Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (anglicization)

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Current discussion is at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (use English). This page is too long anyway.

Please discuss naming issues here that relate to the use of Anglicized spelling/name vs. Ethnically "correct" spelling/name of articles. A central wikipedia naming convention is to use the Anglicized form in almost every situation for articles in the English wikipedia. Alternate names/spellings should be mentioned in the first line of the anglicized article and redirected to that article.

More discussion on this issue is in the mailing list archives: Wikipedia-L November 2002 Look for:

  • americanization
  • anglicization
  • anglicization is stupid
  • stupid anglicization
  • what people I know have to say about
  • Ångström

However the main discussion occurred on the English Wikipedia mailing list WikiEN-L November 2002 Look for:

  • Anglicization convention
  • anglicization is stupid
  • Re: Anglicization convention
  • Re: anglicization is stupid
  • Re: transliteration is stupider
  • Re: [Wikipedia-l] anglicization is stupid
  • Re: [Wikipedia-l] stupid anglicization
  • Re: anglicization
  • Searching for redirects (Was: anglicization)
  • transliteration is stupider
  • What's in a name (was: anglicization is stupid)

Moved from talk:Antoni van Leeuwenhoek

Look. Unless you are a native Dutch speaker AND an historical authority, please leave the spelling of his name alone. The man was Dutch, and the Dutch biologists spell his name Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.

-- dja

Is there a rule in English about the spelling of the preposition 'van' in a name?

In Dutch it is 'Frank de Boer', but 'de voetbalspeler De Boer' (de voetbalspeler means 'the football player'). In other words, when the preposition is preceded and followed by respectively the first and last name, it starts with a small letter, else it starts with a capital.

What's the rule for an Irish name like O'Reilly, for instance?--branko

English usually leaves 'de' or 'le' with a lowercase letter unless they're at the start of a sentence or line. Celtic 'O' and 'Mac' names are always, always capitalised. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:41, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

As for the the rule for Dutch, there isn't one. We just try to follow spelling the person used himself. It doesn't change by position. --rmhermen

Just for fun, when I was in school in an English-speaking country, we called him Anton. It may well be Anton in English. Also, would one ever see 'de voetbalspeler DeBoer'? After all, we would then have to ask if they were talking about Frank or his brother Ronnie ;-) User:JHK

--- Look. Unless you are a native Dutch speaker AND an historical authority, please leave the spelling of his name alone. The man was Dutch, and the Dutch biologists spell his name Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.

Look, I have been a biology student for the last 6 years in an English speaking country and just graduated. In that time, I only once saw Anton's name spelt differently. In that case it was spelt Anontie and that was in parenthesis after the correct English spelling.
This is the English wikipedia - You are free to spell his name "Antoni" or "Antonie" or "Antony" (all valid alternates) on the Dutch wikipedia. We are talking about a period of history where many people's names still did not have set spellings.
I will not change over the article until tomorrow (February 26th) to give the Brits, Aussies, Kiwis and other English speakers to chim in. Just to make sure "Anton" is not a uniquely American spelling. ---maveric149
Dear dja -- does teaching the Scientific Revolution count for having a right to speak?? I was certainly not saying that Antoni was incorrect -- only that I believe the name was something else in English. We've had similar discussions for the correct nomenclature in other languages, and the name that wins out is the one most commonly recognized by English speakers (as maveric was saying...). There are many names that just aren't used in English, or are used by contemporary scholars, but not by those of 20 or more years ago. We have to find a midpoint. My own research (as opposed to teaching) specialty is Carolingian history. When I think of the "main characters" I think of them as Karl der Grosse, Ludwig der Fromme, etc., because I tend to read more scholarship in German than in French. When I write on the wikipedia, however, I use the Anglicized French names, because that's what is the norm for English. Why is there a problem with trying to find out what the proper English name is, using that name, and putting the Correct Dutch in the first line? User:JHK

Douglas Hofstadter's Le Ton beau de Marot has a very interesting discussion of anglicised names. It used to be commonplace to change the names of important figures - you would see, e.g., John Sebastian Bach and so forth. If Juan Carlos of Spain had reigned 200 years ago, he probably would be known in the Anglophonie as John Charles, but now, not even the French call him Jean-Charles (and they're the ones who came up with Michel-Ange).

