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The 'Idiom' tag  
von geo255 (US), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 03:30  like dislike  Spam?  
I have a difficulty with the application of this tag.  When it is applied to a translation there is no way to know whether both sides are idioms.

Certainly if one of the sides is in your native language and it is an idiom you will be aware of that fact.  And, if this side is not an idiom, you can assume that the other side is an idiom.  What you can't be sure of, however, is whether BOTH sides are idioms (unless you have a good grasp of both languages).  It is very common for both sides of a translation to be idioms so this is not an uncommon situation.

One obvious way to handle this situation is to make the idiom tag function like, e.g. the 'figurative' tag.  In fact, I am not sure why it was not originally designed that way.

Makes sense to me.  #827466
von Badger (US), 2015-12-15, 04:09  like dislike  Spam?  
I've occasionally faced the same problem. In a sense, the "idiom" tag is a lot like the "fig." tag. That would suggest treating them both in the same way,
Idiom  #827467
von sunfunlili (DE/GB), 2015-12-15, 07:17  like dislike  Spam?  
Just had a quick look .... and you are correct. Very often it's added afterwards - wrongly, because it applies to one side only. In this case a tag like "Idiom" for the relevant side would be best and no subject.
Some are correct - and the subject is fine.
Eine Diskussion hier:  #827468
von Wenz (DE), 2015-12-15, 07:33  like dislike  Spam?

Wahrscheinlich, vielleicht, vielleicht auch nicht, heute, morgen, übermorgen ... sollten wir noch einmal drüber nachdenken, ob wir doch eine Kennung festlegen für jene Seite, die einem Idiom entspricht (wenn die andere Seite eben keines ist). Dann kann das Subject Idiom auch für "gemischte Sprachpaare" verwendet werden.
von ddr (AT), 2015-12-15, 07:36  like dislike  Spam?  
According to Pauls decision - a while ago in a forum discussion - we should only add the subject 'idiom' if both sides are idioms / Redewendungen. It hasn't always been practiced like that and the rule still isn't always adhered to, I suppose. So, there might be some confusion indeed.
But on the other hand the idiom tag in the middle is much more 'visible' than a tag  on either side of the trans especially as there are often two or three or even more tags (e.g. Am. coll. dated). And as idioms are not in the first section, as fig. expressions might be, it's much easier to find an idiom among all the examples for usage, if the subject is in the middle.
To add [idiom] beside the entry, if only one side deserves the subject, would certainly be an acceptable solution. My dream would be either a special section for [idioms] or - even better - a possibility to look for idioms (and other subjects) specifically by adding the subject to the search term, so that you'd get only [med] or [religion] or [idiom] etc. entries as a result.
von Paul (AT), 2015-12-15, 10:10  like dislike  Spam?  
Fachgebietskennzeichnungen bitte nur dann verwenden, wenn sie für beide Seiten passen.

Tags für die einzelnen Seiten wären wirklich sinnvoll.
- Englisch: "[idiom]" (sollte kein Problem sein)
- Deutsch: "[idiom.]" für "idiomatisch"? Oder "[Redewendung]"? Oder "[Idiom]"? Andere Vorschläge?
ddr: "But on the other hand the idiom tag in the middle is much more 'visible' than a tag on either side of the trans."  #827487
von parker11 (DE), 2015-12-15, 10:33  like dislike  Spam?  
Ich widerspreche energisch;-) Bei mir ist es gerade umgekehrt, auf das Subject gucke ich zuallerletzt, wenn überhaupt, und sowieso nur im Zweifel. Aber das Thema hatten wir ja schon mal.

4; Paul:
EN: [idiom]
DE: [Idiom]
Test: Ich will schauen, ob es ein Idiom gibt mit "brechen"  #827488
von Wenz (DE), 2015-12-15, 10:42  like dislike  Spam? brechen
Dann werde ich natürlich mit dem Subject in der Mitte schneller fündig.
von ddr (AT), 2015-12-15, 11:31  like dislike  Spam?  
Parker, mir geht es wie Wenz. Man kennt ja nicht unbedingt immer den genauen Wortlaut des idioms, das man sucht, außerdem gibt es verschiedene Eingabeformen und nach 45 Jahren Printwörterbuch-Benutzung neigt man sowieso immer dazu, nur einen Suchbegriff einzugeben (vielleicht bin aber nur ich so wenig lernfähig).
Jedenfalls schaue ich schon sehr auf die subjects, nicht nur bei den idioms, da kann ich eine Menge Einträge unbeachtet lassen.
von geo255 (US), 2015-12-15, 11:39  like dislike  Spam?  
So, what I've gathered from the discussion so far is this:

Having the idiom tag in the middle aids searches for idiomatic translations.  For some contributors, but not all, it is most visible in that position.

