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Wikitravel talk:Phrasebook 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. --- 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. -- 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? -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? 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. --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? -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." --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 [[Wikitravel:Phrasebook template|phrases]] in this [[Wikitravel:Phrasebook Expedition|phrasebook]] still need to be translated. If you know anything about this language, you can [[Wikitravel:ways to help Wikitravel|help]] by [[Wikitravel:Plunge forward|plunging forward]] and [[Wikitravel: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 -- 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. --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 Wikitravel phrasebook with the word "phrasebook" linked to Wikitravel: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-) --Evan 08:39, 27 Dec 2004 (EST)

  • This sounds like a great idea! I'll add that. -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. 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. -- 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? -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.). - 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. Trezatium 16:59, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)
Okay then! We just need to discuss, where to put it. I suggest after the Basics section. -- 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. - 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? - Trezatium 17:03, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)

I've changed it to Common digraphs, which seems to make more sense. - 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. -- 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. 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 Wikitravel_talk:External links/Archive#Clarification - primary/secondary sources - "If there are to be no exceptions..." [Target of wikilink updated. 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. 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. 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 Wikitravel: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? --Peter Talk 02:05, 4 October 2007 (EDT)

See also Wikitravel talk: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 Wikitravel 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. --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 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. --Peter Talk 23:45, 20 January 2008 (EST)