Talk:Germanic Peoples/Archive 12
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Talk:Germanic Peoples/Archive 12

New lead source verification discussion

I will go through the 4 tags @Krakkos: has now placed on the new lead. I think based on past form if Krakkos can't get to the point in a simple and timely way, we are justified to simply remove these tags? I am open to feedback, but honestly to me this tagging appears to be purely tendentious. Krakkos please explain each case for me? What am I missing?

  • Failed verification? Footnote is very detailed and included exact quotes:

Goffart (2006, p. 5): "'German' was basically a Roman word, used by authors in the early Empire as a shorthand term for many of the northern barbarians. [...] At best, they spoke dialects that our linguists call 'Germanic'." Similar remarks: Müller (1998, p. 14), Todd (2009, p. 1) etc. "Gothonic" was the preferred term of the Danish writer Gudmund Schütte, before World War 2, and "Early Germans" was for example used in for a book title by Malcolm Todd, (Todd 2004). For criticism of such terminology see for example Wolfram (1988, p. 10-13), Halsall (2014).

  • Original research? Tagged text says something pretty basic:

Languages in this family [[[Germanic languages]]] are widespread today in Europe, and have dispersed worldwide, the family being represented by major modern languages such as English, Dutch, Nordic languages and German.

  • Failed verification? Footnote is simply 2 exact quotes:

Heather (2012, p. 6): "When we talk of Germanic Europe, therefore, we are really talking about Germanic-dominated Europe, and there is no reason to suppose that the entire population of this truly vast area - some of it militarily subdued in the recent past - was culturally homogeneous in terms of belief systems or social practice, or even it that it necessarily spoke the same language"; Goffart (1989, p. 112-113): "The many tribes considered Germanic by moderns include quite a few with uncertain claims to speaking Germanic dialects."

  • Original research? Is this simply a request for a footnote on every sentence? Please be more specific as this type of statement already exists for a long time in this article and related ones commonly edited by Krakkos.

It is for example now commonly believed that among the earliest reported Germanic peoples near the Rhine and Danube, only the Suebian Germanic peoples spoke Germanic language.

--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:03, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

BTW, note that none of these footnotes depends only on Goffart. Krakkos should say which facts need better sourcing, not demand sources "on principle" for every lead sentence.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:29, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

  1. The citation from Goffart is about the term "German". It does not mention "Germanic peoples". Using that source to define Germanic peoples is a falsification.
  2. There is more text to that paragraph than the sentence you're quoting here. That text is dubious and appears to be original research.
  3. Heather talks about Germanic Europe not being culturally and linguistically homogeneous. The text of this article cites this as evidence that Germanic peoples were not culturally and linguistically homogeneous. As Germanic Europe and Germanic peoples are not equivalent, this citation fails verification.
  4. Unless you provide a source which writes that the Suebi were the "only" early Germanic people of the Rhine and Danube speaking Germanic languages, this claim amounts to original research. Krakkos (talk) 20:43, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
  • 1. Firstly, in context Goffart is talking about the terms German, and Germanic, which is the key adjective in "Germanic peoples", and when he says "they" he is talking about Germanic peoples. To edit on resource we need to be able to break up sentences and words and put them back together. Note that according to your complaint Goffart makes an even bigger mistake, thinking that the modern English word "German" was a word used by the Romans. Secondly, did you look at the other sources provided or is ONLY the Goffart quotation a concern? [ADDED: Goffart clarifies in this passage by saying he is talking about the peoples surveyed by Tacitus.]
  • 2. OK, so your concern is not about the sentence you tagged? What then? Please clarify if you want to be treated seriously.
  • 3. So you are reading Heather to be saying there was a sort of apartheid system? That is putting a lot between the lines and not how I read him. Did you also check the other citation given?
  • 4. OK, why not just say you'd like a wording tweak? Why all the drama? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:17, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
Update. I have added and adjusted sources in three cases which were tagged and removed the tagged sentence in the fourth case.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:06, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

@Krakkos: there are currently 4 specific issues included into a "multiple issues" tag at the top of the article - posted there by you recently. If these issues are no longer urgent or clearly defined then the tag should be removed. (Such tags should not be used just to create a general atmosphere etc.)

  • 3 of them are about the lead specifically, but various changes have been made to the lead since various complaints including this tagging started, and so it is no longer clear what these refer to. If necessary, then these should be explained on this talk page. If they are already explained, then can you please point out which exact concerns are still considered open?
  • One says the article might have "Original Research". I am not sure if this is intended to point to one of the already addressed discussions about the new lead, or something else? In any case this also should either be removed or else clearly defined here on the talk page.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:33, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: another editor removed these article tags but you have simply reverted that now, but still not explained why they are still there. I believe the acceptable tagging norms are that people who tag, but are unwilling to discuss, can expect their tags to be removed? I believe that both the article tags and the second section tags can be removed unless you can give a convincing explanation about their purpose.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:08, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
The tags were removed by an IP without explanation.[1] The issues in the lead which caused the tagging are still present. The lead gives undue weight to controversial viewpoints, and doesn't accurately summarize the contents of the article. Krakkos (talk) 17:57, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: You are ignoring the fact that the tags were removed after this discussion and others, a large number of tweaks aimed at addressing any concerns that have been openly mentioned, and with all open questions on your side. Most disturbingly, you demanded an overdose of lead footnotes, and you got them. In other words, this response is not a real answer. In effect there should be new complaints to justify the new tagging, or else there should be clear explanation of what the exact problems are which remain. The lead is now strongly sourced. The rest of the article is also being worked on, as pre-discussed. I have also tried VERY hard to engage you in constructive talk page discussions, to no avail.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:11, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: please give examples here of text from the lead which are claimed to be non-neutral or original research. Otherwise we should remove the tagging, with possible exception of the disagreement between lead and body (because indeed the whole article is being worked on, and there is even an editor actively adding POV fork duplication sections). You have had a very good period of time to do so already, and it should be easy to give examples and have a civil discussion.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:56, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
The lead is currently a summary only of your pet section Germanic peoples#Definitions of Germanic peoples, while the rest of the article is ignored. The lead contains next to no information on the history and culture of Germanic peoples, which is the core of the article. An excessive amount of weight is given to the controversial theories of Walter Goffart and Guy Halsall. As long as these issues persist, the current tagging is appropriate. Krakkos (talk) 21:02, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
The rest of the article is not ignored, it is just not duplicated. But putting aside your unusual personal preference for duplication of materials into multiple sections, and putting aside your personal dislike of post WW2 scholarship in this field: Please give any example from the current lead text (first let's ignore footnotes) which is controversial or imbalanced. (Not everything with a Goffart citation in a footnote is automatically controversial.) This should not be difficult given that you keep repeating these things?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:40, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
The purpose of the lead is to be a concise duplication of the body of the article. As i've already said plenty of times, the current lead is only a summary of the definitions section, while culture and history is left out. Goffart and Halsall's theories on the Germanic peoples not having any common culture or history is given undue weight. Krakkos (talk) 10:53, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
I do think your definition of the purpose is distorted. MOS:LEDE says: "It should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies." Of course it also does not use the word "duplication", instead it has "overview" and "summary of most important contents". And the lead does mention culture and history as being aspects of the topic covered below. Specifically it mentions there are controversies about the definition of culture, and concerning history and culture there is mention of both early Roman origins, and late Roman/medieval new political entities.
  • You have until now never made a reasoned proposal about things to be added to the lead. Do you have a suggestion that you can explain, that fits with the idea of keeping the lead short? Why not explain your ideas, especially given that you are apparently complaining and tagging based on these? Please keep in mind the past problem that people adding favorite bits and pieces leads to massive and illogical lead expansion so this needs to be carefully thought through.
  • MOS:LEDE says we need to report prominent controversies in the lead. You seem to be arguing against reporting prominent controversies?
  • Is there any other concern with the lead which is not covered by the above 2 bullets?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:23, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: I guess you can give no examples of proposals of things to add, or sentences really in the lead which you think might be imbalanced in a way relevant to WP policy? In fact, even if you have subtle concerns, there should be no tags. The type of over-tagging you are using if for very obviously problematic cases, and if we had those you could have explained it by now with real concrete examples.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:54, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

