Wikivoyage talk:Phrasebook article template

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I have added some little things like Saturday :-), petrol, diesel (is this correct?) and a new subsection "Writing Time and Date", since in many countries there exist writing modes that could easily confused if you don't know about.

Evan, do you realy want to keep the phrase with the 'pint'? I don't think that there would be too many countries where beer is served by pints. --- (WT-en) Hansm 04:50, 2003 Nov 4 (PST)

In New Zealand we still ask for beer in pints, also in handles, jugs and flagons and keg. These words are all used to describe the nominal but convenient measures for drinking vessels and often have no exact metric equivalent (and New Zealand has been metric for thirty years.) Put whatever the common words are to ask for drinks in a drinking vessel of about 0.5, 1, 2, 4-5, 25 litre capacity or whatever commom measures are available. At least give one phrase that will get a thirsty drinker a drink in the refreshment of his choice in a drinking vessel of an appropriate size. -- (WT-en) Huttite 18:54, 10 Apr 2004 (EDT)

In some places, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, the commonly used calendar is not the Gregorian. Should we put a note in the month section asking phrasebook writers to explain the local calendar, as I did in the Hebrew phrasebook? -(WT-en) phma 20:36, 5764 Kis 12 (EST)

I was just thinking the same thing as I started the Nepali phrasebook. I imagine the best thing to do would be to have a general explanitory note at the start of the section and then give the months and their rough equivalent dates in the Gregorian calendar. For lunar calendars and others that change from year to year, maybe just give the equivalents for the next three years? Or just the names and a link to where people can find out more? (WT-en) Majnoona

Making friends[edit]

So, I've been thinking for a while that we need another section of the phrasebook template.

Most of the stuff we have is really for dealing with people in an official way (at restaurants, at police stations, etc.). It would be nice to actually have a section ("Making friends"?) where you can interact, in a basic way, with people as people.

Some things I was thinking might be good:

  • I come from _______ in America/Canada/the UK/New Zealand/Australia.
  • What do you do? (for a job)
  • I am a... (job)
  • ...student.
  • ...businessperson.
  • ...writer.
  • ...programmer.
  • ...artist.
  • ...musician.
  • ...scientist.
  • ...surveyor.
  • ...salesperson.
  • ...acting assistant director of product marketing logistics for the third western regional division. (OK, it might be hard to make an exhaustive list...)
  • I came to your country/city...
  • ...for a vacation.
  • study.
  • study plants.
  • study animals.
  • ...for business.
  • do volunteer work.
  • Are you married?
  • I am...
  • ...married.
  • ...single.
  • ...engaged.
  • ...divorced.
  • ...a widow/widower.
  • I have a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • What is his/her name?
  • My husband's/wife's name is _______.
  • My boyfriend's/girlfriend's name is _______.
  • Do you have children?
  • I have no children.
  • I have ____ son(s).
  • I have ____ daughter(s).
  • My children are...
  • ...babies.
  • ...toddlers.
  • ...teenagers.
  • ...adults.
  • _____ years old.
  • My son's name is _______.
  • My daughter's name is _______.
  • This is a picture of my ....
  • ... wife.
  • ... husband.
  • ... boyfriend.
  • ... girlfriend.
  • ... house.
  • ... car.
  • ... bicycle.
  • ... hometown.
  • ... son.
  • ... daughter.
  • ... family.
  • I like...
  • ...dancing.
  • ...computers.
  • ...traveling.
  • ...hiking.
  • ...boating.
  • ...surfing.
  • par-tay.
  • of other hobby.
  • Do you like _____?
  • I play...
  • ...guitar.
  • ...flute.
  • ...mandolin.
  • I play...
  • ...chess.
  • ...backgammon.

