[Wikipedia-l] Languages

Fred Bauder fredbaud at ctelco.net
Wed Aug 27 11:25:38 UTC 2003

on 8/26/03 10:11 PM, Merritt L. Perkins at mlperkins3 at juno.com wrote:

> What languages? All languages! Do you mean that you want to include
> Encyclopedia articles on all languages.

I'm sure Jimbo means what he says, but yes, Wikimedia aspires to a version
in any language anyone wants to work on.

 There are so many obscure
> languages that you cannot expect to include them all.

It is possible that no one will ever come forward to work on encyclopedias
in some languages. I would expect some relatively rarely used languages to
be used though, perhaps for cultural reasons, for example it is easy to
imagine a gaelic wikipedia or a Cherokee Wikipedia

> What languages should the Encyclopedia be translated into?

We don't actually do that although folks who work on a wikipedia in any
language could translate articles if they wish.

 I think that
> you should choose languages that would have many readers. High German,
> French and Spanish for example.

We have a Wikipedia in low German already, The Netherlands one.

There is a difference between this French
> spoken in France and in Canada, in the Spanish spoken in Spain and in
> Mexico.

It is likely that French speaking Wikipedians will choose to have one French
Wikipedia, but the possibiltiy arises for a second French Wikipedia, perhaps
a Cajun one? Or simple French?

 There are special characters used to write the languages.

Yes but there almost any imaginable language in included in the unicode

> Basque, Maori, and Manx would have few readers.

Good examples of Wikipedias which might happen when those folks discover
Wikipedia in any numbers, The Basques are rather nationalistic, Maori
presumably have both specialized interests and a desire to preserve their
language, Manxmen and Manxwomen might take an interest in resurrecting the

The language should be
> easily written from a computer keyboard. This would exclude Arabic and
> Chinese. There must be some way to write them but I don’t know how. It
> may require a special keyboard and software.

It does require software but that is easily available. The Apple system X
has it, for example. I have seen pictures of special ideograph keyboards but
I don't think they are in general use.
> The head of the modern language department of a large German university
> may be fluent in several languages and able to teach about subjects from
> the Kavala to Xenophon’s Anabasis. He may have served in the Army and be
> familiar with Army terminology and idioms, but not familiar with
> submarines, ships, or airplanes.

While it is fun to learn about and write articles on subjects one is
unfamiliar with, it is not expected of anyone.

> The translator should be a native speaker thoroughly familiar with the
> subject of the article and may choose to write his own article instead of
> translating the existing article.

Yes, although one may write in a language one is only learning (sure to lead
to lots of extra learning) or about a subject one wishes to learn more about
or is just curious about (also likely to lead to some extra learning).

> I find no objection to including articles written or translated into
> Icelandic, Hungarian, or any other language even though there would be
> few readers. Readers need to know where to find them

That's white of you. Links to the Wikipedias in other languages are on the
main page of Wikipedia.
> Merritt L. Perkins


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