Talk:WikiLang

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Develop a "standard variety"[edit]

Does this mean the wiki would essentially allow original research? πr2 (t • c) 20:03, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

No, not at all! It should first of all document endangered languages. But a sprachausbau and standardisation is very important for a revitalisation. It is not all about research, it is more about help for little and endangered language communities. Zylbath (talk) 20:44, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Ok, seems fine then. πr2 (t • c) 20:46, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Outside help[edit]

I've read that one of the most active preservers of endangered languages is an American religious group called Wycliffe Translators. They are translating the Bible into as many languages as possible. They're doing it for religious reasons, but since the Bible is the most widely printed and most widely translated document in the history of the world, it is also the best Rosetta Stone for linguistic purposes.

It is possible that a group like this would be interested in supporting a project like this. You might consider asking them whether any of their linguists would like to help. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:34, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the tip. But I would be careful when working together with religious groups that deal with languages. The biggest group is SIL, which is very fundamental. In history and sometimes still today those groups have destroyed many cultures by "forcing" them to believe in a christian god, that is why they translate the Bible into so many languages. But sure, on the other hand that led to many language documentations of languages that are already dead or highly endangered.
This must not be the case with the Wycliffe Translators. But still, I'd be rather careful and would try to keep this as religion-less as possible. Religion and language endangerment are two different things that should not be mixed up. Zylbath (talk) 16:54, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Leaving aside the philosophical question of whether it is even possible to force a person to believe something, my thinking is that for the kind of work you want to do, it doesn't really matter what their motivation is. What you need are linguists and other people with access to the languages. You need people who can actually write down or post audio recordings of people saying "Hello, my name is WhatamIdoing" or "The weather is hot today. Yesterday it was cold. Tomorrow it will rain." People with internet connections have already had their cultures destroyed Face-wink.svg so the presence of a few religious proselytizers is unlikely to hurt them any further, and the people whose language is endangered are unlikely to be active in the project. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:27, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree with this; additionally, translating anything to a language is not exactly detrimental for the language. --MF-W 19:56, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
As I said, I just want to be careful. I didn't say that I dislike them and don't want to work with them. But I thank you for the tip and I will contact them. ;)
Translations can be sometimes detrimental for a language. Espacially when people are performing sprachausbau with a language that is not even their mother tongue and impose that new variety on the community. That often leads to a abandonment of that new language. And it is shown that by prosetylising a community their culture dies within few generations and their language with it. Zylbath (talk) 21:03, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

I would like to point to http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/ which seems related to what is proposed here. See Cooperation between Wikimedia and Endangered Languages Project for some thoughts from last year about it. --MF-W 19:56, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

I know that project. But it doesn't really cover all the functions I am thinking of. Endangeredlanguages is just a database of portraits of languages. It is not a real attemp to revitalize them or to document them at a serious extent. It is just calling attention to the extinction of languages and giving some facts about languages, espacially endangered ones. That'd be also performable by Wikipedia and is to some extent already done. That is not what I am intending with my proposal. I hope I could make out the difference. Zylbath (talk) 21:03, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Note: If the Bible is deemed too POV (or as "forcing" a religion on people), then we could have them translate some other basic Rosetta Stone text sample. However, I agree with MF-W. πr2 (t • c) 21:15, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
I think you'd want to do some very simple, very basic things, like greetings, numbers, colors, and so forth, for every language. What else you did might vary by culture. You might do African fables for African languages, and Asian fairy tales for Asian ones. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:28, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

no[edit]

Point by point.

  • Language revitalisation is outside the WMF's remit. Our interest is in spreading knowledge not actively maintaining barriers to its spread.
  • Sprachausbau. We sort of try this with the latin wikipedia. Its proven messy. And thats a situation where there is a fair amount of new latin works being produced.
  • Language documentation. Really best left to specialists working in a conventional manner.
  • Decipherment of dead languages and/or undeciphered scripts. There aren't actually that many of these and they are already the target of a significant amount of expertise. It is extremely unlikely we would be able to help.
  • Why this way? the reality is that most endangered languages are in communities that don't have internet access which makes using wikis kinda impractical.

In conclusion language preservation is best left to the professionals.Geni (talk) 01:38, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Re "Our interest is in spreading knowledge not actively maintaining barriers to its spread". How are these languages barriers to the spread of knowledge? πr2 (t • c) 01:52, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Because translation comes at a non zero cost. By attempting to maintain non majority language speaking communities we make it harder to spread information to them.Geni (talk) 02:02, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
>>Our interest is in spreading knowledge not actively maintaining barriers to its spread.
Okay, then let's close all the Wikipedia and enlarge the English one... Since when is multilinguism impedimental for a mutual understanding? By supporting minorty languages it doesn't mean to leave behind a majority language, not at all! That is really not what language revitalisation wants to do! It wants to support the bi- or trilinguism in a region where there are also minority languages. People will learn both majority and minority language, which is by the way very beneficial for children because they can learn new languages much easier and in our modern world ruled by globalisation that seems to be an obligatory skill. (And just because some small languages haven't referred about the molecular structure of H20, it doesn't mean they couldn't. Every language has the potencial to express everything. I for example write my exams and papers at the university in my minority language (Low Saxon). And just because some languages haven't reached the state as a scientific language like English or German doesn't mean they are "too boring to exist". They are still totally deserving protection!)
>>Language documentation. Really best left to specialists working in a conventional manner.
Why? Would you say that for WIkiversity, Wikispecies, Wikipedia, etc. aswell? Specialists might have a better understanding of those things. But still Wikipedia is a big success. And who says that specialists wouldn't use WikiLang aswell as it offers an ideal platform of tools for such purposes. This is exactly what linguists need for their minority communities.
I am studying linguistics, with the focus on endangered languages, language death, language shift and minority languages. This Wiki is what linguists are waiting for since quite a time.
>>Decipherment of dead languages and/or undeciphered scripts. There aren't actually that many of these and they are already the target of a significant amount of expertise. It is extremely unlikely we would be able to help.
First of all, that list is not complete, some are missing. And secondly, whilst you appearently don't, I believe that there is a bigger chance for success when many people reflect it instead for a few experts. That is the idea behind Wiki! (By the way in fact, there aren't many experts working on undeciphered scripts.) Some of those scripts are in fact solveable, it just didn't happen yet. And there are plenty other scripts not listed that are already a bit deciphered but not totally and it just takes many, many people to complete it. (For example the maya-script.)
>>Why this way? The reality is that most endangered languages are in communities that don't have internet access which makes using wikis kinda impractical.
This might be right for some communities. But there is a big amount of language minorities that have internet access. And even if there aren't any mother speakers having access to internet, there are other people like linguists, ethnologists or just interested people that would like to have a possibility to document that language before it dies out. To publish a book is for some people probably a too big barrier, this wiki project makes it easier for them to publish something about an endangered language. I can imagine that there are many linguists and ethnologists that would prefer this way and would be very happy if there is something so free and specialised to preserve languages or document them. Zylbath (talk) 08:11, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
And if I may add, as Zylbath said, small and endangered languages may not have the words for scientific and modern concepts, but, as he said, they still have value in the "knowledge" domain. I know some projects in USA where they study the roots of Native American languages about the names they use for plants and like that discover the knowledge of early societies in Americas about the medical properties of plants. In some other cases, minority languages have words to describe some local concepts that can't even be expressed properly in bigger languages like English, for example, Inuits have no less than 7 words for the single English word "snow".
For the specialists part, a lot of linguists and researchers in languages revitalization and reclamation have published papers and studies demonstrating how well suited are Web 2.0 tools (such as social networks, but such as Wikis as well) are to help preserve and document a language. See for example Revival Linguistics and the New Media: Talknology in the service of the Barngarla Language Reclamation. Amqui (talk) 01:14, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Amqui (talk) 01:09, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I recommend that you go read a bit about w:en:Eskimo words for snow. There are five Yupik plus five Inuit languages, so it would not be surprising if these ten native languages had at least seven words for any concept between them. But the idea that there are seven, or a dozen, or a hundred, words for snow in each of these languages is just a myth perpetrated by people who don't know any of the actual languages or how nouns are normally declined in them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:06, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I already read that article before, my point was to say that languages are influenced by the local culture and that they express a different way to see the world (and for that it doesn't matter how many words or word declinations you have or don't have for a single concept). For most cultures, language is more than a way of communication, it is an integral part of the culture itself, I heard an elder in a documentary saying "How can you call yourself a Native if you don't speak the language? Since language is a different way of thinking, you need to speak the language to think like a Native" (I simplified his point, and paraphrased as well from what I remember). The word declination or polysynthetism (and its complexity according to some authors) in itself is something worth preserving and sharing in my opinion. You only point to a single sentence in my comment, but your answer changes nothing to the whole point. Amqui (talk) 20:36, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm sorry, this seems well-intended but I'm going to have to broadly agree with the voice of dissent. The successful wikiprojects works because the average person is able to contribute constructively. For this project the only people who will be able to contribute for a given language are a) native speakers of the language and b) professional linguists with an understanding of the language. This is, by definition a tiny number of people for each language to start with. By nature of the languages group a is unlikely to have the resources to contribute, and group b will be publishing through already existing channels.
Complicating matters further, many of these dying languages will not have written forms.
A great many of the project's intended goals could be achieved via efforts across the existing projects - a general overview at Wikipedia, a dictionary at Wiktionary, audio recordings at Commons, courses on languages at Wikiversity.
This proposed project assumes, and inherently relies upon, the occurrence of a groundswell of support among the professionals in this field. We are far more likely to start an unworkable project that would consume resources better expended elsewhere. --LukeSurl (talk) 21:14, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I'll address some of this, but Amqui, Zylbath, or someone else should also comment here.
>>Complicating matters further, many of these dying languages will not have written forms
In these cases, we could document the pronunciation of vocabulary at least, and professional linguists could invent a script (or just adapt one from a related language?).
>>A great many of the project's intended goals could be achieved via efforts across the existing projects - a general overview at Wikipedia, a dictionary at Wiktionary, audio recordings at Commons, courses on languages at Wikiversity
See toward the end of #WikiLang_and_OmegaWiki (my long list and Amqui's comment on it)
PiRSquared17 (talk) 21:19, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I hope I did what I could as the "someone else".--Seonookim (talk) 07:21, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Maybe in 2001, somebody would have said that only professionals can make an [en:criticism of Wikipedia|encyclopedia]! The points;

You said that only native speakers of the language and professional linguists would contribute. However, that is not true. A search in Google for Hittite words (extinct for 3.3 millennia) gives 700,000 results. Even Googling Zaparo words (Zaparo has one native speaker, an old woman in Peru) gives 110,000 results. (Water is Muurícha.) Because of the Internet, it is possible for 'John Smith the ordinary guy' to contribute to Wikilang with reliable sourcing for languages he barely knows (I for one can't speak Jeju, because I can't pronounce [en:Open back rounded vowel|ɒ), and if he or she learns the basics of the language while he contributes, good for us and for him.
No written forms; we will write it with [en:IPA|IPA], which seems to be the best solution, with transliterations in the major scripts of the world (Korean Sijang would be written as /ɕiˈd͡ʑaŋ/, but say that it is pronounces as Si-zang.)
We can use the other projects; but Wikispecies is also duplicated by Commons (for images) and Wikipedia (for taxonomy).