However, having the idiom tag in the middle results in its application when only one side of the translation is an idiom.  In such cases it is fine to apply an 'idiom' or 'idiom.' (idiomatisch) as a disambiguation.  This procedure would obviously require buy in from the contributors and it raises the eternal question of reopens.
von uffie (GH/KI), 2015-12-15, 14:38  like dislike  Spam?  
I'm in favour of tagging only the language that is idiomatic. There is a limited number of idiom pairs. It's clear and helpful to users
Too late to change!  Making the best of what we have.  #827600
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 18:48  like dislike  Spam?  
The SUBJECTS go back to a time when little attention was paid to exact definitions, and they were often used in place of bracketed specifications applied the individual expressions standing on one or both sides of the translation equation.
  This confusion was reflected in and reinforced by the completely *inconsistent use of the term "subject-tag" to refer now to the bracketed specifications applied to individual terms or expressions and to the  SUBJECTS proper, which function as flags for pragmatic categories of whole entries -- as such, the SUBJECTS  qualify the translation equation as a whole and they appear in a special place in the data structure, i.e. they are inserted in a special line in the entry-form and in the middle of result-sets, between the two sides of the equations.

   Nowhere are the consequences of these beginner's "mistakes" more telling than here in the subject "IDIOMS" (and the related subject "PROVERBS"), both of which have been assigned quite inconsistently, often contrary to the strict meaning of the terms and contrary to the fact that they only rarely apply to the expressions on both sides of the translation.equations. However, there are now some 16,400 translations assigned to the subject-category "IDIOM" and over 1000 assigned to "PROVERBS", andi It is illusory to hope that so many entries can be corrected either manually or automatically or to hope that at this point the data-structure can be modified to distinguish more clearly between SUBJECTS as categories of translation equations and bracketed tags as specifiers of translation components.

What we cannot change, we must live with. This is easier to do if we GIVE UP THE IDEA that the SUBJECTs can simultaneously function as both categories and specifications, in practice it only makes for confusion. My suggestion is:

(1) retain IDIOMs and PROVERBs simply as categories and to use them whenever the expression on one or the other side of the translation equation fits the category definition, e.g.
-  "IDIOM":        "A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of
                        the individual words (e.g. over the moon, see the light).
-  "PROVERB":  "A short, well-known pithy saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice."

(2) assign -- in addition to the category -- the specification "[idiom]" on the one side of the translation equation that fits the above definition. If both sides of the translation equation happen to be culturally canonized idioms -- something only rarely the case, since  idioms seldom correspond one to one --, set this specification  on both sides of the equation.
       Although this sounds redundant, it is important to make clear the difference between
       -     canonized expressions (=idioms) that are usually only approximately equivalent and
       -     mere translations that effectively convey the sense of the idiom, but are not canonized.
       If need be, the (mere) translation should be specified as "[fig.]" or even "[freely translated]".
       In many cases, it will be better not to translate the idiom at all, but rather simply to explain
       its meaning and use in brackets
tomaquinaten  #827618
von geo255 (US), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 19:39  like dislike  Spam?  
I have significant qualms about your suggestion.  The root of its problem is that it is sufficiently intricate not only to require a careful reading by the contributors but to be beyond the ken of the dict user.  After all, the latter is not likely to read this dissertation-length forum thread so, faced with the seemingly random appearance of "idiom" in one, two, or three locations of a translation page, they may conclude that the contributor was manifesting symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

So far, IMHO, the most reasonable suggestion is to tag the individual language lines of a translation with "idiom" as fits the case.  However, this does not settle the question of the subject line for "idiom".  Personally, I think if we are to use "idiom" as a disambiguation we should dispense entirely with "idiom" in the subject line.  Otherwise I think the distinction between what is idiomatic and what isn't becomes unclear.

As pointed out earlier, adding "idiom" as a square-bracketed disambiguation can add to the clutter in that respective line.  I think this is a relatively small price to pay in order to give the dict user an unambiguous idea of where in the translation the idiom lies.
geo255:: Basically I agree with you, and I can put MY PROPOSAL IN A NUTSHELL  #827621
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 21:17  like dislike  Spam?  
The specification "[idiom]" definitely belongs on the side of the translation equation that fits the definition, i.e. a culturally canonized turn of phrase whose meaning cannot be understood or translated word-for-word;
if both sides of the translation equation fit this definition, the specification belongs on both sides.