Section on linguistics

It has previously been pointed out that this article lacks a section on linguistics.[2] The question of linguistics is indeed of essential importance to the subject of this article. I have therefore created[3] a section in which the languages of Germanic peoples are discussed. As this is a somewhat contentious topic, i have attached quotes to the sources. In the future, these quotes may be removed as a way to reduce the size of the article. This article is already of large size, so it must be shortened somehow, but it should not be shortened by removing a section of such importance as that of linguistics. Krakkos (talk) 10:07, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

I think indeed it is a good idea to have a specific place for this. I think you are saying that it can stay short and link to a main article? That makes sense to me, if so. Some of this new section also duplicates the current archaeology-related sections, so please review those? As a background thing, I think concerning both archaeology and language, we should be careful not to include too much speculation about "proto" people, and also we should be careful not to make it look like there is a simple clear and certain consensus if there is not. My reading of the field is that the experts are cautious about trying to go much beyond the Jastorf culture, at least in any detailed way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:44, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

(edit conflict)A new linguistics section has suddenly been added [4] by @Krakkos: and here are some concerns about specific bits, focusing only on the first paragraph for now:

  • Title of section. Would "Germanic languages" not be simpler?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:29, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Footnotes. This should eventually be discussed, but the section is starting off with some problems already seen in the rest of the article, including sentences with 6 separate footnotes, and efn notes which contain no mention of the source, but rather link indirectly to an sfn footnote before you can find it. Surely we can use simple Harv templates within the efn templates instead?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:15, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
  • First sentence. We do not need 6 long footnotes to say that Germanic languages are in the Indoeuropean family. But we should make sure our grammar is correct.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:15, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Second sentence. "Speaking Germanic languages is the most characteristic trait of the Germanic peoples." There are two sources, and only one says it is the most characteristic trait. That source is by a Kafka expert who is explaining in a book about German, how German makes a distinction between Germanen and Deutsche. However in contrast, our expert sources, such as those now in the lead, with the exception of Liebeschuetz, all state clearly that the "Germanen" are defined by multiple criteria. So the sentence should be removed. Clearly, by the way, it has been written to deliberately disagree with the new lead, and I think that is not the correct way to work.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:15, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Third sentence. "However, there are populations, such as Insular Celts, that are not considered Germanic although they speak Germanic languages." This is sourced to a 1911 work which does not mention "Insular Celts", but is actually talking about Irish people, so at the very least it would be easier to say Irish people. However this pre-WW2 approach to naming people according to the language their grandparents spoke, and where it sits within a theoretical linguistics phylogeny, is no longer valid and no longer mentioned in expert sources unless it is being criticized, as we have discussed on this talk page many times. So the whole sentence should be removed.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:29, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
  • 4th sentence: "Meanwhile, certain ancient tribes, such as the Treveri and Belgae, were classified as Germanic by Roman authors because they claimed Germanic descent, despite speaking Celtic languages." This is an unorthodox wording, citing a 1971 work by Hachmann. The Roman authors he mentions by name are Caesar and Tacitus, but neither of them said they would call all the Belgae, or the Treverii, Germani. Caesar just mentioned the ancestry, and Tacitus was implying that the Nervii (he does not mention all the Belgae) and the Treverii were being dishonest and not genuine Germani. So unsurprisingly, this claim does not appear in other expert sources, and so I don't think it is the right one to put in resource voice. It is obvious what most serious books would mention instead in this place though, and that is that the Germani cisrhenani were probably the first Germani of all, and probably did not speak a Germanic language according to modern definitions.
  • 6th sentence. "Early Germanic peoples however shared other traits than simply language, such as religions, which like the languages, were ultimately derived from Indo-European culture." Why does this need to be stated in a section about Germanic "linguistics"? The comment is also clearly not something the experts all agree on, and so we should not put it in resource voice. The two sources are the Kafka expert and a military historian.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:29, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
  • 7th sentence. "For this reason, modern scholars,[ax] such as historians,[ay][az][ba][bb] archaeologists,[bc] philologists[bd][an][aq] and religious scholars,[bd][au][be] generally define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages." I suppose watchers of this talk page will recognize that the reason this sentence has no less than 12 footnotes is that it is trying to insist that resource pick a winner, using OR, when we know that the field is not universally in agreement with this method of definition. I think switching the "generally" to an "often" would reduce the controversy of this approach and also reduce the need for 12, yes 12, footnotes.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:36, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
  1. These footnotes are connected to the entire sentence, not just the last part about Germanic languages being Indo-European.
  2. Both Malcolm Pasley and Jacqueline Simpson write that speaking Germanic languages is the most characteristic/distinguishing trait of early Germanic peoples. There are other criteria, but the linguistic one is the most important one. Pasley was a professor of German studies at the University of Oxford, while Simpson is a British folklorist specializing in Old Norse religion and Germanic paganism. They are clearly reliable sources on the subject. Peter Heather (historian), E. A. Thompson (historian), Edgar C. Polomé (philologist/religious scholar) and T. Douglas Price (archaeologist) define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages, meaning that they agree with Pasley and Simpson. Barbara H. Rosenwein writes (in 2018) that this is the general definition among modern historians.
  3. Hector Munro Chadwick lived a long time ago, so he is not a "perfect" source, but his statement is hardly controversial. The Irish, Welsh and other Insular Celts are indeed mostly speakers of Germanic languages, but they are never classified as Germanic. This is significant and totally uncontroversial information which belongs to a section on Germanic linguistics.
  4. The Treveri and many of the Belgae are believed to have been Celtic-speakers, but Tacitus and Julius Caesar writes that they claimed Germanic origins. This is information which belongs in a section on Germanic linguistics.
  5. What early Germanic peoples shared beyond linguistics is relevant to a section on Germanic linguistics because our sources considers it so. That the Germanic peoples had things in common beyond linguistics, like religion, mythology, warfare and law, is hardly controversial in general scholarship.