A small question: If we've decided that we're going to anglicize Van Leeuwenhoek's handle, why the German Anton? Why not Anthony?--Anon

The question here is with Anglicization per se, but with what the majority of English speakers will recognize – which quite often is an Anglicization. Also, the process of Anglicization does not mean that names are totally converted over to English equivalents, all it means is that the name has changed from its original language in some way when used in English. And you are right, the most common English usage does change over time and currently many names are becoming more and more de-Anglicized (for example Charles the Great/ Charlemagne). What we try to do here in wikipedia is simply use what is most often used unless there is a significant ambiguity issue. --maveric149
Well, as long as we're discussing familiarity... I'm a native speaker of English and I'd not heard the form Anton before now, only Antonie.

End Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discussion

OK, so about about this article: Plankalkül? Should we have article names that have umlauts in them? Does this make it harder for searching? At any rate, shouldn't it be moved to Plankalkül programming language? 2002/9/11 - Ansible

I generally leave the accent marks, umlauts, etc., in an article, and then REDIRECT to an article title that doesn't include them. That lets people search with both choices. -- Zoe
So can we agree that the article should be at the non-accented/umlauted title and then have the accented one redirect? Or vice-versa?
I prefer the other way round in most cases (article title with accents, have a non-accented version redirect there). But it doesn't matter that mutch unless the lack of accents would be considered incorrect spelling in English (and that's going to be rare). (For a time there were problems with certain browsers -- notably Internet Explorer -- deciding to consider URLs containing unescaped non-ASCII chars an invitation for converting the URL to UTF-8 and sending that instead of the Latin1 it had been given, resulting in difficulties for some users reading and editing pages with non-ASCII titles. This seems to have been eradicated, and all URLs should be properly escaped, so there's no good reason for avoiding them on that basis.) Non-Latin1 letters, of course, have to do without. --Brion 04:17 Oct 3, 2002 (UTC)
Question: Will Wikipedia's software permit using any non-standard-English characters within article titles (i.e., the page address is going to read Are some characters OK and others not? I'm afraid I'm too newbie to completely follow discussion in terms of UTF-8, Latin1, unescaped non-ASCII, etc. (I understand generally what these are but not the bloody details.) Thanks for reply.
See the table at ISO 8859-1, the whole second half of the table is allowed should they be appropriate. --Brion 00:05 Oct 6, 2002 (UTC)
Very good. Thanks for concise helpful answer.

Why don't we go up a notch in quality from Anglocentric encyclopedias and show enough respect to at least make an effort to list places and people by their proper native spelling and have english variations redirect there as necessary?

Because that's not how these people are called in English. Since we're writing in the English section of the encyclopedia, we'd be insane not to write in English; that includes common forms of names. If you manage to start a popular movement to call CC by the Italian form of the name in English, and it sees real live use, then that would be fine. Until then, the common form of the name in the language we're writing in is the correct one to use. --Brion 10:09 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)

Why are you so Anglocentric? Redirects will allow the users to find the proper articles. You are not truly working to educate the user. We should be calling places by the name that the locals use. It is ridiculous that we aren't. Lir 10:11 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)

How is the user not educated by including the local-language form(s) of the name(s) in the article? How is the user not educated by being informed what form of the name they'll actually find other people using when they discuss the subject in the language of the article they're reading? Nothing Anglocentric about that; it would apply to any language. Over on the Esperanto wikipedia we tend to prefer original-language forms for personal names (with Romanization where necessary) in large part because Esperantized forms of general-subject names are often not standardized and rarely used. Anglicized names of major historical figures, on the contrary, are often quite well standardized and widely used where they exist. Not to use them in the English wiki would be a breech of what I hope is our intent to be useful to the reader. --Brion 10:23 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)

Well if a guy's name was Joe, you should probably call him Joe. Just cuz everybody else is ignorant doesn't need wikipedia should be. Its kinda dumb that you are using original-language forms on your section and yet you can't tolerate having the English section do the same.

