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Cette page est une version traduite de la page Wiktionnaire:Actualités/034-janvier-2018 et la traduction est complétée à 100 %.

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Wiktionnaire:Actualités is a small monthly periodical about Wiktionary and words, created in April 2015. Everyone is welcome to contribute to it. You can sign up to be noticed of the future issues, read old issues and participate to the draft of the next edition. You can also have a look at Regards sur l’actualité de la Wikimedia. If you have any comments, critics or suggestions, our talk page is open!

Actualités - Issue 34 - January 2018

Detail of a picture of the Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) taken by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.


  • In order to counter the disaffection of United Arab Emirates youth with the Arabic language, as many prefer and use English, the UAE government launched Bil Arabi in mid-December, an initiative aimed at promoting Arabic on social networks.

Dong Nguyen, Barbara McGillivray and Taha Yasseri recently published an article comparing Urban Dictionary and the English-speaking Wiktionary, which was popularized in an article in the MIT Technology Review. They note in particular that the vocabulary covered by these two collaborative dictionaries has relatively few terms in common and that the Urban Dictionary seems to have a fairly exhaustive coverage of slang, and thus better reflects the dynamism of the language. They hope to open up a new field of research around these objects on which more and more scientific articles are published.

Lost dog: A man named Classiccardinal (d · c · b) was banned by a Wikimedia Foundation. He contributed since December 2014 on the French Wiktionary and made more than 10,000 edits. He was a nice helper on Questions sur les mots [questions on words] and was elected as an admin on the 30th of June, 2016. He also added almost 5,000 pictures on Commons before he went banned for a schoolboy joke. He went through a WMF Global Ban, an opaque process which started with a denunciation and did not include the concerned person. He was not informed of the process and received the verdict after it occurs. The explanation was that he did not respect the Terms of Use, without any details. We have lost a decent collaborator.



A representation of the Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946) took by Isaac Newton Telescope.

As in 2016 and 2017, January is an opportunity to have a look at the evolution of the Wiktionary's thesauri. Let's start with a brief reminder: the term thesaurus defines two objects:

  1. (lexicography) a list of words related to a concept, which allows you to talk about it;
  2. (documentation) a standardized structured list with descriptors to facilitate the indexation of documents.

And on Wiktionary, this is the first thing you can find, mainly in the French Wiktionary and the English Wiktionary. We will compare the two approaches!

One year of thesaurus

As of February 1st, 2018, the French Wiktionary has 316 thesauri and last year we had 257, making an increase of 59 thesauri in one year, compared to an increase of 49 the previous year. There have been three major changes over the past year:

  • A vote about the titles of the thesauri in order to better remove ambiguities when the same term designates very different objects. This decision led to the creation of a dozen or so new pages of thesauri, based on content already present, by splitting.

A countdown of thesauri in languages other than French in the Actualités, in order to highlight these interesting multilingual spaces that allow to explore the differences between languages. Thus, there are thesauri in 54 different languages in the French-speaking Wiktionnary. These have not yet been included in our annual counting.


Picture of the Oyster Nebula (NGC 1501) by the European Southern Observatory.

Cumulative number of thesauri between 2004 and 2018

One year on the English version

On the English Wiktionary, thesauri are a quite different reality. They are designed as short lists of synonyms and antonyms and are not intended to be as wide as in the French version. They are much more numerous and have been structured by categories of meaning (personality, plants, time, etc.) for a long time. This is because thesauri in English could benefit from a massive import from several free works to which they do not always add additional value. Three-point news:

  • There are currently 1,759 thesauri compared to 1,506 last year, with creations at a very fast rate, but containing fewer words per thesaurus!
  • Following a proposal in May, a vote validated in the summer of 2017 the name change of the thesaurus from Wikisaurus to Thesaurus.

What happens next?


Representation of the Trifid Nebula (NGC 6514) from NASA and ESA pictures (Subaru et Hubble telescopes).

What will be the next evolutions of thesauri? The first evolution will of course be quantitative, with the creation of new thesauri on many other interesting topics! The attractiveness of this type of content to contributors to Wikipedia could lead to new contributions by specialists in specific fields, such as the recent thesaurus on the heraldic. The English-speaking and French-speaking approaches could feed each other to enrich each project with thesauri in the language of the other. Finally, a few contribution training workshops have integrated the creation of thesauri (especially for the window), and this type of collaborative approach could lead to interesting new creations. At the same time, thesaurus statistics could be improved by measuring the number of participants, the average number of words added per thesaurus or the missing topics to be worked as soon as possible. We look forward to the next column in January 2019! A column by Noé thanks to the statistics of Benoît Prieur and DaraDara.

