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September 13

Icelandic ð

According to the ð article, the letter never appears as the first letter of a word in Icelandic; only þ is used. Does this mean that þ is voiced in such words, or does it mean that (even more than in English) the Voiced alveolar non-sibilant fricative appears only in the middle of words? Nyttend (talk) 20:51, 13 September 2017 (UTC)

The same was true of Old English. Thorn (letter) was a phoneme of these languages, like ess or eff. Word-initially, they were not voiced consonants, like edh, zee or vee. These latter were voiced allophones that existed intervocalically only, and were not distinct. Initial edh developed in English in pronouns and adverbs, which were often de-stressed (thy, these, though, then, than), but not in nouns, adjectives, or verbs (thigh, thin, think).
The voiced set edh, zee, vee existed implicitly, but only became distinct in Middle English when contrasting pairs appeared, due to the voicing of initial thorn in unstressed positions and the introduction of initial zee and vee (zeal and veal vs the native seal and feel) from French and Latin words. Then the context-dependent voiced allophones became autonomous phonemes in their own right.
μηδείς (talk) 22:24, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
I'm well aware of the paucity of these word-initial voiced consonants in English (I was just discussing it with someone this afternoon), but I had no clue that it was present in other Germanic languages a thousand years ago, let alone today. Thank you for the pointer. Nyttend (talk) 22:31, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
User:Nyttend, see Middle_English_phonology#Voiced_fricatives and corrections and links added to my original response. μηδείς (talk) 22:34, 13 September 2017 (UTC)
Nyttend -- Old English had the sounds [v], [ð], [z], [ɣ] but they were not really phonemic, and there were no letters in the Old English orthography devoted to writing a voiced fricative sound alone (the graphemes "þ" and "ð" were not distinguished by function). The sounds [v], [ð] and [z] did not occur at the beginnings of words, but [ɣ] did occur initially (as it still does in modern Dutch). Over the course of the Old English period, palatalized [ɣ] merged with [j] (as in "yard"), while non-palatalized [ɣ] at the beginnings of words became [g]...
Medeis -- In addition to [θ] becoming [ð] at the beginning of selected destressable function words, other changes that undermined the allophony of [θ]/[ð] in English were the simplification of geminate consonants, and the disappearance of final unstressed schwa vowels (sometimes preserved as orthographic "silent e"). AnonMoos (talk) 00:23, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I know that the loss of final schwas led to words like arrive, sneeze and breathe where intervocality became irrelevant. But this belongs to the latter Middle English period, and is of little effect word-initially. I am curious, though, at what period were you referring to re the loss of gemination, and can you give some examples of words affected?
We can also mention the Gothic language which had voiced fricatives, but except for z, they were intervocalic allophones of b, d, and g, not of eff, ess and thorn. Thanks. μηδείς (talk) 00:37, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Old English had at least a few words such as smiþþe meaning "smithy". This and final [ə]-dropping are relevant to the general question of when [θ] and [ð] were no longer allophones, but phonemes. The English invariable [ð] at the beginning of function words (as opposed to contextual [ð] when the previous word ended in a vowel, so the fricative was then intervocalic) probably didn't occur until fairly late in Middle English (though perhaps not as late as the deletion of word-final [ə] vowels). AnonMoos (talk) 02:58, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
P.S. In some cases in Old English, [v] spelled "f" alternated with [b] -- look at the paradigms for the verbs habban "to have" and libban "to live"... AnonMoos (talk) 15:20, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

September 14

French negation.

Hi everyone.

From an orthographic point of view, the 'pas' in a phrase such as 'Je ne fais pas', 'Je ne vois pas' &c is a separate word. But, from the point of view of a linguistic analysis, is it correct to say that 'pas' is morphologically attached to the verb? As in, there is nothing that can be inserted between the verb and the negative morpheme.


