All Languages    |   EN   SV   IS   RU   IT   FR   RO   PT   HU   LA   NL   SK   ES   HR   BG   FI   NO   CS   DA   TR   PL   SR   EL   EO   |   SK   HU   FR   PL   NL   SQ   RU   NO   ES   SV   IT   DA   CS   PT   HR   RO   |   more ...

Engels-Nederlands woordenboek

BETA Online Dictionary Dutch-English: Enter keyword here!
  Options | Tips | FAQ | Abbreviations | Desktop

LoginSign Up
Home|About/Extras|Vocab Trainer|Subjects|Users|Forum|Contribute!
Übersetzungsforum Englisch-NiederländischPage 4 of 12   <<  >>
Types of entries to display:     Linguistic Help Needed   Chat and Other Topics   Dictionary and Contribute!  

Dutch-English Translation Forum

This is the place to post your translation requests in English or Dutch and to help others with your skills and knowledge. Important: Always give the context of your enquiry!
| Search | Guidelines | New Question
{pl}/{mv} » answer
by Windfall (GB), 2009-10-08, 18:11  Spam?  
I can't work out what the rule in the guidelines is that means it's correct to tag woorden as {mv}, but the translation words doesn't get the tag {pl}. Does anyone know? Is it that if you tag a plural in Dutch, you shouldn't tag the English one? If this is the case, what is {pl} for? Is it just for cases where the Dutch is singular, but the English equivalent is plural? Does that happen? And if it does, is it impossible for it to happen the other way round?
by pike (NL/PE), 2009-10-08, 18:23  Spam?  
From what I always understood, the English {pl} tag can be used for words which are the same way spelled in both singular and plural. Example: diersoorten {mv} - animal species {pl}
The English tag {pl} can be used for entries that are plural in English, but singular in the other language  #466941
by Paul (AT), Last modified: 2009-10-08, 18:26  Spam?  
Hmmm  #466944
by Windfall (GB), 2009-10-08, 18:32  Spam?  
But if it's obvious that all the other English words corresponding to Dutch plurals are plurals, isn't it logically obvious that these must be as well?

The very use of {mv} and not {pl} demands a certain level of Dutch from English speakers that I'd guess many don't have. Or is the assumption that seeing a plural in English, we work out that {mv}  must imply a plural in Dutch, but if we don't see an unambiguously plural word in English and that's the sole time we've used the dictionary, we won't guess {mv} might indicate a plural?
Paul  #466945
by Windfall (GB), 2009-10-08, 18:35  Spam?  
So is there going to be a singular tag ({sg}?) in case that happens the other way round, or is it definite that it doesn't? Either way, could you include this rule in the guidelines, as I wasn't able to derive it from the guidelines as they stand at the moment. Also, does that mean that labelling animal species {pl} for diersoorten {mv} would be wrong?
Seems like we've never needed a singular tag.  #466951
by Paul (AT), 2009-10-08, 18:58  Spam?  
And no, I don't think labelling animal species {pl} for diersoorten {mv} would be wrong, but I don't think it's necessary. But you're right, we're lacking clear rules here. I'll have to think about it. Suggestions?
Personally I'd like to see the English plurals labelled  #466953
by Windfall (GB), Last modified: 2009-10-08, 19:03  Spam?  
- sheerly because {mv} in this dictionary is a far less clear tag than {pl} in the German one is for the English speakers. However, if you think that labelling these is excessive (and I admit, I'm usually the one arguing for a lighter touch on the labelling), I suggest:

{pl} should only be used to tag English terms where the corresponding Dutch term is in the singular or where the English singular is identical to the English plural.
I'm not even sure about the English singular/plural distinction.  #466957
by Paul (AT), 2009-10-08, 19:17  Spam?  
If an English native speaker learning Dutch would search for "animal species", getting the following results page ...

animal species ... diersoorten {mv}
animal species ... diersoort {de}

... wouldn't it be become clear which entry is plural and which is singular?
Paul  #467084
by Windfall (GB), 2009-10-09, 10:19  Spam?  
It all depends how much Dutch and/or language/grammar knowledge you assume they have. Maybe it is safe to assume that if they cared they'd look up what mv stands for in the guidelines, then look up meervoud in the dictionary. Maybe they will put two and two together that if all other nouns are labelled het or de, mv must indicate a plural. My own view is that it's not obvious. But then I'm not a beginner or someone who doesn't speak any other languages (and haven't been for quite some time), so maybe I am assuming too little of beginners. I am simply working on the basis that I remember finding dictionary entries in paper dicitionaries hard to interpret in my first three or four years of learning foreign languages and that abbreviations only being present in the foreign language made things much harder. Don't forget, many native speakers of English haven't even been taught English grammar, let alone grammar in foreign languages. I guess it all depends who you're aiming the dictionary at.
Laura  #467101
by muhamed (BA/AT), 2009-10-09, 11:17  Spam?  
I think that Laura's suggestion for the use of the {pl} on the English side is a feasible one - {pl} when plural entries correspond to singular ones and when the English plural is the same as English singular. As singular entries are per se the default, we don't need a {sg} (or sorts) tag.

animal species {pl} ... diersoorten {mv}
animal species ... diersoort {de}
would be perfectly acceptable when it comes to entries.

