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Wiktionnaire:Actualités is a monthly periodical about French Wiktionary, dictionaries and words, published online since April 2015. Everyone is welcome to contribute to it. You can sign in to be noticed of 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 55 - October 2019

Walnuts photographed by Emőke Denes.


Italian logo of the 500,000.
  • The community wishlist survey 2020 is underway. This year, for the first time, submissions are directed towards projects other than Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata. The last year and the year before, several proposals had been made but none had received enough votes to be selected. Let us hope that this year, several quality proposals will be submitted and then supported. It is possible to write until November 11th, the votes will be from November 20th to December 2nd and the results will be known on December 6th.
  • On October 2nd, the French Wiktionary was the victim of a vandalism wave by multiple unregistered users. Several regular members channeled a flood of unwanted changes and then pointed out the need for more people to be able to write abuse filters, which are automatic response scripts to certain behaviours, such as deleting an entire page, inserting insults or advertising links. Three additional volunteers now have access to these tools: Pamputt, Rapaloux and Thibaut120094. The French Wikimedia webzine RAW, also talks about it this month.

News of the world

  • The magazine sent to members of the union CFDT in September/October 2019 published an article “Écrire sans fautes” [Writing without mistake] which reminds them of the importance of spelling in employability and provides links for self-learning. It refers to a list of online dictionaries... where the Wiktionary is sorely lacking.
  • Alain Rey has been interviewed on Europe 1 (in French) to promote his new edition of the Dictionnaire historique de la langue française. He takes the opportunity to talk about the language of the “young” that the “old” have such difficulty understanding and taking into account.
  • Le Figaro interviews the writer Flore Vesco (in French) on the “medieval language” and the words that are not used anymore.

Brazil nuts photographed by P. S. Sena.

Two days of contribution in Grenoble

On October 26 and 27, 2019, about fifteen people gathered in Grenoble to contribute to the French Wiktionary. People from Grenoble, Paris, Lyon and the surrounding area, both beginners and experienced. This weekend dedicated to the French Wiktionary was organized by the local group of Wikimedians, the Cabale à la noix, which was celebrating its tenth anniversary on this occasion! Saturday was devoted to the collective training facilitated by Noé and Lyokoï, exploring the various ways to add content to the French Wiktionary through illustration, adding examples, adding translations and writing definitions. The evening was an opportunity to get to know each other, to drink some beers and to share a good walnut cake. Sunday was a contributing day with a collective effort to create the thesaurus about nut in French (as well as in English and in Russian). Some people continued on this topic while others explored the typical words of the Grenoble region around a new category created for this opportunity or wandered around their ideas or spontaneous discussions. In two days, 124 new pages have been created and 455 pages have been modified! In parallel to the written contribution, a sound collection session was conducted by Lyokoï, Rémy Gerbet who is an employee of the association Wikimédia France and Emma, an employee in civic service who supports the development of the tool Lingua Libre. The voices followed one another until they reached 800 audio recordings! A beautiful experience that encourages you to reproduce this long format, offering a setting for meeting and contributing in all directions, friendly and relaxed! Examples of creations include kōkutsu-dachi, balle contacte, culture du viol, franc-renard, tchoukar, galope-chopine, nucicultrice, énoisage, ruota tedesca and the thesaurus about delay and the thésaurus about nothing. All this can be followed again thanks to the outreach dashboard.

— a column by Noé

Update on help pages

A major milestone this month with the clarification of the page Aide:Définitions with the addition of explanations on the indications in parentheses at the beginning of the definitions. Organized tables, with synthetic definitions and fully documented templates. This information, often misunderstood by readers and sometimes abused by contributors without grasping all its subtleties, will finally be able to be used wisely. The flattening and writing of all these pages took eight months and was mainly done by Noé and by Antoine Bouchez, a student in lexicography who wrote the definitions as part of the Dictionnaire des francophones project (which will be discussed again soon). There is still some cleaning to be done and clarifications to be made, which are summarized in the project about lexicographic informations. A next step may be to provide explanations through contextual bubbles, as is done in other dictionaries, but this help would only concern half of the readers who consult from a desktop computer and the script could increase the time it takes to load pages. A work in progress.

— a column by Noé


September 20th to October 20th, 2019

  + 43,173 entries and 114 languages modified to reach 3,819,220 entries and 1,156 languages with at least five entries.

