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October 9[edit]

Language issues for "Red-cooked pork rice"[edit]

I'm currently writing an article about "red-cooked pork rice" (炕肉飯), a traditional Taiwanese dish. The article is currently in my sandbox. Since I don't speak Hokkien, I have a few questions:

  • Is there a better translation of the dish's name than "red-cooked pork rice"? I came up with my tentative name from a similar dish, Minced pork rice. Translations found online vary wildly.
  • There's three different Chinese characters that are used in the name: 炕, 焢, and 爌. The first is a proper character, while the second and third are variant characters and aren't used outside of this context. However, the second and third are more commonly used. How should I cover this in the lead/infobox?
  • Even though the three characters above have different pronunciations in Mandarin (kàng, hōng, and kuǎng/kuàng), people usually use the Hokkien khòng in its place instead. Did I address this properly in my article?

Any help would be appreciated, as I'm trying to get this right before I publish. Thanks!   Ganbaruby!  (talk to me) 02:23, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

I can't help with the translation, but I suggest you should clarify whether you're looking for a literal translation of the actual Hokkien words, or a descriptive translation that tells the reader what it actually is and/or how it's cooked. After all, some of my favourite British dishes are Cock-a-leekie soup, Bubble and squeak, Toad in the hole, Spotted dick and Eton mess, but literal translations of these names into other languages would be a) difficult and b) uninformative. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 23:01, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I think I'm going to go with "Braised pork rice" for this one, and I hope I got everything else right.   Ganbaruby!  (talk to me) 01:36, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Is ‘red-cooked’ an established term, your own hyperliteral translation, or what? —Tamfang (talk) 07:23, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

The word or phrase to describe the behaviour[edit]

In a movie, if the villain is shown from a minority community, but to avoid controversy the director also shows that the hero's friend also belongs to the same community as the villain, so that people from that community can't accuse him of showing their community in negative way.

Two groups are protesting against each other. The government takes strict action against one group due to political bias. To avoid accusation of bias they take mild action against other group also.

Is this known as 'balancing act'? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:09, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

Yes, but that phrase has a much broader usage. Taxing people enough to maintain vital infrastructure without taxing them so much they revolt would also be called a balancing act. Perhaps tokenism is closer to what you want. In the second example, you would say "the government only took token (or symbolic) actions" against the 2nd group. SinisterLefty (talk) 05:28, 9 October 2019 (UTC) -- The second half of your question, under a slightly less cynical interpretation, could fall under "being seen to be firm yet fair". The whole Jena, Louisiana fiasco over 10 years ago gained broad publicity in part because the local white authorities seemed to have a mindset where they were almost completely incapable of understanding that they had any obligation whatsoever to appear to be firm yet fair with respect to local black people. AnonMoos (talk) 16:54, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Jena Six. SinisterLefty (talk) 17:17, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

List of people who disappeared mysteriously[edit]

There are currently three list articles titled "List of people who disappeared mysteriously [variant]". They can be seen at Lists of people who disappeared. I personally feel that these titles are of low quality. The use of the word "mysteriously" in particular. I'm just having trouble with coming up with a more eloquent title myself, and the more I dabble the less decisive I get. I've tried incorporating something to the tune of "unexplained disappearances", e.g. "List of unexplained missing people" or "List of inexplicably disappeared people", but feel that none of my conjectures amount to anything that can be considered to be a significant improvement over the original. Anyone have any suggestions? Thank you. Jay D. Easy (t • c) 23:53, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

