Interpreting the FAQ

I just observed that some things in the database are changing not according to my understanding of the guidelines, so I think it would be good to discuss them: I understood (and think it's a good way) that translations should always be one meaning to one meaning, for example: reunir<>to meet. alternative meanings go under alternative meanings, which will at some point be shown (example: to gather) and added as a new entry in the database reunir<>to gather, now having "to meet" as an alternative. This keeps things simple and clear and will in the future allow for two way translation. Sometimes there is also translation refinement possible, for example "reunir<>to meet (together)"... I think this should be simply added in the extra info memes, that's what they are there for after all and I always love if I can read some of those. And it is a much better way of explaining language nuances then adding brackets and commas to word definitions.

What do you think? It is very important that everybody commenting/curating the database agrees on the basic structure of the database, or it will never get tidy ;)

Posted by memrise_ 2/12/12, last update 5/1/12 (1 year ago)
  • I hope it does get tidy someday.

    Posted by Thoth23 3/24/12 (2 years ago)
  • Ironically, I just sent an email to Ben about how the database completely ignores certain parts of the guidelines.

    If reunir = to meet and to gather then the most important definition will be the main one and the rest will be under English alternatives. Ben has said that actually learning the alternatives is in the pipeline but for the moment only the main definition gets tested.

    Posted by Robodl95 3/27/12 (2 years ago)
  • I just have a quick comment (and apologies) - concerning how reflexive verbs are handled. I've been noting reflexive verbs where the part of speech is rather than the special properties - I'm sorry - I think I'm remembering an older version. I would argue that reflexive verbs should be noted in the part of speech and to remove the "oneself" from the definition. While reflexive verbs are verbs in which the subject is the object being "verbed", there are reflexive verbs that have subtlety different meanings from the non-reflexive equivalent.

    "Verbs used reflexively with a change in meaning: Making a verb reflexive can change its meaning in ways that aren't always predictable. Sometimes the difference in meaning is subtle. Following are some common examples; not all possible meanings of the verbs are included. abonar, to pay money; abonarse, to subscribe (as to a periodical) abrir, to open; abrirse, to open up (in the sense of confiding in someone) acordar, to agree, to decide; acordarse, to remember acusar, to accuse; acusarse, to confess callar, to be quiet; callarse, to become quiet cerrar, to close; cerrarse, to close oneself off emotionally combinar, to combine; combinarse (plural forms), to take turns dormir, to sleep; dormirse, to fall asleep"

    How do you handle the passive voice (as in this case: Se cerraron las puertas. The doors were closed.) A lot of the spanish literature I've been reading uses structures like this but I would never make the connection if I was solely using memrise's definition (infinitive + oneself).

    If you put "reflexive verb" in the POS, the person automatically will put in the infinitive + se without making a comprehension/understanding mistake with the "oneself" association in the definition. (Please note - in some cases, I wouldn't have a problem with the use of oneself, but it doesn't work for every verb.)

    Posted by jenniferhunter 4/29/12 (1 year ago)
  • Excellent point - this sounds very sensible to me. I have added that into the conventions - can you let me know if that is clear? Thanks!

    Ben

    http://www.memrise.com/topic/spanish/conventions/

    Posted by BenWhately Staff   4/30/12 (1 year ago)
  • remove the second instruction in this sentence (special properties) - "Verb Conjugation - (put the main verb as its parent) - plus put 'reflexive' in special properties if reflexive."

    Just FYI on basic parts of speech because not everyone may be familiar with grammar definitions: (which is probably why reflexive verbs were mis-categorized.)

    nouns: the name of an object/something, e.g. cat, door, computer pronouns: (a subset of nouns) nouns that can stand in the place of a noun (ex = they, he, she, it) proper nouns: (a subset of nouns) nouns that are names (John, Ben, Jennifer, Spain) verbs: broadest category of words that indicate actions (i.e. to run) reflexive verbs: (a subset of verbs) verbs in which the action is acted on the subject (in spanish, the reflexive verb is not necessarily translated infinitve + oneself, it may also be added as emphasis (ex: me voy - I'm GOING, or as in the example listed above with the doors (which I tend to translate into the passive voice as opposed to an active voice). There are other interpretations associated with reflexive verbs. adjectives: modifies nouns adverbs: modifies verbs indefinite articles: a, an, the, some conjunctions: a word that connects two or more things (ex: and, but, or) interjections (ex: ah!) preposition (I'm not sure how to define it, but words such as in, through, under are examples)

    *When in doubt - see how a dictionary categorizes the word.

    For special properties - besides indicating dialect, could it also indicate certain other things like this: In the case of the verb "ir", you generally follow with "a"/to, ex: "me voy a mi casa" = "I'm going to my house" or "Voy a ir al museo" - "I'm going to go to the museum."

    Also - for future conventions - you may want to consider such descriptors as "slang", "vulgar", "pejorative", "proverbs". (I'm sure other people can come up with others.) Ex: "el globo" which means globe/sphere but can also mean condom or in the plural - breasts. **these are the polite definitions, the impolite/vulgar version is what you should really be thinking when you see "el globo" or "los globos".

    Posted by jenniferhunter 4/30/12 (1 year ago)
  • Excellent, I have added in most of those changes - I didn't know quite how to describe the extra info that should be added in the most succinct way, so have left it out for now; it might be better to not have it at all than to have it in a confusing format. What do you think?

    Thanks

    Ben

    Posted by BenWhately Staff   5/1/12 (1 year ago)
  • I would definitely not put the "vulgar" etc words with the parts of speech. They are not parts of speech. However, if there was a course that covered street slang, you would definitely need to show an extra field for the user when learning the word/phrase or being tested on the word so they know what meaning to answer with.

    Posted by jenniferhunter 5/1/12 (1 year ago)

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