  6. The statement that Germanic peoples are primarily identified in modern scholarship as speakers of Germanic languages is attributed to reliable sources. It isn't OR. Although there is not a "universal agreement", this is the most common definition in the fields devoted to studying Germanic peoples. Krakkos (talk) 11:16, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
1. The other part of the sentence also doesn't need so much sourcing? Or is it intended to say/imply the same as the next sentence? In any case such a sentence would normally be saying something already in the lead. Current version is heavily sourced.
2. This is not responding to the point. In effect this is still your wish, being hidden behind one inappropriate source.
3. This is not responding to the points. (Insular Celtic peoples is quite simply not a normal way to refer to modern Irish people, not for anyone, but certainly not dropped into another topic like this.)
4. But they did not claim it themselves. And why are we not using the better example which is normally used (Germani cisrhenani).
5. It could be relevant but this sentence makes no connection. It just says "there is also another thing". And the list you give is not a field consensus anymore, so it is controversial. Even people who do not agree fully with Goffart have moved in his direction.
6. If there is no universal agreement then shouldn't we should tweak the wording, which would be easy in this case, to avoid having resource imply this?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:11, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
1. I've tweaked the sentence and split it into 2. Footnotes in this section are still really problematic in many ways, including that they are opaque and include many questionable sources. They seem to be trying to give an impression with their numbers.
2 and 3. Now the third and 4th sentences. I have tweaked them
5. "Early Germanic peoples however shared other traits than simply language" does not seem to fit. Taking it literally it is being said that it fits with the next sentence as a REASON WHY the 12 cherry picked sources in the next sentence all decided to define Germanic peoples spoke Germanic languages. None of those sources say any such thing?
6 (& 4. 5.) resource is currently saying that "modern scholars ... GENERALLY define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages" BECAUSE of two reasons ("for these reasons"). I have already questioned the manner in which field unanimity has been decided by using specially chosen quotes which is WP:OR, but even based on these 12 selected sources, I question whether ANY of them imply the "generally" or the because ("for these reasons"):
  1. During antiquity, there were numerous non-Germanic populations living under Germanic domination in Germania, who did not speak a Germanic language
  2. Germanic peoples shared other traits than simply language, such as religion and law, which like the languages, were ultimately derived from Indo-European culture
@Krakkos and KIENGIR: is there really any source which gives these 2 reasons for making a supposedly new definition like this? As far as I can see most/all of these sources are not even seeing a distinction between linguistically defined Germani and Roman defined Germanic peoples?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:54, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos:, so to put it on record you then did a small number of footnotes, but with an edit that had a large number of reverts, source deletions, and a completely misleading edsum [5]. That was not really a constructive reaction.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:02, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
Here is a summary of where we are (back to) on the concerns listed above, after the misleadingly labelled mass revert, going through the first sentences of this new section. Anyone who can help explain/justify this? @Krakkos:? Anyone?
  • Section title. I had proposed "Germanic languages and their origins", and asked for feedback [6], as first discussed here with other editors (see below), but some time later Krakkos has changed to "Languages" (plural) [7], without commenting on the talk page. Edsum says: "This section is not only about Germanic languages. Restoring concise and precise title". Not sure how to understand that, especially considering that at least half of the section is about archaeology, and linguistically it is only about Germanic languages and indeed seems designed to try to imply that all Germanic peoples spoke Germanic languages. Can anyone explain/justify?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:45, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
  • The style and number of footnotes. Krakkos has increased the number of footnotes, and even reverted an early uncontroversial edit I did to make the first sentence split into two parts with their own footnotes [8]. (Krakkos many times immediately after, and apparently accepted that edit.) The sources being used are mostly poor sources, and clearly Krakkos is trying to give a visual effect by having a high number of these sfn footnotes which take several steps to check. Does anyone disagree with me?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:45, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
  • 1st sentence. As mentioned above, even the uncontroversial edit to this sentence is now reverted as part of the massive reverting today. So we have a sentence with 8 footnotes, 6 of which are mid sentence. I propose that my uncontroversial version was better.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:43, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
  • 2nd sentence. As discussed above, important to Krakkos in order to "contradict" other parts of the article, this sentence is now completely reverted to exactly how it was. "Speaking Germanic languages is the most characteristic trait of the Germanic peoples." Strikingly, there are only 2 footnotes for this strong wording: a book by a Kafka expert explaining the word Germanen and a book about Norse sagas by folklore people, published by Time-life. My proposal was "Especially in later contexts, the use of Germanic languages is the most common reason to describe peoples as "Germanic". [9]--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:43, 8 February 2020 (UTC). That compromise attempt was probably a silly idea? I propose deletion.
  • 3rd sentence. We are back to "However, there are populations, such as Insular Celts, that are not considered Germanic although they generally speak Germanic languages." I had: "Less commonly since the second world war, older publications sometimes categorized nations in a way which speculatively connected language with a racial concept, which for example could make English people closer to Germans than Irish people." This time, even more strikingly, there is only ONE source, from 1911. We all know these types of comments are no longer taken seriously, so it is no surprise how hard it has been to find such a source! I propose deletion. Krakkos sees this as "uncontroversial" (above). This seems to show an absolute disconnect from what serious sources write about such things.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:43, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Rest of the first paragraph (4 sentences) are apparently all meant to create one WP:SYNTH chain of logic. Last sentence now has 14 footnotes!! (More than before.) It should really be deleted because not one of those sources says that "modern scholars ... GENERALLY define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages" BECAUSE of two claimed reasons:
  1. During antiquity, there were numerous non-Germanic populations living under Germanic domination in Germania, who did not speak a Germanic language
  2. Germanic peoples shared other traits than simply language, such as religion and law, which like the languages, were ultimately derived from Indo-European culture--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:43, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

