[Foundation-l] Ancient Greek reconstructed an analysis of a proposal for a new Wikipedia

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Thu Apr 17 12:38:23 UTC 2008

There are two stumbling blocks for grc.wp in particular:

- The requirement of native speakers.
- Gerard's unilateral and so far apparently unsupported and unpopular
view that people will make new words up out of thin air and that this
will make the language they are writing from an historical language
into a conlang.

Now, the second problem has been discussed over and over. Gerard said
at the beginning of this thread: "Many people maintain their positions
and do not for whatever reason consider the arguments of others." I
can't help but wonder who he is referring to here? Is he referring to
himself? Or does he consider that unless people all agree with him,
they have not "considered" his argument?

I considered his argument, and I disagree and think it is invalid. I
asked even for evidence of these made-up words... why not give me 10
or 20 words as proof? But I have yet to see them. I was ignored once I
asked for the proof. If he decides he is up to my challenge, let me
add a qualifier or two:

1) Proper names do not count. Although they may not be in the original
corpus, this is irrelevant as any language, historical or modern, can
rapidly assimilate proper names from other languages. Thus, "Britney
Spears" is not a neologism, but a made-up word to mean "computer" is.
Most proper nouns are the same in all languages with exceptions only
for certain toponyms (even in the case of toponyms, many are
universals or close to it).
2) A word, present in the historical corpus, that means "calculating
machine" used to mean "computer" in modern texts is not a neologism.
Neither is a descriptive phrase of the type used in Navajo (which is a
living language).

With those two restrictions in mind, I challenge anyone to find a
neologism in use in the grc test wiki, or the Gothic Wikipedia. I am
not saying they do not exist, but I think it is ridiculous that we are
arguing about something that is said to exist without even having
proof that it does.


On 17/04/2008, Ziko van Dijk <zvandijk at googlemail.com> wrote:
> Dear GerardM,
>  Thank you for your explanations; it is sometimes difficult to me following
>  the discussions, a full history of the subject would be useful to me.
>  So, if I understand correctly, if nowadays someone would propose WPs in
>  Esperanto or Latin or Anglo-Saxon, they would be rejected, because they are
>  "constructed" (interlinguistics say: planned) languages or reconstructed.
>  And they do not have native speakers, or just a small percentage of them.
>  When judging the vitality of a language, one can make a list of criteria as
>  done by Detlev Blanke: Internationale Plansprachen, Bln. 1985 (I don't
>  remember by heart the exact list):
>  - publications
>  - conventions
>  - codification by dictionaries, grammars
>  - sociological or political diversification of the language community
>  - family language
>  According to that, Blanke divides into:
>  - Planned languages: a full language, in fact only Esperanto
>  - Semi-Planned languages (Semiplansprachen): only some achievements, today
>  only Interlingua and Ido, in history also Volapük and Occidental-Interlingue
>  - Projects of planned languages: a very faint existence if at all: all the
>  others (more than 1000 projects), including Novial, Lojban
>  Following Heinz Kloss (Die Entwicklung neuerer germanischer Kultursprachen,
>  1978), a small language does not cover all fields of a big language. It will
>  make it possible to speak on a level of low education about 1) matters close
>  to the language community (language and culture, history of the region,
>  maybe a craft common in the region), 2) cultural subjects of a larger range,
>  like general politics, philosophy, 3) subjects of science and technology.
>  On a level of higher education the small language works only on the subjects
>  1) and 2).
>  On a scientific level the small language works only on subject 1).
>  From this one could draw conclusions whether to accept a language edition of
>  Wikipedia, like: a planned language should be a Semiplansprache at least; an
>  ethnic language should cover the subjects as described by Kloss.
>  One criterion useful especially with regard to Wikipedia might be: Is there
>  a vocabulary about computer and internet matters? Would it be a major
>  difficulty to the language community to translate the MediaWiki? This
>  criterion would cause no problem to Latin and certainly not Esperanto, but
>  would ban very recent projects of planned languages and regional idioms who
>  merely are dialects or local varieties of the standard language.
>  Ziko
>  >    - The language must have an ISO-639-3 code
>  >    - We need full WMF localisation from the start
>  >    - The language must be sufficiently expressive for writing a modern
>  >    encyclopaedia
>  >    - The Incubator project must have sufficiently large articles that
>  >    demonstrate both the language and its ability to write about a wide
>  > range of
>  >    topics
>  >    - A sufficiently large group of editors must be part of the Incubator
>  >    project
>  >
>  > Thanks,
>  >       GerardM
>  > _______________________________________________
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>  >
> --
>  Ziko van Dijk
>  Roomberg 30
>  NL-7064 BN Silvolde
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