Duomillia (talk) 19:04, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't think it's a particularly useful thing to do.
There are plenty of other words that would need to get moved into this class - jamais, aucun(e), que, rien, plus, personne and so on. Trouble is, in most cases that's not the only way those words can be used. Personne n'a mangé le fromage. Rien ne s'est passé. Personne and rien in those sentences are clearly nothing to do with verb conjugation, so you have to accept them as independent words. And it's unnecessarily complicated to say, well it's part of verb conjugation here but a separate word here. Far simpler to analyse rien in je n'ai rien vu as the same word as rien in rien ne s'est passé.
It would work in the same way if you tried to analyse not as a verb ending in English. In some ways you can make a better case for this, since very often English uses shortened forms: don't, won't, haven't, aren't whereas the French forms are independent of the verbs they modify. But you have the same problem - not all instances of not come directly after a verb. If not has to be a separate word anyway, and the simplest analysis holds that it doesn't become a conjugation just because it happens to come directly after a verb. Kahastok talk 20:00, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
Grammatically it's kind of a circumposition, isn't it? Not really a circumfix since they're not actually attached to the verb. By the way, it's not strictly true that you can't insert something between the verb and pas - you can put donc, cependant, toutefois, and peut-être between them (and probably many other words, but those 4 spring to mind immediately). Informally, sometimes you can also leave out either ne or pas, and even in formal writing you can leave out pas if you're using pouvoir. Adam Bishop (talk) 23:47, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
(Add néanmoins, alors, ainsi to that list...I sense a theme here... Adam Bishop (talk) 23:51, 14 September 2017 (UTC))
Also interesting: wikt:fr:cycle de Jespersen, Jespersen's Cycle. --Pp.paul.4 (talk) 09:51, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
In answers like "pas du tout!" or "absolument pas!" there is no verb at all. --Pp.paul.4 (talk) 11:33, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Also note that there are constructions in which you can insert additional words between the verb and "pas". For example: "il ne mange à peu près pas (he hardly eats anything)", or "je ne fais vraiment pas" to build on the OP's original example. --Xuxl (talk) 13:59, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Also: The negative in French is not "pas", it is "ne". "Pas" originally was just another complementary like "guère", "jamais", "que", "rien", "plus", personne", etc. It's only recently in the history of French, that "pas" became such a central usage for negation. Akseli9 (talk) 23:54, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

  • This discussion is quite interesting and germaine. --Jayron32 14:21, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

How to make an actual double negative in Spanish?

  • That is not the incorrect answer.
  • Esa no es la respuesta incorrecta.
  • Nobody wants to eat nothing. (Everybody wants to eat something.)
  •  ??? (talk) 20:54, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

No hay nadie que no quiere comer nada. Serial negation is usually confined to a single clause. The use of que in "(No hay nadie) que (no quiere comer nada)" makes it clear there are two separate negative thoughts:no hay and no quiere. μηδείς (talk) 23:34, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

Storybook vs anthology vs short story

Is "storybook" mainly used for children's books while anthologies and short stories are books for older people? Or is "storybook" a child's term for anthology or short story? (talk) 22:12, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

We use simple obvious terms for children storybook is a book with stories and more complicated terms like anthology to show our erudition as adults. English words first, Greek later. This is for the same reason we teach children counting before calculus; the complex needs a simple foundation. μηδείς (talk) 23:42, 14 September 2017 (UTC)
A "short story" is just a single story, whereas an "anthology" is a collection. -- (talk) 00:45, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Specifically, an anthology is a series of unrelated stories (other than perhaps a general theme), as opposed to a series. StuRat (talk) 13:15, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
(short story : short story collection : anthology) :: (music track : album : compilation album) jnestorius(talk) 01:09, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
One you missed is omnibus; a collection of stories generally by the same author. You don't see the term much these days, but when I was 10 or 11 years old, one of my most treasured posessions was the THE FIRST BIGGLES OMNIBUS (younger or non-British readers should refer to our Biggles article). Alansplodge (talk) 09:08, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
10 or 11 years old . . . when was that time period? (talk) 12:59, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I was 10 in 1968, a few months after the death of W. E. Johns. Alansplodge (talk) 23:21, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Unlike with Baseball Bugs and his "rabbit years", this is the straight dope. Alansplodge was born no earlier than 1954 and no later than 1959 [1]. (talk) 14:53, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
Ah, the indelible footprints of the internet. C'est vrai, I started secondary school in 1970. Alansplodge (talk) 23:58, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

September 15

Definite article before words as words


(1) The English word dime comes from the Latin word decima.
(2) The English dime comes from the Latin decima.
(3) English dime comes from Latin decima.

Intuitively I understand why the article is needed in (1), though I cannot explain it verbally. I've been seeing (2) from time to time, but (3) seems to be a little bit more correct. Despite this I cannot understand what the difference is between the two.


(4) The word dime comes from the word decima.
(5) *Word dime comes from word decima.
(6) The dime comes from the decima.
(7) Dime comes from decima.

