Talk:Lists of English words by country or language of origin

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I realize it's daunting, but will someone get started on the Greek words? Usually they come indirectly through other languages like Latin or French. Here's a start: emphasis, scene, music, pedagogy, euphonium, sybil, xiphoid, larynx, partridge (from perdix), bible, circle, cosmos, synagogue, chyme, thyme, orchestra, Christ, meter, kilogram, dram, Celtic, sarcasm, sarcophagus, microbe, biology, arachnophobia... See, it's all the coolest English words! --NG

Clarification of Intent of Articles[edit]

I think there needs to be some discussion to determine what we want these articles to be so that we can work towards standardization. What follows is are my opinions about what types of words belong. Please comment so that we can reach some sort of working standard.

  • These lists ideally ought to contain words that are used in daily speech by native English speakers as a part of English, such as "kindergarten". It is possible that they also contain words listed in English dictionaries that are not commonly used as a part of English, such as "xiphoid" in the above comment, although this begins to get into a gray area where it is harder to tell whether the word is actually English, or whether it is a foreign word that is sometimes used by English speakers.
  • Words that should not be included are foreign words that are sometimes used by English speakers, such as "barrio". This also includes words like "sari" which refers to an item natively found in a culture that does not natively speak English.
Last time I checked, English was an official language of India and the native language of many Indians. Nohat 18:25, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
No need to be rude about it. I think you definitely understand what I'm trying to say here. Clearly there are English speakers in India. I'm not even going to argue about this - Please, if you try I'm sure you will understand what I mean when I say that English is not the native language of India.
  • Words that can't be found in English dictionaries ought not be included.

Tritium6 17:17, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The criteria for whether or not a word is "English" varies. This topic has come up before. See e.g. Talk:Salsa (sauce) and Talk:Hangul. I have proposed the following three-part test to determine whether we can call a word an "English word". No one seems to have disagreed with it when I have invoked it. It is as follows:

  1. Does the word occur in English texts with any regularity?
Foreign words and phrases are common in English texts. Does that make them English? The phrase "c'est la vie" is common in English texts. I'd say it certainly isn't English.
A good example is the word "ergo". I imagine you and I have different ideas about whether it is an English or a Latin word.
  1. Is it listed in any major English dictionaries?
  2. Is the word used by people who don't speak the foreign language?
This is the most important criteria.

If a word can be robustly shown to meet all three of these criteria, then I think it's fair to say that the word is a fully naturalized English word. I disagree with your conclusion that words like "sari" and "barrio" should not be included. It is true that they are fairly recent borrowings, but I believe it can be shown that they enjoy robust usage in monolingual English texts. I don't think there is such a thing as "a foreign word that is sometimes used by English speakers". Those words are borrowed English words. Many monolingual English speakers will be familiar with words like this and if we exclude them from these pages, then they may never learn what language is the source of those words. For example, there are probably many people who are at least vaguely familiar with saris but have no idea what language the word comes from. Even if they know they're from India, they probably don't know from which Indian language. What value is there in excluding the word from list of English wods of Hindi origin? How does it improve Wikipedia to delete that valuable information?

I want to note that I think that carefully maintaining these lists is indeed important; however, removing words that are debatably English is not the kind of maintenance that is sorely needed. What is needed is for people to check whether or not the words actually are borrowed from the language suggested. I have to go through these lists every few months and delete items that have been added erroneously by people who heard that such-and-such a word is from some language when it turns out not be. It is very tedious looking up each word in Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary and consulting the etymology. The methodologies used by dictionary editors when writing etymologies are very particular in order to ensure they are correct. Folk etymology is common and we must be vigilant in ensuring we do not promulgate folk etymologies as being true. We need to form these pages in such a way that people will be very unlikely to add things without checking first. Perhaps a reference is needed for each word. Nohat 18:25, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Nohat, I am very sorry that people make mistakes by substituting folk etymology for a quick etymology check with a dictionary. I am with you in trying to prevent that from happening.

About the "English word vs. Foreign word" issue, I think there are two paths that these articles can take, and I imagine we make different judgements about which words belong because we each see the articles developing towards different goals. I noticed that you are a linguist, and because of this I can imagine that you would be interested in accumulating definitive lists of words that come into English from various languages. In my opinion, that could be a very useful resource. However, I think that there is an equally valid goal to be achieved, and that is to make lists of common words of foreign origin that every native English speaker knows, and that most non-native speakers should know. If this list were free of academic terms specific to a few people outside of their own discipline, the list would be much more fun and informative for most readers. I'm afraid that if we attempt to achieve both goals with the same page, then there will be too many genre specific words to be of general use. Although I'm not convinced that Wikipedia is the right place for definitive lists of etymologies, I propose the following compromises:

  • Sections are created in the articles for each language for common words(such as "kindergarten"), a category for academic terms, and another catch all category for other terms (or perhaps no catch all category).
  • Or, two pages are created for each language, one being the list common English words from a foreign language, and the other being a definitive list of words from a foreign language.