Also note that [1] also relies on professional biologists, which is probably why it has only about 300,000 entries.--Seonookim (talk) 07:20, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

I believe that Luke's concern is valid. The "average person" probably could copy documentation from another source. As I understand it, copying stuff that's already elsewhere isn't exactly a high priority for WMF projects. That's probably the only thing that an average person can realistically do in this project. For example, the average person is not going to be able to document pronunciation. The major features, which include on-the-ground revitalization and making up new words, is definitely something that the average non-speaker cannot do. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:41, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I recently made it possible for a pedagogical project to develop a Wikipedia in Atikamekw without speaking or even having any notion of the language, and now there are close to a dozen articles in a language that didn't have any last month. I don't consider myself above average and I have no education in linguistics whatsoever, so it's not impossible. I have talked to speakers of another language community and some of them were exactly looking at having something like Wikilang to develop a program of "language apprentices", but they lack the technical support from tech-savvy which we have on Wikimedia projects. I used some of the content developed by an elder (with her releasing the copyright obviously) to develop the Mi'kmaq pages on the Wikilang example here on Meta. Amqui (talk) 14:03, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
You are not average. Average people do not know people who speak endangered languages. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:02, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
I didn't know any before contacting them through Internet, which any average person like me can do. Amqui (talk) 21:23, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
Besides, I do not know any speakers of Jeju, but that does not stop me from contributing without major faults.--Seonookim (talk) 06:54, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Example pages[edit]

I'd like to see some example pages. They can be about whatever language (like Low Saxon or Gothic), as long as I can see the basic structure. Would you mind showing us an example in your userspace or in some subpage of WikiLang? Thanks. πr2 (t • c) 14:48, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

What would a Wikilang project look like...[edit]

  • As a Wikilang project is about languages, what language will contain the language that is being examined .. ?
  • If this is about collecting source material from a Wikilang target language, it can already be done in any of the wikisources... So what more is needed ?
  • When a language needs support for a font or inputmethod ... this can be arranged.
  • Really my biggest concern is what is a project going to look like. Theoretical concerns like someone likes (or not) the idea (saying we) is less/not relevant at this stage.
Thanks, GerardM (talk) 18:23, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. I'd like to see an example page, as I stated in the section above. πr2 (t • c) 00:14, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Agree, too. Show us an example, please, so that we can evaluate it more appropriately. --Ricordisamoa 08:32, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't have that much time at the moment. I hope I can show you some ideas within the next days. Until then, I can just refer to our "Waurdabokos" project at the Gothic wikipedia. If you cannot read it you have an older version of unicode and you should download a gothic font then. For example Robert Pfeffer's Ulfilas or Skeirs etc. It's just in Gothic which will be changed soon. But it shows how I had such a project in mind. There is a suggestion page where anybody can post suggestions for words or other things which will be discussed and added to a list, here a dictionary list. Zylbath (talk) 13:55, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Would we need a page like that to propose new words for living (endangered) languages with native speakers? I can see why this would be useful for dead languages (or languages being revived after a long time), but what about languages with a few thousand speakers? πr2 (t • c) 15:05, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Finding new words is important in order to strengthen the language. Language revitalization begins there where a language is used in more registers and places than before. And for that words are missing. They don't just come offhandedly people have to invent them actively and for most instances a forum is missing for that where people can decide on that in a big round. Zylbath (talk) 17:01, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
That would require having a significant fraction of the very small number of speakers present to decide on the new words. I think that's unlikely for a website. It would work better in a face-to-face community. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:19, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
But what seems more plausible: Coming online to any time and comment things people from another place posted or to organize a big meeting every time to find new words? The problem is that without such a forum as WikiLang would offer people mostly do such a sprachausbau alone and then there are always discussion on words because one person disagrees with it and another person gives another word. And this is proceeding really unorganized. I can tell that from the sprachausbau of my mother tongue. Zylbath (talk) 09:58, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Rosetta Project - current implementations of pieces of this[edit]

Can you compare WikiLang to the work of these projects?

You say above that you don't think the ELP is the same as what you envision, but it's not clear to me how the two are different. The ELP guides, examples, and corpora per language could be as detailed as is available.

It would be interesting to migrate that into a wiki-friendly and more widely-editable project, and to make it something that WMF might consider hosting or more directly supporting. The Rosetta Project has talked with Wikimedians in past years about support and partnership; they might be interested in this idea. SJ talk  21:55, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Can we browse the Rosetta Project in a more organised way than just zooming in on a disk in random places? That would be interesting, but I'm not sure the Long Now Foundation would like to collaborate with Wikimedia, which uses the 4 digit format for years instead of Long Now's 5 digits... πr2 (t • c) 23:48, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
I was thinking about these similar projects while reading this proposal. especially the Endangered Languages Project which already has a huge database, and the backing of Google. Maybe it would be worth trying to get some sort of partnership going with these organisations that will work on improving their coverage across Wikipedia and other WMF projects. JamesA (talk) 10:56, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Language revitalisation[edit]

While I agree with this article because I find the ideal of archiving languages before they are lost a good one, I don't see the benefit of Language revitalisation. There are many reasons that languages are dying out, and while it is a good thing to archive and record them, it seems strange to artificially keep them alive and spoken when this is counter productive and ensures a continuing language barrier. --俺はバカ (talk) 12:46, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

So then we should also let all the endandered animal species die out? This is comparable to them.
Of course there are natural points that languages are dying out, that happened all the time. BUT the rate that we are loosing languages was never that high and there is an obviously connection to the globalisation which is an unnatural process. And those arguments that language revitalisation is not needy mostly always come from speakers of big languages who have nothing to fear, whereas demands of more attention, no discrimination, etc. towards a small language mostly come from those who speak a small language. And language is very connected to culture and identity. If I imagined that my language would die out I would no longer have my identity and had to take another language which is not mine as my new identity. And remember, when you say that all the small languages should die out because it were a "natural" process you mean that 90% of all language communities shall take another language as their own because that is the percentage of communities that speak an endangered language. It is easy to proclame such things as a speaker of a big language.
And this is really nothing "artificially"! It is an enduring fight against majority languages that are supressing minority languages. It is morely a right that those communities want. And happily most organisations like the UN or EU declared that everyone has a right for his languages.
And again! Language revitalisation and language barriers have nothing to do with each other. No minority language is fighting for monolignuistic speakers. They always wants to increase bi- or multilinguism, one learns the majority language and the minority languages. And as I mentioned this has psychological advantages; children with two or more mother languages are able to learn new languages much faster and better. And as you can't deny languages and espacially multilinguism play a big role in times of globalisation, everybody has to know English and further more neighbour languages, maybe French, Spanish and Chinese. Fighting for minority languages is not a barrier to modern times it is more an advantage to them. And diversity is really a big good in a world where everything shall become indifferent and identical.
And so what would you proclame? Let all the small languages die and live henceforth with just 100 languages? Maybe some of your mother tongues would be part of that extinction.
But away from revitalisation: A language documentation wiki would be already sufficient for an own wiki and on that wiki there would be no original research as it is just documentation which seems to be the crunchpoint for some. If even that would be realised I would be somewhat happier. ;) Zylbath (talk) 12:25, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
What do you mean by "majority languages that are suppressing minority languages"? How exactly does English (to name the most dominant at the moment) suppress another language?
I can see that people choosing to learn a limited number of languages might say, "I choose to learn English, Spanish, and Chinese, and I choose not to learn this tiny language", but how is that individual's choice the fault of the dominant language, rather than the responsibility of the individual who made the choice? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:33, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
It is not always just the choice of the speaker himself. Majority languages suppress minority languages by its presence. The main language is every in the media, law, in institutions etc. Minority languages are often not even recognised officially or protected by the government, the speakers are forced to use another language that is often not their mother tongue to interact with others in their actual speech area.
And yes, it is a suppression when a speaker choses not to learn the minority language of its region or origin in favor of the bigger majority/national language. This is caused by the presence of the "big" language. Of course, they cannot be forced to learn the minority language. But it seems logical that parents chose not to teach their children their actual mother tongue in hopes that they have a bigger future with the majority language, which is in fact bollocks. A child that speaks at home a minority language won't have deficits in learning the majority language by society, au contraire.
In the case of my minority mother tongue (Low Saxon) it is clearly a suppression of German. Low Saxon is the autochtonous language in Northern Germany and was once the most important language in the whole Balticum and further, even English is partly based on it. (He was good. (engl.) - He was good. (Low Saxon)) But then German (resp. Germans) came from the south and by time it influenced (respectively the speakers) the north so that German got used in more and more institutions, instances and in the cities. Today it is the majority language mostly everywhere in Northern Germany. Low Saxon has some rights but not enough to stop the extinction. German is predominating the medias, institutions, in the society etc. Those who just know German aren't really aware of Low Saxon and that they live in the actual speech area of them. I cannot study in my mother tongue, go shopping in my mother tongue, read newspaper in my mother tongue, go to institutions and get treated in my mother tongue. That is, for me, clearly a suppression, since German is not the language of the North and just invaded here.
Minority languages are suppressed when a language takes over them, gets more rights, displaces the speakers and gets the predominant language in the speech area of the min. language, whereas in history there were times when this was propably not so.
A language is a human right. WikiLang would support that right and strengthen it.
(I am sorry, it always sounds somewhat dramatic talking like this. But I have been involved in language activism since years and regarding human rights it is a severe problem. There are regions where people get directly discriminated just because they speak a minority language. And for them it is very important to strengthen their language and give them some of their rights back. They could work on their language here when it is forbidden to do this in real life, given that they have free access to the internet which is true for many cases.)
So, I hope you understand the emotionality and the importance of this topic and why, in my eyes, WikiLang is so important to the language diversity, cultures and even human rights. Saying this topic isn't necessary or wouldn't deserve an online portal is almost like negating all the efforts and fights those communities were doing and having since decades and centuries; for them it's often their whole life or identity.
And just to remind you: Since I posted this proposal almost one month ago somewhere on our planet another two languages died because their last speakers passed away. Zylbath (talk) 12:29, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer. Your answer is "I don't understand the difference between a language and a person." Dominant languages do not suppress minority languages. This is because a language, whether English or die preußische Sprache or any other language, cannot actually take an action. People neglect and suppress languages, but the languages themselves do not. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:00, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I know what you mean. That is why i wrote (speakers) in brackets. Of course you're right, the speakers are acting not a language. But as the saying "the language is supressing" shows languages can proverbially have their own lifes. When I say "a majority language is supressing minority languages" I totally mean what you said, that the speakers of those languages act discriminating. But this isn't changing anything of the actual problem and my urge. Zylbath (talk) 20:49, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
I think that you are facing benign neglect, not suppression. There's no law against using Low German; people simply don't choose to use it. There is no newspaper in Low German because so many individual people have chosen to buy the High German ones. As for shopping and similar activities, some of the staff might prefer Low German, but how would you know?
Until you can come up with a rational reason that makes people believe that using Low German is better than using High German, then they'll continue to use High German. Aside from a few politically motivated people and a few nostalgic people, nobody will be interested in going to the trouble of learning and using what they believe is an inferior or less practical pseudodialect. So I think your task is not "to revitalize Low German", but "to make your neighbors want to revitalize Low German". And my emphasis, again, is on "your neighbors": languages live in the everyday aspects of their speakers, not in occasionally encountered websites. Low German that exists only on a website is already dead. A living language is heard at home and in the street. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:23, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