"Unsolved disapearances"? 2606:A000:1126:28D:100E:FCC1:7762:6B6 (talk) 03:49, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that works, as does "unexplained". I don't like "inexplicable", as that implies that it couldn't ever be explained, not just that we currently lack the explanation. SinisterLefty (talk) 03:56, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunately "disappearance" without context doesn't necessarily refer to a person, so "List of unexplained disappearances" isn't sufficient, and neither "unsolved" nor "unexplained" forms an adverb that could just replace "mysteriously". We end up with something like "List of people whose whose disappearances are unexplained" or "List of unexplained disappearance of people", either of which is awfully long. Any further thoughts? -- (talk) 07:09, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
If it's the most accurate description of the contents, then the length doesn't matter. - X201 (talk) 07:25, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
The more obvious terms would need to redirect to it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:34, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
People who are missing without explanation are missing persons. So Persons missing at sea etc. People if you think that's too old-fashioned. HenryFlower 11:25, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Agreed [1]. So "List of people who are missing" covers the original question; or, to be more economical, "List of missing people" (although I prefer "persons" as it prevents potential misinterpretation of "people"). Bazza (talk) 12:14, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
How would "people" be misinterpreted? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:32, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
"24 ethnic groups in Australia were wiped out by 1900. These peoples and their cultures are now missing from the face of the Earth. For example, the Guringay are a missing people, among others.". Not a great linguistic example, but I hope it helps understand how "missing people" can be something else than the plural of "missing person". --Lgriot (talk) 13:21, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
(1) That would be missing peoples. (2) Would those 24 ethnic groups be added to the list? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:36, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
(1) Read what was written: "The Guringay are a missing people, among others." One people, [2] many persons. (2) If it's a list of missing persons, no; otherwise they could be, or not, as preferred or argued. Which is why I made my comment about preferring "persons" for clarity. Bazza (talk) 15:01, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Persons might be better. As to "a missing people", if they were truly "wiped out", then they're not "missing", they're extinct. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:44, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
There is no ambiguity. If it were ethnic groups, the proper title would be "List of missing peoples", not "people". Clarityfiend (talk) 19:48, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
The trouble with "List of missing people" (and similar short forms) is that normally people are considered "missing" only if there's a chance that they're still alive. If someone went missing in a notable situation in, say, 1875 or earlier, they would not belong on that list, but if the title was "List of unexplained disappearances of people" (or similar) then they could be put on it. -- (talk) 23:47, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
I also don't like the word "mysteriously", because many disappearances have a presumed cause (bad weather at sea, killed during war, etc.), just no proof. Those cases aren't exactly mysteries. For example, Amelia Earhardt was low on fuel, didn't know how to do radio-navigation, had the wrong equipment, and her navigator was a heavy drinker. Under those circumstances, it's not exactly a mystery that she missed the tiny island she was looking for, on a cloudy day. SinisterLefty (talk) 20:19, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
"Unexplained" sounds more encyclopedic. I'm reminded of this old epitaph: "Beneath this stone lies John Mound / Lost at sea and never found."Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:31, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

October 12[edit]

Use of "Dominikan"[edit]

Has anyone proposed "Dominikan" to mean having to do with Dominica?? (For clarification on this question; it isn't difficult to see why I'm asking it; it's odd that "Dominican" can refer to either of 2 countries; Dominica or the Dominican Republic; it would be resolved if we had chosen to use the spelling "Dominikan" to mean related to Dominica and "Dominican" for the Dominican Republic.) Georgia guy (talk) 19:04, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

Who's saying it's a problem? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:17, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
How is it not a problem?? These are 2 different countries, and it's odd that the adjective "Dominican" can mean having to do with either of these. Georgia guy (talk) 19:23, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Who besides you is saying it's a problem? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:44, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Of course it's a problem, since if somebody says they are Dominican we don't know where they are from. I imagine customs and immigration officials have the most trouble with it. But spelling it differently isn't much of a solution, both because you would need to get universal agreement and because it doesn't work in spoken form. Them saying "I am from ..." works better. SinisterLefty (talk) 20:01, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Certainly. This is only a "problem" if someone tries to make it into one. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:46, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
SinisterLefty, does Wikipedia talk about any solution to the problem?? Georgia guy (talk) 21:01, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Well, check out notes f and g at List of adjectival and demonymic forms for countries and nations, which says they are pronounced differently. So your spelling diff in conjunction with that might help, but there's still the problem of making those minor diffs universally understood. SinisterLefty (talk) 21:18, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Using an accent mark over the second "i" would solve the alleged problem. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:42, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Assuming anyone remembered which nationality got the accent mark. And that people actually noticed the accent mark and didn't just see it as the normal dot over the i. As English doesn't use accents with any great frequency, I would expect that a simple acute or grave accent over an i would not stand out to the average Anglophone. Over any other vowel, yes, but i normally has a small mark over it and the differences between a dot, an acute accent, and a grave accent might not be easily apparent to all readers at all times.--Khajidha (talk) 15:13, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
It's still better than inventing a non-existent spelling and then expecting everyone to remember which thing it pertains to. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:45, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
It's hard to invent a spelling that already exists. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 15:40, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
The OP asked if anyone has proposed it. Where does it already exist? In English, that is - not in languages like German where the hard "c" is not used. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:47, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
It doesn't exist, and I never said it does. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 15:49, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
So, when you said, "It's hard to invent a spelling that already exists", what were you referring to? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:22, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Georgia_guy --
1) Unfortunately your proposal might remind some of the derogatory K ("Amerikkka" etc.)
2) If neither of the base names has a K, then it would be needlessly difficult to remember which derived adjective is supposed to have a K (i.e. it breaks the principle of related spellings for related words).
3) There's also an ambiguity with the Catholic Dominican Order (Order of Preachers) -- see disambiguation page Dominicans in the United States etc. AnonMoos (talk) 00:38, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