It is in fact a good thing to write anglocentric articles. This is an encyclopedia for English speakers. Therefore we must assume that our readers will generally approach things in an anglocentric fashion, just as readers of the French Wikipedia approach things in a francocentric fashion. When I am describing French houses to English readers, I won't call them maisons just because they are French houses, even though it would be a good idea to explain that maison is what the French call them. Likewise, when I am describing the Lapps, it would be essential to explain that they call themselves the Saami. However the common English translation of Saami is Lapp, so it makes sense to use it. With people's names, some use the English translation, some don't. No English speaker says Joe Green when they mean Guiseppe Verdi, so the English translation for Guiseppe Verdi is Guiseppe Verdi but then again hardly any English speaker says Cristofero Colombo when they mean Cristofero Colombo, so the English translation for Cristofero Colombo is Christopher Columbus. -- Derek Ross 11:07 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)

Maybe the problem is that this Wikipedia is English-language, but that is not equal to be anglocentric. In fact, as far as I've look out, "localized" Wikipedias tend to be small and someway boring. I guess, this has to do with critical masses of users generating the wikipedian process. So, I see this Wikipedia more as a transnational than as an British or American or Australian Wikipedia. Look how many non-native-speakers participate here! Which in turn means, yes, this is anglophon, but, no, I don't think one should rigoursly change "native" names. One reason is that it appears at least to be not nice at all -- creating a difference between the Global English Standard Name, which is seen to be correct, and the name the locals call the place or person. But I also see a good middle way for this dilemma: the wonderful invention of the redirection. One could argue which way round it's the right way (and just to tell, I recently did some linking between an Alfred Schutz and an Alfred Schütz (the last one "is" correct, the first one looks to me as native German-speaker like a name which lacks an "e" would look to an native English-speaker). If both end up in the same article (no matter if the search agent is a human or Google, I can't see why there should be a problem. The same goes for, e.g. Köln and Cologne. It's even helpful for native English speakers: if you see the name in the local form, and aren't sure if it's the same as "your" form, just type it into Wikipedia and it will tell. And if consequent and strict anglification is a Wikipedia rule, I'd hope rules are there to be changed, if necessary, not to be enforced, even if common sense says they are not ideal. --till we *) 11:26 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)
Redirects are fine by me. As you say, they are a good way around the dilemma. And I'm no more in favour of strict rules than you are. Common sense should always govern our actions. Rules should be followed when they solve a problem but not when they cause one. -- Derek Ross 11:32 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)

I think he is agreeing with me. I too am extremely bothered by angloized forms of words, mostly in German but also in Spanish. As these are the two languages I know. Re-directs are the answer but should the page be




This is the computer age. We don't have a problem with typewriters that lack special characters. It's time to use the native forms and English people are going to have to do some catch-up. Likewise, Christopher Columbus should redirect TO Cristoforo Colombo, NOT they otherway around

I'd tried to say: we have computer age, we don't need to think of documents as fixed things. So, it doesn't matter if the page is namend Munich oder München, as long as München (the native form) as far as Munich (the anglo-form) point to the same content, and if both forms are mentioned in the article itself. I understand the motivation that the native form should be the main article, and everything else should point to it, but I don't think it's necessary to over-regulate. --till we *) 11:44 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)
And I would add that it's all very well renaming Munich. I doubt anyone will worry over that, but there are other central European towns with multiple names (French, German, Polish, etc.) which it can be difficult to get agreement on. In those cases it's better to stick to the name commonly used in English, otherwise experience has shown that big arguments can start... -- Derek Ross 11:46 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)

This is the English Wikipedia. Therefore we name things in English. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? --mav

Take it with a grain of salt, but: This is the International Wikipedia. Therefore we name things in English, our working language, and places and persons in their native language. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? --till we *) 21:39 Oct 21, 2002 (UTC)

What?? This is the English Wikipedia which just makes us one part of the the International Wikipedia.And we name things here based on the most common English usage that isn't needlessly ambigous. Sometimes that means we use the local or transliterated forms but most of the time it means that we use the anglicized form.--mav

Many of you are missing what's important here--the usefulness of Wikipedia as a resource. The fact is, many respected academic journals, histories, and source materials (like newspapers, magazines...) use common English names for people and places. Those names become well known. People researching a topic should be able to easily find and cross-reference information here with those other sources; that means using the name most frequently found in other work on the subject.

There is a trend in American (and especially British) publishing to move toward using native names; for example, the upcoming Olympic games are generally being advertised as "Torino" rather that Turin; American maps generally have "Gdansk" now rather than "Danzig". Many even have things like "Wien (Vienna)". We even use the more modern Anglicization "Beijing" here rather than the older "Peking". But that's a recent trend, and still not that common (go to a travel agency asking for a trip to "Venezia" and they might not even know what you're talking about). The fact is, most academic work in the English language still has the English names, and the software isn't even capable of rendering some foreign names as titles (北京, for example, can appear in the Beijing article but not as a title), so we title articles with the most common English name. In the very first sentence of that article, we spell out the native name and any variations.