WhatamIdoing has wrote "What do you mean by "majority languages that are suppressing minority languages"? How exactly does English (to name the most dominant at the moment) suppress another language?" -- In a lot of cases the majority language, often English, had forced the children of minority culture and languages to learn English through school and even residential school, sometime they even made it illegal to speak the native language and to practice their traditional culture/religions. These are extreme cases, but are unfortunately not rare in the history. Also, by simply forcing people to speak the majority language to be able to find a job or to go to school is also a way to "suppress" a minority language, voluntarily or not. So when you say " Dominant languages do not suppress minority languages.", this is not actually true, they did. Just in my country, Canada, the government recently presented official excuses to Aboriginal communities about those residential schools where a new religion and a new language were forced to children, the students in those schools were getting disciplined if they spoke their "savage" languages among themselves, resulting today in grandparents and grandchildren who cannot understand each other. Some people in this talk page said that "preserving languages is counterproductive to spreading knowledge", but they forgot that those languages are part of the world knowledge themselves. Amqui (talk) 21:51, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

No, you're not thinking clearly. A language does not take action. People take action. The English language has never put a single child in a residential school. People put all those children in residential schools. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:03, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
You're playing on words... Ok then "English people have put children in residential schools to force them to learn and speak English", what does it change to the whole point that people from a majority language/culture purposely attempted to suppress minority languages/cultures and succeeded to a certain extent?
The minority languages may not be as "alive" as we wish, but there are motivated people to reclaim them and projects are already on-going in the communities and yes they are "going through the trouble of learning this language" (to cite you) because it is important for them. And since the mission of WMF is to share knowledge, I don't see why we couldn't offer a platform to help share the knowledge of those languages, because as you said yourself (since you like to play on words), a language is "learned", so it is knowledge.
Same comment as higher, you pin point a little fact and don't talk about the real subject of this talk page: WikiLang. Amqui (talk) 20:40, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Here's why it matters: the majority culture will still be the majority, no matter what languages are or aren't spoken. The pressure to join that majority culture is the same, even among people who speak only minority languages. Speaking Yupik, even as your native language, doesn't insulate you from the materialism, individualism, manners, entertainment, food, living standards, or other aspects of American and Canadian culture.
Some languages do force people to think about certain things. To give an extreme example, if you speak Guugu Yimithirr, you will naturally think in terms of fixed geographic coordinates: "my chair is east of your chair", rather than "my chair is to the left of your chair". But there is nothing about speaking Guugu Yimithirr that prevents you from adopting mainstream Australian culture anyway. Mere preservation of the language does not mean preservation of the culture. Even if I were fluent in Guugu Yimithirr, I would still be a cultural American.
Conversely, despite claims by certain people, there is no evidence that speaking a particular language is a truly necessary component of joining a culture (although it would make it easier to access parts of the culture). I could speak in English and still adopt the fixed geographic coordinates that are the most culturally salient aspect of the Guugu Yimithirr language. I could "think like them" without speaking like them. There are real-world examples of this: the world has many Jews who do not speak Hebrew (the current dominant language of that culture), and many more who do not speak Yiddish (the previously dominant language of that culture), and many who do not speak either. They don't stop being culturally Jewish as a result of not speaking these languages.
The reason I'm saying this is because I think you're expecting too much. Language revitalization is a lovely thing, and cultural revitalization is a lovely thing, but the one doesn't automatically cause the other. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:35, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
The proposed project is to document, record, share and teach languages (with a second inherent role of hopefully helping in preservation and maybe in revitalization of languages), nowhere in the proposal page we said preserving cultures was part of this proposed project's goals. Since languages are part of the world knowledge, I personally believe it fits within the mission of Wikimedia to share and teach those freely. Of course you are free to disagree with that point and to bring argument why it shouldn't be a project on Wikimedia if that's what you think. However, I don't see the point of arguing about languages revitalization at large or cultural revitalization at all on this talk page. Amqui (talk) 21:21, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Similar project already underway[edit]

Here's a similar project that's just getting underway. Has anyone had any contact with them?

Perhaps a collaboration would be possible. We could consider working on the Wikipedia portion of these projects. Djembayz (talk) 03:42, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

I already heard about it. But on their page there is almost nothing happening. And I already had ideas on doing an own website, but I drew no attention. The problem is the popularity, reliability, prestige and especially the awareness. That is why I finally chose to do this project as a Wiki proposal since all these points apply on Wikimedia. Almost everybody that got confronted with the internet knows of Wikipedia. Offering a possibility like WikiLang would be much more prominent to them as a website with little traffic and made of few individuals. I would even say that such a project is only possible as a Wiki-derrivat. Zylbath (talk) 12:38, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Why do you believe that a website here would have a different fate from the website there? To make this successful, you need people who speak minority languages, and that's exactly what doesn't exist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:04, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
90% of the world's 6,500 languages are minority languages. It is not that the speakers are missing. As you can see in the different Wikipedia language versions those communities are active. Concerning that website the publicity and prominence was missing which would be different with Wikipedia that is known to everyone. Wikipedia disposes more ressources to make such a project public and well-known than a single unknown website. Zylbath (talk) 20:57, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
And almost most important to me is that WikiLang would be independant. Such websites are always too personal, subjective and maybe not even free of politics or religion. People would link that project always to the inventor or the organisation, whereas Wikimedia is a non-profit, organisation-less and independant platform. I already know some dozen people and institutions that would support WikiLang if it has a certain form and that would favor it for its independancy and seriousness, rather than a single website. Zylbath (talk) 12:47, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

See also section[edit]

Added a "See also" section. This seems to have similar goals to WikiLanguageSaver in particular. πr2 (t • c) 17:30, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. It might be similar but it is not the same that I am suggesting. I guess I already said that. On the one hand WikiLang shall document all languages which is quite similar to WikiLanguageSaver and on the other hand it provides the possibility to come to results as revitalisation, standardisation, ausbau (developpment), etc. This is not possible with any other Wiki-derrivate except you misuse them for those purposes. WikiLang could offer some good groundwork for more language versions in future as it 1. leads more people from a minority language to the internet espacially to a Wiki-page and 2. does some basic work like standardisation and developpment which is very important for building up an encyclopedia in a new language. And I agree in one point that the other project states: "In addition to working under the auspices of the Wikimedia Foundation, this project also has the potential to attract a large amount of outside support through various organizations.". I am very engaged in language activism and I can tell there are a lot of organisations and institutions that would support that projects immediately and maybe even with money. Maybe it would even win prices from those organisations which would increase the prestige tremendously. Zylbath (talk) 17:24, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and of course not to forget the decipherment of undeciphered languages and scripts. Zylbath (talk) 09:42, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Ausbau[edit]

I believe that this would have a much higher chance of passing if the 'ausbau' is moved to a non-Wikimedia place, with the rest of the goals remaining on the project itself. Why should Wikimedia support a project to create new words? Shouldn't a different organization be created for making new words, which proposes modern vocabulary? <Based on comments from other Wikimedians.> πr2 (t • c) 23:37, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, it is not that uncommon to create new words on Wiki-projects. In little languages that have a Wikipedia here, there are always little side pages where they discuss on new words or grammar, etc. But a WikiLang-project would outsource that, provides possibilities to do that more systematically and combines it efficiently with the other goals of revitalisation, standardisation, etc. It would serve as a groundwork for the work on Wikipedia or Wiktionary and would support the work there with little languages that lack ausbau or standardisation. And ausbau is quite more than finding new words. It is as well to tighten new grammatical structures, create new registers and domains, new styles, etc. To find new words is a inseperably part of it. Zylbath (talk) 10:33, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

A Scot dialect died[edit]

Just to add an example: Last native speaker of Scots dialect dies Zylbath (talk) 17:39, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

How are we going to attract native speakers of critically endangered languages? πr2 (t • c) 17:53, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
By promotion. Even endangered language communities often have a tight net of communication. If we would find ways to notify the community there would be always people that will help document or develop the language. I have often seen minorities where some handful people made so much effort in recording tapes with sentences in the endangered language or document its grammar or words. Those documents are mostly not accessible for the public, WikiLang would be a welcome instrument to end this. There is almost always at least one linguist that deals with a language minority. If he knows about WikiLang, which seems quite logical, since the linguistics world is also quite tight networked, he will carry that to that community. Zylbath (talk) 18:32, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Suggestion: start a beta version of this on Wikiversity. πr2 (t • c) 02:02, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

You mean to outsource this whole project to Wikiversity?? But that wouldn't be the goal of it at all! Zylbath (talk) 08:42, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I know a friend who speaks Jeju, a critically endangered language.--125.178.92.173 07:11, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

National Geographics[edit]

This link provides a few stories on last speakers and languages that are about to vanish forever just because their speakers die and nobody helps them. Zylbath (talk) 20:28, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

I've actually read this before (in print!). πr2 (t • c) 20:33, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Can we please have examples pages on Meta or Wikiversity? I'd really like to see what this project would look like. πr2 (t • c) 20:38, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I'm working on it. Sorry. I'm thinking about this every day, but I really have not the time at the moment to built up such pages. I hope it's doable in the next few days. Zylbath (talk) 08:08, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Last speaker of Bo died[edit]

Just found this news. One of the oldest known languages has lost its last native speaker. --LFS (talk) 07:55, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Question[edit]

Why do we revitalize languages that are getting extinct? It makes sense to document and preserve those languages, but revitalization does not seem to be good in any way. As for your comparison to extinct and endangered animals, preserving the grammar/syntax/vocab is like preserving an animal DNA, so we can revitalize it later (unlike extinct species).....but why?--Seonookim (talk) 06:07, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

This person says it is to preserve intellectual and cultural diversity, to promote the sense of cultural identity for the affected people, and to learn more about language in general (the last can be done by documenting without revitalizing).
I suspect that for most people, this will not amount to a very good reason (since most people are part of a dominant culture and receive little or no benefit from revitalizing someone else's language, and might even be harmed very slightly by being unable to communicate with a few people they encounter). WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:10, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
90% of the people on earth speak 10% of the languages. Vice versa, 90% of the languages on earth are somewhat endangered and just spoken by 10% of the world population. Language revilatisation is not a thing that just has to do with the victims like genocids (which are of course way worse) have not just to do with the killed ones. But even if it's just about those that speak a minority language, they deserve a place to care for their language, that right should not be taken just because they are a minority, it should be given to them because they are a minority and can't help themselves. Zylbath (talk) 15:27, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, first of all: Tell me a reason why languages or cultures should not be tried to preserve from extinction? Wouldn't you think that it would be a big shame if your own culture or your mother tongue would die out and wouldn't exist anymore? Just imagine that you are forced to speak another language that is not your own. Languages are always more than just a system of communication, they are a big part of culture, they have lexical parts that are unknown to any other language and reflect their culture. There are indigenous languages that have more names for the flowers or animals of their environment than biologists have yet. There are so many facets and pieces of information that would go lost forever.
And the logical consequence of letting language shift do it's thing would be that all people on earth would just speak a small bunch of languages, pessimistic linguistics say that at the end of the 21th century more than 6.000 languages would die out so that we would just have some 200 languages left. And you wouldn't definitely proclaim that all cultures on earth should become one, so that there'd be no different cultures anymore, just the same stuff. Most people wouldn't agree with this step. But I still do not understand why they want languages to die out so that everybody speaks one language. (Revitalisation would not lead to more communicational problems, but to a better multilinguism like I said several times.) Most of you are probably not affected by a language shift or the discrimination coming from speaking a minority language as mother tongue. But tell a jew from Israel that revitalisation is nonsense, since his mother tongue (Hebrew) is the pure result from revitalisation as it was already dead as a vernacular.
With this Wiki we have the direct chance to fight against those negative processes of language extinction and language shift. Until now I can't see a compelling reason why this Wiki should not be created. We would do something good with it and give people rights and a mouthpiece to protect and care for their endangered languages. Zylbath (talk) 15:27, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