I guess this could easily slip into a pickup line section, but I think there's an actual value in trying to make a human connection in the local language. If anyone has some thoughts for other things that should go in this list, please edit it directly -- we can copy it all over to the template proper when we feel comfy with it. --(WT-en) Evan 07:45, 14 Dec 2003 (PST)


Here's something I think we need a phrase for. Suppose I go to Bangkok. I have never had sex with anyone and will not until I'm sure she's going to be my wife. I ask to go to some destination. The tuk-tuk driver takes me to a brothel instead. What do I say? -(WT-en) phma 05:27, 16 Dec 2003 (PST)

I have no clue what to do say about that in English. I guess you could say, "This is not where I asked you to take me," or "Please take me where I asked you to." --(WT-en) Evan 07:40, 16 Dec 2003 (PST)

Incomplete translation notice for phrasebooks[edit]

I have seen a couple of phrasebooks based on this template that are incompletely translated. Generally the still to be translated phrases appear as English-English translations. It is normally obvious to an English speaker that the translation is incomplete, if the English-English is left.

But if the translator uses an intermediate language or borrows from an already translated phrasebook, because that is the language they are familiar with, then we have some potential for trouble. Some contributors have also added a variety of notes to indicate that translation of some phrases, or a particular section, is not completely translated.

Most phrasebooks are too long to be stubs but may still be pages needing attention, and so should have an appropriate standard message on them in place of the non standard notes. How about having the following message?

''Some [[Project:Phrasebook template|phrases]] in this [[Project:Phrasebook Expedition|phrasebook]] still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can [[Project:ways to help Wikivoyage|help]] by [[Project:Plunge forward|plunging forward]] and [[Project:How to edit a page|translating a phrase]].''

which becomes :

Some phrases in this phrasebook still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can help by plunging forward and translating a phrase.

This could be a MediaWiki message like {{msg:phrase}}. Any thoughts -- (WT-en) Huttite 19:38, 10 Apr 2004 (EDT)

See Template:phrase. It's probably a bit generic as a message name ("incomplete phrasebook", maybe?) but let's run with it. I think this is a smashing idea. --(WT-en) Evan 19:49, 10 Apr 2004 (EDT)

"This is a phrasebook" message[edit]

I wish there were a standard MediaWiki message at the bottom of every phrasebook, something like {{msg:phrasebook}}.

Then we could put stuff in common to all phrasebooks into that message. (Perhaps something like a Wikivoyage phrasebook with the word "phrasebook" linked to Project:List of phrasebooks ).

Learning more[edit]

So, one thing I'd like to add to the template is a section on learning more about the language. Phrases like, How do I say _____ in Language? or What do you call this/that in Language? I think this could be a good blueprint for letting travellers expand their vocabulary for local food, landmarks, customs, etc. Just a thought... I'll try to expand when I have cheaper, more reliable net access. B-) --(WT-en) Evan 08:39, 27 Dec 2004 (EST)

  • This sounds like a great idea! I'll add that. -(WT-en) phma 00:08, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)
Could we get some clarity on what this section is for? It seems like it's being used as an External links section, but it sounds like it's actually supposed to be for phrases. (WT-en) Majnoona 00:04, 2 May 2006 (EDT)


Some phrasebook have extlinks to online dictionaries. Since it has become nearly a defacto standard to do so, I've added text to the template allowing for that. Problems with this change include: how to pick dictionaries; online dictionaries are useless in a printed guide; yadda yadda. -- (WT-en) Colin 03:21, 8 Mar 2005 (EST)


A few languages, such as Greek and Chinese, have names for metric units that foreigners wouldn't recognize; e.g. in Chinese "gram" is ke. In some places old units are still in use, such as the tola in India and the vara in Latin America. I started a measurement section in the Greek phrasebook; any suggestions on what else should go in it? -(WT-en) phma 21:27, 6 May 2005 (EDT)

Conjunction words[edit]

I miss conjunction words (like and, or) from the template; they're very essencial in cases when you want to ask for/buy something in a neat way (e.g.: I'd like to have a sandwich and a bottle of water.). - (WT-en) Tomkat, 7:24, 30 Jun 2005 (CEST)

