in sources": as has been demonstrated, both the plural and singular are (expectedly) widespread in reliable sources, as is the case of sock, flower, letter, etc.
                "If there was just one Chinese character, it wouldn't be notable.": this is called a non sequitur—the singular form does not imply singularity (you are the first to imply it did), as clearly demonstrated already that in the form of a noun adjunct, a noun usually must take the singular form (as in "Lion mating habits"—obviously lions don't mate alone; "hot dog vender"Template:Subst;emdashprobably sells an awful lot of wieners!). Different grammatical forms have been considered the same word for thousands of years now—that's why there is a listing for "sock" in the dictionary and none for "socks"—they are the same word, and preference is given to the stem (superficially "singular") form, even when the plural form is far more common.
                "It has an article precisely because it's a large group of symbols with a long history and wide usage": another non sequitur—I have no idea what point this was supposed to make, or refute.
                This article was causing nobody any grief during the years it spent in the singular, and no credible rationale has yet been presented for the undiscussed move—neither has evidence that Chinese characters indeed make up a "group". Curly Turkey (gobble) 03:51, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
                • I would like to say that I'm surprised you would wikilink "non sequitur" and act as though I don't know what it is in light of your clearly expressed displeasure above with people wikilinking "Q.E.D." to you, but I'm not. AgnosticAphid talk 14:55, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
                  • For what reason? Latin terms are offensive, per se? We're not resorting to this, are we?
                  • @Agnosticaphid: "If there was just one Chinese character, it wouldn't be notable." is a non sequitur because it does not follow from any of the premises. We're not talking about a single character, and never were, but are about the root form of a noun, which, in English, happens to take the same form as the singular. Dictionaries stick to the root form, and the plurals, adjunct forms, and other forms are assumed. Let's try this: ""If there was just one dinosaur, it wouldn't be notable."—the article is titled dinosaur, and nobody (even those who wish it were titled "dinosaurs") would assume it's about a single dinosaur.
                  • "It has an article precisely because it's a large group of symbols with a long history and wide usage": making assumptions that (a) it is a single group (it is demonstrably not) (b) the group is large (obviously there are many small groups of glyphs that have articles, such as Arabic numerals (only ten!), so size is beyond irrelevant) (c) it is notable for its long history (Wikipedia tends to be recent history-heavy) (d) it is notable for its wide usage (so Egyptian hieroglyphs, I suppose, are not notable? After all, they were confined to one long-dead language and culture in a restricted area).
                  • Can we now cut out the personal attacks and focus on the actual points being raised? Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:50, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
                    • First of all, it's not a non sequitur. As per WP:PLURAL, a Chinese character is "of interest only because it is part of the" broader group of Chinese characters. If only one Chinese character existed, it wouldn't be notable, and there wouldn't be an article. Who would care about just one logogram that wasn't related to a bunch of others so as to form a language? There's an article about Chinese characters precisely because Chinese characters are a huge group of symbols used for communicating by people across the world. In this entire exhaustingly huge thread, you've yet to convincingly explain why this article not about a large and particular group of logograms used for communicating in various asian languages and countries. You can't, because it plainly is. The first sentence explains the article is about "Chinese characters". Plus, if we are going to be pedantic, the current lead would violate MOS:BOLDTITLE if the article's title were changed, because it bolds text that would not be exactly the same as the article title. Do you propose rewriting the first sentence and the rest of the lead section to be written as "A Chinese character is..."? Probably not.
                      Second of all, I just thought it was ironic that, rather than try to figure out how we are miscommunicating, you patronizingly assumed I didn't know what a non sequitur was, especially in light of this sentence of yours above about "Q.E.D.", which last time I checked was also a latin phrase: "The game? If anyone calls you out on it, you can respnd by linking to Q.E.D., a cute dodge which allows you to appear superficially to have been "the civil one" in the conversation and humiliate your "opponent" at the same time." Now, if I were truly a Zen wikipedian, I would have resisted that dig, and for that I am sorry. AgnosticAphid talk 23:43, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
                      • Please look at my response to CWH about Dinosaur, which "violates" all those things you claim "Chinese character" violates—except that there is no violation at all. The root form of a noun does not imply it is exclusively singular—grammatical context is required.
                      • To be clear, where I grew up "Q.E.D." means exactly what I said it did, a feeling that was strongly reinforced by the other editor trying to shut down the discussion. That editor and I have since put that behind us. Linking a term like "non sequitur" is the kind of thing I do automatically at Wikipedia, conscious of the fact that others may also be reading this or read it in the future. If these comments were meant for you and you alone I'd be putting them on your talk page, and if I'd meant to belittle you I can assure you I can find far more effective means than linking a term in my comments. Curly Turkey (gobble) 00:01, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
                      • @Agnosticaphid:: Just FYI, we recently relaxed wording in MOS:BOLDTITLE [2], because the singular/plural discrepancy is common, along with other minor style variations between the title and the lead sentence. No such user (talk) 15:56, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Comment on singular plural: Apologies. When I put the question ("If 'Chinese Character' is a Common Name for this topic, why are there virtually no uses of it among the reliable English language sources? If there is no difference between the singular and the plural, why is only the plural used in titles etc.?") I mistakenly assumed that it would be read in the context of the preceding paragraph, where I specified "as title for books, articles, index headings etc." (It is now separated from the Question by the good point that context is everything).

