Wikipedia talk:WikiProject France/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Archives from January 2007 - February 2007

Dictionary definitions

For département, the case seems pretty clear. The word is used in English to mean exactly the same thing as the French word:

  1. At, its "unabridged dictionary" (based on Random House's) definition #7 for "department" is "
    one of the large districts into which certain countries, as France, are divided for administrative purposes.
  2. The American Heritage dictionary definition #4 is:
    An administrative district in France.
  3. Wordnet, definition #2:
    the territorial and administrative division of some countries (such as France)
  4. OED gives us definition 4a:
    One of the districts into which France is divided for administrative purposes, and which were substituted for the old provinces in 1790. Also applied to administrative divisions in some other countries. Freq. in French form.
  5. New Oxford American Dictionary 2 gives us def. 2:
    an administrative district in France and other countries.

For region, it's a bit more complicated, in that many of the dictionaries don't show something similar to the French regions as a possible definition. But OED has the following as definition 5b:

A relatively large subdivision of a country for economic, administrative, or cultural purposes that freq. implies an alternative system to centralized organization; spec. one of the nine local government areas into which the mainland of Scotland has been divided since 1975, when the former system of counties was abolished. standard (administrative) region: one of the eight (formerly nine) areas into which England is divided for industrial planning, demographic surveying, etc.
  1. New Oxford American Dictionary 2 gives us def. 2:
    an administrative district of a city or country.

One might also note, please, Regions of England, which uses "region" in precisely the sense of the French région, for the highest order administrative subdivisions of the country. Anyway, the basic point is, that "department" and "region" are most certainly used for these French divisions, and are clearly proper meanings of the English words. It is true that sometimes the French is used instead, but this seems like unwarranted Francocentrism (or possibly anglocentrism, since French is the language that English speakers, especially in the UK, have traditionally been most likely to know). As someone who doesn't speak Italian or Spanish, Having the article Regioni of Italy, or whatever, seems completely absurd to me. département and so forth don't sound nearly as silly to me, but that's just because I speak French. There are perfectly good English words available, and in context, there shouldn't ever be any serious ambiguity (and eliminating ambiguity in situations where there is no context seems like a fool's errand). john k 17:07, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd have to refer once again to a phrase using region - "Ardèche region" - for cases of ambiguity. Odd that I would never think to title an article "X regioni" - but in the title, isn't it pretty clear that "region" is not "the area around"? Like I've said before, it's all a question of context. If the article subject or words surrounding a like term make it easy to understand the intended meaning of that word, then no non-English language version should be needed. Yet when the surrounding text provides no context, it is useful to make it clear that, although it is similar, the most common meaning of the English version of the word is not the same. Yet here we're talking about chasing down every single accented word in English Wikipedia - a bit of a task, no? To what end? THEPROMENADER 17:24, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Both English and French have other uses for both words, but these "other common uses" don't always coincide for the layman and? How many laymen understand and speak French? How many laymen could be confused by the appearence of French words? You are stating that because the most common definition of a word isn't the intended meaning we should use the French term so as to not confuse the reader. Is this your statement in a nutshell? --Bob 17:38, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Another reference source--search on "department" and "region" on the CIA World Factbook France page -Eric (talk) 17:45, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Your reference - a geographical information page - again has an explanatory context that most Wiki articles don't have.
"You are stating that because the most common definition of a word isn't the intended meaning we should use the French term so as to not confuse the reader" - Yep, that's about it. But this of course isn't a danger for many words, but it is nice to have some concistency and respect for the original appellation. I wouldn't say "confuse" though - readers aren't that dumb : ) THEPROMENADER 18:25, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
The common usage of these terms differs in English and in French. The French terms are more precise in the context of a Wikipedia article because they can have but one meaning for the English reader. Département does appear in English dictionaries. Whereas here, département has but one definition, here, department has 10 definitions, the proper one being the 7th and perhaps the least common. This is precision and exactitude. --Aquarelle 17:51, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually, no. It may also mean a department within a larger organisation such as the CNRS. They don't translate many of their departmental names into English, and since are not often used, remain in their French forms in many publications in English. Such départements include Département des Sciences Chimiques or Le département des sciences du vivant, if we are to use their proper names. However, if an article were to be written about them here on the English wiki, you can bet your bottom dollar that they would be translated to the English form, which would be correct. You see, département can mean a multitude of things, just as the department does. --Bob 18:03, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Not really. So far we are at 2 possible definitions...still better than 10. Moreover, upon seeing the French cognate, the reader is going to pay extra attention to the special meaning of the term. --Aquarelle 18:07, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Exactly! THEPROMENADER 18:27, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

This is totally absurd. We have an English word that means exactly what we want it to mean. In the case of "region" we can come up with English usages that are precisely identical to the formal French term. See again Regions of England. In the case of department, I'm not aware of any anglophone countries divided into departments, but the word has been used in this sense for two centuries now. If you want to make an argument that it is, for some reason, preferable to use the French terms, please do so, and I might even be somewhat sympathetic, but don't give us this bullshit that the translation is wrong or inappropriate. john k 18:41, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

You speak French, right ? I think we've made pretty good arguments as to why the English translation is inappropriate, so I hardly think you have reason to call it bullshit. I would both argue that the English translations are too vague and abstruse, and that the original French terms are preferable. Am I getting any sympathy ? I could tell some jokes if that may help you change your mind :) --Aquarelle 18:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

So you feel the French terms are more appropriate because to you they convey a more precise definition... However, the French term for department is also used in a number of different countries, each with its own specific and precise usage for things other than administratuve regions. Same with région. The English terms are not vague, but precise and have been used as such for over 2 centuries in English. Just because a definition of a word is unknown by some, doesn't invalidate the definition. For instance, should we cater the Wimbledon article to those that don't know the meaning of set in a tennis context? Should we remove the e from Senate ? Should we replace the usage of the word région in all countries that use this as an administrative region with something else? No. we shouldn't. We should use the most appropriate word in English when there is one available. Would I advocate the replacement of Laïcité with secularism or similar? No. Because there is not an appropriate translation in English. This isn't willy nilly anglicisation, it is common sense. --Bob 19:20, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

I would both argue that the English translations are too vague and abstruse This is a POV statement, unless you can back it up with a reference that states that the English terms are vague, it is original research and any argument put forth using it as a basis discredited. --Bob 19:22, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Bob, with all due respect, that argument is lame. THEPROMENADER 20:49, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
(Sigh) Do I have to trot out the "Centre region" example yet again? There is nothing absurd in the English miscomprehension of the French use of the term where proper context is lacking - and this is indeed a fault. I have agreed and still agree that there is a lesser risk for the word "department".
The translation is not "wrong" or "inappropriate", but it certainly is less appropriate than leaving the word in its italicised original form. The words we are talking about here are not common and general-use nouns like "chien" - we are talking about a label that has a precise definition that is only common to those speaking its own language. Not only does leaving that term in its native form draw attention to its particularity, it also shows respect for the language we are borrowing the term from.
There are places where it is indeed ridiculous to leave the word in its native form, like john k's earlier "Regions of Italy" example - the italicised native-language wordform's most common use would be as a no-explanation-needed "pin term" in the flow of a text speaking about another subject than that of the word itself.
What exactly is wrong with leaving the word with a precision attained best through its own Roman-character language? How exactly is the "close enough" English translation "better"? Why have so many contributors left appellations and labels in their native language until today - and why is the logic behind this trend totally ignored in every argument here? Why this "Anglicisation crusade" that targets 'non-English' words without any thought to the comprehensibility of the text itself - and the reason it was written like that in the first place? THEPROMENADER 20:38, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Provide a reference stating that the two department and region are easily confused in English texts talking about French stuff. Again, WP:POV, WP:NOR and WP:V come into play. If you are unable to do so, just state that.

Just because it has been done like this for so long doesn't mean that it need continue like that. How often has the Main Page been changed in the life of wikipedia? --Bob 20:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Not only has it been done since long; it has been done by many. "Those who would Anglicise" are but only a few. I have yet to see a real reason why French labels should be Anglicised when they are perfectly identifiable for what they are - labels - in their native but italicised form. THEPROMENADER 21:31, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
(cough) Bob, enough with the Wikilawyering. How can POV apply here? With all due respect, that argument is lame : )
What "two"? Again, isn't it obvious "Ardèche region" means "Around Ardèche" to the average English speaker?
A few of us have clearly stated why it would be preferable that some words be left in their native form, but I have yet to hear the logic that is the motivation for the Anglicisation crusade. THEPROMENADER 21:23, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

No wikilawyering here... just assertation of the basic premise of no original research. Again, provide a reference for what you state. If you can't, just state that you can't. We won't abhor you for it. The reason I am so persistant in this is that you base your entire opposition on an assumption that is your (and Aquarelle's) POV, yet you are seemingly unable to confirm this POV using a secondary souce. Please provide one. Why do people want to use English terms? So that all articles follow a similar path. I am not one for compartmentalising wikipedia into factions, but would like to see uniformity across the whole. If French articles keep the French terms, then every single article on administrative divisions in every country across the entire wikipedia that uses English terms needs to be formatted differently. --Bob 22:01, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

That's a pretty weak reason. I think the "compartmentalising" you see is purely imaginary - or at least hypothetical - in this case. So you would like to singlehandedly decide the outcome of possibly thousands of contributions? And a few have already begun to do so without even attempting to discuss the issue? First you have to see what the majority of articles do, and if you would like to propose to use that trend for the remaining minority, the job and discussion is easier - but if the majority of articles use French terms for French labels, then you've got a lot of people to convince before you go about changing anything. I have yet to see any real argument showing the real merits of Anglicisation. "Similar path" and "uniformity" are fine in principle, but the method you are using to achieve this goal has to be a valid and widely accepted one. As far as Anglicisation of French labels goes, this doesn't seem to be the case. THEPROMENADER 22:36, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

This argument could be widened to the rest of wikipedia. If the French articles keep the French names for everything, then why do articles on other country subdivisions get translated into the appropriate English terms when applicable? What is it about the French that they can keep their terms in English, yet vice versa they get translated? Why are the regions of Italy and Belgium translated to English and the departments of Argentina, Columbia and Poland translated? There doesn't seem to be much confusion outside of the French articles? Why is this do you imagine? If you have a reason, provide a reference. --Bob 22:49, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Here some are shouting "t's broke, needs fixin' ", and others are shouting "t'aint broke!". Yet the "fixers" cannot define how things are "broken". As for the rest of Wiki, to tell you the truth, I haven't even thought about it - and why should I? The question thus far is here and here only for now. If it is the world you would like to change, you're going to have to get its attention and approval first - you can't go about it singlehandedly. THEPROMENADER 23:00, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I still don't get you. Reference to what? What "Original Research"? You want me to find an occasion of "region" being used in English? Don't be silly: that hasn't even happened yet, and the whole point of this discussion is to study the merits of Anglicisation! None to hear thus far, and I've asked several times already. THEPROMENADER 22:21, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Please provide references for the following:

  1. the English translations are too vague and abstruse
  2. the only French definition of the word région is a very fixed administrative division
  3. Département is more than a noun - it is a proper name for a very particlular thing.
  4. it is true that both "department" and "region" are simply bad translations
  5. department does not mean département
  6. The French guys at INSEE probably don't appreciate the English sense of the word (department)
  7. Department is rarely, if ever, used in English to describe a geographical subdivision, so département is the word to use.
  8. the terms "département" and région are used exclusively to describe the subdivisions of France in French

Thank you. --Bob 22:38, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Come on. Fulfil this list of questions, otherwise you are wrong." All the same:

  1. Some English translations are vague and abtruse. (Cue already oft-mentioned "region" examples).
  2. I admitted my error to this one above - I misread you - yet I treated this one already several times.
  3. Département is a label for a very particular thing, yes.
  4. Unexplained, without context to the layman, yes. Is the same definition at the top of the list, in both languages, in every dictionary you read? The "most common" definition is not that of its French counterpart. I've treated this one several times already too.
  5. Sure it does, both have several meanings. The "top" meaning for each language is not the same - that creates a problem.
  6. Sure they do - no explanation about the "right" meaning needed, as their trade (statistics based on the French adminstrative map) gives it for them. Hell, you can't get more "context" than that. Now, use "department" in an article about... French department stores or businesses for example. LOL!
  7. There are very few (if any) English-speaking countries that use the term "Department" in their administrative map. Yet I did not say that this is why "département" should be used.
  8. Have you been reading me? What's more, you're repeating yourself - I already noted my error twice above. Both words have several meanings and uses, but "most common meaning is different between the languages. This is the problem.

Now, how about listing some of the merits of Anglicisation? THEPROMENADER 22:52, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

We should use English when appropriate. It is appropriate here and has been discussed ad nauseum at WP:UE and WP:MOS as well as other country wikiprojects such as Mexico. My interpretation, and that of others, is that the English convention is not restricted to the title, especially when a more than appropriate translation exists. Now, I want secondary sources, not just your opinion. Please provide links to articles pertaining to yours (and others) statements which you have used to promote your opinion. Again, I am not requesting your opinion. I am requesting facts from secondary sources that confirm your opinion and statements. Please provide them. --Bob 23:23, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, that is your interpretation, and a loose interpretation it seems to be, and, what's more, you seem to be a minority so far. "Secondary sources" for what? What exactly do you want me to show you? An article where use of the native italicised form is common? Here - the first French page I thought to open - and I've never written anything there myself. What else do you want - more links? I would expect that you would already be familiar with French articles. The hope that I cannot provide examples of "proper use" of the italicised native-language nameform for precise labels does not take away from the logic of mine or other contributor's arguments for the heightened clarity and identifiability of the same. It is a practice based on common sense more than anything. THEPROMENADER 00:08, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Commune is an English word so that article no longer conforms to wiki guidelines. A reference would be citing me something from an academic journal, a respected translation expert, a reliable source. If you are still confused as to what a source/reference is, please see Wikipedia:Reliable_sources#Types_of_source_material. We have cited numerous sources/references such as the French government, OED, NOED, INSEE, British government etc. Please show me something from an external source that validates your statements. An external source is not an article on wikipedia, as that is the subject of the discussion. Again, if you are unable to do so, just state that you are unable to confirm and validate your statements. Thank you. --Bob 02:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I've noted before that WP:UE refers specifically to article titles. WP:MOS appears to be pretty neutral on this particular issue (but I'd welcome a particular reference). MOS mainly refers to National varieties of English, and how to reference non-English terms.
The Guide to writing better articles/Use other languages sparingly is more on-point, noting:
It is fine to include foreign terms as extra information, but avoid writing articles that can only be understood if the reader understands the foreign terms. In the English-language Wikipedia, the English form does not always have to come first: sometimes the non-English word is better as the main text, with the English in parentheses or set off by commas after it, and sometimes not. For example, see perestroika.
Non-English words in the English-language Wikipedia should be written in italics. Non-English words should be used as titles for entries only as a last resort. Again, see perestroika.
I've got my take on this passage, but I'll just present it for discussion purposes. --Ishu 00:29, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I am aware that WP:UE (and formerly WP:ANG) refers to the article titles, which is why about 350 articles/templates/categories were recently moved to respect this convention, something which the original authors didn't follow, but is now respected. Still more need to be moved to conform to WP:V as the current setup is inaccurate. In WP:MOS, it states per the guide to writing better Wikipedia articles, use foreign words sparingly. Perestroika has now been integrated into the English language, and if we are to follow current guidelines as stated in WP:BETTER, it should not be italicised. Finally, this is important as wikipedia is not a compartmentalised work, there must be uniformity amongst articles. If a it:Regioni d'Italia is translated as Regions of Italy, and subsequent articles follow that nomenclature, and landsvæði is translated as regions and fylker as counties etc etc etc for words not commonly found in English dictionaries, then why leave the French forms when the translation is found in dictionaries and is in common use in all forms of written English? If we are to use the French forms throughout wikipedia, then the same courtesy must be extended to every article using English translations in the place of local administrative subdivision foreign words not found in most dictionaries. I would love to read an article describing Icelandic landsvæði. --Bob 02:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

But all this is selective argument and examples and interpretations of rules to justify a decision already made - we have yet to hear reason through which we can conclude that Anglicisation is a plus. Why is it better? What more does it bring the reader? How is the native-language label wrong? Again, it would be nice if all articles are the same, but only a few cannot decide for all Wikipedia. Here on the French pages we may conclude something that may spread though. By the way, the landsvæði example is a bad one - it uses non-Latin characters. Let's not exaggerate : ) THEPROMENADER 03:38, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

A couple of points. With respect to "regions" what is the operative difference between a Region of England and a French region, that requires us to use the French word région for the latter? Wikipedia is already, by necessity, using the word "region" to mean something almost exactly identical to the way région is used in French for administrative subdivisions. With respect to departments, any geographical use of the term "department" is for something similar to the French case - for an administrative subdivision. Although the word "department" has other meanings in English (just like the French département), it ought to just about always be clear from context if a geographical context is meant. Even so, to pretend that the history department (or whatever) of a French university can be translated as "department," but that the name for the department of the Gironde cannot be is absurd. In both cases the French word being used is département - it is completely arbitrary to insist that one is appropriate to translate, and that the other isn't. This whole thing appears to arise out of a desire to create a distinction between the French meanings of département and région and the English meanings of department and region, that doesn't really exist. And the whole thing is based on special pleading for the French language - and not just for the French language, but for the French language as used in France to refer to things in France. If région and département convey more specific things than "region" and "department," it is entirely artificial - it does not arise in the slightest out of their usage in French, but only out of the fact that in these particular administrative contexts writers in English are somewhat more likely to leave the words untranslated. So what it comes down to ought to be the extent to which these terms are actually left untranslated in English. From my experience, I would say that it is reasonably common, especially in academic works, but certainly not predominant, but I'd be interested to see evidence. The only argument I can see as halfway plausible is one that the terms are usually left untranslated in English. I don't believe this is true, but this is the only potentially valid case to be made on the other side. The arguments that the translation is inappropriate remain bullshit, and any argument made on that basis strikes me as absurd. The only thing insisting on the French terms does is confuse people about the meaning of the French term, and imply much more restricted meanings for the French words than they actually have. In English, département may only be used to refer to French administrative subdivisions. But this is most certainly not true for use of the word in French. The issue ought not be one of translation at all - the translation is clearly good. The issue ought to be, pure and simple, one of common usage. john k 08:55, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Second Summary

Look. A word in one context has one meaning, and the same without may have another - even in the same language. The italicised native-language version of a word is that context in some cases - it screams "I am not the word you think I am". It is the very similarity between some English and French words that can be both a cause confusion and a license to italicised usage - this is the "special French case".
To to "create" a context through use of the italicised native-word form, we could write "Aquitaine and other régions". Get it? But were we write in the English word-form, added clarity would be helpful: "Aquitaine and other administrative regions". It is even a question of style more than anything. There is no reason why the same article cannot use both methods, and many do.
Many articles have been written using the italicised method - call it a style here on if you will - even the article on Regions of France itself, for example. What a few are proposing here is to chase down every accented word in English Wikipedia to "save" it through translation to English, but a hunt for the word without paying any attention to the context it is written in is a recipe for confusion. This lack of attention to context is not negligible, and is most certainly not "bullshit".
I've said from the start that context is the issue here. The similarities between English and French provide an extra context-creating tool, and I see no reason why it should not be used. If we must examine what "others" do: some publications do use the italicised method, and others don't; this is a choice of style more than anything.
As far as we are concerned, if one really is for a "make it all the same" Anglicisation crusade - naively idealistic though it is - one must determine the method most-used in Wiki France-related articles: is the italicised method already widespread? If it is, you're going to have to address that majority and call for some sort of vote - widespread change before anything less than that would seem arrogant and unjustified. THEPROMENADER 11:27, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Just a couple of notes - Bob, you are misguided as far as the burden of proof is concerned, c'est à dire, who has to prove what and how. As ThePromenader told you, the France articles were written in a certain way ; we defend it and you contest it. It is you who has to show us why these articles should be anglicised. The argument "because others do it" is invalid because others do it both ways. Certain encyclopaedias use the French terms, and others use the English terms. Most guidebooks use the French terms. The INSEE uses both, so please stop pretending like their aleatory usage of English is concrete evidence that we should change all the Wikipedia France articles. The Wikipedia guidelines are quite neutral on the subject, giving lateral for foreign terms to be used when it is more precise. I tried to show this to you by pointing out that in the English dictionary the entry for the word department has 10 definitions and only one definition for the word département (please note that both are in the English dictionary). Does this make sense ? --Aquarelle 13:52, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Bob- You're wasting your time, I'm afraid. It isn't just that they don't get it--they don't want to get it. They are hopelessly enamored of the French terms. It's time to drink the Kool-Aid and join me in my new project on the French WikipÉdia: in articles about English-speaking countries, I'm replacing every instance of the word "état" with "state." "Le state de Texas" has a nice ring to it, n'est-ce pas? And so much more precise. -Eric (talk) 15:19, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, that's a rather silly and sardonic "no answer" reply; of course you don't "have" to think about the reasons that motivated so many to use italicised French words... just remain fixed on your mission of converting the English-language infidels - I'm sure it will be beaten into us "Frenchmen" should one day the Anglicisers hold Wiki sway. Good luck on your "state" crusade then, but remember: don't forget the context : ) THEPROMENADER 16:01, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I know Eric... and watercolour, the burden of proof argument is invalid. You are proposing arguments for a POV in a discussion on naming conventions. You are claiming these things exist. You, Steveage, promenader and Inshu should back up your arguments with valid sources. If you are unable to show proof for your arguments, then they ARE original research. You are claimimg things to be fact, we have shown our hand with references and fact, please do the courtesy of returning that gesture. If you don't, then your arguments really do become untenable. Show sources. --Bob 15:45, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