I don't agree with you that words such as sari and barrio fit into the English language the same way as words like kindergarten and cheetah. We use words like sari or dashiki because we have no English equivalent of those words. They are foreign words that English speakers use because they do not have an English word for the object. That does not make the word an English word. If it did, that would mean every item in a foreign language that does not have an English equivalent is an English word. I'm sure that most linguists would not consider it so. What about those difficult untraslatable words? Are all of those also automatically English words? I think there is a difference. And I think that words that fall in the category of "words that we dont have an equivalent for in English so we use the exact word from the foreign language" ought not be included in these pages because of the sheer volume. Any useful information would get lost. This difference is what I mean by "a foreign word that is sometimes used by English speakers". Tritium6 23:02, 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Certainly c'est la vie is a French phrase and ergo is a Latin word. The Oxford English Dictionary gives ergo the || symbol, indicating "not naturalized, alien", and Merriam-Webster calls c'est la vie a "foreign phrase". I will concede that if outside authorities like major English dictionaries are willing to label things like that as foreign, then we should be willing to note that, and even make editorial decisions based on that. I am willing to forego inclusion of ergo on list of English words of Latin origin and c'est la vie on list of English words of French origin (notwithstanding the fact that c'est la vie is a phrase, not a word) for the very reason that dictionaries mark them as "foreign" or "unnaturalized".

However, I note that both sari and barrio are given no such special marking in either OED or M-W and I am thus much less amenable to the decision to exclude them or separate them from words like cheetah and kindergarten. The reason is because there isn't any qualitative criterion that can be used in a neutral way to divide up these lists in the way you desire. I had two ideas for ways to divide up the borrowings:

  1. Exclude or separate out words that were borrowed recently (say within 50 or 100 years).
  2. Exclude or separate out words that are infrequently used by measuring the number of Google hits for that word, either by itself or in a short phrase that ensures it is being used in English in the meaning in question.

Neither criterion, however, succeeds in separating sari and barrio from cheetah and kindergarten. Criterion 1 falls apart easily: the OED has quotations for sari dating back to 1591 and quotations for kindergarten only go back to 1852. So the length of borrowing criterion, regardless of what arbitrary cutoff is set, doesn't divide the words in the way you desire.

Criterion 2 fails similarly. For example, you removed "sari" from list of English words of Hindi origin but not "cummerbund". Google searches for the words sari and cummerbund show that sari is a much more common word than cummerbund. The raw hit count for the word sari [1] (> 2,000,000) exceeds by more than 20 to 1 the number of hits for vs. cummerbund [2] (< 100,000). If you narrow the search by looking only for cases where the word is being used in its normal sense in an English sentence, you get similar results: a Google search for the phrase "wear a sari" returns over 3700 results [3] but a similar search for the phrase "wear a cummerbund" returns less than 300 results [4]. Given this, would you still defend including cummerbund but excluding sari? If so, on what basis? The only reason I can think of is that cummerbund is associated with a Western cultural construct (the tuxedo) and sari is not. English is a world-wide language, used by people in every country, and that kind of Western bias has no place on Wikipedia.

After performing this analysis, I came to the conclusion that the only thing that makes them different from kindergarten and cheetah is your own intuition, something which I hope we both agree doesn't make for a very consistent or neutral criterion.

The lack of a good, neutral criterion is the fundamental problem with your proposal. Unfortunately, there is no definitive point at which a word ceases being an unnaturalized borrowing and it becomes a naturalized English word.

If we adopt your proposal, then the problem becomes one of deciding at what point has a word been naturalized. Borrowing is a continuous process and there is bound to be a large group of words where it is unclear whether it is a borrowing or a naturalized word. If we were to pick a point, it would be necessarily arbitrary, and almost certainly capricious and inconsistently applied due to the subjective nature of making the decision. For some people, certain words are fully naturalized and for others they are totally foreign. For example, to me "cilantro" is a completely ordinary and natural word and "coriander" an obscure alternative, but for someone from England, "coriander" may be the ordinary word and "cilantro" an exotic Spanish word. It is an ugly and unpleasant debate that can never be decided conclusively on Wikipedia. I think it would be an inadvisable step into a never-ending quagmire of acrimonious debate if we were put Wikipedia in the place of deciding what is and isn't a fully naturalized English word. I think it is best if we make no attempt to decide that debate and leave it up to the reader. The proposed harm that this would make the lists inaccessible to some readers I think is overstated and minimal. It is easy to browse through a list and skip over unfamiliar terms.

