I am particularly curious about the status of Egyptian. How different
would an Egyptian Wikipedia actually be from a Modern Standard Arabic
Wikipedia? Of course, there are lots of differences, but many of them
are with short vowels, which aren't regularly transcribed in Arabic
I think it would make more sense to have a Moroccan Wikipedia than an
Egyptian Wikipedia. Egyptian and Modern Standard Arabic aren't hugely
different on paper. Moroccan (a dialect of Derija, the North African
Arabic, according to some), on the other hand, is hardly intelligible,
although again in writing it is easier than in speaking.
Of course, the Langcom trusts ISO singularly, and doesn't actually
seem to debate things like whether or not a separate Wikipedia is
actually necessary or a good idea. I think, personally, that the wrong
decision was made in the case of Egyptian (I realize the decision is
"final" and "cannot" be rescinded).
If we get proposals for other Arabic varieties, such as North
Levantine Arabic or Gulf Arabic or something along those lines, I
think we need to evaluate it more carefully.
While I am of the opinion that Arabic is certainly a macrolanguage
with different languages encompassed by it, I don't think the
Ethnologue (and by extension, ISO) makes more than the most arbitrary
distinctions between varieties, often based on political rather than
linguistic borders. Some of them should probably be combined based on
the rubric of mutual intelligibility, or at least somebody should have
looked into that idea. Algerian, Tunisian, Libyan, and Moroccan
shouldn't be divided based on country as they currently are.
A good, comprehensive study is needed (and probably already exists) to
better classify the varieties of Arabic, because SIL has done a
piss-poor job. It's shameful, considering just how many people speak
one or another variety of Arabic.
2008/10/8 Muhammad Alsebaey <shipmaster(a)gmail.com>om>:
In the days since I have first sent my email, I talked to several people,
and due to their arguments, I am less worried now about division of effort,
however, I still strongly believe that my arguments about the language being
mostly a spoken one with no stable orthography and that by WMF approving any
of those dialects/language, it will be essentially making a political stand,
On Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 5:29 AM, Ting Chen <wing.philopp(a)gmx.de> wrote:
as I first heard about the discussion of the establishment of an
egyptian arabic wikipedia I find the situation is quite similar to the
discussion two years ago, as the first minor chinase language wikipedia
was about to start. So I think maybe the experience we had in the
chinese language wikipedias can help you a little. Though, this is my
personnal impression, it is not representative and if surely do not
match the standards of an academic research (indeed I would find such a
research helpful and interesting).
Before the first minor chinese language wikipedia was started there was
a long during (I believe at least one year or more) discussion inside
the by that time chinese community. The arguments exchanged by that time
(for or against) are very similar to the arguments that are now put up
in the arabic community. I personnaly took at that time a skeptic view
against a new chinese wikipedia. My concern at that time was mainly of
the division of the community.
Now, after more than two and a half years, we have seven chinese
language wikipedias, these are zh (the standard chinese, mandarin),
zh-yue (cantonese the first minor chinese language wikipedia established
in march 2006), wuu, cdo (min-dong-language), gan, hak (hak-ka language)
and the zh-classic (the classic language). Except the zh-classic all
other languages have native speakers, some have established writing
system, some not.
For me personally, after two and half a year of experience, the most
important conclusion is that my original faer of a splitting of the
community proved to be wrong. Especially the yue-language wikipedia
developped well. It is a small (far more smaller than zh) community, but
it is a vivid and sustainable community, with a lot of interchanges
between zh and zh-yue communities. I find this interchange very
fruitful. We have articles originally in zh-wp transfered to zh-yue-wp
and vice versa. I think the creation of this language version very
Not so well do the wuu and gan wp develop. Both languages suffer from
being endangered, their native speakers diminishing rapidly and they
have no really established writing system. Also after the lifting of the
ban on mainland-china these two versions remain crankly.
Personnally I am especially disappointed by the hak-ka version wp. I
think it should do better as it is now. But naturally, the number of
Hak-ka native speakers are less than yue, wuu and gan.
So, I think that a writing system, especially a used writing system is
also important. Yue has such a system and the system is very popularly
used in BBSes, blogs and chatrooms in Hongkong. I think this is a vital
point for the success of the yue-wk.
My friend Theodoranian said while the discussion two or three years ago,
the big community should not be afraid that the minor community would
splitt it. Contrary, the big community should help the minor
communities. I am very happy that the time proved him right.
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