Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language

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May 19

L M N & R as semivowels?

In John Baret's 1574 dictionary An Alvearie he claims that the letters L M N & R are semivowels.

his commentary on L
his commentary on M
his commentary on N
his commentary on R

His reasoning (as I interpret it) is that in order to produce the L M N & R sounds one must voice the schwa vowel while having the tongue and lips in different positions. L is the schwa vowel + pressing tongue to upper teeth, M is the schwa vowel + closed lips, etc.

Does his reasoning have relevancy or validity in our present day understanding of semivowels? And are his views worth mentioning in the semivowels article? -- (talk) 08:03, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Baret's terminology is just following the terminological tradition of Greek antiquity, inherited from Aristotle, who used "hemiphona" ("semivowels") as a cover term for all continuant (non-plosive) consonants, including what we would call fricatives, nasals, liquids and approximants. Fut.Perf. 09:06, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Ah I think I understand now. Thank you for your answer! -- (talk) 19:01, 22 May 2019 (UTC) -- I haven't followed the links, but in that usage, "semi-vowel" basically means "consonant which can be pronounced syllabically". In the names of the letters of the Roman alphabet, the vowel letters (A E I O V) were named by their own sounds (i.e. [a] [e] [i] [o] [u]), the consonant letters that could not be pronounced syllabically (B C D G H K P Q T) were usually given names of the corresponding consonant sounds + "e" (i.e. [be], [ke], [de] etc., except that K only occurred before A and Q before V, so these two were given the names [ka] and [ku]), while the letters that could be pronounced syllabically (F L M N R S) were either given syllabic consonant names (i.e. [f] [l] [m] [n] [r] [s]) or names preceded by "e" (i.e. [ef] [el] [em] [en] [er] [es]). The name of X was derived from that of S... AnonMoos (talk) 04:25, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
AnonMoos -- In the 4 links to pages I provided the author is referring to the sounds the letters make, not to the names of the letters. Though thanks for that bit of trivia! I've now learned something I never thought to ask about. Cheers! -- (talk) 19:01, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
Sorry if I got bogged down in details, but my attempted point was that originally the names of letters of the Latin alphabet were formed in 3 different ways, depending on whether the main sound written by the letter was a vowel, "semi-vowel", or full consonant... AnonMoos (talk) 01:20, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I understand but it is only those specific 4 letters that the author calls 'semivowels' so FPaS's answer seems cogent. -- (talk) 23:17, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

May 21

Alphabetizing bands

I've found the list of bands on Southern Gothic to not be in any real order and I'm trying to alphabetize it. Obviously Johnny Cash goes under C and Drive By Truckers goes under D. What about entries like Slim Cessna's Auto Club? Put it under C like I would if it was just Slim Cessna or ignore the name of an individual and put it under S? In the case of Dr. John would it be D or J? The APA style guide says D but I searched the archives here and saw some suggestions for ignoring titles which would suggest J. I suppose it could go either way so which is preferable or more commonly used here on Wikipedia? ACupOfCoffee (talk) 19:55, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think it's worth the effort of discussing and implementing it. Not many readers would rather have the list alphabetized. Jmar67 (talk) 21:31, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
ACupOfCoffee -- except for certain bibliographic standards, Wikipedia is usually more interested in its own style guides than external style guides. See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists#Embedded lists, Collation etc. AnonMoos (talk) 04:45, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
My two cents. If it's an individual artist, go by last name, otherwise just use the first letter in the band's name. So Slim's Club would go under S. Clarityfiend (talk) 08:17, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Clarityfiend. Deor (talk) 13:54, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
May I suggest conducting further research. Thereby if Dr. John is a genuine doctor with a Phd. I would classify his name as "John, Dr." However if this is just a stage name or given name such as Doctor Khumalo I would classify him as "Dr. John." -- 10:01, 22 May 2019
I've moved a few around. As for "Slim Cessna...." and the like, most of those are basically individuals with a named backing band and not bands with a fake individual in their name. Think "Buddy Holly and the Crickets". I moved Delta Rae to the Ds as it is a band named after a fake individual and "Rae" in that construction seems more like a middle name. Think "Betty Sue" or "Linda Lou" or "Sue Ann". --Khajidha (talk) 19:50, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
At a radio station I worked at years ago, we had the same issue in arranging our record library. [For the youngsters here, we had an actual library room filled with thousands of phonograph records.] One band that caused some consternation was The Lamont Cranston Band. Initially it was filed under C, but then we moved it to L based on the fact that not only was there no such person in the band; there was no such person period. ("Lamont Cranston" was a fictional character in The Shadow.)    → Michael J    00:01, 26 May 2019 (UTC)