I am curious how you determine that a word of foreign origin is a common word or not. What neutral criterion do you propose we use to divide up the words? I think that "common words of foreign origin that every native English speaker knows, and that most non-native speakers should know" will never work because determining what words every native English speaker knows is an impossible task, and words that "most non-native speakers should know" won't work because Wikipedia is not in the place of deciding any "shoulds" because that would violate NPOV policy. I don't think that "words that we don't have an equivalent for in English so we use the exact word from the foreign language" is going to cut it either as is a useful criterion. The word kindergarden would meet it. It just doesn't work.

I don't believe there is such a criterion, which is why I don't believe we should adopt a policy of dividing up the words in this way.

I understand the urge that is drawing you to want to divide up these lists in the way you propose. However, I don't think there is any reasonably neutral way to do it. I considered age of borrowing and frequency of occurrence in a Google search, but neither of those ways gave results that you would agree with. If you have any suggestions for how to do it using a neutral criterion, I remain open to suggestions. In the meantime, however, I think we should stick to my previously proposed criteria and apply it rigorously. Feel free to remove words that don't meet one of the criteria. Also, feel free to remove words that are marked in dictionaries as "foreign", "alien", or "unnaturalized"). But please leave words like barrio and sari, that robustly meet all three criteria. Nohat 01:50, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It seems as if your solution is to be fully inclusive, nevermind the issues I mentioned relating to how this would mean that under your definition, any word without a direct English translation would then become an English word. As a clarification, would you please indicate whether this is what you intend? If not, how would you adjust your recommendations to keep this from being the case?Tritium6 20:58, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The criteria I use restricts the selection to words that occur in English dictionaries and that are commonly used in English texts. English dictionaries are large but finite. There are many millions of words in other languages that can't be translated by a single word, but not all those words appear in English dictionaries and are used by English speakers. We shouldn't confuse "words that have been borrowed into English" with "words that potentially could be borrowed into English". They're two different sets of words. Nohat 22:10, 30 Dec 2004 (UTC)

One question I have relates to the same topic, but with view to a specific criterion. Many English speaking individulas and groups are members of certain religions, affiliations or specialized fields of knowledge. By deduction, they must employ a much wider selelction of foriegn words in their personal or professional usage, and I wonder if that would make the words they use English? You might argue that specialized knowledge is not actually adopted but employed by professional people, but what about religions and their specific vocabulary. For example, tens of millions of people in the English speaking world, and hundreds of millions if we include India, are Muslims who employ a much wider range of words of Arabic origin on a daily basis than what would be found in standard dictionaries or known by the general public. The same is true of Hebrew for Jews, Hindi for Hindus, Budhists, and the like. Are these words to be considered English? If not, why? Is it because of the percentage of the population that use them, and, if such, what would be the criterion quantity? If it is by sheer numbers or percentage, then we must remove words of Hebrew origin that are used by Jews alone for their own religion and add say Hindi for Hinduism with all of its varied facets and source languages. Any idea?

I think the general criterion used by dictionaries is if the word enjoys robust usage outside of its area of borrowing. That is, if a word used by Hindus is used robustly by non-Hindus as well, then it gets added to a dictionary. Hence, sari but not bindi. The distinction is difficult to crack I think, and our best bet is not to try to make any conclusions ourselves, but to just report what dictionary editors do. Nohat 19:59, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

List != dictionary[edit]

