[Foundation-l] Languages and numbers

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Sat Jun 25 11:58:54 UTC 2011

Forwarding Deryk Chan's email and my response on his request.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Internal-l] Fwd: [Foundation-l] Languages and numbers
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2011 13:55:58 +0200
From: Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>
To: Deryck Chan <deryckchan at gmail.com>

On 06/25/2011 01:28 PM, Deryck Chan wrote:
> (sorry, am on mobile, can't post to list. Feel free to forward this onto
> the list)
> 2 obvious queries:
> 1. How are we going to do a Wikipedia on... Indian Sign Language?
> 2. If we exclude the Chinese languages from the table (which is a move I
> agree with), we should also exclude all other languages which defer to
> the standard written form of a related language that has a Wikipedia,
> eg. Mainfränkisch (because we have a  standard German Wikipedia).

1. There are requests for Wikipedias in sign languages (search for "sign
language" here [1]). They intend to use SignWriting [2]. We are waiting
for implementation of top-bottom writing to be able to host sign languages.

2. I didn't say that we should exclude Chinese languages, but that is
likely that some of them should be excluded. If they are too close to
Mandarin so there is no significant difference in writing, yes. If not,
no. But, I think that all of the Han languages not closely related to
Mandarin already have their own Wikipedia.

Note, also, that there is request for Wikipedia in Swabian [3], as well
as there are a number of Wikipedias in German languages. So, it's up to
them to decide what do they want. Besides that, one thing is Standard
Chinese, the other is Standard German. Logographic script allows much
more varieties to be covered than phonetic one. For example, with
logographic script Serbian and English could be written in one
orthography (while not English and German nor Serbian and Bulgarian).

Besides that, I intentionally categorized Han China, Korea and Japan
together (as East Asia) because it is not likely that WMF should do
anything there. All countries are developed enough (OK, North Korea is
not, but there is South Korea) and languages in those areas stay well
enough. That's true for the most of languages of countries which are
OECD members.

The main purpose of this document is to point to the large populations
without Wikipedia in their native language. India, Indonesia and
Philippines will be in focus, obviously.

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_new_languages
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SignWriting

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