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Forum_2006_2

Page history last edited by Risto Kupsala 13 years, 8 months ago

Mulivo Discussion Forum Archive 2/2006

 

Re: Name change

Let's just forget about the name change. Mulivo is as good name as anything else. What matters is the content of it. I have been totally inactive in Mulivo (and also in the IAL front) for the last couple of months, so it's time to get active again.

-- Risto 2006-07-10

Hi everybody!

I am back. I write just to say the new layout is very nice and clear.

-- Florent

Re: Name change?

You're right, Jens, it could be helpful if people identify Mulivo as a wiki immediately. There is pbwiki in the internet address and I changed the header to Mulivo: multilingual _wiki_ dictionary now. Also there is wiki in the advertisement banner of Mulivo, such as the one in my homepage.

I think that people notice easily that Mulivo is a wiki, but they have no idea what Mulivo means!

--Risto

Re: Name change?

I've been thinking that it would be a good idea to have a name with wiki in it somewhere. So wikilexi or lingowiki or something like that. Of course, this is actually the English name. I think the different names could be used in different languages if necessary. So I'm actually happy with the name now, but if we change it, I'd be happy to, but would like to have wiki in the title somewhere. I think it gives people the idea right off the bat that it's a wiki dictionary type project.

--Jens

Name change?

It's possible to change the name of the wiki. Though Mulivo is a unique name, it doesn't mean anything. So it might be a good idea to change the name to something recognisable and memorable. I have considered Lexico and Lexica (from Russian: лексика) which are recognisable at least in Western context, but they are not too simple, like the Dictionary. :-)

Any reactions or better suggestions?

--Risto

Re:New arrangement

Please take a look at the new example in SandBox and say what you like. The languages would be grouped according to language families and all languages are permitted (if there's contributors).

If you're fine with it, I will make new template and then let's continue adding words.

--Risto

New skin

I changed the outlook of the wiki by selecting another predefined "skin". Now it's all blue.

--Risto

Re:Cannot translate words..

Languages borrow words from each other. Tagalog has borrowed words from Chinese, Indonesian, Spanish and English to name a few. It's a natural phenomenon.

At the moment we are taking steps to make Mulivo less centered on English. That's why I resist the idea of adding footnotes in English (which you probably had in mind).

What are the special meanings of "bag" that you want to add? Maybe it's better to make new pages for them. For example, in Finnish there are five different words that could be translated as "bag" in English: pussi bag or pouch, kassi bag with handles, säkki sack, reppu rucksack, laukku handbag or suitcase. Most of them deserve their own pages in Mulivo, but we haven't created them yet.

--Risto

Cannot transliterate words..

In Tagalog, we have adopted a lot of English words into the language. From difficult words like "neutron" to simple words like "bag". In the case of "neutron", there is no other way to translate it other than to put the English word itself, but for "bag", there are some words that can be considered as a partial definition. I would like to include these partial-def words as well, bec. I think that it would be a good 'complementary addition' to the adopted English word, so readers won't be too puzzled about it. Furthermore, if my proposal for partial-def words should be accepted, I ask that there be a 'standard symbol' we use here in mulivo, whenever we include partial-def words in a dictionary entry. Something like part....erm, or something like that. (Any suggestions??) Also, should this suggestion be implemented, I'd also like to put up 'interactive footnotes' (meaning linked footnote-ref symbol), so that translations of dictionary entries can be supplemented with a simple comment. It is my understanding that not all languages can easily 'transliterate' English words. It would also benefit amateur language students and scholars alike, because the footnotes would definitely be able to throw some light on the nuances of a certain language and its 'degree of alienation' (sorry, couldn't think of a better term at short notice..) from the English language. :)

--abernaith

Re:New arrangement

It's important to make the arrangement of data flexible for future needs. Time spend on planning is always a good investment in large changes. I suppose the best choice is to have a table of contents, sub-headings and maps all at the same time.

I will be travelling this week-end, so let's continue planning next week.