In fact it's not unheard of for spellings of country names to differ from those of their derivatives. Norwegians write Canada and Mexico, but usually kanadier, kanadisk, meksikaner and meksikansk (search in Bokmålsordboka/Nynorskordboka). Croatians write Wales, but Velšanin and velški (search in Hrvatski jezični portal). In those cases they have adopted the international spellings for the country names, but have adapted the adjectival and demonymic forms to their own spelling rules. --Theurgist (talk) 02:02, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

And of course, in English there's the pair Philippines vs Filipino, where the toponym is a nativized form while the demonym is a direct borrowing. --Theurgist (talk) 23:51, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

October 13[edit]

Title capitalization[edit]

It's "President Lincoln" and "the last three presidents", but what about "used by presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower"? Capitalized or not (or are both acceptable)? Clarityfiend (talk) 19:55, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

As far as Wikipedia style is concerned, WP:JOBTITLES doesn't cover the point, but I say only the capitalized version makes sense. -- (talk) 20:52, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
I have only an outdated (12th) edition of the Chicago Manual of Style' at hand, but its advice with regard to geographic names is: "When a generic term is used in the plural following more than one name, it is lowercased" (e.g. "the Adirondack and Catskill mountains" [cf. "the Catskill Mountains"]), but "When a generic term precedes more than one name, it is usually capitalized" (e.g. "Mounts Everest and Rainier"). Extending that to personal names seems to suggest that capitalized "Presidents" is the way to go in your example. Deor (talk) 13:46, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Contrary to what 76.69 claims, WP:JOBTITLES unambiguously covers the point. To wit, and I quote, "They are capitalized only in the following cases...When a formal title for a specific entity (or conventional translation thereof) is addressed as a title or position in and of itself, is not plural, is not preceded by a modifier (including a definite or indefinite article), and is not a reworded description" (bold mine). Thus, the MOS specifically recommends not capitalizing in the phrase "used by presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower", because that word is plural and thus does not meet the explicit qualification "is not plural". --Jayron32 13:56, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
It seems to me that the operative part of the passage you've quoted is not what you have boldfaced but rather "addressed as a title or position in and of itself". Since the usage in question is not such a usage, that whole bulleted item would appear to be inapplicable to the OP's question. Deor (talk) 14:20, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 15:39, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
No, the MOS is clear in that it must meet ALL of those conditions, not just one of them. None of the conditions takes primacy over the others. If any of them are not met, we don't use capitals. Thus "It was granted to Prime Minister Thatcher" but not "It was granted to the prime minister, Thatcher", or "It was granted to prime ministers Thatcher, Major, and Blair". It must be a title without modification, such as an adjective, article, or pluralization. Any modification of the standard title renders it a lower-case usage. --Jayron32 15:52, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
One teeny niggle, the correct form is "the Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher" or "the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher", rather than "Prime Minister Thatcher" in the American style. [3] Alansplodge (talk) 20:43, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
In the case of the MOS, then, it would be "the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher". The Wikipedia MOS may or may not be identical to other styles used around the world, and in the case of the capitalization on that website, they may be using a different style guide for their own purposes. For our own style of capitalization, we default to our own manual of style and its own guidance. It states that capitals are supposed to be used " not preceded by a modifier (including a definite or indefinite article)" Since your phrasing included the definite article "the", we would use "the prime minister" if obeying our own style guide. --Jayron32 17:27, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Exonyms for names of individuals?[edit]

It should be pretty clear to a lot of history buffs that names especially the given names of notable individuals sometimes get translated to the foreign-language versions when referred to in another country. For some current prominent examples of the phenomenon I am referring to, Prince William and Prince Harry tend to have their names translated to the foreign versions in foreign media (ie. Guillermo and Enrique). I would like to know more information about this practice and if there is already an article on it, I would like someone to point it out to me. Some of the questions I would like answers to include:

1.) Is there a general trend in this linguistic practice and has it changed from past to present? Or is it entirely random? Why is either the case?

2.) Is the practice mostly restricted to the Western world and European languages, and why?

3.) Is the practice used mostly for European royalty and nobility, and why?