One other area where {pl} should be added IMHO are plural-only english words (such as scissors), as this is where many of the beginners tend to stumble and usually look up information in dictionaries, as in:
scissors {pl} ... scharen {mv}
scissors {pl} ... schaar {de}

If this is fine with everyone, we'll amend the guidelines so as to clarify this point accordingly. :)
Okay - I added this to the guidelines (language-specific section)!  #467164
by Paul (AT), 2009-10-09, 14:07  Spam?  
Paul  #469827
by Windfall (GB), 2009-10-22, 15:15  Spam?  
I've finally found what looks like it might be an example of singular in English, plural in the foreign - admittedly in the Polish dictionary.

sztućce {} = cutlery
I feel there should be some way of marking that the English is singular. How about {sg}?
Btw, I've put this here because it relates to this discussion. Would you like me to put this post in the Polish forum, as that's the language it relates to?
Laura  #469835
by muhamed (BA/AT), 2009-10-22, 15:43  Spam?  
ermmm... IMHO I don't think that we need a separate {sg} tag here: we mark words in English {pl} only when they (a) have the same plural form as the singular one (and, cutlery being a weird example in terms of countable/uncountable, we also show it as singular through the inflections bar - which shows cutlery | cutleries), or (b) when the foreign word is singular (which then also doesn't get a special mark that says "{sg}"), and as the Polish word is properly tagged as plural, I think it's quite clear that the English word is indeed singular. :-)
muhamed  #469838
by Windfall (GB), 2009-10-22, 15:57  Spam?  
Is it clear that it's singular because it doesn't end in a s? I suppose I hadn't really thought about that (although that sort of assumption can be misleading - e.g. sheep, children, premia). However it is an anomaly and I was thinking we should make clear that it's "the cutlery is" rather than "the cutlery are" - especially as this seems to be a very unusual situation. Still, as you are a non-native speaker of English, I agree that your opinion on what is and isn't important to non-native English speakers carries more weight than mine.
Additionally ...  #469855
by Paul (AT), Last modified: 2009-10-22, 16:29  Spam?  
If we had a tag for singular, some people would most probably be unsure about when it should be used. So we'd get some regular singular entries including this tag and some similar entries without it. That would lead to confusion.
In the rare occasions where additional clarification would be needed, we could also solve this with some kind of comment in [square] brackets.
Laura  #469856
by muhamed (BA/AT), 2009-10-22, 16:31  Spam?  
Well, not because it doesn't end in an s - that thought hadn't honestly crossed my mind at all; I rather thought it was clear because it didn't carry a tag and because the inflections bar showed me that it was singular :-)

Mind you, irregular plurals aren't all that common in English - apart from the whole Latin/Greek bunch of words (think dogmata and fungi, or premia you mention), a sprinkling of terms from other languages, and the small number of -en/ablaut plurals (oxen and geese), all others are as regular as life - which is just yet another argument in favor of having (and using) the inflections bar :-)
Because it's such an anomaly  #469860
by Windfall (GB), 2009-10-22, 16:40  Spam?  
I shall probably either tag it [singular] or avoid voting on it.

None of the English plurals which are translations of Polish plurals have been tagged {pl} except where it might be ambiguous not to have done so, so my view is that the logic of the dictionary suggests that unless tagged otherwise, an English word which corresponds to a Polish is plural.

Actually, I've just thought of another one negociacje (plurale tantum), for which we're currently (or were last time I looked) trying to decide whether negotiation (singular) is an appropriate translation or whether this can only be translated with negotiations.
Using "[singular]" sounds good ...  #469871
by Paul (AT), 2009-10-22, 17:01  Spam?  
Agree!  #469872
by muhamed (BA/AT), 2009-10-22, 17:02  Spam?  
back to top | home© 2002 - 2018 Paul Hemetsberger | contact
Dutch-English online dictionary (Engels-Nederlands woordenboek) developed to help you share your knowledge with others. More information!
Links to this dictionary or to single translations are very welcome! Questions and Answers
Remove Ads