@Krakkos:, I'll give some time on these questions, but the implied edits are clear. Concerning archaeology, in case you are interested, there are some relatively recent articles on giving more accurate and recent definitions of the apparent areas covered by relevant material cultures. (The maps in Müller (1998) who I have cited several times in the new material, are handy.) Some of these might be more relevant to other articles though...--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:05, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

I oppose this section. I am not intending to get involved in the editing of this article, but I think a linguistics section is out of scope for this page as we have Germanic languages. If you wish to mention linguistics (and you may wish to mention the subject), you have two choices as I see it:
  1. You can link to Germanic languages as the main article and the linguistics section should only summarise what is on that page.
  2. You can include points about linguistics as relevant in other sections, but don't create a whole section about Germanic languages.
I won't make any edits myself. I will leave it to editors here to decide what to do. Should have added an option 3: just ignore me :) -- Sirfurboy (talk) 19:19, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
That reasoning is, well, reasonable to me. To put it in perspective though all text proposals at the moment are very short and basically pointing to another article. In that context, I already mentioned below that it might not necessarily need to have its own section.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:34, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
By this reasoning, we might as well remove the sections on the history, culture, demographics, economy and geography of Germany from the article Germany, because main articles for those subjects exists.
As is established by the sources at Germanic peoples#Linguistics, linguistics is an essential aspect of the subject of Germanic peoples.[10][11] This is also the case for other articles about ethnic groups. Almost every developed article on ethnic groups on resource has a section on linguistics. Such a section is useful for this article too. Krakkos (talk) 19:49, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with having the section, but the section should be a summary of the main article it references. As long as it is a summary of the article Germanic languages, that is fine. If it starts saying something different to what is on the parent article we have a problem. If you disagree with what is on the parent article, fix it there first and then your summary can reflect the fixed version. -- Sirfurboy (talk) 19:54, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
The section on Germanic languages in this article should be about the relevance of Germanic languages to Germanic peoples. This relevance is determined by reliable sources on the subject of Germanic peoples. Having said that, i don't think there is any significant contradiction between what is written about Germanic languages in this article and what is written at the article Germanic languages article itself. Krakkos (talk) 20:04, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
Also can I say about this use of efn notes, there is a better way to do this. You, Krakkos (talk · contribs), are putting in a quote from the source and then an sfn Harvard ref at the end. Here is an example:
{{Efn|"The branch of Indo-European that English belongs to is called Germanic, and includes German, Dutch, Frisian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. All these languages are descended from one parent language, a dialect of Indo-European, which we can call Proto-Germanic... We have no records of the language in this period, but we know something about the people who spoke it, because they are described by Roman authors, who called them the Germani."{{sfn|Barber|Beal|Shaw|2012|p=85}} }}
This would be much better as:
{{sfn|Barber|Beal|Shaw|2012|p=85|ps=: "The branch of Indo-European that English belongs to is called Germanic, and includes German, Dutch, Frisian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. All these languages are descended from one parent language, a dialect of Indo-European, which we can call Proto-Germanic... We have no records of the language in this period, but we know something about the people who spoke it, because they are described by Roman authors, who called them the Germani."}}
Just stick the sfn template inside ref tags if you want it to become a footnote.
Thanks for this tip. I'll make sure to make use of it in the future. Krakkos (talk) 19:53, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: I hope you will also fix up the footnotes you've made in the past?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:19, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos:, so to put it on record you then did a small number of footnotes, but with an edit that had a large number of reverts, source deletions, and a completely misleading edsum [12]. That was not really a constructive reaction.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:02, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Sirfurboy:@Krakkos:, Just to be clear about the footnotes, whatever you did has not worked. (Edsum [13]: "Cleaned up sources in the languages section per suggestions of Sirfurboy".) The article as a whole really has a lot of problems with the footnotes, IMHO partly because of the types of sourcing problems they are being used to cover up by using thickets of lower quality sources, but in any case I wonder if the efn/sfn distinction really helps much. I suppose there is a case to be made for deleting a lot of the sources in this article.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:13, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Andrew Lancaster, Thank you. I will make no comment on other edits - O don't feel I have sufficient expertise on this topic area to do so. On the matter of efn/sfn,however, I think Krakkos' changes helped but noticed there is a long way to go. Efn is an explanatory footnote. It is treated differently from cited refs, sfn and other harvard style refs. References should be in a numbered reference section, all together, using one of the resource citation styles. This page uses sfn, which is a Harvard style. Efn footnotes are for explanations that are not citations. It is an editorial aside, used occasionally but not commonly. They get a lettered reference to the notes section. This article still has many examples of explanatory notes that are really just references, so the reader reads the notes, then follows the link to the reference and then (because Harvard referencing is used) from the references to the Bibliography. An example of this, taken at random is note [w] on the page which reads "See for example Polverini (1994, p. 2)". You don't need a note that just says "see this reference". You should just link the reference directly to Polverini (1994, p. 2) (sfn instead of efn). I hope that is helpful. As always, feel free to ignore me as you are the page editors here, not me. -- Sirfurboy (talk) 10:33, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
I am very happy that you are commenting. The Polverini example (by me) shows a concern I have with the efn/sfn distinction as used on this article: for some footnotes, I literally switch between the two templates when I make the footnote longer or shorter, and it all gets a bit arbitrary and hard to do perfectly. A second and bigger concern I have is that whereas a harvtxt template takes a reader straight to the bibliography, the sfn's nested inside efn's go to an enormous section filled with Harvard references. A third problem is that links and templates seem to very often cease to work in these templates, whereas they tend to work in a simple <ref></ref> set-up. ANYWAY, all of this is a bigger discussion which needs to be had. The article struggles to handle these things well partly because of the abuse of the footnoting. BUT RIGHT NOW, the revert-connected footnotes of Krakkos now placed a big group of very large efn footnotes into the sfn section. Did you notice that?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:46, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

The section is called "Linguistics", yet the second para is dominated in the first half by hypotheses that try to equate archaeological cultures with ((pre-)pre-)Proto-Germanic speakers. While that's a legitimate subject, it falls out of the scope of a section called "Linguistics" (or "Languages"). Agree with Sirfurboy that there should be less detail (and cite-bombing). A hatnote to "Germanic languages" plus an explanation why these are relevant for this article should suffice. The first para aims at that, but it rather looks like a justification of the article scope than an explanation, but this can be remedied by appropriate wording. (A natural consequence of hasty writing in the midst of a discussion.) -Austronesier (talk) 20:05, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Off-topic here, but the archaeological hypotheses are--and should remain--covered in "History / Origins". The Germani didn't come out of nowhere, and even though pots and bones don't talk, the very fact that the ancient Germanic peoples shared more than just language(s) makes the study of archaeological evidence well-founded and relevant for this article. -Austronesier (talk) 20:14, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
Just looking back at this earlier comment, both the existing treatment and the ideas being discussed only really handle one part of the Germanic peoples: the Jastorf=Suebian part.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:20, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
The comments of Sirfurboy and Austronesier makes sense to me. I prefer the title Language, but I note that this might become a bit of a combination Language and Archaeology section? I still think it does not need to say much but this proposed connection between at least a big part of early Germanic language and the Jastorf culture is commonly discussed. We should see how practical editing goes but Krakkos may well be right that there is at least one little topic that is relevant to this article. BTW some of the material culture articles for Jastorf and surrounding are pretty minimal.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:37, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
Imo -- I would protest the linkage of Language and Archaeology. Recall that in the specific case of the Goths that is particularly controversial. I think we should try our best to keep them separate --- as two different approaches to tackling the same problem. Regarding whether we should have a language section, actually I think a properly made one can be useful, in the sense of linguistic forensics about the culture of Proto-Germanic speakers. For example, IE having a reconstructed sky-father word, a horse, sheep, etc matters historically; same goes for Germanic. I do not think we should simply reproduce the text of Germanic languages -- we should be interested in only linguistic data that is presented in RS as shedding light on the history of Germani/"Germanic peoples" as defined in said source. Perhaps the ideal thing would be to have such a Language section, to have an Archaeology section, and also to have a third section about the (many) (controversial) historiographical attempts to reconcile the two (along with other factors -- i.e. Roman commentary etc). Also, quick note on "Germanic" and "Celtic" peoples: ancient, some authors used Germanic to mean "origins over the Rhine" with zero ethnographic meaning; modern, it is also false that (modern) Insular Celts have never been considered "Germanic" (though its not as if this really matters...) -- this book from Nat Geo literally does [[14]]. --Calthinus (talk) 04:45, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
Again this is not necessarily a disagreement (also, I think, not with Krakkos). Here is one way to look at it: Have a look at the comments about language and archaeology in the new "definitions" section, concerning evidence from before Julius Caesar. @Krakkos: may or may not agree (I would be interested to know), but I think this new section he has been working on, if it remains small, could even be merged into that material, because it is also about how Germanic peoples are defined. But (and here is my point in response to the remarks) even if we do not merge it in there, so far it looks like it will in effect be "further discussion" about that same type of perspective. Let's say it gets big and someone says it should be moved to a specialist article? Then we have that discussion. In any case to me these questions should sit in the background while work goes on: Question 1. Make sure this section does not create duplication, and does not become a case where one section is arguing against another; Question 2. Is all or part of this section better merged into the definitions discussions (which I see as the core of the article) or merged into specialist articles. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:18, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
Per Calthinus, perhaps it is just what you call it that matters. If you want to look at linguistic evidence for the development of the Germanic Peoples, perhaps call the section "linguistic evidence" or something. Anyway, I have said my caution (which is just about ensuring we don't have two articles discussing the same subject and saying different things). Its up to editors here what they do with that now. -- Sirfurboy (talk) 13:52, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
Actually it probably needs to be seen as the section about "Germanic languages and their origins"? The current "origins" and "prehistory" sections maybe needs to be merged into that? Or alternatively all these three small sections should be 2 sub-sections of a single section about "Germanic languages and their origins": Germanic languages, Archaeological evidence. I am interested to read what others think. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:17, 6 February 2020 (UTC) @Krakkos:
I think that's a great idea^. --Calthinus (talk) 14:34, 6 February 2020 (UTC)