OK. Your arguments seem plausible, so I'll back down.--Seonookim (talk) 05:54, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Having different languages is not a requirement for having different cultures. For example, there are many different cultures just in the USA, and all of them speak American English. Reducing the number of languages spoken does not automatically eliminate all of the other cultures. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:55, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
That wasn't what I was saying. I just made a comparison between culture and language. Language is a big part of a culture and some cultures lost their culture when their language died out. I made that comparison because for most people culture is something very important and should not die out. But I see a language totally comparable to that and that it shouldn't die out either. Zylbath (talk) 15:14, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
That being said, history shows that in majority of cases a culture dies soon after its language dies. Amqui (talk) 22:04, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Sample[edit]

I have collected some information on Jeju grammar and vocabulary. So what do the entries of this project look like? Please give me some samples, so I can make experimental WL pages.--Seonookim (talk) 05:57, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

See User:Seonookim/WikiLang1 and User:Seonookim/WikiLang 2. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:42, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Here are some examples from an outside project that represent some of the stuff that could be part of WikiLang in my opinion: [2] [3]. Amqui (talk) 23:10, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
WikiLang/Main_Page PiRSquared17 (talk) 01:38, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Is there an easier way to develop a demo project than using sub-pages on Meta? Maybe opening a test-mediawiki for this project? I understand we cannot do that for every proposal of new project, but other than OmegaWiki there isn't any with that many "participants" (and OmegaWiki already has its own website). Thanks, Amqui (talk) 02:01, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, PiRSquared17. That main page is quite cool and the world atlas would be really useful at a real WikiLang page. I am pretty having for not answering so frequently but I have many other projects and jobs to do. But I am visiting this discussion page every day since it is my first page when opening my web browser. ;) So, I am following everything.
That is actually a quite good idea, Amqui. Maybe that would help us more to figure out how WikiLang could look or be like.
I would like to know whether it is still a question to do that WikiLang project at all or whether it is just a question on how it should look like and what its real scope is. What would you think? I mean, there are a lot of participants that show that this idea is not just something I like but also that actually attracts a lot of people. Zylbath (talk) 20:49, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

See the WikiLang/North America page with the clickable maps of indigenous language families (thanks to PiRSquared17) ! Amqui (talk) 17:51, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Larger scope?[edit]

I'm just throwing this idea: why not WikiLang as a project to document/record/explain/teach all languages with a strong internal project/portal on languages preservation/revitalization? I think it might be easier to have a community for it that way and it`s definetly something within the scope of WMF`s mission in my opinion since languages are part of the world knowledge.

It is more than only a Wikiversity about teaching a particular language, since it includes recording and documenting the languages as well. A language within this WikiLang could also have a "living dictionary" where language communities without proper standardized published dictionary can ask for words and get answer from others (some projects like that already exist on social networks). Yes, those could be a WikiProject within a Wiktionary, but, let's face it, most languages will never see their own Wiktionary, obviously languages with actual active Wiktionaries won't see any use of this concept on WikiLang, but it still can be used as a teaching platform for second language learners though. The advantages of WikiLang in that domain would be that it`s not language-dependant like Wikiversity. Obviously English will be the main language used, but, for example, it makes more sense to explain and document an Aboriginal language of Venezuela in Spanish than in English.

There is that wikia that was going along the same way: [4].

Please share what you think about that. Amqui (talk) 17:31, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

That suggestion is actually not quite bad. First of all, as WikiLang would suggest, it should have to do everything about language and second as Wikipedia is lacking a precise and full description of languages and is just offering an overlook, it could either try to document languages (and then really all languages) in more detail, provide the opportunity to decipher languages and scripts, build up a forum for minority, endangered and not standardised languages to develop theirs, serve material to learn any language (espacially endangered languages could use this opportunity as it is appears to me more easy to build up a language course here than providing an own website and do that mostly all on your own without a community) and do other things that have to do with languages in general but haven't come up to my mind yet.
You mentioned a very important point here. The argument this WikiLang could be also fullfilled by the already existing wiki derrivates doesn't make sense. 1. You have to be good in wiki computing and informatics to start a new wiktionary or wikipedia, which is espacially for endangered languages often not given, and 2. most endangered languages have in fact none of those wiki derrivates as it is still a too big thing to start it up. Building a new project in an already existing WikiLang is much easier, and we could provide material and tutorials to make it as easy as possible for those that are not very firm with this wikipedia informatics and structures.
So, I agree with you, there could be a larger scope. I like your idea, but I see the danger that endangered or minority language could go too short. One should pay attention to that if we enlarge the scope. But if that turned out well I think a larger scope would be fantastic. Maybe more people could identify with this then. Zylbath (talk) 22:13, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
That being said, there is already the Incubator to help start-out new projects (like Wikipedia and Wiktionary) in new languages, that wouldn't be the intent of WikiLang. WikiLang will be about the languages themselves: to document them, record them, teach them, etc. It will complement Wiktionaries, but has no intent in replacing them. Amqui (talk) 22:33, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

I propose to change the proposed tagline to reflect this larger scope. Maybe something like "The free language resources that anyone can edit". Amqui (talk) 21:27, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Sure, but let's keep this as a main goal at least. PiRSquared17 (talk) 21:32, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
I have began a draft for a WikiLang:About page, writing it may help us better define what is this proposed project and make it more clear for everybody else. (A very very minor point, but I also suggest that we use Wikilang with no capital letter in the middle like all other projects.) Amqui (talk) 21:39, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

WikiLang and OmegaWiki[edit]

What do you think about connecting this to OmegaWiki?

  1. OmegaWiki already includes the software to easily create multilingual dictionaries. For example, if the Jeju word "mal" is linked to the English "horse" which is linked to the Italian "cavallo", then "mal" is automatically linked to "cavallo" (even if no-one knows both Jeju and Italian).
  2. In OmegaWiki, any bureaucrat can easily add another language (unlike Wiktionary, where a community needs to organize, develop a site on Incubator). Even languages without any living speakers are allowed there.
  3. It seems very likely from the discussion that OmegaWiki will eventually join Wikimedia. In that case, do we really need three separate language-related projects?

I'll admit their scopes are somewhat different: OmegaWiki is about words, while WikiLang (as I understand it) is more about languages. But there might still be enough overlap for WikiLang to benefit from the software and existing site that OmegaWiki provides.

What do you think? -- Ypnypn (talk) 02:22, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Intent of Wikilang is not to create dictionaries. It will obviously work closely to them for languages that have a Wiktionary (or languages that are largely developed in another language-version of Wiktionary/ies) and/or Omegawiki if it comes to Wikimedia. Wikilang intend to share knowledge of those languages, not only a collection of words, it will includes some lists of words by categories (as it has already been developed in our demo project for Jeju and Mi'kmaq) in order to better understand the language and to get a feel of it, but has not intent in developing full dictionaries. WikiLang is more to teach the languages (grammar, syntax, phonology, etc.), but as well as including other resources about them (recordings, histories, their current use, etc.), including revitalization projects support for small and endangered languages. Amqui (talk) 02:37, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, in fact, Wikilang would try to built full dictionaries. It wants to document any language, and that includes a description of the grammar as detailed as any possible and the attemp to document all words that we have knowledge of. But maybe this could be seperated: For majority and bigger languages we could refer to the Wiktionaries of those languages, but for little languages we could try to built a dictionary at Wikilang, which will not be like at Wiktionary but morely a list of words, like written dictionaries. Because in reality, little languages will never get their own Wiktionary version. This is a way easier way for those languages to built a dictionary (and it would save some of Wikipedia's ressources. ;)) Zylbath (talk) 11:01, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Another possibility would be to have WikiLang be a part of OmegaWiki. OmegaWiki is a dictionary only for 2 of its namespaces. All other namespaces are standard wiki pages, and I believe (me = the OmegaWiki guy) that pages with information about grammar, history of languages, vocabulary lists, etc., would provide a nice addition to OW. Of course, I totally understand - and support - that it is better to have WikiLang as a Wikimedia project, but the "WikiLang as a part of OW" could be an option if the proposal is unsuccessful (and if OW becomes a WMF project, then the WikiLang inside it would be one as well). In any case, we keep in touch ;-) --Kip (talk) 11:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
WikiLang has an almost completely different goal from OW. WikiLang = about languages. OW = just about words (although I do acknowledge we could have it in a non-mainspace place like you mentioned). Also, OmegaWiki only allows languages with ISO codes. This is a huge drawback and a blocker for using it as a replacement for WikiLang. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:53, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't know where you've read that OW only accepts languages with ISO codes, I've heard it a few times from different people, but it is not true. We accept any language that is an "individual" language (not a macro-language). When there is no ISO-639-3 code available, we create our own code, or take one from Linguist List. --Kip (talk) 17:09, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Agree and thanks for the precision, that makes it easier to support small language projects of Wikilang to add their words to OmegaWiki, but, as you can read below, that's not the only reason why Wikilang should have its own project. Amqui (talk) 17:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Ah, thanks! I saw it on the RfC and pages like this and that seem to imply it as well ("OmegaWiki intends for ISO 639-6, Codes for the representation of names of languages -- Part 6: Alpha-4 representation for comprehensive coverage of language variation, to replace ISO 639-3 as the primary list of language identifiers."). Good to know! PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I know what you mean Zylbath, but some lists of words is not what I meant by "full dictionaries". Of course, Wikilang could (and will ;)) offer a space to coordinate and try to build full dictionaries for small languages, but if those become successful, I think they should be moved to their own Wiktionary project (or OmegaWiki). By dictionaries, I meant a dictionary where the word and the definition are in the concerned languages, from the sample pages of Wikilang right now, the lists of words include the word in the concerned language and a translation in another language (i.e. English), which is not the "definition" of a dictionary in terms of Wiktionaries, since it offers no definitions. Of course, nothing refrain a language project within Wikilang to create lists like that with definitions in their own language. However, if those become complete enough, perhaps it would be time for that language to think about having its own Wiktionary. Small languages that don't have the capacity to build their own Wiktionary will of course be able to remain in Wikilang with their "lists of words"/"smaller dictionaries". Amqui (talk) 17:00, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I have nothing against OmegaWiki (in fact I strongly support it to move under the WMF umbrella), but I don't think Wikilang should be part of it or under it. Of course, we could develop way for both projects to work together easily. However, one point of Wikilang is to make it easy for all languages (even dead ones) to have a place to develop a project, as PiRSquared17 mentioned, not only the ones with recognized ISO codes. Also, we wish to offer the freedom to each language projects to organize their language as they wish within Wikilang, some may look like dictionary in some way and other may be totally different (preferring maybe video or audio recordings), as such Wikilang needs to be its own project. As we can read on the Meta page about OmegaWiki, its intent is to "describe all words with definitions in all languages", Wikilang's intent is to "share and teach all languages". Knowing all words of a language is far from enough to learn a language. Wikilang also intends to offer a platform for revitalization projects, which I believe would be buried too much to be somewhat useful if the whole project would be a namespaspace under OmegaWiki. Amqui (talk) 17:05, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree, just wanted to share my thoughts :-) --Kip (talk) 17:39, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

WikiLang will overlap with, share goals with, or involve using:

  • Wikipedia - information about the history of a language, general information about the language, phonology, etc.
  • Wiktionary - it will have word lists like a dictionary, but they will may not be totally complete
  • Wikibooks - it will have information about learning a language. When a Wikilang project finishes some kind of tutorial, it can move it into a textbook format to Wikibooks.
  • Wikiversity - research and learning materials about languages. Also, both allow original research to some extent
  • OmegaWiki - same reasons as Wiktionary
  • Wikidata - it will have information like "number of speakers" and "language family" that could be stored in Wikidata. We might want to use Wikidata to extract this in the actual wiki.
  • Commons - we might want to store videos and recordings on Commons
  • Wikisource - put public domain/free texts in the language there
  • Wikiquote - Wikiquote has pages about proverbs in languages (e.g., it:q:Proverbi napoletani). We might want to encourage these on Wikiquote and/or WikiLang, not sure.
  • Incubator - if someone wants to start a Wikimedia project (like a Wikipedia) in their language, they use Incubator. ISO 639-1/3 languages only. They can also start a Wiktionary, but using OmegaWiki has more benefits perhaps.
  • Wikivoyage - Has phrasebooks like voy:Haitian Creole phrasebook. Many other opportunities for collaboration as well (even technical stuff like image maps).
  • Wikispecies - has local names of species on its pages, probably not important collaboration between these two projects though
  • Wikinews - ???

PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:16, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Wikinews for great news about revitalization projects perhaps ;) More seriously, true, there is some overlap, but I don't believe there is more overlap then existing projects between other exiting projects though, and most of the above-mentioned stuff is more "cooperation" between projects than "pure overlapping". Amqui (talk) 17:22, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
That's what I meant. :) It makes about as much sense for WikiLang to be a subproject of Wikiversity as it does for it to be a subproject of OmegaWiki. PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:27, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) For Wikipedia, true, the general information and the phonology of a language are (or can) be generally explained on Wikipedia, but no Wikipedia article will go in details enough to explain to a reader how to pronunce correctly and give him useful hints about that for example. Wikibooks or Wikiversity could do that for a particular language, but they don't offer any real means of central coordination between the language versions and, in fact, Wikilang could be used as a development project to produce courses for Wikiversity and/or textbooks for Wikibooks if the content of a language becomes developed enough, but neither WB or WV offer an efficient place for small languages to grow and to easily start with small contributions. The overlap between Wiktionaries/OmegaWiki have been discussed previously. The Incubator project is great to develop new language versions of projects, but it's really hard and even impossible for most smaller language communities to expect to develop a full grown Wikipedia or Wiktionary (and even less other projects), plus, having a Wikipedia or Wiktionary in a given language is not an efficient mean to teach/learn the language since only actual speakers of that language can read it. Amqui (talk) 17:37, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't proposing replacing WikiLang with these projects, just noting that WikiLang will probably involve some coordination with them. And I agree with your comment totally. PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:40, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
PiRSquared17, I know, I only wanted to add some more info to your comment ;) Amqui (talk) 17:43, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Odd choice: lingua franca is English[edit]

I mean, of course English is the de facto lingua franca, but it seems strange to reinforce this fact in a project which announce a desire to protect language diversity. --Psychoslave (talk) 12:22, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I think that's what Zylbath meant: that English will become de facto the lingua franca like it is the case on all multilingual Wikimedia projects such as Meta (look only at our discussion right now ;)) or Commons, or even Internet at large. We have no intent to force English as the language of work for specific language projects/portals within Wikilang, for example if Native speakers of a small languages have mostly Spanish as a second language (or even as a first language), their talk pages and their coordination pages would be in Spanish and even their content pages to teach the languages (which could be after translated in English and other languages of course). Amqui (talk) 16:51, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Please note that the proposal was written in English, not German, even though the proposer is German. English is the de facto lingua franca of Meta. This is what it will be for WikiLang too, although projects will obviously be able to write in their minority language or majority language, or any other language they want. PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:04, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it's humorous to say that the "de lingua franca is English" – de facto is Latin and lingua franca is Italian. (And of course franca literally means Frankish.) :-) Ypnypn (talk) 17:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
"lingua franca" is derived from Italian, but it makes as much sense in Latin, right ["lingua" and "franca" are both Latin and Italian words]? It does literally mean "Frankish language", but it is now used for any language for cross-cultural communication (note: the existence la:lingua franca seems to imply that "lingua franca" is valid in Neo-Latin/Contemporary Latin, but a Roman wouldn't understand it). PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:26, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

IRC[edit]

Amqui started #wikilangconnect. PiRSquared17 (talk) 12:21, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Great! — ΛΧΣ21 15:37, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
One dumb question, what is this? Will the discussion be held there or still here? Zylbath (talk) 20:41, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
See IRC. The discussion will be held here on Meta, but IRC is like a real-time discussion. You can click the "connect" link in green. PiRSquared17 (talk) 20:49, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Myself and PiRSquared17 are often on IRC, but discussion about WikiLang will occur here, IRC is a "chat". You are welcome to come and say hello though ;) Amqui (talk) 00:03, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Inform[edit]

I have informed an online Jeju community about Wikilang, here. But not much has happened. Still, I think that we should inform such sites (eg. for Miq'maq) for potential contributors, especially because most of us don't really speak endangered languages (that's why they are endangered languages).--Seonookim (talk) 07:35, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Most of the pages I have wrote about Mi'kmaq have been proof readed by Mi'kmaq speakers. I also asked elders some questions to make sure some stuff I read is actually true before writing it on Wikilang. Most of them access Internet by cellphones, which makes it very hard to contribute directly to a wiki. I only had good feedback about Wikilang from them so far. That being said, I agree outreach is an important part of this project. I think that would be easier when Wikilang will be its own project, or at least has a real beta project. I'm already in contact with some linguists and small languages speakers from Canada as part of other projects (i.e. building their own Wikipedias), I think most of them will like the idea of Wikilang, but I don't think the current state of it being in sub-pages on Meta-Wiki makes it ready to publicize at large, but we certainly should contact specific ones to start. Amqui (talk) 07:39, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
That fact (that many people in your target audience use cellphones) suggests that you shouldn't' be using a cellphone-unfriendly wiki as your platform. You might get much better results if you used a mailing list or some approach that actually allows direct participation by people using cell phones to access the internet. It might even be best to create a specific app.
A wiki is not magic. You have to go where the people already are. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:34, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
They already developed a group on Facebook to build a living dictionary (easily accessible and easy to contribute from a cellphone) and I have been told an app is already under development. If a wiki is not the best solution to share the world knowledge by everyone in the world, maybe a larger discussion at the movement level needs to be opened about using something else instead or in parallel of mediawiki or on how to make it more cellphone friendly, but for now the fact is that Wikimedia movement only (or almost only) uses mediawiki as a platform and I don't think this project talk page is the place to discuss that. When an issue is identified, the next step is to find ways to overcome this challenge, not to simply avoid it by going elsewhere or not doing it at all. Amqui (talk) 18:16, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
To WhatamIdoing: A cellular phone app could be created for WikiLang, but it's pointless now because it's just a bunch of subpages on Meta. PiRSquared17 (talk) 18:26, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
The WMF specifically included "and other endeavors" beside "wiki projects" in its mission, perhaps it's time to explore that way. Amqui (talk) 18:27, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Gothic dictionary example page[edit]

Hey, I finally found the time to create an example page on the WikiLang test page. It is based on the real project at the Gothic wikipedia. See here: Gothic dictionary project. This is how I would imagine a possible language development page to a certain project. What do you think about this? Zylbath (talk) 21:05, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

[edit]

I think its the right time to design the WL (Wikilang) logo. What do you think?--Seonookim (talk) 05:54, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Who has skills in doing this? I just have basic skills in Photoshop.
I guess for the logo it is important to pick up the diversity of languages. I guess there is no better way to do so than having a card of the world with different colours for the language families. (Somehow like it is already on the Main Page of the test wiki.) Maybe we should also seize the different scripts like it is already in the wikipedia logo. Zylbath (talk) 14:58, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
I have GIMP skills...
I have an idea: Have a side-on silouette of the front half of a person's head, with the person's mouth open, and various words from various languages coming out his mouth in different directions. I will do a rough mock-up. Gott wisst (talk) 02:41, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I wouldn't put words, if we use that idea, I suggest we use only characters in different scripts that come out of his mouth instead of actual word. Amqui (talk) 02:57, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
  • As I'm interested in working on WIkilang, I could gather some time and try to make some designs for you :) — ΛΧΣ21 05:46, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

Ideas for WL[edit]

As I looked at WikiLang/Main Page, I kept feeling that the main page was too much like WP. So I have a few ideas;

  1. Featured languages: I think that only languages that have been on WL for over an year should be featured. Also, if WL is trying to revitalize languages, the featured language should be focused on how successful the revitalization/documentation was. (this is why the year is necessary; we need time to grade how successful it was. About five years would be the best, which is still much shorter than what was needed for Hebrew, but it would be weird for a project to not have anything featured for five years, so off with that)
  2. Language lessons: Someone would learn the lessons, user or anon. At the end of the lessons, there would be a test, which the learner would give answers to in a subpage called language/date/test number. For example, if somebody took a test on Ainu today as the 683rd person to take an Ainu test today, his answers would be written on Ainu/May 9 2013/test 683. At every question in the test, there would be a button called 'question finished', and if that button is pressed, a bot would create the necessary page, with the test question. At the bot-created page, if the learner pressed a button called 'answer', the learner would be linked into a blank edit screen, where he/she could write the answer and press 'Save page'. (this may need to be briefly taught to the learners) If the same learner answered another question, the bot (made an admin) would check whether the person belongs to the same username/IP. If he/she is shown to be the same person, the question would be added on the same answers page; if not, another answers page would be created.
  3. Graders: But bots cannot grade the questions, which is why admins are also 'Graders' on WL. Only admins will be able to see the answers, which will be linked to a page called Wikilang: Test answers by a bot. If the answers are vandalism, the appropriate measures (warning, blocking) will be taken. If the answers are not vandalism, the graders will grade the tests and give a score, as {{succeeded|97}} or {{failed|65}}. If the person is over 90% right, the grader will add a template like {{over 90%}}. A bot will then add the learner to a page like Jeju/Non-native Learners, and a congratulation message given by a bot, urging him to learn other languages. (for an user, on the talk page; for anons, a talk page would be created as Talk:month-day-year-language-test number. For the Ainu learner, it's Talk: 5-9-2013-Ainu-683) If not, a bot will send a message like "You got 65% (the percentage depending on what the admin wrote in {{failed|''number''}} right in your Jeju test. Do you wish to try again, or learn a specific lesson again?", and links to all the lessons would be given (with what they are teaching), and the test also given as links. The failed test would not be revealed to the tester. A bot, made an oversighter, would oversight all graded tests a minute after a grader puts {{succeed|''number''}} or {{failed|''number''}} on the page (to prevent the test page being oversighted before the bot that tells the test number sends a message).
  4. Lingua franca: Also, there should be multiple Wikilangs in different languages. A native Korean speaker who knows no English will not be able to learn Cheyenne if the language is set in English. A person from UK who doesn't know Spanish will not be able to learn Baniwa if Baniwa is only taught in Spanish. Even if we translate all the lessons, then what's the difference between the translated page staying in www.wikilang.org to cause confusion, or being sorted out into en.wikilang.org and de.wikilang.org to prevent confusion?