  + 2,883 entries in French reaching 375,540 lemmas and 563,612 definitions.

  Top three languages with most addition after French is Esperanto (+ 21,439 entries), Northern Sami (+ 14,028 entries) and Spanish (+ 1,660 entries).

  + 15 new languages appeared on the French Wiktionary for a total of 4,824 languages: the Kilmeri language, the Siawi language, the Mer language, the Namla language, the Nimo language, the Owiniga language, the Old Khmer language, the Murkim language, the Amto language, the Kimki language, the Biwat language, the Saweru language, the Odiai language, the Kembra language and the Karkar-Yuri language.+ 15 new languages appeared on the French Wiktionary for a total of 4,824 languages: the Kilmeri language, the Siawi language, the Mer language, the Namla language, the Nimo language, the Owiniga language, the Old Khmer language, the Murkim language, the Amto language, the Kimki language, the Biwat language, the Saweru language, the Odiai language, the Kembra language and the Karkar-Yuri language.

  + 2,980 quotations or examples in French to reach 400,378.

  + 1,950 pronunciations (including 1,516 for French) reaching 174,209 audio pronunciations for 116 languages (including 72,396 for French).

  + 267 illustrative media (picture and videos) in French Wiktionary pages, reaching 47,520.

  + 13 thesauri for a total of 613 thesauri in 56 languages among which 439 thesauri in French language! The new thesauri are: autism by .Anja., café (place), café (drink) and cigarette (all three for the Lexisession), ruin, delay and nut in English by Noé, spiral by Stephane8888, talentedness by Benoît Prieur, hybrid vehicle by Rapaloux, nut (collective, during the weekend in Grenoble), the nut in Russian by Pom445 and finally nothing by Noé, Tamahashi, Pom445 and Lyokoï.

  Wikiscan and Wikistats give access each month to many figures, including a list of most viewed pages and pages modified by biggest numbers of editors. Page that has been the most edited this month is autrice.

  + 27 words created over 31 proposed in Mots du jour [word of the day].

  + 1 semantic domain: space teledetection.

  Wiktionnaire:Questions sur les mots [Questions on words] record in October 61 questions compared to 36 in September and 40 in August.

Pistachios photographed by INRA DIST.

More dictionaries

A rare activity this month in the quiet world of lexicography! Two short columns to complement the regular dictionary of the month column.

The Sherbrooke University has made available free of charge Usito, the contemporary dictionary for French spoken in Quebec. Already mentioned briefly in Actualités, it is a major research project, equal to the Trésor de la langue française, which is built on a corpus of examples from Quebec literature. The senses are therefore illustrated with examples, well organized by domains. Geographical information and various notes accompany the reading. Released online in 2012, it was under paid access, and unknown outside the Canadian school environment. it became free of charge since October 3rd, 2019, and it finally gives access to its 60,000 quality entries. A valuable resource, but protected by a proprietary license, which does not facilitate its reuse.

Dictionnaire étymologique, historique et anecdotique des proverbes et des locutions proverbiales de la langue française, published in 1842, was added to Wikisource and fully transcribed by a team of Wiktionarists and Wikisourcers. We can therefore greet Ltrlg, Lyokoï, DaraDaraDara, François GOGLINS, Kaviraf, Noé, Alphabeta, Dudenw, Romainbehar, *j*jac, Acélan, Hector, Shev123, Reptilien.19831209BE1, Fabrice Dury, Jerome Charles Potts, Hsarrazin, Naru682, Yland and three unregistered persons. This book describes many of the expressions used at the time, with comments that are sometimes scholarly, sometimes anecdotal. A potential source for the Wiktionary, but taking into account that this document is more than a century and a half old. You will be able to discover expressions such as “Devenir d’évêque meunier” [to become from bishop to miller], “Il est fin comme gribouille, qui se cache dans l’eau, de peur de la pluie” [He's thin as a scribbler, hiding in the water, afraid of the rain.] or Avec du temps et de la paille, les nèfles mûrissent” [With time and straw, the medlars mature].

Fun facts

The small village of Vongnes, France, has the particularity of being the only word currently recorded in the French language to end with a nasal vowel followed by the nasal consonant [ɲ]. A sequence of sounds so rare that it does not rhyme with any other word, and that it is not found in any printed rhyme dictionary. Fortunately, the French Wiktionary has identified it, and it will not be long before we know how it came to be and that this special word of the French language has the place it deserves among the singularities of the facetious French language.

