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November 15[edit]

Architectural term[edit]

Is there an architectural term for these sorts of decorative balconies for statues in the interior? If not in English, Russian would also do. Brandmeistertalk 18:15, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

Niche ? Those are typically only large enough for one statue, though. SinisterLefty (talk) 18:25, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
A niche is recessed against a flat wall, not protruding. I'm not sure it has a word different than merely balcony, which is a protrusion offset with a balustrade or railing, pretty much exactly what is in that picture. --Jayron32 18:45, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
However, a niche does at least get to the purpose being the display of a statue, while balcony doesn't normally mean that. SinisterLefty (talk) 18:58, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Well, I would say that you're allowed to put a statue in a niche, but so are you allowed to put one on a balcony. Being allowed to do something does not make it a defining characteristic. There are many uses of a niche, and storing a statue is but one of many. The article at Wikipedia mentions several things that may be stored in a niche, from statuary to tabernacles to reliquaries. In a columbarium, niches are used to store funary urns. Really the list is endless, bounded only by one's ability to find objects that are smaller than the niche itself. --Jayron32 19:21, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
Since 5 out of 5 of the pics in the article show statues/busts in niches, this appears to be the primary use for niches, which is not the case for balconies. When I Google "architectural niche", I mostly get empty ones, but of those that aren't empty, most contain some form of statue. SinisterLefty (talk) 19:33, 15 November 2019 (UTC)
An extensive Google search suggests that on the rare occasions when statues are placed on a balcony, the architectural term is "balcony". The most notable example appears to be Napoleon statue in the balcony of Les Invalides, Paris. Alansplodge (talk) 09:40, 16 November 2019 (UTC)

November 17[edit]

Foreign language translation[edit]

If I have a PDF document in a foreign language ... is there some (free, no-cost) way through "Google Translate" (or any other way) to translate the PDF file to English? Thanks. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 18:32, 17 November 2019 (UTC)

How many pages? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:43, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
Maybe 2 pages. Or so. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 19:55, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
That's small enough you could try copying-and-pasting the text into Google Translate. Keeping in mind that there's no guarantee of a perfect translation, but it's worth a shot. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:29, 17 November 2019 (UTC)
Oh, you can "copy and paste" from a PDF file? I never knew that. Thanks. I will try that. Thank you. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 04:21, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Depends how the pdf was made in the first place. If it was just an optical scan then you can't copy-paste from it, but if it was generated from something like a Word document then you can. --Viennese Waltz 08:33, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
For clarity, if it's an optical scan then you can only copy if whoever made the PDF OCRed it before hand or otherwise put text in the background, and it might not be accurate.I mention this because quite a few PDFs are like this. Also some PDFs may be made as images rather than scans, in these cases although it was probably not that hard to add copyable text, often they probably don't since it may partially defeat the reason they are making it as an image. Also even for non scans, there's no guarantee you can copy and paste. PDFs have DRM which most readers will respect which can disallow copying (among other things). Some PDFs although they are not scans or images are made in weird ways, probably for DRM like reasons, where they do weird stuff like use custom fonts or even make vector images for the text so copying doesn't work properly. Nil Einne (talk) 10:07, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
As noted above, if it's text from a Word document or something, you should be able to copy-and-paste. If it's a picture, you would need to open a text file and start typing the words as best you can. I would just retype a couple of sentences and see if the results make any sense, before retyping the whole thing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:12, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
There are freeware tools for OCRing a PDF. (talk) 03:26, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

What language from and to and we may be able to help further. Anton (talk) 10:47, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

From an original Italian document ... to English. Thanks. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 20:56, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

November 18[edit]

acronyms and initialisms[edit]

Most acronyms and initialisms in English only take one letter (the first letter) from each word. But there are some counter-examples where more than one letter are taken:

CCTV - Closed-circuit television

HTML - Hypertext Markup Language

1. Is there a name for this phenomenon?

2. Are there more examples of this? Mũeller (talk) 04:30, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

2. CW, CCW and ACW. LSD, PABA, DNA, RNA, HDTV. SinisterLefty (talk) 04:45, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks! Mũeller (talk) 05:26, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
another one: HTML Mũeller (talk) 05:26, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
That was in your initial post. Plain old TV is another, along with anything else with TV in it, like SDTV, MTV, and HGTV. SinisterLefty (talk) 05:58, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Mũeller -- not sure whether there's a specific name for this, but it's taking a letter from each stem in a linguistic compound word. Conversely, function words can be left out, as in Laser for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". AnonMoos (talk) 07:57, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
...or left in, as in FOIA. SinisterLefty (talk) 08:00, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
If you would like to have a name for this phenomenon, you should invent one! The first letter isn't the most important thing when it comes to initialisms. Since the 90s, for example, initialisms including the prefix ex- have used the letter x instead of e. Wordbreaks aren't of great importance to someone who coins one. It's more important to be understood, and the obvious TLA or 4LA for a particular term usually goes "how would we do this in a hurry, without so many vowels?" And, the other reason is to disambig. There must be many things that share the initialism of CCT, or HML, or T. Temerarius (talk) 08:08, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Since the 90s indeed. According to the OED, XOR was used in a US patent (number 2,973,508) published in 1961. -- (talk) 22:22, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
XOR does not have have an "ex-" prefix in any usual sense. In the early days of digital logic circuits, the ordinary words "or", "nor", and "and" were adopted as technical terms (OR, NOR, AND), and then NAND (i.e. "not-and") was created by analogy. Following this pattern, XOR was created as an abbreviation for "exclusive or". AnonMoos (talk) 04:57, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