This convention was worked out by consensus long ago, is common in academic work, and should not be thrown away just because one or two people think they have a "better" way. --LDC

You put your opinion on the topic here in a very sure way, saying that "this convention was worked out by consensus long ago" and "is common in academic work". But if this is so boldly grounded, it surely shouldn't be a problem to proof (or is it prove?) this academic (and wikipedia) consensus by citing editing rules of international known english language academic journals or the like? --till we *) 10:26 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

So is agreed that the Munich page should redirect to its actual name? Lir 10:33 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

No. There is a strong feeling of many people against it; including me. Specially if you're the only person to really ask for it: we're not here to please you. LDC above speaks against it too. FvdP
Furthermore, I don't know what a "real" name is. Names are just conventions. "Munich" is as real as "München". Also, there is the problem of cities or persons that have two names you would call "real". Eg Brussels = Bruxelles = Brussel. Try to move Brussels to either Bruxelles or Brussel and you'll eventually get an edit war, I tell you. FvdP 11:01 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)
I look at the discussion above, and I see 2 people speaking in favor, 4 against. Does not sound like agreement to me. Andre Engels 11:04 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

Yes, but those of us who think Munich should go by the towns actual name have argued that the name of a place should coincide with what the place is called by its inhabitants, not by the tourists who can't pronounce or spell it. Thus, we see no reason to accept your incorrect information simply because there are a lot of you that are confused. Lir 11:06 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

No agreement means no agreement. There is no agreement, full stop. A few people have voiced arguments that go your way, but that's it. That does not make an agreement. FvdP 11:17 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)
BTW, I'm not confused at all. I'm just not reifying names. We disagree on the very working of the language. When I say "Munich" I don't imply that everyone on every place in every language must use that name "Munich". I perfectly know it's called "München" by Germans. But names are --to me-- conventions, like any word in any language, and I'm using the most common convention as per the English language, which is "Munich". FvdP 11:17 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)
So should we rename New York to, "The Big Apple"? Munich is a mis-spelling. It should be changed. Just because you enjoy misspelling and pronouncing it does not mean wikipedia should continue to do so. Lir 22:24 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

When I undo the Anglocentric bastardization of the name of Pharaoh Djoser, should I put it under or ? ...Wondering simply, Infrogmation

You'll have to ask somebody that can read that language. Certainly we will want to get the correct hieroglyph onto the page as soon as possible. Lir 11:11 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

What ? You're serious ? On Beijing I thought you were kidding, but here I really wonder. FvdP

no...Pharaoh Horus Netjerikhet Djzosèr. We've got it up! Lir 11:25 Oct 23, 2002 (UTC)

I am Infrogmation, Wikipedian of Wikipedians. Look upon my Sarcasm, ye mighty, and dispair!

Of course the article should contain the local name, just as most if not all of them do (or multiple local names, as in the case of Brussels which I notice Lir conveniently ignores since it doesn't fit his pre-conceived notions--the same problem exists for places like Switzerland and Canada); the Djoser article should contain the heiroglyph, just as the Beijing article contains its Chinese ideographic name. But the purpose of article titles is to make it easy for writers of other articles to make ad-hoc links, and for the database to have useful search keys, and for English- speaking users to more easily recognize what they've learned about elsewhere. If I'm writing an article and happen to mention some person from Beijing, I should be able to place brackets around it and expect it to go to the right place, and expect that the database fetches it efficiently. I should also be able to easily import English-language text from other public domain sources. I should be able to cut-and-paste text with names like "Aristotle" and "Confucius" without having to transliterate ancient Greek or Chinese. In fact, if I used a transliteration like "Gung Fu Dze", English-speaking students wouldn't know who the hell I was talking about. European names that are only a minor hassle we can accommodate, so René Descarte and Kurt Gödel get native spellings and the software can handle it, and those are generally used in English-language texts anyway. We use Anglicized names not because we are ignorant of the native ones, but because we realize that making a useful resource for readers is more important that simply showing off. We're not here for intellectual ego-stroking, we're here to make a useful encyclopedia. --LDC

LDC your argument is invalidated by #REDIRECT. What we need is for the bold black letters at the top of the screen to be true to the actual name of the place or the person's name and we need the article itself to use the correct words.