That is, the question is not the use of "Chinese character" IN a title, but "Chinese character" AS a title. Besides, the examples of "Chinese character" + (noun) are what I above called "adjectival." Using "Chinese Character" in a title or phrase indeed provides context, which is why the examples are not relevant to this particular question of "Chinese character" as a free standing title. That being said, I still see no use of "Chinese Character" AS a title, but many books, articles, and index headings of "Chinese Characters."

  • "the question is not the use of "Chinese character" IN a title, but "Chinese character" AS a title": why on Earth would that be the question? That sounds like moving the goalposts to me.
    ""Chinese character" + (noun) are what I above called "adjectival."": the term used is "noun adjunct", and we've already established that grammatical forms of a word are in fact the same word—which is why a dictionary lists them as one. I've yet to come across even a sublisting of a noun adjunct—not surprising, as it's considered strictly a matter of grammar. Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:30, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Who is this “we” who has “already established that the grammatical forms are the same word?” It would be fine to for you to say that you yourself have argued, but not to include others.
    • You're not seriously going to argue that different grammatical forms are different words, are you? That the "run" in "I run" is a different word than the "runs" in "she runs"? This is about as established as it gets, and has nothing to do with Wikipedia or you or me. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:10, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
  • You say “the term used is "noun adjunct." “Noun adjunct: “In grammar, a noun adjunct ... is a noun functioning as an adjective.” That is, “adjectival.”
    • That is: "noun adjunct", a well-established grammatical term for a form that has its own rules, not that the name of it is in the least relevant. Do you have a point here? Call it a "shmrglu" if you like, it changes nothing essential—nouns in English are used to modify other nouns, and there are rules for how they do it. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:10, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
BTW, I’m not sure that Wikipedia is the best source on grammar in any case. Note # 2 of Noun adjunct leads to the Chicago Manual of Style Online which counsels against online sources. One question concerns a questionable assertion from a the inquirer’s son. CMOS admonishes that “a person can find a mountain of misinformation online, and just in case the little rascal [the son] thinks you’re easily duped, remind him that you can double check his online finds, as well (QED)...”
  • My "source" for this grammatical form is not Wikipedia—I linked to the article for your convenience. If you want sources, here's a mountain for you (it's also called an "attributive noun"—here's another mountain for you). I would expect anyone arguing about the fine details of grammar to be very well-versed in noun adjuncts, as they are a distinctive, pervasive part of the English language. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:10, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
To return to the main point: When “Chinese Character” is used as a noun adjunct (“Chinese Character Dictionary”), it is not the same situation as using “Chinese Character” as a free standing title. “Chinese Character” is not used as a title for books, articles, index headings for the subject of logograms. The reason is that “Chinese Characters” is not only the plural form, but a different meaning. Titling a Wikipedia article “Chinese Character” would be almost unique.
  • "not the same situation as using “Chinese Character” as a free standing title": until you demonstrate how the noun adjunct, singular, and plural forms are different things (and you won't, because they aren't) there's no point in responding to this. I'm not going to fall for you moving the goalposts. The onus is on you to prove your claims. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:10, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