(4) is not entirely clear (the words of what languages?), though correct, and (5) looks like incorrect.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 11:23, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

The difference between "1" and "2" has to do with the Use–mention distinction. --Jayron32 11:29, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I don't really understand the relevance of that article. The normal rule when talking about a specific thing is to put the definite article in front of it e.g. "I read the book", not "I read book". In (2) you mentally supply "word" between "English" and "dime" and between Latin and decima. (4) is the same as (1) omitting the reference to the relevant languages. (5) is wrong as per the rule cited. (talk) 11:43, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, we can in theory deduce the word word from the context, but that word is not there still. So the article must have defined the word dime directly. Consider other examples: (6) The dime comes from the decima, and (7) Dime comes from decima.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 19:57, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
I am not sure I would consider 3 to be grammatical. It certainly sounds odd when you speak the sentence aloud, like if you are short-handing your speech. -- (talk) 15:42, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
If you were discussing English words and listing them along with the Latin words from which they were derived it would be superfluous to keep repeating "the" and "word" over and over again. (talk) 16:13, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
IMO, 3 is certainly grammatical; however, as a sentence in isolation with no context it would require a little more effort than usual to extract the meaning. jnestorius(talk) 18:40, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
"I cannot understand what the difference is between the two" -- Which two out of (1) (2) and (3) ? Your comment presupposes there is some difference; do you mean a difference in meaning? Are you saying you feel vaguely there is a difference in meaning but you can't put your finger on what it is? Or are you saying you know what the difference in meaning is but can't see what aspect of the syntax relates to it? In any case the article apposition is relevant. jnestorius(talk) 18:40, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
@Jnestorius: The difference between (2) and (3). I've been seeing the latter article-less usage in the etymology sections in dictionaries, but the former is also seen in other texts. See also two other examples (6) and (7).--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 20:03, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
The Oxford English Dictionary simply gives (inside square brackets) an abbreviation for the language from which the word is derived followed by the word in the language concerned. Chambers' is a little more detailed - it says "from" then gives the language in full. Even with abbreviations the Oxford English Dictionary is about 25 volumes long. The need for conciseness is also seen in the Shipping Forecast, which presents only the bare data in a formulaic sequence. (talk) 12:18, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
I had checked myself several dictionaries (ODE, SOED, Collins, Chambers, MW, AHD) before, and all of them use the full name for languages, with or without the word from, but none uses the definite article before the etymons. As for the OED, it is quite expected they use abbreviations to safe the space on paper. The SOED, however, writes the language names and from in full. But the question is rather about the definite article. Why is there a need or no need of it in (2) and (3)? What is the grammatical explanation?--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 16:38, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

September 16

unfunded mandate

"Apple" is one word. If I'm not mistaken, "New York" is also one word, it just happened to have a space inside the word. (Please correct me on this if I'm wrong.)

But what about "unfunded mandate"? Is it considered two words or one big word? Mũeller (talk) 03:05, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Two words, because an "unfunded mandate" is a kind of mandate, whereas "New York" is not a kind of York. See also English compound. --Jayron32 03:36, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
... and "New York" is two words, even though it is a compound proper noun. The "New" was originally an adjective, though not regarded as such for long. Dbfirs 06:44, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
York (talk) 12:43, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
New York is not "another" York unless it's an exact replica. A city name is just an arbitrary label. It could be renamed Bloombergburg and it would still be the same city. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:56, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
Before 1664 it was New Amsterdam, then is was renamed in honour of the Duke of York, not the city. Dbfirs 16:24, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
The fact that the name New York was used says that it was named after the city. In honor of the Duke, yes, I'm sure, but after the city. -- (talk) 02:26, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Either way, New York is not "another York". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:50, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
The name was often spelled "New-York" during the 18th century and into the 19th. However, it would be considered two words by most linguistic criteria. AnonMoos (talk) 15:10, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
Unfunded mandate is a term used by women to describe a date with a man where they have to pay their own way. Also known as "going Dutch". :-) StuRat (talk) 13:20, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
The advantage to the woman with going Dutch is that she won't feel like she "owes him" anything. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:54, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
And if he tries anything, a wooden shoe to the crotch should curb his enthusiasm. :-) StuRat (talk) 04:25, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

Question about French-language source on animated short project

I'm currently working on an article in my sandbox about a French animator named Xavier Ramonède and have come across this page [2] about a short project, on which he's credited as an animator. Google translate is able to help me understand most of the source, but doesn't do a perfect job. The source says, "Ce n'est pas tous les jours qu'un carré de soie a droit à une pub en animation, c'est donc d'autant plus surprenant de découvrir le joli spot Hippopolis, basé sur une illustration de Ugo Gattoni, et vendu donc en foulard par Hermès."

Google doesn't seem to know how to translate the word "pub", so it's unclear to me what kind of a project this is. Can anyone help with this? Thanks! --Jpcase (talk) 17:33, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

That would be an ad/commercial (pub is short for publicité = advertisement) for some sort of silk handkerchief or neckerchief sold by Hermès. --Wrongfilter (talk) 18:26, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
Great! Thanks! --Jpcase (talk) 18:39, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Would Americans be los gringos or los mestizos?