--Risto

Re:New arrangement

I'm willing to use either of the systems, but actually, using the alphabetical order of the ISO codes may be the easiest way in the end. It is simple because there are no complicating factors, and when we add new languages we'll never run into "gray area" problems. Of course, the big disadvantage is that it makes it difficult to see how different languages that are related use common words. But even under a family or geographical system, we'll get cases like Swahili, which is related to both Arabic and Bantu languages. Or for example, Tagalog is Austronesian but it has a lot of influence from Spanish. But in any case, I'm happy to use language families as well. For me, I think we have to make sure not to spend too much time on organizational issues, and keep building up the dictionary.

-- Jens

Re:New arrangement

I agree that it would be good to have gradual transition between languages. That's what was done in the original system, more or less. However, the geographical arrangement makes it difficult, because the connections are too complex to be displayed in 2-dimensional table. European languages are _interconnected_ in complex ways and so are the West-Asian and North-African languages.

The most neutral approach would be to arrange the languages to language families. Unfortunately there are some drop-outs like Japanese and Korean, which are lexically mostly Sinitic but no-one can say for sure, which language family they belong. (I would put them to Ural-Altaic with Turkic and Finnic languages.)

So the groupings would be: Indo-European (with subgroups Romance, Germanic, Slavic, Iranian, Indic), Dravidian, Malayo-Polynesian, Ural-Altaic (with Japanese and Korean), Sino-Tibetan, Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo and Amerindian.

It's OK for me to use the maps from Wikipedia. I have edited some of those myself when I have edited articles there.

--Risto

Pictures

We could use pictures from Wikipedia for various geographical regions, like this one (see the picture in the 'Territories' section). I don't think this would be a problem since they are in the public domain.

Re:New arrangement

Risto, the new arrangements are good; easier to find a particular language than with the old ordering. One thing though - some of the groupings don't make much sense. For example, Turkish and Persian have been grouped in the South Asian family of languages, as has Thai. I think Turkish, Persian and Arabic should be in a separate Middle-East (or more politically correct, West Asia) group, because these languages are historically (if not by origin) related. At the most, Persian can be included in South Asia, but not Turkish. Another thing - within a particular group, the languages are ordered alphabetically, according to the language codes. I think the transition should be more gradual, i.e., Romance languages and Germanic languages should be grouped separately, with a transitional language, say English, in between them. The similarities and variances are easier to notice then. This gives rise to another possibility - grouping by language family, Indo-European, Dravidian etc. Even if the current grouping system according to geographical area is retained, I definitely think the sub-grouping should be one which shows a gradual transition of languages rather than an alphabetical one.

New arrangement

Please, take a look at test1 and test2 and tell me which would be more functional in your opinion. The purpose is to make Mulivo extensible (any number of languages) so it'll be better to divide the data under sub-headings. Personally I prefer graphical information of test1, but the pictures have to be improved.

--Risto

Re: Changes to the language codes

Yes, |eng|English|word|wɜ:d| sounds like the best way to do it. So as long as the Model page is changed, the new entries will have that, and we can change old entries eventually.

-- Jens

Re: Changes to the language codes

Jens, I proposed such alternative earlier in this page (see below). Latin alphabet is already used in IPA, so it's OK to use it in the language codes too. So let's use this notation:

|eng|English|word|wɜ:d|

-- Risto

Changes to the language codes

Risto, I just saw how you changed honey. It's fine to have the languages written in the local script, but I'd prefer to keep the language code somehow, doing something like 日本語 (jpn). Because otherwise, I (and I'm sure others) will have difficulties with languages whose scripts we can't read. I'll be able to read the IPA, but won't know what language it came from.

-- Jens

Re:Adding new languages

Mulivo wasn't accepted to Wikia. They said it resembles too much Wiktionary, which is not entirely true, IMHO. Anyway, we have to forget multilingual interface à la Wikipedia for now, and concentrate on developing Mulivo here at [http:\\www.pbwiki.com|PBWiki]. :-)

I designed new model for table in SandBox. The idea is to add links to languages. Every language would have their own page with some information about the language and translation of the language's name to other languages. For example Japanese is "японский" in Russian and "giapponese" in Italian, and it would be good if that information could be found somewhere from this site. (I'm thinking about surfers who don't speak English.)

