*What to do with elliptical expressions*
A fine example, but let us discuss the general case: https://tatoeba.org/dan/sentences/show/748252 , or "If I had brushed my teeth..."
I personally have a mild preference for allowing such in the corpus, but only a mild one.
* They might not be complete sentences (the example is not), in the sense of a having a main clause and maybe some other stuff, since the main clause can be implied, as in the example.
On the other hand, there are many other things, such as greetings and other interjections, which are also not complete sentences, but still an established part of the corpus.
* They are valid utterances that are and can be used in conversations and in literacy. Often the context implies the omitted part of the sentence.
One could, as always, say that the context should be added as a part of the sentence. But most sentences and "sentences" are always improved by adding context and more material, yet this is not a corpus of books.
* They add marginal linguistic content, since the ellipsis is an accepted part of many languages. Also, based on the linked sentence, there seems to be some variety in how the ellipsis is expressed, though not much. (Japanese is different and Spanish may be different, if having the spaces there is right.)
I do not see a compelling reason for removing such utterances, though also little reason to encourage contribution of them.
But please provide other perspectives on this.
> I do not see a compelling reason for removing such utterances, though also little reason to encourage contribution of them.
I agree with you. I don't add them myself. However, I wouldn't remove one unless there were some other issue with it.
[not needed anymore- removed by CK]
For this particular sentence, I would imagine a situation where there is something wrong with one's teeth, and this could have been avoided by brushing them. Though I would add the word "only" to the sentence. I'll leave writing natural English dialogue to those who are more skilled at it.
Could you be more explicit about the harm the "sentence" is causing so as to merit its deletion?
(I added a couple of uses of ellipsis but with unrelated meaning. https://tatoeba.org/dan/sentences/show/8166172 and https://tatoeba.org/dan/sentences/show/8166177
The first is more natural than the example here and the second should be complete by any measure.)
In some languages, e. g. in German, French and Kabyle,
there are many averbal sentences:
Wie der Land, so der Mensch.
Am tmurt, am yemdanen-is.
Am tmurt, am imawlan.
Tel pays, tel peuple.
Chaque pays est à l'image de ses habitants.
Each country is in the image of its inhabitants.
Such a country, such a people. (?)
Voir, please see:
0.4.2 Prédication averbale, relation prédicative, prédicats averbaux ...
From the comment thread of the sentence, by @CK:
"Note that since there is no context, the Japanese could refer to more than one tense and the subject could also be something other than "I.""
This is not very relevant. For example, many English sentences with "you" do not have sufficient context to determine if it is the singular, the plural or the general "you", or the degree of formality. This leads to several different translations in many other languages.
Further by @CK, copied here because I see it as relevant for the general case:
"It's "relevant" because this is not complete and the context is not given, so this is not a complete thought. On the other hand, complete sentences are felt to be "complete", at least in some sense, so alternate translations make more sense, doesn't it?"
I do not see, yet, the hard line between this and "Take a shower before you go swimming." in terms of ambiguity. (I obviously see the hard line in terms of grammar.)
Both could be uttered in a number of different circumstances. The grammatically incomplete example at least specifies the subject, whereas the alternative, above, might be a general principle of hygiene, or something said to a single person or to several people.
Is the completeness here a matter of grammar, or is there somethign else at play?
Relevant blog post from Trang, as linked by @brauchinet in the comments:
As far as I'm concerned, I think Tatoeba can handle a loose definition of "sentence". We don't strictly need to have an entity with at least a verb. To me, when spoken, everything is a sentence. When written, the main difference between a sentence and a non-sentence is punctuation. That's all. For the rest, as long as people can imagine context where the "sentence" can be expressed, then it's a sentence.
So yes, I'm roughly saying that you can take all the words in the dictionary, add punctuation and perhaps a capital letter, you'd turn it into a sentence. I don't encourage it because it's not useful (dictionaries do that already), but one-word sentences are still tolerated. I'll trust people's common sense for adding only one-word sentences that are significant (for instance, "Hello" is, "House" isn't).
UPDATE: The disputed sentence is gone, with no announcement in the sentence discussion or the well, in spite of the unresolved dispute here.
I do not feel terribly sorry for the sentence, but the procedure does not look very good:
There was a discussion about what to do with these types of elliptical sentences.
Consensus was not reached.
A particular case of elliptical sentences was resolved silently (without any notice).
I think that it would be a very good idea to inform of the action taken in these cases. Here the sentence was not particularly important and people were not particularly passionate about it, as far as I see, but I do think that consistency in handling disputed sentences would be good. And sentences where people are more committed should certainly be handled with more communication.
It turns out that in this case, the deletion was the result of negligence rather than an intention to deal with the sentence silently.
Basically what can happen is:
- I'm a corpus maintainer checking sentences that have been tagged @delete.
- I see a sentence that doesn't sound very natural.
- Since I'm able to delete the sentence directly from the tags page, I just delete the sentence without checking the comments.
These things will for sure happen again unless we set up some technical restrictions, such as removing the delete button from all the pages except the sentence's page. This would increases the chances that someone who deletes a sentence is aware of that there is an unresolved dispute. But this might be inconvenient for corpus maintainers too...
For that particular sentence, I'm 99% sure that the sentence was orphan prior to the deletion, which makes it a lot more likely to be deleted. Corpus maintainers usually don't think too long about bad orphan sentences. I doubt the same neglicence (i.e. not checking the comments) would have happened if the sentence belonged to someone.
So all in all, ovisouly, we should be transparent as of why we delete a disputed sentence. We should not do this without explaination. But if there is a dispute on a orphan sentence, then whoever cares for the survival of the sentence should adopt it while it's being disputed. It will reduce the chances that it gets deleted out of negligence.
Merci for figuring that out. The sentence itself was not particularly special, so I do not feel much was lost.
There are still many elliptical expressions from the early years of Tatoeba. Now they are against the rules because we want complete sentences, see https://en.wiki.tatoeba.org/art...ow/guidelines. If you manage to make those elliptical expressions, which are often bad examples by themselves, part of larger contributions, then they often make very good examples:
"In the kitchen." (Bad. Not allowed.) → "Where's Granny?" "In the kitchen." (Complete.)
"An apple." (Bad. Not allowed.) → "What's that fruit you're holding there in your hand?" "An apple. Have you never seen one?" (Complete, more interesting, thus better.)
The dialogue often turns out to be an easy way to make them work.
See also Alan's guide to writing good sentences: https://en.wiki.tatoeba.org/art...ood-sentences.
Her eksemplet var mer lik "Hvis jeg ikke hadde vasket tennene..." enn "I køkkenet." eller "Eple.".
Jeg synes at "Eple." og liknende bør gjøres røde, så at de ikke oversettes videre, mens vrøvl fra Voltaire-bot og liknende bør fjernes.
Jeg synes at eksemplet her er av den slags som kunne findes i boka eller brukes når man taler, så det er fint, selv om det ikke er idealt. Alle setningene kan forbedres med å legge til kontekst.
Det samme med Tom og Mary -setningene - det er så mange at det ikke er idealt å legge til flere, men det kan gjøres fortsatt.