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Objectivesea's messages on the Wall (total 52)

2019-01-29 12:13 - 2019-01-29 12:27
I am employed as a professional editor at the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. Our house style guide takes account of the current regrettable tendency among some people to overuse exclamation marks. Our style guide mandates that in nearly all cases the exclamation marks be changed to periods, reserving exclamation marks for truly unusual occasions.

I have sometimes received emails in which EVERY sentence, even the most mundane, ended with an exclamation mark; other writers adapt bizarre and idiosyncratic conventions like ending all sentences with an ellipsis, as if they were unable to complete a rational thought.

A Member of the Legislative Assembly might seem, in his or her rhetorical excitement, to be saying: "Imagine that!" or "Shameful!" or "That Minister should have known better!" — even using the sort of intonation in speaking that might make it seem that an exclamation mark is somehow warranted. Regardless, our parliamentary reports style these sentences as: "Imagine that." or "Shameful." or "That Minister should have known better."

People who are interested could take a look at one of our Hansard (verbatim record of debates) issues, accessible from this menu, and just do a search for the "!" character:

It would be a very, very rare transcript that has even a single exclamation mark.

My recommendation would be to simply change all Tatoeba sentences ending in an exclamation mark to end with a period instead. Then let the automatic dupolicate removal tool purge the unneeded duplicates.
2018-08-15 08:29

The contributor @danepo apparently had the same issue as I, since he has complained about missing circumflexes when they are in fact there. But not everyone, apparently, experienced this anomaly.

I have good news. Since some people apparently were able to see the accented capital letters, I changed my Firefox preferences so that instead of having Helvetica as the default sans-serif font, it now uses Lucida Grande. Magically, everything now looks fine on my browser. I may suggest the same solution for user @danepo and for anyone else who experienced this annoying problem. By the way, Helvetica Neue and Arial also look fine; only the bog-standard Helvetica seems to have the display issue.

(For AlanF, I may also suggest that he can temporarily change his deault sans-serif font to Helvetica in order to recreate the problem. Then restore the setting to the previous chosen font.)
2018-08-15 08:14
From the point of view of vexillology, the simpler the design, the better. An ideal flag for a country, a sub-federal state or a city is one that can be easily recreated by a schoolchild. Lettering, like the giant "R" on the flag of Rwanda or the words "California Republic" on a state flag, should not be needed. The less busy and the more unique, the better.

I don't think "SPQR" should be on the newly constructed flag for Latin, because the meaning of the abbreviation is not well known. The wreath design, as in version 3, is lovely and appropriate, conveying deep respect, but it should have much better contrast. How about a deep Hunter Green for the wreath so that it looks more like real laurel leaves, and contrast it to a plain white background, perhaps with a thin green outline if the edge of the flag needs to be apparent on the white background of a page? Alternatively, you can reverse the colours and have the deep green (Pantone 19-5511, HTML #335749, or RGB 51 87 73) for the solid background with white laurel leaves showing in the foreground.

For the Ancient Greek, the Parthenon as it was in classic times (design 2) is clearly the best. As a concession to the modern inheritors of Greek culture, why not use the colours of the modern Greek flag? Make the Parthenon the pure white emblem, like polished marble, against a lovely blue solid background (Pantone 285, HTML #0072CE, or RGB 0 114 206), and you have the best of the old and the new.
2018-08-12 06:16

It would be nice if the display window for sentences could be made slightly bigger to accommodate the display of accented capital letters like the Ĉ, Ĝ, Ĥ, Ĵ, Ŝ and Ŭ of Esperanto, as well as the German letters Ä, Ö and Ü. Other languages also sometimes need to display capital letters with accents, such as É, Û, À and many others. With the current font and the current window for displaying the sentence in each language, these accents are often not visible even when I take care to make sure that I've typed the needed accents in the course of creating my original or translated sentence.

In Sentence #7056520, for example, my Tatoeba friend @danepo just reminded me that the sentence “Ĉu vi ne estas kanadano?” should begin with the circumflexed ‘Ĉu’; obviously on his computer, the word was appearing as if it was ‘Cu’; i.e., without the needed circumflex, and he also was unable to see that the circumflex was already there.

Increasing the leading in messages like this might also be good, using a line-height of 120 or 130%. Currently this message seems to be set solid, and accented capital letters sometimes overlap with the descenders in letters like g, j, p, q, and y.
2017-12-06 19:45
I agree with @sabretou and @Selena777. For those people who are learning a new language, it must be frustrating to discover that they have spent their limited time in learning a substandard register of that language or one that is poorly understood by its native speakers in a country's capital city.

Since it may be impractical to mark hundreds of thousands of sentences as being thoroughly and completely standard, though, perhaps this feature should be implemented as a filter that would NOT display, according to a user's particular preferences, those particular sentences marked as dialectal, archaic, non-standard, vulgar or stilted.
2017-10-13 10:16
Hello Chris8096.