With all due respect, Bob, your asking for "proof" for nothing in particular has the sole goal of creating the illusion that the "opposing party" has no argument; this is low-tactic "lawyering" in the extreme. Say clearly what you want proof of ("your arguments" perhaps? "Proof" that the italicised form is common use in Wiki has been proven amply through links to French-topic articles), or don't bother asking - it's pointless. THEPROMENADER 16:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
The dictionary is a pretty basic source. But like I said, the burden of proof isn't on me - it's on you. You are the one proposing the change. We're defending the original text.
I'm not really sure what you want me to show a source for. Britannica's use of the French terms ? Go look in Britannica. You mentioned yourself that they use the French terms. Guidebooks ? I don't have to prove to you that all guidebooks use the French terms, just some. Like the Eyewitness series. Go look at your local library. What do you want me to show a reference for ?
You and Eric must be losing your steam. So my burden of proof argument is invalid ? Au contraire ! I would say it's crucial, especially since you've been so bent on asking us to prove things lately. Besides, the burden of proof is an important part of wikilawyering, of which you've been doing a lot lately :) --Aquarelle 16:08, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I've become unclear on what exactly we are arguing about. If the argument being made is that it's fine to use either the French or the English term, I can't bring myself to object all that much. Personally, I think "administrative region" is generally clearer than région, when additional context is needed, and that "department" is pretty much never going to be unclear when used in a geographical context, but I'm not going to object if people want to have some variety and to sometimes use the French. I had thought, though, that much stronger claims were being made - essentially, that the English terms are never appropriate, or almost never appropriate. This I strongly object to, and think is pretty clearly wrong. Anyway, whatever. I no longer am clear on what anybody is actually proposing. I think I'm going to sit this out for a while. john k 16:33, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

John - I hope I can clarify things a little bit, as well as recapitulate. The articles about France were written with the French terminology and existed as such for several years. I'm arguing that we should keep it that way. Bob wants to translate all those terms to English. Both fashions are used by the professionnals : Britannica uses the French terms, most guidebooks use the French terms (it's normal, they're trying to give you exposure to French), other encyclopaedias use the English terms, and the governmental statistics agency of France, the INSEE, uses both in their English texts. The mass media often use the English terms. Since all these articles were written with the French terms, and this is a completely acceptable if not preferable way to have it done, I believe we should not try to anglicise it. That's why I say that it's up to Bob to show us why we should make the change - although Bob thinks that I should have to prove why we shouldn't make the change. As a jurist, and someone who is familiar with the way the burden of proof works, I can't understand this argument. (I'm not trying to wikilawyer - the reason why I evoke the burden of proof is because Bob keeps telling me to prove such and such arguments to him.) --Aquarelle 16:43, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
John k: I was overzealous in my "English is bad" exposé, granted. It's only normal you took it at face value. THEPROMENADER 17:27, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Aquarelle, I think there's a case to be made for consistency with usage for other romance language terms, like those in Spanish and Italian. In those cases, we pretty much always use the translation, whereas in the French case, we tend towards the French. As someone who speaks French, but not Spanish or Italian, this seems perfectly natural to me, but seems harder to defend as a general maxim. To get to consistency, I'd prefer to turn the French terms to English than to turn them all to native language forms. But it's probably not such a big issue. I'm glad to see that both of you are backing away from the claim that the translations are not appropriate. john k 17:41, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Maybe our statements against the English usage were too strong before, but I still think that using the French terms is preferable. Like I said, both ways of doing it have been established in the professionel field. As far as the consistency arguments goes - I think we should work on a case-by-case basis. I don't know how the professionals describe the Spanish and Italian systems in English. We should work on what's best for describing France to the anglophone reader. Things should be consistent across the French articles, but I don't think we should necessarily have to conform to what other editors are doing with completely different countries. --Aquarelle 17:55, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Please provide sources for the following:

  1. the English translations are too vague and abstruse
  2. the only French definition of the word région is a very fixed administrative division
  3. Département is more than a noun - it is a proper name for a very particlular thing.
  4. it is true that both "department" and "region" are simply bad translations
  5. department does not mean département
  6. The French guys at INSEE probably don't appreciate the English sense of the word (department)
  7. Department is rarely, if ever, used in English to describe a geographical subdivision, so département is the word to use.
  8. the terms "département" and région are used exclusively to describe the subdivisions of France in French
Please don't be silly. I answered you note-by-note the first time you asked. THEPROMENADER 19:07, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

These have been put forward as FACT. I would like references to back up these FACTS. If reliable references are shown to me and prove this position then I will back down regarding the usage of the French terms within the text. However, if y'all are unable to do this, then again, I say that this position is untenable. I would like to put this to a vote with real, referenced facts in the preamble to any vote so that those voting are aware of exactly what means what and why, and do not vote on any unsubstantiated POV based on someone else obfuscating the real definitions are terminology. The refusal to provide sources just leads me to suspect that there are no sources to back up your facts. --Bob 17:53, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Bob, your argument is lame. Those points aren't necessary for us to maintain our position ; it's simple just a list of things that we said in the past. ThePromenader already accepted that "département" isn't a proper name. We don't have to do anything. You have to show us why change is necessary. --Aquarelle 17:58, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Again, you have put forward an argument of fact. I would like to see references to all those points. If there are compelling sourced arguments from reliable sources, then I will drop this. These facts have been accepted as read by those less informed. I would like to see sources for these facts. Provide them please. --Bob 18:07, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Congratulations, Bob, your argument has become Lame2. How about we make a compromise - you show me a reference saying that I have to reference every single thing I say on the Wikiproject France discussion page, and I'll show you my references. Sounds good ? --Aquarelle 18:16, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

If you are unable to provide sources that back up your claims, just state that. --Bob 18:19, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

LOL ! Just drop it, Bob. Do you really think I have a reference concerning the English knowledge of the French guys at the INSEE ? NON ! Just that I have been there and met a few of their "English" writers who actually don't write or speak that well at all. But of course, this is original research and thus not admissable, but I'm fine with that becuase I don't need to prove this point. Shall I make a list of all of your off the cuff comments from the past 2 or 3 days and expect you to cite sources ? We're not writing an article here, we're discussing style and terminology ! --Aquarelle 18:24, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
The "this is the way it's been done in the past" argument does not hold.
  • Repetitious use of foreign terms, especially when long-established equivalents exist in the article's language, is distracting and comes across as an affectation.
  • The fact that editors have been using foreign words in this way should not be invoked as a precedent on which to base policy.
  • The efforts of Bob and others are not a crusade, but a housecleaning chore that could have been avoided by editors doing a little more homework researching terms.
-Eric (talk) 19:30, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah this post is full of your POV. Why don't you show a source supporting your claim that "Repetitious use of foreign terms, especially when long-established equivalents exist in the article's language, is distracting and comes across as an affectation." Both forms are in common use today. If not for my sake, do it for Bob - he's the one who always demands sources. --Aquarelle 19:36, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I will attempt to provide a reference for Eric. You see, he put forward an opinion and we try to back them up with sources.[1]. However, maybe Eric has access to better sources. Maybe you could do this for the statements listed below.--Bob 20:12, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

LOL ! You cited "Writing a Scientific Paper" from 1970. Maybe you didn't notice but this isn't a scientific article. Anyways, the author says "If you use foreign words when a short English word will convey the meaning, you risk being accused of affectation." I don't think she's referring to specific terms, but rather those odd sort of latin transitions that people like to use when they want to confuse their reader. The author doesn't say anything about appellation of a specific foreign entity for the English reader. --Aquarelle 20:23, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

No less valid...

  • Another reference from Rutgers
  • Another from LSU
  • Perhaps a dubious source, but what the hell... [2]
  • From a professor at the U. Tennessee

Just a few that debate the usefulness of foreign terms when the English is more than sufficient. --Bob 20:25, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

That still leaves the question of whether the English form is sufficient...and there are still plenty of writers who love using foreign words.
You also might want to check out these helpful links :
--Aquarelle 20:39, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Aquarelle, my above comments reflect my point of view. It is based on logic and experience, and I think you will find it reflects the reality of the professional publishing world since long before we were born. Sorry that I can't cite sources for that here right now; I think my early posts were adequately supported, Bob has been tireless in providing sources, sources don't seem to carry weight with you anyway, and I am at work and should not be here. Besides, I long ago gave up trying to convince you and Promenader--your passion is too great. At this point I just like to inject a bit of reason here and there for dispassionate editors who may come later and brave reading this mess. -Eric (talk) 21:32, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Eric, you can't cite yourself, that's personal research. --Aquarelle 21:36, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

(edit conflict) Well, no Eric - as far as I can see, your point of view is based on your... own point of view. I can't know of your logic and experience, but I hope it wasn't that reflected in your selective and often non-sequitur arguments. Using the italicised form works, as does the English version if it has either the correct context or added explanation, but nowhere have you or anyone managed to say why the italicised form is wrong - you have simply declared that it is. As you have declared that you have made arguments where in fact you have made none. Wiki contributors in their majority (it seems thus far) have chosen the italicised native-language technique for some words, and authours of other publications have chosen other methods: citing examples of the latter, or examples of English-usage that do have context, will never prove the italicised version "wrong". This "wrongness" is your point of view on the matter - nothing more. THEPROMENADER 21:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

The Advance of the "Translations" Crusade

I'd tried to remain fixed on the question of "what is the point of using the italicised native-language term, and why do so many do it" in trying to argue on the basis of simple common sense, and did not really look to see to what real exent the French italicised term is used in English wikipedia. I had a look just now, and was amazed to the extent that it is in use: 8,299 results for "département", and 3,847 results for région alone - and this is articles containing the term (many in the title - lord knows how many occurences when one considers the content of the same articles. Thus, fellows, it seems that the italicised form is indeed a major part of the Wiki landscape.