  • I don't understand the rationale behind the posted notice at the top. These lists are not dictionary entries. The definitions of these words are not the purpose of the articles. The compilation of the lists, the ability to see all these words in their own catagory is the main purpose of the article. I followed the links to the wiki dictionaries. These dictionaries do not show these words as loan words in the English language, over there, these words are just drown among all other words in each language. The individual dictionary entries do not replace the function of the lists. Kowloonese 00:44, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)
    • These lists are not dictionary entries. — Indeed the lists are not dictionary entries. The items on the lists are. Every single one of these lists is either a list of translations of words, a translation dictionary, or a list of etymologies, an etymological dictionary. Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Wiktionary is. And its specific remit is to list translations and etymologies of words. If you want to see what happens to lists of words, notice the overwhelming delete consensus at Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/List of English words of Latin origin and the subsequent wholesale deletion of the article. I've turned the tide on Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/List of English words of Greek origin only by doing to that article what I'm now doing and have done to the others here, namely removing the dictionaries from the encyclopaedia and putting them in the dictionary where they belong, leaving room for encyclopaedia articles to grow in their place. Had I done nothing, pretty much all of these articles would be on their way to deletion by now. Uncle G 03:11, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • the ability to see all these words in their own catagory is the main purpose of the article. — Then the article is not encyclopaedic, and should be deleted. Again: Wikipedia is not a dictionary. If you want to see all of the words in a category all together in a list, go to Wiktionary. Uncle G 03:11, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • These dictionaries do not show these words as loan words in the English language — Correct. They show the words as loanwords to all languages. It's parochial in the extreme to think that English is the only language to which words have been loaned. As was pointed out in the VFD discussion, many of the words from Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, and so forth have been loaned to a lot of languages. Indeed, in many cases, such as words of Nahuatl origin, it isn't even English that the words are loaned to. The whole idea of looking at this as "words loaned to English" is wrong. One should consider this in terms of the language that the words are loaned from. Not only are all of these articles incorrectly titled as "list of words", they are incorrectly titled for being "list of English words". Uncle G 03:11, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • And this article should never have existed. First: With the existence of categories, there's almost never a reason to have a lists of lists, especially one such as this where there was nothing in the article beyond the hyperlinks themselves. (The article as it stood was only a hair off being a speedy deletion candidate.) Second: The title is incorrect, both for the reasons given above relating to "list of English words" and for the additional reason that "international" is highly misleading, given that in several cases the loaning has been done within the same country (such as words of Bengali origin being loaned to Indian English). Uncle G 03:11, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • over there, these words are just drown among all other words in each language — Incorrect. There are separate categories for the language words and for the loaned words. Given that only a couple of the derived words categories even extend over more than one page-worth (200 words) at present, with several not even having as many as 10 words in them as yet, I have to ask which categories you actually looked at to come to the conclusion that anything was "drowned". Uncle G 03:11, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • The individual dictionary entries do not replace the function of the lists. — But the categories of directory entries, which are clearly pointed to here, do, and do so completely. A list of words in Wikipedia is a category of words in Wiktionary. Uncle G 03:11, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
  • The problem here is that whole lists have been deleted, but much of the etymological information wasn't copied to Wiktionary. For example, a previous version of Words of Dutch origin had the word ahoy on it, with an indication that that it comes from the Dutch word hoi, which means hello. Unfortunately, the Wiktionary entry for ahoy does not contain this information, and unless someone digs through the history of Words of Dutch origin, it might be lost to Wikipedia/Wiktionary forever. Further, the category method on Wiktionary makes browsing these lists difficult. To find the etymology of a word you have click on the word in the category list and then read the etymology. When all the words and etymologies were on one page, then the etymologies could be easily compared. This move to Wiktionary has demonstrably weakened Wikipedia .
  • I am dubious about what essentially amounts to the removal of these articles from Wikipedia because I think it isn't supported by precedent. It should be noted that "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" does not mean "Wikipedia articles should not contain information that you might find in a dictionary". It has the very narrow meaning that Wikipedia articles themselves shouldn't be just definitions. No other interpretation of this policy has any kind of consensus. These lists were not just definitions—in fact many of them didn't have definitions, as they only had etymologies. There is no consensus that lists of lexical information do not belong on Wikipedia. The only consensus is that articles that consist only of a simple definition do not belong on Wikipedia. No dictionary that I've ever seen lists words by language of origin, so it would seem that "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" policy does not apply here on its face. There is no solid policy that you can point to that indicates that these lists of etymologies do not belong on Wikipedia. The Latin origin words article was deleted because its scope was too large, not because it doesn't belong on Wikipedia. In fact, several of the delete comments specifically note that they support the inclusion of such lists where the size of the list is relatively small. I move that all these lists be restored. Nohat 04:01, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Also, I take issue with the statement not only are all of these articles incorrectly titled as "list of words", they are incorrectly titled for being "list of English words". The way the lists were earlier was that they were lists of English words, which had origin (whether proximate, ultimate, or otherwise) in some other language. Specifically, the lists only included words that were demonstrably English words. Nohat 04:11, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • much of the etymological information wasn't copied to Wiktionary — That's deliberate. Much of that etymological information was, to put it kindly, dubious at best. Several different dictionaries had conflicting etymologies, other etymologies were disputed, and practically no-one cited any references at all. Moreover, in a number of cases what Wikipedia had was downright worse than the existing etymologies that already were at Wiktionary. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • To find the etymology of a word you have click on the word in the category list. — If clicking on a hyperlink in a list to find more information is hard, then wikis are not for you. And it is incorrect to imply that this is any different to how things were when these dictionaries were at Wikipedia, since in many cases they too were just lists of hyperlinks. On Wiktionary, of course, what is linked to can, and indeed should, be a full dictionary definition (complete with etymologies, translations, definitions, alternate spellings, and inflections), whereas on Wikipedia that is exactly what should not be the case. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • This move to Wiktionary has demonstrably weakened Wikipedia — Rubbish. There's no evidence for that at all. There's clear evidence that it has demonstrably strengthened both Wikipedia (by forcing people to concentrate upon writing encyclopaedia articles instead of debating the minutiae of the definitions of individual words – something not appropriate to Wikipedia – and by increasing the number of cross references to Wiktionary) and Wiktionary (by increasing its stock of words by some several hundred, so far, increasing the number of cross references to Wikipedia, increasing its stock of language categorizations, and demonstrating by example the power to construct arbitrary dictionaries that the categorization mechanism that Wiktionary has) Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • it isn't supported by precedent — There's ample precedent. What did you think that the transwiki system was all about? Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" [...] has the very narrow meaning that Wikipedia articles themselves shouldn't be just definitions — Wrong. WP:WIN is very clear on the point that Wikipedia articles are not "lists of such definitions". It has those exact words, even. In boldface. