[Foundation-l] A dangerous precedent

Nathan nawrich at gmail.com
Thu Dec 27 03:26:32 UTC 2007

I think that preserving a language is a good goal, but it is one that
Wikipedia is not well suited for and is not intended to fulfill.
Creating an automatically translated article on every city and town in
the US is not a way to 'preserve' a constructed or dead language. If
the point is to aggregate knowledge in a way that is accessible to as
many people as possible, how does a Wikipedia in a constructed
language (a code, really) serve that point? Additionally, someone
mentioned that there are present native speakers of Latin. I'd be
interested to find out who these folks are.

On Dec 26, 2007 10:17 PM, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On small languages, it should be remembered that the Wikimedia
> > projects have the potential to save some small languages. There are
> > hundreds of languages under threat right around the globe (see
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_endangered_languages) many of
> > which will soon be lost as the last remaining native speakers die out.
> > I think the seriousness of this situation drives a good slice of the
> > prejudice against wikis for conlangs with a dozen or two speakers that
> > are stuffed full of bot translations.
> This, i think, is one of the most important points to be made:
> Wikipedia could really serve not just as an encyclopedia, but as a
> record of a language. for small and endangered languages, the
> Wikipedia for that language may be one of the only written records of
> that language.
> Preservation of small conlangs is not nearly so important as the
> preservation of small natural languages. Of course, this all ignores
> the question of whether the WMF should be in the business of language
> preservation. Although, I think that if it were a goal that we set out
> to perform, we could probably get some funding for that purpose
> specifically.
> --Andrew Whitworth
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