4.) Has the practice become less popular in English and German speaking societies in recent years or when referring to individuals from the past two centuries (ex. Ludwig II of Bavaria) compared to other European languages and why? (talk) 21:03, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Our article Exonym and endonym says Exonyms and endonyms can be names of places (toponym), ethnic groups (ethnonym), languages (glossonym), or individuals (personal name) but then goes on to discuss geographical names almost exclusively. We've also got List of English translated personal names which gives you some examples of non-royals/nobles but is thin on non-Europeans - though see Avicenna. I've run into a blank searching for scholarly study of personal name exonyms because of so much noise about toponyms, sorry, and hope other volunteers here will have more luck. (talk) 02:52, 14 October 2019 (UTC) -- One example I find a little amusing is that the king of Spain who ruled in the 16th century, known as "Felipe" there, is Philip II of Spain in English, while the current king of Spain named the same way there is Felipe VI of Spain in English...
Throughout the 19th century, it was common for ordinary immigrants to the United States to Anglicize their first names on immigrating to the U.S. ("Heinrich" becoming "Henry", or whatever). So Jean-Jacques Audubon became John James Audubon in the U.S. Similarly, Maria Skłodowska became Marie Curie after emigrating to France and marrying a Frenchman... AnonMoos (talk) 06:06, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Well, for one thing, Elizabeth II is called fi:Elisabet II in Finnish, but her son, Prince Charles is called fi:Walesin prinssi Charles instead of "Walesin prinssi Kaarle", even though Charles I of England was called fi:Kaarle I (Englanti). JIP | Talk 07:38, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Another important point is that many European languages have large numbers of personal names that are exact cognates of each other, being derived through normal linguistic changes from the same root, or have even been directly borrowed and then modified by those same normal changes. In some sense, William, Guillaume, and Wilhelm are not really separate things, they are expressions of the same thing modified by the language in which they occur. Why shouldn't we translate William to Wilhelm the same way we would translate water to Wasser? This exact congruity does not exist when non-European languages are considered. There is no cognate in English to Mao or Hideki or Kwame. And modern English speakers (at least here in the US, not sure about other countries and other languages) often create new names that have no real link to any previously existing one. Given the increase in communication between European derived cultures and non-European derived cultures and the increase in novel names, the tendency more recently is not to translate names (often not even when there are clear translations available). --Khajidha (talk) 13:03, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
There is a general trend in English in general to use endonyms in modern usages, excepting when the use of the exonym is idiomatic or entrenched in the literature such that changing the usage would cause confusion. With names, thus we have Felipe VI of Spain (who became King after the convention changed) but the earlier Philip II of Spain, Philip III of Spain, etc. since those names are in well-established usage in English as such. Other usages reflect this outside of names as well; for example the city is Beijing, but the dish is Peking Duck. The country is Thailand, but the breed of cat is a Siamese cat. The city is Kolkata, whereas the POW dungeon was the Black Hole of Calcutta. The native language term for these people and places never changed, what changed is the modern sensibilities to make English usage more reflective of the native language. However, we don't go back and change old idioms, we just change the new occurrences and current usage. --Jayron32 16:00, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
The Beijing/Peking example is a little different from the others mentioned. The Western Press (and consequently its audience) has widely misunderstood the change of spelling, which did not signify a change in pronunciation, but rather the adoption of a new system of romanization.
Earlier romanizations of Chinese languages (in this case Modern Standard Mandarin) were principally designed by and for for Westerners to obviate the onerous task of learning Chinese characters, but the modern Pinyin system was designed by Chinese linguists for the use of Chinese speakers/writers, and crucially the pronunciation of many letters does not correspond to those familiar to Western readers, but to sounds in Chinese phonology, some of which are not used (or recognised as distinct) in Western languages.
For example, in "Beijing" the 'B' is pronounced like the (unaspirated) 'p' in "spit" (whereas 'P' is pronounced in Pinyin like the (aspirated) 'p' of "pit"), and the 'j' is pronounced similarly to the 'chy' in "churchyard", (to quote the Pinyin article's chart) "like q, but unaspirated. Is similar to the English name of the letter G, but curl the tip of the tongue downwards to stick it at the back of the teeth. Not like the s in vision . . . ." [Dismounts from hobbyhorse.] {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 16:50, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Um, I'm not sure why you are taking a contrary tone in this response, since I already pre-agreed with everything you were about to say. See, when I said in my prior post "The native language term for these people and places never changed," what I had meant by that was actually "The native language term for these people and places never changed," I hope that clarifies it for you. --Jayron32 11:57, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't intending to take a contrary tone in the response, Jayron: I was merely trying to add detail about a subject that interests me and that I hoped would be informative for others. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 15:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I apologize for my mistake in misreading your tone. The fault lies entirely with me. Carry on! Your clarification was appropriate and added much to the discussion. I am sorry for being so rude in misinterpreting your meaning. --Jayron32 12:38, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
