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1. I created the stub children’s drawing.

• CommentRowNumber2.
• CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
• CommentTimeFeb 29th 2012

A bit of a fussy point, but why when pluralizing do both parts of ’dessin d’enfant’ take on an ’s’?

Equally odd in English to move from ’child’s drawing’ to ’children’s drawings’.

• CommentRowNumber3.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeFeb 29th 2012
• (edited Feb 29th 2012)

This is probably an artefact of translation from French to English via German. ;-) I would have done the same.

In German, it’s mandatorily Kinderzeichnung with plural Kinder, children. Even if done by a single child.

While “Kindzeichnung”, with the singular form, would parse, it doesn’t really work semantically, nobody says it.

• CommentRowNumber4.
• CommentAuthorTom Leinster
• CommentTimeFeb 29th 2012

John Baez argued somewhere that it’s absurd to leave dessin d’enfant untranslated. The whole point of the phrase is to conjure up childlike simplicity. Putting it in a foreign language — and especially French, which somehow carries an air of sophistication — has exactly the opposite effect. There’s a perfectly good English translation: child’s drawing. Using the French is actually less faithful to the original than translating it.

I guess the reason why some people prefer to say dessin d’enfant is that “child’s drawing” doesn’t sound like highbrow scientific language. But I don’t think “dessin d’enfant” does in French, either.

2. The intention was that here ”children” is used as a collective noun refering to a class of people not to be distinguished:

But I won’t insist on this.

• CommentRowNumber6.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeFeb 29th 2012

For what it’s worth, I prefer child’s drawing. The linguistic discussion may be worth a short note in the entry.

• CommentRowNumber7.
• CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
• CommentTimeFeb 29th 2012

My point was not to mix things. Either

children’s drawing/ children’s drawings

or

child’s drawing/ child’s drawings

but not

child’s drawing /children’s drawings.

Like Todd I prefer the child’s versions. After all, we say ’That’s child’s play’.

• CommentRowNumber8.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeFeb 29th 2012
• (edited Feb 29th 2012)

For once I corrected the mathematical typing rather than comment on the name. (I find any of the names rather strange, but have always used the French. The connect is actually rather subtle even if the name is strange.) The typo was a $\setminus$ which was left as a forward slash.

• CommentRowNumber9.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeMar 1st 2012
• (edited Mar 1st 2012)

I have added some more references. The entry as it was did not mention Grothendieck!

Note the title of the volume by Schneps et all has ’dessins’.

3. I added a link to tree redirecting to tree category as a simple example for a bipartite graph.

• CommentRowNumber11.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeMar 2nd 2012

I have added a bit to this entry and also put a brief summary of Esquisse d’un programme on a new entry. I suggest that as this is a title of a document the title of the entry could be left like it is with redirects if it is felt necessary.

• CommentRowNumber12.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeMar 2nd 2012

Excellent! Thanks, Tim.

• CommentRowNumber13.
• CommentAuthorStephan A Spahn
• CommentTimeAug 24th 2012
• (edited Aug 24th 2012)
I added a sentence on ''Klein's dessins d'enfants'' in the idea section and a (further) reference to Belyi's theorem.
• CommentRowNumber14.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeAug 24th 2012

I’m late to the discussion on the plural, but the question is, are all of the drawings by the same child?

• CommentRowNumber15.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeAug 24th 2012
• (edited Aug 24th 2012)

As the perhaps the most Francophone (or almost) amongst us, I have changed the title to the plural as that is a direct translation of the French. Feel free to change it back if you object strongly.;-)

Are all the Riemann surfaces by the same Riemann????? What a thought!

• CommentRowNumber16.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeAug 24th 2012
• (edited Aug 24th 2012)

Tim, I think David Corfield is fluent in French, n’est-ce pas? (Maybe also Tom Leinster?)

• CommentRowNumber17.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeAug 24th 2012
• (edited Aug 24th 2012)

Ma femme est francaise et ma fille habite pres de Paris. Mes deux enfants sont bilingues. ;-) but in any case, I edited the entry slightly! I am sure that both David and Tom speak and read French well as it is the foreign language most taught in schools in the UK.

• CommentRowNumber18.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeAug 24th 2012

Well, I was mainly referring to the fact that, IIRC, they’ve both lived in France, professionally (and less to the fact that they received education in the UK). Thanks for your family information!