I know los gringos is a term to describe a foreigner (such as American) in a Spanish-speaking country. I also know mestizo means someone of part-European and part-indigenous American ancestry. In addition, many Americans do have indigenous North American ancestry and European ancestry in their bloodline. So, would an American be recognized as gringo because s/he is a foreigner or as a mestizo because of mixed race between indigenous American and European? (talk) 18:46, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Gringos. To be accepted as a mestizo, you need a lot of Indian blood, like 50%. The other 50% should be European Spanish, but the main thing is lots of Indian blood. If you look like the average American, you're a gringo. —Stephen (talk) 19:58, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
I think you mean Native American or Indigenous American blood. Does the type of Indigenous American matter? Aztec, Mayan, Incan, Native American (ancestry from the tribes in what is now the USA), and the Inuit? And of course, there are the Indians of India. If Mom is India-born American and Dad is European American with ancestry from different ethnic groups all over Europe, then is the child a gringo or mestizo? (talk) 20:35, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
No, not East Indians. Also, the Inuit have a different look and probably would not be recognized as mestizo in Mexico. Most Mexican mestizos that I have seen claim Aztec roots, but Mayan and other Mexican, Central American, and South American tribes would be included. Most Mexicans are mestizo, in my experience. I know and talk to a lot of Navajos, and they very often identify as Indians, and I often use that term as well. I don't recall hearing of East Indians being called Indians, but maybe I just didn't notice. —Stephen (talk) 07:52, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
In Spanish, as in English, the same word means both "Native Americans" and "People from India". See es:Indio. --Jayron32 10:49, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
What the fuck is this, a Monty Python sketch? African or European? I dunno...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah μηδείς (talk) 02:54, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Well, if Dad was European American, I suppose he might be pining for the fjords. :-) StuRat (talk) 03:51, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
That term mestizo literally means "mixed" and refers to those of mixed European and AmerIndian heritage.[3] The term gringo refers to a foreigner.[4] As far as I know, gringo is insulting but mestizo is not. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:49, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Gringo most certainly does not refer to a mere foreigner. It refers to NW Europeans, mostly white Brits and Americans, or those who could pass for one--and not Latins. It would not apply to a black American, a Hindu, or a Chinaman in any sense. μηδείς (talk) 04:57, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be nice if we had an article on everything? One that could e.g. include the phrase "which may have different meanings depending on where it is used", to make people aware that maybe their local impressions are not the whole truth? Well, a man can dream... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 06:00, 17 September 2017 (UTC)
We have an article on White supremacy. We may have articles on Hispanic Supremacy and the racisms of random ethnic groups. No, it would not be nice to have articles on any of these. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 17:46, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

If you want to see visual depictions of a whole long list of racial sub-classifications in the Spanish empire, look at Commons:Category:Casta paintings (however, gringos are not included)... AnonMoos (talk) 15:12, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

September 19

Digits separator in Canadian French

What digits separator does Canadian French use? Our article on the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique merely uses a space, which I've seen in some other languages but not English. This made me wonder whether the space were common in Canadian French, but its article doesn't discuss digits separators. Browsing fr:Catégorie:École au Québec shows me that it's really hard (if at all possible) to find numbers of four or more digits, aside from years, so I'm not at all sure what to think. Nyttend (talk) 02:43, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

It seems to be space (with the comma as a decimal point). Here are some articles in different newspapers:
And some tax forms:
  • A federal tax form. (Here's the corresponding English form.)
  • A Quebec provincial tax form. (Here's the corresponding English form.)
I don't say that everyone uses the space, but those examples seem strong evidence that it's a common usage. -- (talk) 05:46, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
In Canadian French, the comma is used as a decimal separator, and a space (technically it should be a non-breaking space) is used for numbers with 5 or more digits. It's optional, and I think less common, for numbers with four digits. There are several articles about numbers in the Office québécois de la langue française's "Banque de dépannage linguistique", but they're all in French: La typographie : Nombres. The federal government also has a "Guide du rédacteur" with a chapter about numbers, all in French as well. The way people actually write numbers in French may differ, but these are the official recommendations from the federal and Quebec governments. (Adam Bishop (talk) 10:42, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Etymology of Georgian Nekresi

Does anyone have any references regarding the etymology of Georgian ნეკრესი? DTLHS (talk) 05:08, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

According to German Wikipedia: "In the fourth century, King Mirdat established a church in Nekressi where one of the thirteen Syrian fathers - Abibos Nekresseli - was active in the 6th century." Presumably one needs to know the origin of his name, which is unlikely to be Georgian. μηδείς (talk) 05:39, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Other sources call him Abibos of Nekresi or Abibus of Nekresi, so he may well be named after Nekresi rather than the other way around. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 08:59, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
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