Update. I started by moving the Origins and Prehistory sections to the new Language section, and out of the "History" section. @Krakkos: has not responded to any discussions here but I note my edit was now reverted with the message "These sections are about the history of Germanic peoples, not Germanic languages. Transferring them back to the history section." In the spirit of trying hard to get all rationales open and clear I post that here and then make the following obvious comments:

  • The two sections are not about history. They are about "pre-history" and periods where there is no written evidence.
  • With some exceptions due to recent additions by me, they are about Germanic speakers, defined by language, and not any broader concept.
  • The new "language" section which they were moved to connect to, is currently at least 50% about archaeology.

You only have to read the new section and the two moved sections to see the topic duplication in common sense terms. Possibly these two sections should simply be deleted? If not then why not, and what should they eventually look like?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:42, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

Origins and prehistory are more relevant to the history section than the languages section. Germanic peoples as defined by language is the broadest and most common definition of Germanic peoples. Per WP:BROAD, that is what a broad concept article should be about. Origins and prehistory plays a prominent part in reliable sources on Germanic peoples, and should therefore not be deleted from Wikipedia's article on Germanic peoples. Krakkos (talk) 14:54, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: thanks for your reply. The situation now is a duplication of content, so removing one of the duplications would clearly not be a deletion of our handling of that topic. But anyway, how should we avoid this duplication? Any ideas? If there must be these two different sections then how will they really be different?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:01, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Andrew Lancaster: Avoiding duplication is not the primary purpose of a resource article. The primary purpose of a resource article is to inform readers. Archaeology is of importance both for the history of the Germanic peoples, and the history of their languages. Archaeological information therefore belongs in both the history section and the languages section. In order to avoid excessive duplication, the majority of archaeological information should be located in one of the two sections. Currently most of the archaeological information is located in the history section, while the languages section contains a mere paragraph. I think this solves the duplication issue.
I can not see how it addresses the issue of duplication at all, to say the least. Currently the two sections cover more or less exactly the same basic topic. By your reasoning we should discuss every part of every topic in every section. (That is indeed how you've edited historically.) I don't think this is consistent with any community consensus you want to name.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:38, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
There are no perfect solutions on Wikipedia. There are upsides and there are downsides with every solution. By retaining information on archaeology in the languages section, we increase the amount of text in the article. By deleting this information, we reduce the informativeness of the languages section. I think keeping the article informative is of larger importance than keeping it small. It's also worth noting that you've duplicated plenty of information from every major section of this article in your pet section Germanic peoples#Definitions of Germanic peoples. The issue of duplication appears to only concern you on information which contradicts your own views on the subject. Krakkos (talk) 17:54, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
This is really a non answer. The article has a historical problem with duplication but this is unusual and avoidable. Obviously the aim of all my edits is to change that in the future. You are literally working against this, and admitting that you are inserting duplicate sections which contradict other sections with better sourcing. Instead of contradicting within mirror sections in the article you should be explaining on this talk page why the sections I have made need changing. There is no way to justify your approach in terms of common sense or WP norms. These are POV forks within an article.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:06, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
And just to put it on record, in your mass of reverts you deleted these well-known recent articles, and reverted, as in all other cases, to a sentence with poor sourcing and no understanding. Hard to find any AGF interpretation but if there was an error or misunderstanding, please say so, and show by your future actions:--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:07, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
  • Heyd, Volker (2017). "Kossinna's smile" (PDF). Antiquity. 91 (356): 348-359. doi:10.15184/aqy.2017.21.
  • Kristiansen, Kristian; Allentoft, Morten; Frei, Karin M (2017). "Re-theorising mobility and the formation of culture and language among the Corded Ware Culture in Europe". Antiquity. doi:10.15184/aqy.2017.17.
Those articles do not mention "Germanic peoples". Please familiarize yourself with WP:SYNTH. Krakkos (talk) 22:13, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
No that is broken logic I'm afraid. One topic you have put into this section which needs sourcing is the Corded Ware culture, and for whatever reason you've wanted to emphasize the origins of that culture, which is of course going in the other direction, back in time, whereas Pre-Proto-Germanic would be long after it. So of course these articles are relevant to that. Whether we need discussion of this MUCH earlier period is another question.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:28, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
Sorry that I did not realize there is already a discussion here about generally, however in my talk page incdidentally occured the topic as well.(KIENGIR (talk) 00:24, 9 February 2020 (UTC))

Update. As analyzed above looking at the sources, insistent reverting, insisting on duplicate sections, talk page comments of Krakkos (talk · contribs), etc, the following becomes clear about the current version of this "Languages" section:

  • Much of the section is not about language.
  • It is intended to conflict with the lead (WP:POVFORK), and in particular give a seemingly different definition of "Germanic peoples" semi-based on language even though it specifically also says adds that language is not the only factor. In contrast, the current lead can openly mention multiple criteria, and the definitions section can clarify further. Some old or non-specialist books simply see no complications. But why would anyone specifically want to find a way to say that language "is but isn't" the definition?
  • One reason it is so confusing, and twists logic and the sources so much, is that it wants to imply that this article is largely about a category of modern peoples, linguistically but NOT purely linguistically defined. (Irish are NOT included for example. They are "Insular Celtic", using a 1911 source. Krakkos insists this needs to be in this section. We know from elsewhere on resource that French-speaking Normans were however "Germanic warriors" according to Krakkos!)
  • Another reason it insists on language and then insists it is actually not just language, is because it wants to imply that together with the language, go other ancient connections, such as "religion and law". Much of the section is not even about language.

So, in case anyone is missing the point, according to Krakkos, English and Germans and Flemings and Austrians are closer to each other than to Irish or Czechs or Walloons or Slovenians respectively. This is because they are united by a deep heritage which went together with their language all the way back to Indo-Europeans in a family tree of language, religion, law etc. This is also the way Krakkos edits throughout Wikipedia, categorizing the human race (Normans in, Irish out, etc). But Krakkos can't find good post-1945 sources, needs to use WP:SYNTH, and won't openly explain the programme or answer questions in a direct way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:27, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

Examples of other problems (discussed above) apart from the content and sourcing. Just in one revert edit [15] we see the lack of concern with article quality and inability to coordinate with other editors:

  • Removal of better sources for the Corded Ware culture.
  • Reintroduction of noticed grammatical error in first sentence. "languages is".
  • Completely misleading edsum, not mentioning multiple reverts, pretending the concern was footnote format.
  • Complete messing up (worse than before) of footnote format (mixing long notes into the snf section) apparently not even looked at, despite edsum.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:25, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: you've been actively editing and commenting on some topics. I think in this section on "Languages" there are now some obvious first steps which I can't see any arguments against:
  • The first sentence, which was even reverted back to a grammatically incorrect version, should be changed back to the correct two sentences that you initially apparently found acceptable.
  • The second and third sentences should be deleted. See above for various reasons. Also the text box by the Kafka expert should be deleted.
  • The Corded Ware discussion should either be deleted or changed to something like it was before your mass revert, with the much better sources.
Those are easier points. Here are some you seem to find harder, although to be honest, I think you are making it artificially hard:
  • Do you need more time to try to find a decent source for the claim leading to the sentence which has 14 footnotes? (I mean, as explained above, that WP is saying "modern scholars ... GENERALLY define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages" BECAUSE of two claimed reasons in the previous sentences). ...Or do you think the whole approach of those sentences might need review?
  • To be clear about another concern: I see no reason to be open to the duplications you create, and intend to keep finding ways to remove them bit by bit with as much pre-discussion as possible. I don't see that as a personal preference, but as absolutely normal and possible to fix. To me it is just obvious that no one can agree with the idea of allowing massive duplication, which is easy to avoid. Even worse, to point to the real reason for this artificial problem, we have sections near each other which are POVforks arguing with each other. That is not something we hope will last, surely? So we need to think about what will replace that situation. I've made many proposals.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:35, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: I see you made a stunning change here concerning above-mentioned "modern scholars ... GENERALLY define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages BECAUSE of" claim. It is now "BECAUSE of" something completely different! Magic. You were apparently able to simply move a sentence which begins "For this reason" without changing any sources or wording in the sentence, or the preceding sentence. So to be frank, we have to admit now that it is and was BS, surely? We now have this chain of meaninglessness: "Speaking Germanic languages is the most characteristic trait of the Germanic peoples.[22][29] For this reason, modern scholars,[30] such as historians,[31][32][33][34] archaeologists,[35] philologists[36][22][25] and religious scholars,[36][29][37] generally define Germanic peoples as speakers of Germanic languages." None of those 14 long footnotes make any kind of reference to what is in those 2 very weak, specially chosen, footnotes in the previous sentence. Yet, the second sentence is now hanging completely on those two sources: (1) a book by a Kafka expert explaining the word Germanen to English readers, and (2) a book about Norse sagas by folklore people, published by Time-life. This is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Obviously this simply can't be used to over-rule any of the better sources cited in the lead or the Definitions section and this can't remain in this state. The first sentence needs to go and the second one is OR/SYNTH, especially in its present strongly worded form ("generally"). You own words above describing the reality were significantly less strongly worded, though you were looking at the same sources: "Although there is not a "universal agreement", this is the most common definition in the fields devoted to studying Germanic peoples." But that was also OR. Individual sources which make no mention of other definitions are not sources for what is most common.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:57, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

Update. I have started editing again on these few sentences, making changes which simply need to be done such as the basic grammatical and footnote problems, and the source abuse. For the record, apart from attempts to discuss above, I should note that these VERY long footnotes are duplicated fully and exactly within this short space - up to 5 times, all done using the sfn template! The first sentence had 3 long footnotes at the end which are all found also in the middle of that same sentence, and so on. This one short paragraph has had footnotes the size of a decent resource article on their own. I don't think any competent editor would ever have a good reason to work like this, and it clearly can't be said that this disaster has been made to help verification.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:15, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

The elephant in the room: section 4 "History" should be pruned

Just to set discussion up: This history section is a large article in itself, about half the total article. It is filled with disputed, tagged, poorly sourced material, duplications that are handled better elsewhere (including in other sections within this article), digressions and commentary on the whole of European history, European history writing, etc. OTOH, my understanding is that it should be a "in a nutshell" summary of some key turning points relevant to Germanic speaking peoples? ...because the historical events, national histories, etc, are all handled in other articles, and so this article should just show how certain events etc link to this topic? I hope that the new definitions section should help us feel safe in pruning this down to a basic timeline, because my understanding is that the reason for inserting so many digressions and debatable points into a short summary is that there was nowhere else to put it. These are just first thoughts on this section, but eventually we have to confront this question.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:32, 6 February 2020 (UTC)

What I will do as a first step to help us think about this is use the same draft page I was using to try to make a simple bullet chronology. What I see is that despite being long, there will actually be things missing once you put things in a systematic format.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 00:27, 7 February 2020 (UTC)
The history section is certainly too long and detailed, but reducing it to "a basic timeline" with a "simple bullet chronology" is not a good idea. As shown in reliable sources, history is an important part of the subject of Germanic peoples, and should be discussed comprehensively in its own section. Krakkos (talk) 14:37, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
You possibly misunderstand. I suggested making a chronology/timeline on my drafting page, in order to better proceed in a structured and pre-discussed way. Any concern with that?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:55, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
My interpretation is that you wanted to "prune" the history section of this article into a "basic timeline". I think history is too important for this subject to be reduced to a basic timeline. What you do with your own draft doesn't concern me at all. Krakkos (talk) 17:40, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
Not being concerned about the opinions of other editors is not really a good approach to working on Wikipedia.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:49, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

New second section: "Definitions of Germanic" (instead of "Ethnomyns", which are now part of it)

I apologize for moving fast, but I think anyone interested knows what I was drafting, and on balance I fear discussion of the new shorter lead might be hampered if I do not also introduce the new LONGER second section, which will replace the "Ethnonym" section. This is like an extension lead, so it answers a lot of concerns - I hope. This aims to now contain the important and complicated "conceptual" topics that past versions of the article have always avoided confronting clearly in one place. As we are apparently all in agreement that we are trying to make this a broad concept article, this section might even be seen as the core of the article if it works as hoped.

  • Here is the edit to bring in a block of new material. This link is placed here to make it easy to find and compare anything, and potentially to recover etc.
  • I will of course work on the footnotes and formatting etc.
  • The article has had, and still has, some duplication when it comes to language and archaeology. This new section also touches on them, so we need to decide how much we expand or reduce what is here in this new section.
  • Apologies for not yet including a fuller discussion of etymology. I note that there has been on-going discussion about that, which is not finished. But I think that whatever we decide to do will not be much helped by keeping the old discussion.

Feedback welcome and requested. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:00, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Update. It would be good to get clear feedback on these sections. Currently the whole section was tagged by @Krakkos: when it first appeared but what that refers to is unclear. Possibly it referred to things which are now fixed for example. If the section tagging is no longer appropriate it should of course be removed.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:28, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: I suppose the tagging can be removed then.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 16:33, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
Concerns about the incoherent and confusing nature of Germanic peoples#Definitions of Germanic peoples still apply. In my opinion, there is more work to be done before the tags can be removed. Krakkos (talk) 17:44, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
That is close to no answer at all. Can you give an example of anything confused or incoherent?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:49, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: explain the "more work to be done". Give an example? If there needs to be big section tags then it can't be difficult to give an example, because they should be big obvious problems? Or are the concerns subtle and complex ones?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:44, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
@Krakkos: to be clear, if the problems are not big bold and obvious then there should be no section tagging. If they are big, then you'd normally have been able to explain with clear examples long ago, but that does not seem to be the case. You've clearly been active, and had a chance to answer this. Do you need more time? I am thinking this discussion shows that the tagging can be removed? If not, please post a real example with a clear explanation.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:17, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

I support this [[16]] as valuable and enlightening for readers who are often otherwise confused by the variance in the who the term has been used to refer to. --Calthinus (talk) 00:49, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

"Physical characteristics"

At present we have a section with this text:

Here are my issues.