Then I find this. I have to say it is everthing I feared in my arguments above - an out-of-context translation of every French word in the "Regions of France" article, without any attention at all to the writing style or sentence meaning. Sorry Bob, but this is at once overzealous and lazy. You even translated "managed by a regional assembly (conseil régional)" to "managed by a regional assembly (General council)" - for lord's sake! This is just dumb!

In looking at the above article's talk page I see a short but inconclusive discussion to change article titles, but nothing substantial (or even less, conclusive) about content. Then Bob's lone one-line "Requested move, I translated the article" message, and this five days after discussion had ended - there was no discussion to that end, and certainly no conclusion to the same, and certainly not for anything widespread! This is really just unprecedented. How far has this gone already? How many articles have been "translated" in the same sloppy "French-word witch-hunt" way?! Really, I just don't know what to say. THEPROMENADER 17:27, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

There is no witchhunt as you would put it, merely trying to use words that already exist and being more precise while at it. Please also note that I have been rewording towns/villages for commune (I italicise here even though it is an English word), also district for arrondissement (same deal). I made one mistake, big deal. I have corrected far more language and grammatical errors than I have made... Nobody is perfect. --Bob 17:53, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

It is quite obvious that you did not pay the least attention any sentence in its entirety. Just because I mention only one error doesn't meant that there's only one, but here's another one from even the same page: "There are also proposals to suppress the local government (conseil général) of the départements " becomes "There are also proposals to suppress the local government of the departments": you eliminated between-parentheses info about the proper name and type of "local government" - because it was French?
This is not a question of "perfect" - this is a question of having an idea, becoming fixed upon it as a principle, and applying it in for the principle in a very sloppy way - to (I don't know how) many articles at the bequest nor advice of none. This is downright wrong - you are not to decide the fate of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of contributions single-handedly. I hope you have brung a halt to this endeavour. THEPROMENADER 18:56, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Yup, he's impetuous. --Aquarelle 19:00, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay, no name-call... is that name-calling? THEPROMENADER 19:04, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
It's kind of like name-calling... or maybe just accurately describing another editor... --Aquarelle 19:07, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I had to look. Bob, you even eliminated inter-wiki links to very relevent French-topic articles. How many other edits like this and those above did you do? Will you look at this - and possibly a thousand pages before it. The first is possibly this one, and nowhere do i see any sign of any discussion about this anywhere. Ever. THEPROMENADER 20:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I have to admit Bob that all those moves are too major a change to undertake without previous discussion. --NYArtsnWords 20:23, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
No wonder he defends his position so obdurately. Look at all that he has invested in this alread ! It's too bad that he didn't seek broader input from other editors before he began, instead of doing it ex post facto (heheheh, Latin). --Aquarelle 20:27, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Usage of English and French terms from searchs of English language pages

So as to avoid mirrors of wikipedia, lets look at a few searches (and these were random):

  1. .edu sites
  1. "department of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 271 [3]
  2. "département of France" site: .edu - Results 1 - 10 of about 23 [4]
  1. .uk sites
  1. "department of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 230 [5]
  2. "département of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 67 [6]
  1. sites
  1. "department of France" - Results 1 - 4 of about 5 [7]
  2. "département of France" - Your search - "département of France" - did not match any documents[8]
  1. On any site (this will include mirrors of Wikipedia) we get more than 30% more hits on the English form than the French. This is mirrored in the plural form.
  1. "department of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 57,100 [9]
  2. "département of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 43,400 [10]

--Bob 18:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Hey cool, the English words are used slightly more than the French ones ! Wow ! This is a great argument ! All wikipedia articles MUST be changed in order to conform the the thin lead that the word department has over the word département ! This definately supports everything that Bob has been saying since the beginning.
(Is that the response you were looking for ?) --Aquarelle 18:50, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

If you want to provide a relevent search, do one within Wiki. Every publication has its own practices, and Wiki already has its own it seems. "What others do" is not an argument, but "why others do it" is. THEPROMENADER 18:59, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

This is ridiculous. Wikipedia's practices are meant to be resolved on the basis of "most common usage in English," not "what Wikipedia usage already is." And it doesn't matter why others do what they do, but simply what they do. Or, at least, that's how it's supposed to work. john k 22:18, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I like how the results of Bob's google search were highly inconclusive yet he still posted them on this discussion page. Such things as "Architecture Department of France" bloated his English figures. --Aquarelle 19:02, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
The more information the better. Whatever it says, it is helpful to post any evidence, even if it doesn't very strongly support one's own case. john k 22:18, 22 January 2007 (UTC)


  1. sites
  1. "department of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 448 [11]
  2. "département of France" - Results 1 - 10 of 38 English pages [12]
  1. sites
  1. "departments of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 455 [13]
  2. "départements of France" - Results 1 - 10 of about 42 [14]
  1. sites
  1. department France - Results 1 - 10 of 9,820 [15]
  2. département France - Results 1 - 10 of 5,750 [16]

This isn't slight preference for the English form, this is overwhelming usage of the English form. Those departments didn't bloat the figures to a 10 fold increase... --Bob 19:14, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

The bloated figures were from your previous data set, not the new one. --Aquarelle 19:39, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I wonder what those results would have been before your crusade. I guess we'll never know until all of your anglicisation has been reverted. --Aquarelle 19:17, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
Bob, that also is an inconclusive search - how many articles use "départements of France"? Do a search for "département", rather, and look how many results you get. You'll see that I have done this when I discovered that the crusade was well on its way - too bad it's buried under all this cruft, but please find it here. Don't forget that your searches turn up only number of articles where the term is used, and not number of occurences of the term. THEPROMENADER 19:26, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

The English form has twice the number again. Your point? [17][18] --Bob 19:32, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Now you're just taking the piss. I said départements only, and I did not compare English vs. French occurances of a term that could be skewed by many variables. By the way, did you know that searching with or without the accent in Google turns the same results? Do the same within wiki - and this will tell you the number of articles that use the term, no more. Even in that search I see you have moved dozens of articles already - perhaps hundreds? Sorry, but I feel the need to check now.
I have one important question: Do a majority of English-Wiki French-topic articles use the italicised native-wordform style - especially before all this nonsense began? If so, you've got a lot of fixing to do, and a helluva big discussion to open somewhere.
English-words-with extra explanation or context works ("administrative regions"), as does the native wordform italicised for context (régions), but you can't annhilate the dominant practice - especially in the name of "unification", where the lesser practice is eliminated by the dominant practice; not the contrary - just because you (and a few) don't like it. THEPROMENADER 19:49, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

If one were to look at the word department by itself, the numbers would invariably come back with a higher usage due to its other definitions. Therefore, by including the terms France or French one reduces the liklihood of false results. To answer your question, many French terms are incorrectly italicised. Why? No idea, but probably because no-one took the time to look at WP:BETTER. Did a majority do this? I have no idea, as there were numerous pages that I didn't change as they were already using English terms. However, there is a lot of housekeeping to do before some form of consistency may be applied to French articles in en.wikipedia. --Bob 20:03, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

If you really want to make a case for your "unification" campaign, you're going to have to somehow prove that English usage had already the majority - before your campaign began. Even then, seeing the quality of your edits and the lack of discussion beforehand, you've still got a lot of explaining and repairing to do. If you refuse to, you've made a lot of work for a lot of other Wikipedians. I don't think you're of that sort though. THEPROMENADER 20:15, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

The idea of using a wikipedia search as the basis for what wikipedia usage should be is completely insane and circular, since any of us can change what wikipedia usage is. Sigh. That people on both sides appear to have at different points claimed that this is a useful measure is deeply disheartening. john k 22:21, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I completely agree with that sentiment, which is why I didn't use it in my original posting. However, since it was specifically asked for, I saw no reason not to comply. --Bob 00:03, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
John. I clearly stated that even a Wiki-only search in the Wiki website (and this only for the Wiki search engine's ability to recognise accents) can only give an "idea" of how widespread the use of accented French words is - which is why I say "somehow prove that English usage has..." - you sometimes tend to be short in both conclusion and temper ; ) THEPROMENADER 23:43, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand. A search in the wikipedia website doesn't indicate anything about how widespread the use of accented French words is in English. It is completely useless. If I overstated your claims, I apologize, but the measure you propose is just utterly worthless and provides no measure of anything. Wikipedia shouldn't be used as a source for wikipedia, and certainly not for usage. john k 03:50, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
It wasn't I who opened this thread! I too find it quite obvious that Google "evidence" to this end is almost useless. I said that it was even less than that because all searches with accented letters turns up results with words without - but at least the Wiki search engine doesn't do the same. I too apologise for my lack of clarity. THEPROMENADER 14:07, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Sure, words have various meanings. A "county" isn't the same thing in the UK as a "county" in the United States. We are quite capable of handling the fact that the context, when that you are talking about a division of France, provides part of the meaning of those words. We know that not all governments are set up on one universal plan; we know it won't have the exact meaning in this context that it might have in other contexts. Gene Nygaard 21:04, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Speaking of words having different meanings, what in the world do you suppose the French Wikipedia uses for the United States Department of Commerce, for example? Take a wild guess, before you follow the link. I'd say that is a pretty good indication of what we should be using in the English Wikipedia: English words. Gene Nygaard 21:04, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Ah, but there is context in both "Department of Commerce" and "Départment de Commerce". No extra description needed - "commerce" is never a place.
      Part of the problem is that thousands of French words were "translated" without any attempt to modify the phrase they were used in to replace the context - or meaning, if you will - conveyed by the italicised French term. Both are tools, and yes, one can argue that one should use English whenever possible, yet I find the italicised French word often the shortest and sweetest method of indicating the true and proper meaning of the word. It seems that most other French-article contributors have shared the same opinion until now. Personally, I am of the opinion that we should be free to use both writing methods - perhaps not in article titles, though, although I'm still divided on this. THEPROMENADER 21:17, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
<moved; said I was arguing with myself, but got in wrong section>
OTOH, the recognizable French words don't bother me all that much. I think we'd be better off going into battle against the editors of India-related articles, for example, who will probably claim that they are using "English" words, even though nobody outside of India, no matter what language they speak, has the foggiest idea what they are talking about in articles liberally sprinkled with references to tehsils and panchayats and the like. Gene Nygaard 21:16, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Can I move the Nestlé article to Nestle please, I'm astonished to see that an article with an accent was kept with its accent intact as we all know accents are the devil's worship in English. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 10:48, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Working toward consensus II

As per Wikipedia:Resolving disputes, I think perhaps it is time to open up the discussion to a larger audience (perhaps via a RfC) and for all parties to take a pause:

Wikipedia works by building consensus. To develop a consensus on a disputed topic, you may need to expose the issue to a larger audience. Options for doing this include:

If you have not agreed to a truce before this point, you should do so now. This allows others to consider the issue fairly without the confusion of ongoing edits, which are likely to aggravate the dispute. If an edit war persists and parties refuse to stop, you may request that the page be protected to allow the process to move forward.