I agree. It would be nice to at least know the words for and and or. Also a few basic adjectives such as very, many, good, bad, big, small and happy might be helpful. (WT-en) Trezatium 16:59, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)
Okay then! We just need to discuss, where to put it. I suggest after the Basics section. -- (WT-en) Tomkat 11:37, 12 Oct 2005 (CET)
Seems like the best place to me, though an alternative would be at the end, just before Learning more. I reckon the list should be kept to at most ten words, including and and perhaps or. The idea would be to provide someone with just enough basic adjectives to enable them to improvise when they don't know the exact phrase. For example, if offered some strange food they'd be able to communicate "just a little, please", and would then be able to tell their host that the food is "very good, thank you". So the adjectives should be applicable to a wide range of situations. Each phrasebook should also say whether adjectives are usually put before or after the subject.
But I don't know what the new section would be called. One option would be to call it Adjectives, and then add any conjunctions to some other section. - (WT-en) Trezatium 17:31, 13 Nov 2005 (EST)

making friends... and further[edit]

couldn't we include a section about socializing/flirting/f***ing (since for many people, the latters are part of the travel experience)? how to say "I'd love to see you again", "I love you", "do you have condoms?" ... 14:55, 11 Aug 2005 (EDT)


As I understand it, a diphthong is a combination of two vowel sounds. So why are combinations of consonants included under that heading? - (WT-en) Trezatium 17:03, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)

I've changed it to Common digraphs, which seems to make more sense. - (WT-en) Trezatium 15:00, 18 Nov 2005 (EST)

Understanding others[edit]

The way I see it at the moment, the standard phrasebooks are great for working out how to say many common phrases in the local language. However, they seem at the moment to be of no use once the other person answers back. Should we also add commons expressions you are likely to hear in the other language? For example, the German phrasebook has the expression for it tasted great, but doesn't have the common question "Hat es gescheckt?" that waitstaff ask as they take your plates away, leaving you to sit there like a stunned mullet because you didn't understand the question, even if you knew the answer perfectly. -- (WT-en) Brendio 16:59, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)

Go ahead! These seem like a good candidate for infoboxing, so they're a little separate from the body of the phrasebook. (WT-en) Jpatokal 23:08, 25 Jan 2006 (EST)

Stopping of phoneticisations[edit]

I don't think phoneticisations should stop after the basic phrases section. I think that they should continue throughout the page. These pages should be designed to print off and take with the traveller as their guide, we're not trying to graduate them in the language. I understand the idea behind them but I don't think it's a good one. I'm currently working on the Icelandic phrasebook and will be placing the correct and accurate pronunciations throughout, from start of phrasebook to end of phrasebook.

"Learning more" section[edit]

see also Wikivoyage_talk:External links/Archive#Clarification - primary/secondary sources - "If there are to be no exceptions..." [Target of wikilink updated. (WT-en) JimDeLaHunt 13:31, 5 October 2007 (EDT)]

Should the "Learning more" section be removed? ~ 14:40, 28 January 2007 (EST)

  • Bump/rephrase - Any objections to the "Learning more" section being removed? ~ 05:39, 24 October 2007 (EDT)
Rename it to something like "Asking about language", make it quite clear that it is for phrases like "How do you say ...?" and "What is this called", not for external links. (WT-en) Pashley 06:08, 24 October 2007 (EDT)
Suggest those questions don't warrant a special and unique top-level section. I think those questions should be kept and moved into a sub-section of the "Phrase list" section, and the top-level "Learning more" section should be deleted. ~ 06:21, 24 October 2007 (EDT)
Fine by me. (WT-en) Pashley 22:41, 3 December 2007 (EST)
Last call: any objections to the removal of the "Learning more" (effectively "External links") sections? ~ 02:34, 20 December 2007 (EST)

swept in from Project:Travellers' pub (see also RFC):

Learning more?