I think you need to clarify what you are saying, because the change from "Peking" to "Beijing" most assuredly DID signify a change in pronunciation in English. --Khajidha (talk) 16:54, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
The point is that this change in English pronuciation has arisen from a misunderstanding of what the spelling change actually signified. Chinese people continue to pronounce (in Chinese languages) the name of the city as they always have, and the Pinyin-system spelling "'Beijing' is pronounced close to (though not exactly like) the English-system spelling "Peking" (which is about as close as traditional English spelling can get, given the differing phonologies), and certainly not like (English-system) "Bay-shing" or "Bay-jing" which the misunderstanding has unfortunately given rise to. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 17:12, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Seems to me that the "misunderstanding" comes from the Chinese side. If you don't want us to pronounce it "Bay-jing" or "Bay-zhing" then maybe you shouldn't have spelled it a way that was basically guaranteed to result in those pronunciations.--Khajidha (talk) 18:36, 14 October 2019 (UTC). and Khajidha -- older Chinese Romanization systems like Wade-Giles had a lot of apostrophes, which ordinary Westerners (who weren't scholars or knowledgeable about Chinese) tended to omit, making an already somewhat-ambiguous transcription system far more so. Those who devised PRC Pinyin decided to dump the finicky apostrophes (so that Wade-Giles p' and p became p and b) in the interests of simplicity and greater usability for native Chinese speakers... AnonMoos (talk) 18:48, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
What do you mean "you"? I am an English person of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic stock, living in England, and haven't been to China since the early 1960s when (as a small child) I lived in Hong Kong for two years. How the Chinese authorities choose to devise a means of phonetic transcription for their own people's use is up to them, and they could in theory have chosen Greek, Hebrew or Cyrillic characters to do so, or made up entirely new ones, but happen to have chosen Latin ones for doubtless pragmatic reasons. Have you actually read the Pinyin article? Do you also criticise Spanish speakers for spelling the desert's name Mojave because it's "basically guaranteed to result in" the pronunciation "Mow-jayv"? My quarrel is with the Western media journalists who completely misunderstood how Pinyin works and foisted spurious "corrections" of pronunciation on to the Western public. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 15:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
The biggest difference I see between "Bay-jing" and [pei̯tɕiŋ] (my inference from a quick look at the Pinyin article) is the substitution of voiced unaspirated stops for the unvoiced unaspirated stops that English lacks. Is it your view that we ought to either learn to pronounce [p] properly (which ain't gonna happen) or substitute [pʰ] instead? —Tamfang (talk) 07:52, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
By the way, some semi-strange exonymic practices are that the Latvian language insists on adding a final "-s" to almost all foreign masculine names (so that George W. Bush becomes Džordžs V. Bušs, while the Czech language adds a final "-ová" to almost all foreign feminine names (so that Michelle Obama becomes Michelle Obamová -- the Czechified versions of U.S. first ladies' names at the bottom of the Michelle Obamová article are entertaining). AnonMoos (talk) 16:20, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
The latter resulted in the 'outing' of J. K. Rowling as definitely female. Previously her British publishers had produced her books under the ambiguously initialed name to avoid a supposed prejudice of boys against reading female authors, but then the Czech translations appeared as by "J. K. Rowlingová." {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 16:58, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Both of those examples are inflective suffixes to make declension possible, something which classical languages like Latin and Greek did as well. The Latvian -s is the same as Latin -us. In Czech, there is no paradigm according to which one could decline "Rowling" as a feminine noun, as no feminine nouns end in a hard consonant, thus the -ová is added which makes it a feminine adjective. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 🐱 21:39, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I can understand that in a way, but if you go through the ancient Greek New Testament and Septuagint, you'll find that a lot of the Hebrew and Aramaic names there are indeclinable as adapted to Greek, and the modern Russian language has a similar way of adapting many foreign surnames. Latvian is a little strange because it seems to add "-s" in almost all situations (in the nominative singular), regardless of the sounds of the word it's attached to. Neither "Džordžs" nor "Bušs" can be pronounced naturally as single consolidated syllables in the way that their spelling would suggest (i.e. as if they were written in Americanist Phonetic Notation), leaving their pronunciation rather obscure and unclear to non-Latvians. And "-ová" is a rather heavy suffix which adds two syllables to most of the names it's attached to (though only one syllable to Obamová)... AnonMoos (talk) 16:03, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
The Latvian -s is the same as Latin -us. Broader than that. Latin –us is from older –o–s; in Latin all non-neuters, except in the first declension (a stems) or where it has been altered by analogy, have s in the nominative singular. —Tamfang (talk) 07:52, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
That's not really true for all 3rd-declension consonant stems (as opposed to 3rd declension i-stems). See , subsections "n-stems" and "r-stems", AnonMoos (talk) 08:33, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

