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Suppose I want to know what name I should give, in Italian, to an imaginary creature invented for a game (e.g. playing cards). I quote the text describing the creature, and show its picture.

Would the question be acceptable, for Italian Language? If it is not, should the Help Center have a note about this kind of questions?

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    My feeling is that questions like that are not acceptable, since they are more about words invented from Italians than Italian language, but I would like to see if other users think like I do. – kiamlaluno Sep 9 '17 at 12:01
  • Why not? Italian words and names are not “arbitrary” and follow certain syllabic patterns that make them sound Italian. You might ask for words that describe features of your creature or some etymology (maybe fake, but “reasonable”). – egreg Sep 10 '17 at 9:03
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    Invented names are not much about Italian, considering that invented names are not necessarily descriptive. I could call an invented creature ciuppa ciuppa, but I don't feel like that would help users in learning Italian. – kiamlaluno Sep 10 '17 at 9:13
  • That's why the question should be well-motivated, so answers may help in applying the same or similar criteria in other situations. – egreg Sep 10 '17 at 9:17
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    Yes, but how much well-motivated should it be? Users indeed have a reason to ask a question, but that doesn't make it on-topic just for that. If users ask a question about naming an imaginary creature they only heard of, how can the question be helpful for future users? – kiamlaluno Sep 10 '17 at 9:22
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    For me, the problem with this kind of questions is that it's difficult to imagine something that it is not opinion based or too broad. – Charo Sep 12 '17 at 11:28
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    I agree with kiamlaluno and Charo: words that sound Italian are not within the scope of a website about Italian, apart from very rare and specific cases (say, a study about distinguishing Italian and Italian-sounding words, and even then only as regards actual Italian). It would be matter for a hypothetical SE about constructed languages (which would be interesting indeed). – DaG Sep 12 '17 at 13:23
  • I think you could ask questions about how to translate an invented name in a way that preserves the connotations it has in the original language. It would still skirt the boundary of opinion based but at least it is a concrete problem which necessitates a deep knowledge of the Italian language. – Denis Nardin Sep 12 '17 at 14:09
  • @DenisNardin Take as example Tigger, the character in The House at Pooh Corner. Wikipedia says in Italian it is called Tigro (although, I recall it was called Tiglotto). How can you say the Italian name preserves the connotations of the original language? – kiamlaluno Sep 14 '17 at 12:03
  • @kiamlaluno As far as I understand, Tigger is the name Tiger misspelled like a child could do, and Tigro is supposed to be more or less the same thing. I'll admit I wasn't really thinking of this example (I was thinking of an interesting article I read by the translator of Harry Potter but I cannot find it now) – Denis Nardin Sep 14 '17 at 15:41
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I'd consider such a question undoubtedly unacceptable. For one thing, it would be too opinion-based, as is any act of choosing a name, real or invented, for a baby or an imaginary creature. And this holds both for a “please suggest me a suitable name” question and a “I have been thinking about XXX: what do you say” question.

As for questions about some name sounding more or less Italian, or having some traits in common with Italian, this is both opinion-based and borderline off-topic, since this site is about Italian, not possibly-Italian-words-that-actually-aren't.

(It would be borderline in-topic if the question were about, say, algorithms that automatically recognise a language and their limitations, but this would be a wholly different question).

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I would vote to close a question with a specific text/picture as "too localized", personally.

A broader question on how to generate Italian-sounding names in general looks OK to me. Unlike some commenters, I don't consider "would help users in learning Italian" a necessary criterion, and I consider 'Italian-sounding'-ness as a perfectly fine on-topic subject. I consider il lonfo non vaterca né gluisce to be integral part of Italian, for instance.

  • It's not clear if you find the question off-topic or on-topic, since I made an example of question asking to generate an Italian-sounding name, or an Italian name. Notice also that too localized doesn't exist anymore as closing reason. – kiamlaluno Sep 14 '17 at 12:05
  • I find too localized, and thus off-topic, a question in which you give a specific picture/text and ask for an Italian-sounding name for it. I don't care if that closing reason is not available as a box to tick; it's clear that we have to draw the line somewhere. – Federico Poloni Sep 14 '17 at 12:31

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