[Foundation-l] 1.3 billion of humans don't have Wikipedia in their native...

Ziko van Dijk zvandijk at googlemail.com
Mon May 23 15:37:48 UTC 2011

I am even more pessimistic. Of course, Wikipedia exits in many
languages, but many Wikipedia language versions are still quite small
and of low quality, typical encyclopedias-to-become, but still no
really useful encyclopedias by now.
Kind regards

2011/5/23 Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>:
> On 05/23/2011 03:04 PM, M. Williamson wrote:
>> When words are from the same root, the same character is generally
>> used regardless of modern pronunciation. In Traditional Chinese,
>> phonetic elements are mostly based on older pronunciations which might
>> not make sense in all modern Sinitic languages; sometimes in
>> Simplified Chinese these are replaced by phonetic elements based on
>> Mandarin pronunciation.
>> However, Milos, I believe you have misinterpreted "logophonetic" here.
>> Although the script has phonetic elements, this does not mean that the
>> phonetic elements are based on modern pronunciations. So for example,
>> 西瓜 is the word for watermelon in every Sinitic language (as far as I'm
>> aware). In Mandarin it is pronounced "xi gua"; in Cantonese it is "sai
>> gwaa", in Min Nan it is "sai koe", in Shanghainese Wu it is "si kwo"
>> (I have not noted tones here due to different tone systems in these
>> languages). In spite of differing words, since they are all from the
>> same etymological root, they are all written exactly the same way with
>> the same characters. This is probably not the best example since
>> neither of these characters has a phonetic element, but that is
>> irrelevant because even if they did the case would be the same.
>> What DOES make Sinitic (Chinese) languages different when written is
>> the following (*this is important*): Words that are not etymologically
>> related to the equivalent in other Sinitic languages are often/usually
>> written differently; grammar and syntax can be different (as an
>> example, in Shanghai Wu you can say "We drink coffee" as "Ala kafi
>> che" which is literally "We coffee drink"; in Mandarin it would be
>> said as "Women he kafei", literally "We drink coffee", notice the
>> different word order), including grammatical particles which have no
>> direct equivalent.
>> Imagine for a moment that English and Spanish used a similar writing
>> system. "I want you to give me a piece of bread" and "Quiero que me
>> des un pedacito de pan" would be written differently due to differing
>> grammar:
>> "I want you to give me a piece of bread" would be written as "[I]
>> [WANT] [YOU] [TO] [GIVE] [ME] [A] [PIECE] [OF] [BREAD]"
>> "Quiero que me des un pedacito de pan" would be written as
>> Also, "Cuando va a llegar Maria?" (accents missing) and "When is Maria
>> going to arrive?"
>> "Cuando va a llegar Maria?" would be written as "[WHEN] [GO]-[THIRD
>> "When is Maria going to arrive?" would be written as "[WHEN] [IS]
>> [MARIA] [GOING TO] [ARRIVE]" or something like that. Note here that
>> the "arrive" comes after "Maria" in English, but before in Spanish.
>> These are relatively simple examples, but although in many ways
>> English and Spanish (and many other Western European languages) have
>> relatively similar syntax (as compared to, say, Asian, African or
>> American languages) and are related, due to these grammar differences
>> it would be impossible to unify them in writing.
>> It is essentially the same case with Sinitic languages.
> Mark, thank you very much for making things clear!
>> However, there is another issue at play here: the classification of
>> Sinitic languages and dialects is a bit controversial, and it is
>> possible that some of these "languages" identified by the Ethnologue
>> would not want or need a separate version. Jin Chinese, for example,
>> is often identified as a divergent dialect of Mandarin, and I'm
>> doubtful that a Wikipedia written in Jin in Chinese characters would
>> differ substantially from zh.wp, and almost certain (though I am
>> willing to be proven wrong) that they would not differ enough in
>> writing to merit separate Wikipedias.
>> ...
> I would ask you personally (but, others, too) to give your opinions
> toward as many as possible missing languages inside of "notes" sections
> at [1] or inside newly created articles inside of the namespace of that
> page (let's say, [[Missing Wikipedias/Spoken Arabic varieties]]). Such
> additions would be very valuable: if there are people who don't need
> Wikimedia projects editions, we can spend our resources on those who need.
> Macrolanguage editions of Wikimedia projects are not anymore taboo. If
> it is more reasonable to use one project for a number of closely related
> languages *and* communities want that, there is no reason why not to
> allow that.
> [1] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Missing_Wikipedias
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Ziko van Dijk
The Netherlands

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