I don't understand why Lir insists that calling something by a name other than what the inhabitans call it is a misspelling. No, it is not. It's a difference of language. Spanish people call London "Londres". Should the Spanish Wikipedia change all of the English language cities to what the English call them? Lir has an anti-English bias which makes her sound like she's trying to be sophisticated, but it isn't working. Should we call "Germany" "Deutschland" in all of the languages of the Wikipedia? How would this be a useable search? -- Zoe

Yes Zoe. The Spanish wikipedia should change all English cities to English names just as the English wikipedia must change all Spanish names to Spanish names. Yes Zoe. We should call Germany Deutschland because that is the correct name of the country. It is very useful for a search because then somebody who knows what the place is called can find it. However, should they be confused and, through ignorance, search for "Germany" there can be a REDIRECT available. Lir 13:17 Oct 24, 2002 (UTC)

Ah, Lir says it should so now it does, despite objections -- thanks for "discussing" the Germany->Bundesrepublik Deutschland move. Are you on this talk page to tell us your thoughts and consider others', or just the former? Mrwojo 13:57 Oct 24, 2002 (UTC)

So you guys want to switch Charlemagne to Charles the Great? Cuz if not, I think you should all stop arguing and just accept the fact that foreign things have foreign names and just start using the proper names. Lir 14:05 Oct 24, 2002 (UTC)

"Charlemagne" is commonly used in English texts and is recognizable by most English speakers, so it's fine. REDIRECT doesn't solve all the problems; first of all, it makes pages slower to retrieve, and it doesn't at all address the central issue, which is that native names are pretentious and unhelpful to the majority of users. I don't think Lir is anti-English, she just suffers from the American disease of thinking in terms of one language; she has this idea that there is only one "right" name for something, and all others are "wrong". Europeans don't think that way--they realize that names are just words like any other, and may change with language. So, Lir, where should we put the article on Switzerland? Schweiz? Suisse? Svizzera? All of those are official, native names. Which one is the "real" name? There's a really simple answer: they all are. Your black-and-white no-compromises world in which everything has exactly one "correct" name is just a fantasy, and shows a lack of experience and education. And yes, even personal names change with language, and always have. When European scholars wrote in Latin, for example, they always Latinized their names so that they could be grammatically inflected more easily. And it was quite common for people to use translated names when they travelled. That's the way it's always been, and still is to some extent, although the trend is moving the other way. --LDC

LDC-You are the one suffering from the American disease of thinking in terms of one language. Where are you going to draw the line at what word is accepted sufficient enough in English? Why should we be forced 5 years from now to argue the name of each and every foreign town?

What should Switzerland be called? Die Schweiz? Suisse? Svizzera? All of these will do for me, but certainly not Switzerland. As you yourself admit, Switzerland is not an official native name! There's a really simple answer, lets go with the official native name(s) and not the unofficial names. Yes, even personal names don't change with language. As you said, "The trend is moving the other way." So get with the times LDC-The era of anglicization is over. That's why Charlemagne isn't Charles the Great. It's why Munich is spelled wrong. It's why Christopher Columbus is a made up name. It's why you're wrong. Lir 20:45 Oct 24, 2002 (UTC)

No amount of babble from you will change this convention. This is the English Wikipedia and we therefore use English here. In the German version we name things in German, in the Spanish version we name things in Spanish. Period, end of story and please stop being a troll. We have already lost Andre due to fatigue -- some of which has come from you. --mav 21:04 Oct 24, 2002 (UTC)
Apparently you have trouble with reading comprehension too--I never said anything like "Switzerland is not an official native name" (although that happens to be true--English is not among Switzerland's four official languages). But it's irrelevant anyway. You still seem unable to fathom the concept that names of things are not a property of the thing, names belong to the speaker/writer; names are the words people use to identify things in whatever language they are using. People and places might, just by happenstance, be associated with a single language--but not necessarily (it's clear that many people and places are quite multilingual). In that sense, they might have a name that they use for themselves more frequently than any other, and one might think of that as "their" name. But that's just a convenient simplification. It doesn't reflect the real nature of language, which is that things have different names in different languages. Japanese people, for example, often have more than one form of their name in Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana, and change among them depending on the context of the writing. It's really a very simple concept--names are pieces of language, not unique pieces of identity. Before you go shooting your mouth off again, you might just consider the possiblility that those of us with more education and experience just might know what the fuck we're talking about, and throwing around silly no-compromise "you're wrong"s on complex issues just makes you look like a petulant teenager (which I suspect you actually are). --LDC

LDC-Apparently you have trouble with reading comprehension! It doesn't matter whether you typed "Switzerland is not an official native name" you certainly said it and believe it. Why then should we call the nation by this name? Who are you to declare that the names people have given to their cities, nations, and themselves(!) are not good enough? Who are you to declare that there name must be anglicized? This has nothing to do with language. Adam or Fritz are not any one specific language. These are names and you have no right to insist that they be changed to something that looks more familiar to you.

