Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2008 June 10

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June 10[edit]

Insults in Calvino's Cavaliere Inesistente[edit]

I recently ran across this list of insults, allegedly "in all the languages of the Christians and the Moors", in Calvino's Cavaliere Inesistente:

-Khar as-Sus!
-Escremento di verme!
-Mushrik! Sozo! Mozo! Escalvao! Marrano! Hijo de puta! Zabalkan! Merde!

I recognize "escremento di verme" and "merde" and can guess at the meaning of "hijo de puta", but what about the others? Are they actual existing insults in any language, or are they just random vaguely Arabic-sounding words? Knowing Calvino, I would expect the list of insults to be some sort of pun, and I fear I might be missing the joke here. -- Ferkelparade π 07:51, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

"Khar as-Sus" is the same as "escremento di verme", in Arabic. We have an article about marranos. "Mushrik" is a sinner, from shirk. I don't recognize the others. Adam Bishop (talk) 08:19, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
"Sozo, mozo, escalvao!" is from Contrasto con la donna genovese by Raimbaut de Vaqueiras. It is Genoese and this book translates it as "filthy, stupid and cropped like a thief". DAVID ŠENEK 11:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Zabal (Ar.) and zebel (Per.) mean "dung"; and kan is the same as khan in some names like Genghiz Khan. Together they refer nowadays to an astute, crafty person. --Omidinist (talk) 11:25, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, everyone - that covers everything. -- Ferkelparade π 18:42, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Proper term for a flipboard?[edit]

Hi there - looking for a little help as to what a flipboard is actually called? Wikipedia refers to them as a type of dynamic display, but I'm sure there's a more specific name for them. I'm looking for a good image of one, but it's kind of hard to search without the proper term. Thanks in advance! -- (talk) 09:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Split-flap display, or Solari indicators, after the manufacturer. — Pek, on behalf of Tivedshambo (talk) 13:09, 10 June 2008 (UTC)


How do you add the suffix -ian to the name Kelly, properly?

'Kellian', I would assume. 'Kellyan' just looks funny, and 'Kellyian' is definitely not right. You could also hyphenate it as 'Kelly-an', but that looks like a girl's name, and not an adjective.--ChokinBako (talk) 10:32, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I would avoid the suffix if at all possible and instead use phrases like "inspired by Kelly", "followers of Kelly", "students of Kelly", or whatever. If you absolutely must tack on the suffix, I would prefer "Kellyan", even though I agree that it looks funny, because "Kellian" looks inaccurate to me. It suggests something associated with a person or place named "Kell". Marco polo (talk) 12:30, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
'Kelly-esque', perhaps? Obviously it depends on the context, but if this fits, then it seems perfectly ok to me. --ChokinBako (talk) 12:33, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
For Chomsky, it's "Chomskyan", so I don't see why it couldn't be Kellyan. —Angr 16:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Kellyan is probably the best choice, if such a word has to be coined. Kellyesque (no hyphen, btw) would be used to describe some behaviour (by others) that resembled whatever Kelly was known for, rather than something associated with Kelly personally. This class of adjective seems confined to certain select notable people (Victorian, Edwardian, Georgian, Carolingian, Shakespearean, Beethovenian, Mozartian, Dickensian, Churchillian, Shavian and a few others). It's not generally extendable to all notable persons (although who gets to decide who's "in" and who's "out" beats me). We never hear, for example, of the "Kennedian" period, or the "Nixonian" approach to truth in government, or the "Gershwinian" style, or the "Goethian" genre. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:11, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
We do, however, occasionally read about "Goethean science", some of us even went to schools where it was taught. :-| ---Sluzzelin talk 23:25, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, whaddaya know. Thanks, Sluzzz. -- JackofOz (talk) 00:20, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
In fact, here's a list of them. There are quite a lot more than I imagined, but it's still a tiny proportion of notable people.-- JackofOz (talk) 06:44, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I saw you visited that list two years ago, and I had the same question now as you did then. ---Sluzzelin talk 15:07, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Great minds, etc. Thanks for reminding me; I had completely forgotten. :) -- JackofOz (talk) 22:23, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Mystery character[edit]