Just my thoughts.--Seonookim (talk) 07:54, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Those are all good ideas, but I think the intent is to leave freedom and flexibility to each language projects. If a language project community wish to develop lessons with a test, this is all great, but, as Wikilang, I don't think we should force any concept to any language projects. Also, I don't think dividing WL by language versions is a good idea, there are better way to explore to solve the problem you mentioned about having the content in different languages for learners. Since we are looking at small languages communities, the community will obviously be very small on the wiki and won't be able to monitor other language versions after they have been translated. There are extensions for translating the content when it is relatively "fixed" that we can use in a single project that may be better to use than actual separate wiki (easier to track when changes are made to the original text, only one central community, etc.). To have separate wiki, you would need a community dedicated to the Ainu language in English and a community dedicated to the Ainu language in Spanish, etc., which is obviously not feasible, keeping it in an unique project will keep the community together, but we need to find easy way to implement translations for content such as lessons. Each language project will use the lingua franca they want for coordinating their own project internally. Thanks, Amqui (talk) 16:52, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Re:

  1. The Main Page is just a way of displaying what we've done so far in the demo; in the real WikiLang, we'll have higher standards for featured language, or we may do it based on geolocation of the user, etc.
  2. Why not just use v:Help:Quiz?
  3. Same as #2.
  4. Any project can use the language they want internally, as Amqui says. We have no need to split forces and divide the community, do we?

PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:33, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Okay, I give up on #2,#3, and #4. But I think that proposal #1 should be taken, by the number of people who learned at least up to an advanced level of the language in question after an year since the final lesson was completed.--Seonookim (talk) 06:49, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Sure, but you have to understand that the main page here on meta is only to give "an idea" of what the project would look like and it has been done relatively quickly. It is all still open for discussion and I think the details should be discussed once we have an actual project. That being said, feel free to edit it. Thanks, Amqui (talk) 18:53, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
Feel free to do what you want with WikiLang/Main Page (or to fork it and experiment). I think that Mi'kmaq is the most developed demo so far, so it might make sense to show that. If you want to put Jeju or Gothic or one of the others (Quechua, Old English) as featured language temporarily, please do so. However, let's try to make the demo look as much like a real wiki as possible. PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:33, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

What about programming languages?[edit]

There are thousands of programming languages, but most of them are dying or dead. WikiLang could help document and preserve those languages just as much as it can help document and preserve natural languages. What say you? --LFS (talk) 12:50, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

I don't think this would be a good idea or would fit to the aim of Wikilang. The "language" in "programming language" is a bit misleading and does not have the same meaning as a natural language or a constructed language. It does not serve as a communication medium, it just encodes tasks and commands that are understandable by the computer. These are two different things and I guess it would blur our aim with Wikilang too much. There are, I guess, there are enough other ressources on those programming languages. (What I wouldn't exclude is, in the case that in some years Wikilang would run successfully and has hundreds of projects it may be considerable that we can start with programming language projects. But I would not suggest, that we include that in the starting phase of that project, it is too far away from the aim Wikilang is following.) Zylbath (talk) 17:54, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I also think like Zylbath. I don't think programming languages fall within the scope of the proposed project Wikilang, those are a different concept from "speaking" languages and would require a different project in my opinion. LFS, maybe you should look at starting a Wikiproject:Programming languages on Wikibooks to document older programming languages if that's something you are interested in. Thanks, Amqui (talk) 20:37, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

take away old English[edit]

By definition, Old English is neither endangered or extinct; it is a mother language, the ancestor of English. WP says that extinct languages have no descendants, surely not the case for Old English. Why not put 'Victorian English' in Wikilang? Take away Old English, and as soon as possible.--Seonookim (talk) 06:45, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

No. WikiLang's scope includes all (natural) languages. Following this logic, we wouldn't have Latin, Ancient Greek, or Ancient Egyptian (which gave rise to Coptic). PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:37, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, I wouldn't see anything wrong with having a page about other stages of English. PiRSquared17 (talk) 18:38, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think we should restrict languages that can be on Wikilang. Pushing it, I woudln't even restrict the modern English to be on Wikilang, although not seeing the usefulness of including it myself. If people want to work on "proto-languages", I don't see why not either. Amqui (talk) 04:34, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

WikiBooks[edit]

Many b:category:language articles could be added, for example b:Manchu Wikibooks.--Seonookim (talk) 06:45, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

The proposal isn't to absorb all Wikibooks pages about languages. PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:39, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
No, in fact we even mentioned the possibility of developing Wikibooks from projects on Wikilang. Although, we can surely re-use existing Wikibooks content to write on Wikilang. Amqui (talk) 04:36, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

(Dis)advantages compared to OmegaWiki[edit]

There is a request to adopt the now separate project OmegaWiki. I see this has a lot in common and I'm afraid reinventing the wheel is a waste of precious time.  Klaas|Z4␟V:  23:31, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

This proposal is completely different from OmegaWiki. OmegaWiki is a dictionary (for words), WikiLang is about languages. PiRSquared17 (talk) 23:50, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I see no good reason why the two things couldn't be merged - each would strengthen the other. Like Klass I see a lot in common, and the OmegaWiki extensions to MediaWiki should work very well for documenting languages as well. OmegaWiki is already designed to work with all languages. A large part of documentin a langage is documenting the vocabulary and concepts - which OmegaWiki can do very well. Better to work together to build on top of that and have one integrated project.
When something like this is announced people get all enthusiastic about minority languages. But there is a tremendous amount of work involved to do realise projects like this properly. Many minority languages have very small communities, few of them tech savy. It is very difficult to keep interest in, and quality contributions to, projects like this continuing over the long haul. Better to pool the resources, work together and build something strong.
-- CFynn (talk) 06:07, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
@CFynn, Except OmegaWiki relies on an extension that apparently has some major holes in it SQL wise, is not compatible with existing WMG extensions and duplicates Wiktionary in purpose. As the adoption of OmegaWiki looks unlikely, this looks like an attempt to end run around those problems by shoving into WikiLang. Those issues were never really adequately addressed by people supporting the proposal. (They just signed support, and no one questioned them as to why, especially given the points highlighted by others.) --LauraHale (talk) 07:01, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Which major SQL holes? Never heard of those.
"not compatible with existing WMG extensions" <= Which extensions? We had no compatibility problems so far. --Kip (talk) 12:30, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Klaas, please look at the discussion above, we already discussed that. Amqui (talk) 03:26, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Read it. I still see a lot common interests that can be merged and this way be profitable for all entire or partly language related projects. Cooperate rather than fighting with statements like: "We are better in grammar" (which is true for the wiktionaries), "You're only do words" (this not true for OmegaWiki"). All have some added value, use them all in a friendly way under the umbrella of Wikimedia Foundation. We're here to help each other and above all our millions of readers, offering reliable information for all.  Klaas|Z4␟V:  14:12, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
First, OmegaWiki is not under the umbrella of WMF as of yet. Second, to include Wikilang, OmegaWiki would need to change its "mission", because as of right now it reads "OmegaWiki is a collaborative project to produce a free, multilingual dictionary in every language, with lexicological, terminological and thesaurus information." which is incompatible with the proposed mission of Wikilang. On Help:Introduction to OmegaWiki, you can read "OmegaWiki is a multilingual dictionary whose aim is to describe all words of all languages with definitions in all languages", but words and definitions are only a very small part of languages, you can also read "OmegaWiki is not for neologisms", but the creation of neologisms is an important part of revitalization projects and Wikilang intents to allow languages communities to create sprachausbau projects.
I agree with you that there are common interests and that cooperation is the key, nobody talked about fight or competition between any projects, but I'm not convinced OmegaWiki in its actual form is a viable option for a language teaching platform and languages preservation projects (other than dictionaries projects). I'm not saying it's impossible, but I can't see how Wikilang could fall under OmegaWiki right now and what would be the advantages since it looks like they have different goals. Amqui (talk) 17:46, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I also think that "revitalization" conflicts with OmegaWiki, but the mission statement could be changed (I wrote the page "Introduction to OmegaWiki" myself without any democratic vote ;-) ). Generally, I have the feeling that the "revitalization" part might cause a problem with becoming a WMF project (by similarity to the "no new research" of Wikipedia), so that you might have to drop that part (but this is just a feeling and I personally like the idea of revitalization).
Note that would a OW-WikiLang merge happen, as I see it, it would not be "under the umbrella of OW", but more like the omegawiki website being divided into two equal parts, the language-documentation part and the dictionary part. But I think you are right to first aim at being a WMF project. Should it unfortunately not work, I would be happy to provide space on OW, as I stated previously. I wish you all the best!! :) --Kip (talk) 18:34, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Kip ;) I'll just take time to share my view on the "no new research" part in relation with Wikilang. The "no new research" is a "rule" exclusive to Wikipedia under the principle of "Verifiability". It is not inherent of the Wikimedia movement at large and its global mission to share knowledge. For example, Wikinews allows original work. Even on Wikipedias, there are already some projects on smaller language versions to try to develop local words for new concepts. "The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally." While I agree it may not be suitable for Wikipedia, the publication of new researches is part of the "world knowledge", but this is another question not related to Wikilang. If a large portion of a language community or its responsible people for the language (for example some First Nations in North America has elders who are "Guardians of the language" responsible for the introduction of new words) are present on Wikilang, then the neologisms they come up with are indeed "knowledge facts". Amqui (talk) 18:47, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
You may want to look at Founding principles, which lists those policies that must be adhered to by every Wikimedia project. Other policies (such as no original research) are decided on a project-by-project basis. -- Ypnypn (talk) 19:05, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't even think the Founding principles page is completely correct, because some projects, like Wikiversity, don't adhere to Neutral point of view. PiRSquared17 (talk) 19:32, 23 May 2013 (UTC)
The NPOV thing has since been fixed by WhatamIdoing (see Talk:Founding_principles#NPOV_is_not_mandatory). PiRSquared17 (talk) 03:54, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
PiRSquared17 already said everything that could have been said. You really say exactly what I think about this project. Thank you for helping! =)
To the topic in general, it might be true for some way that parts of this project could be outsourced to other WMF-projects, even if they would alienate the actual aim of those WMF-projects. But it would still not cover all the intents I followed with this proposal. And the biggest "pro" for WikiLang is the combination of all aspects into one WMF-project. It is a really big barriere to reconstruct or revitalise a language when that effort is done on 4 different WMF-projects. That's the big advantage, everything would be done here to help little language or to document big ones. It is all focused on languages in general, we would not have to divide this projects onto 5 different other Wiki-projects and still be thereby a misfit on their project pages as we don't suit the aims of none of the other WMF-projects perfectly. But work that is done on other WMF-project site could be helpful here and complement our work here. Zylbath (talk) 10:38, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

Incubator[edit]

How about putting all the Incubator wikis in WikiLang, under the portals for each WL language?--Seonookim (talk) 06:02, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

If you mean putting a link, I agree, it`s already done in fact. Amqui (talk) 22:47, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

TL;DR[edit]

So, in extreme conciseness, you're proposing to create a wiki where to dump all the content rejected in our projects: that would be deleted as out of scope in other projects, or in languages that can't have their own wikis under the Language proposal policy/Closing projects policy, right? --Nemo 11:29, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Obviously you've not understood the proposal... Read at least the summary in the project description, it is one sentence, not too long ;-) --Kip (talk) 11:38, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
What?! It's not for content like Wikipedia's and closed WMF projects (although it could have some stuff like on Wiktionary sometimes)... The proposal is to create a wiki to document languages, especially endangered languages with few or no speakers left. It has nothing to do with closing language projects or creating new ones. PiRSquared17 (talk) 13:12, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
@Nemo bis: ... reply? PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:29, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Content format[edit]

First of all, I support that Wikimedia documents and teaches endangered languages. If there's enough active members, then I'm fine with the project.