I would gladly dispense with the *SUBJECT "Idiom", which is really useful only to categorize entries of this type, making them systematically retrievable, but I fear that Paul and the majority of our community will not be prepared to do this, and, even if they were to agree,  automatically deleting this SUBJECT would mean that some 16,000 entries would lose a useful, if unreliable specification with no hope of automatic or manual correction.

Thus my proposal is a simple compromise -- here it is in a nutshell :
(1) assign the SUBJECT "Idiom" whenever at least one side of the translation equation fits the definition of
    an idiom;
(2) assign the bracketed specification "[idiom]"  to the side -- if necessary to both sides -- of the translation
    equation that fit the above definition.
(3) leave unmarked the side giving a mere translation or bracketed explanation.

If this solution is adopted, Paul could certainly formulate an easily understood GL or an agreed formulation could be incorporated into a set of "Practice Rules" supplementing the GL.
Wenz 10:42:  #827624
von parker11 (DE), 2015-12-15, 20:12  like dislike  Spam?  
Stimmt, wenn man drauf achtet. Außer natürlich, es ist falsch gesetzt. Was bei einem Subject schneller passiert als bei Disambiguations-Tags, die gevotet und verifiziert werden müssen. Subjects kann (fast) jeder  ohne weitere Prüfung setzen, löschen, ändern. Auch später, und kein Schwein kriegt es mit, noch nicht einmal die Voter des entsprechenden Eintrags.
von uffie (GH/KI), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 21:05  like dislike  Spam?  
the problem with subjects was - and still is - that they can be changed arbitrarily whenever somebody feels like it. In practice, only more experienced voters do this and then by consulting others.

However, a change of subject does not appear in any of the voting lists AFAIK and can therefore not be tracked.

Until this is changed subjects cannot be relied upon, only an explanation in square brackets.

Not my preferred choice by any means but the system leaves no other option.
uffie: The problem with SUBJECTS  #827635
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), 2015-12-15, 21:36  like dislike  Spam?  
is not just that they can be changed arbitrarily. The MORE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM is that they are useful to categorize whole translation equations, but are less useful and often confusing when they are used to  "disambiguate", i.e. specify the meaning, of the individual terms or expressions on one or both sides of the translation equation. Such specification is best done with bracketed definitions, explanations or examples, even if these often appear to "clutter up" the entry. .
Möglichkeit ab jetzt ?  #827640
von Wenz (DE), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 22:31  like dislike  Spam?  
Könnten wir nicht sagen, daß alle Einträge mit dem Subject IDIOM, die ab dem heutigen/morgigen ... Tag neu eingetragen oder geändert werden, in Stein gemeißelt sind. D. h. eine Subject-Änderung ist nur über eine nochmalige Verifizierung möglich.
Dieses Nochmal-Verifizieren sollte aber eine Ausnahme bei den Subjects bleiben. Bei allen anderen Subjects ist es nicht so tragisch, wenn sie heimlich, still und leise "manipuliert" werden - sie dienen nur zur ungefähren Information - 100% klar abgrenzen kann man sie nur sehr selten. Eine Ausnahme könnte ich mir noch bei HIST. vorstellen - da gibt es häufig auch totalen Unfug.

Das ist letztlich eine Frage an Paul.
The deeper problem is the Subject = Idiom function  #827647
von geo255 (US), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 23:34  like dislike  Spam?  
The way dict currently functions, use of SUBJECT = Idiom creates uncertainty over which part of the translation is an idiom (as previously discussed).

Tomaquinaten's suggestion of combining this function with an [idiom] disambiguation on the relevant language does not solve this problem for the user.

So, one way out of this impasse is to  revise the SUBJECT = Idiom and have it read something like SUBJECT = "Contains Idiom" or perhaps SUBJECT = "IDIOM in whole or part".

This should not require any reopens as Paul, with his trusty programming, can change all of the SUBJECT = Idiom to the requisite wording and change the list of Subjects so that only the requisite wording can be chosen.

All that remains, then, is for us to correctly apply the [idiom] tags.  In fact, Paul, inspired by the Christmas spirit, could program the system so that if the Subject was set to 'idiom' than at least one of the translation lines would have to have an [idiom] in it.  To eliminate misspellings of 'idiom', Paul could make this disambiguation a selection from the list which includes [Am], [Br.], [coll], etc.

Paul: have you been taking your vitamins?  :-))
von uffie (GH/KI), Last modified: 2015-12-15, 23:47  like dislike  Spam?  
couldn't agree more, tom. Not sure whether this is common practice now but it should be.