Welcome to Tatoeba. One great way to contribute is to look for simple Hungarian or English sentences which you can readily understand but which lack a Dutch translation, and then just provide Tatoeba with one.You can also contribute good sentences in Dutch which are not already at Tatoeba. Finally, you can add to your profile an estimate of your level of ability in other languages besides your native Dutch — for example, English and Hungarian.

For your own study and vocabulary improvement, here are two interesting ways for you as a Hungarian learner to limit the sentences that Tatoeba presents to you during your study.

(a) to see only Hungarian sentences with audio and a Dutch translation:

(b) to see Dutch sentences with Hungarian translation

Have fun at Tatoeba. We look forward to your contributions once you get a bit more used to how things work here.

Kind regards,
2016-11-26 11:01
Here's a rough English translation of #arh’s recent Spanish message:

My reflection on what an acceptable language unit is and who is most capable of making a judgment. Discrepancies are salutary because they provoke reflection, as long as the group’s work is not dissipated or deviated from established objectives. Certainly there is no general agreement on what is a sentence, or even a word, what to speak of existential controversies over grammatical categories such as prepositions, interjections, etc. Indeed, some Eastern languages simply collapse the Western tradition of forming messages structured more or less as an ordered sequence of word categories or even of representing the differentiation through word spaces in writing. Nor do they seem to require the aspectual or temporal nuances provided by Romance languages’ complex verb conjugations or the functional case marking still observed in some Germanic ones. They have enough on their plate with their inherited and inscrutable ideographs.

However, in all languages known to me, there are models or patterns that speakers assume as standard to convey a certain meaning appropriate for concrete expressions and other deictic elements that by their nature allow multifarious meanings, often based on extralingual supports such as gestures, depending on the context and each speaker’s intention of, but lacking a unique meaning on their own. Thus, I can use “No” for simple negation or I can slightly modify my intonation as “No!” perhaps employing an accompanying gesture of dislike for certainty or to urge a person to stop doing something. In both cases it remains a unit endowed with complete meaning. But coldly analyzed, is it really a word; an adverb, adjective or noun phrase; or a sentence? To me, it seems but an instance of communication.
If we focus on these types of expressions, we would probably end up having as many possible interpretations as each particular speaker might like to impart.

If the aim of the site is to collect, with universal application, many “generalist” examples for teachers’, students’ or other interested persons’ use when needed, it would seem convenient to encourage contributions in those forms perceived as most standard, in order not to complicate their further understanding of users.

As to who should moderate or supervise the appropriateness of contributions in the event of disagreements, all groups tend to attract people who, through experience and knowledge, generally adopt decisions well accepted by the majority — acknowledging, of course, that they may never satisfy everyone. The mere fact of being native speakers, unless they are recognized specialists in the subject, does not grant authority beyond familiarity with the mother tongue, sometimes restricted to a certain discipline or professional field. In fact, many countries have institutions that prescribe the recommended use of the heritage language so that it may continue to serve as a useful and universal vehicle for communication, aware that speakers’ neglect of logic may lead to all kinds of changes, some not motivated by a genuine communications need.
2016-11-26 10:03 - 2016-11-27 18:57
Thanks to AlanF for the link to the very interesting discussion at the user interface design forum; it helps clarify things, and it may offer some help to our tireless programmer TRANG if it is something that could be implemented without too much difficulty.

Thanks also to sacredceltic for the helpful suggestion of a tooltip, something that could display on hovering over the icons in question (assuming that this would not appreciably slow down the response time of the website.)

Also, if sacredceltic really feels that my overall efforts here are destructive, I have no objection if the Tatoeba community were to reduce my status from Advanced Contributor to that of an ordinary Contributor or, in extremis, were to ban me from further contributions to the site. I bear no ill will to anyone, and I wish only for peace to all.
2016-11-17 07:02
Thanks to CK for sending a clear graphic that made linking understandable even to my thick old head. I was able to relink Pfirsichbaeumchen's sentence with no trouble.

Previously I had formed exactly the opposite of the right idea as to the interpretation of the icons. I was thinking that the scissors meant the current state, as opposed to the result that would follow from clicking on it. Somehow, I had thought that the presence of the scissors icon meant that the sentence was currently unlinked and that I must click on that icon to link it. This, of course, had the effect of unlinking a perfectly good existing link, as well as creating an error message.

In my ignorance, I was creating as much chaos as a driver arriving at a red traffic light and thinking that it must mean "go." My apologies to all.
2016-11-15 09:58 - 2016-11-15 20:13
Here's a rough English translation of Aiji's message:

Far be it from me to enter into the debate as to these intimidations, definition of sentences, etc., but I've noticed that this kind of situation often unfolds in the same way, whatever the language: a user expresses a doubt as to the legitimacy of a sentence, the author or someone else defends himself, sometimes both sides become fixated on their position, someone ends up losing his calm and it starts getting out of hand. Therefore, might I suggest an alternative?

