Talk:Noun/Archive 2

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Someone please do something about this article

"In English, a noun or noun substantive..."

Is not an acceptable start to an article entitled "Noun" instead of "English nouns". Also, not every language on earth has definite and indefinite articles (I'm SURE that can't be the correct definition for English nouns).

What's up with the title of the section "The discovery of the noun"? Is this a joke?

This is truly disappointing. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 00:09, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure where the disappointment lies, to be honest. This is the English wikipedia, hence it is natural that linguistic notions like 'noun' are exemplified and defined in terms of the English language. Notions like "noun" are notoriously difficult to define in a cross-linguistically valid way, but some of the attempts are discussed further down. Unfortunately, there's no consensus about a language-independent definition, as of now. If such a generally agreed-upon, language-independent definition had existed, I would agree that it should head this article. Meanwhile, in English, the standard definition of nouns is just what the articisle says. Finally, the title "the discovery of nouns" is no joke. Nouns were discovered by the ancient grammarians, just as the article says. It may be strange to think of a word class as something that was discovered, but such discoveries are actually still made in contemporary linguistics. Sorry that I can't agree with any part of your complaint. I will remove your clear-up flag.Neither 03:55, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not the World's biggest fan of the "This is the English Encyclopedia" argument.

This is supposed to be a free collection of World knowledge and the articles should at least strive for some universality. Thus the article shouldn't begin by giving a definition of English nouns and mentioning articles -- that's unacceptable.

Almost all articles I've seen about linguistic topics have tried to give a universal definition, mentioning English as a special case (subjunctive mood). There are also numerous articles on concepts which don't occur in English language or society (pro-drop language).

So please, make the effort. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 12:16, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree that universal defs are preferable, when they exist and are generally accepted, and I would have loved to provide one here, had it not been for the slight problem that, in this case, there is no generally accepted universal def and wikipedia is not the place to propose one. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Geach/Gupta/Baker definition, but presenting it as the truth in the first paragraph of a wikipedia article would be dishonest, since others who have opinions on the matter have other favorites. If you're interested in the topic, I suggest you go and read some of the literature cited in the article. Neither 17:50, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

That's a much better lead (less of a "WTF!!??" factor). Thank you.

Okay, so what about (Doke & Mofokeng Textbook of Southern Sotho grammar): "Substantive, a word signifying concrete or abstract, or any concept?" This includes pronouns too, but attempts universality by not mention the real genius of the nouns in Bantu languages (the noun classes and concord system).

Again, mentioning nouns in other languages would be a good idea. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 08:25, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Btw. "Southern Sotho" is Sesotho. Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 08:28, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

About nouns/substantives as words "signifying" (referring to) certain kinds of objects, read discussion of nouns as names for things in the article. That sort of def is pretty useless. In fact that's one thing that contemporary linguists do agree on.  :) Neither 11:12, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and I agree that mentioning other languages is a good idea, but I'm not sure the Bantu noun classes belong here. They should be discussed on the page on grammatical gender, though. Languages that would be more obviously relevant on this page would be ones that have been argued to lack nouns altogether (some of the Aboriginal Australian languages, and a couple of others), or to conflate them with other categories, like adjectives or verbs (some of the Eskimo-Aleut languages and many others).Neither 11:22, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Proper Nouns

Proper nouns are nouns representing unique entities,as distinguished from common nouns which describe a class of entities.

Endless circles

I have tried to find a way in to understand formal grammar via these pages. They are clearly written by extremely knowledgeable and intelligent people, but - as a novice - I can't find an easy way in to understanding because all of the technical terms I don't understand, are explained by use of other technical terms which I don't understand. A pro-noun is a pro-form. A pro-form is a dit dat. And my ankle bone is connected to my headbone. I propose that a useful way in to understanding, without sacrificing the intellectual rigour so evident here (which I respect and welcome) is to illustrate with far more examples than you currently have.ChrisXenon 17:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Animal classifaction capitalization

On many of the pages regarding species or types of animals (such as crustacean), there are kingdoms or some sort of classification that is always capitalized (i.e. Crustacea, Triops, Notostraca, etc.). Why? Why is this? What does it fall under? They aren't proper nouns. -- 20:52, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Proper and common nouns - third paragraph

Consider the following three sentences in the Proper nouns and common nouns section:

Sometimes the same word can function as both a common noun and a proper noun, where one such entity is special. For example: "There can be many gods, but there is only one God." This is somewhat magnified in Hebrew where EL means god (as in a god), God (as in the God), and El (the name of a particular Canaanite god).

The third sentence raises issues for me.

Its only advantage seems to me to be that it shows that the example of the second sentence also applies to another language. However, it seems to be presented primarily as showing a "magnified" example of how the same word can function as both a common noun and a proper noun, and I don't see that it accomplishes that purpose, unless that purpose refers simply to the same word having three meanings, which would still leave me wondering what point that makes.

Another issue that this third sentence raises is its unexplained use of "EL" and "El" as capitalization variants. Since Hebrew doesn't have an upper-vs-lower-case distinction, these variants should be solely for English. Thus, I wonder what is being signified by those variants and by the lack of an "el" variant for the common noun.

Am I missing something obvious? Can someone who knows its intent improve that sentence? Otherwise, I think the paragraph would be better without it.

--rich<Rich Janis 03:08, 18 August 2007 (UTC)>

Proper and common nouns - fourth paragraph

This paragraph gives examples of transliteration of proper nouns between languages, and then ends with the following two sentences:

However, the translation of place names and the names of monarchs, popes, and non-contemporary authors is common and sometimes universal. For instance, the Portuguese word Lisboa becomes Lisbon in English; the English London becomes Londres in French; and the Greek Aristotelēs becomes Aristotle in English.

The last sentence purports to be an example of the translation of certain types of proper nouns. However, it seems to me to show only more transliterations. Am I missing something? If not, perhaps someone more familiar with this topic could fix this.

-rich<Rich Janis 03:33, 18 August 2007 (UTC)>

Uncapitalized Proper Nouns

Some proper nouns, like "tic tacs", "iPod", "eBay", etc. are uncapitalized for their first letter. However, what if they are the first word of a sentence? Would they be capitalized or no? It would probably be best to clarify this in the article as well. LtDonny 04:47, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

The cat sat on the rat?

Examples box -- is this some kind of facetious postmodern irony, or is it the result of vandalism?

Cats are commonly found sitting on a mat. To sit on a rat would be uncomfortable and unsustainable for both sitter and sittee.

-- 22:14, 20 September 2007 (UTC)