Sounds good to me geo.
von Paul (AT), 2015-12-16, 00:37  like dislike  Spam?  
Die beste Lösung wäre wahrscheinlich wirklich, bei der Verwendung des Fachgebiets "Idiom" zukünftig ein entsprechendes Tag auf mindestens einer Seite vorzuschreiben.
Paul  #827659
von geo255 (US), 2015-12-16, 02:30  like dislike  Spam?  
But if the subject = Idiom and, say, the English side has [idiom] as a disambiguation, what should the user think?  He or she might easily conclude that the entire translation is idiomatic and that the contributor left off on [idiom] tag by chance.  Or, if there are other disambiguations, the user might not see the single [idiom] tag at all.

Since the only function remaining for the Subject = idiom selection is to group idiom-containing translations.  That being the case, changing the wording so that there is no implication that the entire translation is idiomatic would remove the latent confusion we've been talking about
geo: "Classing" whole translations VS. "tagging" (=specifying, disambiguating) individual expressions on one side of a translation-pair  #827661
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), Last modified: 2015-12-16, 07:06  like dislike  Spam?  
Given the* data-structure, SUBJECT-names must be short (maximal 8 characters). This alone makes them ambiguous. Further ambiguity comes from their having been used inconsistently in the past BOTH to class whole translation-pairs AND to specify=disambiguate meaning or use on one or both sides of the translation-pair. The present discussion -- an echo of numerous previous discussions --  clearly demonstrates that this ambiguous practice doesn't work. But it is too late now to change the system by eliminating or re-naming the SUBJECT-CLASS "idiom"  with its over 16,000 translation-pairs.

What we can do, is to attempt to standardize our practice, at least for the future, in Paul's word's: "Die beste Lösung wäre wahrscheinlich wirklich, bei der Verwendung des Fachgebiets "Idiom" zukünftig ein entsprechendes Tag auf mindestens einer Seite vorzuschreiben" #827652].
   Of course, this will confuse many users, but the confusion will be no greater than that which currently results from the ongoing ambiguous use of the SUBJECT-CLASS "idiom" to mark whole translation-pairs, when in fact only one side is a true idiom. Even worse confusion would result, however. from automatically deleting the SUBJECT--CLASS "idiom", thus  depriving the user of the useful information that at least one side of the translation pair is a culturally fixed expression that cannot be understood or translated word-for-word.

Some minor suggestions for improvement:
--   adding a clickable "[idiom.]"-tag to the respective lines of the entry-form would definitely facilitate and
    encourage observing the new rule. Writing it with a period would indicate more clearly that it is an
    abbreviation for "idiomatic" / "idiomatisch" and thus functions as a specifing marker.
--   Re-naming the SUBJECT-CLASS "idioms" {pl} (instead of "idiom" {sg.}) would help make clear that the
    term is meant primarily to classify the translation pair as a whole.
--   Using the term "subject-classes" (instead of simply "subjects") both in the official layout
    and in our FORUM-discussions would better express their primary function and better correspond to the
    German term "Fachgebiete"
     -- in my own FORUM contributions I preferably write  "SUBJECT-CLASS" (upper case) to call attention
        to the special meaning the term has in jargon. If we could agree to consistently use the
        term "subject-class" this obviously would no longert be necessary.
     -- Continuing to call these class-markers "subject-tags" is confusing and should if possible be avoided,
        since the term "tag" in jargon normally means bracketed information added to a term or
        expression on one side of a translation-pair to specify resp. disambiguate its meaning and usage
             I once made a suggestion to speak of "subject-flags" to refer to the standardized class-names
             that must be clicked into a special line in the entry form and that appear as gray square flags
             in result-sets, where they stand in the middle between the two sides of the translation-pair.
             Unfortunately, this attempt to create less ambiguous terminology found no echo, although other,
             perhaps better names, e.g. "class-markers", might also do the trick.
             In any case, the ongoing use of the term "subject-tag" to refer to both the gray class-markers
             and to the bracketed disambiguating or specifying markers continues to cause confusion in our
             discussions and in our practice.
von uffie (GH/KI), 2015-12-16, 05:32  like dislike  Spam?  
a number of contributors have been quite generous with allocating subjects, the result being that they lost any intrinsic value. As tom said, too late now. And I believe we're better off working with disambiguations. The subjects are in too much of a mess.
uffie: We need BOTH subject classes AND specific bracketed disambiguations!!!  #827670
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), Last modified: 2015-12-16, 07:46  like dislike  Spam?  
Despite all their inconsistencies, our SUBJECT-CLASSES continue to be useful to categorize whole translation-pairs, thus making it easier, for instance, to construct personal dictionary extracts tailored to the interests of the user. We should NOT abandon them; we should ONLY throw away the idea that they are suitable instruments for disambiguation and specification and should therefore take the trouble to formulate clear bracketed definitions or explanations -- as short as possible. as long as necessary -- which adequately serve this purpose, placing them on the side of the translation-pair that needs such disambiguation or specification.
     If we could once and for all recognize that SUBJECT-CLASSES and bracketed disambiguations are functionally different and by no means redundant, even if they are expressed in similar or identical terms, we could put an end to many fruitless discussions and controversies here in the FORUM and concentrate on the work at hand..
re tom's 7.06 post:  #827671
von Lllama (GB/AT), 2015-12-16, 08:25  like dislike  Spam?  
Writing it with a period would indicate more clearly that it is an abbreviation for "idiomatic" / "idiomatisch" -
saying something is idiomatic isn't the same as saying something is an idiom (as we are using it here). Using, containing, or denoting expressions that are natural to a native speaker A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words
von uffie (GH/KI), Last modified: 2015-12-16, 14:16  like dislike  Spam?  
4; tom. I have always been a supporter of the subjects. Potentially, they are a very useful feature.