Another idea is to organize the languages according to (sub-)continents. Something like in this picture:

For example all European languages would be placed on one table, and there would be picture of Europe above that table, so everybody would instantly know that they are European languages. Each region (Europe, Africa, South-Asia, East-Asia, Americas) would have their own table, where the languages of those regions would go. The number of languages would be unlimited, so that each new contributor could bring their own language with them.

--Risto

Re:Adding new languages

We are using this kind of wiki because it is cheap. Wikis are quick and dirty, so there are good and bad sides. Anyway, if we want more advanced features we have to program it ourselves or pay more for it.

I think we could just have an alphabetical listing of languages (no default template anymore). For example if I make a new page and I know three languages (Finnish, English and Chinese) then the page will look like this:

 

CodeLanguageOriginal scriptPhonetic transcript (IPA)
engEnglishwordwɜ:d
finsuomisanasɑnɑ
zho普通话词,单词tsʰ, tantsʰ

 

Note that there are no empty rows!

Then if someone else wants to add a word in any language, they just place their translation to the same table in correct alphabetical place. For example Japanse (jpn) word would go between fin and zho. That way the table would grow gradually and without a limit.

PbWiki requires password for all contributors. That's the policy of PbWiki and there's nothin I can do about it. In order to make the wiki free for all to contribute without password, Mulivo has to be moved to another wiki such as Wikia. I will handle it.

--Risto

Re:Adding new languages

So why don't we concentrate on thinking of ways to allow people to contribute new things, without making things too disorganized. I think that is the trade-off. I'm also happy to have new languages, since I personally am interested in creoles and pidgins, which are generally minor languages. It's actually unfortunate that we are doing this as a text-based wiki rather than as a database wiki. I wonder if there even is such a thing? But it would be great if we could have a folder for each word, and then create an entry for the word in a certain language, and then some program would link them together to make a chart. So you could ask it to show all the languages, or just major languages, or just African languages, or whatever. Then we wouldn't have to worry about what languages to allow and which not to allow.

--Jens

Re:Adding new languages

People want different things about Mulivo. I am happy with the 47 languages that we got. On the other hand, if there's 100 languages, I will still be able to filter the information that I want from larger amount of data. So it doesn't matter to me if there would be more languages.

In fact I would be happy to add Finnish words myself. :-) And I'm sure there will be other people who would like to contribute words from other big and small languages too, if we don't slam the door in front of them.

--Risto

Re:Adding new languages

My suggestion would be that we take a careful look, and not at a new language at this point (of course, feel free to put it in "other languages") until we can think about the overall situation. But let's definitely come up with some conclusion about it. I have looked a little bit at the wikipedia page on language size here and it does seem that Kannada (as well as Oriya) are pretty large languages that we don't have. Of course, some thought should be given to the balance between different areas. For example, we have relatively little from the American continent, so if we are going to add something it might be good to make it something like Quiche, even though it is quite small. And then, on the negative side, we have something fairly stable now, so if we start adding, it might make it harder to control in the future. So basically, I don't really have strong feelings one way or the other in this case. But definitely we should have a stance of adding languages for a good reason, not because we are able to. Otherwise, we'd definitely have Bislama by now. :-)

--Jens

Re:Adding new languages

Fair enough. My understanding was that this list was intended to be eventually expanded to include as many languages as possible. But then again, we would need qualified people to make entries in those languages. That was the reason behind me justifying my proficiency in the language earlier (see Comments on the 'codes' page).

Anyway, the point now is, is it a problem that I added another language to the main list? If it is, then I'll remove it from the main list. A workaround would be to include it under the 'Other Languages' (eg. Finnish) heading present on a few pages.