New words from the Commission d’enrichissement de la langue française

The Commission d’enrichissement de la langue française is an assembly of volunteers created in 1996, placed under the authority of the Prime Minister of France. Its role is to rule on neologisms according to their usefulness and the correctness of their syntax.

On 11 January 2018, in its official gazette, it proposed several new terms to replace anglicisms already widespread among speakers, sometimes for the last ten years. It is directly accessible on http://www.culture.fr/franceterme. For example:

In order to help them in their mission, we have posted our inventory of the words in English without equivalent indicated in French. Feel free to participate in this list by adding the {{équivalent manquant|fr}} template to the relevant entries ;)



A part of the Cat's Paw Nebula (NGC 6334) took by the European Southern Observatory.

From mid-December to mid-January (from 12/20/2017 to 01/20/2018)
  • French entries increased by 5,795 and quotations increased by 2,458. There are now 360,563 lemmas, 531,985 definitions and 339,206 quotations or examples.
  • The three other languages which progressed the most are Northern Sami (+ 4,313 entries), Ukrainian (+ 4,154 entries) and Esperanto (+ 1,730 entries).
  • Twelve languages were added in the project: Lepontic (+17), Kpan (+1), Dolakha Newa (+1), Diyari (+1), Marma (+1), South Azeri (+1), Kerak (+1), Jalkunan (+1), Gun (+1), Berta (+1), Darumbal (+1) and Batui (+1).
  • In January 21,828 entries were created for 147 languages!
Words of the month

External stats provided numbers on:

Other improvements
  • There are 35,780 illustrative media items (pictures and videos) in the French Wiktionary pages, an increase by 383 in a month.
  • The page Wiktionnaire:Questions sur les mots [Questions about words] recorded 59 questions in January, and there were 67 questions in December and 89 questions in November. The trend is downward, but this is partly due to the more systematic deletion of questions not about words.
  • The list of subscribers to the Actualités reached 80 people! This figure gives an estimate of the number of readers and it is already very motivating to continue the collective writing of this Actualités! Thank you to our fantastic readership! Sourire

Dictionary of the month


A representation of the Rosetta Nebula (NGC 2237), image based on data obtained as part of the INT Photometric H-Alpha Survey of the Northern Galactic Plane, prepared by Nick Wright, University College London, on behalf of the IPHAS Collaboration

Dictionnaire des mots tordus [Dictionary of twisted words], PEF, Gallimard, 1983.

In a series of illustrated children's stories, the Prince de Motordu was born, a child unlike any other because he rarely uses the right words to describe what surrounds him. He practices the absurd art of paronymy, bringing together words with very different meanings on the basis of similarities of forms or sounds. And since the first volume, La belle lisse poire du Prince de Motordu and for more than twenty years, Pierre Élie Ferrier known as PEF, made live this strange language, which he illustrated as much as he narrated. His ingenuous character wearing as abris [shelter (abris) instead of clothes (habits)] a maillot de porc [vest of pork (maillot de porc) instead of undershirt (maillot de corps)] and a paire de choses nettes [pair of clean things (paire de choses nettes) instead of pair of socks (paire de chaussettes)], practicing patin à poulettes [pullet skate (patin à poulettes) instead of roller skate (patin à roulette)] and planche à poêle [stove board (planche à poêle) instead of windsurf (planche à voile)]. He compiled these numerous inventions into a small illustrated dictionary, providing definitions to understand wordplay and drawing funny situations. A not so useful book to learn French, but indispensable to laugh about it. — A review by Noé.


This section gives you a monthly selection of videos related to linguistics or the French language, don't hesitate to add more videos you find!

  • Florence Porcel: In this popular science video, you will discover the difference between a launcher and a rocket!
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LexiSession on new year

Initiated by the Tremendous Wiktionary User Group, LexiSessions suggested monthly themes to simultaneously engage all Wiktionaries. The themes are suggested in advance on Meta and announced every month on Wikidémie, the main community portal.

January LexiSession was on the theme of new year which led to the creation of a new thesaurus about new year in French and a thesaurus about new year in Chinese!

For February, the suggested theme is the radio!

Fun facts

The suffix -gate, widely used in Anglo-Saxon countries since the Watergate scandal, is now firmly entrenched in French by borrowing from English to describe the great scandals: Monicagate, DSKgate, Fifagate, dieselgate, climategate, Penelopegate... The fashion is such that it is widely used as soon as something goes wrong, so that we find fonduegate in a blog title of a major newspaper. It was created by a British journalist following his dispute with a French cheesemaker: the first one, who had been soaked by a piece of Beaufort, was refused to buy it by the second one, not admitting that such a beautiful production was used for fondue rather than on a piece of bread. Which side is the exaggeration on? It seems that the next trend is #balanceton… - A column by Romainbehar.