[Foundation-l] Preservation of cultural diversity and minority languages

Nikola Smolenski smolensk at EUnet.yu
Sat Feb 9 18:04:41 UTC 2008

Andrew Whitworth wrote:
> On Feb 8, 2008 7:43 PM,  <daniwo59 at aol.com> wrote:
>>With reference to Upper, Lower, Middle, or Lost in Limbo Sorbian (or any
>>other such language), while I quote from memory, the foundation's goal is to
>>create reference works for people "in their own languages." In other words, as
>>long as there is a viable body of speakers, it would merit a wikipedia and
>>other  projects.
> But if all Lower Sorbian speakers are also German speakers, then
> German is just as much "their language" as Lower Sorbian is.
> Presenting information in German to a group of people which all
> understand German should satisfy this mission, regardless of what
> other languages those people might also happen to know.
> In cases where the speaking population of one language are a perfect
> subset of the speaking population of another language, we should
> always provide projects in the larger language, and never provide
> projects in the smaller one. The only time we should provide projects
> in both of two languages that perfectly overlap is when there is no
> clear superset/subset relationship between them.

You have missed one key detail: not all of the people who speak both 
languages are equally willing to contribute to a Wikipedia one of them.

Some Lusatian Serbs, even if they know German perfectly, may feel more 
inclined to contribute to a Wikipedia in their language than they are to 
German Wikipedia; similarly, some may feel more inclined to read it. 
They may see it as a revival of their culture, an opportunity to 
practice their language, or have some entirely different motivation; the 
end result will be that they will create free knowledge that did not 
exist before, which is the goal of the Foundation.

I know that there exists information in, for example, Serbian Wikipedia 
that does not exist in English Wikipedia. And that includes not only 
information about Serbian-related topics, but about general topics as 
well. (I could give examples if anyone is interested.) And that includes 
information introduced by people who are speakers of a foreign language, 
and who could contribute it to another Wikipedia, but they chose to do 
it in Serbian, and it is unlikely that they would contribute to a 
Wikipedia in another language at all.

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