[Foundation-l] Changes in Language committee practice: ancient and constructed languages

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Mon Mar 8 16:39:04 UTC 2010

On Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 4:48 PM, Ilario Valdelli <valdelli at gmail.com> wrote:
> I agree with this decision but probably it's better that the
> communities could change the interface. In my opinion the contributors
> of an old language may not be able to understand the "latin script"
> (IMHO the Greek should have the interface with Greek alphabet also to
> avoid the mix of different characters).
> I think that the better solution is to have an interface with the most
> similar living language like happened for Church Slavonic Wikisource.

If you know Ancient Greek, you may or may not know Modern Greek. If
you know Church Slavonic (or Anglo-Saxon), you know [modern] Russian
(or [modern] English). In the first case you don't know the most of
users won't know what does "file" (in Modern Greek) means, in the
second they will know.

In other words, Russian and English in the second case were not chosen
because of similarity, but because usefulness. Because of the same
reason fail back language for Tungusic language editions is not
English, but Russian, as well as it is similar in relation between
Native American languages from Latin America toward Spanish and

> In my opinion also if there is an old extinct language the decision
> should be based on the *liveliness* of language. Probably some old
> languages are studied at school (like ancient Greek) and there are
> persons which are able to understand them also without a dictionary.
> Wikipedia should defend the "endangered languages" and if someone is
> not mother tongue but he is able to write and read (not necessary to
> speak), the proposal to open the Wikipedia in this language should be
> well accepted. The project could help the language to don't be
> forgotten.
> A decision moved to the "liveliness" based on the diffusion at
> secondary schools (excluded Universities) for example could be better.
> Some students would agree to write an article in old Greek for example
> and the teachers could support the initiative.

There is one more issue about we (members of the Language committee)
didn't agreed [yet]. It is about usefulness; that principle would
partially ignore previous rules.

* Classical Chinese Wikipedia is useful because a lot of people with
different native languages are able to communicate with it.
* If Latin Wikipedia exists, usefulness of creating neologisms in
Ancient Greek is questionable. Almost all classical philologists know
Latin first, and then Ancient Greek. And all Greeks know Modern Greek.

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