Comment on "Chinese Character" being ambiguous (which the guideline tells us to avoid) and not just a different grammatical form. I share the feeling that studies which assume a national character are not politically correct, but they do exist. In less than ten minutes at Google Scholar I had no trouble finding a dismaying array, some of which have already been cited. They start with such 19th century items as Narrative of the North China Campaign of 1860: Containing Personal Experiences of Chinese Character, and of the Moral and Social Condition of the Country …, "Rumor as a footnote to Chinese national character," and Arthur Smith's classic Chinese Chracteristics with many uses of the phrase "Chinese character." In the 20th century a selection includes "Chinese character from a personality development point of view," "Familism and Chinese national character," "Life of A Peasant Family in Hui Zhou in Qing Dynasty: An Investigation of the Document of the Chinese Character,""On Chinese national character from the viewpoint of personality development," "The origin and formulation of Chinese character: an introduction to confucianism and its influence on Chinese behavior patterns," and most recently the book, Wenshan Jia. The Remaking of the Chinese Character and Identity in the 21st Century the Chinese Face Practices. (Westport, Conn.: Ablex Pub., 2001). ISBN 1567505546 ebrary.

I'm afraid that we could indeed have a "meaningful article or book title such as 'Analysis and classification of Chinese character.'" There is a field of "national character study." The Google Scholar search "Chinese national character" is another argument for distinguishing "Chinese Character" from "Chinese Characters." This search pulls up items concerning both 1) logographs and 2) items on national character. That is, the singular form is susceptible to ambiguity (the plural is not free from it, only less so). ch (talk) 16:28, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

