[Foundation-l] Fwd: NYTimes.com: African Languages Grow as a Wikipedia Pr...

Jeffrey V. Merkey jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com
Mon Aug 28 06:13:28 UTC 2006

Jimmy Wales wrote:

>daniwo59 at aol.com wrote:
>>I have a lot of sympathy and fondness for African languages. However, I  
>>think the attitude we are taking is paternalistic. 
>Who is?  I have not seen this.
>>The same problems exist for  
>>languages in many other corners of the world. Identifying this issue as uniquely 
>> "African" is paternalistic and, quite frankly, a tad racist. Why do we not  
>>make the same efforts for Khmer (the official language of Cambodia, 66  
>>articles), Burmese (the official language of Myanmar, with 32 million speakers,  and 
>>just 66 articles), or Assamese (an official language of India with 20  
>>million speakers and only 6 articles)?
>I think we absolutely ARE taking efforts in ALL parts of the world, 
>simultaneously.  I had a meeting in Delhi with someone who is interested 
>in pursuing a joint project to develop African languages.
>I have no idea who you have in mind who thinks anything racist or 
>paternalistic about African languages, but if they do, then they do not 
>represent the attitudes of the broad community or me.
>foundation-l mailing list
>foundation-l at wikimedia.org

If I can help here, let me know. I could generate a machine assisted 
translation for them to start with to get them bootstrapped. I posted 
what I would
need to get started with it. I know you would prefer people speak with 
their own voices, but that me be very hard in the case of some of these
obscure languages where literacy is a big problem or language drift or 
small pockets of native speakers who are isolated like small islands in
an ocean of english speakers. I suspect what has been happening to us 
with Native Languages is also occurring over their, and many of these
groups may be in danger of loosing their languages already or 
experiencing language drift between communities.

I am available to assist here.


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