Now, I don't understand the exact format of the project's content. It's supposed not to be just a dictionary, or just an encyclopedic article on the language. Given a language, there will be definitions of terms, sure. But what else? --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:52, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

The intent is to let each language "project/community" within Wikilang to come up with their own format that fit their needs and their intents. Some ideas of possible content are grammar, history of the language linguistically and culturally, sprachausbau, differences between dialects, scripts/orthographies, phonology, morphology, decipherement of scripts, living dictionary, support to revitalization projects, recordings both written and oral, lessons to learn the language, sharing of free published resources, other documentation, sharing and collecting best practices in languages documentation and revitalization, etc. Amqui (talk) 17:30, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
Lack of structure usually leads to failure. If you want to have any hope of success, you not only need to start with a dozen people per language, but you also need to give them some strong hints about the kinds of pages they ought to have. "Here's an empty wiki, now fill it up!" does not work. "Here's a wiki, and you'll notice that there are namespaces for words, grammar, documents (like stories told in the language or copies of old sources), general information, files (for images, sounds, and video), etc. I suggest that you start by picking your favorite story and writing it up, and then use that as a source for figuring out which words you need to document". is far more functional. But I honestly don't believe that this project is likely to succeed, even if you do everything right. There simply are not enough people available for the languages that you want. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:46, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
You do have a point, but too many rules can be counterproductive. And there's no way of finding out how many people are available until we try it. -- Ypnypn (talk) 17:22, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes and no. Low Saxon isn't a rare language, and Zybalth is well-connected on the subject. It therefore ought to be possible to round up people from Zybalth's own circle. (And if it isn't, then that fact alone tells you something about the viability of this idea.) You can set up a model project using Low Saxon, and then other people can copy ideas from it next year. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:03, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Signpost[edit]

Just noticed this! en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2013-06-05/News_and_notes#WikiLang:_a_new_WMF_project.3F PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:20, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry. I just could not avoid writing about it :) — ΛΧΣ21 03:44, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
Wow! That's really cool! Thank you a lot! =) Maybe we could get more attention now. Zylbath (talk) 12:25, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Logo of WikiLang[edit]

I have created logo for WikiLang. I propose this as the logo WikiLang. If anyone can create a better logo he can use this without asking me. If anyone have a better idea to create a logo I didn't think as it is bad. This is my creation.--Jne12 (talk) 09:14, 25 June 2013 (UTC) proposed logo of WikiLang.

Hey, thank you for your effort. But honestly, I must say that this logo wouldn't work because the other logos of wiki derrivates have a lot more stylistic quality. Maybe someone else could create a logo that stands for WikiLang that would look as professional as the other ones. Zylbath (talk) 11:43, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Logo prototype[edit]

Prototype logo for Wikilang.

Okay. I have crafted the first logo prototype for Wikilang. I still have floating ideas in my mind, but I wanted t share this with you guys. I have shared this design to several users, including Amqui, through IRC. He told me that it looks like a smiley face :) I hope you like it. Comments and suggestions are more than welcome. Cheers. — ΛΧΣ21 05:45, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Some thoughts about the prototype on the right (other than "nice!", which also crossed my mind).
  • That should say "Wikilang" rather than "WikiLang", shouldn't it?
  • It may be less distinct than one would like from the Wikimedia Commons logo. This is a tip I picked up a few years ago when we were choosing a new logo for Wikibooks: it's really important that all the wikimedia sisters' logos be clearly distinct from each other.
  • Is there meant to be symbolism behind this prototype?
--Pi zero (talk) 16:48, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
It also looks quite similar in form to the Incubator logo. --MF-W 01:59, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
The teardrop shape of the outside (instead of a circle) is my idea to represent that Wikilang is a small drop in the efforts to document, preserve and revitalize endangered languages. Amqui (talk) 22:15, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
The darkness of the logo does not go well with the other projects, but I like the idea of the logo. ~~EBE123~~ talkContribs 01:58, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Wow, that looks great, better than the logo above. ;P Wikilang is starting to assume shape. But I have some annotations: I think the logo is a bit too dark, it may be friendlier if it was a bit brighter. And even if I can follow the meaning behind the forms of the logo I think it might be a bit too abstract. The other wikimedia logos are kind of more obviously. But i would be also fine with this logo.
I actually like that only-shape-look more than script-containing-logos like Wiktionary. Maybe we could implant the abstract picture of the world in it like many logos have here? (Of course in a way that they are not confounded.) Or maybe a map of the world like on the main page of our development wiki? Maybe that could be inside of that drop. Zylbath (talk) 10:55, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
I have done some tweaks to the logo. I will develop some ideas after the Wikivoyage contest is finished, as I want to participate there too. Cheers. — ΛΧΣ21 18:55, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
A bit too much like Incubator? Really, Incubator makes sense (the egg). How about making the outside a full drop?--Seonookim (talk) 04:18, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Woah, didn't realize they were so close. Back to the drawing board then. — ΛΧΣ21 23:29, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
I like this and think as this is suitable for WikiLang. --103.247.50.160 15:04, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
I still think, it is a bit too dark. In my opinion it should look a bit friendlier. Zylbath (talk) 10:46, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't know why you are creating a logo now, before the project is even accepted! Anyway, we would need to go though a logo selection vote, so a logo created now may not even be used. PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:27, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

ISO 639 and translations[edit]

Having a translation to endangered languages can be difficult. I suppose the mw:Extension:Translate will be used. The problem is that ISO-639-1,3 are incomplete lists. WikiLang would have a problem when the endangered language does not have a code for the translation. How would this be fixed? ~~EBE123~~ talkContribs 18:42, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure translations of what you are talking about? Amqui (talk) 22:16, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Theoretically, if the project is created and a language without a code gets a page, how would translation to that language work with mw:Extension:Translate? ~~EBE123~~ talkContribs 01:56, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Do we need to use an extension to translate pages? PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:09, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Every project wouldn't be a translation of each other, but be original. There is no intent to use that extension for content. Amqui (talk) 00:00, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

So this would be an incubator[edit]

One of the functions of Wikilang could be to be an incubator for content which could later be migrated to a wikipedia, wikisource, wikiquote, wikiboooks, wikiversity etc. in that language - not splitting the community until it is big enough to support multiple projects. Filceolaire (talk) 20:46, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

This can already be done this way on incubator: - people can start test-projects for different projects in the same language at the same time there. --MF-W 21:20, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
This is the purpose of the Incubator (for most projects), Beta Wikiversity, and www.wikisource.org ("Old Wikisource"). WikiLang is about languages, not about incubating other Wikimedia projects. It could, however, overlap with Wiktionary and the non-WMF OmegaWiki sometimes. PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:25, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Language versions[edit]

Why can project not to have language versions? AtUkr (talk) 17:37, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

WikiLang would be a collection of mini-projects, each documenting a particular language or language family. Each of these "mini-projects" can work in whatever language they want, be it English, the majority language in their area, or their own small language. Of course, work only in their own language would not be useful to outsiders. Certain related projects can work together to document similar languages, and each project/community would have autonomy, so they can develop their own format (within WikiLang's standard format, if we make one). PiRSquared17 (talk) 18:00, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

Hello. I have a question. How can I see recent changes that just show those of the Wikilang test area? Zylbath (talk) 17:14, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Special:RecentChangesLinked/Category:WikiLang (assuming that all the pages related to WikiLang test area is in that category). --Glaisher [talk] 17:17, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
@Glaisher: subcats? PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:46, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't work for subcats? --Glaisher [talk] 08:41, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, it doesn't. Special:Diff/7616893. Sorry but I can't think of a way. --Glaisher [talk] 08:48, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

We need your help to keep this proposal alive[edit]

Please, we need your help to help building some more pages at our test wiki for Wikilang as, at least for me, this proposal and the possibility to maybe built wikilang.org some day are very important. According to the estimations circa 5 languages have become extinct since the last time somebody wrote on this discussion page which is just two and a half months ago. Maybe it's one of my faults that this whole project has become so fallow for I haven't been so active at the last time. But still, there is time to change something and heave this proposal out from its bogging down to meaninglessness. ;) Thanks a lot. Weest vun Harten bedankt! Zylbath (talk) 18:08, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

What can we do to help, exactly? The test wiki won't make the proposal approved. Many project proposals don't even have such a test wiki. It seems from the inactivity there that this proposal would create an inactive wiki. Is that true? PiRSquared17 (talk) 15:46, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
I know, the test wiki won't bring it through to approval. It was actually designed to look, see and show what could be done on Wikilang. I don't think the inactivity in the test wiki is a bad omen for the inactivity on future Wikilang. It hasn't gotten really famous yet, many don't know about the test wiki and some don't see the need or sense for that test wiki. I appeal to you that the test wiki should not be a failed prototype of Wikilang, the real Wikilang would work out totally different. And the long list with potential participants and interested people stands for itself. I don't actually know what would be the next steps to get to an approval. Could you bring some light in this? Thanks a lot. Zylbath (talk) 17:19, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Sj would know how to move this forward. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:23, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

This is good progress. Useful things to do next:

  • Describe further the technical needs of the project: would this simply be a mediawiki instance with this focus?
  • Describe how this would be different from a series of wikibooks, one on each language. (the different types of pages, which would all cover diffeerent bodies of material and have different uses, from references to dictionaries, to language learning tools, makes a wikibook seem plausible.)
  • Get support from a group currently running a language-preservation site, such as the Rosetta Project or SIL.

SJ talk  14:55, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

@Sj: Answers, in order:
  • I think so. We may also need Translate extension.
  • This would try to engage linguists and native speakers to document the language and describe new words. At some point a WikiLang "language project" (for lack of a better term) may decide to create a textbook/tutorial, in which case it would be added to Wikibooks. See also #WikiLang and OmegaWiki above.
  • This is a good idea. Maybe Amqui can contact them. PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:55, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
My answers:
1. Unfortunately, I don't know enough of the technical side of Wikimedia. Somebody else might know more about it. But I would say that we predominantly need the normal mediawiki software. Articles are written in a similar manner as in Wikipedia. I don't know whether that would have to be a special feature or could be programmed by individuals but for the dictionaries that will be built we may use something like a box where somebody can type in a word in order to find it from a database of words; like the online dictionaries. Furthermore, like PiRSquared17 already mentioned, we also need the possibility to translate the interface. The main parts will take place in English (or for special projects in the respective majority language of their country when they vote for it). But the interface could and should be translatable into other lanugages.
2. I'm going to describe that on the main page of this proposal. (DONE)
3. I will write to some of those groups. I also have some connections to professors and linguists, maybe they can express their support. Zylbath (talk) 09:49, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Zylbath, can you either forward number 4, put the contents of the letters/emails on wiki subpage, or at least list what groups you contacted? PiRSquared17 (talk) 15:34, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
Pictogram-voting-question.svg Progress report? PiRSquared17 (talk) 02:09, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
Hello, I am sorry for being away for such a long time, I had hardly time to manage my, and especially this, projects. I wanted to do the next step and contact as many organisations and institutes as possible. I already made a scetch of a letter, but since English is not my mother tongue and I am not sure what else should appear in a formal letter it would like to discuss it with you first. So here it goes:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to you as a student of linguistics in Germany and because I proposed a new sister project on Wikimedia called ‘Wikilang’. Since we are facing a language extinction rate that has hardly been seen before it is our responsibility to document and protect those that still exist and try to revive them. The internet already provides some important webpages that are fighting for this aim. But as we need something more profound, global and free I was trying to launch a project like Wikipedia or Wiktionary to document as many languages as possible, more extensively than before. Wikimedia offers a perfect basis since it is free for use, everybody can participate and it already had a lot of success regarding the platforms mentioned above. I think that Wikilang would be a big advance in the documentation and revitalisation of endangered and lesser-used languages, a big progress we really need. In the following link you will find the proposal page of that project and a lot more descriptions on how I intended this project. And now you come into play: I would kindly ask you to look over it, build your own opinion and leave me, on the discussion page (to reach above) or on the proposal page itself a message of your support in case you are in favour of this project. We really need your help because the next step in the progress of realising this project is to get recommendations of persons, institutes, organisations etc. that are associated with this subject.