I'm a bit surprised by this section of the phrasebook article template—it looks like an invitation to add a whole bunch of worthless external links. Is this something we mean to have? Or could I take the axe to it? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 02:05, 4 October 2007 (EDT)

See also Project:Phrasebook template#"Learning more" section + RFC (the original RFC was deleted, I've just restored it) ~ 08:40, 5 October 2007 (EDT)
Here's a vote for deletion of that section. ~ 04:43, 24 October 2007 (EDT)
Last call: any objections to the removal of the "Learning more" (effectively "External links") sections? ~ 02:34, 20 December 2007 (EST)

Sidebar links to Wikibooks[edit]

Should we add a [[WikiPedia:]]-style mechanism for putting links to Wikibooks in the sidebar for Wikivoyage Phrasebook articles? ~ 01:36, 22 December 2007 (EST)

Would anyone have any objections to this proposal? ~ 15:58, 11 January 2008 (EST)

Sounds like a sound proposal to me. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 17:50, 11 January 2008 (EST)
Any idea how to set it up? ~ 23:40, 20 January 2008 (EST)
No, unfortunately. I think (WT-en) Evan used to be the person who managed this sort of thing. And it doesn't appear that anyone has really replaced him in this. --(WT-en) Peter Talk 23:45, 20 January 2008 (EST)

Phrasebook template an actual template[edit]

Please stay tuned for the discussion at the Travellers' pub in regards to turning this page into an actual template. Pikolas (talk) 15:55, 4 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Phrasebook template[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I'm not sure this has been addressed before, but I really think the Phrasebook article template should be made an actual template. This is to simplify its filling and standardize it properly (avoid any differences or typos). Another important benefit would be that any change to the template would immediately change the articles as well, saving hours of human/bot edits. Pikolas (talk) 15:50, 4 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You mean Template:Phrasebook? LtPowers (talk) 16:35, 4 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, yes. Why isn't it used? Pikolas (talk) 21:05, 4 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is—the link is at the top of the edit window when starting a new article [1]. But I might be misunderstanding what you are proposing. --Peter Talk 21:12, 4 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Strangely, I can't see this thing you're describing. Pikolas (talk) 23:44, 4 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Try this: [2] LtPowers (talk) 00:34, 5 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A suggestion for an addition to all of our phrasebooks[edit]