If you encountered a book named Chicken, would you assume it was about the animal ([3], [4]), the food ([5], [6], [7], [8], [9]), or something else entirely ([10], [11])? Would the sky fall if you found out it was "ambiguous"?
As you admit, the plural form is not unambiguous in a context-free situation, either, so it doesn't actually solve the imaginary "problem". The problem is imaginary because we simply don't live context-free—every statement you could possibly utter will take on different shades of meaning depending on context. "Chinese character" could mean:
  • the ideogram
  • the socio-psychology of Chinese people
  • a fictional Chinese personage
  • a Chinese guy with a hilarious personality
  • a particular Chinese-y quality to an object or event
  • a suspicious Chinese individual
Just as "chicken" could mean an animal, a food, a uncourageous individual, a dangerous game of daring, etc. Context disambiguates the different meanings, and the world goes about its business without worrying about the "problem", because the "problem" doesn't exist. This page was not moved to solve a "problem" that someone had run into—nobody had ever run into any kind of snag with the title in the singular. Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:30, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Two points:
  • nobody had ever run into any kind of snag with the title in the singular.” An unusual declaration. What is your source? I had. Am I nobody?
    • Tell us what the snag was then. So far the only "problems" you've presented have been hypothetical. Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:13, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I am still curious as to how you know that "nobody" had a snag unless you are a universal mind reader and whether I am nobody, but I happy to elaborate. I had several snags, as explained in the discussions above. One was that "Chinese Character" stuck out as inconsistent with common usage in the reliable sources in the field -- free standing titles of books, articles, and index entries use "Chinese characters." Another is that "Chinese character" as the title of the article was the only use in the article to describe the subject; the lede sentence says "Chinese characters," "Chinese characters" is used at least four times in the first two paragraphs, and there is no use in the article of "Chinese character" except in the info box as a translation of Hanzi. Hope this helps. ch (talk) 22:03, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Have you taken a look at Dinosaur, which opens "Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade Dinosauria." There are seven instances of "dinosaurs" in the lead before we see the root form "dinosaur"—in "to all dinosaur groups", where "dinosaur" is a noun adjunct—and they are explicitly described as "a group". An Ngram also shows "dinosaurs" is clearly (and consistently over time) more prevalent than the root form. None of this would be taken as credible reasons for a move. Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:32, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
  • You are entirely correct that the singular and plural of Chicken raises no troublesome ambiguity, but we could multiply example and counterexample, so let's stick to character/characters. ch (talk) 06:32, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
    • The same thing applies—what disambiguates "Chicken" is context, and it is context that disambiguates "Chinese character". A big difference is that there will never be a "Chinese character" article about the sociopsychology of the Chinese people, thus no need to dismabiguate. Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:13, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
In the spirit of WP:NOTCRYSTALBALL let's not speculate about what articles somebody could write. Since there is a field of National Character studies, it is entirely possible. Please see the list of books and articles above. There is a difference between livestock and logograms, so let's stick to the subject. ch (talk) 22:03, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
I prefer to stick to concrete examples. There is indeed a distinction between livestock and logograms, but they are subject to the same rules of grammar. I wrote "there will never be a "Chinese character" article about the sociopsychology of the Chinese people" because that's what Patrick0Moran insisted: "Character is something formed on the basis of many factors, most or all of which vary from individual to individual. So the idea that all Chinese people are of one "character" is not likely to be accepted as a fit subject of discussion in any academic environment". I interpret that as meaning that character is in the individual, not the population, so an article on the psychology of the Chinese people would have to have a different title. Curly Turkey (gobble) 23:32, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. My reading of WP:SINGULAR/WP:PLURAL can be summarized in the following rule of thumb: Use singular whenever describing a single instance sufficiently thoroughly describes all possible instances. For example, in Character (symbol), we describe the notion (concept) and the associated word. However, in the case at hand, we describe a known, finite class of characters, which make up a writing system, therefore the current title is just fine. Describing one Chinese character is not sufficient to describe the whole class: and indeed, in this article there is quite a lot information about history, adaptations, variations and indexing of the whole set. No such user (talk) 16:14, 13 March 2014 (UTC)
    • @No such user: If WP:SINGULAR/WP:PLURAL can be summarized as: "Use singular whenever describing a single instance sufficiently thoroughly describes all possible instances", then we've got big problems with Animal, Language, Country, Fruit, Machine, Ideology, Drug, Chemical element, Song, Writing system, Political party ... of course, you get the point. Of course, there's a big difference between being superficually "singular" in form, and being grammatically singular. The title of "Chemical element" lacks the grammatical context to make it actually singular, so it does surprise readers when they find out there is actually a set of 118 of them.
    • There is no known limit to the number of Chinese characters, nor is there any algorithm by which one could determine the number possible—the number is unknown, and cannot be known. Nor has the "whole set" been indexed—what has been indexed is the characters that have so far been discovered. The article itself talks about characters in popular use that have not been accepted by official disctionaries, and of (even very recent) mass additions.
    • The "set" as a whole cannot be used as a "writing system"—many of the characters are mutually exclusive, depending on the actual writing systems using them (varieties of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese). There are Japanese characters not used by the Chinese, there are mainland Chinese characters that are unacceptable in Taiwan, and mainland China has more than one system. The "group" described in this article results from pooling these mutually exclusive systems together—the "set" has never been a single "set" except in an abstract sense, in the sense that you could pool all the words the Romance languages and have a "finite set". Such a set could not be called a "system". Curly Turkey (gobble) 20:28, 13 March 2014 (UTC)


Why "Chinese Characters" should not be moved: Something over two months ago, an extensive discussion ended in support for the move back to Chinese Characters. The recent request to renew that discussion and move to "Chinese Character" indeed cites good reasons, and other editors have supported them and mentioned others, but "Chinese Character" is still not the best title for this article.

  • You can't seriusly be spinning this in such a way—you moved the page, and no discussion took place until after the move took place—a discussion that ended in nothing resembling a consensus. Please adjust your history of this discussion to reflect the facts. Curly Turkey (gobble) 06:37, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

As a reminder, WP:TITLE in a "nutshell": "Article titles should be recognizable to readers, unambiguous, and consistent with usage in reliable English-language sources."