See also Wikipedia:NPOV dispute, Wikipedia:Accuracy dispute, and Wikipedia:Protection policy.

-- NYArtsnWords 19:29, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree, as this is going nowhere. All I ask is that all "Angicisation" cease if it is still in progress - which it shouldn't be. I am also inclined to ask that all concerned articles be returned to their pre-Anglicisation state (especially since it was done in a hasty in haphazard way) until this problem is clarified and resolved through wider discussion. THEPROMENADER 19:52, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comment: English vs. French terms department/département and region/région

This is a dispute about whether the English or French terms department/département and region/région should be used (a) in article titles, and/or (b) in article leads and/or (c) in the text of articles dealing with France and its administrative divisions. Please read the above discussion. Those in favor of the English terms cite the guidelines of WP:UE, WP:BETTER, WP:NCGN and WP:NAME and assert that the use of the English terms is appropriate, frequent, and not subject to unnecessary confusion. Those in favor of keeping the French terms in some or all of the above cases assert that the French terms define specific French administrative divisions, that their use on the English wikipedia has been longstanding, and that the use of English terms will create confusion for many readers unacquainted with their specific French usage. -- NYArtsnWords 20:46, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Statements by editors previously involved in dispute
  • The terms department and region are to be found in all major English dictionaries with the precise definition that the words apply to specific administrative divisions in some countries. Therefore it is a widely accepted term/translation. Proponents of English usage have stated that besides the definitions given in numerous dictionaries such as the Oxford English Dictionary, Chambers Dictionary, New Oxford American Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, amongst others, the use of the English terms is found in both Columbia Encyclopedia and Encarta and also the CIA Factbook. Moreover they are used by French governmental agencies overwhelmingly more so than the French terms in English documents (discount erroneous results found for other definitions of the English term department; [19]v[20]) and this is reflected in the usage by the British government and the US government. Although INSEE previously published English texts with the French terms, I have been unable to find any using this convention after 2004 (they now use the English terms in all documents after this date, at least in my research of the matter). The use of the English terms is predominantly used by the scientific community ([21]v[22] (discount erroneous results for hospital departments and the number is still significantly higher than for the French form) and by universities in both the USA and UK in English language texts.([23]v[24] and [25]v[26]). In major news sources, the results are yet again for the overwhelming usage of the English language terms. A quick search of the largest sources,,,, and show that département is rarely (and in the case of al jazeera and france24 never) used. I haven't looked at guidebooks as WP:NCGN states that they may not be good sources. Opponents have stated above that the English terms are rarely, if ever, used in English, are imprecise translations, that the French terms don't have other defitions outside of the administrative definition and are exclusively used in this field. All of this is clearly false and they have failed to provide sources to back up their claims despite numerous requests. - Statement by Bob
  • Addition: Childrens encyclopaedias also use the English version of the terms, as does the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, Time and the Getty Thesaurus... There doesn't seem to be any confusion on the part of the readers of these publications. Indeed, the claim that the terms department and region are ambiguous has yet to be referenced/sourced and as such is an unsubstantiated POV. Also, the arguments that no one has complained or that it has been like this since the start are both irrelevant. Articles can be improved upon, indeed, that is the aim of the project... I remember the arguments put forward by AIDS denialists in the AIDS article were very similar... Should we enlighten the reader or hide behind foreign nomenclature? --Bob 02:57, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
  • From my point of view, (and in the hope of coming to some sort of consensus), I am quite willing to accept English terms in article titles and leads. I see no real problem with the titles Regions of France or Departments of France, or with the use of "region" or department" in article leads, as long as the French word is also parenthetically indicated and that the "administrative division" aspect of these words is explained (and that region is differenciated from "pays", "province" and historic Provinces of France). I also am willing to accept the English terms in the body of the article when they are used in the formula X departement or x region (e.g. Indre department, Centre region) or when they are clearly wikilinked to the appropriate article: the English translations should be reasonably clear. But I can see how, when used in the expression French department or French region, or only as "department" or "region" in a French article, especially as unwikilinked words, these words could lead to confusion for someone unacquainted with the Administrative divisions of France. -- NYArtsnWords 22:42, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I too am of the opinion that article titles should be in English, but any change to even this should be discussed and planned beforehand. Yet there is no reason to instigate a widespread campaign to Anglicise article content. The very similarity between certain English and French words, but the difference between the same's "most common" definition, creates a need for added explanation or context: this can be achieved through extra description ("administrative region") or an italicised native-language format ("région") to indicate a difference in meaning. Both work for the reader, and either is suitable for reference-quality work.
    The "what other people do" argument is, again, silly, because every publication has its own context and/or style and methods. Wiki is not a single agency, organisation or publishing house; it is a compilation of articles submitted by thousands of contributors. Since it seems that a majority of Wiki contributors have opted for the italicised native-language method, this should be respected as, for as far as the particularities of its France-topic articles are concerned, this is a very widespread, and perhaps most common, method in use in French-article English-Wiki today.
    Should a partisan of one method wish to "unify" article methodology through the elimination of another, their job will be easiest if they can declare themselves the majority - yet even then they will have to convince those remaining through argument and consensus. There is absolutely no excuse for any minority to single-handedly eliminate a years-long trend appearing - and remaining in spite of the passage of time and hundreds of thousands of new edits and contributions - on their sole whim alone, and even less without any attempt at discussion at all.THEPROMENADER 00:21, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
    • Summary: A few changing thousands of articles written by possibly just as many contributors for reasons little more than personal taste is really going over the top. If a few wish to overturn an existing and most-used method of providing context and proper meaning to ambiguous words, they either have to prove that a) the existing method doesn't work or b) convince a majority of contributors that it would be good to change it. THEPROMENADER 15:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Using the English words should be the most natural thing to do in the English version of Wikipedia, because it improves clarity. As Eric mentioned above, since 1790 the English word "department" has incorporated the meaning of "administrative district of certain countries". By the context, any English-speaking person with a bare minimum of familiarity with France would perfectly understand the word "department", especially when wikilinks [[Departments of France|department]] and mentions along the lines of "(Fr. département)" are available.
    Readers with no previous knowledge of France (including French) or this specific meaning of the word would be even more confused by being presented with "département" alone, with or without wikilinks. The same goes for "region / région".
    In the end, we shouldn't aim at the lowest common denominator (as the whole "street-level and advertisement-based popularity" idea seems to do in the case of desambiguations), but write for people able to contextualize words and ideas, and willing to use a dictionary (or follow wikilinks). If lack of context is problematic, the solution is providing the necessary context, not using French words :-) - Evv 10:37, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • The website is a reference work in English. It stands to reason that the articles in it should use English vocabulary whenever possible. A major portion of English vocabulary comes directly from French, so many of our words naturally have the same meaning as their French cognates.
Such is the case with "department" and "region." These two words are the English versions of the French words "département" and "région," respectively; they are just spelled and pronounced differently. They meant the same as their French counterparts before France decided to use the terms to classify their territorial subdivisions, and they continued to mean the same thing afterwards. The French implementation of these terms for this purpose did not in any way constitute a unique concept that could no longer be expressed by the English cognate.
Readers familiar with the territorial subdivisions of France, for example, are not going to flounder in the middle of an article when they encounter the word "department" being used for "département." If they're not already familiar with that English use of the term, they will pick it up instantly from the context of a well-written piece.
If readers unfamiliar with the territorial subdivisions of France encounter one of these terms and want an explanation beyond what the context provides, they will inquire further, regardless of whether the term was presented in normal-text English or italicised French. This will be simple on Wikipedia, because the first instance of the term will likely be wiki-linked. If the article happens to be about one of these territorial subdivisions, there will be an infobox on the right of the page detailing the country’s system.
If multiple, long-established and well-respected reference sources document and support the use of the English version of a term--as has been demonstrated above for these terms--there should be no question that English is preferable. The argument that editors have for some time been using foreign words instead of their well-established English equivalents should not be invoked as a precedent on which to base policy. I can’t quote en.wikipedia policy here and now, but I imagine that for both article bodies and titles, it prefers normal-text English vocabulary, and discourages unnecessary use of foreign terminology and formatted text. -Eric (talk) 14:19, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Declaration points and omissions addressed below. THEPROMENADER 14:55, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I cannot see why French should be an exception. As for Spain geography in the English wikipedia, we say Seville (province) not Provincia de Sevilla. Go for the English terminology, please. --Asteriontalk 22:09, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
  • We also use comarca in Spanish articles, where there is no obvious English alternative. ~~
  • I largely agree with Bob's comments here. Obviously, in English we can find both the French and English terms in use, but this seems to be a fair amount of evidence that the English terms are more commonly used. I would suggest that a) all article titles use the translated English term; and b) that article text should allow either, so long as what is meant is clear. john k 22:24, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Bob, sorry to borrow John's "bullshit," but it is quite fitting for your statement's claims about "clearly false", "failed to provide sources to back up their claims" and the general lack of validity in opposing argument: I have twice pointed out the error in both mine and your interpretations of the opposing arguments you mention.
    There are several methods to provide context and understanding, but for some reason you find one of these methods distasteful - this doesn't make it wrong. There are tons of examples of "other people's use" of the italicised-French word technique should you care to look for them, but you won't see me making that sort of "argument" because it doesn't prove which method is used here at Wiki, which method is used more, and even less, which method is "right" or "wrong" - because they both can be "right" when used properly. Selective "examples" may convince some, but this method is not what you can call "proof" or objective argument. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 00:32, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I have been anglicising articles for a while now (see here), initially because the page Départements of France was moved to Departments of France, and subsequently largely because of arguments set out by Bob. I also agree with what NYArtsnWords says above. In fact, I am quite certain that all the articles I have edited do have wikilinks from terms like "region", "department", "arrondissement", "canton" and "commune" to their respective French administrative subdivision articles. This makes it abundantly clear that, when used, these terms do have specific meanings. Kiwipete 02:11, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
    • You too have single-handedly modified hundreds of articles without any prior discussion. What's more, your moves and translations seem also "done for the word" without any thought at all: moving "Cantons of the Guyane départment" to "Cantons of the Guyane department"; one can wonder what the layman thinks "the Guyane department" means. If it were myself deciding (which it can never be the case on Wiki) I would opt for a much shorter and contextual "Cantons of Guyane (department)". Guyane in its definition is a French department before anything else, so it is even arguable that the term "department" is only needed in cases of ambiguity.
      Ideas for real improvement arise through discussion, but unfortunately no discussion ever took place. THEPROMENADER 09:34, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm getting a bit tired of selective "wikilawyer" statements that provide selective arguments tailored to support one "side": these both ignore and miss the point of comprehension entirely. Again, there are several ways to convey the correct meaning of an ambiguous word: extra English vocabulary is one, and italicised yet recognisable native-language terms are another. For the hundredth time, every publicatoin has its own preference, so is pointless to declare "we should do what others do" - then show only a selective selection of "others" adopting only your point of view: if you want to "fix" the existing system, you have to declare that the existing system doesn't work, and explain exactly why. THEPROMENADER 16:32, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Is there common ground that whichever style is used should provide clarity and context in each article for a wide variety of readers? If so, then we can focus this discussion around (1) who are the intended readers; (2) how much clarity is desired/required; and (3) how much context is required to achieve this clarity. --Ishu 17:11, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • This common ground exists already, and many articles use both English and italicised French-word styles. Both can be perfectly comprehensible to the reader if used correctly - if one or the other wasn't, it would have been edited out of existence over the years. This is not at all the case! THEPROMENADER 11:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
  • This is the English wiki. We should use English whenever possible. The French do their best to avoid English terms. It only makes sense. --English Subtitle 22:02, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Simple answer: Accuracy over consistancy. As an encyclopedia, we should inform, and if the terms can be confusing (as this long discussion has been), then usage should be explained, regardless of whether using english or french versions of such terms. Accuracy of information and in naming should trump the consistancy to use english. As for which to use for the names of articles, see: Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names). I also think Wikipedia:Manual of Style#National varieties of English may be applicable here as well. - jc37 12:41, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
    jc37: what part of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names) do you think applies here, and how? Also, Wikipedia:Manual of Style#National varieties of English concerns only English dialects (not French spelling). I totally agree with your "accuracy over consistency" though - it should be possible to use more than one means of conveying context and meaning. THEPROMENADER 13:54, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
    Because both are good information, and I think in understanding those pages, we might understand this situation better, and use what's there to guide us in what to do here. - jc37 14:15, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I must comment on Eric's statement because it not only does not address the entire question: it only exposes certain aspects of each situation to better favour an already-decided point of view. The omissions are almost deafening.
Such is the case with "department" and "region." These two words are the English versions of the French words "département" and "région," respectively; they are just spelled and pronounced differently.
Absolutely not - only if they have the same common meaning are they the same. These English words may have roots in Old French and Latin, but, between their languages their most common use and most common meaning today are not at all the same. It is what readers understand today that counts here, and if you do not provide context or extra explanation, the reader may get the wrong meaning. Insinuating "people should understand" does not mean that they will - this declaration is both ignorant and biased.
Using the English words should be the most natural thing to do in the English version of Wikipedia, because it improves clarity.
Not when the most-known meaning of the word translated to is not the same of its native-language twin - especially without the explanatory context. Of course one could add extra explanation where the need be (administrative region instead of just "region"), or the article subject itself can lend argument to the real meaning of the term. It is the very fact that the words resemble, yet have different "most-known" meanings, that lends confusion to a literal and word-for-word translation, and permit the use of the very-recognisable native word form. Both are very recognisable to the English reader - so it is simple choice of style, not of "clarity".
Readers familiar with the territorial subdivisions of France, for example, are not going to flounder in the middle of an article when they encounter the word "department" being used for "département."
What of readers not familiar with the terms? These will flounder if the real meaning of the word isn't clear. Italics quite clearly provide this context, as does extra explanation. If the above argument is for the word alone without context, it is wrong: English "department" and French "département" do not share the same "most common" meaning. One cannot assume readership knowledge - to better use and promote a certain taste in writing style!
If readers unfamiliar with the territorial subdivisions of France ... they will inquire further, regardless of whether the term was presented in normal-text English or italicised French
Not necessarily, and especially if the word, lacking the proper context, is misunderstood. Which one of the following asks "what is Alsace really?" : "in the Alsace region" or "in the Alsace région" ?
...If the article happens to be about one of these territorial subdivisions, there will be an infobox on the right of the page detailing the country’s system.
No need for the infobox: The article will already have the context needed for the proper meaning of the word "department" to be understood correctly.
If multiple, long-established and well-respected reference sources document and support the use of the English version of a term--as has been demonstrated above for these terms--there should be no question that English is preferable.
Bollocks. There are other publications - including France's highest official statistics bureau, the INSEE itself - that use the italicised form in its English publications. Just saying that "there is no question" doesn't mean there isn't one - in fact, the very utterance of this phrase lends doubt to the veracity of the phrase following, and more since what follows in this case is choices based on taste, not fact. What would "need no more question" is solid, constructive and objective proof that one method or the other does not work. Here we are quibbling over taste, nothing more. THEPROMENADER 14:48, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