--Arvind

Adding new languages

Originally Mulivo was meant to include a representative set of world's languages. There are thousands of languages in the world and hundreds of them are highly developed languages with literature. To represent this diversity we chose 47 languages from different parts of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe and Americas. Also the languages were organized geographically to the table: Chinese languages in one group, European languages in one group, etc.

If Mulivo was open to all languages, soon there would be more than a hundred languages, because anyone who is proud of their language and has internet connection could join in. In that case we should change the way how data is organized. Alphabetical order by the language codes would be the easiest to use.

As the editor, I have nothing against permitting more languages. However, it would greatly affect the organization and presentation of the data. Also the project should be open to all without password, so that contributing would be easier. (But that would force us to change the server to some other wiki.)

--Risto

Jens, I access the words only through the alphabetic list currently, because the categorical listings were too difficult to maintain. I should have deleted those pages long time ago. As for probably and certainly, surely it's enough to have only the corresponding adjectives (probable and certain)?

--Risto

I have a question about where to put some words. I'd like to add things like maybe and probably and certainly. Should those be in modifiers or in particles? I guess modifiers. What makes it a bit difficult is that in Japanese, for example, at least maybe is usually expressed by a verb ending, so it's grammatical. So in English these words can be both adjectives and adverbs, but I don't know if that's necessarily true in other languages.

-- Jens

I may be adding to what Risto just said, but basically, we are most interested in the root word, and it is actually a slight limitation that we start from English. In reality we are interested more in the concepts than actual dictionary definitions. So for a word like "apologize," the best thing is just to have the closest root word that is basically equivalent in another language. For example, "red" is both a noun and an adjective in English, but what I think we are really interested in is how you call that color in different languages. In Japan, we would use aka for the noun and akai for the adjective, but I just put aka into the dictionary (I think), because it's basicall the root. I hope this helps. In any case, we aren't linguists, and the idea of mulivo is mostly to give language designers an idea of how words are said in different languages, so we don't have to too concerned about absolute precision.

-- Jens

Thanks for the feedback!

The thing is that all languages don't have the same word categories. For example there are no adjectives in Arabic, they are all verbs. (The word for big is in fact to-be-big.) So marking the word categories wouldn't really do justice to all languages.

On the other hand, words that are commonly verbs or adjectives are _always_ accompanied with a noun: to apologize and apology are found from the same page. So there should be no confusion.

As for the verbs, word like apologize is really to apologize. So it's the 'dictionary form' of the verb, not the present tense. It's a common practice in dictionaries to leave to out before verbs. Of course we can start adding them if it makes things clearer.

We try to keep Mulivo as easy to read as possible. The idea is to have indexes to the words in several languages (see Japanese and Finnish indexes), so we can't explain things too much in English, because it's possible that non-English speaking people will access Mulivo through the indexes.

--Risto

Hi, everybody! Thanks for your warm welcome. :)

Well, I popped in here to ask about word categories. It would be a big help (in my opinion) if we could add a column to say if a word is a noun, an adjective, a verb, etc. Also, there is the matter of tenses. The thing is, I have encountered some words here that, when I translate them, don't turn out to be in the "absolute" tense, like a root word. In fact, when I translate, it's more of "transliterating" the word, based on how I perceive it is used in my language (that being Tagalog), with tenses and all that. So, there is actually a bit of difficulty in translating some words, like say "apologize", which is how it is written in the mulivo list. In translating it, I have to take in the fact that it is a) a verb, and b) in the present tense.

Well, that's about it..erm, for now. Ohoho, sorry if I am voicing gripes this early after joining. I hope you will understand. Let's do our best, everybody!

Cheers!

-- abernaith

I changed the look of this page a little. This kind of text boxes are created by putting a space in front of each new paragraph. This way it's easier to separate messages.

I'm planning to make some other changes to the forum too, like new sections for discussions and announcements (Questions & Answers, Transliteration, New users, etc). You will be able to create your own topics if you have something in your mind.

-- Risto

And welcome to Abernaith as well. Now we're getting Tagalog words as well.