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • There is no consensus that lists of lexical information do not belong on Wikipedia. — Yes, there is. There is the consensus that brought about WP:WIN in the first place. (It didn't get to be official policy out of thin air.) There's an overwhelming consensus that comes up time and again for dictionary definition articles to be deleted, and there was an overwhelming consensus that came up for two of these articles to be deleted, which actually resulted in the deletion of one. Please pay attention to the evidence staring you in the face. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • No dictionary that I've ever seen lists words by language of origin. — That's false. Wiktionary does. And you've just said that you've seen it. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • There is no solid policy that you can point to that indicates that these lists of etymologies do not belong on Wikipedia. — Rubbish. This must be at least the twentieth time, including the great big yellow notices on the articles, that I've pointed to WP:WIN. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • The way the lists were earlier was that they were lists of English words — Which, as several others have pointed out, was quite simply the wrong approach, and why the articles were incorrectly titled. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • I move that all these lists be restored. — I suggest instead that you get yourself an account at Wiktionary, and get yourself over to its tea room, where you'll be very welcome for any contribution that you can provide. If you want to, as above on this very talk page, have long arguments about what the criteria are for categorizing words, every category at Wiktionary has its own talk page. If you want to, as above, talk in detail about the etymologies of certain words, every word at Wiktionary has its own talk page. If you want to, as above, talk at length about what the inclusion criteria for dictionaries should be (and the fact that this is practically the only other thing talked about on this page is a giant red flag in itself) then feel free to contribute to Wiktionary:Wiktionary talk:Criteria for inclusion. Wiktionary is there for exactly this sort of business, and welcomes it. Concentrate your efforts in a project where what you want to do is the primary goal of the project, rather than lobbying for the continued capability to do such business in entirely the wrong place. Uncle G 18:44, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
  • You seem to be under the mistaken impression that lists of minutiae are not appropriate for the content of Wikipedia articles. There are hundreds of such lists and the consensus for their existence can be demonstrated by the many times they have been listed on VfD and not deleted. See Wikipedia:list of lists for many examples. The fact that there is another project Wiktionary which might contain this same information is not in and of itself reason that they shouldn't exist here. The "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" policy does not mean that information about lexical minutiae does not belong on Wikipedia. The second paragraph of that policy ("Wikipedia articles are not lists of definitions") does not apply to these articles because they are not lists of definitions. They are lists of etymologies. Show me the policy that says that Wikipedia articles are not lists of etymologies. Until you can do that, these articles should stay. Nohat 19:18, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • You seem to be under the mistaken impression that lists of minutiae are not appropriate for the content of Wikipedia articles. — I've no idea where you're getting that from. I've clearly and repeatedly stated that it is the fact that these are lists of dictionary entries – i.e. dictionaries — that is the problem, not that they are minutiae. Other people have stated this, and so does policy. I'm implementing the consensus that has been reached to follow policy and have the dictionaries in Wiktionary, where they belong. Your blanket reversions are counter to policy. Uncle G 20:04, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • There are hundreds of such lists — False. There are not. There are lists of terms, and list of topics, but there are not lists of words. Lists of words fail VFD. The evidence of List of English words of Latin origin is right there. How many more times must I point out the elephant in the centre of the room? Uncle G 20:04, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • The second paragraph of that policy does not apply to these articles because they are not lists of definitions. They are lists of etymologies. — An etymology is simply a part of a dictionary entry. You don't even need to look at the "Etymology" section of Wiktionary:Wiktionary:Entry layout explained to see this. Not only does it say "a free multilingual dictionary [...] with [...] etymologies" right at the very top of Wiktionary:Main Page, it also says "Many dictionaries also provide [...] word derivations, histories, or etymologies" in the Wikipedia dictionary article. Using your very own "I've never seen a dictionary" argument, I point out that you've almost certainly seen a dictionary that lists etymologies for words at some point in your life. I don't see how there can be any confusion whatever upon this point except for a deliberate and contrived misunderstanding of policy to the effect that only the parts of dictionary entries that specifically define words are excluded, and that all of the other parts of dictionary entries – namely pronunciations, etymologies, translations, citations, inflections, and the like – are fair game, and that it's thus all right to have a list of words with their etymologies, or their translations, or their pronunciations – a dictionary – in Wikipedia as long as we don't inhale there are no definitions given. Uncle G 20:04, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
    • Show me the policy that says that Wikipedia articles are not lists of etymologies.WP:WIN. Yet again. If you don't understand the word "dictionary" in "Wikipedia is not a dictionary", then please read Wiktionary:dictionary. Uncle G 20:04, 2005 Mar 3 (UTC)
If you're so convinced that the policy obviously applies to these articles, then why don't you try editing WP:WIN to be more explicit that these articles are to be excluded? If it's an obvious application of the policy, then no one will contest the change. Nohat 18:01, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Since there are unconciliable opinions, I suggest to move this discussion to the Wikipedia:Requested moves page. My opinion: these articles were created when there were no categories and no easy interewiki references. Now these lists of totally unrelated words seem spurious. Good articles about the ways how foreign words entered English from the respective languages are of course welcome. So, even while I have been an active creator and defender of the List of English words of Russian origin, I no longer see its utility as a list. Mikkalai 20:46, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • This isn't just an article title dispute, though. It's an article content dispute also. Note that Nohat has just edited all of the articles putting the dictionaries, that have already been excised in favour of Wiktionary, back in to Wikipedia, and deleting the proto-encyclopaedia articles pointing to the Wiktionary categories that were put in their place to grow. And what's the very next thing that happens? Someone comes along to Talk:List of English words of Norwegian origin with another suggested dictionary entry. Nohat reinstated the dictionary definition magnets, and - Lo! - another dictionary definition was attracted within less than 4 hours. Uncle G 11:17, 2005 Mar 4 (UTC)
  • Roget's Thesaurus defines a dictionary as An alphabetical list of words often defined or translated. Clearly, that is what these articles constitute. Also, there was a very clear consensus against these sorts of articles during the List_of_English_words_of_Latin_origin VfD. However, I doubt that there is anything that myself or others can say that will resolve this issue here. I propose a consensus-building discussion, such as the recent ones for Local Politicians and Maltese Nobility. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 22:05, Mar 3, 2005 (UTC)
  • I honestly don't see why there has been serious resistance to the idea that this should be in Wiktionary rather than Wikipedia. It's not like Wiktionary is a euphemism for "The circular file" or anything like that. It's just a different webspace. The information wouldn't be going away, just moving. Gwalla | Talk 02:27, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I honestly don't see why there is such a serious push to remove anything vaguely linguistically-related from Wikipedia, as though Wikipedia were to be a repository of all human knowledge except linguistic knowledge, which must be relegated to the Wiktionary ghetto. The two projects are separate; I see no reason why there can't be overlap. The "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" policy was devised because people were creating articles on a single word whose content was nothing but a definition of that word, with no possibility of enlargement. The policy was implemented to discourage that type of article. It was NOT invented to ensure that all linguistic or vaguely lexicographic information be forever excised from Wikipedia. Relying on the "Wikipedia is not a dictionary" policy to support the removal of articles that are not described by that policy is bogus. Until the policy says "Wikipedia does not include lists of etymologies", the lists stay.