Swept in from the pub

In my opinion it might be a good idea to add the phrase "I love you" (and maybe some other similar phrases which would be grouped under a separate sub section) to all of the phrasebooks. What do you think ? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 16:53, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've seen things like that in Lonely Planet and other travel guidebooks. I think this is a great idea and I'm surprised we're not doing it already. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 18:21, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Silly question: To what end? Seems like something one would only say to an intimate, which would only be possible if there was a language connection already. Powers (talk) 18:59, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here's an example of how these types of phrases would be useful to a lot of people... if for example an Australian/American/British girl has a French boyfriend, she might want to surprise him by saying "I love you" in French, even though they both communicate quite well in English. These days there are a lot of couples from different countries and cultures, and I could only assume many of them are looking for this type of information for these reasons.
AndreCarrotflower, what phrases of this type do you recall that were written in the professional phrasebooks? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 22:56, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quite a few guide books try and be 'edgy' with phrases such as 'I really like your <insert piece of anatomy here>', and I would urge that our phrasebooks don't go in that direction. The content should be genuinely useful, and I'm with Powers in asking if this is actually useful. Remember that people have to be able to print this out and filling it up with non-relevant phrases is not serving anyone well.
The scenario of a French boyfriend is not particularly compelling. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:01, 29 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can see what you are trying to say here... basically you are saying that unless we turn such a sub-section into a sleazy pick-up guide for travelers whom are interested in advancing on foreigners whom don't speak English... such a section would never be useful for English travelers abroad (because, in your opinion, any sort of a long time serious foreign girlfriend/boyfriend scenario would be unrelated to traveling/travelers). Although I understand what you are saying, I still think we should consider adding the "I love you" phrase at the very least. What do everyone else think? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 01:23, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I don't particularly object to 'I love you'. Just the direction subsequent additions could go in. Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:45, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"I love you" is fine if that's a phrase that is used locally. I'm not sure it's essential to include, but it usually wouldn't hurt. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:14, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also have to ask: How is this relevant for travel? Once you are able to say or convey this to someone else, you usually have some deal of fluency in any language or form of communication that you both understand. Though I have in fact once read a book that involved a guy proposing to a woman with the aid of a dictionary - she accepted. That being said, there is also the not too small problem of cultural background. "I love you" may be a simple sentence on the face of it, but different cultures may have different ways of approaching it. From saying it rather casually to not saying it after twenty years of marriage. And of course all things in between. And than there are those languages that have two similar but not equal ways of saying this. Such as Spanish "te quiero" and "te amo". While traveling is of course an activity during which love can hit (and indeed, which activity isn't?) I think our phrasebooks would be better served by not bloating them with a discussion on the intricacies of dating in Taiwan (I hope the previous is and stays a redlink) or the likes. Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:56, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We might be overthinking things. If someone wants to add a particular phrase to an individual phrasebook, go ahead and do so. If it ends up being something of questionable value ("my hovercraft is full of eels") it can always be reverted later, but there is no harm in having the translation for "I love you" in a specific phrasebook. In terms of our default list of phrases to translate, that list should be constrained to phrases of immediate use to travelers, so things like "I love you" or "I want to use my advanced language skills to teach students in my own country to speak your language" might not be appropriate. -- Ryan • (talk) • 15:25, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't have an opinion about "I love you", but I think that an expression of (dis)approval would be more immediately useful: "I (don't) like it/you/him/her" rather than "I love you". This is useful regardless of whether one is speaking of a person, the food in a restaurant, the view from the hotel room, etc., and more general than "It was delicious" (the most relevant current phrase). WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:27, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We didn't have a phrase as simple as "I (don't) like it?" - that surprises me quite a bit. I petition for its inclusion! Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:46, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I might be wrong, but I looked through the Spanish and German ones, and I didn't see anything like it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:18, 2 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I looked through Wikivoyage:Phrasebook article template, and I can't decide where to put this. Is it "basic"? Maybe under Lodging (I like the room), Eating (I like the food), Shopping (I like the things you sell)? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:15, 4 November 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Linking the pseudo-phoneticization guide in all phrasebooks[edit]

The Russian phrasebook links Project:Pseudo-phoneticization guide prominently. Many commercial phrasebooks have a phonetic convention before the phrase lists, as well.

For languages with many regional variants, a fake pronounce of an English approximation could destroy intelligibility. It is also important for ny, oe and other sounds that aren't common in English: the reader may not know how to decode, while reading a printed phrasebook "on the field". The pronunciation guide also benefits a non-English speaker that uses material from this wiki (Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian currently lack many phrasebooks).

What about adding a prominent link in all Category:Phrasebooks and in this template? I would volunteer for it. -- 18:40, 15 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Assuming you are suggesting to use the Russian phrasebook's link to the pronunciation guide as a model in all phrasebooks, I would support this proposal.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 18:59, 15 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I would copy-paste this sentence from the Russian phrasebook in all phrasebooks and the template, under the section Phrase list:
See Project:Pseudo-phoneticization guide for guidance on the phoneticizations below
This could be considered a minor edit on 1 page, but they are ~230 pages, and I did not check how many do have the link already, so it might potentially raise a lot of messages in the recent changes list etc. -- 19:27, 15 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support this proposal, but for goodness' sake, only if you use a template. The relevant text should go in Template:Pseudophonetic guide or something so that each article only has to add {{pseudophonetic guide}} instead of copy-pasting the actual text. --Bigpeteb (talk) 21:51, 15 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@ThunderingTyphoons!: I think either you or I may have misunderstood the proposal—it seems to me this is a proposal to use the same pseudopronunciation guide for all phrasebooks, which I oppose. Different languages make different sound distinctions and require different descriptions for English speakers and different solutions in how we write pseudo-pronunciations. A one-size-fits-all solution with the same sound guide for all phrasebooks sounds like a bad idea. Moreover, the page under discussion is not very clear—at least add IPA, so that, for instance, someone who doesn't speak German can figure out what "oe" is supposed to represent. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:20, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good points. What about a template that allows to customize the link, should a language-specific guide be appropriate, and fall back to the current guide, if the default cues are sufficient (e.g. most Romance languages)?