The following quote contains the word matoid. Google seems to know it not, apart from word endings such as rheumatoid. Is it a typo, and if so, for what?

Van Gogh is the typical matoid and degenerate of the modern sociologist. Jeune Fille en Bleut [sic] and Cornfield with Blackbirds are the visualised ravings of an adult maniac. If this is art it must be ostracised, as the poets were banished from Plato's republic.

It's by Robert Ross, from The Morning Post (1910). I came across it in The Guinness Dictionary of More Poisonous Quotes, which has more than its fair share of misprints.

Thanks. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:00, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Maybe mattoid? ---Sluzzelin talk 21:07, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Ah, that is surely it. Thanks, Sluzzelin. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:22, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
My new favorite (clean) word for describing Trump. Clarityfiend (talk) 08:19, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I sense a new TV series coming: daft-ish. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:44, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

May 26

"Let" or "Allowed"

Hi! Can anybody check the first, or one of the first sentences of George Beauchamp (RMS Titanic)? He was "let" or "allowed" by an officer to board a lifeboat?, I want it perfect as it is going to appear on main page's DYK soon. Thank you and best wishes. --LLcentury (talk) 11:51, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

They both work, but "let" is kind of colloquial, so I would go with "allowed". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:31, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
That might depend on your version of English. The meaning required here is to permit someone to proceed (rather than give permission), and in British English at least that is "let" [1]. There are other things wrong with the article's introduction, probably best dealt with on its talk page. Bazza (talk) 13:39, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

@Bazza 7: @Baseball Bugs: Thank you so much. So, I am bit of confused, can anybody check the article (of course if you wish) if it goes in accordance with British English (the man was British), and what I need to correct? Thank you. Best wishes. --LLcentury (talk) 14:43, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Was he explicitly given permission, or did he simply board and no one stopped him? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:46, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

@Baseball Bugs: Thanks for your quick following of my query. According to Encyclopedia Titanica and other sources cited in the article he did intend to board lifeboat #13, but was unsure as women and children first but was let/allowed by officer William McMaster murdoch or James Paul Moody (he didn't remember who was in the British Titanic Inquiry) with the condition of handling an oar. --LLcentury (talk) 14:50, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

The E.T. reference states "He was ordered into lifeboat 13" - nothing about let or allowed. (You shouldn't be giving Google as your reference.) Bazza (talk) 14:56, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
That fixes it. It reminds me of this one: Should one say "I feel good" or "I feel well"? Answer: "I feel fine." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:28, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Perfect, so I was totally lost since English is not my native tongue. Correcting. Best wishes. --LLcentury (talk) 14:59, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Non-binary & gender neutrality in various languages

I wonder about gender neutrality in other languages and how it's changing right now, especially in languages with grammatical gender, especially in Romance languages, especially as it relates to non-binary people. There's not many inter-wiki links between different language wikipedias, the only one I could find was the French 'they singulier,' where they're apparently borrowed the English 'they.' I assume that Enbies take the grammatical neuter when possible; do they ever take the equivalent of 'it?' I presume not but who knows? Temerarius (talk) 18:24, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Here's one description of how some Russians have tried to overcome the difficulties: "Lost for Words: Non-Binary Russians Fight the Limits of Their Language". Lesgles (talk) 18:47, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
Somewhat the same question previously asked at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Language/2019 February 13... AnonMoos (talk) 19:01, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
And by the same user. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:26, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
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