Also, I note that some of the lists were deleted without actually moving the information first, and that was "explained" by saying that the etymologies didn't have references. If you think something is dubious, bring it up on the talk page, but don't just delete it without comment. Deleting content without explanation is something which is definitely not supported by consensus of policy. Nohat 02:54, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

As Gwalla suggests, this information does belong in Wiktionary rather than here. The Wiki foundation and its volunteers are putting loads of information on the web, but for information to be useful it must be locatable. The distinction between the various projects (Pedia, Tionary, Travel, Source etc) is very clear, and there is rarely a reason for them to overlap. Since the words mentioned in all these articles are already in Wiktionary (at least most of them are), the information here would merge far better with that already present there. Radiant! 09:23, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

It is appropriate to move these lists to wiktionary, as they are not encyclopedic information. I think that this particular article could be deleted and re-worked using categories or anther wikipedia organising tool. The lists listed in this page could be improved by including more encyclopedic information and allowing pages such as handle the listing of words. For example the article on French influences on English mentions the invasion of Normandy but could also mention that French was used for law and governance and by nobility, and so most English words related to justice come from Old French (e.g.curfew, debt, just) , and English words from French generally denote a higher style (compare ask and inquire). The wikipedia article on French words could then include just a link to it's sister article on wiktionary, which lists words of French origin. Pvt_Parts 24 July 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Who are you Uncle G?[edit]

Can you add a user page to introduce yourself to the rest of the wikipedian communicty? You seems to represent the authority in the wikipedia. Looks like you can decide everything because you said so. I have been contributing to Wikipedia for a few years and you are probably the most Big-brother type wikipedian I've encountered. Is the moniker Uncle-G derived from Uncle Sam and G-men? I don't really care if you delete everything as you please, I truely believe someone else will differ from your standpoint and your deletion will be restored. I don't feel that you get the consensus here. Perhaps a vote is in order. Can you hold off your house-cleaning until you get the consensus? I apologize if this comment appears to be rude, but honestly I think coming in with a shotgun to blow away other people's contribution is even ruder. Kowloonese 21:58, Mar 4, 2005 (UTC)

Suggestion for you linguists[edit]

