Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Language/2006 August 17

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Ceres and Charon[edit]

With all this talk of new planets, I realized that I'm unsure how to pronounce two of them. How are Ceres and Charon pronounced? Pyro19 00:15, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

1 Ceres and Charon (moon) both have pronunciations in a few different formats. Do those help or should I go find my mic and record my pronunciations? —Keenan Pepper 01:35, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
For me, Ceres and series are homophonic, and Charon sounds like the female name Karen. —Keenan Pepper 01:38, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I pronounce "Ceres" like "seres" with two "short e"s, and "Charon" more like "Sha-run". I guess it depends on personal preference. —Keakealani Poke Mecontribs 03:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually "Charon" is pronounced "KAR-un", (like Keenan noted but with more of an "uh" sound (schwa) and "Ceres" is pronounced the same as "Series" (although I have heard "seres", as Keakealani noted, also. AdamBiswanger1 04:11, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
They're not planets, by the way. And there is talk of no longer classifying Pluto as a planet (the verdict is due next mnth), so there may actually be one less planet in our solar system. DirkvdM 04:58, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
There won't actually be more or fewer planets, we will only call more or fewer objects planets. When I keep hearing that the "number of planets will change" I can't help but picture some cosmic event that has caused our solar system to gain or lose large objects. StuRat 06:04, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Under the proposal, Charon will be a planet. It's silly to say that "KAR-un" is the only correct pronunciation- it's not the usual pronunciation of the astronomical body, as the article explains. HenryFlower 11:21, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Pluto will still be a planet, doubled with Charon. —Daniel (‽) 12:58, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Dirk, read your Wikinews! :) · rodii · 13:02, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Ah, this is typical of me. As you can see I already knew this definition was due, but mnissed the news that it has already arrived. DirkvdM 06:03, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I looked at the Ceres article but for some reason I didn't see the pronunciation there and I knew the there was confusion about Charon. Thanks for the help. Pyro19 14:05, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
In English, I'd say /siriz/ "series" and /tSerOn/ "chair on." To be more "proper," maybe, /seres/ "sare ace" and /karOn/ "car on". If I was going to pronounce it as the ancients pronounced it, /keres/ "care ace" and /xarOn/ "har on." If you don't know X-SAMPA, the pronounciations in quotes should give you a fair idea, although they aren't exact. Linguofreak 01:08, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess; the Latin pronunciation is with a hard "c", but otherwise like "series" (sorry, I don't know any phonetic alphabets). Charon is named after the Greek boatman across the River Styx and in Greek would be pronounced with a hard "ch" and a long "o". However, in English, it is pronounced "Sharon", as explained at Charon (moon)#Name. Sam Korn (smoddy) 12:28, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

crossword help[edit]

could u help me with these clues

and so on (2,6) et cetera --Richardrj 05:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

staying power (7) stamina --Richardrj 05:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

sermon -lodging (7) address --Richardrj 05:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

bing ,1904-1977 (6) crosby --Richardrj 05:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

special linguistic usage (I***E) idiom? - check that final E. --Richardrj 05:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

millitary alliance (***A) NATO? - check that final A. --Richardrj 05:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

thank you212.72.18.18 05:28, 17 August 2006 (UTC) thanks again for the other clues could u help me with one more clue

where prizes are displayed (*R*P*Y*O*M)or 6,4Mightright 05:59, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

trophy room --Richardrj 06:00, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

that was fast !! please tell me one more derogatory term for a hippy evangelical (5,5) (jesus*R*A*)Mightright 06:02, 17 August 2006 (UTC) i got that one before u it is jesus freak ,anyway thanx for ur help

geographic affects on languages[edit]

I notice that languages around the world sound similar to each based on geography, even comparing languages in totally isolated places in the world but share close latitudinal (right word? word at all?) coordinates. I have many questions to be answered —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mearom (talkcontribs)