2. Radar HiLo48 (talk) 08:53, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

...In the woodpile[edit]

Not safe for work warning. Please see this article...

I would please like to know how this expression has the desired meaning, why would anyone be in a woodpile, and even if they were how would this be a problem? What is the etymology of this expression, which I assume predates modern times. I have heard it before. It is deeply offensive. I have looked up the meaning of the word in the presumption that it may have a secondary confutation such as a faggot being a bundle of wood. It appears to only have one meaning. Thanks Anton (talk) 14:33, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

For etymology: according to the Oxford English Dictionary, its earliest usage can be traced to 1843 during the era of the Underground Railroad in the United States, when it was used in song lyrics to reference slaves who hid in piles of wood while fleeing north to freedom. The phrase later came to mean an “unknown factor affecting a situation in an adverse way,” or a hidden problem. Lectonar (talk) 14:55, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
We have an article Nigger in the woodpile which includes the 1860 anti-Lincoln cartoon File:The Nigger in the Woodpile.jpg... AnonMoos (talk) 15:27, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that's what it is. It has nothing to do with faggot being a bundle of wood. And I see the article mentions the euphemistic expression by W.C. Fields, "an Ethiopian in the fuel supply." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:47, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Names for the number 20[edit]

How come Latin and Greek have special names for the number 20 but English simply uses a term meanings two tens?? Georgia guy (talk) 15:57, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Can't speculate as to why "score" went out of fashion, but the fewer special names, the easier it is to learn. English still has special names for 11-19, where "onety-one" through "onety-nine" would have followed the same pattern as higher numbers. At least 13-19 have a pattern, if different. 11 and 12 follow no pattern at all. And 20-29 and 30-39 should properly be "twoty..." and "threety..", not "twenty" and "thirty". SinisterLefty (talk) 16:09, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
There's a lot of historical linguistic complexity involved which isn't obvious from the modern forms. "Twenty" is more closely related to "twain" than "two", and "thirty" shows the same inversion seen in "bird" (from earlier English brid). In fact, since "third", "thirteen", and "thirty" all show the inversion, it's "three" which is isolated... AnonMoos (talk) 16:25, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Furthermore on AnonMoos's answer regarding "historical linguistic complexity"; as was explained before when you asked similar questions, language change is essentially arbitrary. Languages do change, but they often change in ways that don't have causes. See this video here, at about the 3 minute mark, where a languages and dialects expert explains that we don't know why languages change in a particular manner. The changes can be tracked after the fact, but there is no predictive manner to explain why a language will change in a specific manner. Thus, when you ask a question like "how come", the only way to answer it is to let you know a simple etymology of the words, describing the changes that did occur. However, there is no root cause for linguistic differences in a causal sense. There just is no meaningful way to answer "how come", other than to say "these things are mostly random and arbitrary". --Jayron32 17:07, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
I'd modify that a bit to say there is often no identifiable cause. Presumably when each person decided to use the term "twenty" rather than "score", they had some reason, it just hasn't been recorded for posterity (and Lincoln must have had a reason to stick with "score" in the Gettysburg Address). SinisterLefty (talk) 17:24, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
It depends on what you mean by "cause". If you mean "what was the event that preceded this", that is something different than "what was the reason why this happened". The first can be identified, at least hypothetically, for language changes, even at the individual person (idiolect) level. The second meaning of cause is completely unknowable, because language change does not happen in a predictable manner; that is data from one set of linguistic changes cannot be applied to any other situation. That's the essence of what the source I cite above explains. --Jayron32 17:40, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Our Vigesimal article has some examples of how counting in scores in English was once more common. three score and ten and Four score and seven years ago... are examples. In the UK, 20 shillings used to equal one pound Sterling. Alansplodge (talk) 16:51, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Alansplodge, your answer has the keyword, vigesimal. It is based on the Latin word for 20; and as I said above 20 has a special name in each of Latin and Greek, but in English it has a name meaning simply two tens. Both the Latin and Greek names for 20 derived from the PIE word for 20, which likewise was distinct from that for 2. Georgia guy (talk) 17:06, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I understand your point; vigesimal is used in the same way as decimal in English. We do have two words, "twenty" and "score", the latter is still widely understood if a bit old fashioned. "Score" is British slang for a twenty pound note by the way. Alansplodge (talk) 17:18, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Alansplodge, "vigesimal" is a word of Latin origin. "Icosahedron" is a word of Greek origin. The words are not "bigesimal" and "diacontahedron", as they would have been if those languages simply used "two tens" as their word for 20. Latin and Greek have special names for the number 20 that is derived from the PIE word for 20. But in English, we don't have such a word; the word "twenty" means two tens. Georgia guy (talk) 17:23, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps that's just the way it is. Pity the poor Welsh, who have to say "one on ten and four twenty" if they want to say ninety one. Alansplodge (talk) 18:03, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
French is similar; 91 in French is "quatre-vignt-onze", literally "four-twenty-eleven". --Jayron32 18:46, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Georgia_guy -- The hypothetical "regular" Latin and Greek words for 20 would more likely be duginta and δυωκοντα... Anyway, one reason why 11-20 might be different from 21-99 is that 20 is the maximum number obtainable by counting on fingers and toes. AnonMoos (talk) 18:22, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
According to Wiktionary, the Latin viginti means two tens.[1]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:19, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
Viginti is the same word as (probably unattested) bicenti, depending on one's accent. I bet that the word 'cent' came from originally meant ten rather than 100. Temerarius (talk) 19:28, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
For the relationship between the roots of the -gint part in viginti and the cent- of centum, see wikt:Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/ḱm̥tóm. Fut.Perf. 19:35, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
And thus, to sum up the answer to the original question of "how come Latin and Greek have special names for the number 20 but English simply uses a term meanings two tens?": All three languages have words that originally meant "two-tens", only that the Latin and Greek words reflect an older iteration and are therefore less transparent. Fut.Perf. 19:56, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Just to remind people that "score" hasn't gone out of fashion for Cockneys. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 12:25, 19 November 2019 (UTC)