1. Roman authors are known stereotypers and bsers when it comes to physical characteristics of literally any foreigner. If the foreign group is in Europe and considered barbaric, they are nearly always portrayed as physically large, with "red" (could mean red, or blonde, or auburn, or just brown as opposed to black like most people from idk S Italy maybe) hair. This is not only true of the "Germani", "Celt(ic)i", etc but also Balkan peoples such as Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians etc. But genetic tests on remains have severely challenged this stereotype of Thracians at the least -- the available evidence suggests they were quite dark and if anything darker than the present Bulgarians. We have Francis Owen's take that it means blond, but none of the scepticism that much of modern literature has about Roman (or Greek) physical descriptions of foreigners. Really the Romans were quite "racist", remember that play where Italians put chalk on their skin to imitate the barbarous Galli?

2. We have Tacitus comments about mixing and then There is little evidence of large-scale migration into Scandinavia... and the physical type of the Germanic people then has therefore remained largely the same.[166] Oh boy I have so many issues with this. First, The Germanic people? Just one?! Second, the physical type of the Germanic people? What type? Do Swedes look like English people? Only sometimes. This sounds like it time warped from 1880. Okay, actually, it seems the section is based on the work of Owen from 1960. WP:UNDUE. Has our knowledge about "major migrations into Scandinavia" or other territories inhabited by this single "Germanic people" changed since then? Yes we have plenty of evidence of Slavic origins from geneologies ... and genes... in eastern parts of Germany. Not a "migration" but in the north of Scandinavia tons of Sami were "Germanicized". Oh, and also, are not totally assimilated migrants or adopted kids who have no identity but Swedish/Dutch/whatever and no culture but their "Germanic" national culture "Germanic", or are they not, solely because of some obscure ancestry? I don't think we should be tackling that question. I think the whole section should be deleted at least for now. If we want to talk only about their alleged appearance in ancient times that would be a bit more in line with policy. Imho. --Calthinus (talk) 19:51, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

I agree this section raises concerns. Just so much to do. I won't bother finding a diff, but recently I changed the title of this section to "Roman tropes", but there have been a lot of reverts. Basically though, every modern scholarly source that mentions these types of comments describes them as Roman tropes, and emphasizes that these tropes were already old before Romans knew who Germani were, because the same tropes were used for Gauls. Somewhere I saw someone (maybe David Green) point out that funnily enough the Romans must have seen the Germani as people with some good hair colouring formulations, which is apparently what the first "soap" was - soap being a Germanic word which was loaned into Latin. What we have instead is pure 19th century romanticism, but that unfortunately describes a lot of stuff which is on a lot of articles related to Germanic historical subjects. That kind of hero-worshiping Germanism was still trendy among people who should have known better until the generation who lived through WW2, and it is still popular outside of academia in nerdy culty people on the internet.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:46, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
As "Roman tropes" the section could stay. Without the parts talking about "no migration ever happened". That was a good call. Cheers, --Calthinus (talk) 21:28, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

Gaulish versus Gallic

@Calthinus: Might as well register this as I note a few edits remarking this word choice. I guess none of us have really strong feelings about Gaulish versus Gallic, but I think Gaulish is the more common word, and easier to know how to pronounce. :) I don't think it is "wrong"? I see Gaulish as a modern term in English for anything pertaining to Gauls, and Gallia is the Latin name for Gaul - which does not have to be the name of a Roman province. If there was a Gallia there was a Gaul, so to speak? (Gaul is I suppose another geographical term in this period, which was in effect given a definition by Caesar, at least for Latin speakers?) Just thoughts.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:54, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

Now I saw this addition [17]. I am a bit cautious of lists in this article. There is a history of every list being added to until they become silly. Do we really need Wallach AND Wallachia? And concerning "Gaul" I do not see that theory mentioned on that Ringe blogpost. Sounds genuinely interesting but unless it is a well-known theory with no controversy do we really want to add on this list in this article, where it is only a side issue? (But I am interested to see the Ringe theory if you have a URL.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:59, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Wallachia is more relevant. Keep Wallachia. Re Walhaz < Volcae -- I simply copied that from Walhaz, as I noted in my edit summary. I've seen this elsewhere, can fetch. Re Gaul(ish)/Gallic(i/etc) -- this one is so confusing there is literally a paper about it :). You can't say "Celtic" either because that can refer to Celtica i.e. Central Gaul. In English Gaul survived as some sort of modern vestige of the (OE) ethnonym Galwalas for French people, and was reapplied by classicism to equate to "Gallia", hence a geographic territory. Likewise, in French historiography, it's just used to mean France, thank you nationalism. But since "France" as a state obv didn't exist in Roman times and Romans knew "Galli(ci)" on ethnic terms, "Gallia" meant something a little different -- which make Gallia/Gallic the non-anachronistic translations, since our conception of "Gaul" is shaped by its "pre-Frenchness" (i.e. see also Galatia, obv nothing to do with France there but still called Galli). But this is kind of hairpicking; I did self revert.--Calthinus (talk) 21:11, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Andrew Lancaster actually, Ringe's blog does say this (showing whole para as you might find it otherwise interesting too per Celtic/Germanic contact:

Yeah it's a blog, but surely we can make a special case for some as accomplished as Ringe.--Calthinus (talk) 21:14, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Oh, if you're referring to the placename Gaul and *walha, yeah that's not there. It's here. --Calthinus (talk) 21:16, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Yes that was the new one for me. And also yes, Ringe is a big enough name that we could, if we needed to, cite a blog. However, this particular list of words is really a side-side issue? My experience on WP is that one thing that tends to go wrong is side-side-issues expanding until it gets hard to remember what the subject was. This article has more than its fair share of those types of situations :) --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:31, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't particularly care about the list. Re Gaulish/Gallic, well, to be fair, just checked, and well established current research by people who have published on matters concerning Gaulish is still using "Gaulish" indiscriminately for pre-French Galli and not-pre-French Galli, i.e. Kerkhof '18... so it's definitely not an issue. --Calthinus (talk) 21:33, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Well (Guell?), I would tend to go more minimal, partly because I am thinking about how this article's tendency to develop malign growths, and we still has a lot of material to be carefully pruned and re-packed. Sorry to bring it up though, because it is good to get more people daring to work on this article again! :) --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:54, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Gwatever gworks. --Calthinus (talk) 22:19, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

Right on cue someone started adding Spain/Visigoths into all the lists while this discussion was happening.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:37, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

Bibliography check: many Britannica articles

In recent heavy discussions and attempts to get this article improved, the quality of the large bibliography has come up often. Many of the sources seem specially selected to represent out-of-date or over-simplified viewpoints, and to ignore controversies in a way which WP (unlike most tertiary sources) aims NOT to do. More generally WP RS policies recommend being careful of tertiary sources, and certainly not to use them to over-rule stronger secondary sources.

Concerning Britannica, one specific issue needing investigation is that these articles are given no dates. Consider the implications of WP:V. The "publication dates" on the website clearly have nothing to do with when the articles were written. I offer the following checks:

=>Aubin died in 1954.

=>Moulton was active in the 1960s and 1970s and died in 2008. The article was in the 1998 upload.

=>Chadwick died in 1947.

