[Foundation-l] What to do with moribund languages?

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Sun Jan 4 14:40:15 UTC 2009

On Sun, Jan 4, 2009 at 1:57 PM, Gerard Meijssen
<gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
> The notion of redundancy of articles in minority languages coming from you
> Milos is painful. There is typically an article of a majority language that
> arguably covers the subject best. All other articles are redundant because
> you can use something like Google translate to share the benefit of the
> best. While the article in Lower Sorbian may not be as good as the German or
> Polish article, it is still part of the maze of articles that makes up this
> encyclopaedic effort. Given that all projects have their room to grow, we
> should let them and be happy when they do.
> It is not for the language committee to opine about the relative value of a
> language. When it is a living language, it is eligible and when the other
> requirements are met, it is for the people who support their project, their
> language to make it as good as they can.

Lower Sorbian is a good example for my point because I don't think
that there is a native speaker of Lower Sorbian who is not a native
speaker of German. So, I chose that for the example. There are, of
course, other examples where the article about the Earth is necessary.
For example, [almost] every Macedonian knows Serbian as their second
language (a lot of them know Bulgarian, too). There is a significant
difference between the native and the second language. [Almost] all
Ukrainians know Russian as their native language. But, there are ~50M
of Ukrainians, a lot of Ukrainian cultural institutions and so on; and
they are in the position to work on articles in their language about
quantum mechanics and similar.

But, Lower Sorbian is in the completely different position. Every
article in Lower Sorbian has cultural, not educational purpose.
Article in Lower Sorbian about the Earth means that there is an
article about the Earth in that language, it doesn't mean that someone
will use it as a source of information.

The point is that in such cases it is much more clever to work
systematically on the cultural issues than build random articles on
one encyclopedia. In such cases, having a Wiktionary (or using
OmegaWiki for that purpose, whatever) is more important than having a
Wikipedia, too.

If we want to help to such languages, we need to share our experiences
with native speakers. Having an encyclopedia is an expensive luxury.

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