This is the link to the proposal main page: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiLang

Thank you a lot for your attention.

With kind regards,

Zylbath (talk) 10:55, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Here's the new version. I am still not quite sure about it, but I guess I am starting to send it to different persons:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to you as a member of the Wikilang team on Wikipedia. Wikilang is currently a proposal that was put in for the purpose of creating an online platform to document as many languages as possible. It is especially intended for minority, regional or lesser used languages to use it as a medium to pursue language development, revitalisation and documentation. In recent times we are probably facing the biggest language extinction from time immemorial. Thus, it has never been more important to document those languages that are still spoken. Wikilang would provide a free to edit and open platform to follow that aim. Everybody can share contents or information and contribute openly together with a community. Language documentation or revitalisation is very often a one-man project and the internet is missing a profound, global and free website that offers that many possibilities to a language community. The rate of access to internet is increasing and Wikipedia has already been launched in a number of minority, regional of lesser used languages. When we don't restrict the results of language documentation to hardly available publications or ressources and make it common and open it would have a lot more success, especially when speakers can contribute without having to publish their materials. Wikilang would take away a lot of hurdles.
Wikimedia offers a perfect basis since it is free for use, everybody can participate and it already had a lot of success regarding platforms like Wikipedia or Wiktionary. We think that Wikilang would be a big advance in the documentation and revitalisation of endangered and lesser-used languages, a big progress we really need.
In the following link you will find the proposal page of that project and a lot more descriptions on how we intended this project. And now you come into play: We would kindly ask you to look over it, build your own opinion and reply to us by e-mail or leave a message of your support on the discussion page (to reach above) or on the proposal page itself in case you are in favour of this project. Furthermore it would be very beneficial if the information on this project would be spread. We really need your help for the next step in the progress of realising this project is to obtain recommendations of persons/linguists, institutes, and organisations that are associated with this subject.
This is the link to the proposal main page: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiLang
Thank you a lot for your attention.
With kind regards,
Zylbath (talk) 15:36, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
Looks great! To whom have you sent it? PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:48, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

You can see the list of receivers here: Invitations. I hope others can also help to spread the word to other organisations as well. Zylbath (talk) 18:04, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

@Zylbath: Can you update it with replies received? Have any supported the idea? PiRSquared17 (talk) 19:48, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

More:

PiRSquared17 (talk) 15:54, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Hey. Have you already invited and informed them? So far only two have answered, but they weren't quite sure what this is. They would always support that project but they found the structure of Wikimedia too strange and anonymous or couldn't imagine how the project would really look like in the end. Zylbath (talk) 18:17, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I did not contact any of those yet, Zylbath, but they may be interested. There are some other similar organizations listed here and here. PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:02, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Dialects[edit]

What about dialects? What's the criteria for inclusion on wikilang? ISO 639-3? I think that is too much of a limit. But to document every dialect would be impossible, as there is no exact line that distinguishes dialects from accents or slang, and languages from dialects. Remember, a language is a dialect with an army and a navy. So what's the criteria?

P.S. Have you noticed that the incubator lacks any sort of policy pages?--Seonookim (talk) 15:03, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Dialects should be included. No need for ISO, Linguist list, or linguasphere code, although it helps. Rather than dealing with the difference between dialect and language (which is arbitrary), WikiLang should seek to document all languages, dialects, registers, and variants, and compare them to related dialects/languages. Also, the incubator needs no policies -- it inherited Meta's. When it is a real project with a large community, they can be developed. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:10, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, ISO can really help to put some structure in it. But we should really not restrict it to languages for that's quite a judging on dialects not being equal system. Linguistically there might a debatable difference between languages and dialects but that doesn't want to make a hierarchy. Dialects and languages are both complete systems of a "variety" that serves as every other to communicate. And we shouldn't forget that a dialect can become an own language, as we see it at the example of Luxemburgish. A language can be defined by three features, if one of it is fulfilled it's reasonable to call it a language: When a variety is a distance language (abstandssprache), which means that it is too different to the surrounding varieties to be a dialect, when a variety is a developped language (ausbausprache), which means that is has developped enough vocabulary, registers and domains that it goes beyong mere oral communication, and when a variety is officially recognised as a language. Despite this the intention and meaning of Wikilang is to document every system of language, which includes dialects, languages and maybe those things like sociolects etc. And there is a border between accents and dialects. But even that could be included as a page explaining the features of i.e. Received Pronounciation, American English, Scottish English etc. Wikiling is there to document language in general in all its different facets, we can't do a distinction in varieties worth to be documented and those not worth it. That's the opposite we want with Wikilang.
And, PiRSquared17, can I ask you to answer to the topic above? What are the next steps we would have to take to make this come to approval? Zylbath (talk) 18:28, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
A language is a dialect with an army and navy. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:24, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

"Decipherment of dead languages and/or undeciphered scripts" section[edit]

I don't think this is ever going to happen on WikiLang in practice. If experts who study these scripts extensively cannot do it, then I doubt crowdsourcing it would be a good use of resources. PiRSquared17 (talk) 18:22, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't think either, but it was included by the original contributor who proposed the project. In any cases I don't think it should be the focal point of Wikilang anytime soon. Amqui (talk) 18:28, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be a focal point, but I think it could still be included. If we proclaim for Wikipedia et. al. that knowledge isn't a privilige of the elite but lays in the broader mass it appeals here aswell. The documents for hieroglyphs or language relicts are often only available for a selected range of scientists. But the problem is there is mostly just a few people thinking about scripts or languages that are not deciphered yet. In fact, there are plenty of people in the world that also deal with languages or with decipherment of codes and languages that don't have access to those documents. By putting them online and offering a platform for several people to think about something yet undeciphered we might have some success in giving a big contribution to the process of deciphering. That is how I see it here. Zylbath (talk) 16:13, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Re: WikiLang[edit]

Hello. Thanks for writing the conversion system on Old English Wikipedia, it's awesome. I've read briefly the proposal. As a language enthusiast, I believe that it could be a great project on minority languages. However, I have some doubts about the necessity of its existence. Below I list out some purposes of WikiLang as stated in the proposal to express my doubts:
  1. Language documentation: I still think that this can be done on various language versions of Wikibooks. The proposal says "When complete dictionaries or courses are developed they will be moved to the appropriate sister projects", so is Wikilang barely an incubator of language matters on other existing projects? And without this project, people can still write in the language of their choice. No one stops them from writing about a native language of Central America on the Spanish Wikibooks. Also, It seems to me that a new project is not needed to provide a central location, as we can add inter-wiki links on the relevant pages of different projects.
  2. Language revitalisation: Again, we can do it directly on Wikibooks, Wiktionary or Wikiversity. If the information I have about a language is so scarce that I can't write about it on the existing projects, I don't see the meaning of writing it on WikiLang.
  3. Sprachausbau: I don't believe that we are able to reverse language shift, build a lexicon for a minority language, find a standard variety, etc. They are just too complicated for us to do. Doing so requires a lot of knowledge on linguistics and the language we would be working on. And there would be endless discussions and controversies as many non-experts would participate. Even consensuses are reached, the credibility is doubted. It's better to leave the job to the linguists.
  4. Living dictionaries: If a language is so small that there is not a single dictionary, I don't suppose that we can gather people for a living dictionary. Even if we could, I don't trust the answers they provide as I cannot verify them with reliable references. A bored person can create a lexicon all by himself and claim that it is of a certain moribund language. How could I know that he's lying?
  5. Little projects: Actually, I can't think of an example of a product that doesn't fit any existing projects. Please suggest me one.

The aim of this proposed project is great. However, because of the above doubts, I cannot support it at this moment. Please reply me to solve my questions. If this project can really help raise people's awareness about minority languages, or even save or revitalize one, I would strongly support and participate in this project. Thank you!

P.S. My English is not perfect. If it causes any misunderstanding, please let me know. Professorjohnas (talk) 07:54, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

The above is my reply to PiRSquared17, who invited me to join this project. As stated above, I wholeheartedly support this project, but it is the doubted feasibility which stops me from participating. I post it here to gather more opinions and see if we can make it feasible by improving it. Professorjohnas (talk) 11:53, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

Hello. Most of the questions or concerns are actually answered in the FAQs: WikiLang#FAQ. I updated the text a little bit and I hope you find an answer there. Wikilang is simply not realisable with the existing Wikiprojects, still raising that question dosn't change that. But at the same time it is apparent that there is a big need for this platform. There have been a lot of languages that has already died since I launched this proposal.
Wikibooks wouldn't serve to document a language. Wikibooks is made for books, not for vocabulary lists. But the results that could be achieved on Wikilang could serve to implement them on other platforms. That doesn't mean that they get transfered in the same way. On Wiktionary we couldn't bring in just vocabulary lists.
Language revitalisation cannot really be done on Wiktionary, Wikibooks or Wikiversity without misusing the resources or intends on these pages. None of them is created to provide discussions on a special topic concerning language revitalisation.
Sprachausbau is nothing that should or could only be done by the élite or linguists. Sprachausbau and language revitalisation is espacially done by those that speak their minority language and that are concerned about it. The different is the case: If a linguist would work out, alone, a standard variety of a language or would create new words it is highly probable that the language community won't accept it, history proves that. Sprachausbau isn't an undertaking that is too complicated for the normal person, it is already done intensivley by many minority communities. But Wikilang would offer them a profound and big platform to do it properly and in a way that bigger parts of their community can contribute and take part in it. If there is a consensus is build by more than one person it is way more effective than a one-man projects, espacially when that is a linguist that often doesn't even really speak the language. Believe me, language community are very suspicious about linguists and/or more educated people trying to tell them something. ;) Of course, there would be discussions, but it wouldn't get out of control.
Dictionaries are made by linguists or trained people. That has nothing to do with the number of speakers. But some languages are just more interesting to linguists than others. And a lot of dictionaries are only in the hands of some few people and aren't officially available anymore. And of course, if a mother speaker puts online a list of words there should be the same doubt as it would be when a new fact is added to Wikipedia without sources. As on Wikipedia other members of the community could work out reliable vocabulary lists. And even if there is only one person contributing to a language, there are other ways of proving his materials, by language comparison to other related languages, by printed publications or elsewhere. Wikilang should of course make highly use of sources and reliable material. It isn't just a loose bunch of articles on language facts. Zylbath (talk) 16:37, 24 September 2014 (UTC)