Hiya. A question to the Brits regarding the usage of "Tommy": A while ago I wrote the articles on de:Taffy, de:Jock (Ethnophaulismus) and de:Paddy (Ethnophaulismus) over at the German Wikipedia and noticed that there doesn't seem to be a corresponding nickname for the English or English soldiers (much like the English don't have their own parliament). Except maybe "Tommy", but that struck me as a rather different beast, meaning "soldier" first and foremost just as Bobby means "policeman", and only secondly "British" (or "English"?), so I left that article untouched. Now someone (not me) has moved the article from de:Tommy (Soldat) to de:Tommy (Ethnophaulismus) though and I started to wonder again. So here goes: Is "Tommy"/"the Tommies" ever used or taken to mean "the English" (or at least "English soldier") in the same way that "Jock", "Taffy" and "Paddy" are applied to the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish, respectively, or does it only ever mean "soldier of the British Army, regardless the origin and regiment"? I vaguely suspect that Jock and Tommy are mutually exclusive, or at least that a member of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, say, would rather be nicknamed Jock than Tommy, usage-wise, in England at least. -- (talk) 16:08, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Tommy Atkins... -- AnonMoos (talk) 16:29, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
The situation is confused by the fact that English and British were used interchangeably in the UK before the Great War and continue to be used that way by foreigners. People tend not to make nicknames for themselves, so see Glossary of names for the British, but proving that any particular name applies exclusively to English rather than British people might well be problematic. Alansplodge (talk) 16:59, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
I know full well that Tommy doesn't mean exclusively "English bloke", but as I wrote I suspect that it may in some instances designate an Englishman/English soldier, especially if used in conjunction with/as opposed to "Jock" or "Taffy". But judging by your bemused answers that is not the case...(also, "Tommy" is in fact one of those rare nicknames "made for themselves", the British Army that is, another aspect in which it differs from Taffy/Jock/Paddy). --2A01:C22:340D:CE00:1855:3940:C61:2784 (talk) 17:34, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
PS: Nevermind, I just found exactly what I was looking for. --2A01:C22:340D:CE00:1855:3940:C61:2784 (talk) 21:31, 18 November 2019 (UTC)
See Glossary of names for the British. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:17, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

November 19[edit]

IPA for ORCID[edit]

Please can someone provide an IPA transcription for ORCID, according to this audio file? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:14, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Done. I'm not sure if the audio is really necessary when it's just orchid, though. Nardog (talk) 10:28, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Capitalization of Latin titles in English texts[edit]

Which words are capitalised when quoting or mentioning a work with a Latin title in an English text? The Chicago Manual of Style has:

"titles of ancient and medieval Latin works are capitalized in sentence style"


"Renaissance and modern works or works in English with Latin titles are usually capitalized in the English fashion (i.e., headline style"

I know some volunteers here have experience with writing scholarly texts that will include Latin titles. Do the CMS's 'rules' coincide with your experience? (I'm not asking about how Wikipedia's own manual of style handles this). Thank you in advance! ---Sluzzelin talk 20:13, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Yes, the CMS rules coincide with my experience. That may be because CMS is used as a style guide by many academic journals, of course. Deor (talk) 21:08, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Deor! I did not know that. ---Sluzzelin talk 21:49, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

November 20[edit]