By this measure, there is no perfect title for this article. Many if not most reliable sources on the subject use "Chinese writing system," "Chinese logographs," or some such, but the present title, "Chinese Characters" has fewer problems and more advantages than "Chinese Character." "Chinese Characters" is relatively more easily recognized to be an article on logographs; less subject to ambiguity; and consistent with titles of other reliable English-language treatments of this subject, which do not use "Chinese Character."

Here are replies to the points initially offered in support for the move:

1)"Chinese character" was the long standing title.

Reply: It was moved in 2011 to "Chinese Characters, and for good reasons. In June 2013 it was moved to "Chinese Character" with no mention that the article was a specific exception to the WP:SINGULAR rule cited or acknowledging of any problems with "Chinese Character."

2) The plural form contradicts WP:SINGULAR.

Reply: The guideline WP:NCWS#Unspecified says "Exceptions may also occur where a different technical term is widely used," and lists the specific example "Chinese characters" as acceptable."
Counterreply: This guideline was not widely discussed.
Reply: There was in fact an extensive general discussion on Wikipedia Talk:Naming conventions (writing systems), in the course of which two reasons (in separate places) were given for "Chinese Characters" article being an exception: "currently at sg., which suggests the composition of a character rather than the writing system" and (it should be) "plural, because basic reference unit is individual element [currently at singular]." There was ample time for objection, and none was made.
WP:NCWS#Unspecified specifies "Chinese characters" as an example of an article that should be plural—but the article was made plural after the fact to conform to the example.
Reply: Making changes to meet guidelines is perfectly proper. That's what guidelines are for.
Reply WP:BEGIN says "If possible, the page title should be the subject of the first sentence." Although this is a minor argument, at best, it reinforces the plural: "Chinese Characters" is used in the lede and without exception through the article.

3) The plural form has not been shown to solve any practical problem. There should be exceptions only for specific reasons, and the reasons given are not strong.

Reply: Aside from the specific reasons in the guideline Talk Page discussion mentioned above in 2), an article about "Chinese characters" (and which uses the plural in the lede sentence and throughout and has not a single use of "Chinese character") should be titled "Chinese characters."
"Solving practical problems" is subjective.
"Chinese characters" is the common term for this meaning, both in Wikipedia and in general usage; "Chinese character" in this logographic sense is hard to find, though it is used adjectivally, as in "Chinese character dictionary."
Further practical problems are addressed below.

4) Requiring plurals for article subjects subjectively thought by some editors as "groups" is instruction creep—unnecessarily creating rules that solve no problems, fixing what was never broken. Also: 1) Many parallel articles are in the singular. 2) Exceptions do not justify further exceptions.

Reply: The exception for "Chinese Characters" is specific and limited.
Discussion of what is or is not a group is not necessary and perhaps not appropriate for this page. In any case, the question of what is or is not a group or class does not seem to be one which can be resolved.
The arguments against "Chinese Characters" cite no proposals for actual moves to "require" titles for groups. Any problems with moving such articles as "Dog" to "Dogs" are hypothetical and in any case should be argued there.
Plural has been sanctioned and used for parallel articles Simplified Chinese characters, Arabic numerals, and this article, "Chinese Characters" for years; no snowball effect has been cited.

6)There is no problem with the ambiguity that "Chinese character" concerns Chinese psychology (Chinese national character). "Nobody had ever run into any kind of snag with the title in the singular."

Reply Several editors said that they in fact shared this concern. It is not logically possible to prove that "nobody" had a problem with "Chinese Character" any more than to prove that "nobody" had a problem with "Chinese Characters."
Searches by CH (see above) showed that "Chinese Character" was used only adjectivally in titles of books and articles, as well as the few index headings, though many more used "Chinese writing system" or some such.

7) In actual linked text, "Chinese character" in the singular appears quite frequently, as in "Such-and-such a Japanese name is written using the Chinese character such-and-such"

Reply: This is quite true, but the plural is also frequent, and in any case the relative frequency in linked text is not one of the criteria for article titles. Links to either phrase lead to this article. There is no practical problem.
The question is not what is used in text, but what is used for titles.

