Forwarded to the languages list.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Milos Rancic <>
Date: 2015-05-27 15:04 GMT-06:00
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Priority languages
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>

Below is the list of the languages sorted by the number of L2 speakers
(more than one million of them).

L2 speakers appear in two occasions:
* First and important to us is about languages used for wider
communication. For example, French is L2 among educated people of West
* The second type is related to the native languages in not so good
position (either dying or reviving). For example, English is L1 language of
the most of Native Americans, as well as Russian is L1 language of the most
of ethnicities of former Soviet Union, while their own languages are L2
ones. (They are important in other cases, but not for this purpose.)

I omitted English (there is no sense, as we are communicating in English
and English is default for all the localization) and few spoken languages
(our content is [mostly] written).

I also removed some languages which belong to the second category (Irish
Gaelic and Scots, for example), but it could be the case that some of the
languages from the list belong to that category, as well (though I am
pretty sure they don't).

There are languages inside of this list with well developed Wikimedia
projects and without particular need to promote work on Wikimedia projects
among them: French, Spanish and German are the examples. There is no
Russian inside of the list, as it's usually L1 language, as mentioned
above, but it belongs to the category of the languages with well developed
Wikimedia projects.

There are also languages spoken in countries with low level of internet
access and issues much more important than writing an encyclopedia, like
Congo Swahili is. Those are the areas not yet ready even for the projects
like OLPC is and we don't have a lot to do there.

But there are a number of languages in between with active chapter(s) or
user group(s) inside of relevant countries. Those languages should be the
priority in promotion collaboration.

They are: Arabic (Arabic user groups), Indonesian (WM ID), Hindi (WM IN),
Urdu (Pakistani user group), Thai (Thailand UG), Bengali (WM BD), Zulu (WM
ZA), Hausa (West African user groups), Xhosa (WM ZA), Afrikaans (WM ZA),
Kannada (WM IN), Telugu (WM IN), Tsonga (WM ZA), Malay (WM ID and Malaysian
Wikimedians), Marathi (WM IN).

The priorities for those languages should include (but likely not limited
* Translation of MediaWiki messages should be 100%.
* Those languages should be priorities for every document which should be
translated. For example, ongoing Board elections; but also various Meta
* We should have the pool of literate people in those languages for various
purposes, not just for translation. For example, if we want to create
projects in languages of Pakistan, we should have a number of literate Urdu
speakers, willing to help newcomers speaking Urdu as their L2 language.

Will be back with other languages-related data :)

LanguageCodeL1 speakersL2 speakersStandard
4,072,04010,000,000Burmesemya32,035,30010,000,000Congo Swahiliswc1,000
9,100,000Northern Sothonso4,631,0009,100,000Kannadakan37,739,0409,000,000
74,049,0005,000,000Ibibioibb1,500,0004,500,000Tok Pisintpi122,0004,000,000
Vendaven1,294,0001,700,000Sangosag404,0001,600,000Manado Malayxmm850,000
1,500,000Sylhetisyl10,300,0001,500,000Ambonese Malayabs245,0201,400,000
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