You, as a petulant teenager might, are condemning me for a "silly no-comprimise you're wrong complex" while at the same time you are presenting the same argument! In fact, I believe you tried to block me for abusing users but you and your friend mav have done nothing but abuse me!

Names most certainly ARE a property of the thing. It is a property given to the thing by the thing itself or by the person(s) who use it or are associated with it. You are arguing that you should be allowed to call the thing by some other name that you or someone you agree with has made up and certainly is not adopted by the persons associated with said thing. Lir 21:01 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)

We simply disagree then on the very nature of names. You ask "Who am I to call X by some name other than what X uses?", and that's a good question. Another is "Who are they to tell me what I can and can't call them?" The words I choose to communicate are my choice, and they have no right to demand that I conform to their preferences, even if I'm talking about them. The article is between me and my readers; the subject isn't involved. Since I'm writing an encyclopedia article about them, it certainly follows that the name they call themselves (or names, if there's more than one) are important information to include in the article. But that my no means affects my freedom to call them whatever I feel is most useful to my readers. The encyclopedia, after all, exists solely for the benefit of its readers, not its subjects. And this convention was chosen precisely for that reason--because it most benefits readers. --LDC

But how is it useful for your reader to know a name of an object that isn't actually it's name? Why not change the big black letters at the top of the page and those within the article to reflect the proper name? That would be a far greater use to your readers. Lir 23:11 Oct 25, 2002 (UTC)

It may be useful in order for your reader to just know about what you're talking, and to talk to other people in english and have them know about what you're talking. That is, until most english speakers will be able to routinely pronounce and hear "Beijing" or "München" with the right consonants and accents and tones in an everyday discussion. In 3003 maybe ?

Lir, I gotta agree with Lee on this one. I do indeed claim the right to call a thing by whatever name I choose. As an English speaker, I call all sorts of people and places by English versions of their names -- often versions that don't make sense to the people who gave those people and places their real names. I can call China "Red China" if I want to. I usually refer to North Korea as North Korea, even though it's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. I consider the official name to be false propaganda. There's nothing democratic about the dictatorship in North Korea.

But the bottom line is that the English-langage Wikipedia uses the common English words for everything it describes. Okay, maybe Switzerland's real name is "La Suisse" or "Helvetica" or whatever. When the user clicks on the link, the first sentence they read about the country will give:

  1. its common English name -- as used by English speakers
  2. its real name, in English but also in the country's official language if any contributor can find the translation (see Japan).

--Ed Poor

But Ed, we can put it in the first sentence. But the rest of the space should be filled with the proper name. Lir 07:28 Oct 26, 2002 (UTC)~

we should refer to spacecraft from the USSR according to their Russian name-not according to the English name. --Lir

I disagree. What is most useful for an English encyclopedia is to name things in English unless the anglicized name is no longer most widely used for something. --mav

That is hardly useful seeing as how the English name was made up by stupid pov people unwilling to speak the language of the evil russians and wikipedia should strive to eliminate such racial naming techniques. Lir 07:07 Nov 18, 2002 (UTC)

Roman numerals should be used when referring to spacecraft. Lir 07:10 Nov 18, 2002 (UTC)

I don't see what the big fuss is all about, as long as there're redirects people will be able to find the topic they are looking for. --v

Just make redirects for the non-English forms and leave the naming convention compliant titles alone Lir. --mav

It comes down to what is displayed in the big black text at the top of the screen. I think we should try to show the appropriate linguistic representation of the object-but others feel that would make wikipedia too complicated for it's American users. Lir 07:18 Nov 18, 2002 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree with mav on this, Lir. There's nothing to stop you putting a header marker the text with the full Russian name; we are striving for usability at the end of the day. Appropriate redirects are the way to go unless another article requires the namespace in which case a relevant disambiguation marker should be applied. user:sjc
And also the mass majority of other English speakers. Ease of use is a big factor here. --mav