8) It is unlikely a reader will come across a link to the page without sufficient context to make it clear what it means; neither the psychological/sociological signification of "Chinese character" nor the pop-culture signification of "Chinese characters" are likely search terms.

Reply: The first part of the statement is true on the face it. A reader is "unlikely" to come across this article without being clear what it means because editors link to relevant pages. The second part of the statement might better have been put separately.
"Chinese Character," as shown in the searches above, is used IN titles and could well be used AS a title. The field of National Character Study is well established, and a search for "Chinese Character" is perfectly plausible. Again, however, the preferability of "Chinese Characters" is not absolute, but relative.

9) An additional argument was introduced to strengthen the argument for moving to "Chinese Character," namely that the difference between "Chinese Character" and "Chinese Characters" was only a difference in grammatical form, that is, only between singular and plural, not two different words.

Freely accepting that this new consideration is not Moving the Goalposts but rather a helpful new way of putting the question, the reply is that in some cases, of which this is one, the singular and the plural do have different meanings, or at the very least, are used in different ways. "Chinese Character" is often used IN a title but not AS a title. It is used adjectivally ("Chinese Character Dictionary"), or with an article ("The Chinese character X," "A Chinese character"). But when the topic is logographs, then "Chinese Characters" is used AS a book or article title or index entry, never (well, hardly ever) "Chinese Character"). There are any number of books on logographs whose (entire) title is "Chinese Characters," none (or possibly one) whose title is "Chinese Character." The ambiguity of Chinese Character is resolved by using the plural.
This distinction is important because we are discussing the titles used in reliable sources.

Because this series of arguments is presented in nesting paragraphs, please do not intersperse comments, refutations, and further points, for this will make it hard to see what points are mine and which are others'. Please add them below rather than between these paragraphs.

Hope this all helps. ch (talk) 04:48, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

  • "It was moved in 2011 to "Chinese Characters", and for good reasons."
    • Reasons never stated at the time, and no notice was given at this article of the move. On the other hand, the move back to the original title didn't happen until after a solicitiation for comments was given. "and for good reasons" is as easily applicable to the move back to the original title. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:18, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • ""Solving practical problems" is subjective."
    • It's objective when no practical problem is cited. The move was not motivated by a desire to solve a practical problem. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:18, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "the question of what is or is not a group or class does not seem to be one which can be resolved."
    • The issue cannot be resolved—so why are we "solving" it by moving it to the plural (and without discussion)? Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:18, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Reply Several editors said that they in fact shared this concern. It is not logically possible to prove that "nobody" had a problem with "Chinese Character" any more than to prove that "nobody" had a problem with "Chinese Characters."
    • A small handful (two?)of editors, seeing the context of an 'RfC (not the article itself, or any article that links to it) say they mistook it for possibly a psychology article. In real-life situations, context fully disambiguates this. Further, for those familiar with Chinese writing, seeing the singular wthout context is far more likely to make them think of the writing—even in the (not credible) case that the article was about psychology. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:18, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "the relative frequency in linked text is not one of the criteria for article titles. Links to either phrase lead to this article. There is no practical problem."
    • Linked text is fundamental to Wikipedia, and cannot simply be ignored. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:18, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
  • "The ambiguity of Chinese Character is resolved by using the plural."
    • Neither the singular form nor the plural form are fundamentally singular or plural in English. Grammatically the plural form is used to talk about things in a general, abstract sense: "I like dogs" is not parsed as "I enjoy the company of a plurality of dogs—one is not enough", but as "The dog is a species of animal that, in general, I like". Book titles thus tend strongly to use the plural ("Dogs") rather than the singular. Wikipedia does not take this into consideration. Neither the plural form nor the singular form is anything like unambiguous. Given that one has no significant advantage over the other, we should not "fix" it with another "broken" exception-to-the-rule spelling. "The Beatles" is a clear case for requiring the plural. "Chinese characters" is not, and we should not wantonly prefer exceptions to standards. Curly Turkey (gobble) 07:18, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Per WP:NOCONSENSUS, the default is to move back either to the title preceding the dispute, or the long-standing stable title—in either case, that would be "Chinese character". Curly Turkey (gobble) 04:57, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

