[Foundation-l] Chinese languages (was: Changes in Language committee practice: ancient and constructed languages)

Pharos pharosofalexandria at gmail.com
Mon Mar 8 15:17:43 UTC 2010

On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 7:56 AM, Aphaia <aphaia at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 5:18 AM, Aphaia <aphaia at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> I find here a wrong assupmtion.
>>> First wrong assumption is "Written Chinese is not very different for
>>> millenniums", they aren't same, and consequently Edo period Japanese
>>> who were taught Classical Chinese already found difficulty to
>>> understand the contemporary which was similar to the modern one.
>>> Second wrong assumption is "person who knows Classical Chinese has to
>>> know modern Chinese." In East Asia, Classical Chinese had been lingua
>>> franca of the literate for millenniums, and there are many written
>>> sources, the earliest of them are dated at mid 19th C. And it is still
>>> taught in some countries including Japan. I, as a highly educated
>>> Japanese, read Classical Chinese to some extent, but I don't
>>> understand modern Chinese beyond the tourist level. I know many people
>>> who can enjoy zh-classical-Wikipedia but cannot (modern) zhwiki.
>>> So I object your statement and it wouldn't be just a fork of ZhWS but
>>> preferable to be a multilingual project.
>> Yes, we have problems with Chinese languages and it is not just about
>> Classical Chinese. And if you have some good sinologist around, please
>> connect me with him or her.
>> The logic behind rejecting Classical Chinese Wikisource is:
>> 1) Wikisource can have sources in various languages. It is useful not
>> to duplicate efforts with living languages (and put Japanese text on
>> French Wikisource), but, for example, the logical place for texts in
>> Slavenoserbian [1] is Serbian Wikisource. Relation between Anglo-Saxon
>> and English is similar. According to this premise, Classical Chinese
>> should go to Chinese Wikisource.
>> 2) Just those ancient languages which are significantly different
>> structurally in *written form* (as Wikimedia projects are still about
>> written language) should be considered for having a separate
>> Wikisource. According to this, Slavenoserbian and Anglo-Saxon would
>> get projects, while it will be problematic for Classical Chinese: it
>> looks to me that native Chinese speakers treat Classical Chinese as
>> not so different, while other East Asians treat it so.
>> 3) Just those ancient languages which don't have modern language which
>> speakers consist approximately a superset of those who know that
>> classical language -- should be considered for having a separate
>> project. Every single person who knows Slavoserbian knows Serbian,
>> which is true for Anglo-Saxon, too. But, it is not true for Classical
>> Chinese.
>> 4) Just those ancient languages which had significant productions
>> should be considered to have separate Wikisource. Anglo-Saxon had
>> significant production, Slavoserbian had, and, of course, Classical
>> Chinese had, too.
>> 5) We need [default] interface in a living language. The most logical
>> choice for Classical Chinese is modern Chinese written in Traditional
>> Hanji. In conjunction with (1) and (2), it would create a subset-fork
>> of Chinese Wikisource.
>> BTW, we are in a wiki world. Everything is changeable, but we need
>> good reasons for changes. I would like to hear answers/confirmations
>> on the next questions/claims:
>> a) For Chinese speakers: Do you consider Classical Chinese as a
>> language different from your native one or you are fully able to read
>> Classical Chinese texts? Probably, it is somewhere in the middle, but,
>> please, explain it.
>> b) I suppose that it is not so hard to make a link from Japanese
>> Wikipedia to some text on Chinese Wikisource. Actually, it would be
>> similar if it would be about a separate Classical Chinese Wikisource.
>> c) Are Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean etc. Wikimedian are able to
>> contribute to Chinese Wikisource. If not, what is the problem?
> Orthography is a big problem. I think you have known it already on
> Serbian language - two different scripts are used and what it evoked.
> We are in a similar situation.
> At this moment Classical Chinese sources are hosted on zhwikisource
> whose default is simplified Chinese. Formerly some of them were in
> traditional and then we at Japanese wikis had no problem, since it is
> quasi similar the orthography we were educated in. But with simplified
> we have a big problem.

Couldn't the links from Japanese Wikipedia pages be configured to go
directly to the traditional Chinese orthography versions?


> Please note I don't talk about default I/F. I talk about the documents
> themselves. I am okay which zhwiki* choose for their default, but the
> written way of Classical Chinese should not be determined by Chinese
> native speakers ony I think - rather all concerned people should be
> invited.
>> Other thoughs are welcome, as well.
>> [1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavoserbian
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> http://d.hatena.ne.jp/Britty (in Japanese)
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