Consolidate the lists for languages which have provided very few loan words to English. Example: there are very few loan words from ancient Egyptian. You would have guessed that, probably, but its of some interest to know that the word "bark" (as in a type of sailing ship) may be derived from the ancient egyptian word for boat (via Greek writers), and the name "Susannah" is said to be of ancient Egyptian origin.---CH (talk) 23:42, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

AfD - Romanian loanwords[edit]

Hello all,

I've put up List of English words of Romanian origin for deletion, and I thought people here might be interested. The deletion debate here Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/List_of_English_words_of_Romanian_origin. --Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 01:36, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

I just came across that article. There are only a few English words of Romanian origin as far as I know, not counting toponyms, anthroponyms, and so on, which would be long. I would rather have the list redirected, and a link in this page (Lists of English words of international origin) can direct to Lexicon:English words of Romanian origin which I plan on starting, just as there is for example Wiktionary:Wiktionary:Dutch index, Wiktionary:Appendix:1000 basic Dutch words. Alexander 007 20:55, 28 February 2006 (UTC)


In the RfC for List of English words of Latin origin (the article was subsequently deleted), some dude from Brazil (User:JoaoRicardo) said "I think all such lists should be removed from Wikipedia" (to paraphrase). I tend to agree. The only argument against this that I deemed acceptable was that in Wiktionary, it would be done by categories, rather than a list on a page, permitting text. But that's not the only option. These are such long accepted pages as Wiktionary:Wiktionary:Dutch index which lists words on one page and can allow text, though text would belong more in a lexicon, not an index. My proposal (not necessarily in this order): move Lists of English words of international origin to English words of international origin, and rather than link Wikipedia lists, it will link Wiktionary glossaries (as yet uncreated), and the lists will be redirected (not even deleted) to English words of international origin. Disadvantages: no significant disadvantage; because the glossary pages will be able to have everything that the Wikipedia pages have, including links to Wikipedia articles. Advantages: everything can be linked in Wiktionary, including words and phrases which would be perpetual red links in Wikipedia (unless you make an inter-Wiktionary link); also, Wiktionary tends to attract people more fluent with lexicons and languages, and less stray poorly informed individuals, generally speaking. It's rare to have a nationalist in Wiktionary sticking words on a list just to inflate it, as often happens in Wikipedia (see List of English words of Persian origin's edit history, for example). These lists are barely fit for an encyclopedia anyway. What remains is for the Wiktionary Lexicons to be approved in Wiktionary, and for Wikipedians to agree (consensus/majority) with allowing Wiktionary to do it, if Wiktionary accepts. Alexander 007 20:55, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

For me, it's not quite a matter of getting these lists out of the way; rather, I'm on Wiktionary a lot lately and having these lists in Wiktionary is having them in the right place, where they will be overseen by more qualified people, on average. Also, it can only improve the "work-place ethic" in Wikipedia: if you're in Wikipedia, do something encyclopedic, like maybe, even, contribute a paragraph of text to an actual article; if you want to fiddle with placing words on a list, go to Wiktionary :-) Alexander 007 21:53, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

In Wiktionary, I made the proposal at Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Lexicons: A Proposal. The response so far is positive. No one has objected. So it will probably fall to a few Wikipedians to let go of ultra-inclusionist tendencies and realize that this will be better for the word-lists themselves, since having them in Wiktionary will lead to them being more reliable, since Wiktionary has far less contributors per hour; and by percentage, more that are competent with lexicons. Think about it. The word-lists here in Wikipedia often look like piles of shit, full of errors. Alexander 007 01:12, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
To rephrase: would you rather have shitty lists in Wikipedia that are barely reliable (thus, barely fulfilling their purpose to inform us of the actual words deriving from a certain language), or let go of them and simply go to Wiktionary (via upcoming links in this article) to Lexicons which will be more reliable and will not have any drawbacks to them whatsoever? Alexander 007 01:26, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Er, sorry if I offend you by saying this or something but I think that a list like this seems to be very helpful in the encyclopedia. If you don't think that this list barely fulfills the purpose to inform people of the words imported from other languages, why not edit it and make it better instead of proposing a deletion on the entire list? Moving something like this to Wiktionary is a good idea, though... eh this is still a good list to have.