In case of a dispute about a sentence, why not simply seek the advice of another native speaker directly? If the opinion of a user, native or not, may be in question, two concurring opinions of natives from different regions would appear more relevant to me than the opinion of five foreigners on the question (even if we could all be mistaken). This would avoid misbehaviour and frustration, and the issue could be quickly resolved. On the sentence you show as an example, if you ask my advice, it is very clear: it is a sentence, much used, in the same way as «Hello.».

If the native speakers themselves disagree, this is another problem, but I think that the debate will then play out on an equal footing and can take place calmly.

Obviously, I understand that considering your elevated level of language, you do not want to be attacked on things that are clear and obvious to you, most especially by non-native speakers. Once again, I think it would benefit everyone to call for a second opinion when the issue does not resolve after two or three messages (and before it all takes a wrong turn).

What do you think ?
2016-11-14 20:19
For example, while trying to link French sentence #5329152 to the English sentence #2308116, I tried to drag the blue arrow from the left of the French sentence onto the diagonal paper-clip or chain icon above the English sentence.

Thinking it might be a problem specific to my OS, I've tried to link sentences both from my home Macintosh and from my PC at work. In both cases, I got only the error message:

"An error occurred while saving. Please try again or contact us to report this."
2016-10-20 18:38 - 2016-10-20 18:41
I'm trying to link sentences across languages, but every attempt only displays an error message instead: "An error occurred while saving. Please try again or contact us to report this."

I looked at the guide (, and the drag-and-drop method seems like it would be intuitive, but the icons shown on that page do not resemble the current Tatoeba interface. Could someone update that page, please, or offer me some idea for how to do this?
2016-09-15 20:44
Ευχαριστώ πολύ. Thank you very much.
2016-09-09 03:31
Extremaduran, though related to Castilian and other varieties of Spanish does appear to be a language in its own right, known among its own speakers as "Lengua estremeña".

According to Wikipedia, its ISO 639-3 code is "ext". SIL also has a short summary about it:

For Tatoeba's purposes, the linguistic region already has its own representative flag:
2016-09-06 11:02
Another idea — I took the basic bird motif Raizin provided and redrew it in Adobe Illustrator with fairly bold, slightly simplified lines so that the bird is more recognizable at smaller sizes.

Here's an image from my artwork:

And here it is at the 30x20 size it would actually be used at. I think it is at least recognizable as a bird.
2016-09-05 21:37
Well, the original creator of Láadan, the linguist and writer Suzette Haden Elgin, unfortunately passed away last year. I've drawn up a provisional idea for a Láadan flag, two versions of which you can see at my Dropbox account.

I've also sent a note to the Láadan Working Group with those links, and I hope they respond either approvingly, with their preferred colours, or with a design of their own.
2016-09-04 21:17
Feature Request

Would it be possible to have the "Latest Contributions" list be user-configurable? Let's say that a user is most comfortable translating from English and French into her native language (Italian). Could she, perhaps — from drop-down lists that include only the languages she has previously selected on her profile page as those she has some familiarity with, is learning or is fluent in — choose to see only English and French sentences in the "Latest Contributions" list and to suppress (only for her) the listings in Russian, German, Turkish and the other languages which she doesn't understand?
2016-09-04 12:53
A retired English teacher has written this useful advice:

"While it's not a strict rule, generally we say 'happy with' a situation, something that continues for a while; you are satisfied or content that the situation is how it should be. So you can be happy with your job, happy with your marriage, happy with your child's school.

"We are 'happy about' specific events: happy about my promotion, happy about my daughter's marriage, happy about my son's excellent exam result."

There's a pretty good discussion of this point here:

2016-09-04 03:41
I wasn't looking for a change to the interface that presents the newly created sentences, but I see how it may improve the graphic appearance for iPads and Android devices, etc., and I'm happy with the change.

In my case, my avatar image was cut off on the right because I had not initially designed it to be square, so I redid it by just centring the old image in the middle of a square shape 128x128 and ensuring that colour filled both sides. The new icon did not appear at first, but when I reloaded the main Tatoeba page, my change had taken effect.

For me, the image looks equally good in either a circle or a square, I think, although this may not be the case for others. I think if others decide to redo their avatar, they should ensure that there is lots of room on all sides around some strong graphic central image.

2016-08-30 23:28
Great! Apparently, the language has between 500,000 and a million speakers, mainly concentrated near the western edge of the Caspian Sea. Talysh is closely related to Tati and slightly more distantly to Persian, and UNESCO classifies it as a vulnerable language. About 700 years ago, Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili was writing some quatrains in Talysh language.