Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 20:29:05 +0100
From: Gerard Meijssen
Subject: Re: [Wikipedia-l] The role of a wikipedia for a language like
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Ulf Lunde wrote:
I also wanted to say that I agree that gerard
Meijssen's point is very
important: The wikipedias are indeed culture-bearers for their
respective populations, and not just for humanity as a whole!
I disagree that this should be the case, and to the extent that it is,
feel it should be corrected. Languages are not culture, although they
have connections with it.
Languages are not culture ?? Encyclopedias most certainly are !! Please
consider what words are used in a culture. The English used reflects the
culture the person speaking or writing comes from. The idea that you can
divorse culture from language is odd. When comparing articles on the
same topic the diffferences are sometimes huge.
If we wanted languages to be identified with culture,
then we should
split some up, and have a "United States" wikipedia as a
culture-bearer for the U.S., a "French Canadian" Wikipedia as a
culture-bearer for French-Canadians, and so on. But we don't, and to
the extent possible keep these together. In essence, the only reason
we have separate Wikipedias at all is because of language
barriers---when languages are similar enough to keep together (as with
the French spoken in Canada vs. France vs. Algeria), we do so.
Or do people actually seriously think we *should* have separate
Wikipedias catering to different cultures?
When we have an encyclopedia with articles that are acceptable to all
people who speak a language, we aim to achieve a neutral point of view
and provide more extended information. We want to maintain one wikipedia
bridging the divide between the cultures that use a language. Given the
virtually limitless amount of harddrive capacity we have articles on
cricket and honkbal. We are happy to host any topic that is of intrest.
What this discussion is about, is not about en: or fr: It is about Hopi.
By having a Hopi or a Dutch or a Frisian wikipedia, you allow many
topics to be narrated with a Hopi, Dutch or Frisian point of view. Not a
non-neutral but with a Hopi, Dutch or Frisian point of view. This is
good because certain things that are true from an English perspective
are plain different and non-neutral from another culture point of view.
To put it bluntly, the words mean different things, they have different
conotations denying people a resource like that is like denying that
languages differ and that languages reflect a culture.
The UN has a mother language day. This day is to celebrate the diversity
of the cultures of the world. All languages have a need for good
information, that is what wikimedia aims to provide. The argument that
the Dutch can read and write English and do not their own wikipedia is
great. It only reminds me of a recent tiff I was in, where I was accused
of not being able to express myself in English... So please allow me to
read and write in Nederlands and, I will not be asking for a wikipedia
in Westfries. :) And I do apologize for my poor English (or was it
I would almost accept your point if you agree to only read French or
Chinese in future. You will find how much it will divorce you from the
culture that you live in.
I agree with Gerard here. I believe scn.wiki serves to explore certain topics from a
Sicilian perspective. Why? Rely on the English wikipedia to be NPOV about matters
relevant to Sicily? Yeh, right! Do that and you may be excused for thinking that
Frederick II never set foot in Sicily and was entirely uninfluenced by his education and
upbringing in Palermo (in fact he was educated in Rome according to en.wiki!! the
discussion page even questions whether he could possibly have spoken 9 languages - but if
they knew anything about medieval Sicily, they would not bother asking the question); that
the Sicilian language pretty much stopped developing during the Saracen epoch (with Norman
French, Catalan and Spanish, after many paragraphs, being mentioned briefly in one closing
line as "influences"); that "Trinacria" may not have come to exist as
the Greek name for the island because of the triangular shape of the island - surely this
can't be so because it predates proper
cartographic technology, i.e. if the English, Americans, or North Europeans didn't do
it first - as if a bunch of southern Europeans could have managed it!
NPOV? Please, spare me.
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