Hello all; I've been trying to find Unicode codepoints for all the characters on the Wikipedia puzzle-globe; I think I've managed most of them, but there are still one or two mysterious ones, namely the two to the left of the Hebrew resh (which is U+05E8). You can check my table of research on m:Talk:Errors in the Wikipedia logo for reference. Any thoughts? --tiny plastic Grey Knight 12:26, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I didn't think any of the letters had ANYTHING to do with Wikipedia, and that they were just random letters from different scripts. After all, Hebrew 'resh' has nothing to do with Wikipedia because 'wikipedia' has no 'r' in it. The one to the left of 'resh', though, looks like Lao to me, but the one further to the left is impossible to see.--ChokinBako (talk) 12:39, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Large version of WP logo to help ease the eye strain. - X201 (talk) 12:40, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. But I can't even begin to guess what that is. It looks like a central asian script, but I have absolutely no idea which one.--ChokinBako (talk) 13:10, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Some of the pieces were supposed to say "wi" or the nearest equivalent, apparently, but others were apparently just chosen because they looked nice! I agree that that one looks like Lao, but it looks even more like Telugu or Kannada; or maybe some relative. It'd be nice to know what the actual current character is as well as identifying those two "replacements" suggested on the external link... I don't know, it's a bit confusing. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 13:23, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Here's a previous thread on this subject. This thread is also interesting. It looks like the glyphs in the logo were never proofread by readers of the scripts in question, some of them don't even exist, and Nohat (or the Wikimedia Foundation?) has no intention of fixing them. Frankly I think this is pretty embarrassing for such a prominent logo. I'm surprised the katakana puzzle piece hasn't shown up at Hanzi Smatter. -- BenRG (talk) 17:22, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Wow, it even made The New York Times, and that was a year ago. I think it would be a good idea to fix this. It's too easy to read it as cultural insensitivity—I'm sure they would have quickly corrected a similarly serious error in the Roman script (say, if the W was missing a stroke or mirrored so the stroke weights looked wrong). I guess most Japanese and Indian users will just snicker and move on, but still. -- BenRG (talk) 18:10, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
That's one of the things that got me into this investigation in the first place. I think the main stumbling block in fixing it was that User:Nohat had lost the original source file he used to create it, and hadn't managed to recreate something that looked right. I've got an idea on how I might be able to pull it off, but I need to get actual fonts and codepoints for the different characters, hence my problem. At the very least I want to get that Devanagari bug fixed, whenever I get to the proposal stage I'll probably include optional "change all pieces to 'W'/'WI' or the equivalent", and somebody has brought up "get rid of the Klingon piece" too.
Anyway, discussion of the more general "fix the logo" topic should probably centralise on m:Talk:Errors in the Wikipedia logo, and leave this topic just for "what are these two characters?". In particular I want to know the edgemost one, I was intending to replace that Indic-looking one with the Kannada mentioned here anyway so it's less of a deal. --tiny plastic Grey Knight 20:18, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Ooh, you can replace the omega with a digamma. Deor (talk) 21:38, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Decided to go with "What does that language's Wikipedia call itself?", so the Greek one worked out to be beta (possibly with iota). You can comment on that part here; never mind about this existing mystery character I guess, I've just replaced it with Georgian. Any further comments to Meta please, I'm dewatchlisting this page now. :-) --tiny plastic Grey Knight 17:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
(outdent)It is Kannada. It's transcription is 'vi', but I can't attest to whether it's properly constructed. The part that corresponds to the '-i' is the little circle at the top left of the character. The one on the left of the Kannada syllable I have no idea. Steewi (talk) 00:20, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
The Arabic letter is y/i, the second letter in "wikibidia", and since w doesn't connect to the following letter in Arabic, the "wi" combination isn't necessary (although that would be true of any letter since they all have stand-alone forms). Adam Bishop (talk) 11:32, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

"Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Großdeutschland"[edit]

My query, with details and context, is posted on the discussion page for Austria at the Time of National Socialism. An answer there would be appreciated; I'll sort out and restore the linguistic content here, with due attribution, after responses are received. -- Thank you, Deborahjay (talk) 13:35, 10 June 2008 (UTC)