However, the way they have been applied by a number of contributors has made them redundant.

It is not until a) people are made aware that they are important and should be chosen judiciously and b) they cannot be changed randomly (by anybody)

that they can start to work properly.
von Paul (AT), 2015-12-16, 18:23  like dislike  Spam?  
Ich habe jetzt die [Idiom]-Tags in die Sprachfelder in allen Sprachpaaren eingebaut (zumindest dort, wo das Idiom-Subject schon lokalisiert war). Ich plane jetzt, eine Sperre mit Hinweis einzubauen, wenn das Subject verwendet wird und in keinem der Sprachfelder das Tag verwendet wurde. Das schaffe ich heute aber nicht mehr, kommt in den nächsten Tagen.
Das hört sich gut an, Paul. Danke, wir werden sehen!  #827758
von Wenz (DE), 2015-12-16, 20:54  like dislike  Spam?  
So ungefähr habe ich es mir vorgestellt.
Danke, Paul  #827781
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), 2015-12-16, 23:15  like dislike  Spam?  
That will greatly help standardize our practice for future entries and re-opens. And we can well live with the inconsistances of the old entries. Certainly, some of them that under no circumstances fit the definition of idiom can and should be manually corrected by deleting the SUBJECT-CLASS marker, when a serious, experienced and meticulous happens to notice them, but I do not mean to encourage mass-corrections done by unserious and little-qualified voters hoping to improve their voting statistics. For this reason, there is much to be said for Wenz's suggestion to make the elimination of the SUBJECT-CLASS "idiom" count as a re-opening requiring voter verification. Such an exception, however, probably would be too difficult to program.
A FOOTNOTE Lilama: The meaning of "idiomatic" in British English.  #827782
von tomaquinaten (US/DE), Last modified: 2015-12-16, 23:45  like dislike  Spam?  
Although perhaps not the most frequent meaning, the adj. "idiomatic" can ALSO be used to mean "containing an idiom" even in British English.  Strangely, this meaning is not given in the standard Oxford comprehensive dictionary, but the entry there refers the user to the Oxford advanced learners' dictionaries, where it is found, compare:
-- (Br.)
-- (Am.)
Other dictionaries documenting this usage are:
--   Cambridge (Br.), listed as the first meaning:
--   Longman (Br.), listed as the first meaning:
--   Macmillan (Br.) listed as the second meaning:
--   Merriam-Webster (Am.), as the*first* meaning:
--   Random House  (Am.), listed as the second meaning:
--   Collins (Br.) fails to define "idiomatic", simply listing it as an adjectival derivative of "idiom", thus
           implying that it can be used in any of the four senses of the noun, the first of which is an idiomatic
           expression in the technical sense:
--    Collins (Am.), however, explicitly lists this as the third meaning:
NOTE that none of the Br. dictionaries that give this meaning qualify it as "Am." !!!

The DE adjective "idiomatisch" is likewise used in the sense of "von bzw. in der Art eines Idioms", see
--     Duden Online, listed as the 1,a meaning:
--     DWDS, listed as the  second meaning:

THE MORAL of the story: NEVER trust any single dictionary, however renowned; ALWAYS cross-check it against at least one other major dictionary !!!.
Please continue here: #827890  #827940
von Paul (AT), 2015-12-18, 12:42  like dislike  Spam?  

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