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Forum:Wiktionary-style entries and grammatical inflections

Tolkien Gateway > Council > Wiktionary-style entries and grammatical inflections

I know I just barely posted another new forum thread on here already. What can I say, I'm a bit of a manic editor, as the Recent Changes for the past several days can attest (as of today, January 22, 2010).

I've noticed that this wiki already has what looks like the modest startings of a collection of dictionary-like entries. Or they just could be stubs. Heh. I've edited a lot at Wiktionary (especially Classical Greek), and especially considering that Wiktionary has voted not to allow Tolkien language entries (they have no real-life native-language speakers that they can attest), and especially since Tolkien was such a compulsive linguist and grammarian anyway, I thought it might be nice to at least propose a slightly more extensive Wiktionary-like framework for articles here, as it seems a natural development for a Tolkien-themed wiki. And here are my ideas:

  • For articles that are basically just dictionary entries, just have a dictionary entry and categorization, and that's that.
  • For articles that are already very deeply encyclopedic, add another section such as "Quenya noun", "Sindarin verb", etc. or whatever, and put a formal dictionary-style entry there. Perhaps at the bottom of an otherwise encyclopedic article. Dictionary entries could link to each other using anchors #Quenya noun, etc.
  • For languages whose grammars have been very well-studied and documented (especially Quenya and Sindarin), it might be nice to provide some inflection charts for each word. For noun declension, adjective declension, verb conjugation, etc. This may initially sound like a lot of work, but I actually designed the bulk of the Ancient Greek declension templates used on Wiktionary. They maximize chart detail while minimizing the work of embedding them. I can easily see how it can be done for Quenya. For example (and this is not an actual template, but raw wiki markup I whipped up on the spot demonstrating how it might look):
Singular Plural Part.Plur. Dual
Nominative cirya ciryar ciryali/-lí ciryat
(Accusative) ciryá ciryai
Genitive ciryo ciryaron ciryalion ciryato
Possessive ciryava ciryaiva ciryalíva ciryatwa
Dative ciryan ciryain ciryalin ciryato
Locative ciryassë ciryassen ciryalissë(n) ciryatsë
Allative ciryanna ciryannar ciryalinna(r) ciryanta
Ablative ciryallo ciryallon/-llor ciryalillo(n) ciryalto
Instrumental ciryanen ciryainen ciryalínen ciryanten
Respective ciryas ciryais ciryalis ciryates

As you can see, the words are all linked, but I wouldn't necessarily expect them all to be started as new article entries. However, sometimes a more relevant inflected form (such as a nominative plural) could have an article already in place.

Thing is, the moment I thought of this idea, I realized that I would never be able to do it all myself. It's a wonderful idea, if there is the manpower. Otherwise, it's a fool's vain errand, like the corrupted Fëanor charging towards Angband all by himself. Anyway, the vast majority of these grammatical details are referenceable from the well-compiled texts available at Ardalambion. - Gilgamesh 05:40, 23 January 2010 (UTC)


Well, you're definetly an asset to this Wiki when it comes to language, so keep up the good work because you're edits will contribute a lot to the site. You should begin to make/refin language pages. --Breragor (TalkContribsEdits) 19:30, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
I think his point is he knows what to do, it's just an awful lot and he needs help.
On a related note to the inflections, I think the same could be done for verbs (though we clearly need to mark conjectural forms). -- Ederchil (Talk/Contribs/Edits) 19:47, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
Ardalambion marks conjectural forms with an asterisk before the word. I could do that. - Gilgamesh 02:13, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Alright, I think I've started the beginnings of a viable dictionary framework. But I'm already feeling brain-tired from all the template work. But some modest entries at in place: Quendë, Avari, Elda, Minya, Vanya, Ñoldo, Sindel. I knew I would get tired quickly trying to do lots and lots of creative editing all at once. Any questions? - Gilgamesh 09:28, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

I thought of ways to make the Quenya noun declension templates more efficient. I'm going to tweak the master template Template:qya-decl. This may change the appearance of the existing embedments until I'm done. - Gilgamesh 15:08, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

I now think I at least partially bit off a lot more than I can chew, at least with all the formal Wiktionary-style entry sections. This (and Tolkien in general) isn't (at least entirely) a dry academic subject—it has context and interest. I decided to just put occasional grammatical details in articles. - Gilgamesh 08:56, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

An ongoing discussion at Forum:Quenya declension template appearance has spilled over into this topic. Another user seems to want to remove dictionary-style features and inflections from the wiki. - Gilgamesh 01:30, 15 February 2010 (UTC)