I am sorry, but all of what you state is cherrypicked and it also seems to me that you appear to want to browbeat people into accepting your POV. It is true that one should not assume readership, but I would assume that that would mean use English, as English is what anglophones tend to understand. You want people to write to the lowest common denominator, but that would entail using words that are unnecessary. My previous example of set is perfect in this context. What does it mean? The set of the tide? The three sets required to win a match of tennis at Wimbledon? The set in a theatre? The set of a stone in a bracelet? English words have many definitions, and in this case, exact translations as aluded to more than adequately above. To state anything different would be both incorrect and POV unless a source can be provided that backs up this claim. A source being an academic in the transaltion field, an academic journal, an expert in the field of English-French translations or similar. It is not unreasonable to assume that department and region may mean different things outside of the most common definitions, especially as both England and Scotland have/or had administrative regions. To assume that the average reader is too stupid to understand this is baffling indeed. Using French where English is more than adequate is more likely to obfuscate people than enlighten them, as alluded to above in the references regarding using French terms where English is more than adequate. Thank you. --Bob 18:21, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Bob, how is it possible to "cherry-pick" in a point-for-point answer that is a call to basic common sense? Your "set" example serves most to try to convince us that your prose is an argument when it isn't - where is the French in all that? All the phrases you provide are the context for "set", so even in its own language it is not an argument.
Actually, your "set" examples are the perfect example - change the context of the phrase - its words or language - and the word "set" will change in meaning. This is basic common sense, and has nothing to do with reader "stupidity". Now to simply translate a single word in a phrase without changing the rest of the sentence structure to convey new meaning, as you did to thousands of Wiki articles before all this was brought to our attention: of course the meaning of word may change, and of course readers - of any level - will not understand. At present (at least before the silent "word switcharoo" campaign), in the writing style of many French articles, the italicised native word-form is the context.
Again - sources for what claim? You need "proof" that a word without context has many possible meanings? Please - drop this attempt at argument, as well as the rest of the POV-accusation crap.
In summary, your answer sounds like argument, but is nothing of the kind. Nowhere have you proved that the writing style largely in use in France-article English Wiki does not work: this is what you'll have to prove if you want to garner consensus to "fix" something.
Phrases such as "more likely to obfuscate people than enlighten them" express only opinion without proof to that end. What do people "not understand" in the present system? Why was it contributed in that way by so many, and remained so for so long? Where are all the complaints?
Again, this discussion pretending to be critical of "ill method" is all about taste, nothing more. If those few who would "fix" something that is not broken would like to instigate change - think of it like a new paint-job - then you'll have to garner and convince a consensus for your choice of colour. Yet to say that the car's motor isn't working because you don't like its colour: that is about what your and Eric's arguments amount to.
I don't have to "browbeat" people into any POV - about a writing style that exists already! I am not the one crying for change, so it is not I who has to "prove" anything here - it is those wanting change who must either provide proof that the existing system is wrong, or convince enough others, and to be fair, those who contributed to the system in the first place, that the system needs changing.
It is only normal that I question a few changing of thousands of articles based on decisions of taste alone - especially when the few in question are incapable to find real reason other than personal taste, an obsessive predetermined choice based on the same - presented as ideals not necessarily shared by others - for reason for their widespread changes. Even more so when I see that, judging from the pages I have examined, the result of the widespread word-switcharoo has indeed left many of the "translated" phrases without context - or no longer lending proper meaning to certain "translated" words they use - or in a word, ambiguity. Of this I have already provided examples above.
So thus far, short of a widespread revert, there's much to examine and repair. As for furthering a widespread "Anglicisation" change, those few who would want it have got a lot of convincing to do, and this to more than just a few. THEPROMENADER 23:59, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Again, you fail to comprehend a quite simple argument. 'tis quite baffling. However, as your POV is more than adequately found on this page, why not leave some space for others to comment? Our reasons are clearly stated above, yet you fail to read and/or understand them. The RfC is here to clarify the position of those involved and seek broader comment from others. Obfsucating the opinion of some users here does not help in this procedure. --Bob 01:26, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

...Quite simple argument? Non-existent, You mean! I would think that filling the "statement" section with biased argument-sounding "examples" would affect external opinion more than a common-sense answer to the same in the "comments" section would. If you don't like the "French method", just say so, and find others that share your opinion - but please, don't go to such an effort to leave texts that insinuate - not prove - that the system is broken and needs fixing, when it is nothing of the kind; it is this sort of argument that obliges me to answer in kind. And if a "comment" section can't be used for comments, what the hell is it for? This thread is about your hasty no-consensus translations, not about my method of argument. No more "lawyerly" distractions from the real question, please. THEPROMENADER 13:42, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