October 14[edit]

Pronouncing Greta Thunberg in Swedish[edit]

I came across two pronunciation, linked above, one sounds to me "toon berry" the other more like "toon berj". Where in Swedish would any pronunciation be more appropriate?


the other — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:20, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

The best indication would be how she pronounces her own name. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:42, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
She pronounces her own name like this (7:59 in the clip): Greta speaks to European Parliament, 16 April 2019 Mathglot (talk) 17:02, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Ah, here's the one I was looking for: Greta on Democracy Now! (jump to 1:35). In this interview, Amy Goodman begins like this: "Why don't we start at the beginning? There's a great controversy, and it's how do you pronounce your name. Can you say your full name for us?" Amy follows up Greta's response with further questions about the pronunciation. To me, the final consonant sounds very similar to the final R in Russian теперь ("now"). Ping @Ymblanter:. Mathglot (talk) 18:22, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Our article Greta Thunberg has the IPA in a note [²ɡreːta ²tʉːnbærj] with an audio file in Swedish. (talk) 03:09, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
That's IPA for Swedish. IPA is not invariant; to be able to interpret it correctly, you have to understand some Swedish phonemics. Mathglot (talk) 17:09, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I remember when there was discussion in U.S. newspapers about how to pronounce Björn Borg's name, and a lot of hesitation about how to usefully indicate the pronunciation in print to readers (of course, neither journalists nor most newspaper readers know IPA). Fortunately or unfortunately, there was no Internet back then... AnonMoos (talk) 06:13, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
BTW, the question is not truly about the 'right' pronunciation, but it's about what I suspect is a regional variety pronouncing the -berg suffix. (talk) 11:50, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
This is not correct. There is simply no audible g-sound in the suffix -rg in what most people consider standard Swedish. The G underwent lenition and became a y-sound [j]. Other examples include PewDiePie's real name and his home town of Gothenburg (Göteborg). -- (talk) 19:36, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Simone Giertz has a similar pronunciation of the Swedish "G" in her name; there's something of a trope of English speakers having difficulty saying it correctly, as the sound has no close analogue in English, other than the english "y" sound, which isn't all that great. --Jayron32 11:51, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "af"[edit]

It looks like it's the "cool" or "hip" thing nowadays to use "af" as an intensifier as in "she woke af". How is it pronounced? As one syllable, like the word "as" or "at"? Or as "ay eff"? Or as "as fuck"? JIP | Talk 10:56, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

I would suspect [æz fʌk] / [əz fʌk], though I don't have specific evidence. There may not be any widely-utilized answer, since this seems to have originated purely in writing (like the Usenet term "ROT13" which someone once asked the pronunciation of). AnonMoos (talk) 12:53, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I've never met anyone that pronounces it as anything except "as fuck". I've not personally encountered anyone speaking it as a single syllable or as individual letters. I'm sure at least one English speaking person has done so; likely more than one, but in general it parses as "as fuck", spoken in full. --Jayron32 13:53, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Actually I have heard "ay eff" in Youtube videos where the Youtuber didn't want to be too rude to his audience but still wanted to make a point and "a lot" and "very" didn't quite convey the meaning. --Lgriot (talk) 14:16, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
That's wrong. The Youtuber couldn't care less about being rude to whatever audience. People just don't want to get demonetized. -- (talk) 19:25, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
94.134, you know every Youtuber, their relationship with their audience, and their reasoning? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lgriot (talkcontribs) 12:36, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
For what it's worth (probably not much) one of the entries on Urban Dictionary says: 'Some pronounce it "A Eff" and others simply "af."' AndrewWTaylor (talk) 17:05, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
That could be. My sample size of my own experience is rather small, so I would trust literally any source over my own experience. --Jayron32 11:49, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Demonetization is a good reason for not wanting to be too rude. —Tamfang (talk) 07:59, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
I'd never think of pronouncing it as anything other than "as fuck", considering it's a written abbreviation used in online chat and not a word. But no doubt there are some young mostly-female teenagers doing their usual thing and driving language change. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 🐱 20:46, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I've heard more than one person pronounce it as the individual letters, for obvious reasons like wanting to not wanting to offend, showing familiarity (ironic or otherwise) with modern slang, and perhaps brevity or moderation of degree of emphasis. Temerarius (talk) 02:29, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
What really confuses me, though, is when I see someone using "asf" for the same purpose. I've asked one or two of them what that means and they said "as fuck". I could understand "as f" for that, but "asf" is just weird.--Khajidha (talk) 14:09, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Question about punctuation: hyphen, dash, en-dash, or em-dash[edit]