— a column by Lyokoï

October LexiSession

Boosted by the Tremendous Wiktionary User Groupe, the LexiSessions aim at offering monthly themes to dynamize all of the Wiktionaries at a time. The themes are suggested on Meta and announced on the Wikidémie, the main talk area of the French Wiktionary. The LexiSession of October was about coffee and cigaret. Three thesauri have been created and several people contributed: Basnormand, Classiccardinal, Jpgibert, Noé, Otourly, Pamputt, Pyxido, Sebleouf, Tamahashi and WikiLucas00. For the month of November, the proposed theme is activism (with an option on the moustache if the first is too easy to do).


Some videos on lexicography, linguistics and the French language released or discovered this month.

  • Cadet, eldest or youngest child? Not so simple: the radio show “Un bonbon sur la langue” [A candy on the tongue] on RTL puts the family in order.

Dictionary of the month

LE DICO, Le dictionnaire de la richesse et de la diversité de la langue française d’aujourd’hui, Garnier et Rue des écoles, 2019, ISBN 978-2-3518-4266-9

What was supposed to happen, happened. The world’s largest dictionary on many aspects attracted the interested eye of a publisher who saw the opportunity to extract a reasoned selection and, while respecting the open license, to produce a book to offer to lovers of dictionaries and those who need them (normally, it is a lot of people). And for once I will be able to tell you the story, because I was at the heart of his story (although the credit goes to all those who allowed it to be published).

Everything (yes, absolutely everything, or almost everything...) started in a seedy café next to the Part-Dieu station in Lyon. Noé and I (Lyokoï your devoted narrator) met the director of éditions Garnier, Philippe Sylvestre, and the publisher in charge of the Wiktionnaire's printing project, Maxime Perret (photographed at the Wikiconvention francophone). We went because Wikimedia France put us in touch with those people who wanted to “print the Wiktionnaire”. A little mocking, we were curious to see how we could want to print 3.7 million pages, or less madly the 370,000 French words we described in the project, knowing that in comparison one of the largest printed language dictionaries is the “Grand Robert de la langue française”, which it contains 100,000 words, and that it is 6 large volumes of 7 cm thick per volume (about 23 volumes for 161 cm wide for the Wiktionnaire, with about the same format).

But we were wrong. These people had a much more pragmatic view of the matter, and had decided to use a selection of the Wiktionary’s words, including his recent neologisms and words people are particularly looking for. They offered to associate us with the creation of such a book and I accepted after Noé had to refuse because he was already on another project, he will talk to you about it soon. Then began the implementation of the creation of the work. I had to negotiate and build with the publisher an author’s contract taking into account the CC BY-SA license, which will be offered to all editors involved in the review of the Wiktionnaire’s articles.

Then came the creation of the work itself, first the selection of information that would be kept: definitions, quotations, synonyms, antonyms, expressions, derivatives to retrieve other expressions, the form line and the grammatical class. Then the creation of the list of words that will constitute the nomenclature, the latter were chosen from a sum of three sources: the 50,000 most read Wiktionary words in 2018, the 1500 most frequent in the French language, and several thousand words among the most present in school textbooks. The final skimming retained only 32,000 pages of the Wiktionnaire for 40,000 lemmas or words. It has been augmented with a preface, etymological records and word networks from other works by the same publisher. These supplements are not under free license. A list of the 200 most important contributors to the Wiktionnaire is provided at the end of the book.

The next step was the proofreading of all these pages, the selection of the information according to a charter given by the publisher, and the formatting so that a generator could transform all this into a printable file. It was then a team of 30 people, including myself, who were in charge of proofreading all these pages from March to mid-June. Finally, final proofreading by a correction company and sent to the printer in July. “Le Dico” has been released in two formats, one for schools (middle and high school) and one for the general public. The internal content is identical, but the cover of the latter is cardboard and solid, while the cover of the former is soft and light.

You can now order it online or from your favourite bookseller, and half of the percentage going to authors is donated by the publisher to the association Wikimedia France, which supports Wiktionnarists, notably through the development of Lingua Libre. If sales are good, regular re-releases are considered. — a column by Lyokoï

Hazelnuts photographed by Cactux.