I recall reading this in Crystal's Cambridge Encyclopedia of Languages where parts of Europe seem to be more partial to certain sounds. IIRC, the example given was the front rounded vowels in French, German, and Dutch. I believe the correct term is Sprachbund. One example is the Balkan linguistic union. Personally, I have noticed that Irish (a Celtic language) and Jèrriais (a Romance language) sound similar to English, but I don't know if this is because the speakers were native English speakers or what. --Chris S. 08:25, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

thnak you

I would disagree in saying that totally isolated parts of the world with alike latitude can be found to have similarities in language based on the latitude. Spanish does not sound like Algonquin, or Chinese, or Arabic, or Hindi to the least. — [Mac Davis] (talk)
Although there are similarities in many world languages that are otherwise unrelated; the word for mother almost always contains some variant on ma. —Daniel (‽) 18:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
The article on areal features might help explain.—Philosofinch 19:14, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Eskimos and Basque[edit]

I read somewhere that Eskimo and Basque people have similar languages true? sorry for posting so many questions —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mearom (talkcontribs)

No. --Ptcamn 08:18, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
You can post as many questions as you like, by the way. --Ptcamn 08:22, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
But please sign your posts by appending ~~~~.  --LambiamTalk 08:50, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Many have attempted to link Basque to other language families, but have been proven inconclusive. PS: Traditionally Eskimos or Inuit/Yup'ik speak Yup'ik or Inuktitut. --Chris S. 08:30, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Of course anyone who has watched due south already knew that. DirkvdM 06:07, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Unrelated languages can nevertheless be similar. However, Inuit and Basque are very different. --LambiamTalk 08:47, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

thank you69.29.78.229 12:43, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Our article says that, "It has also been suggested that there is a genetic relationship between the Basque people and the Ainu, the aboriginal inhabitants of Japan. This theory also argues for a linguistic relationship with the Eskimo-Aleut family." No reference, though. HenryFlower 15:01, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
That’s certainly been suggested by someone, but then others have seriously suggested equally bizarre connections like Japanese being related to Munda, or Elamite being related to Basque. There are a lot of strange suggestions out there in the historical linguistics world, but hard data is far more important than conjecture. I would stick a “citation needed” on that statement to ensure people don’t take it too seriously. — Jéioosh 22:51, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
A lot of times people will think totally unrelated languages are related because they share (or seem to share) certain characteristics of sound, structure, writing, or vocabulary. For example, positing that Finnish and Japanese are related because both are agglutinative in structure and because ykse and ichi (the Finnish and Japanese words for "one") are superficially similar. Or that Dutch and Finnish are related because they both use double vowels in their orthography. Or Farsi and Arabic because they both use the Arabic alphabet. Linguofreak 01:45, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

The particular reference of Basques relation to Ainu is from Edo Nyland from his book 'Linguistic Archaeology'. His reasoning is very interesting. He believes that a sort of proto language was spoken by all the people of the earth and that an order of Benedictine monks saw the 'confusion of tongues' as an order to be carried out, which they did by using a 'vowel-interlocking formula' to connect syllables of words from the original language together to make the root words of the new languages (latin, gaelic, etc.). A good part of his evidence is the Auraicept na n-Éces, which he says verifies his claim when translated correctly.

The Basque connection is that, since Basque has been around longer than anyone can remember and is largely unrelated to the surrounding languages, he sees it as being one of the last pockets of the original language, along with Ainu, which is similarly a language isolate. He did a sort of preliminary test using the lexical-statistical method and found good results but it's clear that more research would need to be done to more difinitively establish a connection. He uses words from the Basque language to make semantic translations of root words of other languages with sometimes uncanny results.