The RFC isn't working...
Before fixing something, one needs to show that it is broken, otherwise one's edits are just an distasteful change from one style to another. The French and English terms are both used in the professional field, so why is this change preferable ? Because it speaks to the lowest common denominator ? Dumbing-down Wikipedia with bad translations and lofty confidence in the quality of the context ? Italicising French words in English texts is not a novel idea. Britannica, the oldest English-language enyclopædia in print, uses the French terms. Why do they do so ? Probably because région and département, regardless of French usage, can have but one meaning in English : the meaning clearly defined at the beginning of the article ! No confusion ! No abmiguity such as with the word "set" or other such horrors.
Show how the current method adopted by dozens of Wikipedia editors is wrong or you have no argument ! --Aquarelle 16:34, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Comment - I think I spoke too soon on the earlier page about this. On second thought, if "region" and "department" are widely used descriptions of these French administrative divisions, then we should prefer those rather than neologisms. We should just make sure they're used unambiguously and linked to their definitions wherever possible. Stevage 03:19, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Those French terms aren't neologisms. However the bad English translations, in this sense, are. --Aquarelle 09:18, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
As an example of the difficulty that use of only the English word "region" might create... I wanted to speak of the "Jura region"... but worried that someone might think that I implied that the Jura is the name of a French administrative region (which it isn't). If "région" is always used for the administrative division and "region" used for the more casual usage, then this wouldn't be a problem. I guess I could have said "the region around the Jura mountains", but that seems verbose. What to do? -- NYArtsnWords 06:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
What to do? Either provide the context or extra description - like you have done in your example - so that the correct meaning of word in question will be understood. Italicised text gives context; extra explanation lends meaning. Both say "the meaning of the word is not what you think it is" and point to the correct one. THEPROMENADER 14:37, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
  • The "Children's Encyclopaedia does it" argument is, as far as this "do they understand it as it is?" thread, rather apples to oranges, and not really an argument at all for many reasons: it is the very job of the encyclopaedia to provide meaning for the words it contains, yet here it is the reader's job to determine the correct meaning of a word if it is not clearly explained; this, again, is only another example of publications that have adopted the English wordform rather than italicised French; it does not say whether the publications mentioned are written in a way that lends correct meaning to the words in question (which of course they do). This discussion is about the effectiveness of an existing and widely-used method (is it "broken"?) and the merits of an alternate context/meaning-providing method.
    Asking for "proof" that words are ambiguous? Open a dictionary, mate. If there are several definitions or meanings listed, the word is ambiguous. What more proof do you need?
    The fact that the existing method is so widespread proves a consensus of many editors over a long period of time - it is a result. As for arguments that seek to cancel this in favour of another method, the only argument I've seen so far is a selective "other people do it" - and this, if anything, is an expression of POV and nothing else. If it ain't broken, and everyone likes it, then there's no need for a very few to "fix" it. THEPROMENADER 15:17, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Article titles have been in Foreign languages until WP:UE came into full force. There was no reason to fix this except to imporve clarity for the reader. This is what some here wish to do. Children's Encyclopaedias are written in very simple English. They have articles on the France describing the hierarchy of the French system, the same as here. To suggest that kids can understand the difference in the two words and yet adults are unable to is quite simply baffling. However the bad English translations, in this sense, are provide a source that states this. Also, provide a reference that precisely states that the words are ambiguous in this context, a dictionary does not state that using the word region to describe a French admin region is ambiguous, I want a reference text that states this with 100% clarity. Find a source. Unless you do, both statements are unsourced POV. Provide sources that back up your POV or stop obfuscating fact. For the Jura mountains example, there are many ways to get around this. Besides, in French, we manage to understand that région means two different things. Are Anglophones stupid to the point that they won't understand the difference, is that what we are trying to state, or is it only in French geography articles that this stupidity becomes an issue? I say this as I see that all other articles on other admin regions in wikipedia all use the English word. Yes other people do it here on wikipedia, it seems to be a commonly employed style here (See:Basilicata). --Bob 16:06, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
No, Bob: "until your actions with only your own interpretations of WP:UE as justification "came into" (why the passive voice?) "full force.", rather. The "some" you speak of as many are in reality only a few, and even then, to undergo a widespread (and sloppy) change without the least discussion (even announcement that isn't after the fact!) is unwarrented - especially when you cannot even manage to say what is broken in the system you almost singlehandedly tried to "fix".
"...a dictionary does not state that using the word region to describe a French admin region is ambiguous, I want a reference text that states this with 100% clarity" - with all due respect, this oft-repeated "argument" is nothing short of idiotic. Where in hell do you expect to find a "source" stating that "the use of the English word "region" to describe a French administrative région is ambiguous" ? You are attempting to appear to "have a case" by repeatedly asking a question that you know has no answer. Ambiguous = "having more than one possible meaning". Again, open a dictionary, mate, and look at the listings under "region" and "department". Pay particular attention to the top definition of each. To close this "question" that is not, I need only trot out the "Centre region" example yet again - how is it not obvious that this, to the English reader, is highly ambiguous?
Who is calling anyone stupid? In the phrase "the fifth set", if someone doesn't understand whether we're talking about tennis or flatware, does that make them stupid? How about, again, "Centre region" if it isn't clear whether we are talking about regions or administrative areas? Who cares about what "other languages" do - especially when they don't have words that, untranslated, are so similar to their English counterparts that they need no translation to be understood, and that their untranslated state even gives them correct meaning?
Again, in your present course, you have no argument. Either prove that the existing system for French Wiki articles is broken, or make a case why careful change would be good, and one convincing enough to sway a majority - and in all fairness, the same who made consensus for the existing system in the first place. THEPROMENADER 17:20, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
There is no need to change région to region or département to departement as instead of keeping the originam eaning, translating it by loosing the accent transforms the meaning of the word into something it no longer describes. A département is a french local subdivision, a departement is where women buy their clothes. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 19:42, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Neither is there any need to use spell-check or to change your clothes regularly, but it looks nicer when you do. Given your post, you might want read through the delightful "discussion" above, keeping a dictionary handy as you go. -Eric (talk) 20:19, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Discuss the message; not the messenger, please. THEPROMENADER 20:24, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
So I've made a couple of typos... It's happened before and it'll happen again, at least i'm on topic. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 08:34, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Captain--the spell-check/clothing change part was a general comment, not aimed at you. -Eric (talk) 13:10, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
(grinning) Bullsh*t : ) But thanks. THEPROMENADER 14:48, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree (again) with User:ThePromenader and strongly object to this recent trend of Anglicisation. The French terms are more specific than the English terms and the words are similar enough that non-French-speaking readers aren't gonna get confused. The English Wikipedia has used the French-language terms since I came onboard ages ago and, frankly, using the English-language terms seems like we're oversimplifying and dumbing-down. If it's good enough for the Encyclopædia Britannica, it's good enough for Wikipedia. — OwenBlacker 20:21, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I think "region" and "department" should be used (ie the English words) in general use within teh body text and article headers. In the first mention of the term within an article, a link to an article discussing the French term and its significance within French government administration is appropriate. The only time when the French word should be the major part of the article is in an article discussing the term itself. I've found this issue on a number of weaights & measures articles, where people insist on calling traditional French (etc) units by their modern English names, with the actual term they used almost as a byline. Fine in an article about teh distamce from Paris to Lypns, ny confusing otherwise. Rhialto 04:54, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Some I think are missing the point. We, defenders of the french spelling are not arguying the fact that foreign words should be translated. We are saying that région and départements are not used here as common nouns, but as the factual and legal word for the administrative area in question. I would totally agree with Paris region to describe a loose area around the capital, but am absolutely against Paris region in the context of the Île-de-France région as Île de France is not an area, it is an official administrative division which does take the accent on the e. Furthermore if people start moving article to loose the é in Île-de-France (région), the articles will simply have to be moved to Région Île-de-France to maintain the administrative quality of the targetted article... Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 08:25, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Isn't the "no French words in an article about something in France" argument that the article Île-de-France (région) should be renamed to French Island (region), and always referred to in other articles as the French Island region? How can they accept "Île" but not "région"? I presume "Île" translates to "island", but means something different, too. --Scott Davis Talk 08:32, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Up until now, I haven't heard Captain Scarlet's argument that the terms "région" and "département" are being used as proper nouns. If that is the case, then I think they should be capitalised, as this example page from INSEE shows. As soon as you do not capitalise the words, or if you put the indefinite article "a" before them, they become normal nouns and should be translated to English. As far as ScottDavis's comments, no one has been, or intends, translating French place names, which by definition are proper nouns. Maybe we should rename the articles to Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Département of Hautes-Alpes or Département des Hautes-Alpes. The arrondissement and canton articles already follow this format. Then the English words region and department can be used as required in the article body, wikilinked of course to the appropriate article. Kiwipete 10:06, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

This is beginning to sound like reason. Indeed, there is no "real" reason why articles should use one method or another to describe their subject - all that counts is that the identity of the subject is clear. If it is clear that we are indeed talking about administrative areas, there is no reason not to use English "department" or "region", but if we are but indicating an area as a locale of a certain event or in an attribution, the meaning of the same words, because of their similarity, may be ambiguous in meaning, so there is no reason not to use the perfectly Anglo-comprehensible French word form to indicate the word's true meaning and purpose. What I'm actually doing here is describing the existing system.

My only reservation is about article titles. Is it really necessary to add "department" to the proper name of a department - when that proper name is nothing other than a department? I can understand in cases of disambiguation (Île-de-France for example: it is both a historical province and a région), but perhaps this is not neccessary - unless it is an official name. Some may argue so. THEPROMENADER 17:41, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

That some users are changing these without any previous discussion highly concerns me. It shows a lack of good-faith on their part. If current Francophone usage is consistent, does not mislead, and is comprehensible to English speakers, it should be kept. Don't fix something that isn't broken. The Jade Knight 20:25, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm not looking forward to writing about department stores that sell AOC Corbières in the Corbières region in the région Languedoc-Roussillon in the Départment de l'Aude.

This won't necessarily happen all the time, but articles can sometimes be clarified by using the word "region" to mean "general area" in a paragraph where an editor has already written something about the "région" of France that the "region" is in. I've been trying to expand some wine articles and a lot of them get confusing and muddled if I'm not really careful with the language. There are régions, départements, regions (colloquial), AOCs, communes and towns that often share space and/or share names. Especially in the AOCs.