The article has spent lengthy periods under both titles. This was the first move discussion, and a substantial majority of editors making policy-based arguments were in favour of the plural form (though I realize you disagree with the interpretation of policy they gave). Kanguole 09:39, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
The discussion began within hours of the most recent move, and the article spent nearly ten years total at the singular. Nothing even approaching a consensus has taken place, and persistently obnoxious spin such as "substantial majority of editors making policy-based arguments" doesn't make it any more of a consensus. The undeniable fact is there is no consensus, and WP:NOCONSENSUS is clear about what must be done about it—the title must be moved back to the title it spent nearly ten years at, and if that bothers you, you can submit a move request before moving the page next time, which is what should have happened in the first place, since the move would obviously be disputed. The move to the plural form did not have the community's consensus, and still doesn't. Curly Turkey (gobble) 11:08, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
  • I've requested an admin to check out whether this article should be moved back or not: see Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Chinese characters and WP:NOCONSENSUS. Keep in mind that
    1. the article was at the singular from 2002 until 2011, at which point it was moved to the plural without discussion
    2. it was then moved back to the singular in 2013 after a solicitation for discussion went unanswered
    3. after which it was moved again to the plural without discussion, a moved which was disputed by several editors within hours of the move, and has produced no consensus for the move. Curly Turkey (gobble) 11:16, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Neutral admin comment, as requested: I see no grounds for overturning the closure. The decision is purely a matter of stylistic preference, hence ultimately of taste – neither side made a point that it was some matter of pressing urgency, with crucial policies such as NPOV at stake. Arguments on both sides were based on considerations of editorial consistency, and hence valid in principle. I count six support votes versus ten oppose votes. That might be seen as a "no consensus", but I also note that the weight of opinion seemed to be turning decisively during the course of the debate: all support votes were filed very early on during the process, but after a certain point all new votes were opposes, and the debate took on the character of only a single editor vehemently upholding the support side arguing against pretty much everybody else who was still active on the page. This, to me, indicates that the oppose arguments really made the day. Thus, I consider this really not a "no consensus" closure but a valid "consensus not to move" closure. To Curly Turkey: there is of course still the additional venue of WP:Move review, but I really don't see an overturning of this outcome as very likely, and given the appearance of this debate I would recommend considering whether it wouldn't be better to just take a step back and accept that consensus has been against you here, to avoid the appearance of "beating a dead horse". Fut.Perf. 11:43, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
Disappointing. I should have just moved the article back immediately, so the onus would be on the movers to show consensus for the move. Instead I chose to talk about it first. Lesson learned. Curly Turkey (gobble) 11:56, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
I doubt that would have changed much – had this request been filed by the other side, on the basis of the opposite status quo, but resulted in the same distribution of opinions as now, it would have been closed as a "consensus to move" (to the plural title). But whichever it is, your tone here and further up in the debate really indicates you are giving the whole matter far too much importance. That is, of course, a very common trap we are all occasionally prone to fall into, but please consider, if you can feel this worked up about the matter of an "-s" in a page title, something is not quite right. Fut.Perf. 12:39, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
If it had simply been "-s" vs "no "-s", and the consensus had been clearly against my position, I could (albeit grudgingly) have let it go. What has gotten me "worked up" is the deceptive way in which one or two of the editors have worked—putting words in people's mouths and otherwise twisting the facts and playing games, and having their behaviour triumphantly legitimized by this close. Having gotten away with it here means they will feel free to pull it again elsewhere. Curly Turkey (gobble) 12:56, 20 March 2014 (UTC)
These are very much uncalled-for assumptions of bad faith. I can see no such thing here. All I can see on both sides here is editors arguing in perfectly good faith over what they consider the best solution to this issue – sometimes perhaps with less-than-perfectly cogent arguments, some accidental red herrings (on both sides), but certainly no "deceptive" intentions. What I do also see is one editor – you – keeping on arguing with hyperbolic vigor and haranguing his opposition. Sorry, but you are realy the one who is out of line here; you need to dial it all down by more than one notch at this point. Fut.Perf. 13:12, 20 March 2014 (UTC)