His work has been largely panned and dismissed by the academic community and Nyland argues that he is the victim of an ad-hominum attack. I think his claims are far-fetched and his research incomplete, but the logic and external evidences for some of his theories are enough to warrant a more comprehensive second look by academics than they were given, particularly since there really aren't that many theories that could offer an explaination for some of the mysteries surrounding Basque, Ogam or Ainu. -LambaJan 18:48, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

What mysteries? The fact that Basque is apparently unrelated to Spanish, and Ainu apparently unrelated to Japanese, is no more mysterious than the fact that that American English is apparently unrelated to Navajo. Migration and conquest cause languages to move around and supplant other languages. Sometimes the other languages survive in pockets, sometimes they don't. It doesn't take a secret society of mystic monks to explain the existence of languages isolate. — Haeleth Talk 10:04, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
From Language isolate: "Others, like Basque, have been isolated for as long as their existence has been documented." "...Basque has been compared with every living and extinct language family known, from Sumerian to the South Caucasian — without conclusive results." You explained how a language can become geographically isolated, but when linguistics talks about language isolates, it describes them as having "no demonstrable genealogical (or "genetic") relationship with other living languages; that is, one that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common to any other language. They are in effect language families consisting of a single language."
This is not the proper forum for discussing the validity of another person's work. I almost felt I was overstepping my bounds when I suggested that it could actually be looked at before being summarily dismissed. Therefore, I will not defend it anymore. As a side note, your tone came across as combative and condescending. I'm only telling you this in case it was accidental so that you can make the appropriate adjustments in the future. -LambaJan 03:25, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Japanese nouns and their plural forms[edit]


Ikebana, samurai, geisha

Just add an s? I don't believe so but I had to ask to be sure.

It depends on the word. "Samurai" pretty much never takes an -s. The plural of "geisha" can be either "geishas" or "geisha". By contrast, the plural of "ninja" is usually "ninjas" rather than "ninja".
And I'm not sure there'd ever be a situation where you'd need to pluralize "ikebana". --Ptcamn 13:00, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
"Ikebana" is an uncountable noun, like "sushi". The plural of "samurai" can be "samurais", by the way (see Wiktionary), but it looks awkward. -- THE GREAT GAVINI {T|C|#} 13:28, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much

Academics who work on Japanese history don’t pluralize Japanese words. In colloquial speech it’s accepted however. So it depends on your audience. — Jéioosh 22:45, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Meaning of the word Rijoy[edit]

Would be grateful to find out the meaning and etimology of the hindu name Rijoy. Thanks

The closest I got was a Hindi word meaning "incantation" (richaa or something). It doesn't appear to be a very common name, even among Indians. -- THE GREAT GAVINI {T|C|#} 17:35, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Lists of words in language articles?[edit]

Is there a policy on having vocabulary lists in language articles? Mo-Al 17:44, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Not a policy, but at Wikipedia:WikiProject Languages/Template#Examples it recommends giving "some short examples of the language in the writing system(s) used to write the language. You might also include sound samples of the language being spoken. Avoid making lists of tourist phrases such as 'hello', 'goodbye' and 'where's the lavatory?' since these do not represent the specifics of either grammar or phonetics particularly well." User:Angr 17:49, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
But it will be useful if anyone's looking for it, especially with endangered languages. -- THE GREAT GAVINI {T|C|#} 17:51, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
There must be a satellite wiki that wants such things. HenryFlower 18:02, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Specifically, I would like to know what to do with the list in Cook Islands Maori. Mo-Al 18:04, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

The vocabulary list at the end is a bit too extensive; consider moving it to Wiktionary. —Daniel (‽) 18:07, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I second that suggestion. But provide a link to Wiktionary in the Wikipedia article itself to a list of vocabulary. -- THE GREAT GAVINI {T|C|#} 18:15, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
How do I do that? Do I create individual Wiktionary articles for each word? Mo-Al 19:49, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Basically, yes. There'll be more advice there. —Daniel (‽) 19:57, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Ugh, that's a lot of work. Where can I request this to be done? Mo-Al 00:22, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Is IPA the official pronunciation system for Wikipedia?[edit]