There is a vineyard in the AOC Cabardes where the grapes are technically in three different communes, none of which are Ventenac-Cabardès. There are also grapes in Ventenac-Cabardès that aren't Cabardes. What is a boy to do other than to use the word region or the phrase "surrounding area" a heck of a lot? The latter gets clunky, but I wouldn't want somebody to revert région to region in a paragraph where I've already used the word region colloquially.mroconnell 16:12, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Battle of the Somme FAR

Battle of the Somme has been nominated for a featured article review. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. Please leave your comments and help us to return the article to featured quality. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, articles are moved onto the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Remove" the article from featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. Reviewers' concerns are here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:24, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Napoleon III

The contents table on the article on Napoleon III has a subsection (3.4) called "Foreign Policy", under the Foreign Policy section there are, I guess one could say, sub-subsections. The 'sub-subsections' included are "The Crimean War"(3.4.1), "East Asia"(3.4.3) and "Italy"(3.4.4). Then the following nations are listed as subsections instead of 'sub-subsections': "United States of America"(3.5), "Mexico"(3.6) and "Prussia"(3.7). I tried to align them appropriately but I don't know how to edit the contents table. You can find what I am talking about in the contents table at Napoleon III. Faustus Tacitus 02:43, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Done. --Bob 03:06, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Shiraz grape article name

There is a discussion on the talk page regarding moving the name of this article to one that is more consistent with other grape related articles. Since there is a regional preference between Syrah & Shiraz, any additional input would be appreciated. Please voice your comments on the Talk:Shiraz grape page. Agne 22:43, 29 January 2007 (UTC)


Hello. This project claims the article Bullfighting as falling under its domain, so I thought I would bring it to your attention that I have started a discussion about the article's status as a Featured Article. I would appreciate some help with it if anyone has some time. Please discuss it Talk:Bullfighting#Featured?. Thank you. --Falcorian (talk) 16:27, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Battle of Alesia FAR

Battle of Alesia has been nominated for a featured article review. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. Please leave your comments and help us to return the article to featured quality. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, articles are moved onto the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Remove" the article from featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. Reviewers' concerns are here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:48, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Yaruch Bann

While trolling through random pages, I found the above-named article. It's problematic, but not a deletion candidate. Take a look at it. Try to figure out why the French Wikipedia does not have an article on this guy. YechielMan 05:51, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I have seen that the french Wikipedia admins have deleted the article about Yaruch Bann; it seems it was a hoax... (see fr:Wikipédia:Pages à supprimer/Yaruch Bann). — M-le-mot-dit (d) 23:09, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

FAR Bullfighting

Bullfighting has been nominated for a featured article review. Articles are typically reviewed for two weeks. Please leave your comments and help us to return the article to featured quality. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, articles are moved onto the Featured Article Removal Candidates list for a further period, where editors may declare "Keep" or "Remove" the article from featured status. The instructions for the review process are here. Reviewers' concerns are here. --Falcorian (talk) 01:01, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Assessment of Articles

As per Wikipedia:WikiProject France/Assessment there are currently over 13000 unassessed articles. Any suggestions how we could motivate the Wikipedia:WikiProject France/Members to clear up this back log? STTW (talk) 18:06, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Anglicisation compromise

After reviewing many "Anglicised" article content over the past days, I can only conclude that the "translation" quality is poor at best: The English word was switched for the French in most all cases, without the provision of any added context or comprehension at all. I move to put these articles back in their former state - which in most cases was a use of both English and French terms where context and comprehension permitted. There was no need nor call for this hasty crusade.

The article titles, on the other hand, can stay in their English form - further discussion pending - as I do seem to sense a general consensus on this through the discussion here. All the same, the location of some of these should be reviewed by a few, and discussion about this would no doubt be useful. For example, is the term "department" even needed in the article title of a department (like putting "province" in Ontario? THEPROMENADER 12:25, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

That is not a compromise, but an assumption that you are correct, which some here believe that you are not. --Bob 18:54, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
The following départements are disambiguated: Ardennes, Cher, Jura, Lot, Nord, Rhône, Var. They seem like reasonable disambiguation cases, certainly nothing I would get to bothered about, especially as there are other potential disambiguations where the département has the main page (Calvados, Cantal, Dordogne, Loire, Marne, Meuse, Moselle, Oise, Puy-de-Dôme, Savoie, Somme, Vosges, Yonne, to give a non-exhaustive list...) Physchim62 (talk) 11:24, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Your hasty changes to thousands of articles without consulting anyone at all was wrong from the start, and the result is a mess. What's more, if anything, this discussion has gone to show that there was never any need for change at all. The "need for change" has yet to be established as an argument, and even less by consensus, but what is clear and proven the ill-effects of the "French word witchhunt switcharoo". The natural solution in these conditions is to put the text back the way it was before - to really "fix" it - until a need for change is accepted by a majority, and especially those contributing to those articles. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 10:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
And yes, only reverting in-text no-context "translations" - and not page moves - is a compromise. THEPROMENADER 11:09, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

That is not a natural solution, far from it. It is an assumption that you are correct and that we must follow what you, personally, believe. Of the informed people above, those that understand English that is and not declaring falsehoods and POV as fact, then I would say that consenus is to anglicise. But that is my POV. Also, it is your POV that the result is a mess. Why, exactly, is it a mess. List me 100 examples of errors that Kiwipete or myself or others did. You state 1000 articles were modified, please give me at least 10% where the modifications have resulted in the articles being a mess as we speak now. I posit that the articles as they were were a mess, far too many external links, far too much advertising, incorrect information and an overuse of the French language where exact and commonly used translations are found in English and that they have been reasonably tidied. However, I see that you also believe that the English words used are neither commonly used or exact translations. But since you provide no evidence to support your claims, they are POV, not fact, and POV has nothing to do here. --Bob 18:55, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

No need for change has been shown. The articles will go back to their original form. --Aquarelle 15:55, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
It is an assumption that you are correct and that we must follow what you, personally, believe. Of the informed people above, those that understand English that is and not declaring falsehoods and POV as fact, then I would say that consenus is to anglicise. That is a WP:NPA, you have simply been unable to sway people who are apparently just as informed as you. If more contributors wish the orignal spelling to be kept, then bow down gracefully. You can't justify yourself simply with personnal reasons Bob. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons 16:02, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Aquarelle and Promenader, who do you think you are? Your demands for "proof" and your authoritarian proclamations that articles don't need to be changed come across as unreasonable--even shrill and defensive. You could argue that many edits on Wikipedia don't NEED to be made, even if they are improvements. Are you going to insist that every editor on Wikipedia prove that their edits were necessary, under threat that you will dismiss their edits with holier-than-thou statements like you make above? Good luck!
Bob, I, and others have demonstrated with many examples that the English terms in question serve for the French meanings in many publications, and have long done so. We have provided logical, reasonable arguments that given those established facts, it is appropriate and preferable to use English terminology on the English Wikipedia. You two have shown nothing to refute this; you, especially Promenader, merely rant on that we are wrong. You continue to insist that only the French terminology is accurate, but you fail to demonstrate your point. I am certain that if this matter were given wider attention, you would find most people agreeing that putting unnecessary foreign terminology into English is an improvement. It almost seems that you have difficulty accepting that concepts you apparently first encountered in French had already been incorporated into the English language and discussed in English terms long before you became aware of them. -Eric (talk) 22:41, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
You know, your problem is that you've taken a fixed idea - shared by none thus far contributing to France-related articles - and are doing your best to present it as consensus - through cherrypicked arguments and insinuations supporting only that predetermined point of view - when it is anything but. This is quite the opposite to anything that can be called reason. The rest of your arguments either (purposely) completely missing the point or an attempt to discredit those attempting to give credit to the existing system - we are saying that the existing system works - that's it. We have to "prove" that it works? We have to "prove" what people understand - or prove that this system is broken or that none others use it? Please open an encyclopedia Britannica - for example - and let this poor dead-horse-absence-of-an-argument die.
The only thing "wrong" thus far is the very sloppy transformation of thousands of articles by (so far as I know) two without the consultation of any - even less those who created the existing status quo for Wiki articles in the first place - and this has been proven many times through this thread with direct links to such errors. So please, stop calling your taste-based intentions "an improvement" only because you yourself think they are such. THEPROMENADER 00:01, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, is the Encyclopedia Britannica going to state that multiple other reference sources have it wrong?
Ah, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"--a truly brilliant stroke of reasoning! So nice to hear that again.
This sentence works: "I like to eat fromage."
This sentence works better: "I like to eat cheese." -Eric (talk) 13:17, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
So, Eric says: to the English reader, Région is just as incomprehensible as fromage is. What a simply idiotic attempt at an argument.
Indeed, if it ain't broken, don't fix it. Three years of "broken" contributions? Really. There was nothing to "fix".
If you would like to make an argument for change, then present your argument as exactly that. Enough hypocrisy, please - forwarding such unfounded "airs of error" non-propos is rather insulting to the intelligence of those who read them. THEPROMENADER 13:40, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Excuse my agassement, Eric, but if you refuse to argue honestly then we'll be going in circles forever. THEPROMENADER 14:02, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I think you have to use a style for three and half years before it makes the magical leap from being a habit to being proclaimed a perfect and immutable style, don't you?
Oh, why do I even try? -Eric (talk) 22:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
So a style that has developed through years of contributions by hundreds of contributors is a mere nothing in the face of the whims of two. Yes Eric, it is best to argue when you have an argument. THEPROMENADER 19:27, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

I think it may be time to go to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration (I doubt that mediation would resolve anything and it would only wear everyone down).-- NYArtsnWords 23:47, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I can agree, but am in no hurry. The case should be clearly presented though: the timeline until now, the system that has grown to become the norm over the years, and the recent actions of the few who would single-handedly change it. THEPROMENADER 00:04, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, let's take it there. We really need a neutral party able judge objectively the honesty of all arguments and intentions, and the reasoning behind them. Enough of this. NY, can you initiate the process? If you don't have the time, I can see to it later.THEPROMENADER 21:01, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Welcoming new members to the project using {{WelcomeFR}}

Welcome to WikiProject France

Flag of France.svg

Welcome, WikiProject France, to the WikiProject France! Please direct any questions about the project to its talk page. If you create new articles on France-related topics, please list them at our announcement page and tag their talk page with our project template {{WikiProject France}}. A few features that you might find helpful:

  • The project's Navigation box points to most of the pages in the project that might be of use to you.
  • Most of the important discussions related to the project take place on the project's main talk page; you may find it useful to watchlist it.
  • We've developed a number of guidelines for names, titles, and other things to standardize our articles and make interlinking easier that you may find useful.
Clipboard.svg Wikipedia:France-related tasks
You can help! Vous pouvez aider!
Here are some France related tasks you can do:

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me or any of the more experienced members of the project, and we'll be very happy to help you. Again, welcome, and thank you for joining this project! STTW (talk) 23:22, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Request for Comment

There is a dispute going on concerning Template:Comarques of Catalonia, where some editors wish to include areas which were historically part of Catalonia (e.g. in the Pyrénées-Orientales). Comments from editors are requested at Template talk:Comarques of Catalonia. Physchim62 (talk) 13:04, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Requests for arbitration#Anglicisation of French administrative terms

I have initiated a Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration#Anglicisation of French administrative terms. Please leave your comments. -- NYArtsnWords 22:59, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

The request for arbitration was declined, although neither Erik, Bob or Aquarelle responded to the RfA. For archival purposes, I include the following: --NYArtsnWords 02:08, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3