-- Jens

Welcome David, a new contributor. We now have somebody with a knowledge of Indonesian and Javanese. I think the next step should be to look for some contributors with a knowledge of African languages, and then we will have a pretty good balance!

-- Jens

Good idea, ♂ and ♀ look better.

-- Florent

It's fine with me. I'm not sure how to make the symbols, though, so I guess I'll just cut and paste when necessary. . .

-- Jens

The principle in Mulivo is not to have separate pages based on gender of people and animals, because many languages don't separate them. (For example english has "waiter" and German has "Kellner" for male and "Kellnerin" for female waiter. I tried a new notation for genders in chicken (♂ = male & ♀ = female), because it's more universal than (m) and (f). Any comments?

-- Risto

Here are my answers too.

 

1. We have agreed to use 1-4 translations for a word, so that all words mean roughly the same thing. It's a multilingual dictionary so it's not possible to differentiate all the possible meanings because they can be more or less different from language to language.

 

2. There are many things that could be listed in a dictionary: gender, irregular plural forms, verb declension categories, examples of usage, etc. They are all important features for learning and using languages. But Mulivo is not a language learning dictionary, it's just a multilingual word list for comparing words between languages.

 

Mulivo is good for people who have general interest about words.

-- Risto

Welcome TPJ. And like Florent said, I think the most important is to get some word that seems common. It's not so scientific. And the other thing to remember is that this is a wiki, so any mistake we make can be corrected later by somebody else.

-- Jens

First, TPJ, thank you to contribute here. You can add yourself to the list of Contributors if you wish. Then the answers:

 

1. You are right, translation is not easy. French has also sometime plenty of words to translate a single English word. I generally choose to most generic word(s). I also add some words not much used in French, but also used in neighboring languages.

 

2. We use a simplified system, much less precise than a dictionary. So there is no information about gender or tone. I didn't add French articles at all.

--Florent

There are two issues.

 

1. The context, that a word is used in.

 

I don't know, what it is like about another languages, but translation of a given word from English to Polish is almost always dependent on the context. Therefore an English word, when used alone, without any context, is very difficult to translate to Polish.

 

As the result, in my English-Polish dictionary (a very good one), almost every English word has many (3 or more) translations.

 

I persume, that things are the same in other languages too.

 

So the question is what should be done with that problem?

 

I think it would be very difficult (impossible?) to take into account all possible contexts in all situations and all languages... On the other hand I think we must solve that problem, because it's difficult to translate some words, without any context, now.

 

2. German nouns.

 

Every German noun has its grammatical gender. In the German language it's an essential information. For example there is the word "Stuhl" (chair), that is of masculine gender - so in a sentence this word would be probably (it depends on a case) used as "der Stuhl". So the full information about this word - in my opinion - should be "der Stuhl" instead of "Stuhl". I was always taught that in schools.

So far I have taken a look at some words starting with the "a" and the "b" letter, and I haven't noticed any "der" (masculine gender), "die" (feminine gender) nor "das" (neuter gender).

 

What do you think? (Are there any Germans? Perhaps they would know, what to do.)

 

-- TPJ

I changed the language name kiKongo to kiTuba in the template because I found out that it is the official name of this creole language, so called in the constitution of the Republic of Congo. I was aware that kiTuba is only a dialect of the group of languages called kiKongo, but since my dictionary used kiKongo ya Leta instead of kiTuba I figured that the name was OK. Anyway, now it's corrected.

 

I'm considering to change the page where the languages are listed. There should be some information about the geographical location and people who speak the language, because I'm sure there are many people who have no idea where kiTuba or Hakka are spoken among others.

 

-- Risto

Welcome from my behalf too. I hope you will have time to contribute in the future too. book already proved that my sources on Korean aren't faultless and I'm not able to judge them.

-- Risto

Welcome Mithridates, and thanks for the comments about book took. I'm sure there are many other issues like that. In particular, none of us are fluent in African languages, for example, so we may have lots of corrections when a native speaker of Igbo, for example decides to start contributing. Feel free to add some details in the contributors section as well.

-- Jens

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