What's up with this weird system Help:Pronunciation_respelling_key?? Is it even allowed on Wikipedia? I guess it's trying to be more layperson-friendly, but it's not very informative or accurate. Shouldn't IPA be the only standard? What are Wikipedia rules or guidelines for pronunciation info?--Sonjaaa 21:55, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Although it’s a bit elitist of me, I have always felt that IPA should be used in favor of other systems. However, the argument that IPA is too narrow for the wide variety of English dialects is quite fair. It’s for this reason why “English” pronunciation keys still exist, because if the basic vowel symbols are agreed upon then various English speakers can interpret the pronunciations accurately in their own dialects. Were it not for this, there would be IPA spelling wars just like those between the British and American spelling cohorts on Wikipedia. I.e., “it’s [ˌɪntəˈnæʃənəɫ] not [ˌɪɾ̃ɚˈnæʃɨnəɫ] you Yank!!1!1!”. — Jéioosh 22:42, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
This issue has come up a lot. Besides being dialect-dependant, the IPA also has the disadvantages of being known to few people outside of specialists, especially in the U.S., where it is not used in most dictionaries. It is also funny-looking and sometimes counter-intuitive to English speakers. For example, IPA /j/ stands for the "y" in "yogurt," not the "j" in "jump." -- Mwalcoff 22:49, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Is there an article or talk page where standards for the use of IPA versus ad hoc pronunciation guides has been discussed? — Jéioosh 23:25, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm sure any time someone wants to remove respelling systems from an article, the talk page suddenly comes alive with protest. Here and here are two talk pages with what you're looking for. I just removed a lot of the respelling key guides at list of common phrases in various languages and I'm sure in the next couple of days there'll be a related discussion in that article's talk page. AEuSoes1 00:00, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I feel that as a seroious encyclopaedia, Wikipedia should use the international academic standard, which is IPA. But of course people do have to learn it. If there was a more accessible alternative, I'd support it, but every system people come up with falls foul of the differences in vowel sounds across the English-speaking world. X may "rhyme with" Y in one place, but not in others, as has been shown many times on this board. Jameswilson 00:19, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
X-SAMPA is another option. It's not quite as pretty, but it has the definite advantage of being easier to type and also that it will pretty much always display correctly. (Some IPA characters turn out as boxes for me online, although it all seems to work in Word. I think I once tried fiddling with display font settings in Internet Explorer and still had problems.) Linguofreak 02:01, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
There is a reason most English dictionaries do not use IPA, and that reason is not just that the reader is assumed to be unfamiliar with IPA. It seems that what is really needed for English is a two-step process: going from the word as spelled ("Worcester") to some phonemic representation (something like "['wus-t&r]"), and from the phonemes to a dialect-dependent phonetic representation (for example "/ˈwʊstə/"). The last step is only relevant for non-native English speakers, or for English speakers who want to know about dialectal variations. While not straightforward (because of dialectal phonemic variations), it would help to simplify things, for example by taking away the need to choose between a near-open and an open realization of the [a] in "man". It would further be helpful to the reader (also when IPA is used) if there was a simple way of making a crib-sheet pop up with a key to the pronunciation of these symbols; see the lists hidden in International Phonetic Alphabet for English. --LambiamTalk 02:48, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Per Wikipedia:Manual of Style (pronunciation), pronunciations at Wikipedia should be given only in IPA, not ad-hoc pronunciation guides. IPA has the advantage of being used in (virtually?) all English-language dictionaries published outside the U.S., as well as being easy to learn. U.S. dictionary publishers seem not to believe that their readers are capable of learning anything new; I see no reason for Wikipedia to similarly insult their readers' intelligence. User:Angr 07:33, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Does the MoS reveal which dialect of English should be used for rendering the pronunciation? --LambiamTalk 09:30, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
No. If it's a topic specific to a particular English-speaking country, I usually use the local pronunciation. Otherwise I'll usually give both RP and GenAm, if they're different. I usually put "(r)" in parentheses like that where it's just a matter of rhoticity differences. For example, the English pronunciation of Berlin is given as [bə(r)ˈlɪn], which is easily resolved as non-rhotic [bəˈlɪn] ~ rhotic [bərˈlɪn]/[bɚˈlɪn]. User:Angr 10:02, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh snap! I'm gonna remember that. Prepare to be quoted, Angr. AEuSoes1 07:53, 18 August 2006 (UTC)