I am in the process of moving (re-naming) an article from Tate murders to Tate-LaBianca murders. My question: for a Wikipedia article title, what is the correct punctuation to place between the surnames "Tate" and "LaBianca"? Should it be a hyphen, a dash, an en-dash, or an em- dash? I read through MOS:DASH, but it only confused me. Also -- separate from the article title question -- what is the correct punctuation to include within the article itself, when combining the surnames "Tate" and "LaBianca"? Thanks. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 21:27, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Consistency within the article is important. And for what it's worth, note similar construction for Taft–Hartley Act. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:43, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
The relevant rules in MOS:DASH are:
Use an en dash for the names of two or more entities in an attributive compound.
In article titles... to aid searching and linking, provide a redirect with hyphens replacing the en dash(es)...
So Tate–LaBianca murders is correct Wikipedia style (in the title and throughout the article), and Tate-LaBianca murders should redirect to it. (I see that right now those both exist as redirects, but they point to different articles. This needs to be corrected.)
-- (talk) 03:46, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
It appears there is an ongoing move discussion regarding this very issue. --Jayron32 11:48, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
So to check if I understood this correctly, "Tate–LaBianca murders" is correct because Tate and the LaBiancas were separate people. "Tate-LaBianca murders" would mean that the murder victim was named "Tate-LaBianca". JIP | Talk 13:35, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, a hyphen is used when it is a compound name referring to a single thing (as in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina or in the person of Maurice Jones-Drew). An endash is used to connect two separate entities or ideas, as in China–United States relations or the Torrijos–Carter Treaties. --Jayron32 13:52, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I've never seen that reasoning for why Wikipedia shamelessly fucks this up, and it makes sense I guess (and I honestly kinda like it as a concept) but it's wrong. With an em dash the text "Tate--LaBianca murders" (2 en-dash for 1 em-dash here) out of context can only be a quote from a person addressing Tate, telling them that LaBianca is a murderer. And I'm a huge proponent of language/orthography innovation, but Wikipedia should follow (and quickly!) rather than lead. Temerarius (talk) 02:39, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't understand why you're bringing emdashes into the discussion. Neither I, nor the Wikipedia guidance page I linked to, mentions them. Emdashes primary usage is as a form of aside or appositive, similar to how commas or parentheses are used, to place a different emphasis on the aside than commas or parentheses would. Wikipedia does NOT recommend emdashes for the usage discussed above, so I am not sure what your objection is. Wikipedia usage reflects what nearly all style guides also reflects regarding the distinction between the three lengths of dash. --Jayron32 12:32, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
So to sum it up:
  • With a hyphen: murder of someone called "Tate-LaBianca"
  • With an endash: murder of Tate and the LaBiancas
  • With an emdash: Tate calling LaBianca a murderer
Is this correct? JIP | Talk 12:52, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
No on the emdash. It has no use in that isolated construction. Those three specific words would perhaps have an emdash in that place, but ONLY as part of a completely different construction, for example as an aside where you make a clarifying statement, but it would be something like

"In the novel, Bill was talking to Tate—LaBianca murders Tate later that day—unaware of future events."

In this case (and in most cases) emdashes act in a similar manner as commas or parentheses, to make an aside or a clarifying comment or something like that. You could replace emdashes with commas or parentheses and get a similar sense. The isolated phrase Tate LaBianca murders would never have an emdash, it would only be the first two usages. --Jayron32 13:22, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
@Jayron32: To add to the "nit picking" of these punctuation symbols ... in your example above (about the novel in which the LaBianca guy murders the Tate guy) ... there should be no blank white space on either side of the em-dashes ... correct? Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 19:23, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, yes. So corrected. --Jayron32 20:11, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

October 15[edit]

Russian Grammar.[edit]

What is Putin's middle name, and how do I pronounce it? Primal Groudon (talk) 03:17, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

(1) Vladimirovich; and (2) incorrectly. :) :) :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:20, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
It's technically a patronymic, rather than a middle name in the usual sense... AnonMoos (talk) 06:00, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Our relevant article is Vladimir Putin.--Thomprod (talk) 14:13, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Hmm, our article doesn't have pronunciation. Would it be OK to insert the one from the German wikipedia? [vɫɐˈdʲimʲɪr vɫɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪtɕ ˈputʲɪn] (talk) 14:52, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I've read that, except in the most formal circumstances, a name like Pavel Pavlovič is normally contracted, Pal Palič; but I don't know how Vladimir Vladimirovich would be contracted. —Tamfang (talk) 08:03, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
I have a vague memory that Vladimir Nabokov wrote somewhere that his patronymic Vladimirovich is normally slurred to something like Vladimich. (In Pnin, I believe, he wrote that Pavlovich is slurred to Pahlch.) Deor (talk) 17:05, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

I would suggest that it is not okay to copy paste this from the German Wikipedia as this would need to be pulled from the Russian as his name may be pronounced differently in Germany. See the recent question concerning Prince Harry being called Prince Enrique in Spain. Thanks Anton (talk) 16:08, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

The IPA in the German article (copied above by 70.67....) is the Russian pronunciation. It includes the palatalisation of consonants, which does not occur in German and is not used when pronouncing the guy's name in German. --Wrongfilter (talk) 09:57, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Wrongfilter! Have put in an edit request to have it added to the article. (talk) 14:13, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
And it's now in the article, so yay RefDesks for improving the encyclopedia :) (talk) 21:37, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

October 16[edit]

Bested vs. worsted[edit]

These past tense verbs seem to have the same meaning when used in the sense of "got the better of someone".