How hard is it to say Lunik? Just say it, Lunik. I don't want to read an article full of Luna when I should instead be reading Lunik COME ON! Sputnik Lunik why do we use sputnik if we arent gonna use Lunik? Lir 07:24 Nov 18, 2002 (UTC)

Yeah, but we've been subject to this for years. I know what you're on about, you know what you're on about but Joe Soap doesn't. He's been spoon-fed anglicised or latinised forms of Russian spaceship names for years. He won't think to look under Lunik, he'll be looking it up under Luna, poor sap. And he'll wonder WTF is this Lunik business???? I think the common anglicised version of a name is safe, simple and non-elitist. It may be dumb as well but we can draw our own conclusions about contemporary educational standards and televisually spoon-fed culture.user;sjc

Yah, but when he clicks on Luna 1 it's gonna re-direct him to Lunik I and he'll actually learn something, instead of simply seeing us propagate disinformation. Lir 07:30 Nov 18, 2002 (UTC)

It is not disinformation Lir it is just what it is called in English. Period end of story. The user will learn if you have the Russian on the first line though. But ease of linking and not having to create a half dozen redirects is the goal of the naming conventions. --mav
He'll still feel uncomfortable with it. However, here's the good bit, if you do it the other way around it will make him realise that the information he had already was open to interpretation which is much more disturbing to him than someone telling him that he was wrong. Prefer the stiletto to the cosh. user:sjc

I'm caught in the unfortunate situation of not quite agreeing with either 'FOO NUMBER' or 'FOOnik ROMAN NUMERAL'. But I think a descriptive approach rather than a prescriptive approach is best. Most english speakers I'm pretty sure know the spacecraft as Luna (which is Latin I think not English) and if history turns out to make you right later on I'm sure someone will correct it then.
Of course when I get off my lazy arse to start doing translations to the Japanese wikipedia I'm going to have a hell of a time arguing between myself whether it's better to japanify names etc or keep them in the native language.
Erg! other people keep editing this page jsut before I hit save page -- User:v

If the text of the article says Luna over and over-thats all people will know. The text needs to say Lunik. Luna is the latin name for the moon. Lunik Iis a russian spacecraft. Luna I is nonsense. Lir 07:39 Nov 18, 2002 (UTC)

Get used to it then. --mav

Why? Nobody should accept mediocrity. Lir 07:49 Nov 18, 2002 (UTC)

Heh, I have two different given names, one English, one Japanese, people can refer to me by either, but I'd expect English speakers to refer to me with my English name and Japanese speakers to refer to me with my Japanese one. I don't find this particularly misleading or stupid. I wouldn't I correct a japanese speaker if they refered to England as Igirisu or an English speaker if they refered to Nihon as Japan. I'm sure you call Deutschland "Germany" as well. That doesn't make you wrong it just means you speak English instead of German. It's not that big an issue and there's no wrong or right about it, just common usage. I mean the word "pretty" used to mean sneaky and who says that now, and I bet you use split infinitives and nouns as verbs sometimes. It isn't something to start a crusade over. -- v

I would like to propose that we should limit the character set to so-called 7 bit ascii because

  • Some people can't type European accented characters, (including me)
  • This Wikipedia is a English Wikipedia, not mixing up with other languages such as French.
  • There is not a conflict between a title that has an accent and one not.
  • Latin 1, Latin 9 or something else?
  • Code space above the 7 bit depend on the platform. For example, some characters become katakana in Japanese operating system (In morden operating system like Windows too). And sometimes it might make a misleading.
  • The trend of default character set is UTF-8 or 7 bit ascii. Latin-1 is antiqueted already.

I know this is techno-speaking. But certainly we have to make some agreement. (Well not as soon as possible. Imporant but not urgent). What do you think folks?

Taku 01:48 Jan 3, 2003 (UTC)

I was on the Koizumi Junichiro page.

For Japanese names, do we write them in Western order, or not? Like (to make up a name) do I write "Nodoka Suzuki" or "Suzuki Nodoka"?

