We have the second request for the Wikipedia in Dalmatian . Unlike
the first one , this is factually valid, as it's about the request
for a Romance language edition, not a Slavic language edition.
However, it's about a dead language. They say there are ~20 people
speaking Dalmatian, but the educational value of Wikipedia edition in
Dalmatian is zero. Unlike with a few languages of the Baltic (Baltic
and Uralic), where possibility for a legitimate revival is possible
inside of the population which ancestors have spoken the language, I
see this at this point of time as pure hobbyist work.
If they create a valid pool of native speakers (a couple of them, at
least), they could come again and request Wikipedia in their language
The question in the subject line, asked by the Aramaic expert on the
Assyrian thread, has been floating in space (and making me curious) for
years. To my knowledge, we have never had a good answer. So I'm taking
the opportunity to attempt discussion of it.
It seems to me it would be good to get at some approximation of an answer.
For example, Milos just mentioned Cora, an indigenous Mexican language with
about ~10,000 speakers. Thinking of a *Wikipedia* in that language seems
to me a complete waste of time. Statistically, it would seem it could
never recruit more than a handful of volunteers, and it would not have a
reader base, nor ever offer even a modest genuinely-useful corpus of
up-to-date, encyclopedic knowledge.
It makes absolute sense to document the Cora lexicon (on major Wiktionary
projects, i.e. in other languages), to curate any extant literature (on the
multilingual Wikisource), to record and document live speakers (and any
folklore) on Commons, etc. But I think this language won't ever achieve an
encyclopedia, and I think it is unhelpful to pretend otherwise.
You may disagree, perhaps. What I am interested in hearing the committee's
opinion about is the general question: can we identify the criteria for a
I will take a shot at a very rough, partly arbitrary definition of
"minimally-viable Wikipedia": a wiki community commanding sustained
participation from at least 5 very active editors and at least 20 active
editors, and able to reach 20,000 non-stub articles in under 10 years.
(many other definitions can be offered.)
It seems clear, for example, that 1 million literate speakers of high
average education level, stable orthography, and available secondary
sources and higher education in that language (e.g. Estonian) are
definitely enough to sustain such a community.
But there's still a lot of room to ponder -- would 500,000 speakers also be
enough, provided the other characteristics are in place? Would 10 million
speakers be enough, if there's no higher education or secondary sources in
a given language? Etc. etc.
Langcom is probably the densest concentration of expertise able to approach
this question. Is the committee interested in thinking about it and maybe
working towards some working recommendation/guideline?
(I don't think it necessarily has to result in any policy change for
LangCom. It may just be a useful guideline for interested
volunteers/communities to compare themselves with, for example.)