Open main menu

The Wikipedia Reference Desk covering the topic of language.

Welcome to the language reference desk.
Want a faster answer?

Main page: Help searching Wikipedia

How can I get my question answered?

  • Provide a short header that gives the general topic of the question.
  • Type '~~~~' (that is, four tilde characters) at the end – this signs and dates your contribution so we know who wrote what and when.
  • Post your question to only one desk.
  • Don't post personal contact information – it will be removed. All answers will be provided here.
  • Specific questions, that are likely to produce reliable sources, will tend to get clearer answers.
  • Note:
    • We don't answer (and may remove) questions that require medical diagnosis or legal advice.
    • We don't answer requests for opinions, predictions or debate.
    • We don't do your homework for you, though we'll help you past the stuck point.
    • We don't conduct original research or provide a free source of ideas, but we'll help you find information you need.

How do I answer a question?

Main page: Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines

  • The best answers address the question directly, and back up facts with wikilinks and links to sources. Do not edit others' comments and do not give any medical or legal advice.
Choose a topic:
See also:
Help desk
Village pump
Help manual


May 14Edit

Latin translation requestEdit

"Sed tincidunt pretium ligula, non varius erat"
"Vivamus sed fermentum tellus. Donec quis elit sapien. Aliquam commodo tortor nisi, nec varius mi finibus at. In nulla libero, dictum vel orci at, congue."

Google translated most of the words from the first sentence, except "ligula", which I would guess was a typo of "lingula", meaning "tongue". Since this is the motto of a restaurant (see their web page here), that would seem to make sense. But, even with that change, Google still gives me gibberish:

"However, developers price of your tongue, there was a casino"

I'm guessing the meaning is something along the lines of "If you value your tongue, you will value your restaurant". Can an expert give me their translation of this first sentence, and perhaps the rest ?

Thanks, SinisterLefty (talk) 15:51, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

It's a form of Lorem ipsum. Neither of the passages have any real meaning in Latin. (If you look here, for instance, you'll see the second bit used multiple times under "Album Reviews".) Deor (talk) 16:23, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it's placeholder text; they haven't gotten round to replacing it with the final copy.--Shantavira|feed me 08:09, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for the info. SinisterLefty (talk) 17:18, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

SinisterLefty, maybe this is a Latin translation of colorless green ideas sleep furiously :-) Nyttend (talk) 23:44, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Nope, it's not... AnonMoos (talk) 05:11, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Jokes don't need you to agree or disagree with them. That's not the purpose of a joke. --Jayron32 12:52, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
The two paragraphs at the beginning of this section conspicuously lack any single word which could plausibly translate English "colorless", "green", "idea", "to sleep", or "furious(ly)", so the attempted "joke" seems kind of stupid to me. AnonMoos (talk) 17:21, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I think Nyttend was jocularly using hyperbole to suggest that the Latin text might be grammatically correct yet semantically nonsensical, in the same way that 'colorless green ideas sleep furiously' is. I doubt Nyttend meant this suggestion to be taken seriously, still less that the Latin literally does translate as 'c g i s f', but it certainly caused me to chuckle. Chacun à son goût (to quote a phrase well known in English which is actually not the form correctly used in French).
Perhaps we should re-establish the informal practice of using small text to denote jokes, to avoid confusing those with less-than-native English and/or a sense of humour deficiency. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 01:51, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

May 17Edit

Please, what is the name in English ?Edit

  Hello, on the pic you can see a flag (France) with a decoration on the top (a thing white and yellow). We look for the name in English, if existing. Thanks in advance. --Rapaloux (talk) 07:01, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

The detail toward the top is called a bow. That word has many meanings but in this context, it means a decorative knot tied out of ribbon. The yellow (or golden) features further down are called Fringe (trim). Fringe often decorates Epaulettes, which is an English word imported from the French language. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:38, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I do not think that there is an English word that describes the whole decorative element, but I could be wrong. I would describe it as a "formal white bow, with two tiered white drapery decorated with golden fringe". Cullen328 Let's discuss it 07:43, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
May I suggest that the OP give us the term for the item in their own language, we can then translate this. This might help to remove some of the ambiguity.
The term in French is cravate (in vexillology). --Rapaloux (talk) 09:10, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I found that [1], so it might be called a cravat too. Lectonar (talk) 09:16, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
(ec) More precise this anchor. --CiaPan (talk) 09:22, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
(ec)Cravat seems to be the right term in English also, see here, although our article does not cover that particular usage. Mikenorton (talk) 09:21, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Our Military colours, standards and guidons#France uses the French term "cravate". This seems to be peculiar to the French armed forces, although other nations have different embellishments, British regimental colours sport a laurel wreath on the anniversary of past battles, and the US forces have campaign streamers. Alansplodge (talk) 10:19, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

What words Atbash plus Caesar to eachother?Edit

This doesn't appear to be related to natural or "normal" constructed languages, and it's obviously computing, so I've moved it to WP:RDC. Nyttend (talk) 22:02, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

May 19Edit

L M N & R as semivowels?Edit

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)

May 21Edit

Alphabetizing bandsEdit

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)


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)