Are they truly synonyms, or is there some shade of difference? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 10:39, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

I'd never heard of "worsted" outside of knitting circles, and neither at first glance has [4]. But a look on the same site at "worst" reveals it's (among other things) a verb requiring an object, meaning "get the better of or defeat". The large number of examples given suggest it's of a certain age or use, but counts as my thing to have learnt for today. Bazza (talk) 11:03, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Going to those links triggers some sort of complaint that requires me to exit IE. Looking at Etymology Online, it appears that the term "worsted"[5] is a lot older than "bested"[6] in the sense of defeating. "Worsted" wool has nothing to do with defeating, though; it comes from Worstead. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:51, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
On the simplistic level of semantics from an ESL speaker:
  • Bested is a term applied from the POV of the winner in the contest.
  • Worsted is a term applied from the POV of the loser in the contest.
As such, there may be a not-so-subtle difference in these constructs. However, this is pure speculation. I have not lived in the Anglosphere for 40 years and I am reasonably sure never to have heard of “worsted” in colloquial or written communication. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 13:56, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

'Of course, I remember' he said. 'The men of Carn Dûm came on us at night, and we were worsted. Ah! the spear in my heart!'

— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 8, "Fog on the Barrow Downs"
Deor (talk) 16:59, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Died in the wool? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:58, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Well spotted, but of course Tolkein was deliberately trying to evoke the feeling of archaic speech and his vocabulary would be considered exceptional compared to most people. Matt Deres (talk) 18:46, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
OED offers some more contemporary examples, but agrees with you that it's rare. For the transitive verb (meaning: "to get the better of (an adversary) in a fight or battle; to defeat, overcome. To defeat in argument, to outdo or prove better than (a person). Also: to overcome or foil (an undertaking). Frequently in passive."):
1980 K. Crossley-Holland Norse Myths (1982) Introd. p. xxxvii Initially worsted, the gods invariably come off better in the end.
2015 Spectator (Nexis) 5 Dec. An over-confident Japanese army was worsted by the Russians in Manchuria.
1985 B. Unsworth Stone Virgin 176 You can't bear to be worsted in argument, can you?
2012 Australian (Nexis) 5 June 14 Because she cannot bear to be bested—or worsted—by Abbott she too often uses her bully pulpit to sneer, or ridicule or belittle. (talk) 21:47, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

'Pole shift' in Danish[edit]

What is the translation for this? (talk) 13:44, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Google translate says Pole shift translates to Pole shift if Danish. Anton (talk) 13:53, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
No, it doesn't. It returns polskift. But google translate is not reliable, so you have to check that response. The danish article on earth's magnetic field (da:Jordens magnetfelt). The second sentence has in parentheses: magnetisk reversering eller polskifte, which connects reversal of the magnetic field with the word polskifte. I do not know what the e is, maybe just a declination away from the nominative, but it seems that google translate is giving a good response. --Wrongfilter (talk) 18:13, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Oh my goodness gracious me[edit]

The Hill reports: Asked about Trump's comments on Wednesday, Romney added: "Oh my goodness gracious. Oh my goodness gracious. The Kurds are our friends and our allies." There's no upside to this clusterfuck politically, but the quote actually made me smile. I suppose this is the sound of a Mormon swearing, what with the third commandment etc., but I am neither a native speaker nor do I know any Mormons personally, anyways ... it also made me wonder about the pedigree of the expression "goodness gracious". Biblical? Puritan? Also: How am I supposed to parse "Oh my goodness gracious me", syntactically speaking? Whence the "me"? Ellipsis ("God [≈"goodness gracious"] [help] me") or what? -- (talk) 18:38, 16 October 2019 (UTC) says it is from the 1700s and was, as you surmised, a minced oath. Matt Deres (talk) 18:49, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
While I've got OED open I looked it up and found that Dickens is one influential author who used the expression:
1837 C. Dickens Pickwick Papers xxxviii. 417 ‘Goodness gracious!’ said Mary,..‘Why it's that very house.’
1841 C. Dickens Barnaby Rudge ix. 285 Goodness gracious me! (talk) 21:50, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

There's a song with the title "Goodness Gracious Me" (a hit in the UK long ago)... AnonMoos (talk) 21:52, 16 October 2019 (UTC)