I think we should just stick to familiar convenstion, that is Koizumi Junichiro. The principle of convention here is always least surprise. -- Taku 18:07 Jan 14, 2003 (UTC)

Norse/Scandinavian titles

I have noticed that many of the Norse/Icelandic/Scandinavian article titles make use of special characters, and I believe this is in violation of the Manual of Style. I generally write Japanese-related articles, and for those, we always avoid using "ō" and the like in article titles, reverting to the more well-known spellings, such as "Tokyo" instead of "Tōkyō" or "Toukyou". The same standard should be held for pages of other cultures, e.g. "Tromso" instead of "Tromsø". I understand the desire to do things the "right" way according to your language and culture, but this is an English-language encyclopedia, and using special characters just makes articles harder to find, and harder to read (more esoteric). LordAmeth 01:42, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Anglicization up to a point

  • I am a bit irritated with translating every name-heading into english, and this chauvinism that this is an ENGLISH only website. Many people, whose first language is not english, still contribute to english-language articles, so try to respect that. and I think it wouldn´t hurt english-speakers to learn native language forms as well, just like everyone is expected to speak english. I don´t plead to change the article name of "Austria" for example into "Österreich", because not many would know that. but for example what about names of people? Shouldn´t we use the original name that they used, instead of always translating it into english, even though that´s not authentic in that case? a search function would still lead the user to that person, but the real name would be in the heading. So instead of "Louis II of Anjou", what´s so hard about "Louis II d'Anjou"? Antares911 21:42, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I definitely agree with you on the contention that not everything needs to be anglicanized.

But there needs to be some consistency in naming, and some transparency (clarity) in what is being discussed. The form 'King X of Y' is a consistent form that can be used across the board. Louis II d'Anjou is a pretty simple, straightforward form that I think anyone would recognize as being "Louis II of Anjou", but how would it look if instead of 'Emperor Hirohito of Japan' we named the article 'Showa Tennou'? Would you know what it referred to? My specialty happens to be Japanese, and assuming that the average user knows French, Spanish, or German, even the smallest phrases or words like this "d'Anjou" construction is a false assumption...

I won't pretend that it's easy to know when to use which terms - I'd certainly say/write Eiffel Tower rather than Tour d'Eiffel, but I would also say Meiji-jingu or Yasukuni-jinja rather than Meiji Shrine and Yasukuni Shrine. Is the average English-speaking user more familiar with Eire than Ireland or Schwartzwald rather than Black Forest? I dunno. I think that for many things it's a toss-up. There are some things like the Rio Grande that are never seen in English (Large River?), but for many other things there is a common or official English term that people tend to be familiar with. Up until recently, I would not have recognized Janne d'Arc as 'Joan of Arc', and I have never seen (in an English language text) any major noble or monarch referred to as "d'Anjou" instead of "of France" or "of Anjou". So, that's my two cents. LordAmeth 15:53, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

In the case where there exists an official non-English name

Although I am not a native English speaker, I believe that it is reasonable to anglicize names in The English language Wikipedia is a learning instrument for English speakers. People who speak English as their second or third language should contribute to the extent of their knowledge, but they should respect the conventions decided by English speakers for English speakers just as they have to respect English grammar and spelling. It is perfectly normal for English speakers to name the world around them in their own language. That being said, it will not hurt English speakers to be aware of the existence of other linguistic worlds on the same planet that they live on. In other words, knowning that Christopher Columbus is the anglicized name of a person who probably refered to himself as Cristofero Colombo in his own language. In fact, this is valuable information, the kind of valuable information one expects to find in an Enclyclopedia.

However, I believe that the case where official names do exist has not been discussed seriously. How should we handle this? Normally, if the name of a place or institution was made official, it is because some authority wanted this name to be used in all formal communications. Is Wikipedia the type of media that should relay what is formally known or what may possibly be used more often in informal communications?

Here is my example:

There is a yearly even here in Montreal that is officially called Le Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Visiting the website of the event at, we see that it is that name alone that is used in both the French and English sections. Participating to the event, we find out that all brochures also use the official French name even where the text is destined to English speakers.

A majority of English speakers who participated to the festival probably called it the "the jazz festival" or the "Montreal jazz festival" just as Spanish speakers probably did the same in the their language. This is perfectly normal, and the policy to use only the official French name (even in English translated material) doesn't aim at forcing people to use it. The fact that the domain name is in English is there to show that the organizers are aware that many of the visitors speak English only and won't type the French name of the event when they search for it in Google.

The article Festival International de Jazz de Montréal was created with the official titled and eventually moved and renamed to the anglicized Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Which name should the article have? The unofficial and informal English translation or the official French name? Should we have Montreal International Jazz Festival (Official French: Festival International de Jazz de Montréal) or the opposite Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (English: Montreal International Jazz Festival)

-- Mathieugp 15:04, 10 August 2005 (UTC)