• CommentRowNumber19.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012

Is the French necessarily plural??? I thought that the singular in French was ‘dessin d’enfant’, the translation of which is ‘child’s drawing’. We usually have article titles in the singular (although this one in particular should have a lot of redirects).

• CommentRowNumber20.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012

I strongly agree with Toby #19 on all counts. There is no question about the fact that Grothendieck used the phrase “dessin d’enfant” in his Esquisse – look at the Sommaire at the head of his manuscript, and you see that section 3 is titled “Corps de nombres associés à un dessin d’enfant”. And the phrase appears elsewhere, for example just before page 13 on the manuscript from his typewriter, in the paragraph beginning “Cette découverte, …” Anyway, in view of our general tendency to have titles in the singular, I support renaming it to “child’s drawing” (and I see there may be a cache bug already).

• CommentRowNumber21.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012
• (edited Aug 25th 2012)

I have withdrawn my change and will edit accordingly, i.e. the subtitle as well. Please check that it is consistent as well. :-)

• CommentRowNumber22.
• CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012

It makes you realise why quirky naming is not worth it. It sounds particularly silly in English to me.

But anyway, I should think the key thing to fix with the entry is the mathematical content. As it stands, it adds very little to my existing very sketchy knowledge of these things. Only by looking at the Wikipedia entry can I get a sense of what’s included there about Klein and Grothendieck, and I know Teichmuller should be there somewhere, but he isn’t.

Answers to this MO question list some good resources.

We need an introduction which indicates general importance. Something along the lines of this blurb

Dessins d’enfants is a theory, initiated by Grothendieck in 1984, which uses maps on surfaces to create a link between on the one hand the Teichmüller theory of Riemann surfaces, and on the other hand the Galois theory of algebraic number fields and the algebraic curves defined over them. The theory thus provides surprising and powerful connections between such apparently dissimilar fields as algebraic geometry, algebraic number theory, combinatorics, Galois theory, group theory, Teichmüller theory and topology, and provides a fertile ground for collaborations between members of these different disciplines.

• CommentRowNumber23.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012
• (edited Aug 25th 2012)

I have always wondered what the higher dimensional (nPOV) version should look like. I have pencilled in some time ago the need to improve the entry, but have been trying to ’finish off’ my Profinite Algebraic Homotopy monograph and have had to put Dessins ’on the long finger’! We ran a seminar on it many years ago in Bangor and I even looked out the notes. :-)

The blurb you gave was by Gareth Jones (then of Southampton) and he had done a lot of good work on this area before AG’s collaborators Ladegaillerie and Voisin published their stuff.

• CommentRowNumber24.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012

Let’s have links to all proposed titles (to work around the cache bug):

• CommentRowNumber25.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012

I wonder if it would be good to replace the (rather long) extract from Wikipedia with the blurb that David Corfield quoted?

• CommentRowNumber26.
• CommentAuthorTim_Porter
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012
• (edited Aug 25th 2012)

As WIkipedia would be a link anyway that seems a good idea.

• CommentRowNumber27.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeAug 25th 2012

I have tried to fight the cache bug which is haunting the renamed entry. I removed three related cache files which I found. But the bug is still effective. Don’t know what to do now.

• CommentRowNumber28.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeAug 26th 2012

The cache bug seems to be gone now. (If you still see it, try clearing your browser’s cache; often, Shift-Ctrl-R on the page will be sufficient.)

• CommentRowNumber29.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeSep 24th 2014

Coming back to this discussion after a pointer from Noam Zeilberger, I’m really puzzled by David Corfield’s #2.

What’s wrong with a kindergarten teacher saying to parents on Open House night, “you’ll find the children’s drawings on display on the opposite wall”? How else should the thought be expressed?

• CommentRowNumber30.
• CommentAuthorDavid_Corfield
• CommentTimeSep 24th 2014

Of course there’s nothing wrong with it. I was just saying that I don’t think there’s a unique answer to forming the plural of child’s drawing. Why multiply both the child and the drawing?

• This is a child’s way of looking at thing.
• These are a child’s ways of looking at things.
• These are children’s ways of looking at things.
• CommentRowNumber31.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeSep 24th 2014

That makes more sense to me; thanks for clarifying. So there’s nothing odd per se about “children’s drawings” as I thought you were suggesting in #2. I guess you meant it seems odd to have that as the default for the page title.