Also, why is the list of Italian loanwords gone? I mean, if you have a list of two loanwords from Romanian why not a far bigger list of Italian loanwords? (talk) 02:47, 20 December 2012 (UTC) An IP :D

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of English words of Italian origin. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:25, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

How it looks in Wiktionary[edit]

Here is a look, just started. It will have everything the Wiki article has (except for the errors) and more:Lexicon:English terms of Persian origin. Alexander 007 02:43, 1 March 2006 (UTC)


We still need a list of words with Danish origin. There are quite a few of them. --Sangild 13:41, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

Go ahead and start it! 惑乱 分からん 16:56, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

List --> Category[edit]

Please, let me first start with don't panic. I am about to suggest something; if you read it hurriedly you could panic, but if you read it carefully I think you will see that I mean no harm. I came across both this article (Lists of English words of international origin) and also Category:Lists of English words of foreign origin. There is a great deal of overlap here and it appears that there is very little/no annotation with the article, primarily only the header. This article is, for all intents and purposes, "just" a list of lists. As such, I think that this purpose is better served by the category instead of an article. To be clear, I am not suggesting that any of the lists be deleted and I am not suggesting that anything is not encyclopedic. I am suggesting that the header text be copied to the category header and that all of the lists that are in this article that are not currently in the category be added to it. After that, this article could either be deleted or redirect to the Category. Note, I know that some of these articles have been "attacked" in the past and I am not taking any unilateral action here; I'm just (hopefully) starting a conversation. --After Midnight 0001 19:44, 5 October 2006 (UTC)


I just noticed a quote before the lead in the article. Is this standard article procedure? GlobeGores (talk page | user page) 06:18, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

No, but I personally don't see why it shouldn't stay. It's relevant to the subject, and adds a little humor to an otherwise (in my opinion) rather dry website. (talk) 22:22, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

List of English words of Anglo-Saxon origin?[edit]

Is there one of these, or should there be one? Count Truthstein (talk) 22:13, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

I have checked and a category already exists on Wiktionary, so now I don't think there should be. Count Truthstein (talk) 19:10, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

List of English words of Catalan and Occitan (Occitano-Romance) origin[edit]

What about adding a new list of English words of Catalan and Occitan (Provençal) origin? Jɑυмe (xarrades) 15:53, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

oooh! that sounds good, but I don't have the authority to allow you to do that.... but that sounds like a great idea! (talk) 02:48, 20 December 2012 (UTC) An IP

If you've got reliable citations, that'd be good. The difficulty is finding reliable evidence that it's Occitan or Catalan rather than any other Romance language that gave it to English (the absence of a cognate in another living Romance language isn't enough, as it may have been present in an older form of another Romance language.

I'm not aware of any clear candidate word other than "troubadour".

On a related topic, shouldn't there be some grouping of the Romance languages together?

Prof Wrong (talk) 14:26, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but French is in that list, and French is the 2nd biggest foreign contributor to English. Maybe the Romance languages besides French put together? I think that would be a good idea considering there are only two words in the romanian section...

Also, why was the Italian loanword section deleted? Additionally, couldn't we merge this with this — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:16, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

1) Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of English words of Italian origin. 2) I don't think Finnish is a Scandinavian language. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 05:25, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
2)According to it's not. ;-) Prof Wrong (talk) 09:39, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
Ok, looks like you're right as far as the Finnish loanword article! Still, the Italian language has contributed some words to English like biscotti, amaretto, ciabatta, cappuccino, neutrino, influenza, torso, panini, parmesan, gelato, etc. etc. I think from the amount of words that it's contributed it should have an article. As for the "dictionary-esque list" that got deleted , I mean that could be changed into a better article.... could it not? (talk) 18:59, 25 December 2012 (UTC) The IP from earlier in the section....
As has been said, none of these lists is encyclopedic. An article based around categories and types of loanwords might be more successful. EG. Most Italian loanwords are the names of foodstuffs particular to Italy or otherwise associated with Italy.(citation needed) And whether the majority of Latinate words came via French or directly from Latin (citation needed) etc etc.
But that would be a big job and would require very reliable citations. Prof Wrong (talk) 00:31, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Why only the "Italian List" has been erased?[edit]

Comment (from the Discussion about the deletion). I have no opinion on the merits of this particular article, but am wondering why it is the only one AfD'd from the whole Category:Lists of English words of foreign origin?—Ëzhiki (Igels Hérissonovich Ïzhakoff-Amursky) • (yo?); August 12, 2011; 16:17 (UTC)

  • I've taken a look at a handful. Quite a few I tagged as potentially not notable, needing references or needing more references. I encourage you to do the same. Stuartyeates (talk) 19:32, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
    • This list came to my attention because it was linked from another AfD. I'd be happy to vote to delete any other mini-dictionary lists. And I certainly have nothing against Italy. Borock (talk) 00:27, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
      • Here is the next one: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of English words of Korean origin. Borock (talk) 12:55, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

As of may 2013 the "List of English words of Korean origin" has NOT been deleted. So only the Italian list remains erased after 2 years. WHY? May be this is a kind of Antiitalianism? BD — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:30, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

It was a pretty stupid of them to delete that article. I voted to Keep it, but alas, common sense doesn't always win the day, it all up to the opinions of whatever random group shows up to comment in AFDs and any personal bias of the closing administrator. You can take this to deletion review if you want. That administrator had other decisions of his reversed at deletion review, and I think they might've taken away his administrative powers. Not sure. He hasn't edited Wikipedia in a year. Dream Focus 17:47, 18 May 2013 (UTC)