=>Authors listed as "the editors", it was in the 1998 upload.

=>Grancsay died 1980. This link goes to a one paragraph section of a long article on Metalwork generally. Some of the many authors listed were active in the 19th century. The use of the word "Teutonic" suggests that this paragraph is probably pretty old. Also, this particular article is one of many which are NOT actually being cited in the text. That's another problem.

=>Peter Heather is obviously still active and an important source. Like Goffart, he is for example one of the modern authors who is sceptical of using Jordanes, which is one of the important controversies we must report better. But of course Britannica studiously avoids complications, discussions about evidence, controversies etc. So we should use his books instead of this tertiary source, and never use this source to trump things he says in his own more specialized works.

=> . However, this particular article is one of many which are NOT actually being cited in the text. That's another problem.

=>Died 1981. Was publishing in 1960s and 1970s.

=Retired 1979, died 1994.

=Retired 1979, died 1994.

=>Died 1978. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:44, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

Certainly in the case of Aubin and Chadwick, they published so early their works could not be used as WP:RS.--Calthinus (talk) 13:41, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
Well, I am not sure I agree with your exact wording. RS is context-dependent. So it matters what you are using a source for. But for example I think what I think is important here is that you would not cite these to prove that a newer publication was controversial or wrong. (And that is basically how they have been used some times.)
Also of course, you would not gather a few of these until you have a large number, and then put big quotes from each source into separate footnotes, put each of these twice or three times into single sentences, 5 or 6 times per paragraph, in order to show that there is a consensus in the field. But that is also OR and SYNTH, not just an RS or V problem. But of course no one would do that?
Chadwick is an interesting chap for example. One of his last books shows him occasionally grappling with his categorizations of people into nations, in the light of the Nazis: The Nationalities of Europe and the Growth of National Ideologies (1945). Writers like Halsall and Goffart, who've been caricatured a bit on this talk page, often remark that many of the romanticists were nothing like the Nazis - but that scholars who defend their lack of methodological care by saying they are not Nazis are missing the point. For example a very popular alternative mythology was the one about the Northern tribes fighting for freedom, and the rule of law, against tyrannical southerners, leading to the inventions of modern parliaments and all the rest. Much nicer than the master race story, but still just myth making. The methodological problems of this whole find a story which "sounds about right" approach were the real problem. It always leads people to the conclusions they set out to find.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:04, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
In many topic areas -- the Balkans for one -- literally anything before 1950 is immediately suspect and considered not RS. Even if authors were not themselves rac(ial)ists/working for national "interest"/etc, it falls under suspicion, as even works written in protest against the norm of that time often reasoned using the same parameters and methodology. For me at least IAR does apply if editors do agree a source is nonetheless valuable, but each is a special case. Now, SYN is also a troubling issue. Cleaning up SYN is a pain, as it requires a lot of source access... --Calthinus (talk) 19:59, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
It is an effort, but bit by bit... Of course sentences with 14 footnotes are a red flag.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:57, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

the article length topic revisited

Back about a month ago discussions started with the observation that this article is too long. We have gone through a lot of discussion and I continue to work on the basis that re-structuring is the necessary first step so that we can see what the really has and needs. We are now making some progress. I'll make a few observations indicating how I think the priorities look today. I really hope other editors will comment and help also.

  • To improve (even expand if necessary): Concerning sections which have NO equivalent in coverage in any other article, step 1 is getting all this collected and in a more polished form so we can see how big that is. If these on their own are still too big for one article we need to look at that. So far however, these sections make up only a small part of the article. I guess a quarter?
  • To reduce: anything which is duplicated.
  • To structure and reduce: Concerning sections which DO overlap a lot with other articles dominate the article still. The History section is the biggest section and on its own would be a large article which people might consider splitting. We certainly have to shorten it and make intelligent links to the various articles which cover the same material. This does not look difficult to reduce because there are lots of digressions and duplications, though this is maybe not yet easy to see because it so unstructured still, as the whole article was. We need to try to structure it in order to get it both complete enough, and short enough.
  • To reduce: a special problem on this article is the footnoting and bibliography. This is maybe one third of the article?!
  • Footnotes (both types). It is obvious that the footnotes in this article are not normal. They are too large, with long quotes often including completely useless words ("This books will..."). There are too many (several per sentence sometimes), all just confirming the same thing, or often not really directly confirming anything. Many of the footnotes are duplicates, and repeat near each other.
  • Bibliography. Many of the items in the Bibliography are not being used. Many are being used once, but then for something which could have been sourced from many of the other hundreds of sources. Many of the items are old, and/or not books which even focus upon the topics we need them for, and we have better sources. It is as if we were desperate to fill this article up.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:01, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
  • To reduce/merge. The culture section is dodgy and based almost entirely on one very old book. It also has a main article (which probably also needs review). What we really know about this topic is minimal: Caesar and Tacitus, the "linguistic archaeology" of Dennis Green, some things confirmed by archaeologists like human sacrifice, and some argumentation like Liebeschuetz thinking all the medieval kingdoms had something like weregild. Probably, in fact, this should be combined with the Roman Tropes section, because it would be a section about uncertain things.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 21:08, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
  • To reduce/merge. To be consistent I think also the Later Germanic studies and their influence at the end, which is not chronological history of Germanic peoples themselves, but of writers and concepts, can be merged into Modern "Germanic" concepts and "Germanism". As it is has another main article, it only needs to cover main points.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:20, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

Feedback? Concerns? Proposals? Questions?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:20, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

I don't think it is necessarily "too long" actually. Before some of the issue was large amounts of text making sections hard to read. But that is increasingly less of the case. Much of the information here is valuable in some way, so the best way would be trimming unnecessary text here and there. At the same time, I can't say I would oppose the merge to Modern "Germanic" concepts and "Germanism" either... that is also a possibly good idea. --Calthinus (talk) 01:27, 16 February 2020 (UTC)
Keep in mind I've been reducing the size bit by bit. At the maximum, this article was above 200,000 bytes, but is now around 155,000. It might indeed be difficult to ever go under 100,000 (a rough target). In some cases lower down in the article there is lots which can be reduced (digressions, dodgy/fluffy unsourced stuff, duplications, bad wordings etc), but on the other hand, there are some important things missing. I am also trying to add whatever is needed, and once it is there, the wordings can be reduced a bit more by better wordings and the better use of links, including links within the article. Indeed higher up in the article this can also be improved. (Notice for example I have some "see below" and "see above" bits, which should eventually be links.) Such things can only really be finished when there is a whole article based on one logical structure.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:00, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

It would be good to get feedback about the footnoting from other editors. I have several long term ideas:

  • If/when the article settles down, I think the efn footnotes should mainly be shortened. Many would then become normal footnotes.
  • Also the bibliography: step 1, once the article has a stable looking structure, would be to move all un-used sources to the Further reading section, which eventually might also then need shortening.
  • Possibly we need a better Primary/classical sources section. There is an external links section with a link to the Perseus website Caesar, which has Latin and English. I am NOT a fan of having "Caesar (2009)" references which only give us links to one person's English. Clearly readers and editors of this article sometimes needs to look at the Latin or Greek, because it is partly about terminology.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:07, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

UPDATE on REFERENCES. I have moved all the unused references after the used ones, and separated them with a title. Perhaps other editors can help give comment on which, if any, should be used, put in further reading, or simply deleted. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:26, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

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