{{pseudophonetic guide}} <!-- Optionally add |link= for a language-specific guide --> Adding IPA to the guide would be a benefit. I'd do it, if I knew IPA enough. -- 07:34, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hmm. How useful is this guide to most readers, anyway? The whole idea of pseudo-phoneticizations is that they provide transcriptions that are so intuitive to native English speakers, they can basically get the idea without having to check a reference (otherwise we would just use the much more precise and universal IPA). Sounds that don't exist in English can and should be explained in the "Pronunciation guide" section of each phrasebook in a way that makes sense for the unique sound system of the language in question. To assist non-native English speakers, why don't we add a single link from the main Phrasebooks page instead of cluttering up each individual phrasebook?
By the way, Project:Pseudo-phoneticization guide is clearly intended to be a "behind the scenes" page, not a reader-facing page, so if we're going to start linking to it from the mainspace maybe we should rewrite the introductory section. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:39, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What you wrote earlier is not how I understood it. I assume that was only talking about phrasebooks like Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Malay, Japanese, etc., which are already using the "standard" pseudo-phoneticization guide for at least some phrases. Other phrasebooks like Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Thai, etc., use a transliteration that's standard for each language (such as Pinyin for Mandarin Chinese) and don't have any pseudo-phoneticizations, and I don't think the proposal was to add them.
While the ideal goal for a pseudo-phoneticization is to be instantly understood without needing explanation, it's not always achievable. Even Wikipedia has their own pronunciation respelling system which is linked to when you use w:Template:Respell, and w:Pronunciation respelling for English has a chart showing 20 different systems!
So long as there are articles on WV that are using our more-or-less standard pseudo-phoneticization guide, it makes sense to link to it where it's used, in case someone is confused. Personally, our use of "igh" (as in "high") to represent /aɪ/ was pretty baffling to me at first, since it leads to things like Japanese onegai turning into oh-neh-gigh; had I not already known Japanese, I would have tried to pronounce that as /ɡɪh/ or /ɡɪx/ instead of /ɡaɪ/. And phonetic respellings are helpful in unexpected places; even in Japanese which has a standard easy-to-use transliteration system, yesterday I added a note to Mine that it's pronounced mee-neh and not like English "mine". --Bigpeteb (talk) 17:04, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Wikipedia template you mentioned is used for English words, which means that it can be precise and complete. In contrast, we're trying to use a similar system to give rough approximations for foreign words, which have a wide variety of sounds not found in English. Accordingly, we should give editors the flexibility to adjust the system to accommodate the needs of each individual language, as is already done in the Malay phrasebook you linked above, among others. (Meanwhile the Russian phrasebook uses the letter "r" in a way that doesn't seem to match the pseudo-phoneticization guide it links to—the Russian р ("r") sound is not at all the same sound as the English "r".) You've convinced me that some kind of explanation is useful, but my concern is that if we link to the guide from every phrasebook, editors and readers will assume that it is a constraint and that individual phrasebooks aren't allowed the flexibility to use somewhat different respelling systems as needed.
Another option would be to incorporate respelling guides into the "Pronunciation guide" section of each phrasebook. Then the explanation of the respelling system would be based on a language-specific description of the sounds instead of a one-size-fits-all description of English approximations. That would lead to better pronunciation and be more convenient for the reader (no need to click through to another page where the relevant sounds are mixed in with a bunch of others from different languages and puzzle over how they correspond to the pronunciation information given at the beginning of the phrasebook). —Granger (talk · contribs) 01:33, 17 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Excellent points; you've convinced me. I'd support adding a tailored respelling guide to each phrasebook that uses respellings. --Bigpeteb (talk) 16:22, 17 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hey guys, I noticed what I regard as a glaring omission of the words for "front" and "back" from the standard phrasebook template. I really think it should be added in, because you are very likely to encounter these words when asking for directions. How else will someone tell you that the toilet is behind the petrol station, or that the bus stop is in front of the bank? The dog2 (talk) 18:34, 11 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You are right. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:40, 11 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree, those seem useful. I would add them after "past the ___" and "before the ___", and to account for differences in grammar I would phrase them as "in front of the ___" and "behind the ___". --Bigpeteb (talk) 00:24, 12 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That sounds good. I'll add them in if there are no objections. The dog2 (talk) 04:29, 12 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done. The dog2 (talk) 16:08, 12 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry for coming back to this, but in the interest of being more useful to travellers, instead of just having the words for "left" and "right", I think we should have the phrases "left of the ___" and "right of the ____" instead to account for grammatical differences. In addition, I propose adding "inside the ______" and "outside the _______" to the phrasebook, as these can also come in handy when receiving directions from people. The dog2 (talk) 05:30, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As you know, many languages have no "the". If there's a difference between "right (position)" and "to the right", that can be indicated. But for the phrases you're using, such as "left of the ____", I'd have to know the context in order to know how to translate them into Malay. If that's the left side of something, it would be "sebelah kiri", but if it means "to the left of (something)", it would be "ke kiri". Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:35, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Chinese (whether Mandarin or the other dialects I speak) and Japanese don't have a word for "the" either. If I do a word for word translation for the Chinese equivalent for "inside the post office" for instance, it will come off as "post office inside" (邮政局里面 in Chinese), which of course sounds very incoherent in English. So how do we account for such differences then? The dog2 (talk) 05:46, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Probably leave things flexible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:13, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So what do you think of adding the words for "inside" and "outside" then? The dog2 (talk) 16:17, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ikan Kekek: In the context of directions, I would take it to mean "to the left of (building/business)", as in a bunch of houses or shops in a row ("my house is to the left of my neighbor's house"), not that it's on the left face of a rectangular building ("my house is on the left wall of my neighbor's house"?!). --Bigpeteb (talk) 18:15, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Right, but you have to admit, "left of the ____" is ambiguous. "Inside" and "outside" - sure, those are useful words. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:57, 24 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the other hand, this is for travellers' phrasebooks. And these are phrases they would probably be hearing rather than saying. So as long as the key words "left" and "right" are somewhere in there, I think it's fine to just pick one translation into (or rather, from) the target language, or give two or more options and gloss the differences between them. --Bigpeteb (talk) 00:48, 25 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not so sure a traveler wouldn't be saying them. First, they might repeat directions back to make sure they heard them right. Second, they might be instructing a cabbie, autorickshaw driver or whatever. Third, what if they forgot something like their umbrella and were trying to tell someone they left it to the right of the table leg or something? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:37, 25 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To your last point: it's a phrasebook, not a Language 101 book. Those are not the same. An introductory textbook for a language might teach you how to say things like "the umbrella is on the left side of the desk", but a phrasebook for travellers to get around a city, order food, tell time, and go to the police/hospital should not. Note that we don't even have a phrase for something like "I forgot my ___", so your very implausible scenario is not something that's going to be handled by a phrasebook. Also, we're talking about a section whose only questions are "How do I get to the ___?", "Where are there a lot of ___?", and "Can you show me on the map?". I would think the intention is clear: it's for getting around the city, not locating random objects inside a room. --Bigpeteb (talk) 23:50, 27 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a situation I've been in, but you're ignoring the entire concept of repeating directions back to make sure you understood them. I did that with survival-level Mandarin during my first trip to China, making sure I heard to turn left, then right, rather than right, then left. And I spent only 3 weeks in China that time. QED. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:22, 28 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]